I am coincidentally writing this on the 7th anniversary of the day I found out I was pregnant. It was April 8th, 2013 and I was 18 years old. I was almost through my first year of University out of town. I had plans to finish exams at the end of April, plans to celebrate the end of the school year, and plans to move home. I had plans to be a lifeguard all summer and reunite with my high school friends. I had plans to move into my first apartment with my friends in September as 2nd year university students. I had plans to celebrate my 19th birthday. The moment I found out I was pregnant all those plans were shattered, along with what felt like my future.

Each year on this day, I reflect back on how the doctor who told me gave me the phone number of the abortion clinic and how booking that appointment was the first thing I did when I left the doctors office. I reflect back on how the worst fear was telling my parents. I reflect back on how, after telling my parents the next day, they showed me nothing but love and support. They would stand by me regardless of my decision. I knew I was not ready to parent –I was not ready to part with all the plans I had for my 20’s. But I also knew that I would not emotionally recover after having an abortion, so I cancelled the appointment and chose the only other option – adoption.

I received options counselling at a pregnancy crisis center and throughout my pregnancy I was there weekly receiving advice on how to cope with my family, my friends, the father, and my future. I received referrals to my adoption counsellor, my adoption lawyer, and pre-natal support. I felt loved and heard.They enabled me to dive painfully deep into what the decision of adoption will look like, but because of this, I was able to be and still am confident in my decision and emotionally stable.

I chose to have an open adoption. I chose to find out the baby was a girl. I chose her parents and they let me choose her name. I did not get to choose who found out I was pregnant, what rumors they were told, or how they would react. I did not get to choose how this deeply effected my parents and brother.

On November 23, 2013 my baby girl was born. A few hours later, there were twelve people in that hospital room, including her new parents, and we prayed. I had never felt so much love and grieving in one moment.

On May 10th, 2014 I decided I was ready to see my baby girl for the first time since delivery, although my family had seen her a few times already. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to handle it and would want her as my own. These feelings went away as soon as I saw how much her parents love and cherish her. She was their world, the answer to their prayers, and the child they would never be able to have on their own. What felt like the worst mistake of my life was the best of theirs.

Since that day I saw her, I have been able to spend time with her more than once a month. Open adoptions are so beautiful. Our families have become one. Because of open adoption she has four sets of grandparents that love her deeply, and the birth father and I get to watch her grow up. She knows she came from my belly and is not afraid of that. She is now seven and together we love to jump on the trampoline, go swimming and play with dolls. I love her so much it hurts, but there has not been one day that I regret placing her for adoption. I was not ready to raise a child but I was not ready to end the life of one either.

Each year, this day is accompanied by a heart that feels a little less heavy than the year before. Each year, the happiness that have come along with choosing adoption replace the dark and painful days of 2013 until they are no longer remembered. I am so blessed that what was supposed to be the worst day of my life is a day that overwhelms me with thanks. This feeling of thankfulness is what needs to be shared with anyone who is facing a similar decision that I was when I was pregnant. There is hope in life and there is happiness in allowing strangers to become parents to your child and family to you.