Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ashley's Story

This beautiful lady is Ashley.... her story is just heart warming! Thank you Ashley!!!

My Adoption story

I never thought much about adoption, I guess because I never thought I’d need to (who does right?). So it was a little surprising to me when I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test (that I KNEW would be positive), that adoption was the first thing that popped into my head. Looking back now, I know it was because I loved my baby so much from that first moment. But at the time I was upset at myself for even thinking about “giving” my baby to someone else. I knew that I could be a good mother to my baby…even without a father. Sure, I’d need to have at least 2 jobs, a bunch of babysitters, he would need to go see his birth father once a week, we’d have to live in a tiny apartment...but we could make it work because this was my child and I loved him.

Deep down I knew I didn’t want my baby to grow up that way. I wanted my baby to have a mom and a dad (after all, a boy needs a father), I wanted him to have a brother or a sister, I wanted him to live in a house with a yard that he could run around in, and parents that he would see more often than a babysitter or daycare. At the time, those were things that I couldn’t give him, and it broke my heart to know that there was a family out there who could raise my baby better than I could. But at the same time, it was deeply comforting to know that he could have a family that was ready to give him everything he needed and wanted.

The adoption process was scary to me at first. I didn’t know what to expect, would I get a say in who raises my baby? Will I ever get to meet my baby’s family? I wanted to be able to see pictures and be in contact…was that possible? Was this going to be one of those horrible things that I saw in movies where there are a bunch of babies in cribs in one big room and random couples are walking through deciding which baby they wanted? Like at the dog pound (not kidding….I really thought this)? I came to find that the agency I went through (LDS Family Services) was great. It wasn’t a scary process at all (heart wrenching yes). The caseworker (Jana) was great. In our first meeting we just talked. She wanted to know if this was REALLY what I wanted for my baby…to make sure this was my decision and not my parents or someone else’s. She wanted to know about me, and the things that I wanted for my baby. Then she sent me home with “homework”. Papers to fill out that asked questions about who I was, what my family was like, qualities that I wanted in the parents that would become my child’s parents, things that I would like my child to be able to experience, medical history of myself, my family, the birth father and his family. I turned the papers in and Jana said that she would look through them and find a few families that had these qualities, and at our next meeting I could start choosing a family. This is the point in my story where God had other plans…

It was about 3 or 4 days before I was supposed to go back and see Jana to start sifting through the files of families hoping for a baby. My cousin had been to an Amway meeting and ran into the woman who would soon become my baby’s grandma. This woman (Corby) overheard my cousin (Kristen) talking about her cousin (me) who was pregnant and considering adoption. Corby sat down and asked Kristen if she wouldn’t mind asking me if I would consider looking at her daughter’s adoption profile. They had adopted about a year previous and were just getting their paperwork back into the system to adopt again. Kristen got a hold of me and I told her I would be happy to look at their profile and consider them. Kristen got the profile to me the day before I was supposed to meet with Jana.

Theirs was the first profile I ever looked at. Opening that first envelope is a feeling I will never forget. I remember thinking “in this envelope could be my son’s future, his family, his everything”. And before I got the envelope opened I cried. This was the hardest thing I was ever going to do in my life. At that moment I was so sad, I knew it’s what was best though…so I did it. I opened that envelope and read the letter and looked at the pictures. I loved this family from the moment I finished their letter. I felt like I knew them. They lived in Utah, both Kirsti and Riley come from large families, and they had just adopted a little girl. They were so in love with each other and with little Kiley. Riley was sweet to the two most important women in his life, and Kristi sounded like the perfect little mommy. But this couldn’t be the family for my baby….it was too “easy”…wasn’t it supposed to take weeks to decide? They had just adopted a little girl….there are so many other couples out there that hadn’t had that opportunity yet…shouldn’t I place with someone who hadn’t had the opportunity to be parents yet?

I wasn’t even sure if it was OK that I was looking at a profile that wasn’t given to me through LDSFS let alone an out of state profile. I took it with me to see Jana the next day. We talked and she said that she would put through the out of state paperwork if they were the couple I wanted….but usually they like to adopt within the state. I felt it was best to look through all of the other profiles. There were a lot of great couples that had all of the qualities that I wanted…but I kept going back to that first one. For some reason it just felt right. I could remember everything about Kristi and Riley’s profile, but nothing about a profile that I had just read….they were the ones!

I called Jana to let her know that I had found the perfect family. She asked if I wanted to meet them, of course I did! She told me to write them a letter telling them who I was, what I was like, and telling them that I wanted them to raise our baby. I also asked if they would be willing to come to Idaho to meet me. I got a letter back from them very soon after, on March 10th telling me about the meeting with their social worker and how excited they were. They thanked me many times for choosing them and of course they wanted to meet me too!

It was only a week or two later that I got to meet Kristi and Riley. I was so nervous that day. My mom and I sat waiting in a small room for them. I saw them pull up and get out of their car…here we go.

