Adopting a child is never easy. Shelley Pitts was 14 years old when she became pregnant, and she thought it was a good decision for her baby. Since the day she gave him away, she quietly celebrates her son’s birthday every year. After more than three decades apart, they were reunited.
When she was 14 years old, Shelley Pitts became pregnant. However, she was so young that she thought she could just ignore her lack of a period and the pregnancy would disappear on its own. “I’m too young to have a child,” she said.
In the beginning, I had no idea I was expecting a child. The symptoms, which I now recognize all too well, were completely new to me. “My body was changing, but I wasn’t aware of it,” she recalled. She carried on as if nothing had changed. I went to drill team practice before and after school, played softball, and took a trip to California with my mother during my first trimester. It was as if nothing had changed. It was impossible to ignore the possibility of being pregnant, but I knew it couldn’t be avoided.”
After three months, she finally told her boyfriend Sidney. Having been together for almost two years, he was a great source of comfort to her. It was discussed whether their baby would be a boy or a girl, as well as what they might name him or her. They were thrilled, but they were still afraid to tell their parents.
Shelley tried to hide the truth as long as she could. During drill practice, she would wear baggy clothes and conceal her stomach with items such as pom-poms or a pillow on her lap. They teased their closest friends about it, but everyone at school figured it out by the end of the year. However, the teachers said nothing about it. A teen pregnancy was frowned upon at the time, especially since Shelley and Sidney were a mixed couple, with her being white and him being black. During the 1980s, Texas wasn’t the most welcoming state for interracial couples.
Eventually, the two summoned the courage to tell their parents. According to the adults, adoption was the only option. The couple was disappointed and wounded, but it seemed the right thing to do. They then began the adoption process after finding an agency that would accept mixed children.
Shelley was given a place to stay during her pregnancy by the adoption agency they used. She was able to attend full-time school, attend doctor’s visits, and receive counseling while she was there. It was a lot less stressful than her mother trying to handle everything by herself. Shelley described the encounter as “welcoming” yet “lonely.”
“Leaving Sidney behind was heartbreaking. I used to see him virtually every day, but now we just communicate via phone calls and letters. I was due on March 31st. I had to wait four months. As I was 4 hours away from home, the days seemed to drag on forever. I looked forward to my mother’s letters every day even though she came to visit on a few weekends. “I read and reread letters and cards from my mother, grandma, and Sidney,” she recalled.
While living there, she found out the kid was going to be a boy. Moreover, it was an infant boy to whom Sidney had intended to give his name. The delivery was largely done by her alone, with the assistance of an agency worker. She was on her way, but she wouldn’t make it in time. Parents refused to let Sydney leave, believing it would be better for him if he did not attend.
Shelley decided to see and hold the baby before he was taken away, despite the advice of others. According to her, she couldn’t imagine going through the entire pregnancy and delivery process without holding her son at least once. Shelley scrutinized his features, unsure if they were Sidney’s. She gave him to the caseworker.
He was perfect, but he wasn’t supposed to be mine. I told myself that he’d have a better life with his adoptive parents, and I hoped he would when the nurse arrived to take him away from me. I didn’t cry when they took him away from me. The first time I cried, I felt embarrassed, as if I didn’t deserve to cry. I was giving up my child. “How could I possibly deserve sympathy?””””
Since then, Shelley has quietly celebrated her little boy’s birthday every year. Sydney tragically died in 1992. Shelley did not specify whether Sidney was the man she married.
Her only knowledge of her son was that he had spent four months in foster care and was given the name Eric. He was later adopted by a white family. His mother worked for the schools, and his father was in the military.
Shelley decided 33 years later to create a profile on an adoption Facebook page. The site then matched you with someone who met the parameters you specified. Unfortunately, no matches were found for her. A few days later, as his birthday approached, she returned. It turned out she was an 81 percent match.
Her match was a man from Dallas, Texas, born on her son’s birthday, March 29, 1988. He had brown hair, brown eyes, and was adopted at four months old. She waited after sending a message. The list included an address for a house in Virginia, but she hadn’t heard anything.
Daniel Smith was listed on the profile. Using Facebook, she looked up the person’s name and location. A picture of a tall, skinny, light-skinned black man was displayed. Three children appeared with him. No birthday was mentioned. When she looked at his images, she realized it was him because he had his father’s lips. Then she discovered a happy birthday post from the previous year, dated March 29th. She knew it was him.
“My heart was in my throat, and I shed tears of genuine delight as I sent him a quick private message.” ‘I’m your birth mother,’ the message said, wishing you a happy birthday. Without just saying it, I’m not sure how to phrase it. I hope you will respond. I can’t believe I tracked you down.’ It was 11:23 p.m. at the time. I hoped you would respond.”
After two days, she sent a message to the person who appeared to be his girlfriend. Shelley’s friend request was accepted, and she replied to Shelley’s message by informing Daniel.
“I waited, and on March 31st, at 3:10 p.m., Daniel sent me a message. Hello. I’m not sure where to start. I would like to speak with you.’ My heart shattered. My son was eager to speak with me!”
In the beginning, they set up a phone call, during which they ended up talking for about three hours. It had always been his intention to find her one day, and he had even told his friends about it at school.
A month later, Daniel drove out to Texas to meet Shelley and his biological sisters. When they finally met, it was very emotional. They hugged for a long time.
After that, we spent six days surrounded by relatives, food, and all the love we could muster. Daniel was embraced by my girls, their men, and their children in every way. He took it all in. We shed happy tears at times and talked about how much Sidney was missed. During my time at the adoption agency, I gave him letters from his father as well as messages written to me. I wanted him to know about Sidney’s love for me and Daniel before he was born. I wanted to give him something of his father he could take back to Virginia. At the very least, he earned it.”