When I first met Valerie, she was 19 years old and pregnant. Things were hard for her. She grew up in a Hispanic community, and her immediate family was very much against her choosing an adoption plan. They felt it was wrong and would not support the decision. But Valerie knew in her heart there was no possible way she could parent her child. Valerie grew up without a stable parent to teach her what being a parent should look like. She never knew her father, and her mother her mother did not know how to show love and was not in the position to provide stability. Valerie’s mother had her young, and did not have the proper resources to feel supported in raising her. She never gave her the deep love and stability that a young child so badly needs. She spent her childhood being bounced around between her extended family, including her grandmother and aunt.
Valerie’s mother was very unstable regarding her substance abuse, as well as having constant new partners. It was very confusing for Valerie because different men would come in and out of their apartment. She grew up not knowing what a mother’s role should be, and how a child should relate to a parent. They did not have a typical mother-child relationship. She knew her mother loved her, but she was confused as to why she didn’t show it. She felt unheard and sometimes unwanted. She grew up not knowing what love really was; was it just something someone said and then didn’t have to show? She described being home sick from school at 8 years old, alone in the house and with nothing to eat for hours.
Valerie’s grandmother was the family’s rock. She kept the family going and took care of everybody where she could. However, she was also overwhelmed due to health issues and her husband having recently passed away. It was also mentally exhausting for her to be taking on so much responsibility at her old age, and dealing with Valerie’s mother. Anytime Grandmother tried to step in and care for Valerie in an appropriate manner, Valerie’s mother would go into a rage.
When she came to us, Valerie lived with her mother, who was abusing alcohol severely, and had 3 year old twins whom she was parenting. Valerie’s grandmother was now in her mid 70s and was completely overwhelmed trying to figure out how to create stability for the twins. We would get a call from Valerie at 11 pm, almost in tears because her mother was in a drunk rage, and she would need to lock herself in a room with the twins for safety. Valerie worried for her unborn child, and knew that she did not want to bring a baby into this type of environment.
Valerie and the baby’s father had split up, and he was already dating someone else. He was no longer in her life in any capacity, and had not tried to contact her or check on her pregnancy. He did not wish to be involved in the baby’s life. Valerie decided not to contact him, and for an adoption plan to be her decision alone.
We’ll continue this story shortly. If you feel like you need help with your own unborn or young child, please reach out to KidsFirst Adoption today so we can help provide you options, resources, and help.