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Sunday, November 14, 2010

guest blogger: if i could change my adoption experience...

My  name is Stefanie. I’m 20 years old. I’m a birth mom to a 13 month old little girl named Olivia. I found out I was pregnant on January 21, 2009. Only two weeks before me and my boyfriend Nic had broken up after 6 months of dating. I was devastated and afraid. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I figured that maybe a part of him still loved me and that we would get back together and be a family. I had been careful of using birth control since I was 16. What happened was I got a sinus infection, I took penicillin, found out I was allergic to it, took antibiotics for my allergic reaction and totally cancelled out my birth control. I was unaware through all of this. 

I was asked to think of 5 things that I would change had i to do it over again, and 5 things i would not change.

1. When Nic was breaking up with me. I can go back to that exact day. I can play it through my mind over and over. It was on January 10. I had the biggest feeling that I should tell him I was pregnant but I had no proof. There is a part of me that almost wishes that I did tell him that night. Maybe then, things would’ve started quicker. My path to adoption or maybe him thinking we should’ve stayed together. I’m not sure what would’ve left it.

I was very adamant on having Nic be involved during my pregnancy. I’m sure that drove him away (or crazy) more than anything. I think I was still in that stage of, “We’ll get back together. He’ll realize he’s being stupid.” I was also very dependent on boys at the time. Before dating Nic, I was in a very abusive relationship and just Nic helped me out so much. I thought he would also help me out with this. He was very on the fence with everything. He made it to the ultrasound, great. But I bet if you asked him, I would probably call every other day just crying or texting him to talk to him about stuff. My pregnancy hormones made me out of control.

2. I wish I wasn’t a psycho. I wish I didn’t make it my goal to make Nic involved. But I wanted my baby to know him whether or not I was going to parent. Whether or not I was going to place. I wanted a part of her to know who he was. Good or bad. Because I knew he had a good side to him but for some reason this bad side was coming out. Maybe afraid of responsibility? I’m not sure.

My mom called LDS Family Services for me and set me up with the BEST caseworker. I wasn’t too happy about it. But I went there for meetings and for groups. All of us say, “We could’ve done it.” It’s true. It doesn’t mean that we just gave up or we didn’t love our baby any less. We did do it. We gave our baby a home like you guys do. We gave our baby parents like you guys do. We gave our baby everything like you do. Just in a different way. I was in dental assisting school hoping to find a good paying job. But my morning sickness was just not working for me. Left and right, people were telling me about adoption and I have definitely burned some bridges because of it. Even within my own family. It’s something I wanted to find out on my own. I am very thick-headed. I want to find things out the hard way and not do what everyone else tells me. 

At the time, my heart was slowly softening to all the stories I was hearing about adoption. I was at the time, blogging. And my sister blogged about how we were both pregnant at the same time and I was figuring out what I was going to do. My brother in-law is best friends with Dustinn and Valery. I met Dustinn and Valery when I was about 14 or 15 when my sister and her husband lived in my parent’s basement. Valery had e-mailed my sister saying that they couldn’t have anymore biological children and they have a biological son. When my sister told me, that’s when I knew. I knew that they were the family that I was going to place with. For me, personally, I couldn’t have placed my baby with a family that I knew less than 9 months. I know some girls that’s what they wanted, but I couldn’t. I also didn’t want a family that lived in the same state as me. I didn’t feel it to be necessary to stop by whenever I felt. They were supposed to be the parents. Not me. That was MY plan for HER.

The day after my ultrasound, I sent a package to D&V telling them that they were the parents of a little girl. They gave me a call and said they got the package. I was at work so I went in the girls bathroom and called them back. And we cried and we were happy the entire night. It was endless phone calls/e-mails/pictures of the belly/blogging. Whatever it was, it was rainbows and butterflies.

Nic did come around finally after demanding a paternity test because I called him a sperm donor.
getting ready for placement

3. I wish I never would’ve called him a sperm donor. Or do I?

We had a meeting and things got laid out on the table and why we were hurt. After the meeting, Nic said to me that he was sorry for everything. How he should’ve been supportive from the beginning and didn’t know how. This happened literally, a week before I had Olivia. It’s a tough call. I don’t know if Nic would’ve came around if I didn’t call him a sperm donor. Dustinn and Val flew out to Utah for the birth. So we all hung out together so Nic could get to know the parents of his daughter.
placement day

4. I wish I would’ve known how hard it was going to be after having Olivia.

My labor and delivery was flawless. Nothing too bad. I was due September 24, 2009. I went into labor in the early hours of September 23. I got to the hospital around 5 pm and I was dilated to about 6 and 90% effaced. My water broke right after the epidural. And sweet, precious Olivia Kate was born at 9:36 PM. All while I was pregnant, I remember just thinking, that placement was going to be a piece of cake. That nothing was going to stop me and I was invincible. Hearing Olivia cry that first time, broke me. Holding her, melted my heart. She was an angel sent from Heaven. One of the most spiritual experiences ever. I remember just crying and saying “Hi” over and over. Because I knew in just a few short days I’d be saying goodbye. I didn’t want the hello’s to be over so soon. It was like, “Oh, this is an actual human being that’s been growing inside of me. I have feelings for this baby. What am I supposed to do?!”

