My Adoption Journey
For those of you who have been involved with adoption, in any way, know that it's one of the hardest, most incredible things a person can go through. It’s difficult on all ends of the playing field; for birth parents, birth grandparents, adoptive couples, etc. Well my name is ShaNae, I’m a birth mom, and this is my story.
In August of 2009 I discovered the heart dropping truth of my pregnancy. I have never felt so alone in my life as I did at that moment. The world literally came crashing down and all I wanted was to disappear. The news sent me into a complete whirl pool of emotions. Shame, guilt, disappointment, fear, anger, sadness, excitement, and worry were just to name a few. After disposing of the pregnancy test, I immediately drove to Planned Parenthood. There, I hoped to receive some kind of help or comfort. As I drove up and walked in I remember feeling like all eyes were on me. Like everyone in the room was thinking, "eww, you're just another pregnant, unmarried teen. The world could rid itself of you." However, the nurses were very kind and helpful. They helped me understand my options and move towards the next important step. As shamed as I am to admit it now, I will tell you that abortion was my first choice. I was over come with fear and knew that my pregnancy would be high risk. So, I asked the nurse what needed to be done to receive an abortion. She informed me that because I was under 18, an abortion required parental consent. You can imagine my horror upon hearing that...but needless to say, I nodded my head and said ok. I shook in terror the whole ride home, knowing that I'd have to tell my parents right away. If I was going to get an abortion, I wanted it ASAP. I knew I wouldn't be able to go through with it the second my baby had a heart beat.
I'm going to skip some details, simply for time’s sake. I will include, however, that I told my mom the moment she arrived home that day. Dad found out from mom that night. Abortion remained an option for only about a week after that. I just couldn't do it, it was wrong.
Anyway, at 8 weeks, news of the pregnancy was between me, mom, dad, the birth father, and my bishop. When I was 2 months along, we went to LDS Family services. And that's where my adoption journey really began. I met with my case worker (whose name I will not reveal for her own privacy's sake so we'll just call her Jan) and she put me on the path of options. I began meeting her once a week to help me through my emotions and sort out my problems. She also opened my eyes to every one of my decisions and helped me move toward the one I eventually felt comfortable with.
Now, before I continue, this is why I chose adoption:
After a lot of thought, prayer, and consideration, I knew adoption was the right choice for me. It's not for everyone, but it was for me. There are several reasons for my decision. Some are religious, some financial, some emotional, and some related to circumstance. My top reason, however, will forever and always be this: My daughter is my most precious gift. And I love her unconditionally. I believe that when you love someone unconditionally you put their needs before your own. As a firm member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I know that every child is ENTITLED to certain blessings that come from the sealing covenant. That sealing covenant can only take place when a child has a married, temple-worthy mother and father, a condition that I was unable to offer at the time. As much as my heart yearned to keep her, and raise her, and have her as my own, I would never be at peace knowing I could have given her more. I wanted her to have stability. I wanted her to have a mom AND a dad. Parents who were mature and wise. I wanted her to have a stay at home mom, and younger siblings to love on her to pieces. I couldn't offer those things, and probably never could. I had to listen to my head, not my heart. I gave her more by placing her for adoption than I ever could by keeping her.
On June 1st, 2010,
the most beautiful baby girl entered this world. She weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and was 19 1/2 inches long. She has strawberry blond hair and adorable dimples when she smiles. This precious little girl is my daughter, Sophie. After a long 9 months of anxiously waiting, she arrived right on her due date. Which just goes to show that she's very special, seeing as only 2% of babies come on their due date;). Before I get into the emotional aspect of things I'll give a time line of how things went that day. I went in for an OBGYN appointment at 9:00 that morning. At approximately 11:30, my doctor came in and stripped my membranes. He said that I would feel some pain the rest of the day and then sent me off with a paper telling me to come in Thursday at 7:30 to be induced. Well, I instantly felt crampy and nasty and by noon I was experiencing my first major contractions. I got home by 12:15 and decided to stay home for a couple hours just to make sure I wasn't having false labor. By 2:30 we were out the door, on our way back to the hospital. By 4:30 they had my epidural in place and were wheeling me into a delivery room. Sophie was ready to come by 7:00 p.m. but they waited as long as they could so that her head was really low. She was delivered at 9:08 p.m.
