Unlike Erin, who wanted a couple with no other children, Brookanne loved the fact that her daughter would have sisters. Unusually eager to have John and Dana participate in the process, she even asked them to come with her to a doctor's appointment.
"We were so excited because even though this is our third adoption, we've never been able to go to a sonogram before," said Dana.
About a month before her due date Brookanne, who had experienced gestational diabetes, went into labor. "I'm more worried about them having to do a C-section than anything," she said. Brookanne was in labor for 16 long hours before her doctors did decide to do a C-section.
"I wasn't scared until they told me I'd be having a C-section," Brookanne said. "I tried to act brave and then I just started crying 'cause I was so afraid that something would happen…"
Some birth mothers chose not to see their babies after they're born, fearing it will be too hard to let them go, but not Brookanne. When her baby was born it was love at first sight.
"Words can't describe how I feel about her. I mean it's beyond love. It's breaking my heart to know I have to leave her," she said. Brookanne was having serious doubts about if she could follow through with her adoption plan, and privately Brookanne's parents thought "she [would] change her mind."
"I try to help them focus back on what they have evaluated, what they've been planning when they weren't so emotional," said St. John. "And, so that they can make decisions based on who can provide best for the child. … and sometimes you just need to give them some time to grieve."
Brookanne could still change her mind. About a third of all birth mothers don't follow through with their adoption plan.
When Erin went into labor, her mother Marie was there to support her, coaching her daughter through the delivery of what would be her first grandchild.
A few days after giving birth, after signing the formal adoption papers, Erin walked into what Gladney calls the "placement room." It's the first time Wendy and Mike saw Erin's biological daughter, the child they were going to adopt. Wendy could hardly believe it. "She's beautiful," she said, as Erin showed her the baby.
Erin wrote a letter to her daughter which she read aloud in the placement room. "I am overwhelmed with love for you, little girl. I have decided to place you for adoption because I know you deserve more than what I can physically provide for you at this part in my life."
It was a bittersweet moment for both the birth mother and the adopting couple. "We have prayed and prayed to start a family," said Wendy. "You are incredibly just a wonderful person." Both Wendy and Erin were in tears.
Erin left that day with empty arms. Wendy and Mike left with a new baby girl and a new beginning as a family.
Watch "Primetime Family Secrets" for an inside look at the astonishing world of adoption in America. The amazing journey does not end with "placement day," as we follow the stories of these two birth mothers as they move on with their lives, and the infants they gave birth to begin to walk and talk. The hopes, the dreams and surprisingly, a reunion.
For more information on teen pregnancy and adoption, visit:
Child Welfare Information Gateway (Costs of Adopting: Factsheet for Families)