I constantly prayed and wanted guidance through my whole pregnancy. I cried myself to sleep every night because I knew that this is what I was going to do. I could’ve never fully prepared myself for this train wreck. I spent those two days in the hospital and it was the hardest thing that I could’ve ever imagined. I was mad because every girl I knew said that they felt at peace with their decision. I couldn’t find that peace that I had. I wanted it so bad. But I looked at her face and all I could think about how she was mine. I kept looking at the clock and counting down the hours until I had to sign the papers. A stupid signature to show that she wasn’t mine. 

As I’m writing this, I remember how broken my heart was. But now after going through all of that. I just feel as though my heart is full. I know everything that happened, happened for a reason. Every single thing that I said that I would change. I really wouldn’t. It made me who I am. It has prepared me for when the time comes to be a mother because I know how hard it is to put your child first. I was there. I went through the battlefield and came out with numerous scars but they’ve calloused and I’ve been able to look back and see that it was all for good. 

The last day at the hospital, I saw Nic cry for the first time. After being together for more than a year. He cried. He held our little girl in his arms and was so worried and loved her so much. I knew I wasn’t going through all of this alone. He was there when we signed papers. He was there for placement. He also knows how hard it is to lose a child. I’ve gained a greater respect for him for being there for his daughter. And he still is.

I know I haven’t gotten to my last thing that I would change. And this one, I really wish I could take back.

5. Writing an angry e-mail to Olivia’s parents. (My lack of communication)

After placement, everything was dandy. No bumps in the road. Val and I were e-mailing back and forth about finalization and when they’re being sealed. I was at the point that me and Tayler (my husband now. We met about 2 months after I had Olivia) were talking about marriage. I had been seeing my bishop and that he said we could get married in the Temple in August. And I realized that I could be there for when Olivia is sealed to Val and Dustinn. I was so excited when I told them. I knew it was going to be a long wait for them but I wanted it. I wish I didn’t make it such a huge priority because I found out that I couldn’t get married in the Temple in August or in September because of my past. It has a lot to do with my abusive exboyfriend.

Val told me that she would talk to Dustinn and they would think about it. The next day or that night Val had made a post about their sealing and how they were getting sealed in March. And I freaked out because that wasn’t the plan and something in me, snapped. I did wait a few days to get a few different opinions before I responded. But I remember just feeling hurt that they went behind my back and they didn’t want to tell me to my face that they didn’t want to wait. But that wasn’t the case. I just wrote this massive e-mail just attacking what they did to me. I know, if they’re reading it that they remember the hurt and how bad they felt. And I felt even worse for when they wrote back. Val is the BIGGEST sweetheart and I knew she would’ve never done anything to hurt me on purpose. And she was saying that she had written the blog in advance before we had even talked about it. And I knew what I said probably hit a nerve with them. So it was hard for a little to write to each other, afraid of what the other was going to say or if they were going to say the wrong thing and I was going to take it wrongly.

I think it had to a lot of it at the time. I was dealing with the grief of losing one of my best friends. My best friend Jessica who was there through everything while I was pregnant and she was there for when Olivia was born. She passed away the day after I got engaged. I was dealing with the biggest two losses of my life and also stressing over my wedding plans. It was a lot to take on in less than a year. It was not my idea to do anything like that to Dustinn and Val. I love them with everything. And they are seriously the greatest couple in the world. I would do anything for them. They are so good about updating and sending pictures. Seriously, the best. 

They have been able to be here for my wedding and also for Nic’s wedding. If I have to choose the five things that I wouldn’t change besides the above. 
olivia with her birthfather and his wife

1. I wouldn't change taking professional pictures taken with Olivia when she was a newborn. I recommend that everyone does it just because they're really nice pictures and not pictures from the hospital. Those are good pictures too. It's just some that you look really nice and get to enjoy :)
olivia with stefanie and her husband

2. I wouldn’t change keeping a blog during my pregnancy. I probably would change making it not so much a hate-on-Nic-blog. But I loved that I have been able to be so open about my feelings and just so welcomed in the adoption world through my blogging. I’ve been able to also learn so much from adoptive families and other birth parents.
olivia and her parents

3. I know I said I would change the way that I made Nic be involved. But I wouldn’t change that. Olivia knows her birthfather and I think it could be a very great relationship for the both of them. I wouldn’t want to deny that opportunity for either of them. Nic and I have both moved on in our separate lives but we get to share this little girl with each other.
sealing day

4. I wouldn’t change my adoptive family and the relationship I have with them. I love the open adoption I have with them and to see Olivia. Olivia and her older brother, Bradshaw, get along so well. He’s the sweetest. When I was pregnant. He would point at my belly and yell, “BABY!” After Olivia was born, we were in the hospital, I think Nic was holding Olivia and I asked Brashaw, “Where’s the baby?” He went to point at my tummy then looked around the room and found her and pointed to her. He knows what’s up. He loves his baby sister more than anything! Dustinn loves being a dad and I’m pretty sure Olivia is a daddy’s girl and has him wrapped around her finger. Val is such a caring mom to both Bradshaw and Olivia. Biological or not. She doesn’t treat them any different, she loves the same, as her children.
placement day

5. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything else. I could listen to someone’s story and think, “I should’ve done that. I should’ve taken that picture. I should’ve requested that.” But I wouldn’t. Everyone’s story is unique to them and it’s so powerful and life changing that it’s our own mark in the world. Our own fingerprint. 
sept 23, 2009
sept 24, 2010

6 comments:

Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing this. Our adoption stories are quite similar...I'm going to check out her blog!

