kay’s story: a birthmom’s journey

This post is written by my son’s birthmother.  Thank you for sharing your story, Kay!Kay01

It’s not often that someone asks about my adoption story. As a matter of fact, hardly anyone does. You hear about the families who grow through adoption, and the lives that are touched by it. It’s not often you hear the story as told by a birthmother. When I was asked to share my story, I was elated. I’ve always hoped to tell people my story and my journey through adoption. I hope to touch someone out there who wonders what a birthmother goes through; what her journey is like and the stories she has to tell. There are always two sides to a story, and here’s mine.

When I was pregnant with Asher I didn’t know where my life would go or what decisions I would make. I didn’t know how I’d raise a child my senior year when I still felt like a child myself. What would my friends think? What would my parents think? I asked myself all the typical questions, and had no “typical” answers for any of them. This was a time when teen pregnancy wasn’t at its highest. There weren’t any pregnant girls at my school. I didn’t know of any either. All I knew was that this was happening to me and I had no idea how to handle it. My parents (unlike many) were very supportive. From all the doctor’s appointments, to making sure I was taken care of at school, they were there. I was never alone, though at times I felt like I was. I knew people noticed at school and around town, but what do you say? How do you act? How do you explain to your friends that you’re still the 16 year old girl who plays flute? It didn’t matter. I was “that girl” whether I could explain myself or not. I was the statistic.

The decision of adoption was not chosen easily. I had never met anyone who was adopted, nor anyone who had gone through adoption. It was unfamiliar territory. When the option was first brought up, I was hesitant. Why would I want to give up my baby? Why would I want to put so much into this, just to let it go? That’s where the negativity of adoption comes to play. Every birthmother has her reason, and every birth mother has her struggles. I was 16, a junior in high school, and trying very hard to make it to college. I had no job, I was not in a relationship, and I couldn’t fathom putting the weight of a baby on my parents, as well as myself. Before he was born, I loved Asher. I loved his kicks, I loved his hiccups. I loved every part of this little person. And it was because I loved him that I chose adoption. He deserved a life far better than I could give him at 16. He deserved the toys and the attention. He deserved the Mom AND the Dad, and to be spoiled and loved in every way imaginable. I have always hoped that Asher will never doubt my love for him. I hope that he never wonders why I did what I did. It was because I love him. Every choice I ever made was for him.

Once I was firm on my choice of adoption, my journey began. I chose open adoption because I wanted to know his new family.  I wanted to know who he would grow into and what kind of life he would have. I wanted to be there to love him through his life. I couldn’t imagine walking around my city wondering if he and his family were walking right by me. Open adoption was my first and only choice.

What was to be a typical doctor’s visit turned into a diagnosis of preeclampsia, and I was placed in the hospital that Friday after school. As I sat in my hospital bed, I scoured books and albums of these hopeful families ready and wanting to adopt. Some were deep in their faith, some already had big families. How was I to make such a big decision from a book? Some were from out of state, which was an issue for me. When I mentioned that I wanted some close to home, my social worker came back with a bag full of an assortment of binders and albums from the Quad Cities and surrounding area. Then I saw it. A square red book with button letters sharing their names on the front cover. My favorite color is red. I read every inch of that album. Twice. Three times. As I sat in my hospital bed with my notebook “check list” of qualities in a family I wanted for Asher, I realized they had everything I was looking for. They had the same belief in faith that I did. They loved music and they loved their home state of Iowa. I told my social worker that this was the family; this was them. I wanted to meet them. I wanted to know them. She asked several times if I was sure that I didn’t want to look over any other albums. I’d never been so sure.Kay02

The pain of giving birth that night was unreal. From 0 to 100 in less than two hours. I don’t remember much, except for watching him being taken away by the nurses, and briefly falling asleep while eating. The next morning I held Asher. I kissed him. I watched my parents play with him and feed him. It was so unreal. Did this really happen to me? Did I just bring a life into this world? The nurses during my pregnancy and after were some of the kindest women I’ve ever met. They knew he was to be adopted, and they were very understanding. They made sure I had my alone time with him, but also were sensitive to the situation and made sure I wasn’t uncomfortable at any time. I wrote them all thank you letters.