As soon as they opened the door my fears went away. They hugged me. I felt that I knew them….like I was meeting up with family for a casual chat. And chat we did. We talked about family, hobbies, trips, feelings, everything. They even asked if I wanted to name the baby! I told them that since it was going to be their son they should name him. They still wanted my input so they gave me their top two choices for names and asked me to pick. It was so thoughtful of them to include me in that choice. They were amazing. These were the perfect parents for “our” baby. We cried. It just felt so right.

After that day we wrote and emailed about once a week. They were always so sweet to ask how I was feeling, what I was craving, if I was ok, is there anything they could do to make all of this easier on me? I knew they loved me and they loved our baby…that was enough.

I went into labor 11 days early on April 13th, 2004, and on April 14th at 6:03 am little Seth was born. He was the most beautiful baby that I had ever seen, and I couldn’t believe that I had just helped bring a baby into the world. I was full of emotions. I was so happy to meet my baby…I was so in love with him, but my heart was breaking that he would never really get to be my son…that I wouldn’t see him roll over for the first time, or crawl. I would never hear his first words or see him turn 1. I tried not to think of those things…I just tried to focus on this beautiful little miracle that would be mine for almost 2 full days.

Kristi and Riley were informed that their baby had been born and that they needed to pack up and get to Idaho. They had only had barely over a month to get ready for a new baby and here he was…10 days early! I can’t even imagine what they must have been feeling and thinking. They sent a dozen roses to my hospital room as soon as they heard that their baby was born. They were on their way and they would get to meet their son on April 15th.

The first day with Seth flew by. My room was flooded with friends and family most of the time, but I did get a few hours all alone with him. The room was quiet and I just held him on my chest and told him how much I loved him and how I would miss him. I explained why I was placing him…and I cried.

April 15th was a day I won’t forget. It was the day that I placed my little baby boy with his new family. I got to spend the day with him….getting him ready for that evening. I cried some more, and at 7:00 pm my loving family, Seth, and myself loaded into the car and headed to LDSFS in Idaho Falls. We were able to sit and talk with Kristi, Riley, Kiley, and Corby for about an hour before they got to meet Seth. We exchanged gifts we laughed and cried. At 8:30pm I went into the other room and got Seth. I kissed him and hugged him and told him that this was the day that he was getting the best gift that he would ever receive…a complete family. Walking down the hall with him in my arms towards the room where Seth’s parents were waiting seemed like the longest and shortest walk of my life.

When I opened the door Riley was standing there with his arms open for his son. He couldn’t wait to meet him. He took Seth from me and then pulled me into a hug and thanked me. Kristi took Seth next and she cried and gave me a hug as well. They were so grateful. We all passed the baby around and talked and took pictures for another hour and then it was time to say “goodbye”. I kissed Seth for the last time, hugged my new family, and left.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, but I know it was best. I didn’t think my heart would ever stop breaking. For months I cried every day. The letters and pictures helped. I got emails or letters every week...and pictures as often as Kristi and Riley could get them to me. They have been so great!

It has taken 6 years, but I can honestly say that it doesn’t hurt anymore. Yes I still think about Seth, and yes, I miss him like crazy….but it doesn’t hurt. We have an open adoption, and I can’t imagine having it any other way. I love to know what he’s doing and saying and liking. I’ve been to see Seth and his family once and I’m going to see them again this weekend! I’ve received countless pictures and letters. And they send me flowers every year on Seth’s birthday (how sweet is that?).

I have since married the man of my dreams (Kristi and Riley made the trip to be at my wedding) and had a little boy of our own. I love my story and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. People ask if I regret the mistake I made…I tell them that it wasn’t a mistake. Without the choices I made I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t know Kristi and Riley, and we wouldn’t have out little Seth. This wasn’t a mistake…it turned out to be a blessing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Mother's Prayer

I found this beautiful video on adoption voices. I hope the maker of this video doesn't mind. Its so beautiful. Please watch it :)


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Gift for Someone Else...

This is JENI :) She is a sweetie and this is her great story to share...

October 26, 2009

It was mid February 2009 and Joe and I were on the phone again, arguing. Only days earlier I had discovered I was pregnant via a trip to the emergency room. It wasn’t exactly a welcome surprise. Partway through our conversation, I angrily said, “I don’t want to be pregnant!”

“How can you say that?” Joe asked incredulously. “A baby is a gift from God!”

Though I don’t recall what I said in response, a thought crossed my mind. Maybe it’s not my gift.” A few months later, on Easter Sunday, my aunt Patty would tell me this was God’s voice.

My story actually starts in November of 2008. I was in the process of going through a divorce from my husband of 10-1/2 years, James. The loneliness I had been experiencing for years had become unbearable and so, due to the suggestion of my sister-in-law, I found myself on Craig’s List in an effort to meet someone new. It was through this website that I met Joe. He described himself as a Christian man who liked to play the guitar, who was down on his luck, and who liked playing with the dog, long walks - the simple things in life (I would later find out that his mother wrote the post.).

