The next day, at school, I was getting prepared to work with turtles later that day. I love working with reptiles. I thought about working as a vet at a zoo or a groomer in a pet store. I'll think about it when I apply for colleges. I've read about it online and seen it myself when I've been to the Buttonwood Park Zoo with Mom, Leslie, and Lily, on weekends. Sometimes, we'd do in the summer.

I told my teacher about the pregnancy. "Mom's being supportive."

"Good," said the teacher.

"I got nervous when I found out yesterday, but with my sister's help, I made out fine," I said. "She's going to take me some place to explore adoption to help me decide. I was going to do the responsible thing and raise my baby, but I'm grieving since Jim died, so I could change my mind."

"It's perfectly okay if raising a child on your own would be hard for you right now," said Mrs. Wallace.

"The way I look at it, I don't think it's fair for my child to grow up without a father," I said.

"You're not alone. A lot of teen girls feel that way, too," said the teacher.

I knew that made sense.

"My daughter just gave her baby up for adoption three months ago," said Mrs. Wallace.

"She did?" I asked.

"Yes, she wasn't ready to be a mother. She's a sophomore at Bishop Stang High School. She and her boyfriend had just broken up. She wanted to give her baby a good life," said Mrs. Wallace.

"Wow. Can I hear about her experience?" I asked.

"Sure," said Mrs. Wallace.

"What did she use?" I asked.

"New Bedford Woman's Center," replied Mrs. Wallace.

"That's where Mom's taking me after school," I said.

"I can bring my daughter there. She used this guy, Mr. Willis. He was very good to her," said Mrs. Wallace. "She's meeting another teen who's exploring adoption today, too."

"Okay," I said. "I'll let Mom know."

"Her names Julie," said Mrs. Wallace.

"Alright," I said.

That will help me even more. After school, I went home. From there, I left with Mom.

"My teacher told me her daughter will be coming by today to share an adoption experience," I said. "She gave me an okay to hear about that experience."

"Oh, good," said Mom. "I used that agency. I'll only mention this to you for now. Long before I met your father, I had a boyfriend when I was your age."

"Really?" I asked.

"Yes. His name was Eric. He got sick with cancer. He had it for a year when he died. I found out I was pregnant a month later. I was still grieving and I knew I wasn't ready to have a child, which is made me decide to give it up. It wasn't fair for it to grow up without a father," explained Mom.

"That's what I said to my teacher this morning while we talking about it," I said.

"In fact, that's the mystery person this weekend. I had a son and named him after his father. The adoption agency was very good," said Mom.

"Wow," I said. "Do you ever think of him?"

"I forgot about him to honest with you. I didn't mention it to your father, not even while we were dating or married. I wanted to wait until the time was right. We can keep this between us until the weekend," said Mom.

"Okay," I promised.

At the Woman's Center, we went in and an adoption specialist greeted us.

"Hello, Emma. It's good to see you again," said a specialist.

"Same here, Mr. Willis. Eric just found out me a week ago and made plans to meet this weekend for dinner," said Mom.

"Good. He looked you up and we gave him your number as you requested," said Mr. Willis.

"I got married, but my husband left a long time ago," said Mom.

"Sorry to hear that," said Mr. Willis.

"Thank you. I have two daughters. This is my youngest, Lisa," said Mom.

"Nice to meet you," I said.

"Same here," said Mr. Willis. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm exploring adoption. I just lost my boyfriend in a fatal accident last week and just found out I was pregnant," I said.

"I was telling her I knew what she's going through," said Mom.

"I remember back then," said Mr. Willis.

"I wasn't sure what I wanted to do," I said.

"That's normal," said Mr. Willis. "I can set you up to meet a teen to help you decide. In fact, she'll be here to talk to another teen who's exploring adoption."

"My teacher, Mrs. Wallace, was telling me she'll be coming by with her daughter today," I said.

"That's right. They'll be here soon," said Mr. Willis.

"She told me I can join in," I said.

"Good," said Mr. Willis.

They came 20 minutes later.

"Lisa, this is my daughter, Julie," said Mrs. Wallace.

"Hello," I said.

"Hi," said Julie.

"Sarah's not here yet," said Mr. Willis.

Then, she came in. "Sorry, I was late."

"You came in at a good time. We just got here," said Julie.

"Oh, good," said Sarah.

"This is Sarah," said Mr. Willis.

Then, we went to the meeting room as we sat down.

"I just gave my baby up recently. I'm 16 and only a 10th grader in high school. My boyfriend and I broke up. I wasn't ready to be a mom. I knew coming here made me decide it was the right thing to do. I couldn't provide on what it needs. My parents were very supportive. I want to attend college for a career and get married before having a family. I had a girl and didn't have any regrets. There are times when I wished she was with me, but I reminded myself that she's having a happy life with a loving couple," explained Julie.

After hearing that, I felt more confident.

