Friday, October 29, 2010

Questions and Answers from A Birth Mom and A Adoptive Mom

1. What brought you to adoption?
( Birth Mom)
Well. I was single and pregnant. My mom asked me if I wanted to go to LDS Family Services to talk to a counselor and so I did. And I wasn't so sure on adoption for about the first 4 months of my pregnancy. It was mentioned here and there but it always made mad or sad. I was very closed minded at first. But my heart began to soften as soon as I found out that Valery and Dustinn were looking to adopt.

(Adoptive Mom)

Like many other couples, infertility brought us to adoption.
We had been blessed with one biological son but hoped for more children. Starting the adoption process felt natural and right.

Back in 2004, I was a senior at BYU. I was walking home from class one day and saw a toddler, wearing just a diaper, running back and forth across the street. I carried him to the side of the road and hung out with him until I met his mother. His mother, "N" was in dire straits. "N" and I became friends but even more so, her son "Angel" and I became friends. I'd regularly pick him up to go to the park or McDonald's. Sometimes when I returned with Angel I couldn't find "N" and Angel would stay with me (and my college roommates, haha) overnight.

Dustinn came into the picture and together we continued to visit Angel as "N" hopped from place to place in the Salt Lake valley, and as Angel was in and out of foster care.

In 2008 "N" and Angel moved again, except this time no one knew where they went. I haven't seen or heard from "N" or Angel since. But I miss him. I still keep my eyes peeled for him when we're in Utah. I can't help but think about how old he's turning every December 16th. I wonder what he's like and how he is doing in school. I wonder if anyone is helping him with his homework and reminding him that he is good and smart and important.
Dustinn and I pray that he's okay because we know often he was not.
The moral of this story is twofold:
1. I knew long ago that a child did not have to be biologically mine to love him/her with all my heart.
2. I know what it's like to wonder how a child is doing. We wouldn't ever want Stefanie to feel like that. While we're aware that open adoption isn't for everyone, it was important to us that Stefanie had that option.

2.What do you want out of the adoption relationship with each other.
(Birth Mom) I wanted a really close friendship like BFF's. Someone I can call and talk to even if I was having a bad day and needed a friend. I think our friendship has blossomed more and I think of Val as like my soul sister. :)
(Adoptive Mom) Stef appreciates updates, pictures, visits and generally to have a continuing relationship with Olivia.
We don't have any expectations of things we'd like Stefanie to do for us/Olivia. However, she has done many wonderful and thoughtful things for us. She loves us and Bradshaw. She remembers and cares about important things in our life. She makes us feel special by spending time with us.
Generally, everyone in the adoption triad wants respect, understanding, patience and forgiveness (Dustinn and I are most definitely fallible!)
We are hopeful that an open adoption will help comfort and reassure Stefanie of her choice. We are hopeful that an open adoption will give Olivia answers, confidence and peace.

3.What do you both want for the child that was placed for adoption?

(Birth Mom) I want her to be happy and to know that she's always loved from all different sorts of families. Your blood doesn't define your family. It's those that are closest to you. I want her to WANT to know where she comes from and that it's an awesome thing that she's adopted
(Adoptive Mom)
(Incidentally, prior to Olivia's birth we were on a long car ride with Stefanie and we all took turns making wishes for Olivia.)
Olivia's just a toddler now. We want her world to be warm, welcoming, friendly. We want Olivia to feel safe.
As she grows, we want her to be able to discover her talents and interests and to find joy and fulfillment in using them to help others.
We want her to know that she is a beloved daughter of God. That she is of divine worth.
We want her to know that God was aware of her birth and life. That He will hear and answer her prayers.
We want her to have the confidence that comes from knowing who she is and knowing what life is about.
We want her to know that she is dearly loved by her parents, siblings, birth mom, birth dad, and all of her extended family (birth family definitely included.)
We want her to know being adopted makes her special.

4.How is your relation ship with each other?
(Birth Mom) With Val (the adoptive mom) We're like sisters. With Olivia (birthdaughter) she's only 13 months old. But I know she'll always grow up knowing who I am and that we'll be super close. Not so much a mother/daughter relationship but maybe like an aunt/niece relationship. Sounds weird. I hated that idea at first. But it makes sense.

(Adoptive Mom) Good! Right, Stef?
We communicate primarily via email. Which works really well for me. (While I am not a shy person. I tend to shy away from the phone.)

Stefanie lives in Utah, where a lot of my extended family also lives so we've visited Utah several times in the past year and have typically been able to see Stefanie and her family multiple times each visit. So we've had the chance to meet and get to know her boyfriend/fiance/now husband, to play games (hurrah for Kingsburg!) and catch up in person.

5. What would be advice you would give to other women considering adoption?

(Birth Mom) It's hard and take the time to know you're doing what's best for YOU and for YOUR BABY. You will be affected by it but your baby will be affected more by your choices. I would advise you to do a pro/cons list. Get counseling. Go to groups, if there are any available in your community. Write in your journal. Pray often. Do what it is that will help you.

6. What would be your advice to other hopeful adoptive couples?

(Birth Mom) After having gone through the adoption process and meeting so many wonderful couples. I know that you all have that precious spirit waiting to be born with you. And they're as excited as you are. I know times will be tough and it'll get discouraging but don't lose faith.
My other advice (it's going to be kind of harsh and to the point): Do NOT lead your birthmom on. Do NOT promise her something that you can't follow through with. Do NOT promise her an open adoption with all intentions to close it up after. We canNOT have PEACE without all the PIECES. A birthmom will find you that will fit into your family if that's what you like. Be true to yourself. We made all the promises and followed through with the adoption and gave you what you wanted. All we ask is that you return the favor. If you don't feel comfortable with an open adoption, research it. Find out more about it. You are most likely feeling uneasy because of the unknown. It's a wonderful experience and you would truely miss out and so will your future child.
(Adoptive Mom) Keep a journal! Daily if possible. You will go through the whole gamut of emotions and see miracles that you'll want to remember--and even more so you'll experience things that you'll want to be able to tell your adopted child.
The more you write, the more you'll see.
I would especially note the "warm fuzzies" (such as sweet quotes your child's birth family says, special connections you have with the birth family, first impressions, etc.)
Plus, you never know if something you've written will someday be an answer your child seeks.

7. How open is your adoption? What does OPEN mean to you?
(Birth Mom) I think it's super open. We don't live in the same state. But being as far away as we are, it's still close. We actually knew each other before. Dustinn (adoptive dad) is best friends with my brother in-law. And they found out I was pregnant and looking at options through my sister. I knew they were the perfect family already. Before I had Olivia, I flew out to Virginia and stayed with them for a week. Me and Val would call each other and E-mail. We both blog and she sends me pictures or will tell me something new about Olivia and sends me updates. It's awesome. When they're in town, we see each other. They let me babysit Olivia a few days after I had Olivia.
(Adoptive Mom) I believe it would be labeled as "very open."
We've seen each other many times since Olivia's been born. We've been in each other's homes. We love each other's extended family. We follow each other's blogs. We send pictures and give updates. We talk on the phone but mostly email.

8. What does your Open adoption look like today? Has anything changed? More open? Less open?
(Birth Mom) Today. It hasn't changed much. Except that our schedules are just so busy. She is taking care of two kids. I recently just got married. But when we have time we will E-mail. It's so convient just when you're on the computer and you only have a short amount of time that you can always get back on and E-mail back when you have time. I feel bad if she calls and I can't answer and I don't call back. And I don't want Dustinn or Val to feel obligated that they have to call me back right away and that I'll be angry forever. I know they'll get back to me when they can. They're great. I'm sure we're both nervous about stepping on eachother's toes but nothing too horrible has gone wrong. Haha.

