Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Was the Gift Worth the Cost?

A birthday party for Jesus at my house this afternoon got me thinking about gifts.  We had a cake, sang 'Happy Birthday' and went around the table and told Jesus what we'd like to give Him.  I gave my plans.  I have lots of things going on and I like to think I can anticipate His next move in my life.  He keeps trying to let me know that He can outwit me with out so much as a blink of an eyelash but I like to frustrate myself by playing the game anyway.  This year, I'd like the plans to be solely His.  My 5 year old daughter wanted to give Jesus a telescope so He  could see all the stars.

"Don't you think He can see all the stars from Heaven, Honey?"

"Yes, if He closes one eye.", she replied squinting and contorting her little face to show me how.

As we wound down the party I started to think of who wasn't there. My late husband was one.  He would have liked the tradition.  Carli was too young when he died to start it but we did talk about it one night.  Next I thought of Alex.  I thought of what a gift she was to her parents and how much they must have realized that last year, which was their first Christmas with her.  I thought about what traditions that she would have with her parents and would they maybe have a birthday party for Jesus as well?  It's been a while since I've heard from Alex's parents.  Maybe 4 weeks or so. I've been so wrapped up in Christmas chaos that I hardly noticed, until today.  I've been evenly keeled about everything but emotions sneak up on me once in a while.  I run at too fast a pace for anything to catch up usually.

After everyone left I decided that I needed to head to the gym.  My brain was going too fast for comfort and a good workout always does the trick for me.  I loaded myself and Carli into the car and headed for the 'Y'.  As I drove, I noticed the twinkling Christmas lights adorning the neighborhood houses and shrubs.  My mind recalled a recent picture of Alex. She is 14 months now.  She was sitting on a hillside in the grass.  Her mother had dressed her a prim purple pleated skirt with grey knit tights and brown riding boots.  Her hair swept back and to the side by a matching plum colored bow.  I focused on her face.  Her round chubby face has the sweetest cheeks.  I thought of what it would be like to sit her on my lap like I used to do with Carli and kiss her baby little face over and over again.  As I continued to daydream, I could almost smell baby lotion and feel her skin on my lips.  Before I could bring myself around, I was sobbing in the driver's seat trying to contain myself so I didn't upset Carli.

How am I going to workout like this?  I wanted to turn the car around and come back tomorrow.  Thankfully my sensibility took over and I resigned to the fact that the workout may be just what I needed.  I could cry later.  I tried to get the images out of my mind as I checked Carli into KidWatch and walked onto the gym floor.  In my distraction and disorganization from being lost in thought, I put everything every where and just sat down in the stretching area to try to get myself warmed up.  As I leaned this way and that, I wandered through my social networking sites on my phone and glanced at posts.  I came across a post from a man that I highly respect.  It was shorter than most of his usual and it didn't look funny so I clicked to see what needed reflection.  "God...Your love makes it worth it all" came off of the screen at me.  I think I stopped breathing for a few seconds.  My mind started rifling through images of what 'it all' was to me.  Was His love worth it?  Yes!  I don't even recognize my relationship with God.  I thought I had God all figured out and stored in a tidy box before Greg died. My pregnancy and adoption journey with Alex was what drew me near to Him and got me to ask the one question He was waiting to hear from me, "Who are you, really?".  I could never have what I have in Christ today if not for those trials. I didn't choose this but I am strangely grateful for what I gained in the endurance.

I typed a reply but I heard myself say "and I lost a spouse and a child in the same life" most find it puzzling who don't know Jesus to hear me say that I would do it again to have what I have in Him.  I wanted to reply again when I was struck by a recollection of a conversation that he and I had in my car in the summer.  He had lost a child and a spouse too.  The events weren't the same but the pain was.  He knows what I mean.  I have some idea as to what makes makes him post that statement and know that he can stand behind what he said.  Because it's true.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Final Countdown

Tests, final paperwork, phone calls to make arrangements and my mother's arrival signaled that I was really at the crest of this wave.  Save any early contractions, I had a date and a time for the arrival of Alex.  Her parents were deliriously happy.  Why wouldn't they be? The end of 5 years of waiting was almost over for them.  They were at a crest too.  For me, it wasn't as happy as I was waiting my wave to come in to shore.  I'd been riding this one for 9 months and I was frankly anxious to get off my board.

I picked up my mom at the airport. The Arrivals area at the Key West International Airport is about the size of a finished basement in a large split level house.  You can't miss the luggage carousel, it's the only one they have not mention, it is right next to the door as soon as you walk in from the tarmac.  I knew she wouldn't miss me.  I was the size of blue whale.  I sat and waited until I saw her come through the automatic doors.  We hugged and chatted about her trip but it wasn't a happy greeting.  We both knew what was coming.  It wasn't so much what was happening but the anticipation of the unknown when something big is about to go down.

I wanted to put it out of my mind and just focus on the fact that soon, Alex's father would be out of my life.  No more drunken phone calls, tirades, threats, sobbing pleads, and frustration.  The idea that I would never have to speak to him again should have made me giddy.  When ever I'd get sad, I'd talk out loud to my mom about how happy I was for Brett and Kayla.  It was a happy time.  Two people were going to become parents!  No one was forcing me to do anything, it was my decision so why was I so sad?  No matter what I tried to do to rationalize that being sad was selfish, my heart wouldn't have it.  I had to accept what I was feeling.

The morning came when it was time for me to go to the hospital.  I had to report at 5AM for my c-section.  Brett and Kayla would be meeting me there for the big arrival.  The plan went that my mom would stay home with my daughter until later and my wonderful miracle of a friend, Angel would drive me to the hospital.  I had my bags packed for the hospital from the night before.  I sat on my bed in the dark and waiting for Angel's text message to let me know that she'd be downstairs waiting for me.  I couldn't help but think of my first pregnancy.  The contrast was polar.  Carli was not only planned but prayed for.  My late husband and I were so thrilled to await her arrival.  My onset of contractions kept us up all night and the excitement was tangible between us as my body let us know that our little girl would be joining our family in a matter of hours.  It was such a special moment as we drove together in the car to the hospital.  He was by my side the whole time and his face let me know that he was elated to share in this and didn't want to miss a moment.  This morning, I never felt so alone.  I wasn't going  to welcome a new baby with her father and bring her home.  I wasn't fantasizing about what it would be like to take her into her new room and rock my new little precious as I placidly stared down at her.  I was going to deliver a child that would be leave with someone else.  The sadness and the reality covered over me like a canopy.

