On the fateful day when I found a listing in the New York City Yellow Pages for an adoption agency, I knew that in many ways my life was never going to be the same again. My thoughts were on the here and now; however, there was no way I could have seen how it would all unfold. The obvious issue — I was almost 6 months pregnant and thought I had no means of properly being able to mother my child — was the “problem” and the kindness of the adoption agency was a path to a “solution.” Little did I know that adoption relinquishment would also be the path to a life I could not yet imagine.
I was nineteen, and my story was pretty typical. As a middle-class suburban girl raised on middle-class suburban Long Island in the 80s, becoming pregnant was still seen as a clear path to a life of missed potential and lost opportunities. I had been disillusioned by my prestigious art school earlier that year and dropped out. That choice was strengthened by the sad fact that there was no money available to continue anyway, as my parents were in the middle of a nasty divorce. My father’s refusal to support my education was not considered a need for financial aid. With my life dreams floundering and my mother preoccupied in her personal battles, I was left alone and ignored. What I thought of as freedom was, in hindsight, a recipe for self-destruction. There were many more negative consequences that could have happened to a girl running wild in NYC; being pregnant was actually not the worst, but it didn’t seem that way at the time.