(Adoptive Mom) It's only been a year. I guess the biggest change is my husband is now an MBA student--so we're on a student budget and will be traveling less this year than we did last year. Otherwise nothing has changed.
Equally open.

9. What were your insecurities about placing for adoption and about adopting?

(Birth Mom) I was afraid that Olivia wouldn't know that I loved her or that I didn't know who I was. That Dustinn and Val decided that I was somehow a threat (or a psycho) to her and their family and would cut off all contact. I'm afraid that later on that when Olivia gets older that she will choose on her own that she doesn't want contact with me. I don't want it to be that somehow a huge fight will happen and we won't ever talk to each other again.
(Adoptive Mom) -First we worried that we wouldn't be chosen by a birth mother.
-Shortly after Stefanie chose us, she flew from Utah to Virginia to spend time with us. I was worried if my bath tub was clean. I was worried if my cooking tasted good. I worried whether she was bored. I was worried about what she thought of our parenting. Mostly, I was worried if it was a week long interview. (Murphy's Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Within hours of Stef arriving, she saw our son's worst behavior. ever. And she still placed with us!!! The week was extremely fun: the highlights being the times she opened up to us regarding what she was feeling and thinking.)
-During Stefanie's pregnancy, we worried about placement HARD. Every woman who goes through that is a superhero in my book.)
-Now, mostly we worry about letting Stefanie down. Not in terms of parenting or who we are. More in terms of maintaining the relationship (ie sending enough/the right pictures, finding the balance between visiting Stefanie without neglecting other relatives we have in Utah, etc.)
(And new worries will likely crop up as Olivia grows up. :)

10. How are you (the birth mom) known to the child? Are you called by name? a nickname? Are you known as the birth mom?

(Birth Mom) I'm just Stefanie. Nothing to special right now just because Olivia is barely one. I'm sure she'll just know me as Stefanie and she'll know that I'm her birthmom. She won't ever call me mom because I'm not raising her, Val is. Val is her mom.
(Adoptive Mom)
Olivia is only 13 months old so she does't talk a lot. :)
Stef and I talked about what she'd prefer. We decided Olivia will call her "Stef/Stefanie" and of course she will know that Stefanie is her birth mother, her angel.

11. Did you both come up with a story together on how the child would know he/she was placed for adoption and why? Or did just the AParent?
(Birth Mom) I haven't even thought about it. Haha. I know that Dustinn and Val will do a great job with that and that I don't really have to worry about it.
(Adoptive Mom) Stefanie made Olivia a beautiful picture album.
With Olivia, there will never be a "big reveal." She will always know that she's adopted, has a birth mother and birth father who love her dearly, and that she came to our family in a very special way.

12.Who named the child?

(Birth Mom) We both sort of did. What happened was that when I was planning on parenting. I was going to name her Olivia Nicole. Nic is the birthfather and so Nicole would be after him. I told Val that after I decided to place. And they decided to keep the first name Olivia and to change her middle name to Kate after Val's great-grandmother and her sister. It didn't upset me. I was kind of unsure about it at first and I didn't know if I liked how it sounded together. But it grew on me. And I look at her and she's DEFINITELY an Olivia Kate. Not an Olivia Nicole.
(Adoptive Mom)We named her together.
It makes me laugh to remember this detail about the night we'd found out Stefanie was placing with us. That day, out of the blue, we'd received a package in the mail. When we opened the package we saw an ultrasound picture and the caption "it's a girl!" Beneath the picture was a letter that started "I wanted to let you know what you're having." (Thinking about it still gives me chills.)
We had company in town so Dustinn and I went out walking in the dark, warm summer night to call Stefanie. After squeals, tears and excitedly talking at the same time, she asked, "so....what are you going to name her?" "Oh Stef, we have no idea! We just found out we're going to be parents a few minutes ago."
We spent the next couple of days thinking about it. Stefanie had told us "if I was keeping her I would name her Olivia" but she in no way pressured us to choose that name. We'd previously planned on giving all our children family names. Then we had this "ah-ha!" moment: Olivia would be a family name--from Stefanie's side. (It also helped that we think Olivia is a beautiful name.)
Olivia's middle name is Kate after my Great Grandmother and my sister. A lot of people don't know their great grandparents very well but that is not the case for me. I spent many summers having sleep-overs at her house, eating her delicious cooking, doing cartwheels in her yard, and eating vegetables straight from their garden. Only after my own bout with infertility were my eyes opened to my Great Grandma's trials with wanting children. She was always cheerful and charitable.
13.Anything else you want to add?

(Adoptive Mom)

Yes! You asked specifically for a birth mom and adoptive parent story combined, so I focused on the relationship between Stefanie and I.
However, Olivia's story is incomplete without her amazing birth dad!
We got to know him and became friends before Olivia was born and continue to communicate and see him often. He loves Olivia very much.
He recently got married and he & his wife are an important part of our lives.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Adoption is bitter/sweet...

My name is Meghan.
I bought these awesome jeans at the local mall. Size zero, just like always.
I got back home and tried them on.
They were way too small. I couldn't even zip the zipper!
I thought to myself 'I don't gain weight'. I have weighed 95 pounds for the past three years of my life!
I knew something was wrong.
I had no other symptoms.
No nausea.
No morning sickness.

I had to get a pregnancy test.
I dragged a friend along and bought three pregnancy tests from the dollar store.
We arrived at her house and I was eager to find out so I took them, all three of them.
I just stood in that bathroom and stared. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
My emotions were so stirred up that I had no clue how to act.
I walked into her living room and she asked what the results were..
I said 'Yep, I'm pregnant'.
The friend started freaking out and all I could do was laugh.
I was freaking out so bad that all I could do is laugh!
Once I had calmed down a little bit I decided that I should go to the store and buy an expensive, legit pregnancy test.

Both of those were positive too!
I still couldn't comprehend so the next day I bought one more test.
It was positive.

February 12, 2010 I found out that I was pregnant.

I was dating someone at the time so naturally I assumed the child was his.
He ignored me for a couple of days until I showed up on his doorstep on Valentine's Day.
I told him that I really was pregnant and that I needed him to be there for me.
We held each other and sobbed.
He told me it would all be okay and that I would not have to go through it alone.

We didn't talk much after that.
When I was four months pregnant he moved in with my mother and I.
Our relationship was super rocky and we fought almost constantly.
I was so stressed out over everything.
He had brought up the option of abortion before but I am strictly against that so now he was bringing up adoption.
I was completely against that also.
This is MY baby. I want it. I want to see its first crawl, hear its first chuckle, and take it to its first day of school.
I was scared.

I went to my first ultrasound when I was five months pregnant. They told me it was a boy!!
I was much further along than I had thought.
I thought I was only three months along, when in fact I was five.
We were not together when my baby was conceived.
I freaked and had no idea what to do.
I didn't tell him because I was in denial.

A month passed and we got in an intense heated argument.
The next day he moved back to Arkansas.

I was left alone to deal with this so all of the possibilities of the future came rushing into my mind.
I googled a few adoption agencies and was sent a packet from two of them.
I carefully scanned through each profile that I was sent but nothing felt right.
The people in the profiles were fake to me.
They looked like they were acting like they were perfect in the pictures to try and persuade me to pick them.
I didn't want that nor did I want someone in a completely different state who I didn't know to have my baby.. so I put all of that on hold.

My stepsister introduced me to a lady named Erin.
She lived in the same town and already had two children.
Her husband had already gotten a vasectomy and she just wanted one more.
I thought that I would give it a shot although I wanted my baby to be the first child joining the couple.
We talked for a week or so and everything was moving way too fast.
She had already gotten an attorney, wanted to go shopping for him,
and sent me a text that said 'I am paying the attorney so you better not change your mind.'

