Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Time to Create Some Distance?

Well, the next few weeks were not easy. I received lots of advice from family and friends telling me it was time to create some distance between us and our birthmother. This did not make sense to me. I couldn't understand why, just because she didn't do what I thought was right, I should cut her out of my life. Her decision to parent didn't mean that she needed a friend less (in fact, she needed one more). It also didn't change the fact that she is and always will be Katelynn's birthmother. She gave us the greatest gift a person could give! She gave us a family!

I know our family and friends were just trying to protect us and help us heal from the failed adoption. It just isn't the way that I am and it goes against what I promised when I agreed to an open adoption.

Bit by bit, we began to heal. My husband continued to tell me that he still had a feeling that she would choose adoption for this child. I wasn't so sure. The one thing I knew for sure was that I couldn't go on the adoption roller coaster again. I was sure that after all this, our family was complete.

Still, I was bothered by the fact that our birthmother still didn't have her life where she wanted it to be. I knew it was going to be hard to watch her struggle while raising this baby. I just wanted her to see that she wanted so badly to make her own decision but she was letting herself be influenced again by the other side of her family. I just didn't know if I wanted to jeopardize our relationship by pointing that out to her.

My fabulous third grade team then offered some counseling to me one day at lunch. They reminded me that I had nothing to lose if I spoke freely to her. It wasn't like she could take Katelynn away, and she already decided to parent. I needed to say what I was feeling because I needed closure and I needed to know that I did everything possible to give that baby the opportunities she deserved.

So....I called her. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I carefully chose my words and explained to her that I felt she was being pressured into a situation that she might not be prepared for. She was very understanding of my need to say what I did.

She opened up and told me that she needed to know that she tried parenting. She wanted to find out if she was an unfit mother. This broke my heart. I truly believe with all my heart and to the depths of my soul that this girl will be an amazing mother -- some day. I told her that if she tries and does not succeed it isn't because she is unfit. It is because her life is not where it should be to raise a baby.

I also told her that if she still wants to try and she changes her mind after a few months, my husband and I would still be willing to adopt this baby. She said I gave her a lot to think about and she thanked me for being so honest with her.

I guess I didn't need to create distance. I needed to be right up close!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Hard Pill to Swallow

So, I waited patiently (or as patiently as a high-strung person can wait) for our birthmother to try and get her life in order. Each night that she called I tried to be as impartial as possible trying to help her think things through on her own. Each night that I talked to her she didn't seem to make much progress on the goals she set for herself and my hopes got higher and higher.

I then began to wonder, if I were in this situation what would be the best thing for me? I came to the conclusion that we needed to schedule a visit. She needed to realize how much work goes into having a child ...especially on your own. She also needed to remember that choosing adoption doesn't mean that you have to say good-bye; it means you will say see you later. I called her and set up a visit for the middle of March. We were going to meet at my dad's house and she was going to come with birthfather's family.

A week before our scheduled visit, birthfather's aunt called to get directions. She mentioned how they had spent the whole day shopping and looking at baby items. I thought it was kind of strange. An hour later, my husband and I were sitting on the couch and my phone rang. It was our birthmother.

"I have made a decision. I have decided that I want to TRY to parent this baby." Tears filled my eyes but I had to try to keep my voice from cracking. I didn't want her to know that I was heart broken. She needed to feel love and support because she had a long road ahead of her.

My husband comforted me and kept saying, "She will change her mind. I am not worried. Don't stress. This isn't done. I know this baby will end up with us." I am glad he had hope because I certainly didn't.

With the visit scheduled for the following week, I received a lot of advice from family and friends -- most telling me that I should cancel. As much as I didn't want to go, I had to do this for our daughter. She has the right to know her birthfamilies and I made a promise that I would do everything in my power to maintain that connection for her sake. It would have been selfish of me to cancel.

My husband was unable to come for that visit because he had to work. I had to choose a co-pilot that would help me stay calm, reasonable, and keep my mind on my goal for the visit. There was no better person than my sister-in-law, Brent's twin. The visit couldn't have gone better, thanks to her. She helped me stay calm and strong -- even when our birthmother showed us ultrasound photos of the baby that I thought was going to be mine. She also helped me analyze every minute of the conversation on the drive home and provided a laugh or two.

Even though life wasn't going the way I had hoped, I still had so much to be thankful for -- like an amazing, supportive family!