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My name is Cameron, and I am from Greenville, South Carolina. I am twenty- five years old this year, and I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that I am a birth mother. Meaning, when I was twenty years old, I discovered I was pregnant out of wedlock. I was not ready for a child, so I placed my daughter for adoption with Adoption Options. That choice altered my life before I signed any legal documentation, several months before Bethany was born.

You see, my biggest fear of all, was to have a child, especially under the circumstances that she was conceived during an alcohol and drug induced one-night stand. I closely listened to my peers’ revolt over all the girls we had grown up with, whose lives had ended as soon as they got pregnant by some guy who left them. I couldn’t be that girl. When I finally faced reality and listened to the signs my body was giving me: The sore breasts, the nausea, the exhaustion, I went to Walmart and bought two pregnancy tests. Upon getting home, I sat in the bathroom that had been mine since childhood, and I cried so hard as the pink lines that I knew would appear did. My life was over, just like everyone else said it would be. I couldn’t bear the courage to tell my mom, so I called my friend Natalie, and this was her response: “You’ve got time. In the state of South Carolina, you have until your second trimester to have an abortion. I’ll even schedule the appointment for you, and we can go together.” She said, “It’s just a pill, and once you take it, it will be like none of this ever happened”. I grew up conservative and Christian, and abortion was morally wrong to me. I personally viewed it as the murder of an unborn child. My crying turned to weeping, so I told her I’d think about it, and I quickly hung up and called him; the guy who did this to me. He agreed with Natalie. He yelled at me because I woke him up to tell him this bullshit. When he ended the call, I realized I would be making the decision of life or death for my child’s life, because he did not want to. I contemplated the pill I could take; I googled my options in a frenzy and settled that I couldn’t do it. Maybe I wanted to end this all from the start, but I could not imagine myself walking into an abortion clinic, so I told my mom to come outside with me, and I told her everything. I made her come to the front yard of my childhood home, and I laid on the bed of pine needles next to our carport as I wept and screamed, because I really believed that my life was through. Mom called my boss and told him I couldn’t make it in that day. She hugged me and told me that everything would be okay, that our family knew how to raise babies, and that no matter what I did, I would have her support. Still, I resisted, because I did not want to be pregnant at twenty years old and I was not ready to slow my life down for a kid. I waited on him to call me back, and when he did, it was screaming and cussing and to him, I just needed to have the abortion since it was just a pill, he would even pay for half of the treatment, he told me.

Out of anger and frustration, I told him, “I’ll take care of it myself”, and hung up the phone. I sat outside for hours, pacing, chain smoking cigarettes, and looking for any and every option I had to rid myself of this curse that would surely destroy my future. In my own pity, an idea came to mind, and I chose to google adoption agencies in my area. In one day, I had confirmed my pregnancy, been totally rejected by my future daughter’s father, and had settled on the decision I would be making, to have an open adoption.

Open adoption has no specific definition, but it is centered around the idea that the birth family and the adoptive family have a trusted, spoken and shared agreement to stay in contact and in relationship throughout the adoption process, as well as after. As a birth mother, your role takes place through carrying the baby full term, through labor, and then committing with the decision to place the child or children into another family that you see fit throughout the adoption process. Leading up to the moment of giving up all rights to the life form that you carried, there is a general process of meeting potential adoptive parents, as well as meeting with the agency advocates to form a plan for how you would like your adoption to go forward, and you have the right to make every decision yourself. Choosing the family may look very different for every woman that walks through the process of placement, but it generally is led by the agency that you choose. In my case, it took several months of meeting with different agencies. I could not find a family that I felt comfortable placing with, and most of the agencies in my hometown strongly discouraged open adoption. I knew that I would not go through with this if I couldn’t see my daughter again. Roughly five months into my search, I reached out to a friend of my mother’s, who then introduced me to the family I would eventually place with. They had previously adopted with Carri Uram through Special Link Adoption Agency and were looking to adopt again. Upon meeting them for the first time, I knew they were the ones. Everything about the adoptive mother reminded me of myself, and the father was everything I wanted for my daughter in a dad.

The beauty found in open adoption specifically, is that you will never feel that you cannot see your child or children, and that you will always have the support of their adoptive parents. Quite frankly, it is a blessing for both families, and especially the children involved, as they get to have two mothers, and maybe even two fathers. There is comfort in knowing that when you placed, you didn’t give up on your child’s life, but that you made a deliberate decision to stand by their side throughout the entire process. There are times when you will want to see your child, and there are times that you will not. The adoptive family in my case, has always understood that, and always given me my space. In open adoption, there is trust that comes from you choosing the adoptive family, and them being beyond grateful for the gift that you chose to give them against all the odds you may have faced or may be currently facing.

About the Author

Cameron Patterson is a 25-year-old birth mother. She is from Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated from the University of South Carolina Upstate with a BA Degree in English, with a minor in History. She lives for the art of storytelling and is an advocate for birth mothers to tell their stories and to thrive after placement. Since placing her daughter for adoption with Adoption Options in 2017, she has worked with the agency as a birth mother reference, taking time to talk and to be an advocate and friend to women contemplating open adoption. Through the act of sharing her story, Cameron hopes to see the cultures of life and adoption change, and to begin honoring birth mothers and birth fathers for the sacrifices and the selfless decisions they have made.