I lumbered down the stairs with my bag after briefly waking my mother to tell her that I was leaving.  I made my way into the car and we drove to the hospital.  It was still dark and and silent on the island.  The revelers and bar staff were all gone.  Just me, Angel and her car.

We pulled up to the front door and the bright lights of the main lobby beckoned us from the black of the empty parking lot.  I hugged Angel good bye and walked toward the light as the doors parted for me.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waiting Room Jitters

After my trip to Disney the only thing left to do was wait.  I had to sit around for a whole three weeks and think about what was going to happen next.  My mother would be coming to stay with me in a few days. She wanted to be there to support me but also to help me care for my daughter.  I had an extraordinary church family at Fifth Street Baptist, but I needed more hands on deck than the occasional sitting.  More than that, I needed my mom like you do when you are sick in the middle of the night as a kid.  I remember my mom sitting next to me, right up close when I would wake with a fever.  She'd rub my back and help me get to sleep. The slow, rhythmic stroking, with a warm, light pressure that let you know that she cared. That is the kind of comfort only someone who loves you uncontrollably can give you.  I was desperate for soothing.

The days went on like months. I was sometimes counting days by the half day just so I could feel like I was accomplishing something in the waiting.  I did have a lot of appointments to keep me busy.  Those were also markers of progression.  Blood work, pre-registration, doctor's visit, all lined up for the countdown.  Out of curiosity I drove across the island to get a view of the hospital.  I drove down a long winding road that wrapped around a golf course until I reached a much-smaller-than-expected building that looked dated and lacking in expertise.  "I'm gonna die here", was what I surmised after my inspection.  My perspective of what a community hospital should be like was off.  I am from Boston where you can throw a rock in any direction in the city and hit a world-class medical facility.  It is a near impossibility to not get great health care and access to a renowned specialist there.  At this hospital, I would was certain that most of the staff had likely just passed their board certifications.  I drove home wrought with anxiety over what my care would be like.

My first one appointment on the list was the pre-registration.  I needed to go to the hospital and give them all the gory details of who I was and what was going to happen.  My counselor prepped me over the phone and sent along paperwork ahead of me so that, hopefully, they would have some semblance of what to do in my case.  I was pleasantly surprised at how the inside of the hospital differed from the outside.   The inside was clean and new.  The staff was smiley and helpful, cheerfully directing me to where I needed to go.  I got to the Maternity desk and found a nurse who sweetly directed me to the room that someone would do my interview in and asked me if I wanted something to drink.  "Water would be fine", I didn't know what else to ask for anyway.

I dark haired, well groomed nurse, about my age, announced herself and pulled the curtain back as she stated her name and sat down, promptly fluffing the papers and inspecting everything before she turned her eyes to me.  I sat blankly, wondering what she would say when she finally stopped her organizing.
She slowly read the information that my adoption counselor faxed over.  "Oh, you are going to give the baby up for adoption", she trailed off as she kept reading.  I hate that term, "give the baby up".  It sounds so much easier than it actually is and I wasn't giving a kitten away because I was moving into a new apartment, I was deciding the fate of a child!  Isn't there a better way of putting it than what most people would say?  I struggle with it still.  Sometimes I say, "processed for adoption" that just sounds so clerical.  I sometimes also say, "surrendered for adoption" but that sounds legal.  How do you state it in terms that people can understand the gravity but the love that was involved in the decision?  I tried to respond to confirm her realization but instead I heard myself gasp as the rushing heat of tears warmed cheeks.  My ears burned from embarrassment.  She made sympathetic faces as she reached over for tissues.  I didn't know what to say. I didn't owe her an explanation but I wanted to plead my case that I wasn't some aimless screw up that couldn't get her head on straight.  Instead, I rallied in silence as she patiently waited for me to compose.

Once we got over the adoption hump of the interview, it was a lot easier. The usual stuff, my medical history, the father's history.  "Will he be joining you?", I tried not to explode into laughter.  I did list his name as a potential visitor but with a caveat that if he showed up intoxicated that he'd need to be escorted out of the building and he would, under no circumstances, be allowed to be alone with the baby or leave my room with her.  I made her write it down.  I just couldn't underestimate the craziness of a raging, desperate alcoholic.  


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Brethren

Everyone loves a good solid friendship.  The kind of friend who will listen to you for hours and doesn't mind overlooking your flaws.  The Brethren are different.  They are committed.  They are in it for the long haul, no matter where the adventure of life takes you.  They know the road gets messy and they've got their hip-waders on.  You know the ones, you say I need you and they come running, no matter where or what time.  They are like the Special Forces that God sends in when you are in it up to your ears.  He sends them to either coach you out of the pit or drag you from it.  You have to appreciate another human being who is that willing to invest in you, I found a whole church full of them. 

Lest I even dare not to mention the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Key West, Florida, the heart and the love of Jesus billows out of their windows.  I walked into their church with my little one in tow and barely showing my trial.  I wanted to slide into a pew unnoticed but God had other plans.  Within seconds, I found strangers approaching me with warm smiles and outstretched hands.  Women gathered around me to direct me to where my daughter would have Sunday School and another asked to me join her family for service so I wouldn't have to sit alone. 

It didn't take long before I had gotten to know a few and with my impending breach of belly from my baggy clothes, I felt the need to confide in one, to let them in on my secret.  I was met with a wonderful, compassionate reception and a kindness I hadn't felt in years.  I needed to be loved and to feel accepted and there were 4 key women in the church who wanted to love me with all they had.  Who couldn't be just speechless when you recieve such compassion.  I felt more open to letting them in on my hidden life down on their island.  I was waiting for someone to give some kind of reaction, a sign that I didn't sit well with them but it never happened.  I wondered if they would think that someone in my situation shouldn't still call themselves a Christian but no one ever questioned my faith.  I kept waiting for my own judgements against me to materialize in the faces and out the mouths of this congregation but they refused to oblige.  I felt cared for.  I was desperate for it.