That was it for me. I was not comfortable.
The next day after the text I called her and gently told her that I was not comfortable and that I needed to explore my options.
She was very rude to me after that.
I am glad that she was rude because I knew I didn't like her for some reason and she showed it by getting angry and saying nasty things to me.
So once again, I put it all on hold.

One day I went to work and my boss asked me what my plans were for the baby.
I said that I had thought about adoption and parenting but that I was not having any luck finding a good family.
She told me that her niece had a syndrome known as Turner's syndrome.
She was told she couldn't have children when she was eight years old and that her and her husband would love to adopt.

I didn't know my boss well but I decided to give it a chance.
She gave me her niece's phone number and about a week later I finally got the nerve to call her and her husband.
Her voice was so warm and inviting, I had talked to her for twenty minutes and instantly felt I could trust them with everything.

They already had a planned trip to the town I lived in to see family so we decided that when they came we would meet.
The following weekend I met them at a park and was instantly convinced they would be perfect for my child.

Throughout my pregnancy I called them after every doctor's appointment and every counseling appointment.
I knew this was going to be great.

After a long conversation with my mother I decided it was time to tell my old boyfriend that I had not conceived when we were dating.
I was scared to do this but I did.
When that was over with I decided to confront the real father via text message.
I didn't know how else to do it.
He didn't say much, just that he had figured the whole time that the baby was his.
We didn't talk after that.

In August I went to my check up for the last time.
My doctor informed me that I would be induced the following Monday.
I called the adoptive mom and told her.
She started to cry and told me that the date I am being induced was her grandmother Rosaline's birthday.
This was so significant to her because her grandmother had raised her and had passed away.
After I heard that I knew I was doing the right thing.
Everything was so perfectly falling into place.

The last week of my pregnancy I was so excited to see my baby and so happy to give them the greatest life.
I couldn't wait to see their faces when he arrived.

August 09, 2010 I awoke and got ready to go to the hospital.
I was being induced at 5 a.m.
I had never been more anxious or scared in my entire life.
Labor lasted 13 hours but thanks to the epidural I barely felt any pain.
At 6:40 PM my baby GIRL was born.

I looked at the nurses that were cleaning her off and they said 'It's a girl!'
I thought I was hallucinating.
Sure enough it was.
We decided to name her Madisyn Rosaline DeeAnn
(DeeAnn is my middle name!)

When I looked at that little girl my heart raced.
I had never felt anything more intense and amazing.
She was the most beautiful little thing I had ever laid eyes on.
I never knew what love was until I held her for the first time.

Later on that night the adoptive parents came by my hospital room for a short visit.
I did not sleep that night, or the next night, I didn't want to miss anything!
I knew that the time I was in the hospital was my time to bond with my little girl.
I knew it was the most time I would get alone with her for a long time.

My doctor told me I could go home on the second day but I stayed another night.
I was not ready to let go of her, not just yet.

The day it was time to leave came faster than I thought it would.
The adoptive parents, my mother, Madisyn, and I all gathered in the hospital room for pictures and the goodbyes.
I put her in her car seat and carried her downstairs to their car.
It was so hard putting her in their car when my car was parked right next to theirs.
We took a few more pictures and went our separate ways.

I was so numb when I left the hospital, I barely showed any emotion.
My face was blank and I didn't know what to say.

Luckily, they stayed in town for the next couple of weeks waiting for all of the papers to be finalized.
I visited Madisyn every other day until they went home.

My sister gave birth to her daughter the day Madisyn left.
The hardest thing to do was watch her take her daughter home.
When I held my niece all I could think about was Madisyn.

It has been two months now! I take life one day at a time and try not dwelling on the fact that I gave my daughter away.
It helps to think about her future and how happy she will be thanks to my decision.
Also, I am able to go back to school and make something of myself.
I want her to grow up and think of me as an amazing woman.
I want her to know that I chose adoption because I was only eighteen years old, I had no money, I had barely any support.
I want her to know that it was the best possible option and that when I met her adoptive
parents I fell in love.
They are everything I was looking for.
We have a VERY open adoption. I can call, text, email whenever I need to and we are visiting for the first time since they have been home in the next month or so!
As for the birth father and I, we have reconnected and talk often.
Although he was not a part of my pregnancy or the birth of our very beautiful daughter he tells me all of the time that I did the right thing.
He will be joining me on my trip to see Madisyn and I can not wait for the two of them to meet.

Adoption is a very tough decision, but you just need to hang in there.
It is the most bittersweet feeling that you could EVER feel.
I am so blessed to still be apart of her life.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Choosing to be Happy and finding a way to be OK :)

My story starts back in 2007. I was sixteen, and I got my first job at a local amusement park, where I met R. We began dating shortly after meeting, and by the end of the summer, I was pregnant. My cousin found out, and forced us to tell the entire family. We had to sit and make phone call after phone call to all of my aunts and uncles. Needless to say, none of them were very supportive. A lot of my relationships with family members became severely damaged during that time, and remained so for quite a while. It was a rough pregnancy. I was extremely stressed, and I had horrible morning sickness. I couldn’t keep anything down, and I lost a lot of weight. When I was about four months along, I had a miscarriage. My family chose to pretend the pregnancy and miscarriage had never happened.

After the miscarriage, my family forced R and I to break up. R moved to SC, and my family shipped me off to live with relatives in NC. Eventually, we both ended up back in GA, and started secretly hanging out. In fall of ’08, R called and asked me to go out to dinner as “friends”, and I agreed. One thing led to another that night, and a month later I realized I was pregnant again. I told R, but we both chose to ignore it for the most part. As R said, “What’s the point of making any plans? You’ll just have another miscarriage.” After the first pregnancy, I figured he was probably right; especially as I had been told I may not ever have children.

The months passed and I continued to keep it a secret, from everyone. I acted like nothing was happening; I continued hanging out with friends, even going on trips. Eventually I began to realize this pregnancy wasn’t going to end in miscarriage. I began to panic. By this point I was almost 6 months pregnant, with no job, and no plan. I began to talk to R about adoption. I searched on Google and found an agency located in California that did adoptions across the US. I contacted them and they sent me a packet of forms to fill out. I filled it out with R, but didn’t send it back. Something just didn’t feel right… So, I called them and told them we had found a couple on our own.

By this time, my mother had grown suspicious, and one day she finally came right out and asked me if I was pregnant. I said yes, and I told her we were looking at adoption. I explained that since I was 18, I was doing things on my own this time, and I did not want the rest of the family to know. I did not want to deal with everyone else’s thoughts and opinions on my situation. I needed only people who would be supportive. She agreed, and suggested I go to Care Net Pregnancy Resource center for a proof of pregnancy test and counseling.

While I was there we talked about adoption, and they had me watch a video of Mark Shultz’s song “Everything to me”. In the video, he talks about how he is adopted, and how he wrote this song for his birthmother. Songs and movies never make me cry, but this one had tears rolling down my cheeks. I had this overwhelming feeling that everything was going to be OK, and that adoption really was the choice I should make. My counselors came back in and prayed with me, and by the time I left everyone was in tears!

The ladies at Care Net told me there was an ultrasound training happening the next day, and they were doing free ultrasounds. I signed up immediately, and went the next day with my mother (R was out of town). I was SO relieved to find out that the baby was ok and healthy. The ultrasound technician asked me if I knew what I was having, and after telling her no, she moved the scanner over and asked if I could tell. It was obvious, I was having a boy! I started crying as soon as I found out, and I texted R immediately to tell him.

