Fall 2012 was the start of my junior year in college. I was succeeding in school, had a social life that included many groups of friends, and had no intentions of my actions catching up to me. To be honest, it just happened.
I was always the girl that played it safe and kept my distance. I never thought in a million years I could get pregnant. Especially since I was never the type to "sleep around." Well that does NOT matter. I became pregnant in September of 2012. I kept it from my parents until the end of November. Of course I could not find the right time to tell them because either way I was positive they were going to disown me…especially my dad. I had done so well for years and gotten this far without ever disappointing them, my only thought was that they were going to be disgusted with me. I used the idea of adoption to calm them down, but thought for sure that I was going to parent for the first several months of my pregnancy.
With that being said, I started preparing for life as a single mom, considering I had this conceptualized idea that I was going to parent this child, even though her father was in prison. The thought of even writing that gives me chills today. I felt that I had these super mom powers, and I was willing to do what I needed to do to support this child. I got a job that paid decent, continued college, and became a hermit. I eventually rented a two-bedroom duplex, where I used Craigslist to find baby bedding and before I knew it I felt that I was somewhat prepared. Now keep in mind that my parents divorced when I was 18 months, and I swore to myself that I would never raise a child without both parents involved. I knew the struggle was real. Before I knew it, I was planning for a baby shower and had support from those who really did not know the depth of my situation.
My parents were along for the ride as much as they could be, but I will never forget my father telling me that his heart hurt because he was not looking forward to seeing his daughter struggle through the hard times of being a single mom. This choice involved risk, the risk of not finishing college, and the risk of the future with Corinne's father. My heart hurt for him. It was not until they came to see my new house and the baby's room that I changed my mind. I still cannot explain what came over me, but I just collapsed in tears. The anxiety of becoming a mother hit me. It was the same day that my parents were in my home, that I asked them to take apart the crib and make this room into a study. That was when my journey towards making an adoption plan began. It was then when I started to feel my daughter inside me. I would cradle my belly every night in bed and talk to her. Letting her know that I was not certain who her parents were going to be, but that they were going to take great care of her. I told her that I loved her, more than anyone else in this world.
The following day, my caseworker from the Gladney Center for Adoption flew down to visit with me. I thought to myself that if I was going to make this plan, I was going to make sure it was exactly how I wanted. Just for the record, THAT IS OK! This life was so important to me. I am not going to lie, I struggled daily with my decision, and there were days when I was going to parent, and days when I was going to follow through with adoption. After I met her family and went through the process of choosing her parents, I had made my decision and met with them while I was 8 1/2 months along.
I will never forget the night that I called them to let them know that I had chosen them. They are my family now.
As my last few days approached, I was on my back patio bouncing on a yoga ball while trying to make myself go into labor. My friends and I were having the usual patio party, but meanwhile I still was not sure. As happy as we all were, something inside would not let go. I went into labor that night and had her the next day, sometime around lunch. I was in LOVE. I wanted to keep her. I was not able to hand her to her adoptive family because of some legal paperwork issues with her father, and therefore had to send her with my caseworker to go into transitional care. This was the hardest thing for me to do. I waited a whole month until I signed my papers, and got to place her into the arms of Shane and Audra.
This had of been God's plan of offering contentment in my life.
The night before I was going to see her again and sign my official adoption papers, I ran to Target to buy paper to write Corinne’s birth letter. A lady approached me and told me that God had asked her to talk to me and give me the “OK." She then said that whatever is going on in your life at the moment, God wants me to let you know that you are making the right decision and to offer you peace and contentment.
My reaction to this was, "why did he wait so long?" I walked in the next morning with a smile and embraced my sweet Corinne for a whole hour. I then placed her in the arms of her adoptive parents and shared sweet moments about her near future. I knew I made the right decision for myself, and for Corinne. I also played a part in completing a family that could not have done it without me.
To wrap up my story, I would like to say that I have recovered well and have even used this site to help me with my struggles post-placement. It is not an easy decision but one that takes bravery and selflessness. I moved on to later graduate college, catch up with my friends, and meet the love of my life. I am currently working in adoption and I am using the skills I learned through my experience to help other young ladies like myself through this amazing journey. You are in charge of your life and this child's. You have the option to choose how open you want your plan to be. If you keep asking yourself if you can do this, you can.
It is worth it and rewarding.
Thank you for reading. Much love...
Update: Chelsea recently accepted a position as the Domestic Adoption & Surrogacy Coordinator at Journeys of the Heart Adoption in Oregon. She said, "I wanted to use what seemed like my mess as my message and my test as my testimony!”
We are so thankful for Chelsea and countless others who have shared their adoption stories with us. These stories have been used as testimonies to encourage, inspire and empower individuals touched by adoption. Chelsea told us that she shared her story because she was inspired by the other BraveLove stories.