Colorado Children First Act Senate Hearing, April 22, 2018 Testimony

by Adrian Collins

Colorado Children First Act Senate Hearing, April 22, 2018 Testimony

Madame Chairwoman—Members of the Committee,

My name is Adrian Collins and I am a birth mom.

As I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was placed in the arms of her adoptive family, I thought my heart might shatter. I was broken. Then I felt a hand on top of mine, and looked into the face of my adoption social worker—a caring individual who’d spent hours by my side. She was one of my greatest advocates and provided hope and encouragement during a time of doubt and sadness. Without her guiding hand in the adoption process, my story would be a much different one.

I learned I was pregnant during my junior year of college. Holding a positive pregnancy test in my hand, I didn’t know what to do or where to turn for help. Faced with a life-altering circumstance, loneliness enveloped me as I tried to determine what choices were available.

It was my choice not to have an abortion. Instead, I chose to carry my baby to term.

Because I was afraid of rejection among my peers—and the possibility of being released from my leadership positions at college—I hid my pregnancy for five months, or my entire Spring semester. Whenever I felt my unborn child stirring in my womb during class or my dorm, I’d cradle my belly and dream about life as mom. But over time, those dreams faded with the realization that I wasn’t prepared to be a parent. I wasn’t capable of giving my baby everything she deserved.

In the end, my boyfriend and I made the heart wrenching decision to move forward with an adoption plan.

Since it was my choice to carry my child and make an adoption plan, I wanted the freedom to select the adoptive parents. It was my personal desire to place my daughter in a traditional home with a married mother and father who shared the same Christian faith and family goals that I did. By having choices, it made a difficult decision easier to bear.

During my summer break, I began researching local adoption agencies. It was important that the agency I chose held similar beliefs and core values as my own. The moment I walked into a faith-based agency in Colorado, I knew I’d found a safe place. Not only was I welcomed with loving arms—I was provided with parenting options and counseling services so I could make the best decision for me—and my child. My social worker met with me on a regular basis—to listen to my wishes and help me craft an adoption plan I was comfortable with. Every encounter I had with the agency left me with greater clarity, direction, and a renewed sense of hope.

Leaving the hospital without my baby girl was the single hardest thing I’d ever done. Thankfully, the support given by the adoption agency didn’t come to an end there. My adoption social worker continued to give encouragement throughout my initial journey of healing, until I felt strong enough to forge ahead on my own.

Faith-based adoption agencies are vital to our society.

Every woman who faces an unplanned pregnancy—and then chooses to make an adoption plan for their child—also deserves the same right to choose which agency will represent her in the adoption process.

Navigating an unplanned pregnancy is difficult enough without the possibility of faith-based agencies being forced to shut their doors.

As a birth mom, I believe in having choices.

Thank you.