Parents Who Chose Adoption Over Abortion Stay Close to Their Son and His Loving Adoptive Family

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After getting pregnant unexpectedly, two college students chose open adoption for their unborn baby. Now years later, they are married to each other with three more children and one on the way. They maintain a close, loving relationship with their firstborn and his adoptive family.

Full-time mom Jessica Lundin, 31, is grateful for the choice she made 11 years ago.

“We chose adoption because we wanted to give our baby everything. Not just money, but stability and a healthy home … it gave our baby the best chance at life,” she told The Epoch Times.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

‘What Is Your Plan?’

Originally from Oregon, Jessica now lives in Quantico, Virginia, with her husband, Steven, 31; their children, Tres, 7, Rosie, 5, and Bronco, 2; and their cat, Tito. The couple are also expecting their second daughter soon.

Steven and Jessica first met a week after their high school graduation in 2010. Their relationship blossomed the summer after freshman year in college and they began dating on July 28, 2011.

“He was at San Diego State University, and I was at Utah Valley University,” Jessica said.

In August, Jessica visited Steven in San Diego to celebrate her birthday; it was on this trip that she got pregnant.

“I found out I was pregnant at the end of September 2011,” she said. “I had been nauseous and thought I had the flu. I walked to a grocery store, took a test in the bathroom, and found out that I was pregnant.”

Jessica had signed an honor code with the apartment complex. When she got pregnant, she broke that code and was thus kicked out. Scared and lonely, she had no one to turn to but Steven, whom she had only been dating for a few months.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

Steven was a midshipman on a scholarship, pursuing a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Both he and Jessica knew their college careers would be affected by having a baby.

“I did not tell him I was pregnant until I saw him in person at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in early November,” Jessica said. “I was very nervous … he was emotionless and very matter-of-fact. His first question was, ‘What is your plan?’”

“I knew I could raise the baby,” Jessica said. “However, I was alone, jobless, and soon homeless … neither of us had any money, and we prioritized parties and adventures over most other things. Somehow though, at that moment, we both were able to realize the significance of our situation.”

Refusing Abortion, Choosing Adoption

Both Jessica and Steven were raised in faith and thus getting an abortion was in violation of their beliefs.

“This only left two options,” Jessica said, “raise the baby alone or together or place the baby for adoption. We both immediately felt that adoption was the right answer … when choosing adoption, emotions cannot drive the decision. Everything has to be considered.”

Jessica told her parents and siblings about her pregnancy and dropped out of college, moving home to California.

She had been performing poorly, academically, and took this opportunity to pursue her dream of attending cosmetology school by enrolling at Paul Mitchell in Temecula, California.

She and Steven kept the pregnancy a secret from his family, but the pair leaned on one another for support.

“Steven began making the drive to Temecula almost every day, and we began spending every free minute together,” Jessica said. “Our relationship really grew strong and we became best friends. Then, we fell in love.”

During this time, the pair also kept their expecting child a priority and stayed focussed on finding a placement for him.

Unconditional Love

On May 12, 2012, Steven and Jessica welcomed their firstborn, whose middle name is SJ—which stands for Steven and Jessica. SJ weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces (approx. 3.5 kg). Jessica, then 20, remembers the entire hospital experience as “a blur.”

A caseworker from Latter-day Saints (LDS) family services was assigned to facilitate the adoption. Jessica and Steven spent 48 hours in the hospital with their baby son before placing him in the arms of his adoptive parents, who drove from Phoenix, Arizona, to pick him up.

“When I first held him, I felt like my heart was going to explode … I finally understood unconditional love,” Jessica recalled. “I knew we had a finite amount of time and it was always on my mind. I wanted to be happy because I was with him, but my heart did hurt.”

When Jessica saw Steven hold their newborn for the first time, she was both happy and sad.

“I could see that he had natural fatherly instincts, and I was sad that we could not raise SJ ourselves,” she said.

Although Jessica and Steven had the option to not go through with the adoption, they both honored their word.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

The adoption was open from the outset.