Care Net had given me a list of local adoption agencies, but a few of them had a star by them. I decided to check out the first one with a star, Catholic Charities, and dragged R along with me. We met with Sandy, and at this point I can’t even remember what all we talked about. I do remember that I left feeling at peace, and knowing that this was the agency we would use. We began counseling sessions with Lacell, and she really pushed us to exhaust all resources that could help us parent before we got serious about adoption. Her unbiased counseling is something I have really come to appreciate.

In April, when I was about eight months pregnant, we wrote down a wish list of sorts for what we wanted in our sons’ adoptive parents. The week after that Lacell gave us two profiles to start out with. We didn’t have much to say about the first profile, and before giving us the second Lacell explained they were an interracial couple like us (which is what we wanted), and they had been approved just the week before. As we started reading through the profile, we started grinning from ear to ear. They were everything we wanted. They were perfect. We set up a visit with them and their 3 yr old son J (who had also been adopted and was also a black/white baby) for the next week. The meeting went amazingly well, and as soon as it was over R and I agreed without a doubt that they were the ones.

A few weeks later on May 20th, I had a C-section. There were a few complications and I had to be sedated, so I don’t remember anything after feeling him being pulled out of me and hearing his cries. I had Robbie at 4:53 pm, but because of the complications, I didn’t actually see him until after 9 pm that night. They rolled him into my room and placed him in my arms. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. We spent the next three days in the hospital together; R and I kept him with us the entire time with the exception of when they took him to be circumcised or weighed and measured. We had M and S (the adoptive parents) come to visit only once, for a half hour or so. They gave R a watch, and me a necklace that I wear all the time. They each held Robbie, and S (the dad) fed him. The visit was short and sweet. I believe this is how it should be done, as your time in the hospital is YOUR time, not theirs. It is also the only time you will have to parent your child. Trust me, they have the rest of your child’s life to bond with him/her. You don’t.

The day I was discharged from the hospital, I spent the whole morning holding Robbie. I kept him on my bed with me, holding him close, trying to memorize everything about him. I used that time alone to let myself cry and tell him how much I love him, and that I was sorry. That afternoon I got him dressed in the go home outfit I’d bought him, and took pictures with my family. Once it was time to go, I carried him down to the nursery where the social worker was waiting. After kissing him goodbye and telling him I love him, I placed him in the bassinette and forced myself to walk away. As I started to walk away, he began screaming his head off. It was like he knew what was happening. Let me tell you, signing the papers was a walk in the park compared to walking away from my crying son.

The next few weeks were some of the hardest in my life. I spent most of my time crying in my room or in the shower, wondering if I had made the right decision. My every thought was about Robbie. Where was he? What was he doing? Was he ok? What did he look like now? Does he miss me? I felt so completely numb. My womb was empty, my arms literally ached to hold him, and my heart felt as though it had been ripped from my chest. To make things worse, I experienced “ghost kicks”, where you feel as though there is still a baby kicking you from inside. It was a very painful reminder of what I no longer had.

We received our first email from M just a few days after they had gotten Robbie. She told us all about his first doctors visit, how much he weighed, how long he slept at night, how much he was eating, what his name was, etc. It was so comforting to receive that email. It let me know that they really did want an open adoption. We emailed every week, with M sending us TWO sets of pictures in the first month. After a few weeks of emailing, I hesitantly brought up the possibility of setting up a visit. M agreed right away, and we set up a visit for the first week of July.

I was so nervous and anxious about the visit I didn’t sleep the night before, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat ANYTHING the whole day (this happened every time I had a visit, for about six months). The visit was a bit awkward at first, but M and S were so welcoming, that it wasn’t hard to just relax and have fun. R and I ended up spending the entire day with them, staying for lunch and dinner. We spent the day playing with J and Robbie, and just talking and getting to know each other better. I figured I would cry when I had to leave Robbie again, but I was able to leave that visit with a smile on my face and a full heart. Seeing how happy and loved Robbie was helped me to know I had made the right decision.

It’s been 17 months, and things have certainly gotten easier since that first visit. I no longer agonize over what to say in my emails/texts/facebook messages; I am now able to get a full night sleep before each visit, and when I’m hungry, I just open up their fridge and find something to eat! They have truly become extended family to me, and I can honestly say M is one of my dearest friends. We talk about everything under the sun, and some times we meet up and hang out, just the two of us. Our relationship started because of adoption, but it has evolved into so much more than that.

That doesn’t mean our situation is perfect. We’ve had our ups and downs, we’ve had disagreements (though they have been handled respectfully), and there were a few months our contact was limited. I’ve been diagnosed with major depression and slight post traumatic stress disorder. There have been months when I thought things would never get better, and days where I couldn’t get out of bed.

Adoption isn’t rainbows and butterflies. It’s hard, and complicated. You have to be willing to work through things. You have to take the good with the bad, just like with every relationship. You have to choose to be happy. Once you do that, you may just find a way to be OK with everything.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hopeful Adoptive Couples....

The Bulgaria government is trying to "get rid of" their handicapped
orphans. Cost of ADOPTING one of these children is just $8k and it only
takes 4 months. Some handicaps are as minor as a crossed eye, club foot,
hair lip, cleft palate-
...Expenses are 100% tax deductible. Call One Heart Bulgaria’s Adoption
Support Specialist, Janet Peterson, @ 435-752-7638.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful for God's Hands in my Adoption...

I had just move out to Arizona from Oklahoma where I grew up (had left bible college behind..which I regret screwing up)..the only person I knew there was my aunt..I had a great job at a mortgage company and my very first apartment..I was 20 and loving life on my own. I had came from a very sheltered life style and was so innocent, until my cousin came into state from Cali…with his stripper girlfriend. She just moved her self into my place and took over..ugh..I started partying a little but never went out with them..I was too young… my cousin introduced me to a friend’s friend. This guy’s name was Dave..Dave was super sweet and calm..he was a good family oriented guy I could tell right away… I definitely wanted to get to know him better… we hung out a few times went on dates… he was soo funny… an all around good person. Then after a few months. 2 days before my 21st birthday I found out I was pregnant… ooooh man! Was I ever scared! I was scared to tell Dave. I had no idea how he would react. Well, he was shocked but decided to stay with me and we decided to raise this baby together.. his family is catholic and he did NOT want to tell his parents (I didn’t want to tell mine either)… he suggested we get married… I told him no, I just wasn’t ready for that (or a baby really but I was against abortion and adoption) so I knew I was going to have the baby and glad he decided to stay.

We both ended up telling our families, and of course everyone was shocked and a lil upset… but they came around. I was an emotional wreck while pregnant… I had no control over my feelings it was very strange for me. I would cry all the time… then laugh cause I had no idea why I was crying... Dave wasn’t very considerate of my feelings all the time.. or so I thought.. so I cried more.. lol and around 7 ½ months my boss decided to fire me!
For no reason… I was GREAT at my job…. even winning awards the months before and getting a promotion! He did not like pregnant women on his “team” I had heard him say that a few times to others… he told me I HAD to quit cause if he fired me it would look bad being I was pregnant and it was 2 days before Christmas… I felt I had no choice… so I quit with the promise that he would pay me for the next month.

