Wish Granted: English teacher to adopt

Taylor Porter, News writer

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English teacher J.R. Rose and his fiancé Brandon Willard had just got engaged when a student approached them and asked a question that would change their lives forever.

“He was showing us the pictures from his engagement trip and said, ‘If you guys know anyone who’s pregnant someday, we will want to adopt,’” senior Jazzmine Lee said.

Lee’s best friend, 19-year-old Gabrielle Patton, graduated from Bloom High School last year when she found out she was pregnant.

“I was scared, disappointed, mad and numb. I have a bad habit of pushing my emotions away when something happens,” Patton said, “But I knew one day I was going to have to face the fact I couldn’t raise my own child.”

Once Patton got introduced to Rose and his fiancee, things “fell into place,” according to Rose, who said he was reluctant at first.

“We thought it was way too fast. Certainly a baby would come down the road, but these types of things don’t just pop up,” Rose said. “So we thought we could at least meet her.”

Patton said she was impressed by the love she saw between Willard and Rose.

“I did this because I love him enough to know I couldn’t provide him the life that he deserves, so I found a family that could,” Patton said, “They have a beautifully balanced relationship, which I respect so much.”

Patton said she feels a sense of comfort knowing that her child will have “the life and opportunities” that she says she did not have growing up.

“They said they would like me to be in the baby’s life. For me that was the golden ticket,” Patton said. “No matter what happens to me, I don’t want my son to ever think I didn’t want him or love him.”

Teen pregnancy is at an all-time low, according to The Center for Disease Control. Black and Hispanic levels have dropped by 50 percent since 2006.

However, the rate is still higher than most western industrialized nations. In 2015, 229,715 teens gave birth in the U.S.

For would-be parents, adoption can be an expensive option, with costs as high as $40,000.

Because Patton and Rose arranged their adoption on their own, the cost was cut drastically, making things easier on both sides.

Rose said that they plan to have many “maternal influences” in the baby’s life, including Patton

“We both have sisters and great friends, but (Patton) is going to be apart of Rowan’s life. We don’t know how that exactly is going to play out, but I’m sure it will grow, shift, and change through the year and as she moves on with her life,” Rose said. “We don’t want her to keep it a secret. We want her to be there and involved in whatever capacity she’s comfortable with.”

Patton, who was homeless two months ago, now lives with Lee and her family. She is supported by a GoFundMe page and donations from friends and family.

Rose said both he and Patton share a similar fear.

“It’s exciting and scary, we feel the same way anyone expecting a baby does. You’re scared and you don’t know what to do and have so much to learn. We’re very lucky to have an awesome family who is super supportive,” he said.

Lee said she is proud of her friend’s decision.

“(Patton) has her whole life ahead of her and so many opportunities. If you know you aren’t ready to raise a child then why not find a family that is?” Lee asked.

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Wish Granted: English teacher to adopt