Jessica said: “I began talking with SJ’s future mom in October 2011. I got to pick the couple from the profiles provided to me by my caseworker. Over the duration of my pregnancy, I met with his parents in person four times, and communicated by phone and email a countless number of times.”

The couple signed the final adoption papers in August 2012 at the San Bernadino County Court House, and SJ’s adoptive parents opened their hearts to include the young couple in SJ’s future.

“I think that the relationship we built with SJ’s parents during the pregnancy was critical,” Jessica said.

Knowing SJ

In the first few years of the adoption, Jessica and Steven saw SJ every four to six months. They focused on creating happy memories and saved the emotional processing for their time alone. SJ’s adoptive parents became friends and mentors for the couple in what a healthy, successful young family should look like.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

Jessica and Steven had fallen deeply in love with each other during their shared experience. They tied the knot in Oregon on July 27, 2014, and SJ, then 2 years old, was a part of their wedding, playing the role of ring bearer.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

Jessica said: “Before considering marriage, we thought about SJ a lot. We had fears that, by staying together and marrying, he would feel confused. We worried about having more children and how they would be full siblings to SJ. These thoughts were concerning … we ultimately realized that we still deserved to be happy; placing SJ did not define us, but it did shape who we became.”

When Jessica found out she was pregnant again in January 2015, she was shocked and emotional, unsure whether she was ready to be a parent just three years after placing their firstborn into adoption. This time, however, their circumstances were different; they had a stable income, a home, and a future.

But Jessica still struggled emotionally for the entire pregnancy and suffered severe postpartum depression after Tres was born. However, she felt her heart heal when Tres and his big brother, SJ, met for the first time.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

Today, SJ has met his entire extended family, including two great-great-grandmothers before they passed away, and some of Jessica and Steven’s friends.

During the past three years, as the Marine Corps moved Jessica and Steven to Phoenix for recruiting, they’ve been living 10 minutes away from SJ and his family. They visit monthly, sometimes weekly, spending holidays and birthdays together.

Bond Formed in Heaven

Jessica thinks of the relationship between all of her children as the greatest reward for SJ’s adoption.

“Steven and I believe that this bond was formed in heaven before life on this Earth,” Jessica said. “SJ has four siblings in his family, and he has four full siblings in our family … the most important thing for me today is to sustain the relationship that SJ has with Tres, Rosie, Bronco, and the new baby. It is so special.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

Jessica has learned that tough times make people stronger. She and Steven have had to work on their relationship, just like everyone else, and each has battled with the impulse to leave. But through their pregnancy with SJ, who is now 10 years old, they learned how to communicate their feelings and form a bond “that will last forever.”

“There is not a single day that I do not think about my choice,” Jessica said. “I’m always grateful that I had this choice. I absolutely love watching my son, SJ, live his life.”

Jessica hopes her family’s story can provide hope to others who feel overwhelmed by the prospect of adoption.

“My heart hurts for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation as I did when I was pregnant with SJ,” she said. “I know how hard your journey will be … find someone you can confide in, and take the opportunity to do something great. Bringing life into this world is a great blessing.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Jessica Lundin)

“You can still have dreams, goals, and a vision for your life while going through an unexpected pregnancy. I would challenge you to take a hard look at your priorities, because like mine, yours will probably shift.”

The consequences of any option—abortion, adoption, or raising the baby—will be lifelong, Jessica said.

“Some are physical, most are emotional, but no matter what choice you choose, you will be forever changed,” she added.

Steven reflected: “As a man, you must stand for what is right. Do not abandon your partner because you are scared, or feel inconvenienced by them getting pregnant … I assure you that once the child is born, you will want to know him or her.”

Steven advises any birth father embarking on adoption to expect to come third in everything.

“This is not about you,” he reasoned. “First, it is about the child. Then, it is about the birth mother. Only after they are taken care of are you considered. Adoption is not about you, and that is okay.”

The mom of four—with a fifth on the way—advises: “Trust God, follow your heart, and do not try to make anyone else’s experience fit yours. Your story is meant to be your story.”

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