Jessica's Story - Pregnant Catholic Teen

Catholic adoption story of a pregnant Catholic woman holding her rosary and keeping to her faith
There is a quote by R.M. Drake that deeply resonates with me: “Your scars have a lot less to do with where you’ve been and a lot more to do with where you’re going.”

When I was 19 years old, I was a pregnant Catholic faced with an unplanned pregnancy the weekend before the start of my freshman year at a private Catholic college. Because of this crisis at the beginning of my undergraduate experience, I plunged into survival mode for both the baby and myself by trying my hardest to stay afloat.

Since I was attending such a strict university, my situation was not something I could freely share. Keeping my pregnancy a secret for the semester during those four months tested my strength. Sleeping on a second-level bunk bed, showering in communal settings, and constantly covering up the reasons for my morning sickness. I borrowed friends’ cars to go to my doctor’s appointments and wore a coat when it was not cold. Every day I would try to process this dark cloud over my head and heart; I was constantly worried about this child’s future as well as my own.

Scared and Uncertain

I was scared, tired, uncertain, and trying my best to put one foot in front of the other daily. I decided to take the next semester off to move home with my parents in Ohio so I could focus on my pregnancy and the adoption plan I had decided on. While my classmates were studying for their classes and having fun with friends, I was trying to find the perfect family to adopt my baby. Therefore, my college experience was far from normal and I did just enough to get by and learn to deal with my current reality.

Laura Marie was born into this world at the beginning of the summer of 2008 and this proved to be the best decision I ever made. She lives an active, healthy life in the Dallas suburbs with her Catholic parents and I am grateful to be a part of her life. I can see her about four to six times a year and consider her family an extension of ours. She will grow up knowing who I am as well as my family members. We have been involved in major life events such as my sister’s wedding and Laura Marie’s adoptive grandmother’s funeral. It’s a true blessing that each side of the family, the adoptive and biological, genuinely loves and cares for one another.

Back to College

After giving birth, I attended college classes four days a week, earned a Dental Hygienist certification that summer, and went right back to working for my father at his dental office. A very important goal was that I graduated and I tried the best I could to function after experiencing the loss of my child. I decided to embrace this immense emptiness in my heart that consumed every part of me and turn it into something beautiful to help others.

By facing this challenge, I learned how resilient I am. I have been sharing my story at adoption events, sitting on adoption panels for prospective adoptive couples, mentoring pregnant teens who are choosing adoption, and traveling to Africa in January 2014 to spend time with orphans. I also volunteered for a year as a grief assistant for children who lost a parent, as well as working with women in a rehabilitation center. Additionally, this last year I have been volunteering at our Catholic hospital.

Moving Forward

Young woman reads bible and improved her life and others in this story of Catholic adoptionWhat originated as a Catholic pregnant crisis has turned into tremendous personal development. My heart has grown significantly from my experience; I have a new outlook on life and a positive attitude that is without doubt a result of my challenges and faith. While this was the most challenging time in my life, I am proud of so many things: choosing life, which took courage; dedication in searching for the right family for my baby; graduating on time and learning to embrace hardship and adversity without giving up; and strengthening my faith in our Lord. I can say with confidence that had this pregnancy and adoption not happened, I would not be as successful, empathetic, and understanding as I am today.

Through all this, I have been able to identify my chosen career as a Dental Hygienist after two years of trying to get into the program.

Sharing the story of my journey, I am continuing to help others now that I have graduated. I believe success should be measured by the richness in our lives such as selflessly serving others, being humble, and embracing others with empathy, love, and compassion. Knowing now firsthand how important it is not to give up, I am moving through life’s difficulties from an inner strength and with God’s help.