Jeni said...

Wow. That was a real tear jerker!! Stefani, I think you are very brave and I admire you more than I can say. I wish you much happiness and joy!!

6bf4b9de-2c3e-11e1-88fa-000bcdcb8a73 said...

I loved your story. I can really relate to it because i am LDS as well! Although i have not yet placed, im committed to placing with LDS family services when he is born. Your story really gave me hope that my son will be sealed to a great family that even though i have made a mistake, i can still have the opportunity to get sealed in the temple. How did your husband take the news that you are a birth mother? Did it concern him at all? I get worried that when i find a guy who i will want to spend the rest of my life with will not want to take me to the temple because of having a baby. What are you doing now? Did you go to school after placement? I am applying to BYU and i am worried that i will not be able to enjoy the college social atmosphere during my recovery after the placement. Based on your recovery experience, do you think i will be able to enjoy being around the students?

I am really proud that you placed your baby to a great LDS family. Your ability to be sealed in the temple and have your daughter be blessed in the church is such an inspiration to me. Thanks for your blog!

sophie said...

I love your story, i can really relate to it because i am an LDS expectant birthmom and i am getting services through LDS family services as well. It is actually kind of relieving to see that i am not the only LDS girl going through this. It also really awesome to see that you are married in the temple. How did your husband take it when you told him about your pregnancy experience? Something i fear is that i will never find a guy i want to marry in the temple who is willing to accept my past involving my teen pregnancy.
What did you do right after the placement? I am currently applying for BYU, so after my placement i could possibly attend there. Would that be a good idea? I am scared that i would not be able to handle or even enjoy the social atmosphere right after the placement, especially with kids who will not know or understand what i just went through. Were you able to be around your friends right after your placement?

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It really gives me hope that my son will be able to be sealed to a great family and that i may be able to get back on my feet again.

StefanieJinelle said...

My husband and I were just sealed this past September. It's a wonderful feeling. My husband was very open minded and never judged me for placing Olivia for adoption. He's always been proud that I was able to make such a strong decision. If a guy doesn't take you to the Temple because you had a baby, he clearly doesn't understand the atonement. Congrats on applying to BYU. I did finish dental assisting school when Olivia was 8 months old. I'm 21. I'm thinking of going back to school and becoming a dental hygienist. But I really want to be a stay at home mom.

Right after I placed, I really wanted time to get away from the birth father. It wasn't that I was looking to date another guy I just wanted to meet new people and get away from the old crowd that I was hanging out with and wanted to surround myself with good people. I joined LDSsingles.com and that's how I met my now husband. But I wouldn't recommend it until you're ready to start dating. I just joined for fun and didn't think anything serious would come about it.

I did hang out with friends. But everyone grieves differently. I took a week or two off of work after I had Olivia and then I was sitting at home and I didn't want to mope around the rest of my life. I wanted to make my life worthwhile and be someone that Olivia can look up to. And see that I did some great things for her.

If you need someone to talk to you can e-mail me,
stefanie.okj@gmail.com

I promise you will be able to get back on your feet. If I could do it, you can too.

StefanieJinelle said...

My husband and I were just sealed this past September. It's a wonderful feeling. My husband was very open minded and never judged me for placing Olivia for adoption. He's always been proud that I was able to make such a strong decision. If a guy doesn't take you to the Temple because you had a baby, he clearly doesn't understand the atonement. Congrats on applying to BYU. I did finish dental assisting school when Olivia was 8 months old. I'm 21. I'm thinking of going back to school and becoming a dental hygienist. But I really want to be a stay at home mom.

Right after I placed, I really wanted time to get away from the birth father. It wasn't that I was looking to date another guy I just wanted to meet new people and get away from the old crowd that I was hanging out with and wanted to surround myself with good people. I joined LDSsingles.com and that's how I met my now husband. But I wouldn't recommend it until you're ready to start dating. I just joined for fun and didn't think anything serious would come about it.

I did hang out with friends. But everyone grieves differently. I took a week or two off of work after I had Olivia and then I was sitting at home and I didn't want to mope around the rest of my life. I wanted to make my life worthwhile and be someone that Olivia can look up to. And see that I did some great things for her.

If you need someone to talk to you can e-mail me,
stefanie.okj@gmail.com

I promise you will be able to get back on your feet. If I could do it, you can too.

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