If someone says just the right word?
It can send me into a spiral.
It can happen to anyone.
My niece just brought up Findlay.
A town about an hour away.
Mostly, Findlay just makes me think of the best pizza in the world.
I think of the time…
I was 19 years old.
Pregnant and not married.
Living with my parents and going to college.
In the Christian world this was a big sin.
Not the baby part.
The getting pregnant part.
A baby “out of wedlock”.
I cannot stand that phrase.
I was having a baby.
I wasn’t married.
I had so much support from my parents.
I also had the judgement.
From well meaning people.
Everyone had an opinion.
People said things.
I heard their words.
“She made her bed, now she can lie in it”.
“What will she do now?”
“Is she gonna give the baby up for adoption?”
“If she loves this baby, she will give it a real family”
“This baby needs a Mom and a Dad”.
I even had my sister’s friend ask if I would give my baby to her.
Mind you, my parents were there for me.
For Christmas, my sweet mom gave me the baby bedding I had wanted.
Dad and Mom were all in.
It was all the other voices.
I wanted to do the right thing.
I actually loved this baby more than my own life.
This little human growing inside of me.
I would sing to her at night in my bed.
I had a journal of letters I would write to her.
Not knowing she was a she.
It was the 1900’s.
They wouldn’t tell me.
It didn’t matter.
I adored this little one.
So, I went to counseling.
Went through all kinds of workbooks.
Read stories of other young girls who had given their babies up.
I learned how hard keeping a baby is.
How expensive it was going to be.
All the heartache I was in for no matter what my decision was.
Oh, and then I went to Findlay.
Right after New Years.
Me and my friend (who was also pregnant).
We were due at the same time.
Packed our bags to live in a home for pregnant unwed Mothers.
The plan was to stay there until after we had our babies.
Having the people who ran the joint help us decide what to do.
Keep or give our babies up.
The house was nice.
The couple who lived with us were really sweet.
Lots of rules.
Lots of bible studies.
Lots of talking about life.
Guess how long we lasted.
Not even a week.
The other girls who lived there?
They were all keeping their babies.
And not one of them had the support that my friend and I did.
They were trying to figure out where to live and how to afford it all.
They were also getting dressed up and walking down to the local jail to meet guys.
I am not kidding.
You can’t make this stuff up.
I called my parents and asked them to come get us.
And without another thought about it, I decided to keep my baby.
I’m pretty sure God used this little trip to Findlay to show me I was gonna be ok.
Help me realize how much love I was surrounded with.
At this point I settled into the fact that I was gonna be a mom.
We bought the actual crib and put it in my bedroom.
Pastel rainbows and teddy bears all around.
My family had a baby shower for me.
Little onesies and neutral outfits.
Bibs and bottles.
And I had a baby.
Without knowing what the future would hold.
Not having a clue that the father would walk back into the picture.
Not knowing how this would all play out.
Just a simple knowing of how much love I had for this little lady.
I held her in my arms.
I told her over and over how much I loved her.
I still tell her.
She is 32 years old now and has her own sweet family.
When I hear “Findlay” and think of that home?
For just a second?
I go down the road of what my life would be like if I had given her up.
And I tear up.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
There are so many beautiful stories of adoption.
I’m just saying…
It doesn’t have to be everyone’s story.
If it were up to my parents, I would have never even considered it.
They never pressured me once to think this way.
It was the pressure from other adults.
The ones who thought the only route would be to give the child a mother and a father.
Two parents that are secure in life and in their marriage.
A good home.
My home though?
It was a pretty good home.
A village raised our little Alyssa.
And I’m so glad we did.
Karen R Shock resides in Fort Wayne, IN with her husband and their youngest son. She had three more children who are married and four beautiful grandchildren. Oh, and a dog name JT Barrett (Go Bucks). She is a retired homeschool mom and is now a high school teacher and cheer coach. Life is hard, but fun.