Amy was too young to take care of a baby and had no choice giving up her daughter for a closed adoption. She felt sad knowing she would probably never see her daughter again, but that changed 18 years later when she received a letter.
In 1995, Amy Erickson was just 17 years old when she gave up her baby for a closed adoption, a decision that proved so challenging to make but was very vital.
The new mother had spent the previous months feeling conflicted and confused about what the future held for her when she first realized she might be pregnant.
[Left] Amy Erickson holding her daughter in her arms after delivery; [Right] Amy Erickson and her daughter smiling in a selfie. | Source: facebook.com/Love What Matters
After weeks of self-denial, Amy checked herself into a pregnancy crisis center and was attended to by a counselor who confirmed that she was 11 weeks pregnant.
She subsequently left the center to inform her parents and her boyfriend, but the teenager knew the weeks ahead of her would be tough.
Amy, who was still in college at the time, tried to live her life the way she had before the pregnancy. She went to class and worked full-time to keep busy, but the teenager had to deal with morning sickness and a protruding stomach.
Initially, her boyfriend broached the subject of marriage, but in reality, they were too young to become parents, and the idea of having and caring for a baby terrified both of them.
Walking around with her belly peeking out made Amy feel ashamed around her peers, who gave her side glances and stared at her stomach.
She was also told to hide her belly in church and banned from participating in activities with her age group.
Amy's parent's insurance could not cover a dependent pregnancy, so she had to endure judgy doctors and nurses' awful and embarrassing treatment. Even though her parents and her boyfriend supported her, Amy felt sad and lonely about her situation.
As the days of delivery drew closer, she was advised by many people, including her parents and her pastor, to consider giving up her baby for adoption, but Amy was adamant she would not.
GIVING UP HER BABY FOR ADOPTION
After about six months into the pregnancy, she realized the idea of caring for the baby was not something she could do, so Amy contacted an adoption agency and decided she was going to give up her baby girl.
She took solace in the idea that she would be providing a baby for a family in desperate need of one and that they would love and care for her baby. Amy could also see what her future would look like if she would not have to worry about taking care of a toddler.
In April 1995, after 20 hours of labor, Amy gave birth to a baby girl and, for the next two days, tried to spend as much time as possible with her baby before the agency took her away.
Afterward, she signed her parental rights away and sadly watched as her baby was wheeled away from her. She subsequently spent the next two weeks with a hole in her heart.
Closed adoption meant no contact between her and the kid other than a few pictures and letters until the girl turned one. This, as explained, would allow her to move on with her life.
For the next 18 years, Amy went to college, dated, married twice, and had four more children. She tried not to think about her baby girl during those times, but the emptiness never went away. She did not think she would ever see her child again until a letter arrived that changed everything for her.
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER REUNITED
Amy's daughter was days away from her 18th birthday when she sent a letter to her biological mother and asked to meet. Four months later, Amy drove for five hours to see her grown-up daughter for the first time. She explained the experience was terrifying but amazing.
They spent the weekend talking and laughing, and Amy realized how much her daughter looked like her and what she had missed not being in her life. She was grateful to the family but sad not to have seen her daughter grow.
After that week, they continued communicating, and Amy even took her kids to meet their sister, but as things settled down, she struggled to move forward. Amy felt a deep sadness that she had no idea how to control.
She decided to find support options and a google search led her to an organization called Tied at the Heart, which was running weekend retreats for birth mothers.
She attended their retreat where she met about 20 mothers who also had adoption experience, and even though their experiences differ, they knew how Amy felt.
The knowledge that she was not alone and that her feelings were valid gave Amy so much relief and presented her with an opportunity to heal from her sadness. She has since found peace in her adoption experience through the opportunity to share her knowledge with other women in her shoes.