Here it was, after 8 long months with them seeing me every week, loving me through my hurt and my decision and it was winding down to my due date and everyone knew it.  There was a little sadness in the air and an uneasy feeling of 'what comes next?'.  I was approached by a dear friend there one morning.  She gently told me that she was asked to see if I would be okay with the ladies in my congregation throwing a baby shower for Alex's parents.  They wanted to bless this couple with gifts to show that they loved me and this child all this time and that this was there way of showing it.  They wanted them to know what a gift it was for them to share in this experience with me.  I was silent for a lot longer than I should have and her eyes started to dart and her shoulders rolled in as a sign that she was afraid that she'd injured me.  I just didn't know how to put to words the awesome sense of gratitude and humility I was feeling that they'd want to do something like this for them.  I agreed and we worked out the details of gift giving and how they would get to Brett and Kayla.  I couldn't wait to email Kayla to let her know what this sweet group of ladies wanted to do for her.  I was bursting with pride over the outpouring of love from my Sisters. 

Such and amazing experience, to see these women love on me unconditionally and every bit like the love of Christ.  My most humbling and confirming moment in these women came as I was substitute teaching bible study on Sunday.  I had finished up and one of my favorites raised her hand and said, "It has been such a blessing to see you live out your testimony".  My tears wanted to flow.  I had come to that church just hoping I could fade into the crowd, ashamed of what I'd become and completely unaware how greatly I'd be blessed.  I couldn't have ever fathomed that I'd be a blessing to others.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Pregnant Elephant In The Room

If you are expecting my story to be all smiles and smooth sailing, stop reading right now.  When you are in a situation like this, there are many facets to the problem.  I was lulled into a sense of isolated eutopia in Key West.  No one really knew what was happening outside of my family and a few scant church members from home.  I never ran into anyone unexpectedly.  There were no awkward meetings with people who hadn't seen me in a while.  I was anonymous on my southernmost island and I rather liked it that way, that is until I drove up to Orlando to see my friend and her family. 

She was very supportive, I had filled her in early on in my journey so there were no surprises.  It wasn't the conversation that I was hesitating on, it was the body language and the awkwardness of her seeing me face-to-face that I was dreading.  People can give away much more in their posturing and facial expressions than they can ever realize.  I spent 10 years in sales negotiations as a career.  I was paid to translate the unspoken conversation and I was exceptional at at it.  Most of my successes in business transactions were because I positioned against what was never said.  It was great for my commission checks but it can be a bummer in real life.  Sometimes, I lament that I notice so much more than everyone else.  This was one of those times I that wished my eccentric talent would vanish.

The time came for our meeting.  I drove to her parents' house and Carli and I piled out of the car after 9 long hours on the road.  There it came.  Not from my friend, from her husband.  The painted smile.  It was something more of a grimace.  That 'No, I don't notice anything' smile that lets you that they don't know what to do with the situation.  She greeted me with a warm smile and compassionate hug.  I'd later find out that her kids were verbally threatened against asking and questions or making comments.  The children said nothing but they avoided me like I had a scary disease they might catch.  I wasn't hoping for much more than that.  I settled in and hoped that the weekend would go by faster than I could wish it away.  I wanted to go home already. I longed for my island bubble that I could hide in until Alex was born.  It was safe there and free from judgement. 

Her parents arrived a few hours later from work. Everyone avoided the one topic that would usually garner it's own conversation, my giant belly.  Women who are great with child can usually command a room.  It is a nice jumping off point with a person whom you don't know.  Talk about the baby.  When are you due?  What are you having?  Do you have a name?  Easy things to start with but not if you know that the mother-to-be isn't keeping her child.  Where do you go from there?  You avoid the conversation all together.  It's kind of like pretending not to notice that someone has a prosthetic limb.  You know it's there, they know it's there.  You know it's diffferent, they know it's different.  Everyone tries to avoid looking at it or pointing it out.  I know how amputees feel now. 

I played along with the long pauses while everyone asked how my drive was and if I'd been to Orlando before.  I think we were all glad that I was staying at a hotel that weekend.  There was only so much you can say when you'd rather have another conversation instead.  Carli played with her long lost friends from home, completely unaware of the sorrow that I was enduring in order to make her birthday special.  I emailed Kayla to say that I'd made it safely.  I was desperate to hear from someone who was in my corner.  I became alarmingly aware of how alone I felt in all of this. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Second Meeting

Circumstances were going to bring me north of Key West again.  I was going to visit with a friend of mine and her family from my home town. They were traveling to Orlando for a trip to Disney and asked Carli and me if we'd like to join them.  I had to consider carefully.  I wanted to take advantage of my proximity to Disney World while I was in Florida.  I didn't know when I'd be able to take Carli again.  I wanted to bless her with this trip for her birthday.  When I asked her if she'd like to visit with Terri and her family instead of having a birthday party, she exploded into 'Hooray' and lept up and down with excitement.  My thoughts turned to my condition and whether or not it would be feasible for me to walk around an amusement park all day.  The trip would be three weeks from my delivery.  I wondered if the stress on my body, not to mention my size, would cause any complications.  I decided that Orlando probably had hospitals and chuckled a little about how funny a story it would be to deliver this little princess at the threshold of Cinderella's castle.  I wanted to make it happen for Carli.  I told Terri that we'd be joining her and her family for the trip. 

As I reviewed maps online to plot our trip, I realized that I would be passing within miles of Brett and Kayla.  We had made a promise on the last visit to make every attempt to see each other once more before Alex's delivery.  I wanted to make good on that.  I panged when I went to doctor's visits, knowing that Kayla would have loved to have been there but distance just made it impossible to really share in my pregnancy aside from emails.  I would have felt comforted by more of her presence.  Thinking of her always brought me so much peace.   I asked them in an email if they could meet me for lunch.  I thought it would be nice to get some personal time in, just the 5 of us.  We were about to embark on such an important union between our families.  It seemed a shame not to give it more effort if we could.  They quickly agreed and we settled on a shopping mall that we both could locate and that was not far from their home.

I think I was more excited about the lunch than I was Disney.  I wanted to see them again.  In my mind, every email or invite was assurance to them that I was as committed as they were and that I wasn't going to back out.  I needed them to feel safe in that I had made my decision and it was final. 

Carli and I entered the mall that day and walked toward the restaurant that we agreed on.  I waddled down the long, echoing hall towards the eatery with a blathering toddler, asking a question every second about why we were and what we were going to do.  I was trying to spot them and her yammering was distracting me.  As we got closer, they stood up from the bench that they were sitting on. I saw their heads pop up from behind the greenery of the planters.  I was grateful that they'd located me first.  Their beaming smiles made me emotional as I choked back tears and just tried to look happy.  It was another reminder of the realness of what I was taking on.  It could feel so heavy on my heart sometimes.  The burden seemed to weigh down at inappropriate times.  I didn't want them to think that I was sad.   We hugged and paused for them to make small talk with Carli.  We made our way into the Rainforest-themed eatery that we thought we could tolerate and that my daughter would enjoy.  We were wrong.  Carli recoiled at the mechanical animals that would suddenly come to life following thunder and a pretend rainstorm. She coward in my lap with each episode.  I felt sorry for us all, we tried to make this fun for her but to little avail.  Brett was able to mildly entertain her with his attention and her ruffled feathers seemed to smooth so we could continue our visit. 