About two weeks after we first started corresponding, we had our first date – cheap Chinese food at one of many such eateries on Division in North Spokane. I found out he had three children from his previous relationship. Though not married, like me, he had been involved with his significant other for 10-1/2 years, but unlike me he had three kids. He told me he had lost his job, that his ex had taken pretty much everything away from him, destroyed baby books and early mementos of his kids’ lives, and taken his car, among other things. He was living at home with his parents while he tried to put his life back together. Normally, the thought of getting involved with a man with three kids might have scared me enough to call it quits right then and there had it not been for the fact that my cousin, Jim, to whom I am very close, had undergone something similar in the months preceding my divorce. His wife of 16 years suddenly took off and abandoned him and his three girls in favor of a new life and boyfriend in Indiana. So, given what Jim had gone through, how could I not feel compassion for Joe?

The first six weeks or so of the relationship was idyllic. Joe wasn’t embarrassed at my odd antics or childlike enthusiasm (I have a rather odd sense of humor), but relished in it. We had fun together. We made each other laugh. We fell in love. A couple of weeks before the divorce was final, he told me he wanted to marry me – to be there for better or for worse, to hold me when I cried, that sort of thing. Joe told me I was unlike any woman he had ever dated. I could pass a drug test. I had a job. I was a homeowner. I cared about my appearance. I had a college education. Though flattered by this sentiment, I was a bit nervous. It was too soon for either one of us to be discussing such matters, but I guess when you’re lonely and in love, your heart overtakes your brain and you don’t think about the repercussions. My divorce became final at the end of December 2008.

Though 2009 had a promising start with a fun night out at First Night Spokane, things went downhill really fast. Spokane was in the midst of a record breaking snowfall for the season, and it was at this time that the home that I shared with my now ex-husband sold, and I purchased a smaller home about a half a mile away and closer to my 6-year-old daughter’s school. It was a 2-bedroom home with an unfinished basement and Julia and I officially moved in on the 13th of January. Within two weeks of the move, my grandfather, a mentor to me in my hobby of photography, passed away at the age of 89. It was around this time, in late January, that the first fissures in my relationship with Joe began to form. His kids were in the custody of his older sister . There were some serious issues going on with his children and I saw a little more of who he was and did not like what I saw. (That is all that can be said on the subject)

Things continued to get worse. On February 2, a routine maintenance visit by the cable company revealed a potentially dangerous electrical hazard at my house, something not discovered by the home inspector, my home insurance company decided to raise my rates an additional $80 a year, my company cut off all overtime (I worked from home as a medical transcriptionist), and Joe was continuing to change. The fact that he had been a big time pot dealer and user before the custody issues with his kids began to weigh heavier on my mind. He began to pressure me about having he and his kids move into my home, though there was really no room. Sure, we could remodel the basement, but since he had just started a new job in January and had his own debts to pay, where were we going to get the money? He refused to discipline his kids, even at my house. For example, he did not say anything to the kids when the two younger ones climbed on top of my coffee table and ran around on it. He said it was because my coffee table was old. He wanted to marry me by May 1 because that was when a custody hearing was scheduled. He sent me e-mails and texts constantly and grew irate when I didn’t respond to him immediately. I told him I needed to focus attention on my daughter as I felt I hadn’t been much in the preceding few weeks. I was a room parent at her school. I had a house to take care of. I had responsibilities. All of this did not matter to him. He wanted to be the center of attention all the time. He also took every chance he could to put me down and to put himself between my friends and family. I was to be available to him in mind and body 24/7. Three days after I discovered I was pregnant, he dumped me. Over the next ten days, he took me back two more times and dumped me two more times. On February 23, after he left 6 messages on my answering machine while I was trying to work, in part accusing me of “screwing some guy” and “getting an abortion,” I finally broke it off with him for good.

The journey I took from wanting to keep my baby to that of being a birth mother was a long and hard one, and in some instances, is one I am still battling to this day. Within a short time of learning of my pregnancy, my mom and ex-husband said I should give the baby up. How are you going to raise a baby on your own, they asked? Due to a visual impairment, I am unable to drive, and this was brought up as a “what are you going to do if the baby has to go to the hospital” scenario. I suppose it was these thoughts that were in the back of my head during that particular phone call with Joe back in early February.

Over the next several months, Joe would call on occasion to check on me, predominantly to see if I was seeing anybody, but never asking about the baby other than if I “was poofy yet.” At the outset, he only cared about the child support he would have to pay (which was pathetic because he was only paying $20 to $40 per child for his other kids and was trying to get that reduced). He refused to provide me any family history because he would not give the baby up for adoption. Either I would have custody or he would, he told me. Given what I knew about his home environment, the drugs, the rampant alcohol abuse, among other things, there was no way I was going to relinquish custody to him and I told him that.

