Monday, June 11, 2007

Match maker, match maker - Adoption Journey Part 4

Originally posted June 15, 2006:

I left off Part Three with finding out that E had cheated on me.

I should back up half a step.

The week before I found out that E was cheating, we had gone to an adoption agency and met with the Birth Parent Counselor there. She was nice and gentle with us. We decided to go with her agency, basically because my Dr. and the hospital (where I would be delivery) recommended them. We looked through profiles and selected several that we were interested to take home and look through.

We had simple criteria:
Had to be Christian
Had to baptize our child
Could not have another child - this one was huge for me, I wanted Baby to go to a couple that was waiting for their first child, because I wanted to give couples that had been waiting for a while a chance.

That was pretty much it.

We were also sent home with tons and tons of paperwork that we had to fill out and return in the next couple of weeks. We had to detail our medical background and that of our families. We were very honest that there was cancer and downs syndrome in E's family line and there was breast cancer and heart disease in my family line. We understood that there might be couples out there that didn't want a physically or mentally challenged child.

As we started going through this process, I was very open and honest with my friends, family and co-workers. One of my co-workers had a friend whose brother and sister-n-law were dealing with IF and were thinking of adopting. I went to meet them, but they were not right for me. We didn't click. Plus they were not going to raise the Baby in any faith or baptize I chose to pass on them and just look through the agency.

We went through the profiles and selected one couple. That's it. I realized that we were putting all of our eggs in one basket...but I just knew that were the ones. They were the parents of my Baby. I didn't look through them until the weekend, when one of my best friends, Heidi, who was supporting me through the entire pregnancy came over to visit with me. Her and I were looking through the profiles, I kept setting one aside. I read through it...but I just didn't know. I showed it to Heidi, she agreed it was good but we should look through them all. After every profile that I read through, I would pick up the one I had set aside. I was just so drawn to this profile.

I showed it to E and he agreed that we should call the agency and get the phone number of the prospective parents. So the next day I did.

What grabbed me in the profile was that they had lost twin girls five months into their pregnancy and they wanted to give them a "sibling". They weren't trying to replace what they lost, they were just trying to build or re-build their family. They had pictures of their cats (one cat had her paws in men's was hysterical), of their family, of their home and of their church.

From the moment that the Lord told me adoption was the route for Baby, I never looked back. I never hesitated, I never stopped. I drew from the strength that the Lord gave me and was dedicated to my decision.

On July 1st, I made the phone call (that was the date, right J?)...the call that changed a families life forever.

**To Be Continued.**

J and B add:
Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.

I don’t do good with uncertainty. That’s why infertility was so devastating to me, but at least I had some control. There were tests we could have done, procedures we could try. I even went through IVF twice at the young age of 23, I was just determined to have a baby. It took losing the twins to let go, but it wasn’t easy. I cried every day right up until we were matched with a birthmother. I always felt incomplete without children. But with the adoption, I knew we had made the right choice, I felt like it was just in God’s plan for us, unfortunately it took a long painful journey to be able to see that plan. So we finished our profile, which was put into a book with other couples hoping to adopt and were told to wait. I had to give up control. The control was in the hands of the birthparents, but I had faith the right one would find us at the right time.

Waiting wasn’t easy. I kept busy with my job at the hospital, and I even took a summer course to keep busy, but I was always wondering, has our child been conceived yet, is a birthmother looking at my profile today? I was told the first month of waiting was the hardest, they were right. I was frustrated after only 6 weeks of waiting. In June 2004 I started seeing an acupuncturist for some back pain from a car accident and he kept saying he could treat my infertility. It was tempting. July 1, 2004 I woke up upset and cried to B that I was thinking of trying to conceive again. He said we would talk about it when he got home from work that day. I was upset all morning, until my cell phone rang at work. I looked at the caller ID… The adoption agency!!! They told me a birthmother was interested in us BUT... she was 28 years old and married but getting a divorce. I was warned in our home study that 1/3 of adoptions the birthparents change their minds, before even talking to them, I was sure that they would reconcile and change their minds, so my excitement dulled a bit. I called B and my mom to share the news. When I got home from work there was a message on our answering machine from Beth, a birthmother who wanted to talk. My heart just pounded….

No way, Jose - Adoption Journey - Part 3

Originally posted June 14, 2006:

I left off Part Two with E passing out at the ultrasound and with him finally believing that I was in fact pregnant.