We finished up our meals and Brett had to return to work.  Kayla and I could sit together and visit as Alex's mothers.  I felt like I was floating as we strolled the outdoor shopping concourses and talked about motherhood.  We reviewed our first meeting.  It was fun for us to recall our thoughts and feelings on what that was like.  It went better than either of us had dreamed it would.  I offered to see if we could get Alex to kick.  I was desperate to have her experience what it felt like to feel her move.  I tried walking, sitting, pushing, poking, ice cream, but alas our little bundle was content to relax.  I was disappointed.  I knew it would be my only opportunity to try. 

The time came and we both had to leave.  I needed to have Carli and me up to Orlando by sundown.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted more time with her.  I wondered what it would be like to be her friend.  I wished that I could hear what this journey was like before she met me.  I thought that it was probably a long and painful story.  I wanted to fully understand how joyful it to receive this gift. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

Wandering in the Desert

Alex's parents continued to email me.  I was desperate to hear from them and prayed that we'd keep our connection.  There were moments in the quiet, barren emotional places where I'd hear whispers that they didn't care about me.  I was a means to an end and they'd do whatever they had to in order to apease me so they could have what they wanted.  The whispers wanted to make me something of little value in all of this.  I'd cry thinking that I was being used. I was a means to and end and the whole adoption industry was out to take advantage of people like me.  I would be stripped of what was priceless and tossed in the garbage like wrapping paper on Christmas morning.  Thankfully, there would be a great fortitude that would rise up in those moments where I just couldn't accept that this was the truth.  I'd rally and carry on, especially when I would get another sweet message from Kayla.

I continued to enlarge. There were moments when I wondered if I'd just burst at the seams.  My walk became a waddle and my feet started to swell.  My toes looked like little pork sausages.  Despite my doctor's warnings, I wanted to wear flip flops every day.  I couldn't tolerate shoes on my feet any more. 
People started to ask questions.  Carli's classmates at pre-school asked her if I was having a baby while I was standing there.  I would answer plainly and hope that it would end the conversation.  It usually did.  The adults in my midst hardly said anything at all.  I would imagine that was because I never said anything about it.  I kept my pregnancy and my plans to myself and avoided discussing it outside my circles unless it was something that I just couldn't avoid.  There was always the random old lady in the grocery store who would ask the usual questions.  The occasional "congratulations" always felt strange.  Who would want to be congratulated for getting herself into this mess?  I would weakly smile and pat my belly, trying to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.  Carli would always remain silent at my side.

I thought that Carli was just unobservant of my pregnancy.  For an astute child, she seemed quite oblivious that anything was different about her mother.  I wondered about it.  I had actually tried to explain how my belly had gotten bigger one evening as we were watching television but she quickly hushed me and changed the topic.  I swung between relief and concern for her.  I was glad to not have to deal with any negative emotions but concerned that she might be harboring something that would explode later.  I tried to pay as much attention to her moods as possible but she refused to let on. 

The truth started to materialize when Carli came to my bedside one night.  She would do this on occasion and my usual routine was to flap the covers back and let her crawl in, pressing up next to me in a little ball.  I would cover her, tuck her in snugly and rub her back until we both fell asleep.  I cherished these moments.  That night turned into a few times a week, then every night.  I started to wonder what was going on.  One night she crawled in to bed with me but this time she wouldn't settle.  I tried to calm her and tell her it was night time but she wouldn't stop talking.  I threatened a return to her own bed if she didn't stop but she just kept right on going.  Something came to me as I lay in frustration over my interrupted sleep. 

"Carli, do you have something you want to talk to Mama about?"

"Yes." Like a dam breaking, she started to sob.

"Are you sad?"

"Yes, Mama!"

"What are you sad about?"

"You!"

Her sobs turned to wailing as I pulled her close to me and wiped her tears.  I was heartbroken for her.  I had hurt her and I couldn't fix it.  As we sat talking in my bed, I gleaned from 3 year old speak that she was upset with me and didn't know how to tell me. She thought something was wrong with me and she wanted to doctor to fix it.  I reassured her that Mama wasn't sick. I needed to go to the doctor because there was a baby in Mama's belly.  My lack of talking to her about the situation had injured her and I felt so guilty about that.  I fell short of knowing how to approach her with as little damage as possible so I didn't say anything.  I cuddled my little one close to me and prayed that I could redeem myself with her and that God could make her understand.  I didn't have the ability to communicate in her language, but He did.  He was my only hope for her. 

I explained to her the next morning that God had put a baby in my belly for Brett and Kayla.  The baby was not for us and she wouldn't be staying with us.  I went on to say that sometimes God puts babies in Mommies bellies so that He can give them to a Mama who can't have a baby.  I told her that Kayla couldn't have a baby so I was having the baby for her.  It seemed to smooth over what ever scariness at this had to her.  It also made me feel better.  I was on a special mission for God and even though it was hard, it was for a great purpose.  I felt special and hand picked by Him to do this for such a beautiful and deserving couple.  In my moments of doubt, when the whispers would try to speak, I hushed them by thinking of myself as someone set apart for something truly remarkable. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Elijah's Bread

Even in the midst of absolute solitude and depleted of anything material, God provided for Elijah by sending bread to him with ravens.  He did that for me spiritually through the joyful emails I got from Kayla in their planning for a new baby girl in their lives.  In my times of emotional isolation from my family and friends and in my times of pain and rejection from Alex's father, I closed my eyes and thought of Kayla.  I remembered how it felt to plan for my own daughter, Carli.  I pictured in my mind how I poured over color schemes for her nursery, picked out story books to read to her and sat for hours in her rocking chair that I bought for her room.  I would rock back and forth and daydream about what it would be like to hold my sweet baby girl. I imagined Kayla doing the same thing. 

