Sunday, February 27, 2011

Guest blogger: Jeanie's Story

This may be a long story but its totally worth it! 
Jeanie has such a contagious personality and such a wonderful story to share!! She is one strong woman!

I remember when I was 15 years old and I got a phone call from my cousin. She called to tell me that she was pregnant. She was 16. I remember being sad and devastated and angry that she would put herself in a situation like that. My cousin and I had been very close since I was a toddler. We did everything together. I was so sad when my family moved far away from hers. For some reason my naive, sheltered teenage self let things grow distant between us after that phone call. I think about it now and shudder. How could I be so dumb. When she needed me most I disappeared. The problem was I had been so sheltered and taught that if you had sex before marriage that it was just as bad as having committed murder.

Funny thing, I lost my virginity 3 years later. I still am quite amazed how long it took for me to get pregnant. Since I was sheltered I had no idea about protection and thought that I was invincible. Sometimes, I wish I could go back in time and smack myself silly for the situations I put myself in.

I was 19, I had moved down to live with my best friend after breaking up with my boyfriend. I started hanging out with my best friends brother and his friends. One of his friends was a little bit sweeter and more down to earth then the rest. So I started talking to him and hanging out with him more. I wasn't very attracted to him but liked that he gave me attention. All summer we hung out. He fell in love and I was having fun. At the end of the summer I had to move back to my parents so I could start college that fall. I had noticed that it had been awhile since I had my period and I was feeling very sick. Bought a pregnancy test and went to a restaurant that I used to work at. I was too scared to do it at home. I went into the stall in the restroom and sat there for what felt like forever to wait for the plus or minus sign to show. I was in total shock when I saw that plus sign. Hmm maybe this is defective. I laugh whenever I watch “Juno” because I shook my pregnancy test too.

After taking the test and recovered enough to drive, I went home. I was in a state of shock. I sat down in the kitchen where my mother was cooking dinner. She knew something was up. I just sat there and didn't move or say anything. She asked me what was wrong as my dad came into the room. I had not planned on telling them till the last possible moment but it just kinda came out. I just blurted it out “I'm Pregnant” There was a long silence and then some hugs and tears and actually I can't really remember anything that happened after that.

Right away my mom told me I would give my baby up for adoption. “What??” I thought. I was confused because only drugged out, abusive women and women in third world countries did the adoption thing. Why would I? Growing up watching my friends having babies young and keeping them was what I was used to. I agreed to go to talk with LDS Family Services anyway. I'm so glad I did. I met with the counselor and he told me about every option I had. He explained they would help me with any choice I made. When he got to the option of adoption it just made so much sense to me. I told him right then I wanted to do adoption. I was given a bunch of letters written by couples that were waiting to adopt.

I had a dream before I read those letters. I dreamt a little girl was praying for a new brother or sister to join their family. That really sunk deep into my heart. The first letter I read a thought came to me “This is them” No no no I said to myself. I have to give everyone a fair chance I have to look at each letter. I had a whole plan in my head on how I would choose my baby's family. It was quite elaborate. But once I got done reading the rest of the letters I realized I kept thinking about that first letter. I kept trying to find what I liked in each family's profile but just knew that first letter was the one.

The day came to meet the family. As soon as I walked into the office and saw that sweet little family sitting there a wave of warmth came over me. It was like seeing a family member you hadn't seen in years. I instantly loved them. They had their biological daughter, “K” with them. She was the cutest little girl. I believe she was about 6. I was so excited for her to be a big sister. We had a great first meeting. We exchanged life stories and hopes for the future. They told me that their daughter had been praying so hard for sibling. I started crying remembering that dream I had.

Pregnancy was not good to me. It took so much out of me. I constantly threw up through my whole pregnancy. I still attended college while I was pregnant. One day driving to school I felt the need to throw up. But there was no where to pull over so I threw up right in my lap. Drove straight home as I cried. Going to school young and pregnant was hard even though it was college. One day in my physiology class a lady that knew I was choosing adoption for my baby told me how selfish I was. I was so confused why she would think that. I also had some great times in school that semester. I met many awesome friends that supported me and were my shoulders to cry on.

Another hardship during my pregnancy was dealing with the birth father. When he heard that adoption was my plan he made so many threats. He threatened to take the baby away from me. He would call me daily and harass me. Many prayers were said and finally he agreed to meet the family but was making no promises. He must have had that same feeling when he met them because after the visit he decided that it was the right way to go.

During all the hard times I was having those 9months the thing that kept me going was the letters I would receive from the adoptive family. Back then LDS family services only did semi open adoptions. So they had to send their letters to the family services and they would read the letter to make sure no information was given or things said that did not meet their guidelines.

The due date came and went. 2 weeks had past when I begged my doctor to let me be induced. I was set to be induced on my father's birthday. I had my mother, father and best friend there with me during delivery. The baby wasn't born on my father's birthday ,however. 18 hours after I was first given the inducing drugs my son was born on May 11th, 2001 My beautiful boy was healthy as could be at a whopping 9 lbs 7oz and 20 inches long. I didn't know what his name was for awhile until I got a call from the adoptive family. I was so excited to tell them all about him. They said his name would be Kendrick J. They said his middle name would just be the letter J in honor of my name Jeanie.

I had many friends and family visit me while I was in the hospital. I was able to spend an extra day in the hospital with Kendrick. It was a bittersweet few days. Then the day came to leave the hospital. Back then the adoption agent would just come to the hospital and take the baby to a foster family till all the court proceedings were done. It was an awful law that Wisconsin had and I think still has. They do this in case the birth parent changes their mind. But I had begged for the adoptive family to be there. Even though my son had to be with a foster family I wanted to be able to place him in the family's arms so it would be right in my mind. So that last memory of him would be me giving him to someone I already trusted and loved. The agency agreed to let us do that.

