What I remember about junior high school isn't so typical to the memories that you may have. For me, it wasn't only about football games and prom night. During high school, at the age of 15, I was expecting my first child with Tyler who was only my boyfriend at the time.
The moment I found out about my pregnancy was initially very scary. I had anxiety right away trying to problem solve in my head how I was going to do this. At that time I had nothing. No cell phone, no car, not even a driver's license yet. My mom and dad struggled with staying in one place for too long. We had just moved into our 13th house in less than two years because we had been evicted from past residencies. And, the one means of transportation that we had was a single conversion van shared between the two of them that had to be started with a screwdriver.
This isn't me trying to shed a negative light on my life back then, however, it's important to understand [just one of] the realities of teenage pregnancy. All of this factors into the decision making process for the birth parents.
My mom and Tyler's dad were also caught up in a bad addiction period at that time. I was just filled entirely with fear of 'what am I going to do?'
After joining the cast on MTV's 16 and Pregnant, Tyler and I made the decision to set up an adoption plan for our daughter on the way. And, looking back on that journey, I am grateful for it being aired because I believe that it gave viewers a true and authentic look into how adoption really works.
It's Not Just About The Birth Parents
Don't get me wrong, being the birth parent in the choice of adoption challenges you to your core. But, being the adoptive parents comes with just as much weight to carry.
Birth parents go through a period of grief and loss, that's fairly obvious to think. The not so obvious thought is that adoptive parents experience that period as well. Typically when a couple adopts it's because they are unable to have children of their own. And not being able to share something like that, something that a lot people believe is their purpose in life, to have children, that's a huge loss within itself.
Tyler and I are very appreciative of Carly's adoptive parents for agreeing to an open adoption. Brandon and Teresa Davis have allowed us to have in-person visits with her as she grew up. Every two years or so we will get to have meetings with Carly over a two or three day period. She has even been able to meet and play with her three younger sisters.
This entire journey has humbled me in many ways. I've learned that you can't be selfish in situations like this. Compromise, conversation and an understanding attitude are pivotal. This isn't even about me anymore, or Tyler. I tell everyone, I don't care about myself or anybody else, I just hope for our girls to have a relationship and bond for a lifetime.
Think About The Best Life For Your Child
The rest of your life will have days of struggle and days of wondering 'what if?' when you make an adoption plan. And, the child will have those days too. They might think about what their life would be like if they had grown up with their biological siblings and parents.
It becomes a lifelong journey of everyone sort of missing out. And I understood that a young age.
This is the less pretty side of adoption that we were able to be transparent about with viewers. My kids will miss out on their sister's things, as well as me and Tyler. And, Carly will miss out on her younger sister's growth.
However, the beauty in it is the sacrifice that was made for that child to have the flourishing life that they do. It's okay to sit with those sad and hard feelings, but then you remind yourself about how grateful you are for the [good] life that your child has because of that selfless decision you made.
The best advice that I could give to anyone who finds themselves uncertain and lost when pregnant is to educate yourself on every option. Look at your life and being honest with yourself about what is going to be the best possible thing for that child. Weigh out every option that there is out there and figure out which one fits your life best and will give the best possible life to the child.