"My boyfriend got killed in a car crash last week. I'm not emotionally ready to be a parent right now. I'm also 16 and a 10th grader," I said.

"My mom was telling me about you on the way here. I'm sorry to hear about your painful loss," said Julie.

"Thanks," I said.

"My mom's very strict and telling her was hard. As soon as I told her, she kicked me out before I had the chance I didn't want to keep my child. I'm living in a shelter down the street and that's not a safe place to raise my baby. I'm only 15 and a ninth grader. My boyfriend just moved away and we had to break up," said Sarah.

"That's awful," said Julie.

"On top of that, my dad passed away last year," said Sarah.

"My father left us when I was six. My mother supported my decision," I said as we left the meeting room.

"I don't have a plan after the birth. I thought about moving to Falmouth to live with my grandmother. She's in her early 60s and don't know about this. We've been very close. She's from my father's side. Mom's folks died before I was born and my parental grandfather died 10 years ago. I barely remember him," said Sarah.

My teacher lives in Dartmouth. Mrs. Wallace gave us both an okay to exchange our phone numbers. I was telling Mom about Sarah's situation.

"If we had room, we'd be gladly to take you in, Sarah. You're welcome to stay until you give your baby up for adoption," said Mom.

"Really?" asked Sarah.

"Sure," said Mom.

"I'll stay until I call my grandmother," said Sarah.

"No problem," said Mom.

"I'll sign out from New Bedford High before making that move," said Sarah.

"Okay. We're from Wareham. We can take of that when we leave here," said Mom.

"Sounds good," said Sarah. "Thank you so much."

"Anytime," said Mom.

"I'll also get my things at the shelter down the street from here," said Sarah.

"When we're ready, we can look at the profiles together," I said.

"Okay," said Sarah.

We left with Sarah. She got her things from the shelter and signed her out from New Bedford High before going back to Wareham.

"I blame myself to make my mom kick me out," said Sarah.

"Don't feel guilty. She should've listened to you," said Mom.

"We were never close. I was more closer to my father. I miss him. He didn't like the way she treated me," said Sarah.

"I wouldn't, either," I said.

"He had a heart attack that took his life. He was planning to leave her and take custody of me when it happened," said Sarah.

"That's awful," said Mom.

"I'm unable to call my grandmother because my cell broke and don't have the money to fix it," said Sarah.

"No problem. I'll help you with that," said Mom.

"Are you sure?" asked Sarah. "It's only a cracked."

"Of course," said Mom. "We can do that on the way home."

That's what we did and it was only $60.

"If I had a job, I'd pay you back," said Sarah.

"Don't worry about it," said Mom.

"Lily's coming over tonight. I haven't told her about my pregnancy or the plans yet," I said.

When we got home, I took her to my room. Leslie was out with Max at the time. They were going to see a movie and a late dinner.

"You'll meet my sister, Leslie, later on," I said. "This is a two-bedroom house, so we share a room, but we enjoy it."

"That's cool," said Sarah.

"She'll be going to college this year. She's studying to be a dentist at Upper Cape Cod," I said.

"I'm not sure what I want to do yet. I'm an honor roll student," said Sarah.

"I'm studying for animals at Bristol Aggie. I plan to be a vet or groomer," I said. "You can stay in here to call your grandmother if you want."

"Okay," I said.

I went out there when the doorbell rang as I went to answer it.

"Hi," I said. "We got company for a bit. Oh, I want to talk to you about something."

We went to sit on the couch.

"What's going on?" asked Lily.

"Well, I'm pregnant. I didn't get a chance to call to tell you about it. I'm exploring adoption," I said.

"I don't blame you," said Lily.

"My teacher's daughter talked to me and another teen," I said. "I won't know how far I am until Friday."

"How was the exploring?" asked Lily.

"Good. Julie explained how it was. She and her boyfriend broke up before her pregnancy and wasn't ready to be a mother. She's my age, but attends Bishop Stang for tenth grade," I said.

"She was smart to do so," said Lily.

"She almost regretted it for awhile, but knew her baby girl is with a loving adopted couple," I said.

"That's normal," said Lily.

That was when Sarah came out.

"Sarah, this is my longtime best friend, Lily," I said.

"Hello," said Sarah.

"Hi," said Lily.

"She's another teen who is giving hers up for adoption," I said.

"My mother, who was so strict, threw me out and I was living in a shelter. Although it's better than living on the streets, I rather have my child to be in a safe home and a better life," said Sarah.

"Better than putting your child in danger," said Lily.

"I know," said Sarah. "Plus, my boyfriend and I had broken up. I don't want to raise a child on my own."

"I don't blame you," said Lily.

"We're going to look in profiles when we're ready," I said.

"Does Sarah have a plan to live?" asked Lily.

"I just called my grandmother from the Cape Cod area. I was telling her about my situation and was mad that my mom kicked me out," said Sarah.

"I would be, too," said Lily.