So there it was… I was very pregnant and job-less and Dave had been throwing around the word adoption for a month before that… after losing my job, I lost my apartment and felt that Dave would be gone next… I couldn’t raise a baby alone and I was now living with that stripper friend of my cousins. I hated it and knew I couldn’t bring the baby back there. I had nowhere to go and no family to help (I don’t have a mom or dad) I thought about moving in with Dave but he had a roommate and his roomies girlfriend lived with them. They didn’t want a baby there... so I felt like I had no choice. I brought up adoption to Dave and that week we had found an agency and everything happen so quick after that. I just wish I had more time, that’s all I needed…

Dave and I had looked through some hopeful parents files and had narrowed it down to 2 couples. Man was that a hard decision... both couples deserving and how hard was it to turn down one. I had my family pray about it and friends and they had people praying too Everyone got a copy of the 2 files and everyone came to a decision on the same ones that me & Dave picked out. Jennifer and Jason were the new parents of “Ethan Daniel/Michael” couldn’t decided on a middle name yet. I couldn’t wait to tell them. I was excited to make them happy. This would be their first child and mine too. It was hard to see them so happy though, because I wanted to be them. I wanted to have him and be happy, but I knew it wasn’t going to work that way so right at a month after telling Jen and Jason that we had chose them, I had my baby boy. Man it was an amazing feeling holding him for the first time..Dave cried like a baby... so did I. My aunt was also there and my grandma. Everyone supported our decision. I cried the whole time I was in the hospital. I couldn’t stop! I held him and kissed him and prayed once more that God would show me I made the right decision. On the night before we left, Dave was going to go home and get rest before he left the 3 of us laid in the hospital bed and cried and hugged each other(geez, im crying now)
He asked me if we could keep him lol as if he were a puppy. I had been wanting him to say that for so long... as if I needed his approval. My first thought when he asked this was on Jennifer, Ethan’s new mom, I could just see how crushed she would be if I had changed my mind and I didn’t need to give it a second thought. I told Dave NO WE CAN'T KEEP HIM. We already promised Jennifer and Jason a baby, there was no turning back. I felt good about saying that but was angry with him for now bringing this up sooner. This next part is hard to share. I’m crying just thinking about that day I left the hospital without him.

So…the next day around noon Ethan’s parents came to pick him up..I did ok, until we got out the door and they had to take him to put him in their car.I DID NOT want to let go.I wasn’t ready.I WASN’T READY!
We were all crying. I don’t remember who took him out of my arms, but I remember how it felt. My heart broke into a million pieces! I felt like I was dying! I wanted to die. I wasn’t ready to let him go. He was MY baby... I wanted him! On the way home Dave and I didn’t talk. I was thinking in my head how angry I was at him. I felt like it was his fault... like he should have never mentioned adoption to me, like he should have manned up and said NO we are keeping our baby, but he didn’t and I was too weak to. So Dave dropped me off at my empty apartment (I had sold everything but my mattress to pay rent) I was all alone. No job, no baby, and I had found an eviction notice that my roommate had on the counter. Could life get any worse??? I knew me and Dave would come to an end. I don’t know how we could stay together. I was starting to resent him. Sure enough 6 weeks later. I had nothing! I was days away from being homeless and still crying every night over my baby. I tried to commit suicide. I wanted to die sooo bad but I just couldn’t do it, because I didn’t want my son to grow up and not know me. Hes the only reason I stuck around…

Jennifer and Jason are sooo perfect for him! I am soo thankful that God picked them to be his parents. They ended up naming him: Zachary Ethan.
I am extremely thankful that they chose open adoption and have allowed me to visit. I can’t get enough pictures of him. I love seeing how happy he is and while it was a rough start 5 ½ years later..it’s a little easier and I am completely confident in my decision! I just wish I lived closer so I can visit more. They adopted a baby girl in august of 08.

When I started the adoption process I was terrified I had no idea what adoption was like? I had no knowledge of open adoption and I knew I couldn’t live without knowing if he was ok. I know this was all in God’s hands... he led us to the right place and to the right parents for our child and for that I am very thankful….sad, but thankful.
Since my adoption, I have married and have a beautiful daughter, Abbey.

Dave also married and this is him and his wife.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Live Chat for Birth Moms :)

BirthMom Buds Chat tonight at 10 pm eastern in the chat room. We have a new & improved chat software so it will look different but it will be the same log in and everything as before. http://www.forum.birthmombuds.com/ Look for "live chat" in the board index.

A Journey Angels did attend...

This beautiful story is from Andee.... I love the details in it! It really touched me! Especially at the end where she felt angels attending all that she did!

It was valentines day.
(I bought a box of pregnancy tests earlier that week because, after the terrible day we made the mistake, I had been paranoid about being pregnant. which is wierd since we only messed up once. once.)

While I was getting ready I was thinking about the pregnancy tests. At this point I had taken one and it had come back negative, so I was sure I wasn't but I wanted to be absolutely positive. I grabbed one of them, looked at Kris and told him I was going to take it just to stop me from stressing out so much.
I took the test, and about 3 minutes later looked at it and I only saw one line.
I walked out, told Kris it was negative, and proceeded to get ready.
I don't know why, but I didn't throw the test away. So when I went back into my room to change my clothes, I glanced back down at the pregnancy test.
next to the 1st line was a really light pink line. I had to double take at first and when I saw the line I yelled for Kris to come look.
"does that look like another line to you?" I asked him. I was starting to panic.

His eyes got really big and he looked at me. "go take the other one." he said. I ran to the kitchen, drank a huge glass of water, and within 15 minutes I was able to take the other test.
It felt like centuries to get the results from this test.
Sure enough, there was a light pink line next to the first again.
"these lines are too light" I told him "this isn't good enough. maybe the test is just broken"

Our Dinner reservations were in a half hour. "let's just go to dinner." he said. "we'll buy another test afterwards." I agreed but wasn't sure how I was going to make it through all of dinner.
I can honestly say that I don't remember what I ate, or even what the restauraunt looked like. I was too stressed out. I was on the verge of tears the entire time. Buying another test was the only thing on my mind, and it wouldn't subside.

When dinner was finally over, I pretty much ran to the car. We drove straight to Albertsons, and bought a different brand of pregnancy tests this time. This box had two in it.
I ran to the bathroom, and took another test.
I waited for what seemed like an eternity, and looked at it.
the + sign was really really light again.
This was not good enough. Unless the line was dark, I wasn't going to believe the stupid thing.
"Just wait until tomorrow Andee. It might just be too soon to tell." said Kris. "fine." I said. "but I'm buying this one too." I grabbed the test that actually says "pregnant" or "not pregnant" digitally. That way I wouldn't have to play games with the tests anymore.

Kris brought me back to my apartment, I said bye to him and went straight to bed. I couldn't sleep that night...When I woke up, I immediately took the last test from the + or - box.
the + sign was darker than the 3 previous tests, but not dark enough for me.
I left for class and hardly made it through my first one. I was not going to go through the rest of my classes like this. I skipped my others, and went home. I was taking this last one and it was digital so I would know for sure. It was the moment of truth.

I got home, grabbed the test and headed straight for the bathroom. After taking it I sat there staring at the hourglass on the test. please be negative. I thought. PLEASE.

I put my face in my hands and said a quick prayer.
this can't be positive.
When I looked down, my stomach twisted and I felt as if I was going to throw up. My eyes became blurry with tears as I read the word "pregnant" on the test.
this cannot be happening to me!! no!

I began sobbing. I went to my room, laid on my bed and cried and cried. About a half an hour later I called the clinic behind my apartment.
"I think I'm pregnant. I need to come in to confirm it."
"have you taken a pregnancy test?"
"yes. five."
"were any of them positive?"
"yes. all of them."
"wow. okay, well you're pregnant. There is no need to come in. Is this a good or a bad thing?"
"it's bad."
I couldn't stop crying. I felt like I was stuck in a nightmare.
I hung up the phone and called Kris. After telling him the news, I grabbed my keys and went to my car. I had to get out of my apartment.

