My name is Janelle. I live in Kokomo, Indiana. I fell in love with who I thought was my high school sweetheart and became pregnant with my first daughter, Lyllian, at the age of 15. I was a single mom from the moment I gave birth to my little 6 pounds 12 ounce princess. Despite working two jobs through high school, I made straight A's with an occasional B here and there. I graduated a year earlier than my class because I worked hard and stayed focused. From an outside perspective, people thought having my baby in high school was an inconvenience. But let me tell you something, my first born daughter is my motivation. She has helped me grow up into a wonderful woman. I am her mother, but we are also best friends. It has been a positive experience, with the occasional ups and downs, for the past 5 years and counting.
When I turned 19, I met someone. He was a smooth talker, charming, had a great job and his own house. I was still living with my parents, and what is more attractive to a single mother than a man who has his life together? We slept together twice. 7 weeks later I was having severe cramps, so I went to my doctor. After having an ultrasound, I found out I was pregnant! I laid on the table in total disbelief. I cried my eyes out. I was in no place to bring another child into this world! My doctor told me there was a pill I could get to kill the fetus... It made me absolutely sick to my stomach to even fathom killing a human being. I decided to continue with my pregnancy, but I still wasn't sure how I was going to do it. How was I going to tell people? How was I going to tell the biological father?! He just wanted sex from me andhad not heard from him since I conceived!
I took the ultrasounds from my appointment and made a follow up appointment. I called the father... I was shaking; I couldn’t even feel my knees. I was so scared. What if he wanted nothing to do with me or the baby? What if he wanted to keep it and actually be there for me? I had never had that. I called and he answered with, "What, Janelle?" I said I have something very important to tell you but I would like to tell you in person. He said, "I have a girlfriend that I am in love with and I want nothing to do with you." I said, I understand but (I just blurted it out) "I am pregnant. I am 7 weeks pregnant." He screamed at me telling me, called me a whore, and said there was no way in hell it was his baby and hung up on me. He blocked me after that. Additionally, not only did he have a daughter the same age as Lyllian, and at that time, he had a second baby on the way. That woman was 6 months pregnant. He had two of us pregnant at the same time. At that point I knew. I wanted him nowhere near my baby.
Did I want to be a single mom to 2 babies? Neither of which have a father? Did I want to miss out on their childhood because I would have to work even MORE than I already was just to support my family. I was in college finishing up a degree. I felt selfish. I thought, “Why did I put myself in this situation? Why didn't I take precaution and just use my head and stay away from that man?!” I was angry, hurt, absolutely heartbroken. I hadn't told anyone I was pregnant. I cried myself to sleep every night looking at the ultrasounds wondering how I messed up so bad. At 12 weeks pregnant I choose an open adoption through Kirsh and Kirsh in Carmel, IN. They were so kind and accepting. They gave me profiles to look over of potential adoptive parents. I picked a family within two weeks. Something just felt right about this couple. As soon as I decided we contacted each other through phone calls, and they even came to visit me. They were so caring and accepting. They talked to me several times a week over the phone, which was incredible because I had nobody there for me! Nobody wanted to get close to me because of my decision. People felt like it would be too heartbreaking to feel the baby and get close when she wouldn't be around afterward.
Soon, I found out I was having a baby girl. The minute I found out, I sent a video to the adoptive parents and said "ITS A GIRL" and they bawled. They had lost their baby at 4 months pregnant and they were also going to have a baby girl. I felt so much pride and happiness. I felt like I was giving them a gift that they could not have on their own and that made me feel incredible. I had a lot of people try to change my mind, but I stayed strong. They came to the hospital as soon as I was induced and the adoptive mother held my hand through the whole process of pushing. It was an extremely magical moment. On January 5, 2016, I gave birth to a 6 pound 12 ounce beautiful baby girl. The adoptive dad took a picture of me holding her for the first time and text me a week after the birth and said, "This is my favorite picture of you. You were so radiant and she is beautiful just like you are."
After placement it was tough for me. I hit a deep depression that I am still dealing with. I knew she was in great hands and had a WONDERFUL family but I just couldn't shake that the adoption was final and she wasn't really "mine" anymore. I chose to give her a better life than what I could give her. I chose to bless a family with a love that they couldn't ever imagine. My little girl has so much more potential for a better life with her adoptive family. I know that my birth daughter and I are bound together by our hearts and things that we share. It was an open adoption but they kind of have backed off sending updates, so I really soak up every time they send something.
The moment I found out I was pregnant, despite all of my crazy emotions, I promised that sweet baby a life full of potential and love. I put her needs before my own, she was never "unwanted" I loved her more than I loved myself and the choices I made affected more than just myself; she has a family on my side too, and they also dealt with the heartbreak that I endured.
I pray that her adoptive parents teach her respect, how to love herself, and be kind to others. I pray that I will get to meet her one day. I pray I can look into her eyes one day and tell her the choices I made came from love. I trust her adoptive parents to raise her just as I would have. One thing I need you to know is that I have beat myself up for almost 2 years, thinking that I am selfish. Writing this story has made me realize that it is such a selfless act to place your child's needs before your wants. She will always be apart of me and there is not a day where I do not think of her and how she is doing.
My goal is to help raise awareness about adoption because it is not selfish. It is the most selfless act a woman can do. It is hard. There's still nights I cry myself to sleep because I miss her so much. Her adoptive parents have decided not to let me see her until they feel that she is the age of understanding adoption. I thank God I have my first daughter. Both of my girls make my world go round. I would love to have support and also be supportive for other birth parents. We are all in this together.