Below is a story of a young mother who decided that it was for the best to have her firstborn son adopted. Adoption is the opportunity to turn an unexpected or traumatic pregnancy into a precious gift for another family.

I didn’t give a lot of thought to birth control as a young nineteen-year-old. I wasn’t involved in a relationship and while I wasn’t a virgin, I wasn’t expecting to be sexually active. I didn’t realize that I would be meeting Bobby.

One stupid night with a near stranger was so out of character for me that I still look back and can hardly believe my behavior. Bobby was charismatic and flattering and I was a little drunk. Before I knew it, we were making love. The night was incredible and in the morning I said goodbye with a blush on my cheeks.

Bobby was a college student on vacation and I knew I would never see him again. I didn’t plan to tell any of my friends about my escapade – that is until I realized that I was late for my period.

Every woman in that situation knows that moment when everything in your world seems to come to a stop. The wind dies, the radio fades and your heartbeat pounds in your ears… ‘Am I pregnant?’

This calls for a girlfriend.

Together with my best friend, I made a trip to the local clinic for a pregnancy test. I walked in afraid and walked out numb. Nineteen, pregnant, earning six dollars an hour as a clerk and completely alone – I was scared to death. The woman at the clinic had pushed an abortion brochure in my hand but it wasn’t something I was willing to consider. Of all the things I wasn’t sure of, I knew that I would soon be giving birth to a baby.

Beyond that, I was clueless.

I had a good friend who got pregnant at 16 and while she was definitely less mature, she had the support of her parents and secure home life. As I looked out over the next nine months – and eighteen years, I felt completely inadequate.

I didn’t make a real firm decision until I was about five months along, but I actually considered adoption as an option from the first day. I phoned a private adoption agency and asked questions anonymously several times and finally made an appointment to talk seriously with an adoption counselor.

The woman I met with was kind and full of patience. I expected to get some pressure from her but it never came. Adoption is not a decision that anyone makes lightly – or impulsively. She was there for me to answer questions, give advice and provide support.

Being pregnant and making plans to place the baby with an adoptive family presents a lot of opportunities for awkward moments and having someone to talk to was valuable to me. Both before and after my baby was born.

I would be lying if I said that I never had a moment of doubt, but overall I had peace about my decision. By the eighth month, I had chosen a young couple to be my new baby’s parents. When I went into labor, I felt like I was doing it all for them and the precious baby that I was giving to them to raise.

I wouldn’t say that I felt disconnected from my baby – because I did feel an incredible bond with him. However, I chose to see him as belonging to someone else from the beginning, a member of someone else’s family. A precious gift that I got to play a part in creating.

Giving a baby up for adoption (not a term that adoption advocates like you to use) is a painful experience even in the best of situations. My heart broke when I left the hospital without him. But I have not regretted my decision. I chose a better, more secure life for my son and a few more years of growing up for me.