I went to a prenatal appointment in late May and after the appointment I went to visit my good friend Lisa. While we were talking about the fact that E was still pushing me to terminate (even though I was well into my second trimester), she was asking me what I was going to do. I just sat looking at her, thinking.

That's when I knew. I heard a voice, loud and clear in my head say "adoption". Lisa said that my eyes got wide and bright. I told her what I heard and she thought it was a fantastic idea, if I could handle it. I called my Pastor and a mentor to get their thoughts on the idea of placing Baby for adoption.

My pastor was very supportive and thought it was a fantastic idea and that God gave me the idea. I also knew that if I asked for it God would give me the strength to be able to give Baby to a couple that needed her....because she was the miracle baby for me and she will be the miracle baby for someone else.

E and I discussed the option and we decided together it was the best thing to do. We had at this point decided to separate and get divorced once our lease was up in August. I wasn't able to stay in a marriage where I was being told to terminate the only child that was fighting for her life and hadn't left my body.

I had started to suspect that E was cheating on me. I never had proof and it was sort of an inkling in the back of my mind. Little things started tipping me off. He used to leave his cell phone lying around all the time and now it was always in his pocket. He was taking our dog out more and would offer to run places all the time (which he had never done in the past).

One Tuesday in early June he had left his cell phone lying on the counter. I opened it and found a girls name that I had never seen before. I set it back down and tried to get my mind around the fact that there was another girls name in my husbands cell phone. I asked him about it casually. He said that it was a friend from high school. problem.

He left for band practice for the evening and I broke into his yahoo email account. I found 187 emails detailing the relationship that had started in FEBRUARY of 2004, it was now JUNE of 2004. He is cheating on his pregnant wife and telling her to terminate because he is cheating.

Seeing all of the details of their relationship in black and white made me physically ill.

**Stay Tuned**

Hello, Baby Girl

Originally posted June 12, 2006:

I went to see Baby M on Saturday.

I do a really good job of hiding my feelings from others and I do a really good job of not letting myself feel. Not this time. I made it through the visit and it was fun to see her so active and to have so many mannerisms that are mine. She is me. It is heartbreaking.

J and B always take good care of my feelings, but I am almost getting to the point where it feels like I am intruding. The first few minutes felt akward and uncomfortable. Like we were waiting for the other to react or to say something that wasn't quiet right.

Baby M was so intent on me and was watching me. She was comfortable with me right away. Does she know that she came from me? Is there an invisible link that no one can see that reminds her? She asked me to pick her up, she gave me things and she was comfortable with me touching her and being around her.

J and B took some fantastic pictures of me and Baby M. When I was looking at one of them on the camera, tears came to my eyes. She finally looks like me. We have huge smiles on our faces and she is my mini-me.

I don't regret.
I don't blame anymore.
I have lost my anger.

All I have is love.
Love for the daughter that I lost.
Love for the parents that keep her safe and allow her to be apart of my life.

There is pain and tenderness when it comes to Baby M...but it reminds me that I have done what I needed to do. What I did was right and was good.

She will be loved. By many many people.

I love you baby girl, don't ever forget that....

You want me to do WHAT??? Adoption Journey - Part 2

I left off Part 1 at E telling me that he wanted to have kids but not with me.

That was not the only thing he told me. He told me that he wanted me to terminate the pregnancy and he was quite admant about it. Very vocal. Very demanding. He even went as far as to get his family on board to try to convince me to terminate...which didnt work and only made me more want to keep Baby more.

At this point, we were having trouble in our relationship, but we really hadnt spoken about divorce yet. We knew that something had to give or we were going to be in trouble. Never did we think that a baby would "fix" things. Being pregnant was very much a suprise...but for me an abortion was not possible at this stage of my life.

On May 11th, 2004 I went to the dr for bloodwork. My progestrone (that is the horomone that sustains pregnancy) level was should have been over 25. Things were not looking good and a miscarriage was almost assured. I was already heartbroken, because in my heart I knew a miscarriage was extermly possible and likely (I had never sustained a pregnancy past 8 weeks). So, I just kept waiting for the shoe to fall...I kept waiting for her to go to God.

