The amount of emotions I felt as I started down the path of adoption aren’t easily simplified. They can’t really be labeled with just one word. Yet, I often try to think about, if I could use one word to describe everything I was feeling, what that word would be. Somehow, I always come back to this one – overwhelming. That’s what it is, right? It’s overwhelming to process the fact that I didn’t know I was pregnant for months, to process the fact that I was going to have a baby, to process the fact that I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about this. What kind of girl just doesn’t know she is pregnant? What kind of girl am I for not knowing for so long? What kind of person am I to give life to my child only to give my creation to another family? What will people think when they find out that I am pregnant, single, and giving my baby up for adoption? Truth be told, I obsessed over thoughts like that throughout my pregnancy, and it’s only in reflecting and telling you my story that I can answer those questions for you and me. If I had known sooner, I would have been more proactive. I would have done something more. I would have had more time. But I’m not sure that having more time would have eased my racing thoughts or made me feel any better about how my life turned a little…off course.
When I started down the road to adoption, which only began when I spoke to Madonna’s family and realized that adoption was possible, I didn’t even know what questions to ask. It seemed like I knew basically nothing about what was about to be basically everything! The process, the details, how big of a part or how involved I could be, or would be, in everything. Without a moment of hesitation or judgement, this new family of mine, Madonna’s family, held my hand and walked me through everything. Every single step of the way. (When I say that, I don’t mean that they watched from the sidelines and talked with me while randomly offering empty, distant words of encouragement.) It was, truthfully, quite the opposite. My worries, my stress, my anxiety, everything. They took it on as if it were their own. As if they had known me for years and it was one of those “it’s just what you do for your family” kind of things. That comfort – knowing that I wasn’t just some girl that walked through their door or called them – it’s a feeling that only that family of people can provide. And I promise you, they will. They do. They care.
I know it’s a lonely, long, and seemingly impossible, at times, road we walk. If you’re reading this, you may be walking this road right now. But, there is strength in numbers. Please don’t walk it alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself. (I had to remind myself of that often as I am a very proud and stubborn girl who doesn’t much care for others help.) Madonna and her family are there. Any time, day or night. Their words of encouragement and constant engagement in my overall care and well-being gave me much more strength than I ever thought I had in me. If nothing else, give them a call. Go to their office. Meet any one of them. It won’t take longer than a few minutes of your time for you to shed some of that loneliness that comes with your story. Our story.
I’ll leave you with this, words that I firmly believe now and wish I could have told myself then. Words, feelings, true, raw emotion that you deserve to hear, feel, and know — You are no less a girl, a woman, because you didn’t know sooner. You are no less a girl, a woman, for weighing your options for the child you created. You want the best for your child, and while you may not be able to provide that, you are brave enough, strong enough, selfless enough, to give your child more than you can, or may want but are not able to, provide. And while others might be quick to judge, the judgment often comes only from those who don’t hold what you and I hold – Strength. Courage. Persistence.
(“Penelope Luna” is the author’s pen name. In 2019, she lovingly placed a baby for adoption and writes a blog series to help other women facing an unplanned pregnancy in Florida. When she writes about “Madonna’s family,” she is referring to our “work family,” the team at The Adoption Law Office of Madonna Finney.)