Around the time he called me in April, my kitchen sink had been leaking profusely and I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do. On the morning of April 9, my work computer crashed in addition to the sink problems and I called my mom in Oregon to find out what to do. Pardon the pun, but that was a watershed moment in this whole experience. “If you’re stressed now,” she said, “can you imagine putting a baby in the mix? Do you honestly think Joe would help you if the baby was sick and you’d have to take it to the hospital in the middle of the night? You have to love this baby more than you love yourself,” she said. That stung. However, I thought about how Joe had called me two days earlier wanting to be friends, on the very same day I would later learn he was using my telephone number to steal my Safeway gas discounts, how he would routinely use handfuls of ibuprofen or sleeping pills at night to help “relieve (his) pain,” and shook my head. I sadly knew what I had to do.

To me, if I wasn’t going to be able to keep my baby, then the only other option would be to have my cousin, Anne, and her husband, Esteban, adopt her. Anne was 3 years younger than me and had had a tough life. She suffered through a 12-year marriage with an abusive first husband before finally divorcing him and, a few years later, met and married Esteban, a man who had lost his first wife from cancer. Due to health issues, Anne was unable to have a child, and for as long as I can remember, she had wanted to be a mother in the worst way. I thought by giving her this gift, the child could remain in the family and thus, keep any potential identity issues at bay while allowing me to still see the child. Despite what came out from various family members after the baby was born, I never had any intention of calling off the adoption, though I had my doubts at times. I called the baby Nattie, the name Anne gave her, and through the help of 2 counselors and a priest, tried to distance myself from the pregnancy, telling myself I was a surrogate mother and that this was not my child. I gave Anne all sorts of baby samples and baby-related things that I had been saving for years in the hopes that I would be a mother twice over. Heck, I even made her baby shower cake!

However, the adoption of my baby girl by Anne and Esteban was not to be.

On October 9, 2009, my daughter was born by c-section. Due to the immense amount of stress I had been under, she was tiny, 5 pounds, 14 ounces, but healthy! She was beautiful and I fell in love with her immediately, the sheer intensity coming as a complete surprise to me. The day before, Anne and her husband pulled out of the adoption as they refused to help me with aftercare, bills for lost wages, or any outstanding hospital bills. They also failed to get the necessary legal paperwork to take the baby from the hospital. Somehow this turned into me wanting to back out of the adoption and the family here in town believed I was looking for a way out, etc. Long story. They told a social worker, not me, that they wanted to cancel the adoption. So the afternoon before she was born, right after I found this out, I got re-in touch with Spokane Consultants (I had had an initial consultation with Maureen earlier in the year, but Anne didn’t want to go through them because she said their attorney was too expensive.). That evening, my ex-husband (with whom I am reconciling), my daughter, Julia, and I met with Nancy for the first time. Nancy spent over an hour that Thursday night, explaining things, telling me not to worry about Joe, that she would get the information she needed from him, etc. I have to laugh at myself when I think of this because as she spoke about dealing with uncooperative birth fathers, her eyes all lit up at the very idea of confronting yet another deadbeat dad. She looked like a pit bull eyeing a steak and I knew I had my advocate. Knowing that it was important for me to find a Catholic family to adopt my child, she brought over two binders of potential families for me to look over, citing that it had been her experience that things will just “jump out” and the birth mother will just know . . . and she couldn’t have been more right. The father’s occupation is that of an architect, something I had entertained as a young child. The mother described how lovey dovey her parents are to each other, how they had been married 40+ years, that sort of thing, and that reminded me so much of my folks. On the page where they described bringing their adopted son home from the hospital, the word “Joy” was noted on the top, the temporary name I had decided to give my baby girl. The next page showed a picture of the father with his arm around Goofy at Disneyland . . . my mom is a HUGE Goofy fan! I met them in the hospital the day after Joy was born and we hit it off right away. These people are such a gift from God and I tell them that every chance I get. They were so considerate of me, my daughter, and James, bringing me DVDs to my hospital room and plying my daughter with Littlest Pet Shop toys. They stayed in town for a few days after Joy was born to make sure the transition went as smoothly as possible. They called when they said they were going to call. They were early to each of our meetings. They let me hold my tiny little girl as much as I wanted. They met my mom who had come in from Southern Oregon to help me post hospital stay. They met my brother and his family. They also want us to be a part of their family and want to be a part of ours. I get to be “Mama Jeni” and Julia gets to be a big sister, sentiments dismissed by my cousin in previous months. They are grateful for the tiniest gestures you make toward them. Oh, and to say they love this little girl is an understatement. I could see it in the truly kind face of the father when he held Joy in the hospital for the first time. I can see it in their eyes in the myriad of pictures they e-mail me. I can hear it in their voices when we chat on the phone. The adoptive parents said it best when they told my father recently that they felt like they have known us for years rather than weeks. I feel the same way.