An email came to me within days of our meeting.  A note bursting with excitement as she told me about the patterns she'd picked out for Alex's nursery.  Her mother seemed to sew together the most adorable set from scratch in just minutes.  Pictures came in of the beautiful creation that Alex's grandmother made for her very first grandchild.  I thought of the loving care it took to make such a sweet decorative set of comforter, pillows, blankets and curtains with all the trimmings.  Cute little birdies adorned the fabric in a watermelon pink and chocolate brown with green accents.  I hadn't seen anything like it. It was an original, fearfully and wonderfully made just like the little baby I carried.  I read the emails a few times, browsed pictures, patted and rubbed my belly and told Alex what a beautiful room she'd have.  I told her how much she was loved by her family, even now and they didn't have the experience of living with her like I did.  It was food for my soul.

I accepted that I was a vessel.  A messenger to let a family know that a prayer had been answered. God had delivered, I was carrying their hopes and dreams for the future.  Alex was kicking me and moving around pretty often. I wondered how much she picked up on my emotions and it concerned me for her sense of well-being.  I wanted her to know that love surrounded her and she need not be afraid.  I didn't want to get attached to Alex.  She wouldn't be staying and I didn't want to make her upset so we just kept our conversation on what her family was up to.  I told her we'd just be hanging out together for a little while and that her mother couldn't wait to hold her.  I told her that her mom had been praying, longing for her.  I told her how kind and gentle her mom was and how proud I was of her dad.  I told her that her daddy was a baseball coach and that no doubt, he'd be teaching her what ever sport she'd fancy and would most likely be at every game cheering her on.  I could rest in peace knowing that they would be her parents.  The comfort rained over me. 

Strangely my daughter, Carli had very little if anything to say to me about my protruding belly.  I wanted to leave it to her to comment on but she seemed to avoid it.  She layed on it and sometimes would kiss it but she had nothing to share. I wondered what that meant so I let it be and waiting to see if anything would develop.  I was grateful for the peace that Carli seemed to have in her silence. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Dark Side

I wish I could tell you that everything was sunshine and roses from the moment I met Alex's parents.  I wanted things to go smoothly but there were forces at work who had other plans.  I knew what I was getting into. When you turn your back to the dark side, they tend to let you know how little they appreciate it.  The other thing I had to get my mind around was the the fact that sin does not happen in a vacuum and no matter what you do or how sincere your repentence, there will be casualties.  It is the same in every war.

I came back to the hotel, high on my experience in the coffee shop, to my silly little girl bundled up with Angel on the sofa at the condo.  They had just come back from their third trip to the splash park near the pool.  Carli's hair was still soggy from her afternoon of fun.  Her big sapphire-blue eyes smiled as wide as her lipstick rose grin.  I am always so impressed by how enthusiastically she can beam as she exclaims, "Mama!" when I come in the door.  I hugged Carli who had now hopped out of her spot to run up to me and hug my legs.  I heard the report of the good day that Angel and Carli had shared.  Angel asked very simple questions about the meeting, knowing that after Carli went to bed she'd get better details. 

I took Carli down to the park so I could watch her play at her behest and call my mother who had sent no less than 20 text messages the whole time I was gone.  I knew she was eager but I didn't want to be rude and start typing on my phone during our meeting time!  She picked it up on the first ring and started hammering me about why it had taken so long to get back to her when she only wanted to know if I was okay.  I pleaded my case but I was cut off by the barrage of questions that she rapid-fired at me about every last detail of their lives.  When the questions deteriorated to the ridiculous I got annoyed. It had been a long, emotional rollercoaster of a day and I was not appreciating her seeming lack of sensitivity to my state of mind.  "What is there denomination?" I heard.  I honestly didn't know and for what it was worth, I didn't care.  We had been over their statements of faith and spoke at length in letters, through counselors and now in person about where they were at spiritually.  Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, who cares?  When I didn't know, I was berated as if I'd not given any thought at all to who I was about to place in the care of this child.

When my nerves and emotions got the better of me, I rose up and hissed like a cobra into the phone.  "I am sorry if this got a little too real for you today but this is my decision not yours!"  I didn't think I could stop myself from unloading on her so I cut the conversation short.  I felt so rejected by my mother for not considering me at all in the conversation.  Didn't she know the weight that this carried?  Why couldn't she be there for me emotionally?  I was grateful for Angel's company.  She was the gentle and encouraging sounding board when things with Mom got heated. 

Sorry to say that as far as my dad was concerned, he was MIA from this whole experience.  My first encounter with him on hearing my unplanned news was that I was an embarrassment and a disappointment.  The second was just a text message that he loved me.  I felt better when I received that but when you cut someone with your words, no amount of smoothing over is going to erase the scar it leaves.  I only have comfort in knowing that my Heavenly Father was there to hold me and tell me that it wasn't true.  He was proud of my bravery in what He'd ordained for my life.  I clung to that with all that I could in the moments where the enemy wanted to make me 'not good enough' and thing of shame.

What could have been a very joyous day ended in frustration and anxiety over how I would get through this with my family opposing me.  I dreaded the thought of having to fight them with every breath until the day she was born but I was willing to do it if God was on my side. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Meeting Day

I was surprised by my own nervousness.  After all, I was the one holding all of the cards, wasn't I?  I wanted them to like me, why I don't know.  In my own mind, I needed them to not look on me like some poor screwed up mess. I wanted them to realize that they weren't doing me and this child a favor by taking her off of my hands.  It was more than that.  They needed to understand.  How I thought all of that would get across in an hour long meeting, I have no idea.  Blame it on the hormones.  I went out to Ross to find the nicest prego-sized top and shorts that my now gargantuan frame could pull off.  I knew one thing going in, they would know exactly who I was as soon as they saw my belly come in the door five minutes before me. 

My friend Angel came with me for support and to help watch Carli while I was at the meeting.  Actually, Angel very graciously booked a swanky condo through her timeshare for us to stay in for two nights.  I felt like I was treated to a mini-vacation at the Four Seasons with an en suite bathroom and lap pool for a bathtub in the master bedroom.  It had a water park that Angel could keep Carli entertained at for however long I'd be gone.  She was apologetic that the condo was a bit of a ride from Miami where I was supposed to meet Brett and Kayla but I was grateful for the ride there with some time to clear my head and settle my nerves.  I knew I'd be hyped up in the morning, first encounter and all, so I warned her that I might come across as sharp.  That's usually what happens when I have high expectations of an outstanding outcome and low expectations of my pulling that off.  She nodded in agreement and told me that she'd take care of Carli in the morning and my job was to just get myself ready and head out the door. 

