Macy and Liam were 14 when they found out they were pregnant. They felt scared and lost. But Holt in Wisconsin helped them make a loving open adoption plan for their daughter.
Right after she turned 14, Macy found out she was pregnant. She felt scared, stressed out, sad and lost.
“We didn’t know what we were supposed to do,” she says today through a video call, sitting in her backyard in Wisconsin with Liam. It’s nearly a year later from this time she’s describing — the beginning of their unplanned pregnancy and adoption story.
When Macy got pregnant, Liam was also just 14. For him, money was one of the biggest obstacles — he had no clue how they would financially support a child.
It was late May and they were just finishing their freshman year of high school. Liam was excited to play football over the summer and in the fall, and Macy couldn’t wait for school to be out so she could spend more time with friends and family.
But suddenly, instead, they had a huge decision to make.
With the support of family and friends, they decided to go to a pregnancy center that referred them to Holt in Wisconsin. Here, they met Sheri, an adoption social worker, who talked them through all of their options.
Over the course of five months, Sheri met with them to talk about how they were feeling, about their hopes and dreams for high school and beyond, and about what they wanted for their baby. She helped them process their thoughts and questions, and never pressured them about their final decision.
“[It’s] kind of like counseling because it was a lot to handle — but kind of in a good way,” Macy says. “We learned about options.”
One of these options was open adoption. Open adoption is when the birth parents choose the adoptive parents for their child, and remain a part of his or her life as they grow up. Birth parents and adoptive parents make this unique arrangement together, and it can change over time if the birth parents wish. Birth parents’ involvement in their child’s life can be anything from receiving regular photos and email updates to occasional visits to regularly attending birthdays and holidays and soccer games throughout their child’s life.
Macy and Liam decided to move forward with an open adoption plan.
“We just kind of realized, like, we’re 14 and have our whole lives ahead of us to have kids,” Macy says, “and there’s so many families looking to adopt, so we should give them a chance.”
Their next step was to choose their baby’s adoptive parents.
Holt Wisconsin presented them with the profile books of several different adoptive families. In these profile books, potential adoptive families share about themselves, their jobs, what they like to do, why they’re adopting, and anything else about themselves that they think is important for the birth parents to know.
“We just kind of realized, like, we’re 14 and have our whole lives ahead of us to have kids, and there’s so many families looking to adopt, so we should give them a chance.”
This step in the process was a bit different for Macy and Liam because Macy’s parents knew of a couple that wanted to adopt — Sarah and John. Macy and Liam’s parents met with Sarah and John several times, then Macy and Liam decided they’d like to consider Sarah and John in addition to some of the other families whose profile books they viewed. Macy and Liam decided to meet them.
“It was at a restaurant,” Liam says about their first time meeting. “It was a little awkward at first.” But by the end the conversation felt easy, and they all left smiling. Macy and Liam had a good feeling about this family.
Even though they had already met, Sarah and John still put together a quick digital version of a profile book so that Macy and Liam could learn more about them.
“They like to travel,” Liam says about what stuck out to him from their profile. “The biggest thing we liked about them is that they’re younger, they like to do fun stuff with friends.”
Macy and Liam saw that if they placed their baby with Sarah and John, he or she would have an active, fun and full life.
“Reading their profile book gave us a good feeling,” says Macy, “like, these are the type of people we would want to be when we’re older and having kids.”
Throughout Macy’s pregnancy, she and Liam continued to get closer to Sarah and John. Although, they still had some doubts.
“We were 95 percent sure about it,” says Liam, about choosing adoption. He and Macy still wondered what it would be like to meet their baby, to hold her. They wondered if they would be able to go through with their decision.
Then one day in early February, the time finally came. They all rushed to the hospital, and after a very quick delivery, Macy gave birth to a baby girl. Sarah and John joined Macy and Liam in the delivery room just minutes after she was born. They named her Chloe.
“They had their own room in the hospital right next to us,” says Macy about Sarah and John. “So we got to spend the whole two days together, we were in each other’s room a lot of the time.”
“Reading their profile book gave us a good feeling, like, these are the type of people we would want to be when we’re older and having kids.”
Macy and Liam got their own special time with Chloe while in the hospital, too. They loved her, but knew that they weren’t ready to be parents.
“For me, I don’t think there was an exact moment I realized it was 100 percent what I want,” Macy says. “It was more like we took little steps, like the step meeting with Sheri and her teaching us about adoption, that was a good step. Meeting [Sarah and John] definitely made us feel better about the whole adoption process. Then, actually having [Chloe] and having her in the hospital, seeing her with them now, seeing them raising her so good… There were definitely times that I was like, ‘This was definitely our best decision.’”
Now, Chloe is a happy and healthy 6-month-old and Macy and Liam see her every three to four weeks. They often meet over dinner at Sarah and John’s house, and will usually stay late — talking long into the evening. Sarah and John also send them photos and updates about Chloe all the time.
“She knows we’re her biological parents,” Liam says about Chloe. “Not second parents, but mutual family.”
Seeing Chloe thrive with her adoptive parents continues to affirm the decision for Macy and Liam. And they’re so thankful they get to be a part of her life.
She’ll grow up a loving, supportive group of family and “mutual family” all around her. This is what’s most important for any child. Similarly, it was a strong support system of family, friends and Holt in Wisconsin that helped Macy and Liam along their adoption journey as well.
“I think if people, like high schoolers, are going through this, it’s definitely really hard,” says Macy. “[But it helps to] open up about adoption and accept the fact you’re young and you’re pregnant and you have to deal with everything that comes with that. So I would say, be positive, and there are so many people out there and talk about it.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing unplanned pregnancy in Illinois or Wisconsin, Holt is here for you. For confidential, compassionate and free options counseling, please call us at 800-Baby-Mom or text 630-205-5117.
*Names changed for confidentiality