This guest post is by Stephanie Burton, a birthmother.
As the birthmother of four children, my story is probably unique.
Three of my children were adopted by the same adoptive couple at different times. The child who was not adopted is being raised by her biological father.
I raised my first child for 2 1/2 years. But when I gave birth to my second child, I found that as a single mom to two girls under three I was too overwhelmed to carry out my duties.
I wanted more for them than what I could provide and started to look at adoption.
I called a close friend and told her how I was feeling. The father of my youngest girl would not allow her to be adopted, so I asked my friend if she knew anyone who would be ready and willing to adopt my oldest daughter.
She told me she had friends who had hopes of adopting a child and would let them know about me and my daughter.
I’m not sure if they had ever thought of adopting an older child, but they were so excited.
After the adoption papers were signed, my older daughter went home with her new family, while the younger one went to live with her biological father.
I knew I had done the right thing, but I also felt emotionally numb.
Within a few months of self-medication (alcohol, food, and sex), I became pregnant again and texted my daughter’s adoptive parents to see if they would be willing to adopt my new baby. They almost immediately said yes.
Due to depression, I became unemployed and homeless and went to live with my friend and her family for the majority of my third pregnancy.
While living there, I consulted with a therapist and a neuropsychologist. The neuropsychologist diagnosed me with Asperger’s Syndrome—a “high functioning” form of autism—which explained why I become so easily overwhelmed, even with daily living tasks.
A month before my due date, I left my close friend’s home, unsure of whether I wanted my third child, a boy, to be adopted.
That uncertainty lasted a week. When I gave birth, the adoptive parents were there with me at the hospital.
My eldest daughter was so excited to have a “baby brudda,” and I was so happy that she now had a mom, a dad, and a sibling.
After my son’s birth, I thought about having a tubal ligation, but I think I sub-consciously sabotaged it because I still had hopes of being able to marry and raise a child someday.
I relocated and enrolled in a class that promised to help me learn to better function in society.
But I was still self-medicating with alcohol and sex, and seven months later I was pregnant again with another girl.
Hoping to raise her, I found a job at a large insurance corporation, working as a data entry specialist.
I excelled at my work, but one day, eight months into the pregnancy, I had a very bad day dealing with the depression of not having my children with me.
After lunch, I walked out of the building and didn’t come back.
At the time, I was living in a hotel, trying to save money to find a suitable apartment, but due to my job loss I became homeless again.
I texted my children’s adoptive parents and asked if they would be willing to adopt the girl I was carrying, and they said they would.
For the birth, my doctor arranged for me to have a large room so that I could have as many people there as I needed.
Present were my sister, my youngest daughter’s biological father, my close friend, and my children’s adoptive parents.
As with my previous placement, I was the one who placed my newborn daughter into her adoptive mom’s arms.
The next day, I went into surgery for my tubal ligation.
Thanks to my children’s adoptive parents and the difficult decisions I made, my children are loved, well cared for, and forever cherished.
I didn’t give them up. I gave them more.
I love you, Babies.
Stephanie Burton is a birthmother with Asperger’s Syndrome. She lives in Dallas, Texas, and works as a housekeeper.