Catholic Charities helped Emily choose life and adoption for her son, and now provides counseling and a community for Emily years later.
Nine years ago, Emily (name changed to protect anonymity) was a nursing student at George Mason University when she found out she was pregnant.
Her boyfriend wanted her to have an abortion. Emily was scared and conflicted. She recalls that his demands for an abortion were tempting at first—a seemingly easy way out of a daunting and terrifying situation.
“Everyone commits sins, but mine was blatant, and I couldn’t hide it,” she said. “I felt like I needed to correct this situation.”
Instead, she shared her pregnancy with her parents to remove the temptation of abortion. Together, they reached out to Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy and Adoption Support office.
“I didn’t want to go at first,” Emily said. “I thought I wanted to parent my child, but my parents could see that I wouldn’t be able to give him the life I wanted him to have.”
Her counselor comforted her and discussed both options of parenting her son or placing him with an adoptive family.
“Any time I had a question, I would always write down pros and cons to parenting or placing,” she said. “It always made sense that placing was the right option. I didn’t want him to have a harder life than he deserved.”
A Catholic herself, Emily wanted her son to be raised by Catholic parents too. She met nine prospective couples and chose a family that had also adopted a daughter through Catholic Charities.
“I was able to help them complete their family.”
For the first year, she continued weekly meetings with a counselor at Catholic Charities. Now she looks forward to the monthly Birth Mother support group. All women who have placed a child are welcome, whether it was recent or 25 years ago.
“The Catholic Charities office is a safe place to cry and know everything is in confidence,” she said. “To have that support, it means the world to me.”
Today, Emily is married and has four children, though she still experiences bouts of anguish over her adoption. While her husband is sympathetic and supportive, she cherishes the connection between the other women in the support group.
“We feel like sisters,” she said. “If someone is upset, then we all understand it.”
She also counsels other women who are in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy or have just placed their child with an adoptive family.
“I love my story and I’m open about everything,” she said. “For these women to see other birth mothers who have survived the hardships and now are thriving—it’s a huge message in favor of adoption.”