|Mason Riddle with Dad Sam and Mom Bri Krokum|
And so it was for Sam Riddle, the star quarterback of Century High's team in Portland, Oregon. In the middle of the 2012 football season, when Sam was a senior, he and his girl friend Bri Krokum learned she was pregnant. "'I almost passed out,' Sam told
Oregonian sports editor Keith Sharon. '"I thought about not graduating from high school, not graduating from college, working at a minimum-wage job the rest of my life. I thought of the worst--I am going to be the joke of the school.'"
Sam and Bri told only a trusted friend about the pregnancy. They decided against abortion, but began exploring adoption. "They put together a notebook with on page labeled 'Adoption' and another labeled 'Parenting.' They wrote down the pros and cons of giving away and keeping the baby" according to Sharon.
In January, 2103, Sam went with his father, Dave, to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, where he was offered a football scholarship and the opportunity to play in a Division I school. His heart told him to reject the offer, but he didn't want to disappoint his Dad.
Eventually Sam and Bri told their families about the pending child. Sam's father pushed abortion, convinced that the football scholarship would be Sam's only opportunity to attend college. But Sam and Bri decided to keep their baby. Little Mason Riddle was born May 28, 2013. Sam proposed to Bri on July 25, her birthday. Three days later, Sam said goodbye to Bri and his son and left for North Dakota. His heart just wasn't in it.
A month after the school term began, Sam returned to Portland. He contacted Linfield College, a small liberal arts college about 40 miles from his home. As a Division III school, Linfield could not offer an athletic scholarship, but it was able to put together a financial-aid package with grants and a campus job. Sam is now a sophomore at Linfield, and has led the Wildcats to a 9-1 record. Dave Riddle questions why he ever suggested abortion. "'When I spend time with Mason,' the new grandfather said "I'm almost ashamed of myself. ...I've come to appreciate Sam's handling of the situation.'"
This story could have turned out so wrong. Sam and Bri could have ended up like so many other teens who gave up their babies to realize their dreams and only later learned they had made a Faustian bargain. I'm writing this piece in hopes that other teens "in the family way" see this story and realize that untimely baby is not a dead end but a beginning of a journey filled with hope and love--jane
D-I ball couldn't offer this
Kudos to Walmart
Catelynn and Tyler: Inconsolable Grief
Without a Map: A Memoir By Meredith Hall
Really, a beautiful memoir by a gifted writer about love, loss and family. The book was a big seller in 2007. It's a wonderful story for all affected by adoption--and who isn't today--and simply a good read. Highly recommended.