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For three years I tried to raise my daughter myself. Her father
left two weeks after he found out I was pregnant. My parents
live in another state, so we didn't see each other very much. It
had been Amber and I from the start. She had been raised by
a lot of day care people: something I didn't want. But welfare
wasn't enough and I had to go back to work when she was six
weeks old. I only saw her in the evenings when I picked her
up from the sitter after ten hours of work.
I worked long shifts, and was dead tired-but all I had at home
were bills and more bills. I made just enough to get by. I came
home one Friday to an eviction notice. I didn't know where
we were going to go since my credit was shot. The only apart-
ments were located on a trashy side of town and Amber's
sitter was on the opposite side. I could have gotten another
job, but then she would be at the sitter over fourteen hours
per day and Saturdays.
I looked into her sad eyes and saw that I wasn't doing parent-
ing very well. I decided she needed more than I could offer.
I rethought the choice I had considered when I was pregnant
with her. That was adoption. My family pressured me to
parent, saying that they would help. Yeah, for a whole three
weeks and then they were gone and I was alone again.
I loved her enough to follow through with my decision. I
chose an adoptive family that had one child that was seven so
she would have a big sister to play with, something I couldn't
give her. She would also have a stay-at-home mom and a dad,
another thing I couldn't give her. It is still hard, but I couldn't
have kept on living the life we were. I felt like we would both
have a better chance at a new start.
Amber has been with her new family for six weeks. It was
hard for me the first few weeks. I went to see a counselor that
helped. That day, I got a card in my mail with photos from
the adoptive family. Inside the card were four photos. The
first one was Amber sitting on the lap of her new sister. Their
arms were wrapped around each other; big smiles covered
both their faces. I couldn't remember Amber ever having a
smile like that before.
The second one was a photo of Amber with Becky, her adop-
tive mom. They were outside at a park. Amber was hugging
Becky's neck, squeezing it tightly.
The third one was
just of Amber alone.
Her hair was up in
a little pony on the
side of her head.
Her eyes were shin-
ing. I realized she
looked like me when
I was her age. She
looked so happy, it
made me cry.
The last photo was a
special one. It was one of the four of them. She was being
held by her new dad, Doug. He held her with such love and
confidence. I could tell Amber was happy. Seeing her with
them as a family made me realize I had done what was right
for her, very right. I cried, but my tears were from knowing
she was safe and happy. I was relieved that I had made the
choice that was right, even when others said it wasn't. Other
people weren't here. They couldn't see what I could see or
feel what I could feel or know what Amber really needed. She
needed this family and this family needed Amber.
One thing I will always remember is I made the choice from
Amber's standpoint. Through her eyes, she told me what she
needed and I'm glad I looked into her eyes and realized it be-
fore it was too late and I would no longer be able to tell. Her
eyes spoke to me again when I saw the photos of her with
her new family. They were saying thank you for giving me a
chance. I know she loves me and she will always know I loved
her enough to want the best for her life.
I wrote her a long letter and put together a small photo album
of her life with me and sent it with her the day she went to be
with Becky and Doug.
Amber is always in my prayers and will always be in my heart.
It is hard sometimes, but these days are becoming fewer.
What keeps me going is knowing that she is living a wonderful
life with everything I ever wanted for her. A second chance
for both of us.
I love you, Amber,
one woman's choice:
a Birth Mother's Story
Your birth mother