My daughter is now living a happy life with her adoptive parents and though I miss her with nearly every breath I take, I know I did the right thing. These people are going to give her all the things I want for her. They will expose her to new ideas, new cultures, take her to the zoo, the symphony, and give her every opportunity. Heck, they’re even going to the Olympics next year! I couldn’t be happier for Joy. It’s an ongoing battle, however, that I wage with myself. I know that if I kept her, Joe would always be a part of her life, and that is unacceptable to me. Albeit unintentionally, I knew there would be times I might get angry with her for the sole reason of being biologically related to Joe – I’m human after all. Sure, my ex-husband would raise Joy as his own if we were to get back together, but again, Joe would be a constant presence and everything with him would be a battle. It’s not Joy’s fault she was conceived. Why should she be penalized for it? Still, when I look at pictures of that sweet face peering out at me online, my heart aches to reach out to her, to hug her, to kiss her, to feel the softness of her hair against my cheek. At my saddest moments, though, I remind myself of the fact that because of Spokane Consultants and the adoptive parents, my family has now grown and we are all the richer because of it. One day, when Joy asks me, I will tell her I gave her up for adoption not because I didn’t love her, but because I did.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things that might help if your considering adoption...

I have thought about how I would feel if I were a birth mother (trying to put myself in your shoes) I think I would be over whelmed so I put some information together in hopes that it helps some how.

1. Make a list:
Write out what you want first, because what you want matters!
Question to ask yourself: WHAT DO I WANT FOR THIS CHILD? ( a childless couple, a family with one or two siblings, your child to be the oldest or the youngest child, a large family….. a stay at home mother, people who have religion in their life, etc….)

2.Things to know: Choosing to meet a family or couple does NOT OBLIGATE YOU to place with them!!!! It is just a meeting :)
If you’re having trouble with finding what you want from that list you made, ask for help from a case worker from the agency of your choice. THEY WILL HELP YOU FIND SOMEONE


To find an adoption agency locally you can do a Google search for your state and adoption agencies or the yellow pages. Most that you come upon will say: Are you pregnant? on it somewhere with directions and buttons to click. Here are some common agencies that I found from the list of my hopeful adoptive couples and with some looking on the internet.

Christian Family Services of Colorado, Inc.
Website: http://www.cfs-adoptions.org/
A Non-Profit Child Placement Agency ( I could not find profiles viewable to just anyone. You do have to contact these people first but it’s an option.)

Website: https://www.itsaboutlove.org/ial/ct/eng/site/pregnant/
Click on view adopting family profiles
Click on guests continue (button)
You can then select any to view profiles but I suggest…. Search by keywords
(This will allow you to pick details closer to your list of what you want) then press search after making your selections
At LDS Family Services you will see a picture and then a little something the hopeful adoptive couple wrote to catch your eye or to connect with you. These are called Profile teasers and we (hopeful adoptive couples) are told to write something that will help us stand out from others and maybe draw you in to who we are. (Hope that helped)

website: http://www.adoption.com/
Click on Pregnant
Under that click on Parent Profiles and it will bring up hopeful couples to look at.

website: http://www.myadoptionprofile.com/
It’s all on the first page, pictures and families to view

Parent Profiles
website: http://www.parentprofiles.com/
Click pregnancy and adoption link
Then you click on one of these.
View Profiles
Search Profiles
• Browse All Profiles

Idaho Youth Ranch
website: http://idahoyouthranchadoptions.org/
I could not find viewable family profiles but there is info on how to reach them if that is who you want to go through.

Independent Adoption Center at 1-800-877-OPEN (6736)
website: www.adoptionhelp.org/birthmother.html
Click on Choose a family and then off to the side you can either view all profile or click on my preferences and fill in your specifications on what you want.

Adoption Network Law Center
website: http://www.adoptionnetwork.com/adoption.shtml
Click on find a family
Then pick one of the options that will show you either region, religion, a more advanced search, ethnicity or random pick.

Heart to Heart Adoption Inc.
I could not find a place to view profiles there but they seem to have info if you’re interested in choosing their agency.

website: http://www.spence-chapin.org/unplanned-pregnancy/a0_unplanned_pregnancy.php
Click on waiting families under If Your Pregnant. The next page is full of waiting families to view.

American Adoptions
website: http://www.americanadoptions.com/family_profile/browse
You can see profiles right away when you go to this website and there is an option for searching by state, ethnicity, children already in the family and an advance search.

I Heart Adoption
website: http://www.iheartadoption.org/
Click on find a family and put in what you want to search for.

4.Blogs: Many blogs that are advocates of adoption in some form will most likely have a list of hopeful adoptive couples, like this one. It is a good place to start, not so over whelming and the list is usually smaller.

5. Family /Friends: Word of mouth is usually one of the best ways. Be prepared, as a Birth Mom, you will most likely get tired of people sharing someone with you that they know who is hoping to adopt. (a suggestion) I think prayer can help guide you in which direction to go.

6. Leaders of your church or faith: Go to your Clergy: sometimes these kinds of people with leadership positions over congregations of people, know of couples hoping to adopt and can testify to what kind of people they are. If you are of a particular faith, and want your child to be of that same faith, this could be a good resource.

