It is never easy to give a child up for adoption. Shelley Pitts was 14 years old when she became pregnant, and she thought it was the best thing for her baby. Since the day she gave him away, she has quietly celebrated her son’s birthday every year. After more than three decades apart, the two were finally reunited.
Shelley Pitts became pregnant when she was 14 years old. She was so young, though, that she believed she could just ignore her lack of a period and the pregnancy would go away. ‘I’m too young to have a child,’ she reasoned.
“I had no idea I was expecting a child.” The initial symptoms, which I now recognize all too well, were utterly unfamiliar to me. “My body was changing, but I was oblivious to the fact,” she explained. “I went about my business as if nothing had changed. During my first trimester, I took a trip to California with my mother, went to drill team practice before and after school, and played softball. I pretended that my life didn’t change indefinitely. I tried to ignore the possibility of being pregnant, but I knew it was unavoidable.”
She finally told her boyfriend, Sidney, after three months. He was a big source of comfort to her, having been together for nearly two years. They discussed whether their kid would be a boy or a girl, as well as what they might name him or her. The couple was ecstatic, but they were still afraid to inform their parents.
For as long as she could, Shelley tried to hide it. She wore baggy clothes and was constantly attempting to conceal her stomach with items such as pom-poms at drill practice or a pillow on her lap at home. They teased their closest friends about it, but by the end of the year, everyone at school had figured it out. The teachers soon found out as well, but said nothing. Teen pregnancy was frowned upon at the time, especially because Shelley and Sidney were a mixed couple, with her being white and him being black. In the 1980s, Texas wasn’t the most welcoming area for interracial couples.
Finally, the two summoned the bravery to inform their parents. Adoption was the sole option, according to all of the grownups. Although the couple was disappointed and wounded, it seemed like the proper 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 utilized. This made it easier for her to get to doctor’s visits, attend full-time school, and receive counseling while she was there. It was a lot less stressful than her mother attempting to handle everything herself. Shelley described the encounter as “welcoming” but “lonely.”
“It was heartbreaking to leave Sidney behind. I was used to seeing him virtually every day, but now we just communicated through phone calls and letters. My due date was March 31st. That was a four-month wait. I was 4 hours away from home, and the days seemed to drag on forever. My mother came to visit on a few weekends, but it was the letter that I looked forward to every day. “I read and reread letters and cards from my mother, grandma, and Sidney,” she recounted.
She found out the kid was going to be a boy when she was living there. This was also heartbreaking, because it was the infant boy to whom Sidney had intended to give his name. When she ultimately gave delivery, she did so largely alone, with the help of an agency worker. Her mother was on her way, but she wouldn’t be able to get there in time. Sidney’s parents refused to let him leave, believing that it would be better for him if he didn’t attend.
Shelley chose to see and hold the baby before he was taken away, despite the advice of others. She claimed she couldn’t imagine going through the entire pregnancy and delivery procedure without holding her son at least once. Shelley scrutinized his features, whether they were hers or Sidney’s. She then handed him over to the caseworker.
“He was flawless, but he wasn’t supposed to be mine.” I told myself 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. When they took him away from me, I didn’t cry. I recall feeling embarrassed, as if I didn’t deserve to cry. I am giving up my child. “How could I possibly be deserving of sympathy?”
Shelley has been quietly celebrating her little boy’s birthday every year since that day. Sidney was tragically killed in 1992. Shelley did not specify whether Sidney was the man she married or not.
Her only knowledge of her son was that he had spent four months in foster care, where he was given the name Eric. He was then adopted by a white family. The mother worked for the schools and the father was in the military.
Shelley decided to create a profile on an adoption Facebook page 33 years later. After that, the site paired you with someone who met the parameters you specified. She didn’t have any matches, unfortunately. She returned a few days later, when his birthday was approaching. She found out she was an 81 percent match.
The match was a man, born on her son’s birthday, March 29, 1988, in Dallas, Texas. Brown hair, brown eyes, unknown race, adopted at four months. She waited after sending a message to the profile. She hadn’t heard anything, but she noticed an address for a house in Virginia on the list.
On the profile, there was a name: Daniel Smith. She decided to use Facebook to look up the person’s name and location. It displayed a picture of a tall, skinny, light-skinned black man. He was accompanied by three children in the shot. There was no mention of a birthday. When she looked at his images, she realized it was him since he had his father’s lips. She then discovered a happy birthday post from the previous year, dated March 29th. This had to be him, she knew.
“As I sent him a quick private message, my heart was in my throat, and I shed tears of genuine delight.” ‘I’m your birth mother,’ it said, wishing you a happy birthday. I’m not sure how else to phrase it without just saying it. I’m hoping you’ll respond. I can’t believe I tracked you down.’ It was 11:23 p.m. at the time. I was hoping for a positive response.”
She sent a message to the person who appeared to be his girlfriend after two days of no answer. She accepted Shelley’s friend request and replied to Shelley’s message by saying she’d inform Daniel.
“I waited, and on March 31st, at 3:10 p.m., I received a message from Daniel. ‘Hi. I’m not sure where to begin. I’d like to speak with you.’ My heart shattered. My son was eager to speak with me!”
First, they set up a phone call, during which they ended up talking for about three hours. He informed her that he had always known he would find her one day, and that he had even told his buddies about it at school.
Daniel finally drove out to Texas to meet Shelley and his biological sisters a month later. It was really emotional when they finally saw each other. For a long period, the two hugged.
“We spent the following 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 manner. Daniel took everything in. There were times when we shed happy tears and discussed how much Sidney’s presence was felt. I handed him letters from his father throughout my time at the adoption agency, as well as messages written to me during our time together. Before he was born, I wanted him to learn about Sidney’s love for me and Daniel. I wanted to give him a piece of his father that he could take back to Virginia. At the very least, he earned it.”