I slept very little that night.  As if on cue, the baby's father started texting me at 1:00AM.  He was overtly communicating his sorrow over how he'd treated me, repeating "I'm sorry" over and over.  He was trying to express himself but the extensive typos on my screen let me know that in person, he'd be slurring his words.  He is oft a sobbing, emotional wreck when he's drunk.   He called and I, for better lack of judgement, answered the phone.  His soggy sentiments turned to rage when I informed him of where I was and what I'd be doing the next morning.  As if scripted, his anger escalated when I showed no sign of being able to bend to his manipulations so I terminated the call without a final word.  I tried to put it all out of my mind but with my anticipation and the phone call, not to mention the discomfort of sleeping while 'baby's on board', made for a restless night.

I headed out early as I could, with extra time to get lost, or so I thought.  Responsibly, I put my GPS on for the destination but the closer I got to the coffee shop, the more it added on minutes to my arrival time.  Morning traffic in Miami was nothing to tangle with unbeknownst to me.  I frantically called my adoption counselor to let her know we'd be late.  She simply answered "we'll be here" and ended the call.  I know that there was no major issue with my being a few minutes late but in the business world where I came from just months ago, showing up late to a meeting was a sign of disrespect and a lack of interest. I didn't want to leave either of those as a first impression.  I had hoped to seem eager to meet them. 

I was praying as I drove that they wouldn't be too nervous.  I could only imagine what it would be like, particularly for Kayla, to get this far in the process.  The anxiety of the possibility of meeting me, only to be turned down.  I don't know if I could take it had the situation been in reverse.  I had to admire their courage.  To be told that I was going to be late had to add to that.  Them counting down the minutes on their watches, only hear that the countdown had to start again, for another fifteen.  I could only hope that God could squelch the pangs. 

In I came, waddling with a big smile over to the table.  I saw Kayla first.  I will never forget her face.  She looked like someone told her she'd won a million dollars but she wasn't sure if what they were telling her was real yet.  Brett looked desperate for this to be a good experience, I am sure for her sake and his.  You could tell by his face that this had been a long road and he was eager for it to end.  We did our best to make small talk, discussing sports teams and my home town while we ordered.  The emotion surged through the air like an electrical current.  The faint smell of sweat was evident. The noisy buzz of the coffee shop almost made me laugh at the idea that something so important was happening right in this very room and no one but us had any idea there was anything more than coffee and breakfast.

We settled and my adoption counselor broke the ice for the actual conversation by asking me to share my story of the box of books.  I quickly got out tissues and recounted my encounter with their picture book and how we got to this stage in the process.  Not a dry eye around the table, I was glad that they got to hear how much care went into them sharing breakfast with me.  They asked questions about me but that ended when I said to Kayla, "So what are you going to name her?"  I don't have words to express the non-verbal exchange between Alex's mothers.  I don't think we spoke. Tears flowed heavily with sighs of joy and relief.  I looked at her face for what seemed like a long time.  She now understood that I was carrying her daughter.  I felt so honored that God picked me to deliver to Kayla and Brett such a precious gift. 

I took out a plastic sandwich bag of Alex's ultrasound photos and we poured over each picture.  It is at that moment that I could see the emotional transition taking place between me and Alex, watching her mother smile and cry over the images.  I let her take them home.  I kept one from myself, just because.  We left each other with big hugs, more tears and a promise to see each other one more time before her birth.  I got into my car and drove off, smiling from ear to ear thinking about what it would be like to be a fly on the wall in theirs.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Box

When I left the counselor in Miami, I wished I was leaving with the picture books of prospective parents in hand.  The agony of waiting for the box to arrive in the mail was daunting.  I was painfully aware that God's timeline and mine were grossly out of sync.  I was in a rush to be done, much like my grief with my husband, which was why I was in this position in the first place.  Over and over, I'd count down days, weeks, months.  I'd make milestone after milestone on the calendar, all in an effort to get through to my due date.  I had to see in ink that I would not be in this forever.

While I was waiting, I had to make a trip up to Miami to a genetics counseling clinic.  I was not too jazzed about the idea of an amniocentesis but given my age group of late thirties and the fact that this child would be raised by other parents, I thought it only fair for them to know if any health problems were on the horizon.  I also wanted to know the sex.  I didn't see the need for any holdouts or surprises and it would help me to keep things in a better perspective if I knew who was holding residence in my belly.  I had called the baby 'Alex' because it was unisex and I wanted to identify my multi-dimensional frame with a person instead of just feeling fat and clumsy.  Feeling a little nostalgic, I reached out to the baby's father to see if he'd like to come but alas, he was too busy.  I don't know what other response I expected but it made my blood boil anyway to be going through this completely without his support.  It solidified my decision.  This kind of involvement is what it would always be for us.  The baby deserved better.  I arrived the next day with Carli in tow and after much fanfare about tests, odds, statistics, paper signing and risks being related to me the procedure went much less painfully than I anticipated and it was fast.  The results on ultrasound were very conclusive.  I was having a girl.  The call came days later, no health risks were detected.  So now I knew that Alex, or rather, Alex Ruth was healthy.  That would be good news for her parents.  I also would have ultrasound pictures for them.

To me, it took so long to get them that I nearly forgot all about the box coming but just another sunny day on the island, I was returning to my second floor condo in the afternoon and was surprised by a FedEx box sitting on my welcome mat.  It was leaning lazily on the door, as if to say "where 've you been?  I've been sitting here waiting for you".  My heart skipped.  I picked up the box and looked at the return address label.  Sure enough, Bethany Christian Services of Orlando.  I gripped it in both hands and tried to slow my breathing.  My daughter was jumping up and down at the thought of a present arriving and gleefully chirped as I held on to it, "Mama, is it a present from Nana?  Is it a present from Nana?"

I didn't know what to do.  Open it now?  Wait until Carli went to bed?  As I was making up my mind to put the box away and wait until after my daughter's bed time, I sat down and ripped back the tab on the box. It zipped open readily.  I stared down at the opening as I contemplated whether or not this was a good idea.  Maybe just a peek.  Would it hurt to just see how many were in there?  I pried open the flaps like something would jump out at me.  Carli kept asking to see inside.  I shooed her away from the box at my feet and pushed her sidewalk chalk that I always kept next to my rattan chair in her direction to draw on the balcony's cement floor while I fixed my attention on what was inside the package.

