Giving up a child for adoption is never an easy decision. When Shelley Pitts became pregnant at just 14 years old, she ultimately knew that it was what would be best for her baby. Still, she silently celebrated her son’s birthday every year since the day she gave him away. Finally, more than three decades later, the pair were reunited.
When Shelley Pitts was 14 years old, she became pregnant. She was so young, however, that she thought perhaps she could just simply ignore her lack of a period and will the pregnancy away. ‘I’m too young to have a baby’ she thought
“I didn’t have a clue about being pregnant. The first symptoms, which I know all too well now, were completely foreign to me. My body was changing, but I detached myself from the reality of it,” she explained. “I lived as if nothing had changed. A trip to California with my mother, drill team practice before and after school, and playing softball were just a few things I did during my first trimester. I pretended my life wasn’t changing forever. I pushed the thought of being pregnant out of my mind, but I knew the outcome was inevitable.”
Finally, after three months, she told her boyfriend, Sidney. Having already been together for nearly two years, he was a huge comfort to her. They talked about whether their baby would be a boy or a girl and what they might call them. The couple was excited, but still terrified of telling their parents.
Eventually Everyone Knew
Shelley tried to cover it up for as long as she could. She wore baggy clothes and was always trying to cover her belly with things like her pom-poms at drill practice or sitting with a pillow on her lap at home. They hinted about it to their closest friends, but eventually, everyone at school had basically figured it out. The teachers eventually knew, as well, but didn’t say anything. Teen pregnancy was highly taboo at the time, and even more so because Shelley and Sidney were a biracial couple, with her white and him black. Texas in the 80s wasn’t the most accepting place to be as an interracial couple.
Finally, the pair had the courage to tell their parents. All the adults agreed that adoption was the only option. The couple felt disappointed and a little hurt, but it did seem like the right thing to do. They then found an adoption agency that would accept biracial babies and began the process.
The adoption agency they used provided Shelley with a home to stay in during the pregnancy. This made it easier for her to get to doctor’s appointments, stay in school full-time, and provided counseling for her during her stay. It was much easier than her mom trying to do everything. Shelley said it was a welcoming but still lonely experience.
“Leaving Sidney behind was gut-wrenching. I was accustomed to seeing him almost every day, and now all we had were brief phone calls and letters. I was due at the end of March. That was 4 months away. I was 4 hours from home, and the days dragged. My mom visited on a few weekends, but the mail became my point of anticipation every day. Letters and cards from my mother, grandmother, and Sidney were read and reread.” she recalled.
While living there, she found out the baby would be a boy. This, too, was heart-wrenching, because it was the baby boy that Sidney wanted to give his namesake to. When she finally gave birth, she went through it basically alone with an agency worker holding her hand. Her mother was on her way but couldn’t make it in time. Sidney’s parents wouldn’t allow him to go, thinking it would be better for him if he wasn’t there.