The whole process went so unbelievably well and smoothly. I know it's a miracle (seeing as my pregnancy was high risk and the doctors were sure I was going to die…HA!) and I have the prayers of many to thank for the safe arrival of my little girl. She came by the use of forceps and they hardly left a mark on her tiny little head. It was by far the most amazing, spiritual experience I've ever had. My mom and Rebecca (Rebecca is Sophie’s adoptive mom) were in the delivery room with me. Rebecca cut Sophie's umbilical cord and even kept the bloody shears! haha I told her she should frame them. Sophie cried when she came out, like babies should, but immediately calmed down once placed on top of my chest.
Ok, now for the hard part. I was in the hospital for three days. By noon on Friday, I was released. Once home, I was able to spend a few hours with Sophie before heading to the adoption placement. We took a nap, curled up on my parent’s bed, and then woke to bathe and get dressed. 5:00 p.m. was our scheduled time to meet at LDS Family Services and do placement. We arrived on time and while I was signing paper work, Sophie's birth father was in another room with Sophie and the Adoptive Couple, saying his goodbyes. Once that was over, my parents, Sophie, and I met with the Adoptive Couple in what they call the "group room". We exchanged gifts and spent some time together talking, exchanging memories. Then, I asked to have some alone time with Sophie. Everyone (meaning Troy, Rebecca, my mom and dad, and our case workers) left the room while I shared some final moments with Sophie. I talked to her, I prayed for strength, and I fed her a bottle. After about 20 minutes I was ready to go. I felt like I was dragging out the pain. So I called them back in and handed Sophie to Rebecca, exchanged tight hugs, and left. And that was it. Sophie was gone.
I had spent the past 9 months preparing for that final moment. The moment when I'd literally have to say goodbye and relinquish my parental rights. Well, I can tell you that no amount of counseling could have prepared me for the real thing. It was the most heart breaking moment of my life. Living through that first night without Sophie was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. My arms literally ached to hold her in my arms. The memories of her sweet little face and her big beautiful eyes looking up at me caused me so much emotional pain that it actually became physical. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't function. I barely made it through that first night. I was screaming out prayers to just make it through with out going insane. Only two days later it was still extremely hard, but I could already feel Heavenly Father easing my pain. I know that the pain will never fully leave me, but I do know that it will fade to a point where I can start to live again. This whole thing has been really hard for not only me, but my family as well. It's been an amazing, difficult journey for all of us; one that has brought us all closer together.
I want everyone to know how much the adoptive family mean to me.
The adoption itself was/is extremely agonizing and painful, but the Adoptive Couple have made it 100 times easier. They have opened their hearts and arms to me and my family. They text me pictures of Sophie every few hours just to reassure me that she's alive and safe. They allow me any kind of contact I need to fully heal from this experience, and not just me, but my family as well. They have become another branch to our family and because of that, I know that anyone who wants to, can meet little Sophie. She's my little angel, OUR most precious gift. I have entrusted her to a family that can offer her more than I ever could. I've heard several other birth moms say that their adoptions were made easier because they felt like they were carrying some one else's baby. Well, I never felt like that. I have always felt like Sophie was my daughter, fully and completely, and that I was her mother. And THAT is why I had to make the choice. The choice that no one else could that would determine the quality of her future. As her mother, I had to choose what was best, since she lacked the ability to choose for herself. I know that I love Sophie with all my heart. I have never experienced this kind of love before now. It is incredible. And it is because I love her that I was able to let her go. I put her needs before my own, and though extremely painful and heart breaking, it was right. And I know I'll be blessed for it. I can't wait to create more and more memories with her throughout her life. I am so blessed to even have that choice. Thank you Troy and Rebecca. Thank you for taking such good care of her, and me.
If you read this and have any other questions you can visit my blog at shanaemykael.blogspot.com
Thanks for your time, and thank you Karine, for allowing me to share my story.
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