The following Tuesday, I went for an ultrasound. E met me at the appointment, but did not go into the ultrasound. At the ultrasound, Baby had a heartbeat. The progestrone level was so low that Dr. E gave me a supplement and actually scheduled me for both an ultrasound and a D&C the following week (Baby surely wasnt going to make it).

I went to the ultrasound the following Tuesday and baby had double in size. Dr. E kept me on weekly ultrasounds for 2 more weeks just to make sure that Baby was progressing. Each ultrasound she was growing, happy and healthy.

At my last weekly ultrasound at 11 weeks, E wanted to go with me and actually come into the ultrasound. At this point he did not truly believe I was pregnant nor did he believe that if I was truly pregnant that Baby was actually sustaining. When Baby popped up onto the ultrasound screen, she was squirming around and you could clearly see her arms and legs. I looked over at E, who was standing next to me to see his reaction...he passed out. Now, he believed me. He couldnt believe it was real until that point.

He was so angry at me after that ultrasound. I truly believe that he wanted me to be lying. He pressed me even harder to terminate the pregnancy. Which, at this point was not an option (it was NEVER an option for me).

I am now in my second trimester and decisions need to be made....

To be continued...

**J and B anything to add at this point....**

Pregnant, Now what? The adoption journey - Part 1

Originally posted June 8, 2006:

In April of 2004 my (now ex) husband, E, and I went to Florida to visit my mom. I had no idea just how much that trip would change my life forever.

After returning from Florida, I discovered that I was pregnant on May 8th. I told one of my good friends that I was pregnant because I was severly high risk (6 miscarriages) and I needed someone to be aware of what was happening because I had not told my husband yet.

On May 8 my husband and I had a very serious conversation. He told me that he was thinking of leaving me because I was unable to have children and he really wanted to have a child. Secretly, I was thrilled because I knew I was pregnant. After his little "bomb", we went to dinner. As we were driving I asked him when he would want to have kids and he said pretty much immediately. At this point we had been married for almost 3 years and while our marriage had its issues, I didnt think it was too the point that it was ending.

On May 10th, I went to Walgreens got a bib that said "I love my Daddy" and a pregnancy test. As soon as I touched the test, it said "pregnant". I knew. I didnt need a stupid test. E was sitting on our loveseat watching TV. I approached him, knelt before him and handed him the bib with tears in my eyes. Did you ever see that episode of "Friends" where Rachel tells Ross its his baby? Ross has this stuptified look on his face for about 40 minutes...that was E. He thought I was joking. He looked at the pregnancy test and still didnt believe.

Later that night, I asked him what was wrong. He was not the excited "daddy-to-be" that I expected him to be, that the conversation we had had just days before had led me to believe he would be. His answer to me was that he wanted to have children, but not with me.

Holy shit. I am roughly 6 weeks pregnant and you dont want this pregnancy?

The next few days were hell....

**To Be Continued**

J and B begin their journey:
In April of 2004 we had been struggling with the decision to adopt ever since we lost the twins a year ago. Our heart was telling us that it was in God’s plan for us to adopt, but it was hard to let go and admit defeat to our 5 years of infertility after we were so close.

Oddly, when B and I were married we both knew that we adopt one day even though we had no way of knowing the events ahead of us. We still had a frozen embryo from our IVF that we became pregnant with the twins from, but we knew that there was another baby out there for us somewhere. So, we continued with the adoption process.

The adoption process is very involved. They want to know everything about you. They ask you about your childhood, your parenting ideals, and your background. They run a background check on you and they come out and visit your home and you have 3 interviews, all to be approved. Once you are clear to adopt you have to sell yourself. We had to make a family profile that talked about our relationship, our family, and write a letter to a birthmother. Then we wait to be chosen by a birthmother.

Birthmother, that was a term we were unfamiliar with. When we researched adoption we knew that open adoption was for us. We could never blindly take a child from a family and not think of the effect on them. It was important for us that our child never felt abandoned like some adopted children do. We always wanted the child to feel loved and accepted and know where she came from. We also knew that no one can carry a child for 9 months and not fall in love with the baby and just because someone couldn’t raise the child it didn’t mean that they shouldn’t have any relationship with the child. So although it would have been easier for us to have a closed adoption, it was so much healthier for everyone to have an open adoption.

