Chapter one- First Child

Lilly-Claire Pearson had just experienced one of the happiest events of most people's lives. She had just given birth to her first child, a healthy, beautiful little girl. It was perfect, or it would have been if it wasn't for the fact that Lilly-Claire was only seventeen years old.

In early November 1999, she and her boyfriend were on what was a seemingly normal movie date. They sat together in the theater holding hands as usual, when he did something that he had never done before. He placed his hand on her thigh, changing the mood completely. It was supposed to be a one time deal. Never in a million years did they expect there to be real consequences. Never did they stop to think that in a month or so, they would be proven dead wrong. So they found themselves leaving the movie early, heading to his house. When they got there, they went straight to the bedroom and made the biggest mistake of her life.

Being pregnant at seventeen was, of course, not an easy thing, especially when the baby's father had disappeared off the face of the earth upon hearing her big news. Joseph Wendell was not only Lilly-Claire's ex-boyfriend of ten moths, but her first love. They had had every class together since kindergarten and inevitably, had been friends ever since. Sometime during their junior year, just as the rest of their friends had predicted since elementary school, they officially became an item. It didn't take long for Lilly-Claire to fall desperately in love. She could spend all day just looking at his sleek black hair and holding his big hands that always gave her a sense of security. She trusted him, and with good reasoning. He was the quiet, sensitive bookish type, seemingly incapable of telling a lie. He was the last person she expected to walk out on her. But he had done just that, leaving her alone and pregnant in the small, conservative town of Cordova, Alabama, where she could hardly bring herself to step outside of her house. And on the rare occasion that she did dare to show her face in public, people would stare, or give her their biggest, fakest smiles and immediately turn to whisper about her when she passed. Eventually, she had had enough and started homeschooling just so that she would never have to face that again.

Those were the worst nine months of her life, but the most painful part wasn't the stares, or the smiles, or even Joseph leaving. The worst part was feeling her baby kick in her belly, knowing that her pregnancy was as far as her relationship with her child would go. At almost eighteen years old, she had a potentially wonderful life ahead of her. She had to graduate high school and college. She had to get married and have a few legitimate children, just like everyone else. The chances of her doing any of that with a baby were slim to none. As much as she loved her baby, she just couldn't keep her.

So she got on the internet and searched for Miss Hattie's Home for Girls, an orphanage in Glennville, Georgia that was supposed to be one of the best in the southeast.

This, she decided, is where the baby's going to live. She called and arranged for a tour of the orphanage and in the last weeks of her pregnancy, she stayed in the town of Glennville, waiting for her baby to arrive.

Finally, that day came. That day was today. The young woman sat in her hospital bed filling out birth certificate forms for Margaret Elise Pearson, born August 4, 2000. She weighed 8 pounds and 2ounces. She flipped to the next form. The one that she had been dreading. She was about to sign away her rights as a parent, in attempt to live a normal life. So that she could go to college in Savannah, an hour away from Glennville, and meet a husband and start the next chapter of her life just as if none of this had ever happened. Suddenly, she just wanted to get it over with. She skimmed the forms, signed what she needed to sign and handed them back to her nurse who took them from her and left the room.

The next day, Lilly-Claire was released from the hospital, never to have held her first child.