Lauren Swartz and Sam Hipp made a life-changing — and life-giving — decision that has brought joy to their lives and the lives of an Edina couple. As teenagers in high school, Swartz and Hipp decided to place their daughter, Isabelle, for adoption.
In March 2005, they placed their daughter with Melanie and John Hardacker, who adopted Isabelle in March 2005. The couple also has a 12-year-old son, Jake.
Swartz, now 18, and a freshman at the University of Minnesota and her boyfriend, Sam, 20, who works for a Twin Cities-based communications company, are sharing their story with Twin Cities-area teenagers through the Adoption Option Committee’s “In The Know” ITK initiative.
“Sam and I think it’s great that we can share our story with other teens that might be in the same situation as us — [teens] who need someone to talk to about making a choice without any guilt or anxiety,” Swartz said.
“I never thought I would end up pregnant,” Swartz said. “ It was, to say the least, one of the most terrifying bits of news I had received thus far in my life,” said Swartz as she recalled being a 17-year-old junior at Sparta High School in Sparta, Wis. “I realized I seriously needed to sit down and think of what I was going to do about this,” Swartz said. “Was I going to keep the baby? Was I going to get an abortion? Or was I going to make an adoption plan for this baby?” she said.
Swartz said she talked with her parents about the options.
Hipp graduated high school and joined the army without knowing about Swartz’s pregnancy. Later, however, he talked with his parents and Swartz’s parents about what to do, Swartz said.
“My mom suggested going to an adoption agency in order to keep the baby or make an adoption plan,” Swartz said.
After several months of consultation, Swartz and Hipp went to New Life Family Services in Minneapolis to discuss an open adoption plan to place their daughter.
“Out of one envelope, we picked [the Hardackers], a family we really liked,” Swartz said. “For some reason, both of us felt strongly that this was the family that was going to adopt our child.”
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