‘They exploited her’: Teen who didn’t know she was pregnant fights adoption agency for custody of son

A 17-year-old girl who didn’t know she was pregnant fought an adoption agency for custody of the baby boy she gave birth to.

WDIV reports that Alex Robinson was a high school senior when she had Maverick, her son. The teen told the station that she was at a West Michigan beach with friends when she started suffering from pain and bleeding.

“I was just, like, ‘Oh my God,’ and they were, like, ‘What?’ and I look down and there was just a huge puddle of blood,” Robinson said. “Then I felt my whole body tense up, and I just couldn’t move.”

Following an ultrasound, Robinson not only learned she was pregnant but she was going into labor. The teen remained incredulous, noting she was just at the beach in a bikini. But after a few pushes, Maverick was born.

“I was, like, ‘I can’t tell my friends. I can’t tell my mom. I can’t go home with a baby,'” Robinson told the local station.

Maverick—who was delivered at 29 weeks and weighed 2 pounds—was placed in an incubator in the intensive care unit (ICU).

With her mother five hours away in Illinois, a hospital counselor allegedly told the 17-year-old that nobody would ever know if she gave her newborn son up for adoption. She agreed to speak with someone from the Bethany Christian Adoption Services and, within hours after giving birth, a representative had provided her with adoption papers.

Along with adoption forms, Robinson signed a Safe Surrender form, which terminated her rights to her son after a 28-day waiting period. A mere 12 hours after having Maverick, Robinson was discharged from the hospital with a cab voucher and without her son.

“I just wanted somebody to help me,” Robinson said. “I didn’t know what to think.”

The teen’s mother, Leah McDonald, claimed she received a call from a nurse but was never told that her daughter had given birth. Robinson said she told her mother about the baby when she got back to Illinois.

“This needs to stop, because they just sent her out the back door, down the stairs, cab, gone,” McDonald told the station. “She could’ve hemorrhaged. She could’ve died. This needs to stop.”

McDonald told her daughter that it’s her choice whether or not she wants to keep her son, which led the teen to change her mind about signing over custody.

In addition to contacting the adoption agency, the pair went back to the hospital where Maverick was still being treated. They claimed that they weren’t allowed to see the newborn because Robinson had relinquished her rights.

“She’s a 17-year-old girl,” McDonald told the station. “They exploited her. You know, they took advantage of her because they wanted her baby.”

The child’s father, Lucas Zbinden, stepped in—petitioning for custody as Bethany Christian Adoption Services moved to finalize the adoption.

Though a judge ordered a two-week stay to figure out the details of the case, the case was moved up because the Safe Surrender provision would’ve expired. The hearing resulted in the judge siding with Robinson and Zbinden.

Though she now has her son, Robinson believes the agency preys on vulnerable, scared mothers. She hopes telling her story will convince legislators to do more for birth mothers’ rights.

“You’ve got to think twice before you adopt a baby and do some research on an adoption agency that you’re going through,” Robinson concluded. “See how they get their babies.”

[Featured Image: WDIV]