My eyes zeroed in on two names neatly typed on a blue on blue picture book, Brett and Kayla.  I was overcome with emotion seeing their names on a spine in the middle of a stack of five picture books.  I pulled their book from the bunch and looked at the picture on the cover.  They were embracing each other, smiling at the camera. The background was a dewy mountain view.  Kayla looked like she could be any member of my family.  Her features were very similar to all the women on my mother's side.  We are all unmistakably related whenever we are together.  She would blend into a family photo as easily as any one of us.  Brett looked like a calm, gentle man with the kind of lines that looked like he smiled a lot.  Both young and attractive with warm faces and love in their eyes.

Tears poured as I read their letters about each other and the qualities they saw that they thought would make their mate a great parent and most importantly, what they loved so much about being together.  Brett had such a genuine appreciation and adoration for his wife. You could read the pain in his words about not being able to heal his wife's longing.  Kayla was head over heals for her husband. That was my opinion from her gushing letter of the man of her dreams.  They were both teachers.  This comforted me.  I felt that they had a natural inclination to want to be around children with Kayla having a position as a grade school teacher and Brett being a Physical Education teacher and a baseball coach. 

I fumbled amongst the overflow of emotion and found a personal letter they wrote, to me.  If ever there was a letter that had touched me so deeply, I can only think of the Valentine that my late husband made for me the first year we were together.  Their letter was one of the hope of a promise that they'd make to me to be the committed, loving parents that my baby deserved, wholly devoted to being raised to know The Lord.  I turned and studied every page of their book.  I noted their smiles, studied their words.  I liked knowing what they liked to do.  I admired how they looked at each other.  I fell in love with them from page one.

To be fair, I had to read the other four.  None of the other books struck me like Brett and Kayla's.  I tried to hush my sobbing as Carli had notice her mother crying and became quite concerned.  I assured her that Mama was just happy and that sometimes when Mamas are happy, they cry.  She wasn't convinced which is fine because I wasn't being a good actress.  My tears were mingled with relief, joy and sorrow.  I was starting to understand that the child I was carrying was going to belong to someone else. I had been so wrapped up in just wanting this to be over that I had distracted myself from fully comprehending what I was about to take on. 

I wanted to be sure that this couple was the one for me.  I took the stack over to a dear friend's house.  She was a fast friend that I made at the church I was attending.  We spent a lot of long conversations sharing deeply about each other's lives.  I trusted her impression implicitly.  I mixed up the books and asked her to read them all and tell me which couple she'd pick. She carefully studied each book and page, commenting on the faces, the lives and the stories.  I listened patiently and watched her face for tell signs. She really didn't give any.  After all the books were poured over, she sifted the pile and pulled out Brett and Kayla's.  I knew this was from God.  We both cried together and read their book again.  It felt right, but wanting a solid and unanimous opinion, my mother was coming for a visit so I did the same thing with her the day after she arrived.  I was not surprised that she too, had picked my parents.  The decision was final.  Unless Brett and Kayla turned out to be squirrely when I met them, they'd be meeting their birth mother within weeks.

I called up my counselor and gave her my names.  I wanted to meet them as soon as possible.  She said she'd make the arrangements.  They agreed and we made plans to meet at the same coffee shop that I'd met her at before in two weeks time.  Adrenaline raced through my veins when I thought of what it would be like to see them face-to-face.  I couldn't wait to give them a big smile and share the good news. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Counselor

My counselor had the same name as me.  It seemed odd to me to call up a number and ask for 'me'.  She had returned my call and wanted to talk to me about where I was in my decision making process.  I was right about the 'can we get this whole thing over with tomorrow' stage.  She asked me a bunch of questions and told me she'd send me some paperwork on the laws in Florida and information about Adoption in general.  That was helpful but I wanted to know more.  She said we'd get to it when we met.  We arranged a meeting at a coffee shop in Miami.  She was in the Orlando area so Miami was the closest thing in the middle we could think of.  The prospect of hauling my big belly and my toddler into my car for a 3 1/2 hour drive was not too appealing but my curiousity of seeing who I was talking to eased my tension into excitement.  If I met her, I'd feel like I was really doing something about this, moving forward, something, anything other than feeling like I was suckered into my situation and now I had to sit and wait until eternity for it to be over. 

The baby's father didn't know what I was doing.  He was told that I'd pursue adoption but he didn't take me seriously.  His drinking career was well underway and he was no where to be found the tiny island I lived on, not that I was looking for him.  My thoughts of what the reprocussions would be once he found out rattled around in my brain. I was anxious to have my counselor set them free.  I am a voracious consumer of information so details put my mind at ease.  I was deseperate for that. 

I knew that the drive would be long and that I'd be more refreshed and ready for the meet up if I had a good night's sleep.  I knew my daughter would be much better behaved if she also had a good night.  We booked a hotel in Miami and took our time heading up the Keys. It proved to be a great idea.  My daughter loves hotels. She calls them 'Special Building Houses'.  Riding elevators is also a favorite past time of hers.  Seeing the thrill of the trip through a toddler made me relax and I got to enjoy some of the fun things about staying away from home, namely a pool and eating out at a restaurant.  It couldn't have been a better day for her. 

The next morning we met up with the counselor for coffee.  It was a nice meeting.  She was a young, attractive woman with a welcoming face and friendly demeanor, especially to my daughter.  I like to judge people by how comfortable they are around children.  I am usually right. The kind ones like kids.  The ones that don't have too many hang-ups.  She got to coloring with my little one and engaging her in conversation right away.  I leaned back in my chair.  I could work with her, this was good.

It was a roll of endless questions about my health, the father's health, my wishes, my concerns, financial stability, all kinds of things.  I thought the page flipping in her packet would never end.  Finally, I saw the last page.  We ended with a talk about my plans. I wanted to meet the parents.  To me, it was important to know that not only were they Christians but that they were actively participating in a church and serving in some way.  I wanted to see committment to their faith.  I told my counselor that this child's salvation was more important to me than her health. I couldn't have been more serious and I knew that God was listening as I spoke.  I was ready to agree and back that up.  She'd send me 5 storybooks of couples who matched what I was looking for.  I also wanted her to either be the first child or the first daughter. She was special to me, so I wanted her to have a identifiable significance to them.  The counselor said she'd look the prospects over, verify that they were still interested in adoption and she'd let me know. 

