I found them! The perfect family to adopt and love my sweet baby. So what now?
I was at the point in my pregnancy where I could find out the gender. I had purposely turned down the option to find out previously because I knew when I found the right couple I wanted to all find out together. I mean they were going to be this baby's whole world after all. I just thought why not include them in as much as I could.
The day I first met them I knew I had an upcoming appointment a week and a half later so I just put myself out there and invited them to come. I imagine it didn't quite feel real to them yet but they both so sweetly accepted. I was anxious at that time to get our next meeting on the calendar so we could start getting to know each other! The appointment was the perfect way to proceed
I remember the nerves leading up to that first appointment all together. I had no clue what to expect. Talk about vulnerability! We met at the doctors office and I was put at ease a bit when they came in with big smiles and obvious excitement. I hope I can accurately describe the dynamics of such a situation: Here I am only having briefly met this couple and yet we were about to share such an intimate life experience that would bring us together forever-- and I'm referring to the adoption, not the appointment haha.
So how do we begin? Do we start with the weather or get right down to the personals? Luckily I picked the most socially smooth people I have ever met so in spite of my awkward babbling we managed to carry on conversation. I remember feeling like every topic of discussion had to lead back to the fact that I did not mean for my life to be this way and that I was embarrassed. I had a heavy sense of remorse and wanted to make my true self known. It seemed so important they understood I was not proud of all of this. I look back now and they didn't need that from me nearly as much as I thought they did, if at all. Being pregnant has its own set of vulnerabilities and then adding to that an unplanned pregnancy and the feeling of needing to explain myself was so overwhelming. Especially since we were about to head into a doctors appointment. The nurse called my name and Chelsey, Christian, their case worker and myself all stood up. Her eyes were huge with surprise at the unusual size of my entourage.
On top of all these firsts, I had actually never met the doctor before! Whew! What a morning! Since I had moved to the area just one month prior, I had only seen the nurse in that office. It would either be a good surprise or not good surprise to find out what the doctor was like. I was praying for one sensitive to our situation. The doctor came in and Heavenly Father had yet again beautifully delivered. Dr. Pace was the most personable, sweet and understanding doctor I had ever met. He took the time to talk with me about my feelings and choice for adoption and was so supportive of me, Christian and Chelsey. The vulnerability feeling I was having kind of turned into security knowing there were people who admired my decision.
As the check up started, my heart finally started to calm down! I was just thinking 'so far so good!' When the time came to hear the baby's heartbeat, my heart rate went right back up! I had tried to prepare myself to be open and okay with as much involvement as my adoptive couple wanted. They were so sweet to mention they hadn't any preferences but that they would go with the flow of what I wanted. I lifted my shirt to expose my baby bump and immediately felt silly. I was doing this because I believed the parents of this tiny spirit should experience all these precious moments. I reminded myself what I felt was best and the peace came. Dr. Pace was wonderful! He let Christian use the doppler and find the baby's heartbeat on his own. I did not feel as uncomfortable as one may assume I would in that scenario. What a tender and surreal sound coming from that monitor! I think tears welled up in all our eyes. Even though I had moments of feeling sheepish showing my tummy to essentially a room full of strangers--I am so grateful I had the guts to do it. It would only get worse after that anyway! I wouldn't have wanted to rob any of us of that precious first heartbeat. What came next was even more solidifying that God was bringing a divine family together!
We were given an ultrasound order! I was so so glad we were all going together. I met them at the hospital to now see the perfection we had just heard. I was so happy my awkwardness had mostly gone away by that point. We went in and began the ultrasound. As we saw the head, spine, fingers and tiny toes my emotions were in full swing. Externally I kept pretty calm but seeing what had just been a conversation piece and lots of nausea up until that moment overcame me. She was real! She had a heart, eyes, lips!
I promised myself I would process my feelings as they came and when the technician said "It's a girl" my first and immediate feeling was jealousy. I knew what special spirits baby girls have. I was wishing I felt like I should keep her so my Haven could have a sister. I felt such a hunger for things in my life to be different so I could feel like I could keep her. As I felt each emotion, my selfish thoughts were interrupted when I glanced over at Chelsey holding Christians hand with tears in her eyes. I watched her look at him and him at her while their baby girl was moving on the screen. The purest level of love filled that tiny, cold, dark room until I felt physically warm. I knew without a doubt the spirit was there to comfort me and bring me peace in my decision and my emotions. I just remember smiling with gratitude that I already knew the love they had for her. A precious baby girl was on her way to them!