When I met Jake and Emily for the first time, I wasn’t sure what to do. I wasn’t sure what to say. Do I stay in my bed? Do I sit in the chair? Why don’t I have makeup on? I look like a wreck. None of my clothes fit and I am still recovering. I hope they don’t think I look terrible. When they sat down on my hospital bed and we talked, it was like I knew. I was still emotional from everything, but the moment Jake held baby Asher, I lost it. I cried so much. I clearly remember saying that I’ve never cried from being happy, but these were tears of joy. Have you ever had one of those moments where you’re down and you feel like life is kicking your butt, then something happens and you say to yourself “Ohhh, this is it. This is why. I get it now. You’re a sneaky one, God.” This was that moment for me. Everything made sense. I knew from then on this family would forever be in my life, and in my heart.

Leaving the hospital was harder than anyone will ever know. I didn’t want to go, but I needed to go. I needed to leave before I decided that I would never, ever leave. Once I was home, the days started blurring together while I healed. I spent a lot of time scrapbooking pictures of Asher that I had. For a while, things were typical. Well, as “typical” as the adoption process can go. I met with my social worker to sign my termination of parental rights, and I requested a Birth Certificate with the name that I’d given him on it. It was important to me that I have a copy to cherish for myself.Kay03

Getting to know and grow with Asher’s family was a process. I didn’t know what my boundaries were, and I didn’t know how much contact or attention was “too much.” For the first year of his life, I fought with myself nearly every day on whether or not I was selfish, or selfless. I struggled with depression. I felt empty. I felt like something was missing but I didn’t know what. I saw these other girls my age having babies and I thought, “If they could do it, why couldn’t I?” I also saw these girls barely making ends meet. I saw them leave their babies with their parents while they went out and did things they should be doing at 16, instead of raising a child. I never wanted to be that kind of person. I never wanted Asher to wonder why I wasn’t there or why he couldn’t have all of my attention. It was extremely hard to see all these girls keeping their babies and wondering why I was the only one who chose a better life for their child. Not many knew about Asher. Mostly close family, and maybe two or three friends. I didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t want anyone to know because I didn’t want anyone to call me those names. To tell me I was selfish. “How could you give up your own baby?” I’ll tell you how. I was able to do it because his needs were far greater than my own. My love for him and my want for him to have the best life possible far outweighed anything I ever felt. The first year was the hardest I’ve ever been through in my life.

I am now 22 and happily in a relationship with someone I was able to share my story with. He knows everything about me and everything I went through. When I first met him, he had no idea Asher existed. I wanted to tell him. But how do you start a conversation like that? Eventually, the answer was clear. Just do it. If he loves you, he will understand. If he doesn’t, I shouldn’t be with him anyway. When you tell someone you’ve had a baby, their initial reaction is shock. Then when they ask where “the baby” is and you say “he’s been adopted”, the situation grows slightly more complicated. Questions come up, as well as speculation. There’s a lot of explaining I had to go through, as well as a lot of tears. It’s hard to talk about something that means so much to you when the person you’re telling has a hard time understanding. It’s always been that way. When I would tell someone my story, the reaction was always the same. “Adoption!?” Then, “the look.” It’s a look that says “How could you give away your baby?” That’s when I know that no matter what I say, they’ve decided I’m a bad person. This story is for those people. For all those people who gave me those looks and called me names and told me things I didn’t deserve to hear. This is for you.

I still can’t answer my selfless/selfish question today. Some days I feel like I know it was for him, other days I wonder what makes me so “selfless” to give up a child because I “couldn’t do it.” I will always struggle with myself. I will always have backlash from people who do not understand. But I am strong. I have an amazing family full of love and support, and I know every day that Asher will always be loved. That’s what matters most to me.


Asher is 5 now, and I am happy to say I have never been more proud of the choice I made. I have never loved anyone as much as I love Asher and his family. Watching him grow and learn has been amazing. I don’t get to see him often due to living out of state, but I get to see pictures as well as videos. I love that my family has such a great opportunity through open adoption. We get to see him grow, and he can always know who I am. He will always have answers to his questions, and he will never doubt how loved he really is.

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51 Responses to kay’s story: a birthmom’s journey

  1. CC March 6, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    Beautiful story! I think she did the most amazing thing for him and put his needs before her own….if only more mothers (both young and older) could realize the child is who comes first and that thier needs are more important! A baby is not an accessory as so many seem to think these days. congrats to your beautiful family!!!

