By Jazmine Polk
“How It Feels” is Style on the Hill’s newest series of first person stories from students at KU who have had incredible experiences. The final installment in the series looks into the life-changing decision to give a child up for adoption.
About twenty-one years ago, a young woman, pregnant with twin girls, was forced to make a decision that no one wants to make. During that time in her country there was a one-child policy and if the child was a girl, parents were expected to get a sex selective abortion. The woman refused to abort her twins and realized her only option was to send the babies to the United States to be adopted and given a chance. Just sixteen years later, one of the twin girls was faced with the same decision her mom had faced; this is her story.
“Push…push…come on…you’re doing great,” was all I could hear. I was 16 years old and 15 hours into a tough labor. The doctor’s voices were muffled and everything seemed to be going in slow motion. I looked around at the worried faces of my mother and my ex-boyfriend. I could tell something wasn’t right. The doctors wanted to do an emergency C-section but if they did, my child could die. I then stared at the face of Kristen, the woman I had chosen to be the adoptive mother of the baby. She looked how I felt my entire pregnancy—like “I am losing my baby.” Kristen and her husband were unable to have kids and they had prayed for this moment for years. I didn’t want to let them down.
The doctors decided to use a vacuum-like machine to pull the baby out by his head. This part of my labor is blurry, because I lost a lot of blood. That night they gave me a moment alone with him, possibly the only one I’d ever have. Even though we had agreed on an open adoption, so I could see him when I wanted, it wouldn’t be the same. He wouldn’t be mine. I thought about my decision and how my mother must have felt when she held me for the first time, knowing she’d have to say goodbye soon. I held him close to me and cried. This was one of the hardest things I would ever have to do; however, I knew I was making the right decision. I was still a child myself. I would have to raise him on my own and he deserved a loving family to give him the same opportunities that I had been given. I cried until I thought of Kristen and how at peace she looked when she held him. She’d be a great mom and he deserved her.
The next morning, the adoptive family came back to the hospital to get their child. As I handed him over to Kristen for the last time it felt like I was giving a piece of me away. But I also felt a sense of gratitude. My son would be given a chance…just like I was.