I took the next few days to continue processing all the feelings I had since seeing her. I know now that the things I felt were normal and healthy. I felt sadness, anger, lots of jealousy and even tried to find reasons maybe I was wrong about adoption. I wasn't wrong though. God does not play around with adoption and my feelings early on were exactly right. I worked through those things in the next couple days by remembering the initial reasons I chose aoption and reminding myself my foundation hadn't changed. I was still a single mom, I still had to work full-time and I still knew co-parenting with her biological father would not be the healthiest for her. Along with that I read back to my journal about the day I met her parents and the sincere joy I felt choosing them. I had been given so many little signs. I resolved those things and pressed forward in faith.
The journey continued with some surprises and amazing miracles. I can't wait to share each part of this blessing in disguise! Thank You again to all those who have reached out! I feel incredibly humbled by the love and support! I feel my Saviors plan for me unfolding.
I have never been a picky person. With cars, if it got me from point A to point B I was happy. With food, if it was resembling something edible, bring it on. Especially with men and looking at my past I should have been a little more picky in my choices there.
I knew, however, picking a couple to raise this sweet baby would be the one area I would have to force myself to be picky. I had to put myself in the frame of mind that it was my right to be picky. I would have to really know specifically what I wanted. When you imagine the life of your children you want to offer them all you can and then some. I knew patiently deliberating in my search would reward me with the right family that could offer my baby all of what I couldn't right now.
When speaking to my case worker that first night on the phone she asked me what I wanted.
Wait me? What I wanted!? It had been so long since anyone, or even I myself considered what Shannell wanted. I almost felt uncomfortable having preferences and expectations for the future.
I thought about it a few minutes and then listed off a few things that were important to me when choosing a life for my baby. I knew I wanted a mom who could be at home because that was the one thing I knew I couldn't do right now. A child's most impressionable and important developmental years are between the ages one and six. With the way my life was going I knew I wouldn't be able to provide the nurturing I wanted to in that crucial time.
I listed a few other things I was hoping for and my case worker was nothing but supportive and encouraging that I would indeed be able to find a perfect match!
Initially I had wanted a family that did not live in Utah county as that was where I planned to be long term. Even though I knew it would be open, if it was just a few pictures every year I didn't want any surprises running into them at our local Costco. I knew there were different degrees of openness in adoption but I expected it to be pretty minimal contact just from the situations I was familiar with. She said that is very reasonable and not a problem. Little did I know my original plan and expectation was about to change. With the information I gave her she made up a profile for me and said I could expect my first set of families within a week.
I could hardly wait! It was a very new feeling to be excited to look for someone else to raise my child but I know now that the excitement came from knowing it was the right thing.
I remember the night my first batch of profiles came in via email labeled "Potential Families Group 1." I carved out a chunk of alone time to really delve in.
There were eight profiles in the first batch. I began opening the links to each of their blogs and taking detailed notes. The Father's occupation, did they already have children, where they live, marital relationship, family involvement, religious views, even down to were they healthy eaters and on and on. The more I looked the more I shaped the picture of who I wanted.
I got through the first seven and every one felt good. Every one felt like they were genuine. Every one felt like they deserved a baby and had each gone through pain and hardship with infertility. I found myself wishing I had seven babies to give! Every profile one through seven was good, but profile eight...it was different.
The eighth profile was just a sweet 3 page letter. No pictures, just an explanation of their hopes and dreams of becoming parents. They each wrote a section about the other that really touched me. I remember feeling moved by their love and admiration for one another. It was important to me that she grow up in a home where her parents had such a fondness for each other. Reading through the letter from Christian and Chelsey I felt the spirit touch me and whisper "Look no further."
No way! I had only seen eight profiles out of thousands, how could I look no further!? Well I knew why immediately when I sifted through the email for a separately attached single photo of the couple. As crazy as it sounds, when I saw Chelsey, I had an overwhelming feeling of familiarity! It was almost like I knew her somehow, maybe in the previous life! I decided to follow the prompting and looked no further.