The profile was actually easy to make once we got started. We wanted to show that we were young and had sense of humors and that we had great family support, so we made a picture collage that had family photos as well as a picture of B looking like he got knocked out by a Rocky statue, and a picture of our cat wearing shoes. We knew that some might see that as weird, but we knew that the right birthmother for us would have to share our humor. The letter to the birthmother was hard because we knew nothing about her. B did a great job he wrote from his heart and we knew that the birthmother who was meant for us would read the letter and know it was for her.

So May of 2004 we were approved, the profile was done, now all we had to do was wait for God’s plan to lead us to the right child….

Remembering the Journey

Originally Posted June 8, 2006:
I was out sick yesterday...I am better today.

I have decided that I am going to Chronicle the events of placing Baby M for adoption. I think this will be very healing for me and we will also have something to give Baby M when she gets older. I have asked J to join in and add her thoughts to blogs as she wants too. My hope is that you will get my point of view on the situation...and then J and B's.

I want J and B to be very honest in their feelings as they went along the journey. Because although we travelled together, we travelled seperately and had different reactions to things.

I will also blog about other things...but this is something I feel that I need and want to do.

I hope that you will enjoy going on this journey with me....

Conversations and Considerations

Originally posted June 1, 2006:
I am finding that this adoption thing is not as easy I had told myself it was.

In the last 24 hours, I have had 2 difficult conversations.

The first one being with J. To be wasn't a difficult conversation, as much as it was difficult for me to hear. I have been reading on adoptive mothers blogs how difficult it is to hear the birth mom say "my daughter". So I brought it up to J. I wasn't quiet ready to hear what she had to say. But I understood it. J did tell me that it is difficult to hear me call Baby M "my daughter" (but she is) and I understand it (though it hurts). She said that it tears at her heart a little bit. I understand, because it tears at mine when I hear her say it. I guess now I see that there is pain on both sides of this...

The second being with E (Baby M's birthfather). J told me in passing that E was going to see Baby M with his extended family next Thursday. I told J that I would probably talk to E about that because I felt that it may not be quiet right. I fretted about it all night, how to approach this. E is the type of man that does not like to be told what to do or how to do things, nor does he like when he thinks I am trying to "tell" him what to do.

I broached the subject carefully, feeling my way. I was on cracking ice and I knew it. The conversation started rocky, but ended really well. He got defensive that I was trying to tell him what to do and that he could do whatever he liked, I gently reminded him that we could loose our privileges to see Baby M at any time and to just tread very very lightly. To just take my advice for what it was worth...not from an ex-wife, but from a friend and as some one who is walking this same journey with him.

B and J are incredible reasonable people...but they have a daughter to protect. I love them for that. I don't blame them and I just want to make sure that neither of us loose our privileges because we forget that Baby M is someone else's child now.


originally posted May 31, 2006:

I just realized that I should probably be ashamed and embarrassed about being a birth mom? Really??? Why???

Maybe some birth moms feel that way, but I don't. I honestly am not ashamed or embarrassed about giving Baby M up for adoption. Why should I be? What did I do wrong? I decided to give her what I knew that I couldn't. The only thing that I could give Baby M was and still is Love. But that does not over come everything and it does not cure all.

Am I proud to be a birth mom? Well that's a two-edged sword...because I am not ashamed of it either. Its just who I am now and who I always will be.

I am proud that Baby M has the most wonderful parents in the world.
I am proud that she is beautiful and happy.
I am proud that she is a part of me.
I am proud that we made the correct decision for us.

Help me out here...are any of you embarrassed because you are a birth/first mom?


Originally posted May 25, 2006:

Okay, so I have learned some things this week (I am a fast study) and one of them is that I am directing my anger over the adoption at the wrong people. I am directing at B and J, it doesn't belong there. What did they do besides adopt a child and take a woman in to their hearts and homes? Nothing.

B and J didn't create this situation. They didn't demand my child. They have never treated me poorly. They have been nothing but supportive and not just about Baby M, about every aspect of my life.

This is new to all of us and I need to stop forgetting that. I need to realize that they if they don't or didn't do something it wasn't intentional.

I tend to place blame on others, because it is just easier. Its easier to blame other people for my pain, than it is to accept it. I am finally accepting it. I am finally embracing the pain and dissipating the anger...letting the anger go and letting the hurt seep in.

My vision is no longer clouded with anger and hopefully I wont lash out needlessly again (but I cant promise that I wont).

Please accept this as my apology for bad behavior, B and J. (I know your out there...)