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Two women faced unplanned pregnancy. Both of the fathers pressured them to abort. They both courageously chose life.

Emalee was enjoying living her normal life like any 21 year old. Describing her first thoughts after finding out she was pregnant, she said, “I was scared. I didn’t know how everything would turn out. I wondered who would help and support me. I wondered what people would think of me. I was confused.” Emalee was so unsure of how to tell her parents, that she ended up waiting and then sending her mom a picture of the ultrasound on her phone. Her mother, Rhonda said, “I was at work when I opened that text. I was shocked and afraid. I knew that my response would be very important, but I had my own emotions and fears to contend with. I took a few minutes to compose myself and then messaged her back. I expressed our love for her and told her that we would support her no matter what her decision ended up being. I knew that all our lives would change from that moment on, but my past experiences had shown me how important family support is.”

Makiya had been married and had a young daughter, but after her husband had left, she was on her own to work and raise her. When she found that she was expecting, her emotions ran high. She said, “I was terrified. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to raise a second child, how I could support them emotionally and financially. I was trying to live in a dream world wanting to make that work as a single mom with two kids, but I knew that was a dream and would not be the best situation.” Interestingly, Makiya’s mother, Michelle, felt that she had been spiritually prepared with a knowledge that there was a baby coming to their family soon, but she didn’t know how. For this reason she “wasn’t totally surprised,” and that helped her to give Makiya support in finding resources.

Both Emalee and Makiya said that even though they were pressured from their former partners to have an abortion, they both knew they couldn’t end the innocent life that had already begun.

Emalee knew “right from the start” that she wanted to keep and raise her baby. Having been adopted herself, she “often wondered why [her] birth parents didn’t want [her].” She said, “I felt loved by my parents (adoptive), and I love them, but I thought I could give him the most important thing, my love. She felt very supported in her decision by her parents because after they talked through her options, and she made it very clear that she wanted to keep her baby, they told her that she could come home and they would help her in raising the baby. Rhonda admitted it wasn’t easy to think of giving up their empty nest lifestyle, and she did feel judged sometimes by people when they found out Emalee was pregnant, but she said, “I had to stay focused on my daughter and what she needed.” Emalee said that she lost a lot of friends who didn’t agree with her decision. She said, “I felt alone, lost, and forgotten. I needed people to listen, love me, and not judge me.” Those people, she said, “made a difficult time even harder. I needed love and support, not judgement.”

Because Makiya knew that she wouldn’t be able to support two children on her own with her family not being in a position to be able to take on that responsibility, and the baby’s father had actually threatened her that he would make her life miserable if she tried to get child support, she felt that giving her baby up for adoption would be the best choice. Her mom and sister started helping to look for adoptive families. They also encouraged her to look into adoption agencies. One day she saw a link that had been shared online of a couple wanting to adopt. After getting to know the couple, she knew that they were the right family for her baby. The couple wanted to have an open adoption because of experiences with both closed and open adoptions they had in their family. They were very supportive to Makiya through the pregnancy, but they had been trained in the classes they had taken to prepare for adoption that the birth mother could change her mind at any time. They reminded Makiya of that often, and it started to wear on her. She felt like she was being questioned in her choice, and she said she knew that the baby was supposed to be theirs. One day her sister went with her to an appointment and the adoptive mother was there. Makiya’s sister was able to tell the adoptive mother how Makiya felt about that. After that appointment, they stopped telling Makiya she could change her mind, and Makiya felt that they were then connected in the choice to move forward with the adoption. Makiya said, “I never second guessed my choice.” Michelle said, “Once the birth mom makes up her mind, she knows full well that she can keep the baby in the end, but I saw a difference after everyone started believing her.” They always referred to the adoptive parents as “the baby’s parents” and that helped prepare Makiya mentally for the adoption. During the pregnancy, Makiya would talk to the baby inside her about how excited his parents were to meet him.

Photo credit: Jade Savage Photography

Having a baby is a life-changing event. Emalee has moved home, and her parents are very involved with raising her baby. Still, she says, “I have more reason to make something of myself. He is counting on me. It does make things more complicated though.” Makiya feels as though the adoptive family not only adopted her baby, but through their open arrangement, have also adopted her family to be part of their lives. She is glad that she gets to see her son grow and flourish, and she gets to be involved as an extended family member.

Emalee’s advice for someone who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant is this: “Don’t give in to peer pressure. Do what is right for you and your baby. It is your choice. Avoid negative people; they drain you.”

Makiya would encourage anyone in a similar situation to choose adoption. She said, “If the choice has to be adoption or abortion, the only choice is adoption. You’re blessing another family.” She knows that by making this choice, she and her daughter and this new baby will have a better life. She also wants any woman who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant without a good support system to know that there are resources she can find online and in the community. She said, “There are a lot of people who have gone through this and want to help.”

Rhonda, as an adoptive mother, and now a grandmother helping Emalee raise her baby had this to add: “I am so thankful for adoption; it has been an amazing gift. Without adoption we couldn’t have had a family. I don’t think I fully understood the incredible sacrifice the birth mothers of our children made. As I stood next to Emalee as she went through the birth process, I was washed with emotion. All I could think of was that these women had gone through all of this, and still chose to entrust their babies to us.” To mothers of daughters who are pregnant, Rhonda said, “Love your daughter and be there for her no matter what. She needs your love and support, not your judgement. Be there, but don’t push your views, it has to come from her.”

Both of these women had to be brave to face their fears after finding out they were pregnant. Both found love and support in their choices after being abandoned by the fathers of their babies. Both made the choice that was right for them and their babies. Both chose life.