So okay, I finally had "the feeling" I was looking for, now what? I felt this intense urgency to meet them. I didn't even have time to get nervous or think twice, I just contacted my case worker that moment. I told her I wanted to meet them ASAP. As I waited for a response from her I felt like I was waiting to hear back about some biopsy results or something! That was a Thursday night. I waited all day Friday and was just a basket case. I kept thinking "Oh no, I found them to late! They are probably already matched or already have a baby!" I knew if I already adored them that everyone did.
Friday evening came and my case worker text me and told me they could meet the next day for lunch.
I was giddy.
I just felt like this was going to be the family. Along with the happiness I felt was a layer of guilt for being so happy. I went back and forth wondering if I was a bad mom for being happy to have possibly found the family to place her with. I prayed my heart out that night for peace and courage to honor my happy feelings.
I got up that Saturday morning and put on my Sunday best. I was just about 18 weeks along at the time. I wanted to look as put together as possible so I covered my tattoos, wore light make-up and a simple, conservative hair style. I felt like I was headed to a job interview/ blind date! A lot of emotions I tell you!
I arrived to lunch like 20 minutes early. I was starting to get nervous sitting in the parking lot scanning for the couple. I knew I would be meeting with them and their case worker. After fiddling with my hair for 10 minutes in my car I noticed a group of three people standing across the parking lot. I watched them talk for a while before I took a deep breathe, said a little prayer and got out of my car.
I walked up to the group and the closer I got Chelsey turned around and I lost my mind. Without reservation she embraced me and I just sobbed. I'm tearing up even recalling the sweet moment I met the woman my baby would call mom.
I felt welcomed by friends immediately as Christian also hugged me and the smiles on their faces said it all!
I told myself before going not to say anything definitive. I knew they had been through so many ups and downs and I didn't want to add to the emotional struggle until I knew for sure if they were the ones. Well I didn't listen to myself, but I listened to the spirit. By the end of lunch I couldn't believe I was saying the words "I pick you guys!"
Tears all around! I just fell in love with both Christian and Chelsey. I felt such a genuine, healthy love from them. I couldn't have dreamed up a better couple myself.
It was May 13th, a day before Mothers Day so the next day I met with them again to surprise her with a Mothers Day gift. I wanted to solidify for them that I went home that day and prayed and felt God smile down on my decision. Although some would say I was already giving them my baby so why did I feel the need to give them a gift? Truth is the peace and gratitude I felt for who they were and what they were already doing for me was just as big! I may never be able to describe it.
I honestly began sharing my story not knowing how to organize it or where to go but I am just feeling each post as it comes and hopefully in my explanation of it all I can touch those in need of hope. The process of picking my family was probably unique in it's simplicity but I know it was just another gift from Heaven.
I will end here and call it the tender beginning of such a life changing journey. I will post about the months following this day next time.
I need to express intense gratitude and humility for all the love and support I have been shown. I in no way expected to reach so many. I feel that God truly puts us in certain places and among certain people for a reason and as embarrassing as the actions are that led me to this, I wouldn't change it. My soul has been edified through this and continues to be every day I know my sweet angel is in very loving and capable hands. My Heavenly Father so perfectly orchestrated it all!
So now to the pictures! The fact these two participated in this unorthodox photo shoot really speaks to who they are! How lucky did I get right!?
I love Christians sense of humor. This really captures who he is and what a fun dad he will be!
And here is sweet Chelsey who I just know God placed in my life as part of his perfect plan.
Until next post, may God be with you all!
The nine months of pregnancy is full of an aray of emotions. I would have never thought placing my baby for adoption would be among them.
I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with my second baby. I was in a very new and different relationship than I had with my first child's father although both were a struggle. I had actually broken it off with him hours before we found out. I knew he was not the one for me and things were not right in my life. The waters were pretty murky as I was still in the process of getting divorced. As unproud of myself as I am of this time in my life, I feel that sharing the overcoming of it may aid in the healing process. I wasn`t public about my pregnancy, not because I was ashamed of my baby, but because adoption is a very personal decision and I needed to rely on my own feeling and the promptings of the spirit instead of the worlds opinions. Now that all has gone the way it has I can share in confidence.
