Pregnant and not married at 18
In 1990, an 18 year old girl named Debbie Schulz found out she was pregnant. She was scared, felt like she was alone, thought her parents were going to kill her, confused and did I mention scared?
That was me. I knew that the “easy” way out would be to get an abortion, but I also knew that would be killing the child growing inside me and I couldn’t do that. I also knew it really wouldn’t be the easy way out, that if I had done that, I would always remember what I had done and have emotional scarring for the rest of my life.
My mom and dad told me that they were disappointed in me, but loved me and would support whatever decision I chose. I knew that if I kept the baby, chances would be that my mom and dad would have raised him. This child needed a mom and a dad, not a teenage mom and grandparents raising him. I decided to give him up for adoption.
We spoke to our pastor (who is still my pastor today) and he connected us to an adoption agency. The adoption process started out as a closed adoption. The parents adopting my child wouldn’t know who I was and I wouldn’t know who they were. I was ok with this.
In 1990 there were some cases in the news of parents who had given their children up for adoption that came back 2 or 3 years later to get their children back. That frustrated me. I couldn’t imagine the heartache the children and adopted parents were going through. I decided to write a letter to the couple who were adopting my child. I let them know that this was their child I was carrying and I would not come back later and try to take him/her away from them. It was not long after I wrote that letter when Jim and Cathy decided that they wanted to meet me. I am so blessed that God allowed this to happen. On August 30, 1990, Jeremy James was born. I don’t remember the date I went up to Bradenton to finalize the adoption, but on that day he officially became Jeremy James Pope. Jim and Cathy had already adopted a beautiful Asian girl named Ashley. I remember her running around flashing her sweet smile.
Jim and Cathy had kept in touch with my parents and I, sending updates yearly. I was blessed to see Ashley and Jeremy grow.
This year Jeremy will be 16 years old. When I was younger, I used to think what life would have been like had I not given Jeremy up for adoption. But then I think of Jim, Cathy and Ashley and know that I made the best decision. God had a family in mind when he put the Pope family together and it involved Jeremy.
I married Scott in 1992. I met him while I was pregnant with Jeremy. One of the wonderful things about Scott was that he never judged me for getting pregnant. He loved me for who I was. Just a year after our first wedding anniversary, our first daughter Emily was born. In 1995, Caytie was born into our family and then the boys came. 1997 Levi, 1998 Jordan, 2002, Kenaniah and 2004 Logan. We are a blessed family.