7.A Forum:
Adoption Voices website: http://adoptionvoices.com/
This is a forum that would provide you with a look at hopeful adoptive couples. There are many topics on it for support and help. (My suggestion would be to NOT let people know you’re looking for a family) Just be an observer, there are many families on this site and you can read daily things they write, see how they interact with people and maybe get a sense of their true character. It’s a thought anyhow ;)

8. Dave Williams says :The agency i work for is the adoption center of choice in Orem Utah. We have been helping birth moms for 1 years and have placed over 1100 newborns. We have averaged close to 100 placements a year for several years. We have a great BM program. We have a Utah program and an out of state program. For those who need a safe and secure environment during their pregnancy we will bring them to our Utah program. For those that are in a good place at home we will help them there.

Some of the features of the Utah BM program are:

We will bring them to Utah free of charge We will send them back home free of charge Each BM gets a two bedroom apt of her own while she awaits the birth Each apt has cable TV, Internet and phone service Each has a kitchen and laundry facilities We provide weekly financial assistance We have a fleet of vans so we can shuttle our BM to the Doctor, shopping, anywhere they want to go Tuesday is our "Doctor" day. Where each BM is taken for pre-natal care Our BM's deliver in a very nice hospital We have on-site child care for any BM who may bring little one with her We have house parents who live on premise to take care of our BM needs Each BM has a case worker/advocate to help her Our BM have individual and group counseling opportunities Twice a week they are offered "Activity Days" with other BM in our program.

It's a great program and our BM's really appreciate the care they are given. For out of state BM's we try to offer as much of this program to them as we can.

If you have any BM's who we can help give me a call at 801-473-9350

I really hope that some of that information helped and was insightful. As I collect more I will add to this post. This is what I have on my blog and I believe this to be true....

"Out of all the wonderful families in the world, there is one family meant for the child that you carry, there is HOPE! It is our prayer that you find that one family, we wish you the best in your journey!"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Stefanie's Story...

I came across this beautiful and real blog a while back and it touched me so deeply! This is her story... Thank you Stefanie for sharing it with us!
My name is Stefanie and I’m 20 years old. I’m a birth mom to an 8 month old little girl named Olivia. This is my journey through adoption. It all really started in the summer of 2008. I started working at JCW’s. I started there when I was 16 and then quit to finish school. After graduation, I started working at the new store because they didn’t hire a lot of people and needed help during the day. And that’s when I met Nicholas. He definitely had this charm about him. Every time he walked into the room he had a smile on his face or cracking a joke which made everyone feel at ease. I felt so comfortable around him. He would flirt with me occasionally and give me some really good shoulder massages when he would stand behind me. I worked up the courage and asked for his number.

We started dating immediately after that. We would work together and just hang out together. Our relationship did start off very physical at first. I was attracted to him. He and I had no drama and that’s what I liked about our relationship. It wasn’t this crazy high school drama filled relationship. It felt like an actual relationship and that maybe a future could happen. But I guess, it was never meant to be and some stories don’t have happy endings.

On January 10, 2009, he broke up with me. I would love to say it was this mutual break up. But it was a full on roundhouse kick to the face. There was nothing wrong with our relationship. The only thing it was steady and just going with the flow. I think we were just with each other because it was comfortable and we didn’t like being alone. But this break up was like night and day to me. I didn’t know it was coming. Just that over night he decided, we were through. I was devastated. He was telling me that before with other girls he dated, it was just for fun. And with me, he thought about getting married and having a family but we obviously weren’t doing the right things to have an ETERNAL family. We’re both LDS (Mormons) and he wanted to go back to Church so he could have that family.

I knew from that moment on that I needed someone like that. That I had been inactive in the church for about 4 years and I wasn’t very happy. Nic woke me up from this dream that I was having and that I needed a higher power to get through life. I knew that I needed the Lord and to go back to church. And I’m glad that happened. Because on January 21, 2009. I found out I was pregnant.

I had been on birth control since I was 16 years old. I got a sinus infection and was taking antibiotics. Antibiotics and birth control cancel each other out. And also I found out I was allergic to penicillin so I had to take more medicine. Double whammy. After the reaction went away, it came back and I guess it was still in my muscle and just resurfaced. I went to the doctor and the doctor asked me if I had missed my period since taking the medicine. I was trying to think back to when I had my last period. I was a week late. I told the doctor and he asked if I could be pregnant. I told him no. I was in COMPLETE denial. I took a test.
The doctor came back in the room and said my test was “pretty positive.” Whatever pretty positive means… I’m on the verge of pregnancy? Ha. Who knows? I had texted my mom and told her. She asked me what I was thinking, the first thing I replied was, and “I’m scared.”

Are you kidding me? My first pregnancy- I shouldn’t be scared. I should be excited! But I wasn’t. I was single and 18. My boyfriend, who I thought was the love of my life, dumped me two weeks before. So I thought there was a possibility that he could still love me. It had only been two weeks. He and I practically lived together. So I was bringing all of his clothes, CD’s, and movies back to his parent’s house where he was living a few days after finding out. I told him that I needed to sit down and talk with him.

