Alex Robinson spent one of her final days of summer at the beach in west Michigan with her friends.
The day took an unexpected turn when the high school senior from Illinois saw a huge puddle of blood at her feet.
When her body tensed up, Robinson ended up in the back of an ambulance where she found out she was about to give birth. She recalled to Local 4:
“They did an ultrasound and a woman told me, she was, like, ‘You’re going into labor. I was, like, ‘No I’m not. There’s no way.’ And she was, like, ‘Yeah, you are. There’s a baby in there.’ And I was, like, ‘No, there’s not.'”
Despite her protests she wasn’t having a baby, Robinson gave birth to baby Maverick.
Her first reaction was panic. Her concerns laid more in “what homecoming dress” she was going to get than in being a mother:
“I was, like, ‘I can’t tell my friends. I can’t tell my mom. I can’t go home with a baby.'”
Sensing her distress, a counselor at the hospital informed her that “if she gave the baby up for adoption, nobody would have to know.”
When the hospital called Robinson’s mother, Leah McDonald, they failed to mention her daughter had just given birth. When she found out, McDonald was more appalled at how the hospital took advantage of her daughter’s vulnerability, rather than at the fact her daughter had been pregnant.
Robinson just wanted somebody to help her, so she agreed to speak with someone from an adoption agency. A representative from Bethany Christian Adoption Services immediately arrived with forms for the teenager to fill out.
The adoption forms were accompanied by a Safe Surrender form. The organization was created as a way for women to “legally abandon” their babies safely, saving unwanted newborns from “being abandoned in dangerous environments.”
Shortly after giving birth, the Safe Surrender forms were given to Robinson, and she signed, thus giving up her rights to her baby after a 28-day waiting period.
After the forms were signed, Robinson was given a cab voucher and sent away from the hospital, just 12 hours after giving birth.
However, when she got home to Illinois, Robinson changed her mind and decided she wanted custody over her baby. McDonald was fully supportive, saying she wasn’t going to “judge” her daughter for her decision. If anything, she was angered by the way her daughter was treated at the hospital. She said:
“This needs to stop, because they just sent her out the back door, down the stairs, cab, gone. She could’ve hemorrhaged. She could’ve died. This needs to stop.”
“She’s a 17-year-old girl. They exploited her. You know, they took advantage of her because they wanted her baby. She’s a kid. She’s in shock. She didn’t even know she was pregnant.”
Robinson agreed, adding:
“There was no reason why they would’ve thought I was mentally OK to make that decision.”
Robinson and her mother called the adoption agency, informing them they wanted to keep baby Maverick. However, when the pair returned to the hospital, officials turned them away, saying Robinson had already “signed away her rights.”
Robinson and McDonald hired a lawyer, and they ended up in court. The adoption agency wished to go through with the adoption process, while Maverick’s birth father, Lucas Zeiden, filed for custody. He said:
“I’m all for adopting kids and giving them new homes, but not in a way like this. Not at all.”
A hearing was scheduled for Aug. 31 — 29 days after Maverick’s birth. However, due to the Safe Surrender rule revoking rights after 28 days, the court moved up the hearing. The judge ruled in favor of Robinson and Zeiden. The teen said:
“I broke down bawling because I was just so excited. Up until he said I had custody of my son, I was, like, super scared and on the edge of my seat the entire time.”
While the family feels “fortunate” to have baby Maverick in its custody, it wants to share its story so no other vulnerable women are taken advantage of. Robinson said:
“You’ve got to think twice before you adopt a baby and do some research on an adoption agency that you’re going through. See how they get their babies.”