Riley’s Story: Choosing Life, Choosing Adoption

Riley and Family

My name is Riley, and I am 19 years old. I am the birth mother of two beautiful children whom I have chosen to place for adoption. I became pregnant with my son at 17, the summer before my senior year in high school. I was blessed to be embraced and supported by my family although they were disappointed. Many people insisted that I have an abortion, especially because I was still in school. “It’s your senior year! You’ll miss out on all the fun!”, “Your future is going to be ruined!” The birth father even offered to pay for one. I knew in my heart that abortion was wrong; so I surrounded myself with people who could support me through all of the criticism.

Being pregnant in school was not as challenging as I expected. I was treated with courtesy and respect, and I was even given special amenities to feel comfortable. I decided to finish school at home and graduated soon after the birth of my son.

I had adoption on my mind my whole pregnancy, and I made my final decision when I was 7 months pregnant. I prayed this simple yet powerful prayer, “God, I want to do Your will… just set it up for me.” He was faithful to do just that! I met the adoptive parents soon after. They were perfect! We have such a beautiful relationship that God has authored.

I became pregnant with my daughter when my son was 6 months old. Telling my family was difficult, I thought that I should have “learned my lesson.” I felt very ashamed. I made the decision to live in a maternity home for the majority of my pregnancy, and it was a wonderful experience. During my stay there, I realized that I was making the same poor decisions over and over again from a place within me where I was hurt. I had to go to God for my healing. Finally, I realized my worth, which empowers me to make better decisions.

I decided to place my daughter for adoption with the same family as my son. It is so touching to see them interact. They adore each other! I have come out of the other end of my experience, and I am stronger, more compassionate and more confident than ever. I have grown more in these past two years than I ever have in my life. My children have completely changed my life. To be entrusted with such a special gift is revolutionary.

To any woman in a similar situation, embrace your motherhood! It is the most meaningful thing you will ever do. Choosing life, especially in a crisis situation, is the ultimate act of love. Love is unselfish; it is putting the needs of someone else above your own. It is refreshing in the midst of the negative world we live in.

Follow peace. Follow God. Choose Life!


Riley is sharing her story to show others the beauty of adoption. If you have a story to share, contact Beth Rahal at

Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month: What can you do?


Pregnancy doesnt have to change-GoalsAccording to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, nearly 3 in 10 girls will become pregnant before the age of 20. In 2012, 305,388 teens (ages 15-19) gave birth. Meanwhile, about 18% of women obtaining abortions are teenagers (i.e. about 200,000). Due to these high numbers, many people are rightly concerned about the need for education and resources for these young women. How do we prevent teen pregnancy from happening in the first place? How do we teach teens to be responsible in their relationships so that they may make healthy decisions (for their bodies and their hearts)? How do we provide resources that will support a teen in her decision to choose life for her child?

May is Teen Pregnancy Awareness Month. This month, college students are encouraged to get involved in efforts to educate our younger peers. We encourage you to focus on abstinence education and to teach your younger peers the importance of mutual respect in relationships. Here are ideas for what you can do to raise awareness in your community:

  • Talk to your younger family members about their relationships. Remember: This doesn’t have to be an awkward conversation!They may prefer having this conversation with you than with an adult. Start by asking, “How are you and ____ doing?” and let the conversation flow from there. Encourage them to commit to respecting themselves and their girlfriend/boyfriend. Support them in their good decisions. Offer loving advice for those who may be involved in unhealthy decisions. Last but not least, be a good role model for your younger siblings and cousins.
  • Educate your younger peers about healthy relationships. Offer to provide an abstinence or healthy relationships presentation at your church’s youth group meeting. Teens will appreciate hearing this advice coming from someone closer to their age. Check out our RA programs- Healthy Relationships and Healthy Relationships II-Conflict Resolution–  for ideas for your presentation.
  • Invite a sex education speaker to your local youth group to talk about abstinence and healthy relationships. You can find our recommended speakers here. Contact preferred speakers to learn more about their presentations and to inquire about availability.
  • Distribute “Dispelling the Myths of Safe Sex” cards at a youth event in the community or at your church. Active pro-life students can email Missy to obtain free cards!
  • Promote pregnancy resources for teens, such as pregnancy resource centers or teen maternity homes. You can do this online, in your presentations, or even by creating flyers to post around your community. Find local pregnancy resource centers at, and search for local maternity homes in your state or region’s 2-1-1 database.
  • Spread awareness via social media. Use your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to spread awareness with a combination of clever and informative posts. (See examples below.) For more information and stats on teen pregnancy, check out The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. For information about STDs/STIs, check out LoveFacts.

By encouraging these conversations and programs, we can do our part to prevent teen pregnancies and to consequently reduce abortions among teenagers. Whatever you do, don’t be shy! Get out there and do at least 1 thing this month that spreads awareness on this topic.Your efforts could make a difference in the lives of teens in your community.


This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at

High school bans student photo: Is this discrimination?

Caitlin Tiller- Banned40% of teen moms do not complete their high school education, and by age 30, less than 2% of these mothers will achieve a college degree.

Graduating high school is an incredible accomplishment for young teen moms. It represents sacrifice, commitment, and courage in the face of criticism and daunting statistics. While many will acknowledge the difficulty of this achievement,  there remains disagreement on how this issue is to be presented to the students and to the community. Should schools allow for the baby to be upheld as an inspiration for this young woman’s successes? Or is it better to applaud her accomplishments– but leave the baby out of the picture?

Meet Caitlin Tiller, a soon-to be graduate of Wheatmore High School (NC) and the proud mother of 1-year-old Leelin. This May, school faculty and administration notified Caitlin that her graduation photo would not be accepted in the school yearbook. While Caitlin claims that the situation “feels like discrimination,” the school has upheld their decision despite local and national pressure.

Superintendant Donald Andrews stated:

  • “The practice at Wheatmore High School regarding yearbook pictures for seniors has been to include only graduating students in the senior section, and to permit family members and friends to be featured with our seniors in the ad section of the yearbook,” he said. “We offered this option to Ms. Tiller. We regret that this practice was not made clearer to her earlier in the yearbook development process and we will do a better job going forward with explaining our yearbook practices.”

With the support of her family and her child’s father, Caitlin has been able to care for both her child and herself. As she has stated, “having a baby is not easy,” and yet she continued with her education knowing that her baby needed her. After finding out that she was pregnant, Caitlin doubled her course work in order to graduate early. In December, Caitlin was named an honor roll student, and in January, she has began taking courses at Archdale Center of Randolph Community College. On top off all of this, she works part-time!

Despite the challenges of being a teen mom, Caitlin has embraced both her education and her motherhood, and she has certainly made an impressive effort to do the best for herself and her child. Caitlin will be graduating on June 7th and continuing her pursuit of an Associates degree in medical assistance.


What do you think? Is this discrimination? Post comments below!


Additional Media

  • Read national and local news about Caitlin Tiller’s story here and here.
  • Pregnant and parenting students are granted certain rights under Title IX. If you believe that you are being discriminated against as a pregnant or parenting student, contact National Women’s Law Center at