In 2014, 18-year-old Kaleena Pysher from Anchorage, Alaska, was finishing up her senior year of high school when she learned she was pregnant. Early on in her pregnancy, she made the tough decision to give her baby up for adoption.
Four months in, Pysher connected with a family friend who was looking to adopt. She knew it was a perfect match and began speaking with the couple daily, sending ultrasound photos, and keeping them informed about the baby’s condition.
At seven months pregnant, Pysher came to the adoptive family with an important request. She wanted to be able to breastfeed the baby, named Raylie, during their time together in the hospital after she gave birth. After that, she asked if she could continue pumping breast milk and sending it to them for the first few months of Raylie’s life.
“When a baby is fed breast milk, they are just way ahead of the game. I decided that I wanted my baby to have the best options and to be able to grow — and so, I knew I was going to pump and give her that benefit,” said Pysher. The adoptive parents agreed, and Pysher was happy she’d still have a connection to her daughter.
“It made me feel so connected to her because I thought, ‘My baby still needs me for something — she still needs me for food,’ and in that way I felt very connected to her, and like the adoptive parents still needed me,” said Pysher.
“They have told me that we are a family now. They say that I will always be her mother, and that they are appreciative of the gift of life I have given them,” she added.
Even better is that because she was so successful at pumping, she was able to collect extra milk and send it to a milk bank in Colorado, where it was screened and sent to babies in neo-natal intensive care units. Learn more about the selfless teen in the video below.