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!