    • Jen March 14, 2013 at 8:51 am #

      So very true! Most teen moms think it’s “fun” to be a mom and continue to dump their child on the grandparents/other family members while the teenage mother goes out and continues ‘to be a teenager” by going to games, parties, cheerleading, etc.

      • wendy February 11, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

        Not all teenage mom’s are like that. Me and my best friend were teenage mom’s and neighbor’s. I have great admiration for her. She was 14 when she got pregnant. That’s hard enough. She also became a step-mom to two young kids. There is obviously more to the story She was 14 I was 16. We grew up really fast. But we weren’t those teenager’s.

        • wendy February 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

          She’s been married for 20 years this year =) I’ve been married 15 this year. It wasn’t easy but we made it.

  2. Camye March 6, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    what an incredible story, Kay. You are an amazing and strong woman! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Laura
    Laura March 6, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Kay you have shown the most selfless and full act of love and strength-I’m just in awe of you. Your story is so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Michelle March 6, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story Kay! What a beautiful reflection of your journey and love for Asher. God Bless you!

  5. Jeni March 6, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Heartwarming, and heart healing! Thank you for sharing your stories, Kay & Emily. Asher is SO blessed. SOOOOO blessed.

  6. macrackalackin March 6, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Thank you for sharing and the courage to make a difficult decision. Thanks for sharing the other side. We are in the process of adopting a child whose birth mother died to give her life. So often we think of adoption and think the worst and forget that many kids come from love already; they are given up because of love and not a lack of it. Thank you again for sharing.

  7. Anne March 6, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m at work in tears right now, because what you did for your child was so beautiful and full of the most pure love. You are truly an amazing person!

  8. amandastclair March 6, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    What a touching story. I am still wiping away tears from my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. Lynn S March 6, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    What a beautiful story!!! Thank you so much Kay for putting it into words. You are such an amazing woman Kay and what a wonderful gift you gave both Asher and his adoptive family! As a mother of three adoptive children I am forever grateful to my children’s birth mother and try to keep her memory alive for my children because she loved them too!!!

  10. Jen Schrempf March 6, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Beautiful, inside and out.

  11. Heather
    Heather March 6, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you for sharing your strength!! What an amazing act of real, true, unconditional love!!! I am proud of you, and so proud to call Jake and Emily friends!! I remember seeing Asher just days old and the joy on his parents face. You are such a blessing to so many Kay!!!

  12. Lauren March 6, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Wow! Probably the most mature 16 year old I have ever heard of. What an incredible woman and mother you are!

  13. Erin March 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    Beautiful story! Thank you for making the choice you did Kay! My family enjoys Asher every Sunday at Mass. He is a true blessing! You are an amazing woman and you couldn’t have picked a better family!

  14. Marie March 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    A beautiful story about a beautiful decision. Thank you for sharing your story!

  15. Jill March 6, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    I echo everyone else’s comments – your act of love and selflessness was a miracle for another family – a truly amazing thing you did for Asher! Thanks for sharing your story!!!

  16. Kate McCormick March 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story and allowing Asher to be part of The McCormick Family! He is certainly loved by all of us!

  17. Jen March 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Kay that was so beautifully written!! Thank you for sharing your strength and love with Jake, Emily and Asher. At such a young age you were called upon to display how much compassion is required to be a mother- a birth or adopted one.

  18. Kim March 6, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Amazing! Thank you for sharing your story Kay. I pray you will have more opportunities to share it with young girls in their season of crisis and what a beautiful choice you made. God bless you all.

  19. sharee March 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Wow, what a hard decision you made and what a difficult journey at such a young age. I think it was a selfless act to give your son a better life! Kudos to you for being able to make such a loving choice for your baby at such a young age!

  20. Cate March 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    You are so brave. Thank you for sharing your side of the story in such a vulnerable and real way. Adoption is messy. But it is so beautiful too!!

  21. tracykcarson March 7, 2013 at 12:36 am #

    Kay, thank you so much for sharing your story. You are so brave. Asher is lucky to have someone care for him as deeply as you do. I just can’t tell you how much strength you have to share your side, thank you.

