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At the beginning of March, 2014 I got the shock of my life - not only did I find out I was pregnant, but I was more than 24 weeks along. How can that possibly be? My last period (or so I thought) was in January!But yet, there on the screen a very developed baby was staring back at me.What the heck was I going to do? Forty years old, divorced, a 15 and 9 year old at home....this was NOT in my plan. Not something I wanted, not something I had ever thought would happen to me.

After the shock wore off (ok, maybe not wore off, but subsided a bit), I had to explore my options. Keep the baby or adoption. As a devoted mother and absolute lover of children (especially my own) adoption seemed like something I wouldn't be able to do. Now that I knew there was this life growing inside me, how on earth could I give it up? But the more I thought about it, the more I knew that keeping the baby was going to be an impossibility. The father helping or being part of the baby's life was not an option. I have no extended support system in place, it's just me. Financially andemotionallythis was not something that I could do. Being the mother of a 15 and 9 year old, I already know what it takes to raise a child. I remember how hard it was when I was married and had a support system in place. I could not do this alone. I would come to resent that sweet life and what would that attitude do to my children? I would be angry, resentfuland not the mother that they all deserved. So, I did what everyone in this day and age does, I googled "adoption agencies in Florida." The list came up, I clicked on the first one I saw Advocates for Children and Families.

I read a little about the process, then decided to look at the families waiting to adopt. Reading their stories and thinking to myself "how can I pick someone to take care of my baby?" This is going to be impossible. After almost a week of reading through the website, I sent the email that put everything in motion.

Even from the first email response, I felt at ease. After a few emails and speaking to Meg, I knew that this was the place and I didn't need to look any further. Throughout the entire process, there was a level of care that I received which showed me that my feelings, my journey and my decision were the most important things. Meg put me at ease and her genuine care came through with every conversation and interaction we had.

When it came time to pick the family, I had no idea how Iwas going to do this. Once I started looking at the stories of the families, Ikept goingback to one.No matter which other family I read about, I kept thinking about them.This was it, once I told Meg who they were, the real journey would begin. Sure enough, the next morning after telling Meg, the family had already been notified.I was excited and scared all at the same time, but Meg was there with me every step of the way.

Another aspect I was not prepared for was how I would feel once I met the couple I had chosen.I knew my decision was the right one from the beginning and I have never doubted that. Over the couple of months, I got to know them and we grewclose. We kept in touch through phone calls and text messages and I saw their geniune care for not only the baby they were waiting for, but for me as well. I tried to make the experience of the baby's birth as much for them as I could. They came to doctor's appointments, ultrasounds and even drove me to the hospital the day my c-section was planned. She was in the room with me when the baby was born and stayed with me every night taking care of both me and the baby. Although I've been told this is not the "norm", our experience together, the adoptive parents and myself, is one that can never be described. It was beautiful and I am blessed to have been an integral part of it.

The day I signed the papers was just another example of how Advocatesand Meg made me feel at ease. During the whole process, as difficult as it was, I was constantly assured that my feelings mattered andthat I could take my time. Everything was explained to me with great care and compassion. I cannot fully express my gratitude for that in any number of words.

Knowing that I have helped this couple have their dream of afamily is something that I cannot describe. I wasn't sure how I would deal with an open adoption, but knowing the couple as I do now, I know that I am a lucky woman in that I get to see that sweet baby girl grow up knowing who she is, how much her parents love her and also see thelife she is having - something I know I could nothave given her. Even if I should lose contact with the family, I can still see this through the agency.

The decision, although a difficult one, is one I don't regretin any way, shape or form. I am thankful for Meg and for all the support she has given to me.

M.,

Hey Meg,

Thank you very much for letting me know that. I want you all in the agency to know you have been great and I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for me. I’ll be ok and I am already starting to look for work. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for everyone there I don’t know where I would be and my lil boy wouldn’t have the opportunities that he is going to have now. He will have a great life that I couldn’t give him and for that I will forever be thankful.

YOU ARE ALL WONDERFUL PEOPLE AND I AM VERY GLAD TO HAVE WORKED WITH YOU!!!!!

Jammie,

Meg,

It was wonderful knowing you and you have been a godsend in my life, I swear. I'm going to miss you and everyone I've gotten the chance to get to know at the agency. Tell Rob Zach and I said thank you for his kindness and everyone else there, you are all such wonderful people. This has been a hard process but working with you all has made me feel like I truly made the right decision in the adoption, the agency I chose, as well as Adam and Emily becoming the adoptive parents. You all have a place in my heart. Thank you so very much Meg, I am trying harder than I ever have in my life to provide my daughter and I the future we both deserve. I would love to keep in touch with everybody. You're all sort of like having an extended family 🙂

C.,

Thank you so much for helping us find our amazing son! He couldn't be more perfect for our family!

Sarah,