A Decision I’ll Never Regret

Pregnant and incarcerated at the age of 24, I found myself at a dead end with nowhere to go. Traumatized by the realization of what my life had become, I sat on my bed in an almost catatonic state, absentmindedly rubbing my belly beneath my prison uniform. “How did I get here?” I asked myself. I tried to figure out where I went wrong.

I called my family, then my friends. I begged them to bail me out of jail, using my pregnancy as an excuse. “No,” they said, one by one. They were done helping me find the easy way out. They encouraged me to stay strong — face the consequences of my actions.

I thought, how dare they! They didn’t understand what I was going through. They weren’t in jail!

As I continued to make calls, my indignation faded as a small voice within me grew. “They didn’t force you to do the things you’ve done. You got yourself here.” I wanted to ignore the voice, but I had run out of phone numbers to call.

I fell into depression. I refused to eat. I slept all day and night. I stood under the shower, let the hot water burn my skin, and silently wished my life would come to an end.

A month and a half into my incarceration, I realized there was no “get out of jail free” card for me. I peeked out from beneath the rock where I’d been hiding.

I started slow. I ate a little more and slept less. I attended church and GED classes. I felt much better and seemed to be doing fine when, out of nowhere, the reality of my situation hit me. I was pregnant, in jail, and had no clue what to do about it!

I did know that I had options… the prison could arrange for an abortion. Or I could have the baby and hope that Child Welfare Services would return the baby to me when I was released from prison. Or, I could find someone to adopt my baby. I understood that I couldn’t make my mind up overnight. So, again, I started slow. I thought about it a lot. I wrote down my options and created a pros and cons list for each. Mostly, though, I prayed.

Finally, I decided on adoption. I called my attorney and she agreed to help. One week later, she handed me a purple folder labeled “Hawaii International Child.” This agency, she said, would help me find a healthy, financially stable family to care for my baby.

I balked. “I can’t give my baby to strangers!” I had assumed that someone in my family would raise my child. My attorney asked me to look over the folder, pray about it, and keep the bigger picture in mind.

So, as was now becoming my habit, I started slow. I thought. Prayed. I made more lists. I asked myself, “What will be best for my child?”

With trepidation, I called Hawaii International Child. One of the first things they told me was that I did not have to make a final decision until after my baby was born. No one was going to force me to do anything. I had a choice. I felt the heavy weight of my decision lift off of my shoulders. For the first time, I seriously considered that a family I had never met might raise my child.

I stayed in contact with HIC throughout my pregnancy. No one at the agency judged me. I felt loved and supported. Once I chose a family for my baby, my confidence in my decision grew. I was no longer giving my baby to strangers. I was giving my baby a better life – one with love, stability, and happiness.

I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy in February 2008. An HIC staff member supported me through my labor and delivery. After my son was born, I was able to make my final decision without feeling cornered. Without a doubt in my mind, I decided to go through with the adoption. In that moment, I knew that this was a decision I would never regret.

I have had a hard life. And I’ve made some very tough choices.

Something inside me changed when I placed my baby for adoption. I felt empowered and confident. For the first time in my life, I had made a decision based on selflessness, not selfishness. I am in continuous contact with my son’s adoptive parents. They send me cards and pictures four times a year. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to love him and see him grow from afar.

Our babies deserve to live full, healthy, and happy lives. For me, this meant placing my child with a family ready and able to give him that life. It was the greatest gift I could give to my child, as his mother.

Roxanne N. Kealoha

The HIC Ka Makana team can explain the adoption process to you and help you explore your options. We welcome your call at 808-589-2367 (Monday – Thursday, 8am – 4pm) or 808-636-1398 (around the clock). Just ask to speak with a Ka Makana team member and you’ll receive immediate help.