  22. Amy Jeffries March 7, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    What an amazing-beautiful story!! Being an adoptee myself, I loved hearing from a birthmother’s perspective. Kay should be proud of herself. I can’t imagine how hard that would be, but I know I have thought of my birthmother almost everyday since I became a mother myself, realizing how difficult that decision must have been. Hopefully someday I can find my birthmother to thank her for giving me such a wonderful life with my family, making the ultimate sacrifice and giving me a loving home. I would never want to judge a birthmothers decision. I would open my heart to understand everyone has their own journey to to take and to follow their heart. If only there were more woman out there who put their baby’s needs first instead of their own desires. Thank you for sharing. It was so touching.

  23. Robin March 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    Thank you to all involved for sharing it.

  24. Emily March 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Thank you, all, for your supportive, loving comments. Open adoption has been such a blessing in our lives, and I am so grateful to Kay for sharing her story. She is a beautiful person and her love of Asher is something she can share with him throughout his life.

  25. Kim March 11, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story, Kay and Emily! I read this thinking what would my husband’s birth mom say if she wrote a letter like this? I have the love of my life because his birth mother made the gut wrenching decision to do better for him.

  26. Devon Schaaf March 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Kay, you are such a courageous woman! Thank you for sharing your story!

  27. Jen March 14, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Such an amazing and honest story! Thanks for sharing! Maybe this will give teens another look at how “loving your child more than yourself” and choosing adoption is the best option!

  28. Kate Sorensen March 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Wow! This is an amazing post! Good for you, Kay and great for Asher as well.

  29. Emily Campbell March 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm #


    I would like to say what a wonderful story and how great of you to share! I was adopted in 1981 and it was a closed adoption. i often found myself constantly wondering who I looked like, if I have any siblings, what is my birth mom like, does she miss me, does she love me, does she remember my birthday, etc. I just want to say what you wrote touched me. I have since found my birth mom’s family. I am the oldest of 6, however three years prior me finding the family she had passed away. So what you wrote really touches me because it has put my mind at ease. I know all situations are different but hearing your story allows me to know what she went through in order to give me up. She was a senior in high school when she was pregnant with me. I truly thank you for being so strong and coming out and sharing your story. You are such a strong person for doing so. Alot of people out there do not truly know the greatness of adoption, all that has ever been heard are the negative. I would just like to say it takes a special and amazing person to put your wants and needs aside for another person. How amazing is it that you made a young couples dream come true. I can say that Asher has such wonderful parents! Jake & Emily are truly an amazing couple! Thank you for sharing your story I just find myself reading it over and over again. It’s amazing how God works. I can only imagine the struggles you have gone through but know that you loved him so much to know that this was simply the way he was going to be able to have a great life! You all are truly amazing and it’s so wonderful reading your stories.

  30. S K Hunt June 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    What a beautiful story…I’m fighting back the tears. Our daughter is adopted, and though her birth mother chose a closed adoption, we pray for her to know God’s love, and ours. We know a little about her and have come to love her through the child she gave us. She has our contact information if she ever wants to be a part of our daughter’s life.

    For Kay, I am so proud of you. You are far from selfish. You acted with the greatest of love! I am so glad you are part of your son’s life.

  31. April B September 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I am considering adoption and I found your story. My circumstances may be different but my reason (wanting the best life can offer for my child ) is the same. I pray and hope everyday that I fond a family like you did. I hope when I do, they do not eventually phase me out of the baby’s life after agreeing I can have updates and annual visits. After all, that will be the forever family once the process is finished. I hope I can be as brave and amazing as you were. Thank you for sharing your story with me.

    • Emily G. September 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

      April, I was adopted when I was a baby and it was a closed adoption, so I was not able to know much of anything growing up that children now a days do have. I wish you all the best in your search and decisions that lie ahead of you. It takes a special, brave, and strong person to even consider adoption for their child. I am now older, obviously, and I have 3 children of my own. I know the expenses and day to day need that children bring upon, even one person. I would have given anything to have been able to be involved with my birth-mother growing up even if I only knew her as a friend or aunt or however my parents decided to present it. Again, I wish you all the best and will pray you are able to come to the best decision. ~Emily G.

    • Cate September 28, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      April—-you are not alone. I am an adoptive mother and serve with an adoption agency. There are many, many families that will not just honor your desire for contact, but would also joyfully welcome it! If you need help, please do not hesitate to email me at cate at scottsdalemomsblog dot com or gatheredfromafar at yahoo dot com

  32. Lindsey Wheatley Redfern November 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Does Kay have a blog? I’d love to read more of her writing and follow her story. Thanks so much for this post! 🙂

  33. Brenda Wallace January 9, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    What a wonderful story. The unselfishness of this individual at such a young age and her courage. God’s plan was surely fulfilled in this situation and the outcome. Bless those of you who can think of their children first…..