I told him I was pregnant. He asked me if I was sure. I said, Um. Yep. I went to the doctors 3 days ago and they took a blood test also. I should be about 6-7 weeks along. I wasn’t really looking for much in that visit. Maybe a glimmer of hope that he was willing to work through it together but he didn’t say a lot. I told my dad the night that I found out. He asked me if Nic and I were planning on getting married and I said I hadn’t told him. Nic told me that he had a lot to think about and he’d get back to me. I waited and waited. He didn’t even tell his parents. I posted on Facebook that I was pregnant and it got word to his parents. Nic freaked out and told me that I was immature for doing that and needed to place the baby for adoption.

I was so upset. I didn’t understand why he would say such things especially about his baby and the girl carrying his baby. The girl that he would tell everyday that he loved her and if she got pregnant he’d stay by her side, where was that guy? I was trying my hardest to finish dental assisting school so I could get a job and provide for my baby and make it as a single parent. I would threaten Nic constantly with child support and no visitation. Nic told me at one point that if I did single parent that he would fight for full custody.

He was doing so much to break me and to hurt me. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me about adoption. I felt in the moment that adoption was a cop out. That it was something that girls did who didn’t love their babies. Girls that abandoned them at the hospital and didn’t care but I was different. I cared so much about my baby that I didn’t want to do anything like that. My mom had me start going to LDS family services to talk to a caseworker about my options. Nic did come with me to a meeting at one point and practically said that marriage wasn’t an option and that he’d never see his kid. I wrote him a letter because when we did talk he acted like he wanted to be apart of everything and then to other people he sounded like this heartless father. But I knew that wasn’t him.

My sister (RuthAnn) came home from her mission in March. She and I shared a room together and I was probably 3 ½ months pregnant. I was just telling her everything that was going on in my life. That the dental assisting wasn’t working out (Something about waking up early made me super sick), I didn’t want to live in my parent’s basement for whoever knows how long, and I wanted Olivia to be sealed to me or be apart of a family. RuthAnn said to me, “Physically you’re providing a body but spiritually, maybe it’s meant for someone else.”

My older sister (Erika… I have 4 older sisters and 1 younger) sent me an e-mail saying that her husband’s best friend is looking to adopt. Their names were Dustinn and Valery. And I knew in my heart that I couldn’t just give my baby to some strangers that it had to be somebody I knew. And I knew them since I was like 14 or 15. They would come over to my parent’s house and play games (Erika and her husband lived there a little bit after they were married). I knew what kind of people they were and they were just so awesome and so sweet to each other. My heart started to soften towards adoption. It wasn’t that I was just abandoning my baby. It was that I was giving her what I couldn’t give her at the time. A two parent home, a family that she can be sealed to, she’ll be given whatever her heart desires. She won’t be growing up in some daycare. She’ll have a mom to take care of her.

My ultrasound was May 7, 2009. I was so nervous the night before because Nic was going to go the ultrasound also. I was thinking, what if I’m having a hysterical pregnancy. What if these past 5 months just weren’t real. Trust me. It was all too real.

My little baby had 10 fingers, 10 toes, the longest legs and beautiful profile. I was expecting a precious baby girl. Dustinn and Val were expecting a little girl. They have a son who is biological. I sent them an overnight package and let them know that I had chosen them to parent my daughter. I would let them know all the doctors appointments, all the drama that I had with Nic, just day to day things. They would tell me stuff with Bradshaw, their work, the nursery, baby names. We had decided on the name Olivia Kate together. I told D&V if I was going to keep her, I was going to name her Olivia Nicole. Nicole after Nic. Kate is after Val’s great grandmother.

In July, I flew all the way out to Virginia to visit D, V, and Bradshaw. It was a blast. I saw the nursery and in the room they had a frame and in the middle of the frame was a picture of me and the little ultrasound picture surrounding me. It was super sweet. I knew I picked the right couple. While I was out there, Val helped me put a scrapbook together of pictures of me and Nic growing up so Olivia can have it when she’s older or compare baby pictures to see who she looks like.

A week before my due date Nic decided he was going to step up. He was going to shove everything in my face that I had done wrong in the past 9 months. That everything was my fault. He was trying to convince me that the baby wasn’t his and that he wanted a paternity test and that he let me have all of this power. He was actually really just upset that I called him a sperm donor (which he was acting like one). We had a meeting with our caseworker and we finally just decided to keep our relationship based on Olivia and the adoption. After the meeting, he pulled me aside and he asked me if Olivia really was his. Duh. She’s his. I got pregnant around Christmas. Pretty sure we were dating. He just thought the dates didn’t match up.