That night, my mom called me. 30 seconds into the conversation she could tell something was wrong. I got off the phone with her before she could ask anymore questions. I was not ready to tell her.

not even five minutes later, my dad texted me telling me he had a bad feeling about something and that I needed to be completely honest with him. I didn't reply. I didn't know what to say. I was at my aunts house babysitting. The kids were in bed and Kris was there talking about what we should do. That was when my dad called.
He asked me what was going on. I could barely talk.
he began asking me a bunch of questions, that of which I did not respond to because I was sobbing and couldn't control my voice.
"Andee if you get pregnant!...." he began to say.
"I am pregnant dad!" my crying was now very noticable.
"she's pregnant" he said to my mom. "we're coming over"
Within minutes they were at the front door. They came in and told Kris that he better leave. My mom pushed him out the door and slammed it shut.

That was when they turned to me. They yelled for about 10 minutes. They told me how irresponsible this decision was, and asked me what I plan on doing. Then my mom told me she was staying with the kids until my aunt came home and to go home with my dad.

I got in his car and it was almost completely silent on the way home. He asked me two questions. One was what I was thinking of doing. When I responded marriage he asked me why I loved him. I then tried to think of reasons why I loved him....I tried.
When we pulled into the garage, I followed my dad to the bottom of the stairs. He stopped when we got there, turned around, and started crying. That was the worst part. I wished so badly he were still yelling. I would have rather him been yelling. He never cries.
He then grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. All I could say was I'm sorry. I said it over and over as we stood there and cried. We then went to their room and talked about my options. My Dad told me that he was going to tell me his opinion, and what he thinks I should do, then after that he wasn't going to say a word. He explained that he thought I should place for adoption. But that was it.

For the first few weeks I decided that I wanted to get married. I wanted to keep the baby. it was my baby. I bought a dress, but was not excited. I was in a bad mood all of the time and was not ever happy. I kept praying for an answer. I WANTED marriage to be right. I wanted things to work out. I wanted it so badly that I refused to listen to my answer. For weeks I ignored my feelings, but I continued praying for an answer. I was becoming so frustrated. One day I finally Knelt down and said a prayer asking that if marriage was not the right thing, then to give Kris the second thoughts that I had the entire time.
He had been all for marriage from the beginning and never showed any sign of second thoughts.

A couple days after I prayed for that answer, we were driving home from getting our marriage license. When we were almost home, Kris explained that we needed to talk. He said that he had been thinking a lot lately and he wanted to talk. We pulled into his driveway and parked the car. He started explaining that he wasn't sure this was the right thing. He then went on to tell me things I had never heard before. He told me things that I had asked him about before I even discovered I was pregnant. He had obviously not been honest with me.

I sat in shock the entire time. I could not believe what he was telling me. I began to cry, took the ring off my finger and gave it to him. "so should we think about this for a while?" he asked. "yes." I said. I had already made my decision. Kris was having second thoughts. It was an answer to my prayers. The minute he got out of the car, I received a text from my mom "do you need me?" I was confused as to how she knew what was going on, and when exactly to text me. "yes" was my reply.
She called me right after that. She was crying, and I was crying. She told me to meet her at the park. We got there around the same time, and her and my dad walked up to me and gave me a hug.
After asking my mom how she knew, she told me that Kris had gone to her before he came to me. He told her all his second thoughts.
My mom KNEW that once he told me, it would be a deal breaker.

We sat on the bleachers, my dad wrapped a blanket around me and they both sat down and hugged me. I knew what this meant. I had received my answer, but it wasn't the answer I wanted. It wasn't the answer I was hoping for. This was my baby. I wanted to raise my baby. It was my baby. Mine.
We talked for an hour. I explained to them that I didn't want to make ths little baby suffer from my mistakes. I didn't want to make my child go between parents every weekend. I wanted it to have a mom and dad that loved eachother.

I was going to place for adoption.
The next few days, I had a hard time getting up in the mornings. I had to force myself to go to work everyday. I just wanted to stay in bed. I was so depressed. Everyday my mom would tell me that I needed to start looking at profiles. She kept saying
"the sooner the better. The sooner you find someone, the easier things will be."
Every time she would say that I would think "yeah right! once I find someone, it will mean that I really am placing this baby. it will be even worse." I cried myself to sleep every night, and every night my mom would come lay next to me, talk to me about my situation and tell me that I would feel better after finding the adoptive couple.

A couple days after I called off the wedding, we met with LDSFS to start the adoption process. My case worker asked me to write a list of the kind of family I wanted my baby to go to. I remember writing a huge long list. I wrote in many different ways that I wanted them to be in love.
I wanted my baby to be loved unconditionally.

I wanted the adoptive couple to love each other unconditionally.

My mom kept telling me that I needed to be realistic, and that what I was writing was not realistic, because I wrote a lot of really picky things. But I knew what I wanted, and they were out there. It was just hard to put it in words on paper.

After meeting with my case worker, I finally decided that I needed to start searching for the perfect couple. I got on itsaboutlove.org and started looking through the thousands of families looking to adopt. for the first couple of days, I wrote down every couple that I liked and that impressed me. I probably had at least 50 written down. About three days later, I decided I needed to start narrowing it down. This took hours to do, but I finally narrowed it down to my top five favorite. These 5 couples were all amazing and their profiles really impressed me.

After that I set the list aside, and didn't look at it for a couple of days.

About 2 days after I wrote my list, my mom received a phone call from one of her close friends sisters, Lisa. Lisa told her that she knew a couple that was trying to adopt and that she felt impressed to tell us. My mom received calls like this every day, so she didn't think much of it. But when Lisa told her that I could look up their profile on itsaboutlove.org, and that their names were D & A it caught her attention.

My mom had heard their names before. After getting off of the phone with Lisa, she went to look at my list. D & A were my number 2. My mom couldn't believe it.

When I arrived home from work that day my mom told me the story. The second she said D & A I became excited. I knew I liked them.

The next day I met with Melissa and brought my list with me. I told her that I wanted to set up an appointment to meet with both D & A and my #1 couple. She agreed and told me she would call me when she had a date and time set up.

The next day Melissa called me and explained that she had gotten ahold of D & A immediately and that I was to meet with them Tuesday April 15th, at 6:00 pm. She then went on to tell me that she could not get ahold of the first couple, but that she would try again after I met with D & A.

I agreed and was really excited, yet really scared to meet them. I arrived at the agency at 5:30 to meet with Melissa first. She asked me if I had come up with any questions I was going to ask them. I had thought about it, but I mostly just wanted to get to know them. I wanted to know about them.
At 6:00 D & A's case worker Pam, walked in and said they were there. I felt this overwhelming feeling of comfort. My whole body relaxed as I walked into the room we were going to meet in and sat down on the couch.

About a minute later I saw a beautiful girl walk past the room. I stared at the door. I knew that was her. Sure enough she turned around and walked into the room. She was holding a bouquet of flowers and had the sweetest smile on her face I had ever seen.

The second she stepped into the room I felt the spirit overcome me. I stood up and hugged her. "Hi, I'm A." she said.

It's hard to put in words the way I felt after that. I knew her from somewhere. I felt like we had been lifelong friends.

I knew her.

She gave me the flowers and sat down on the couch next to mine. Just seconds after that D walked in. I knew I had seen him before as well. He gave me a hug, said "Hi I'm D" and sat on the couch next to A. I stared at both of them in amazement

This was the couple I had been searching for.

The conversation began flowing, and continued to the entire time. We talked , laughed and shared interests. They told me everything I wanted to know about them, not only by words but by the way they presented themselves. You could tell they were absolutely amazing people by just looking at them. I could tell they were truly in love; Best friends.

