Building dreams one day at a time.
My name is Hannah Jayne, a current therapist-in-training here in St. Louis, Missouri. I'm so proud to share a bit about my story as a birth mother. Becoming pregnant at the age of 18 was an incredibly overwhelming experience, one that continues to propel me into growth, resilience, and strength. I learned I was pregnant within the first several weeks on campus of my freshman year at the University of Kansas, after a routine visit to the campus health center. I was a full-time, out of state scholarship honor's student with my family far away and a romantic partner in the military. The choice to place was right for me; I was 6 months into the pregnancy before I learned I was pregnant, let alone how quickly my due date approached. Shocked, confused, terrified, and emotional, what many women have 9 months to plan for, I had 3. So in a few short weeks, I found an adoption agency, adoptive family, continued classes, and feigning normalcy in the midst of the chaos. Adoption can be joyous, life-saving, and full of love, but it also leaves scars, grief and a lifetime to process the trauma. The sharpest twists and turns of my life have led me into a therapist’s chair- especially post the adoption. The therapists who served me were my confidants, guardians, and healers. They created spaces for me to heal, to develop boundaries, and to grow away from distress and into resilience. Therapy gave me meaning and purpose, it helped me make sense of the chaos around me and offered grounding I would have never had otherwise. Therapy was, and continues to be, some of the most rewarding, reflective experiences of my life, and I see a clear vision of me offering my chair to future clients, creating healing and trust as a therapist. Attending graduate school to become a Clinical Mental Health Counselor is the only way I know how to role model well-being, health, and acceptance for Sophia, and want her to always pursue her dreams with conviction. This Fred M. Riley Foundation scholarship offers peace, affirmation, and an opportunity for me to stay focused on and succeed in my coursework. Financial hardship, especially during COVID, has made making ends meet more complicated. I often feel like I am burning the candle at both ends, and with the generosity of financial assistance, the peace of mind that's been offered has felt so gracious and appreciated.
My name is Christina I am a 21-year-old birth mom who placed my daughter in the spring of 2017. I am now a junior in college and continuing my education journey at a great school in South Georgia. The primary goal of my education is to become an adoption lawyer working with DFACS to change legislation to protect children that are in the custody of the state. My desire to pursue this specific career stems from my personal experiences but increased after I spent a year in Honduras working at an orphanage. While living in the country of Honduras, I was a house mom for thirteen young girls. While there I learned about the differences in social-economic opportunities that are provided for someone in Honduras versus in the United States and was appalled to learn that some domestic safety issues were not much different between the two countries. This sparked a fire in me to pursue a family law degree and learn how I can work to create better policies that will protect the rights of children and ensure them an opportunity at a better future. I have a long way to go but am confident God will help me reach the goals I chase. Being a birth mom in college has not been easy both emotionally or financially so receiving this grant was a huge help for me and I hope others have the opportunity as well.