So there I was, in a run down gas station bathroom in Mesquite, Nevada with a positive pregnancy test. I was literally thinking my life could not get any lower than that moment. Yes, I had experienced the joy of motherhood. Yes, I had known the love of a precious new baby. My first daughter was 2 1/2 at the time and was already being shuffled back and forth between me and her dad. The pain of seeing that broke my heart and knowing I was unhappy with the second baby's father only meant I would have a repeat situation. Two precious babies with broken homes and different dads and the stress their lives would have because of the back and forth was just too much for me to bear. Not that I am condeming anyone who's circumstances I just described, but I knew that was not what I wanted for this second baby if I could help it. I was clearly a mess at the time and our breif relationship had never been more unhealthy.
So we returned to Utah from three weeks trying to make money in California and even though I had broken up with him on the ride home, (the fact that I trapped myself in a car for nine hours with the guy I had just broken up with doesn't speak well to my mental stability at the time) I thought I should try to make it work for this baby's sake.
He proposed. I said yes.
That lasted a few weeks before I just couldn't move forward another day with the wrong person in the wrong circumstances.
**I would just like to say, to anyone out there who is in an unhealthy relationship and gets pregnant, YOU DON'T HAVE TO STAY WITH THAT PERSON! It is unfortunate, yes. But bringing an innocent baby into an already toxic relationship is not you doing what is best for that baby. There are other options. You can get a fresh start for yourself and an even better future for your baby. I almost "just hung in there" because we were pregnant but this is 2017, you do not have to stay. You are not helping that baby if you are in a bad way so if this is you then there is time to consider a healthier option for all parties involved. I can't tell you how grateful I am everyday that I let go of that obligation to make it work. If it is unhealthy now, a baby does not fix it!! You are not alone, there are so many amazing supports to help you out of that situation. I am very passionate about this because it was me nine months ago and oh how incredible my journey has been since realizing I have the choice. If you need advice or support you can definitely contact me!**
So back to the story. We broke things off and I moved out of town ASAP.
Once we had broken up I gained so much perspective, my heart and mind immediately knew adoption was the right choice for me and the sweet baby that was coming. I knew that if I got started early with the process I could find the right family and build a relationship with them for an ideal open adoption. I fiddled around with the idea of a closed adoption but knowing very closely individuals who were adopted in a closed adoption, I knew the pains associated. I knew that knowing the background and who I was would help this little one progress in a healthy way.
I began browsing different adoption sights in hopes of getting "the feeling" about a family. Profile after profile didn't feel right. Finally I just entered my email in a random "Would you like to be contacted for more information" section on the web site. Honestly it was that easy because things took off from there!
A few weeks had passed by, I got moved and found an incredible job, my divorce was finalized and things had been going smooth. That series of good things happening in my life confirmed that my decision to place my baby was right. I was contacted by my agency and as nervous and uncomfortable as I was to meet with them, I did. Something this right propels you to step outside your comfort zone. I promised myself I would be brave for this sweet baby and by some miracle, I was. After my first meeting with the agency director, which was a sweet experience, I was contacted by my case worker-- Both of which have become my close, dear friends.
I spoke with my case worker for about an hour on the phone about why I had chosen adoption and what my feelings and hopes were moving forward. I felt so good just being honest and supported in my choice.
I had been experiencing some heavy guilt for wanting to place my baby for adoption. I felt horrible for allowing myself to get in this situation. I thought maybe I was being selfish for wanting to move on in my life as well as not having what I wanted to offer the baby, which was a healthy whole family. Talking with my case worker helped relieve the guilt and see that I am not being a bad mother or person for wanting something different for me and my baby. I knew I couldn't survive without a full time job and that meant dropping both my babies off at daycare for eight hours a day five days a week. I already had heart ache from taking my first baby to daycare. Why not seek out a better option for my second?
Once we were through talking she said a list of profiles would be on their way! I was so nervous but excited to start my search.
I will end here as it is a long journey and I will post in segments.
The second segment I will share about the family. How I chose them, the emotions of it all and how our relationship grew to what it is now.
I sincerely appreciate all who read this and all the love and understanding I have received this past week since placement of my sweet baby.