When what seemed like minutes, an hour had gone by. Our caseworkers told us it was time to wrap things up. Melissa asked D and A to write their email address down in case I had anymore questions and that we would let them know when I made my decision.

Once she said that I realized that no one knew I had already made my decision. The moment they walked into the room I had made my decision.

There is nothing I can say that could describe the overwhelming feeling I felt. There are not words that will emphasize how much I knew this couple was my babys parents.

I just knew.

I looked at Meilssa, then back at D and A. A (adoptive mom to be) was writing their email address on a piece of paper. "Actually." I said "I already made my decision." She ( A) looked up from writing and sat back. Dustin looked at her and then they both looked back at me. "can I tell you my decision now?" I asked Melissa "oh yeah of course." she said

I didn't know how to say it. D and A were just staring at me. I couldn't read the emotion in either of their faces. "I want you guys to be the parents." I said as tears filled my eyes. It was all I could get out.

A (Adoptive Mom to be) covered her mouth with her hands and started crying. D just stared at me I could now see emotion in his face.

I couldn't stop staring at either of them. I was looking at the parents of my child. I don't remember what was said after that. all I remember was there was whole lot of hugging and many tears. Happy tears.

That night, I received an email from them. I was so excited and immediately emailed them back. I asked them if they wanted to go to Dinner that weekend, and that I wanted to bring my parents so that they could meet them. Sure enough we set up a day and time and we met at Olive Garden. The meeting went well and we talked non-stop the entire time. They gave me their phone numbers as we were leaving, and D texted me while we were on our way home.
"I just wanted to let you know that I always told A(adoptive Mom to be) that when she got pregnant, I would get her anything she was craving at any time of night. The same goes for you."

I laughed, and thanked him.
These really were some AMAZING people.

A couple of days later, I asked them if they wanted to come to the Doctor Appointments with me. I wanted it to seem like (A) was the one pregnant. I wanted her to experience the pregnancy with me. It made things easier for me. It helped me feel that she would bond with the baby as much as me. It made it easier for me to call her the mom and not me. So they did. I was only 14 weeks along when we met, so they only missed the very first appointment. When we got to the hospital, and went back into our room, our nurse told me that we were going to hear the heartbeat. I was So excited. When the doctor came in and put the monitor on my stomach, it became silent.

He moved it around for a while and we kept hearing little thuds. "Do you hear that?" said Dr. Terry. "That is the baby kicking." I was speechless. This was so wierd! he moved it around a little more and stopped. "There's the heartbeat" he said.

A (adoptive Mom to be) and I both looked at eachother and smiled. W O W.

We listened for about 15 seconds, and the doctor started talking again. "Well, from the sound of the heartbeat, I predict it's a girl!" I laughed. "How often are you right?" He looked at me and smiled. "About 50% of the time".

A week later, we decided to go to Fetal Foto to find out the sex of the baby. They said that they could find out as early as 15 weeks, so we went as early as possible. That's the most exciting part of a pregnancy! My mom came with me to this, as well as D & A(of course). When the Ultrasonographer put the camera on my stomach, and I saw the profile on the screen in front of me, I stared in shock. Up on that screen was a baby. a baby! It had not actually hit me that I was having a baby until that moment
As she went on to look at the profile of the baby, my throat became really tight. I could not believe that there was a little child inside of me. I looked at Dustin and Andrea, and their eyes were fixed on the screen. They were seeing their baby for the very first time. All of the sudden the Ultrasonographer said

"okay it looks like you're having a little girl."

My head spun around to look at her. "what?" I asked. "look" She said, pointing at the screen. I looked back at D and A and they were grinning. I was so happy for them, but at the same time I ached. I LOVED girls. I wanted this baby! I felt a stabbing pain in my chest. I wanted her. I smiled at them. It took everything in me to hold back tears throughout the rest of the ultrasound. I looked at my mom and she was looking at the screen. I couldn't read her expression but I knew she was feeling the pain as well. I looked back at D and A and they were staring at me. I smiled at them again and then quickly looked back at the screen to hide the tears in my eyes.

When we were done, we went back to the waiting room while they created the video and printed off the pictures. I sat on the couch. A (adoptive mom to be)sat next to me on one side and my mom on the other. "how are you doing?" my mom asked. That was it. I couldn't hold it in anymore. "This sucks." I said as I burst into tears. A (adoptive Mom to be) began to cry as well and put her arm around me.
She hugged me.

I couldn't stop crying. I tried as hard as I could to stop. I didn't want them to worry about me. They were supposed to be enjoying the moment. They had just found out they were having a girl. I didn't want to ruin the moment.

"I hope she looks just like you" said D.

I looked at him and smiled. "thanks." I said. Here they were trying to make me feel better. They didn't have to do this. I wished I could stop. I didn't want to make them feel like they couldn't be excited. They needed to be excited.

When they finally brought the pictures and video out, we walked out the door. A (adoptive Mom to be) hugged me again and we stood there for a while. I was crying. She was crying. These people were amazing.

When I got in the car I looked at my mom. I knew she was trying to be strong for me. We both began to cry and gave eachother a hug. My mom is a strong person.
As the weeks went by, we saw each other more and more.

I worked at eBay, and after about a month, D and A started bringing me dinner. They did this almost every night. We talked about everything during these dinner breaks, and learned so many things about each other. These were amazing people.
(did I mention that these are AMAZING people?)

One day I was sitting at work and texting them. I was talking to D (adoptive Dad to be) and I asked him if they had decided on what they were going to name the baby yet. When he texted me back I was not expecting the tears that came after I read it. He told me that they had decided on the name Avery Leigh.

Leigh is my middle name.

He said that they wanted to give meaning to her name, and they wanted her to remember her birth mom.
I didn't know what to say. All I could do was thank both of them through text, and cry.

The months went on, and by the time I was 9 months along I was ready to have the baby. I was getting so anxious, and felt as ready as I would ever be. My due date was October 25th. I got to my weekly checkups, and everytime I would leave in a bad mood. Every appointment they would tell me that nothing was happening. I hadn't even started thinning.

Let's just say, the people that I came in contact with the last few weeks of my pregnancy... I owe each and every one of them an apology.

I was in a bad mood everyday.
I didn't know why this baby wasn't coming. I was an emotional wreck.
I felt fat,
I wasn't dilated or even THINNED,
every doctors appointment was bad news,
I was WAITING to go through something I was not looking forward too when I would rather get it over and done with,
on top of all that
my best friend had just died.

I felt like It would be easier to cope if I could deal with all of it at once; especially when I knew I was going to have to soon.

October 25th came and nothing.

was I ever going to have this baby?

On October 26th, I am pretty sure I cried all day long. I wanted to have this baby more than anything.

Why wasn't she coming?
Why was she taking so long?

That night, while I was laying next to my mom and complaining, (this had been a regular occurrence lately) She got up and said "I'm hungry. Let's go to Mcdonalds" I looked at her, confused. "Okay..."
she then told me to put on some tennis shoes because we were walking there.

Normally I would have been against this little idea, but I knew that it would have to do SOMETHING for me to walk that far. It was at least 3 miles away.

We walked all the way, my mom was so patient with me. I complained about my situation the whole way there and cried. She simply just listened and talked to me about it.

That day, I came to the conclusion that my mom is truly my best friend. No one else would have put up with me like she was.

When we got to McDonalds I had blisters on my feet. My mom called my dad & had him pick us up so that we didn't have to have to walk all the way home.

The next day, D & A and I decided to meet for dinner and then go to my house afterwards to play games. We did this every week. For dinner, we decided to go to the little Chinese restaurant by my house.

While we were eating I had my first real contraction

I wasn't sure if I should get excited or not because I had been getting contractions for weeks and nothing was happening.

