Even though teen pregnancy rates in the US are declining, there were still approximately 270,000 teens that become pregnant last year. Juanita was just fourteen years old when she got pregnant.
Even though, looking back, Juanita thinks that adoption was the best decision, she told me that it is “one of the most difficult decisions that you’ll have to make.” In fact, there was a time where Juanita thought it was the wrong decision and she spent three years and went through five different lawyers to try and get her daughter back. Once Juanita started to realize that the outlook of her being granted custody was slim, she starting spiraling out of control. Juanita turned to drinking, smoking and dropped out of school her senior year.
To girls who are going through the same emotional rollercoaster, she thinks unbiased counseling and continued counseling after the adoption would be very helpful. Juanita was also able to find a birth mother’s group that was very comforting to her. She shared that the time she spent with the group was crucial to her healing in the early stages of transition. Juanita said that things started to turn around for after 9/11 happened and after reading the book, Yesterday I Cried, by Iyanla Vanzant. She said that realized then that other people have been through tougher hardships than she and that she was actually very blessed in her circumstances.
Gratitude and accepting that she was not going to get her daughter back were the keys to changing the direction of her life.
Juanita’s greatest gift that has come out of her journey is her relationship with her daughter. “It’s so great to be able to see her grow. She’s such a good kid! Being able to see her cheerlead and grow and make good grades and not fall down the same path that I went down… because I see the great support system that she has.” Through open adoption Juanita was blessed with the opportunity to have access to her child. Juanita would spend holidays with her and her family, spend time in the park together and just recently they shared a one-on-one trip to New York together. There are times where she does wonder what it would’ve been like to have raised her on her own but she knows deep down, that neither of them would have been able to have the relationship they have today had Juanita kept her at such a young age.
For anyone out there who has given up a baby for adoption or is thinking about adoption, or open adoption, I hope that Juanita’s story has helped you.
It’s never too late to get the right support to help you move forward and reach a place of acceptance. @KirstyTV (Click to Tweet!)
We would love to hear your thoughts and stories if you went through something similar.
Kirsty attacks life like it’s a chocolate cake. She is the Executive Producer and Host of KirstyTV and an international speaker, author, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. You can also follow Kirsty on Facebook and Twitter.