Rachel Gabucci was 27 years old, six months pregnant and unmarried. Scared and nervous, she was aware of the realities of raising a child on her own. She knew she could love and emotionally support her child, but financially, she would not be able to.
“I started to realize I couldn’t do it on my own,” Rachel said. “I didn’t have as much support as I wanted to do it on my own so I came to Buckner and explored the option of adoption.”
Rachel had questions: Is this what I should do? Are people going to judge me for this? Is it right? Is it wrong? Will my daughter be loved? Will she be taken care of?
At Buckner, she worked through her questions with trained counselors. Ultimately, Rachel chose an open adoption, which allowed her to maintain contact with the adoptive family and receive updates and even visits with her child.
“It is scary,” Rachel said. “But knowing that I would get to see her made it less scary. Knowing that I could watch her grow up and have that little window into her life and get to see who she is and what she does. That’s healing, comforting.”
Rachel looked at profiles of prospective adoptive parents and chose the couple to place her child with. She said she only received one profile, but didn’t need any others.
This decision was further confirmed when Rachel learned the couple wanted to name her daughter Louise – Rachel’s middle name.
“They said that they had been praying for another little girl and they told God if he gave them another little girl, then they would name her Louise,” Rachel said. “When they got my paperwork and saw my middle name is Louise, they said, ‘This is it.’ It’s a God thing. It really is.”
Connecting with a community
There were moments after the adoption when Rachel needed to let out her feelings with someone who understood. She tried to find a support group, but there wasn’t one locally.
“I felt a little lost after [the birth],” Rachel admitted. “I didn’t have anyone to connect to, and there wasn’t a support group here. I tried to connect with people online … but it’s not the same as having people in real life to sit down and connect with.”
That’s when she went to Christa Oberthier, Buckner counselor for maternity services in Longview, to start a birth mother’s support group.
Now, the small group of women meet for one hour every two weeks to talk about their lives, their struggles – sometimes adoption related – and connect with other women who have been in that same situation.
Rachel wanted to find even more ways to help birth mothers to let them know they were not alone. She assembles and delivers care packages filled with items she believes would be helpful while in the hospital.
“I just wanted the women who place a baby to feel loved and supported because when you’re in the hospital, it’s just a lonely time,” Rachel said. “So what better way than for someone to come and bring you a thoughtful gift with things that you can use while you’re in the hospital and afterwards to make things hurt just a little less.”
Rachel has big plans for her future. She wants to go to college, and she hopes to parent some day. In the meantime, she’s happy she is helping other birth mothers during this time.
Story by Aimee Freston
Photography by Chelsea White