On the way back to my house I had another one. These contractions were all a lot more intense. When we arrived at my house, we started setting up the game. This was when I started having them close to 5 minutes apart.

My mom kept saying that I was faking it. I began trying to convince her that I really was having them. "you told me earlier today that you were going to fake it." she said.

That was true. But I wasn't faking it.

My Dad on the other hand said he believed I was going to have her by the next day. My mom decided that we would go for a walk in the park, and if I was still having them we would go to the hospital.

D and A pulled out their camera and started taking pictures. They didn't want to miss anything if this was for real.

We walked to the park and back. Sure enough, I was still having them. The feeling that surrounded us was so intense. You could feel every one's excitement, and anxiety.

When we finally decided to go to the hospital, D and A followed behind us all the way there. At one point they called and asked if we thought this was really it.

When we arrived, the nurse checked me and announced that I was dilated to a 1 and 70% effaced. I was SO HAPPY. Even though it was only a 1, at least it was something! She then proceeded to tell me that if it's not a three, they have to get permission from the Doctor to keep me there.

We were so anxious. I was praying that they would admit me. It was 11:00 pm, so they had to ask the doctor working the graves that night.

When he finally came in,
he said that because I hadn't been thinned at all at my last appointment,
he would admit me and start me on medicine to speed up the process.

I looked over at D and A. I couldn't help but feel excited for them. They were grinning. I couldn't believe that it was finally here!

The Doctor proceeded to tell D and A that it would be a while until I had the baby, and recommended that they go home and get a good nights rest, because it would probably be their last. They gave me a hug, wished me luck, and left.

That night was painful. The medicine they gave me was definitely making my contractions extremely painful. I couldn't sleep. My mom was there with me sleeping on the little bench by the window. I tried really hard to be quiet because I knew that she needed her sleep, but I was in pain. I cried a lot. I wanted the epidural, but every time the nurse would come in and check me, she would say that nothing had changed. I had to be dilated to a 3 in order to receive an epidural.

at around 7 am, they checked me again and told me that I was dilated to a 3 and that my doctor would be there in an hour. what?? no I wanted the epidural NOW.

They explained that before I received my epidural, my Dr. had to check me and approve.

It was the longest hour of my life.

Once he came he checked me, and confirmed that I could proceed with the epidural. Within minutes the anesthesiologist was in my room.

The second the pain was gone, I wanted to hug him.
I thanked him, and fell right to sleep.

I was in and out of consciousness the whole day. I was so tired, but D and A were there, and so was my family. I didn't want to just sleep. At 2 pm, the nurse came in and checked me. She told me that I was dilated to a 9!

I was so excited!
The nurse got my doctor and for the next few hours they worked on turning her around. They thought they had gotten her turned, and by about 5:00, the doctor came in and she had flipped back around completely. Finally he just turned her really quickly, and then left to go help perform a c-section.

About a minute later, he came running back into my room and said "Her heart rate is dropping, it's baby time."

I wanted D and A there to see their daughter born. They stood up by my head and watched as Avery was born. It was the most spiritual experience I have ever had in my life.

It all happened so fast.

I remember looking over at D and A as they walked in. Within minutes Dr. Terry held up a beautiful baby girl, and she started crying.

Avery Leigh.
born at 5:17 pm, on October 28th 2008.

I sat in awe and stared at her. She had ten fingers. Ten toes. She had 2 arms and 2 legs. What a miracle she was.

They then laid Avery on my chest. I held on to her. I couldn't stop crying, or staring at her. D and A cut the chord and the nurse wrapped her in a blanket. I immediately pulled her to my chest. I couldn't stop staring at her. Her beautiful eyes.
I didn't ever want let her go.

I looked up for the first time since she was born. D nd A were standing there with tear stained faces just staring at her. I looked at my mom. She was crying.
I asked A(adoptive Mom to be) If she w
anted to hold her. "no, you can hold her." she said. I could tell she was just aching to hold her daughter. I looked down at my beautiful Angel again, and then gave her to A(Adoptive Mom) "You can hold her."
Watching A (Adoptive MOm)
gently take her from my arms and hold her for the first time was amazing. I will forever remember that moment. She was so in love with this little Angel. This was her daughter.

A(adoptive Mom) and Avery both just stared at each other the whole time. The spirit was so strong. We all just sat and watched this tender moment.

The next person to hold her was D. If anyone has ever seen a new father hold his little girl for the very first time, you can comprehend maybe a little as to how touching this was. What an amazing father D was. They stared into each others eyes forever. Avery knew this was her dad.

They placed her back in my arms after this, and I just stared at her again. She was beautiful.
The next day, exactly 24 hours after Avery was born, I signed relinquishment papers. Normally you do this when you are placing her, but because of issues with the birth father, I didn't want to risk anything. I signed them as soon as possible.

This was the hard part. Listening to every word they would read, and signing all of those papers killed me. I held Avery in my arms while I did this. I never wanted to let her go. They read every word out loud. They said things like,
"After signing these papers you will no longer have any rights to this child."

"Signing these papers indicate that you will no longer be her mother."
"This takes every right you have to this baby away"
"All your rights will be terminated. Relinquished."

It was like they were looking for every word they could possibly think of that would rip my heart out. It killed me. At the very end, they asked me to explain why I was doing this. are you serious? I thought. "Is that really necessary?" my dad asked. They explained that it was because I had to show that I was not being coerced into doing this.

I was crying, bawling. I could hardly talk and they wanted me to explain to them why I was doing this!? All I could say was, "Because I love her. and I want her to have a mom and a dad that love each other." I hugged her tighter.

Once that was over I took a deep breath. Considering the situation, I could not believe how calm I felt. I knew what i was doing, but it was okay. I knew without a doubt that this was the right thing. I didn't have any second thoughts. Not at all. I couldn't believe it.
The next day I had all to myself. I asked that I have no visitors. I wanted to spend time with her. Just me and Avery. I wanted to hold her and be her mom for one day. I can honestly tell you that I hardly slept the entire time I was at the hospital. I probably had about 3 hours of sleep all together. I didn't WANT to sleep.

I wanted to look at her.

Play with her.

Sing to her.

Hug her.

Hold her.

Feed her.

I didn't have time to sleep. I could hardly tell that I was even tired.
On October 30th, 2008 at 5:00 pm, D &A Arrived to pick up their baby girl.

I felt at peace with all of it. I was so calm. There were tears throughout my entire hospital stay, yes. But when it came the time for me to give her to them, I was okay. I was at peace. The Spirit was Strong. I felt Angels surrounding all of us.

Watching her mom and dad hold her the day we left was even more comforting.
They loved her so much. I Knew she was in the best hands, and would be loved unconditionally, just like I had hoped for.

About an hour after they arrived, I gave Avery another big kiss and huge hug, and placed her in A's arms.

A put her in her car seat. I stood up gave both her a D a huge long hug, and sat in the wheelchair outside my door.

On the car ride home, I cried. I cried for days. But I never second guessed my decision. From the moment I met D &A I knew she was theirs. From the moment she was born, I knew she was theirs. I love Avery more than I thought I could ever love someone. She is my little Angel. She has truly changed my life for the better.

These things that have happened to me are pieces of me. They have made me who I am today.

I am truly blessed to have met such amazing people. I am so happy to have found the perfect couple for Avery. I am so happy that through adoption, I have a relationship that will last forever

D and A are not just friends. They are like family.

I am so grateful to them for being so willing to have an open adoption with me.
It's so wonderful to always know how Avery is doing. It's so great that I can watch her grow up. She is truly my Angel sent from heaven, and the most loved and spoiled little girl I know.