The day that I placed my beautiful birth son in the arms of his new family was ironically Mother's Day. What a mother's day that was for both me and the adoptive mother. We had a wonderful visit exchanging mementos to remember each other by. I had tied a blanket for Kendrick to go home in and written him a letter for the family to give to him when they felt he was ready. Then it was time to leave. Everyone left the room so I could spend the last few precious moments with him. I cried and held him close. I told him I was so sorry I wasn't ready to raise him. I told him I knew he would be happy. While I was in the room still outside my friend was talking with the adoptive family. They told her how they wanted a more open adoption then the agency would allow. They quietly exchanged last names and how to find emails. Everyone came back in the room I place Kendrick in the mother's arms kissed him on the head and said good bye. I was brought down to the lobby of the hospital in a wheelchair and waited for my father to pull up the car. As I sat there and waited I watched all the happy couples loading their new babies in their cars. It was the longest 10 minutes.

The next few months was a roller coaster of emotions and events. Healing after delivering a huge baby was rough on my body and then I had to heal emotionally as well. It took forever for us to get a court date. I kept thinking about my birth son confused about where his mom was while he was at the foster family. I just wanted him to be with his adoptive family. The court date was finally scheduled It was hard to sit up on the stand and tell the court why I was not ready to raise my baby. I was so happy when that day was done. I knew my birth son was with his family now and he was feeling all kinds of love.
From the information that was given to my friend I was able to find the adoptive mother's email. I emailed her to tell her that I would like a more open adoption as well. For the next few years we sent each other letters, pictures and gifts. It was hard to watch my birth son grow up through pictures but it was worth it. I even got to talk to him on the phone a couple of times.

3 years after placing my birth son I found myself pregnant again. This time I thought I was being smart. I had started taking birth control. I had started seeing a guy I was working with. We had an interesting relationship. So to speak. Everyone thought we were together but he made sure I knew we weren't. This went on for a couple of years. He was deployed overseas when things got bad in Iraq back in 2003. When he came back I became pregnant. I was actually quite excited. I had missed my birth son so much and I couldn't wait to have my very own baby and I thought I was in love with the father. He had another idea.

When I told him I was pregnant he said that he hated to make me do adoption again but it was the only way. I refused. Over the next few months I would talk about our future and what we were going to name our child. He would not listen. He said there was no way we could keep the baby and that me and him could not be together. So I started to pray about it. I was still confused. I emailed my birth son's family and told them I was pregnant again and wasn't sure what I was going to do. I asked them if I did choose adoption if they would want to adopt again. They emailed me back telling me they had been searching for another way to adopt but told me it was up to me and they would respect my decision. After their email I had that same feeling as with my birth son. This child was theirs. I just knew. As soon as I told the father that I decided that I was on board for the adoption choice he started singing another tune. I was so confused. He told me he would be the one that would raise our baby. He would fight me for parental rights. Where did this come from? I was in shock. Even though he said these things he took care of me through my pregnancy. We were together almost every day.

When I told the family we would like them to adopt they were elated. I still think back to that and wonder how that felt for them. It makes me happy. They set up a time for me to actually meet my birth son I had not seen in 3 years. What a wonderful happy day that was. People asked me how I could stand to see him only to say good bye again. But the visit was so much like getting together with any member of my family It felt so normal and so real.

I went into labor 3 days before my due date. I was pretty excited my body did it on it's own. However, my body didn't want to progress so I still had to have pitocin. YUCK. 12 ½ hours later a beautiful baby girl was born. We called her Pumpkin since we didn't know her name and she was born in October. When we got a hold of the family they gave us some names to chose from. We helped choose the name Taryn. Her middle name became the letter J as well like her brother. The laws in Wisconsin were the same. My birth daughter would have to go to a foster home first during the court proceedings. Like the time before I had the family come to the hospital so I could place my baby in their arms. I was very scared for that day to arrive when I was in the hospital I remembered the pain I felt. The family came and spent some time with us. Some songs were sang and we chatted for a long while. It was time for me to leave. I placed the beautiful baby girl in their arms. It was so wonderful to see my birth son and birth daughter together. It made me feel at peace. Leaving the hospital that time was even harder. I was so torn. I knew it was the right choice but I was not ready for the pain that would follow.

Many hard months followed. Dealing with my emotions and the birth father saying he was going to change his mind. The court date arrived and papers were signed. It was a huge relief. It was something I never want to experience again.

Since that day have had many wonderful visits with my birth children and their family I share openly with every one about my story. I am proud of my decisions and do not regret them one bit. I get updates usually every week on how they are doing and visits about once a year. I am so incredibly blessed to have found such a wonderful family for my birth children.

I am now married to a wonderful man for 4 ½ years. We have a daughter of our own now that is almost 2. What a joyful day that was! Having a baby and being able to actually bring her home with me! It was an incredible experience. Having her, made me realize what a smart choice I had made for both myself and my birth children. Raising a child is hard enough when you are married. I can't even imagine what I would have been like had I kept them. I have had single mother's ask me if I think I am better then them for choosing adoption. I tell them Heck NO! I just knew I was not strong enough to raise those sweet babies by myself. I knew they were not mine. I knew I was put on this earth to bare those children for that family. It is different for everyone!

You just know in your heart what is best for your children.


Kellie said...

Love, love ,LOVE your story. I can relate in SO many ways, adoption, multiple pregnancies. Thank you for sharing!!

Unknown said...
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birthMOM said...

from facebook:

Thank you Jessalynn!

Jessalynn Bills
No! thank you!

Jessalynn, Thanks for posting that. Thanks Jeanie for sharing! We really appreciated the insight.

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