He did apologize to me for everything that has happened that he should’ve done things a lot differently and shouldn’t have treated me the way he did. He can’t take it back but all he could do was try and make things right until she’s born. And you know, the 9 months of hell that he put me through that last week was totally worth it. D, V&B flew out on September 17. My due date was September 24. Me, Nic, Dustinn, Val, and Bradshaw would hang out and D&V’s cabin. Sunday September 20, we celebrated Bradshaw’s 2nd birthday with Val’s siblings. On the way back to my house for dinner, Nic was with me and you know, being about 4 days away from your due date it’s quite comfortable when the baby kicks. And he reached over to where she was moving and he FREAKED out. He was like, “I FELT HER MOVE!” I just laughed but then I felt sad because I realized that he NEVER felt that.

Monday, September 21st, we had a game night and movie night at D&V’s cabin. The whole movie Nic just wanted to feel Olivia move. He gave me a ride home and he told me that everyday he thought about what it’d be like if we were a family. That he thinks about it all the time. I couldn’t believe it. Just because of everything that we had been through. I told him though in the hospital it’s going to be really hard and if I started freaking out that I want to keep her he’s going to have tell me no. And he asked me, “Who’s going to tell me no?”

September 22nd, I hung out with my friend Andee (also a birth mom) and I had walked for about two hours and we ate some greasy JC dubs. That night I went to bed sort of crampy and woke up at about 6 or 7 in the morning on September 23rd with some constant pain. I had had false labor a couple weeks before so that’s what I thought it was. I took a bath and my contractions were still constant. About 10-15 minutes apart. I had a doctor’s appointment around 10:30 and D&V were going to go with me. I wrote them an e-mail and I tried calling Nic to tell him I could possibly be in labor. Well, he didn’t pay his phone bill so his phone was turned off. It was like the universe didn’t want me to have a baby that day. I tried turning on my car and realized that it was out of gas and wouldn’t go anywhere. It just died. So I called D&V and they picked me up. They had gotten my e-mail and were so excited.

I had to wait a while before the doctor actually checked me. She said I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced. I decided that I wanted to stay at home as long as I could before going to the hospital. I texted Nic’s brother and asked him if he could get a hold of Nic for me in some way. But his parent’s house phone was turned off because they were in the process of moving. We drove over to Nic’s house and he was like, “I thought you already had the baby! I randomly got all of your texts and freaked out. I was going to drive to the nearest gas station.” I went home and packed my hospital bag and Nic went to pay his phone bill while D&V ran some errands. We went to Nic’s house because it was closer to the hospital and we watched 17 Again. I lost part of my mucous plug while at his house.

My contractions were beginning to be 2-3 minutes apart and very painful just all the way around. Nic drove me to the hospital around 4:30 PM. We sat there for about an hour and I was almost a 6 and still 90%. They hooked me up to an epidural. Then we just waited. I had my older sisters Katrina and RuthAnn in the room, along with my parents, D&V, my younger sister Kimberly, a doula, Nic, and my best friend Jessica (who has recently passed). After pushing through 2 contractions, Olivia Kate was born at 9:36 PM. I cried when I heard her cry. I cried when I saw her. I couldn’t believe this little angel was brought into this world because of me. I was so happy and just kept saying hi. I just wanted to welcome her to the world. But after my tears of joy came, tears of sadness also. Knowing that after saying hello I had to say goodbye soon.

I spent two days in the hospital with that precious spirit. I never cried so much in my life. I thought I had everything planned out. That I was okay with the adoption that I felt good about it but once there was that little human in my arms, it was hard not to have second thoughts. I didn’t want to think about relinquishing my rights because my daughter means so much more to me than a signature. Nic and I cried and talked about our fears and hopes for little Olivia.

Nic and I placed our sweet precious daughter into the loving arms of D and V on September 25, 2009. That night, even though my heart was breaking, I felt at peace with everything. That everything was going to be okay no matter what life threw at me. And trust me, has life thrown plenty of things since Olivia’s birth. But nothing has brought me greater peace than knowing that she’s with the family that she’s supposed to be with. That she was meant to be their daughter. And I’m with who I’m supposed to be with.

It’s been 8 months since that day and I still tear up about it when I really think about that day and so much emotion and heartache. I knew I wasn’t really saying goodbye since our adoption is so open. I just couldn’t bear the thought of losing another person that I love. But because I loved her I was able to give her so much more than I could ever imagine. Looking at pictures of her now she is the happiest little girl. Nic and I have moved on from each other and live our separate lives. Soon after I found someone who is my soul mate, his name is Tayler. He knows everything about Olivia and loves her to pieces. Tayler and I are getting married September 24, 2010. We’re being sealed in the temple in September 2011.

I still stay in contact with D&V and keep with the blog that I started when I was pregnant. My blog is www.stefaniejinelle.blogspot.com

D&V are moving to Chicago so that’s a little bit closer than Virginia and I’ll be seeing them in the next few weeks. I haven’t seen them since January! Olivia can crawl and trying to stand up on her own. I’m pretty sure she’ll be walking sometime soon. She’s just so advanced and such a happy girl. I’m grateful I was able to make that sacrifice as a mother to put my child first. I can’t wait to have my own children someday and receive the blessings that D&V have with their children and to be able to bless my children’s lives.