"She was very supportive. Granny thought it was thoughtful of you and your mom to let me stay with your family for a bit. She told me that I can move in with her. I don't know when yet," said Sarah.

"That's a good first step," said Lily.

"I'm glad I thought about adoption. She works part-time for Christmas Tree Shop. I don't want to put a burden on her to baby-sit while attending school," said Sarah. "She's not ready to retire right now, which is understandable."

"You're right to think about that," I said.

"She says it's okay if I'm not ready to be a mom and that my own mom should've been supportive of me instead of locking me out," said Sarah.

"Is there a local adoption in Falmouth you can attend?" I asked.

"I'm not sure," replied Sarah.

"I have a better idea. You can try to find a couple from that area and you can make arrangements living with your grandmother at the same time," I said.

"I could do it that way," said Sarah.

"We can ask Mr. Willis when we can pick a family," I said.

"Good idea," said Sarah.

"Do you want to wait until then instead of going to Wareham High School?" asked Mom.

"I think so," said Sarah. "Granny told me Lisa is welcome to sleepover anytime if it's okay with you."

"Sure. I don't mind," said Mom as she went into the kitchen. "And, you can do the same."

"Sounds good," I said.

I got up to her. "I think I have an idea before making my final choice. Can I hear more from Eric?"

"That would be fine," said Mom.

"I didn't want to mention it in front of the girls in case Leslie comes home," I said.

"I understand," said Mom. "This would be a good time to tell them."

"Maybe we can bring it up at the dinner table," I said.

"Okay," said Mom.

At the table, I said, "When are you due, Sarah? I won't know until Friday like I mentioned earlier."

"I'm due during the summer," replied Sarah. "Telling my mom was hard especially while dealing with a strict person."

"I bet," I said. "Leslie helped me on how to tell my mother."

"This was a hard decision to make. I couldn't decide between adoption or abortion," said Sarah. "I could've done it without my mom knowing, but there's no way I could afford it."

"If you were with your grandmother right now, would you still go for it?" asked Lily.

"Yes," said Sarah. "But I think adoption would be a better option for me."

"Of course," I said. "Oh, Mom has a secret she would like to share with you girls."

"Okay," they said.

"I knew what Lisa was going through after Jim died," said Mom.

"You did?" asked Sarah.

"Yes. It's a long story. First of all, I had a boyfriend years ago during high school," said Mom. "We were about your age back then."

"Really?" asked Lily.

"Do you remember when she mentioned we'd be meeting a surprise visitor?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah, I almost forgot about that," said Lily.

"My boyfriend got very sick and died from it. I found out I was pregnant a month later while I was still depressed. I wasn't emotionally ready to be a parent. That's what me decide to give my child up for adoption," explained Mom.

"Wow," said Sarah.

"I forgot to mention one thing to Lisa: my folks tried to encourage me to raise my baby," said Mom.

"They did?" I asked.

"Yes, but I didn't change my mind. I told them to respect my wishes," said Mom. "I didn't want to raise a baby without a father in its life."

"That's how I feel, too," I said.

"The girls have a half-brother," said Mom. "I named him Eric to keep his father in my memories. He just found out and we're going to meet him this Saturday night for dinner. He told me he'll be bringing his family, too."

"Where does he live now? I forgot to ask you," I said.

"Not far. He resides in Rochester," said Mom.

"She wants me to keep that a secret until Leslie meets him," I told them.

"No problem. That makes sense now," said Lily.

"The secret is safe with me," promised Sarah.

"It would help me decide," I said. "She only told me about her experience. In fact, she used that agency that we're using."

"That's a small world," said Sarah.

"She had Mr. Willis, too," I said.

"Cool," said Sarah.

"Mom waited until college to have a relationship, which is how my parents met," I said.

After dinner, Lisa stayed for another hour until her father came for her. At 10:30 pm, Leslie came home. I told her about Sarah.

"God made that happen while you and Mom were there," said Leslie.

"That's what I thought, too," I said. "Sarah is making plans to move in with her grandmother in Falmouth."

"That's a good thing," said Leslie.

"She'll be due in the summer. She's going to ask Mr. Wilson if she can meet a couple from there to make it easier," I said.

"Good idea," said Leslie.

"After hearing Julie's story, I felt good about it," I said as I told her about that part.

"Good," said Leslie.

"I know. I may put my relationships on hold for a bit," I said.

"It's okay to wait," said Leslie.

"It would be hard for me to replace Jim. My favorite memory was on how we met. We became great friends during a school tour while we were still 8th graders. We were friends for a year before we started going out," I said.

"That's how a good memory. Mom and I liked him right away," said Leslie.

"So did Lily. His mom and I hit it off," I said.

"I know Jim would want you to be happy again, you can find again when you're ready," said Leslie.

"That's true," I said. "I'll think about after I finish focusing on adoption."

"No rush," said Leslie.

"That's a good thing," said Leslie.