  34. Amber a Allred January 26, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    This story brings tears to my eyes but fills my heart with such joy. If we could have more women like this the world would be such a wonderful place.

  35. Kay April 15, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    Thank you all for the wonderful comments. My heart feels so full. I love coming back here and reading responses. 🙂

    • Francis Hawk August 5, 2014 at 3:17 am #

      You were and are still loved by me. I think you are a very strong yet hard to understand at times. I never new the whole story until I just read this beautiful story. Being a father,grand father, and great grand father I know the love of a baby is great. You were, and still are a strong person. I personally have seen how you interact with Asher.
      Keep your head held high let no one judge you for they did not go through what you did. Love you like I was your real Grandfather

  36. Jen July 17, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Kay, you are an inspiration to me! My husband and I are in the process of finding a birthmother and you have warmed my heart. I’m a high school teacher, my hubby is also in the military, and my family is originally from Iowa (small world). My husband has two siblings that were adopted, however they were closed adoption. Thank you for giving me a brief glimpse about your journey, so I can further understand how a birthmom must feel giving the gift of life. You’re so blessed and may each day bring you happiness.

  37. Lisa August 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    So brave! I’m an adult adoptee and I’ve been deeply touched by your story. I have teary eyes thinking of the hurt and longing I’ve had to know “my story”. Reading your point of you helps me deal with my emotions of feeling unwanted. Your bravery is beautiful!

  38. Amanda Gilliland September 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    Thank you SO much for sharing this! My husband & I are about to start our adoption process & up until recently, I’ve only thought about adoption from my situation…the woman that can’t have children. Now, I’ve began to consider more how emotional it has to be for the birth mom. I will never be able to put myself in your place, and I could not begin to imagine your emotional journey. I cannot tell you how amazing you are for what you’ve done. In our case, our birth mom, whomever she may be, will be giving us something that NO ONE has ever been able to give us, the blessed gift of becoming parents. You’ve helped me to see even more of how life is for a birth mom and I have an even greater respect for your decision. Thank you again for being so brave in sharing this!

  39. Hannah Love November 5, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    It’s always wonderful to hear someone who has a similar story to mine. I placed my daughter for adoption when I was 19 and I just knew she wasn’t made for me she was made for me and my time would come but not now. I also lost my dad as a baby so I know what it’s like to be raised with out a dad and I could not chose that for my baby. My daughter who is 5 is the happiest spunkiest girl I know! I adore her and her family. So many people have such a warped view of adoption and that makes me sad. I’m proud of what I did and my baby is being raised to love me. Thankyou for sharing, I find no greater joy than sharing my story and learning about other people’s stories!

  40. Lynette January 5, 2015 at 2:19 am #

    I just want to say thank you so much for being willing to share your story. It was a huge help to me tonight as I sat here reading it, asking myself the same questions you asked yourself. This decision terrifies me more than anything but after reading your story, I feel more hopeful and at peace about the decisions ahead of me!! Thanks again!

  41. Laura January 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

    Beautiful story! I’ve adopted 3 through foster care and not being able to have a relationship with the birth family is hard. I hate that my children can’t have their birthmom in their life!! God bless each of you!!

  42. Theresa July 31, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    Kay, you are an amazing young woman. You gave your son the most amazing gift a mother can give: his best chance. And what a wonderful family you chose. Asher is truly blessed. I pray you have a wonderful life ahead of you!

  43. Teresa November 5, 2015 at 6:42 am #

    I hope my husband doesn’t see me crying right now. That was such a beautiful story and I can tell how much you love him. As humans, we always look at the negative first and judge and sorry you had receive all those looks bc you really deserve support. Being selfless is someone getting an abortion when the child is so innocent. I can’t imagine what you went through but you are a better person bc you made a difficult decision out of love. God loves you and hope the best in your future.

  44. Cassidy Phan November 5, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Thank you for sharing. You can truly feel the love you had for Asher the entire story and he is a truly lucky boy to have so much love!

  45. Kristin April 27, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

    Wanting to finish high school is not selfish. It’s normal. Please don’t struggle with whether it’s selfish or selfless. ~ love from an adoptive mom

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