As a 17-year-old high school senior I was given the biggest shock of my life one day when my ex-girlfriend Michelle told me that she was five months pregnant, and I was the father. My first reaction was “how could this happen?” Although it was fairly obvious how it happened, I never thought I was one of those guys that something like this could happen to. So many things raced through my mind in the seconds between her telling me she was pregnant and that I had no responsibility for anything because she had already taken care of it. She told me that she was putting the child up for adoption and that she and her family had already found a couple for the baby. All I had to do was sign a few pieces of paper. A big sense of relief fell upon me at that time.

After I had time to think about what was going on, I became pretty upset that I had no say in the decision that had already been made. After I got through this phase, I knew that the right decision had been made. Both of us were still in high school and already had plans to attend college. From what my ex had told me, the adoptive family was very nice and would take great care of our son Ryan. I trusted her judgment and thought that this would be the best thing for us to do at this point in our lives.

After hearing about how she chose the adoptive parents and all the things that they must go through in order to qualify to adopt a child, I knew that this couple would be able to give Ryan a life ten times better than we would have been able to. Now that I was confident in our decision and I thought there would be no worries, I went on with my normal life and tried to spend as much time with Michelle as possible. This led me to become pretty attached to Ryan, and I began to rethink the decision that she had made. But, I was always reminded of how much better off he would be with the adoptive family.

When Ryan was born, I saw the whole thing and was even able to hold him. I spent all of my time at the hospital with Michelle and Ryan; I did not go home once while they were there, so I could spend as much time as possible with the two of them. Then the time came when the adoptive parents showed up to take him home. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. But I still knew that we had done the right thing for us and for Ryan.

The thing that made it easier was that the adoptive parents agreed to send us pictures of Ryan every once in a while and keep in touch with Michelle to let her know how he was doing. I still love to open the mail and see those pictures and a letter telling us how everything is going. I have a picture of Ryan on my wall to this day. When the month of February (the month he was born) comes around, I think about Ryan and his birth mother.

I am now married and have a daughter and a son, and I love them more that anything. After raising these two up to now, I know that we made the right decision. I look forward to the day when Ryan is old enough to come meet us if he decides to.

As I look back on it now, there are a few things that I wish could have been different, but overall I am happy with the way things turned out. I really wish that I could have been involved with the decision from day one when she found out she was pregnant instead of waiting awhile to tell me. I wish I had the chance to meet the parents earlier than when I had met them at the hospital.

I also think of how much different my life would be if we had raised the child ourselves. I am sure that we made the right decision especially now that I know what it takes to raise a child. I also know the happiness that adoption brought to Ryan’s adoptive parents. I feel that one of the best parts of the whole experience is that Ryan is being raised by a great family, and I still get to see pictures of him.