Driving home it hit me, soon I'd be looking over pictures and stories of two people who'd be this child's future parents.  I couldn't help but try to imagine the anticipation when the counselor would call them and say, "We have an expectant mother, are you still interested? You match her profile." the thought of what that would feel like on the other end of the phone made my heart leap.  How would they deal with the waiting?  If I selected one of the first five, how would the counselor deal with telling the other four?  I couldn't bear to think of the let down of "she didn't select you".  I was crushed just thinking of the sentence, never mind it permeating my reality.  Still, I had to only pick one couple. One baby, one couple.  Could I do it?

Friday, July 8, 2011

For The Love of Alex; a Birthmother's Story: Decision Points

For The Love of Alex; a Birthmother's Story: Decision Points: "My first order of business was to tell my mom what was going on. I had been away in Florida and Mother's ESP told her something was not rig..."

Decision Points

My first order of business was to tell my mom what was going on.  I had been away in Florida and Mother's ESP told her something was not right with me but she couldn't get me to tell her what.  I was ashamed.  Uttering the words would make it real and then I would have to map out a course of action.  The more I avoided being in a position to have to explain things the more heated it got with me and mom.  Calls were ending with hang-ups after screaming matches only to continue with a volley of text messages.  I tensed every time the phone rang, praying it wasn't her. 

I had somehow thought that since I was out of sight that perhaps I could just live out this pregnancy in secret, have this baby and come back like nothing happened but the pain of keeping the secret in addition to the prospect of no one supporting me felt like a worse hell than the one I was already in.  The worse place to be when you are in this situation is alone with no one to lean on and no one to talk to about it.  There were many sad days.  I just wanted to wake up, notice the time and say, "Wow!  What a dream!" but this was the real deal.  My growing belly didn't let me forget. 

I called my mom and calmly explained the situation and what my decision was.  She quietly respected my plan for the baby and asked how I planned to go about it.  I had done some casual internet searches for Christian adoption providers but I hadn't made any contacts.  Now that I was being asked, I had to reach out.  At first I was unsure of how to do that.  Email? How long would it take to hear back?  Call?  What was I going to say? 

"Hi, my name is Brittany.  I am a Widow, Mother of one, and pregnant.  I am a Christian, I really am, and I am not some half-baked loser who can't get her act together, no really..." 

I felt like I had lost my title of being a Christian mother by being in the mess I was in.  Christians get themselves into something like this?  Yes, they do.  We all fall down.  No one is immune to making bad decisions.  It is in how we reconcile and move forward that matters.  I got anxiety pangs over what would happen when my belly wouldn't allow me to be quiet any more and I'd have to share my plight with my church friends that I'd made in Key West.  Would they still accept me?  I'd have no choice but to find out.  The fear of rejection gripped me.  There was no return from here, I had to cling to the truth of my decision and stand behind that, no matter what people thought.

I spoke to someone at http://www.nightlight.org/ and she was very kind and helpful but the closest office was in South Carolina which was too far for me to travel back and forth from.  She recommended Bethany Christian Services http://www.bethany.org/ which was larger and had locations in Florida.  It took me two days to get up the nerve to try again.  I called one afternoon and got a lovely woman on the phone who took my information and told me that I would be assigned a counselor to walk me through the process.  The reassurance of a counselor, or better yet, angel in disguise to help me with this ordeal was like being wrapped in towel that has just come out of the dryer.  My shoulders relaxed and I waited to hear back.

There are many adoption agencies and services.  My advice is to research what you would like for your child and do your homework on which agencies in your area best match your ideals.  You don't have to work with the first one that calls you back.  Find one that feels right to you and is responsive to your needs.  Most importantly work with a counselor who listens.  Don't be afraid to ask for a new one if the person your working with isn't giving you the support you are looking for. 

Genesis

Laying awake in bed, alone, I cried for the situation I had gotten myself into. I should know better, Pete's sake. I am 38 years old. Guilt, remorse and sorrow blended together as the tears rolled, pooling on my pillow case. I tried to be quiet so I wouldn't awaken and scare my 3 year old daughter. She'd been through enough and now she would go through this with me. She'd just lost her father less than a year ago. How could I be so selfish?


I met Alex's father while I was away for a long weekend in Key West to see my friend get married. I had mixed emotions about going in the first place. I didn't want to go to a destination wedding alone and I wasn't sure that seeing someone get married so early on in my widowhood would prove to be a great idea. I met him while out on the town with friends. He followed me around like a lost puppy all weekend. We stayed in touch and I was smitten by his attention. The calls, emails, text messages dulled the pain in my heart and satisfied the longing and the loneliness I felt constantly.



It happened, I went back to see him in January, for my birthday. It wasn't like I'd imagined. I felt foolish for going. I felt used and taken advantage of. He persisted after my return home, implanting the idea that he and I were meant to be together. In February, I let him know I was expecting. His response was more favorable that I thought. I moved to Key West and stayed with him, thinking we'd be raising our child and my daughter together. I thought that even though this was not what God would have planned for me, somehow it would all work out.



By April, I'd be changing the locks on my apartment. His alcoholism prevented him from being a safe person to be around and convinced me that counting on him for love, support and the role of a father would not be a wise plan.



I won't lie, I thought about abortion, you know I did. Any birthmother who tells you that it never crossed their mind isn't being honest. It seemed too easy to spend a couple hundred dollars to make this all go away. But it wouldn't go away, I'd know. God would know. I couldn't live with that. I couldn't raise her and be any kind of a decent mother or human being knowing I had a toddler who needed me desperately to be her mom, and that fact that I was only in the beginning of the grieving process for my husband. Her father would be no presence in her life, I didn't want to subject a little girl to that. I'd have two girls without fathers, the pain of that seemed almost to be almost depravity to allow.



I had researched some websites for adoption but I hadn't made any concrete plans. The thought of giving up my baby, would it be like giving up my little girl? I thought my heart would tear out of place just thinking about it.



"Do you grieve like a woman who can't have a child?"



The thought that came to me shocked me out of my self pity. I thought about what it must be like for a woman to be in her bed, same as me that night. Crying before God, desperately praying for Him to give her a baby. I thought of the agony of her peering into strollers and congratulating one more mom, knowing that her test said 'negative', again, just the day before.

I knew what I was called to do.



I'd like to share my story with you. Mostly because, I am also a good writer, a great speaker and presenter and because God gave it to me that I could use it for His good purposes. I hope for those who are contemplating, it will give you some information and courage. Please feel free to email me if you have questions. Don't wait to see if it shows up in the post. For the curious, it should be eye opening. I didn't know much about how it all worked until I had to go through it. A lot has changed in 50 years. To all, I pray it brings hope.