If this were a hand written letter, it would certainly have tear stains on it but this is a subject very near and dear to my heart...a story I LOVE to share! I can't promise this will be short.
The years before Tyce made his arrival into our family were filled with hope, anxiety, heartbreak, patience, anger, hope again and on and on. It really was an emotional journey to our first born son. When we finally decided that it was time to submit our adoption papers, it was as if the weight of decision making was lifted off our shoulders. We had now done all we could do...and now, it is up to God. God's will would prevail. As the months ticked by, we wondered if we would ever be parents. We were approved for adoption on December 22, 2004 and it would be a year until the Lord's plan for us would be manifest. On November 30, 2005, I recieved a phone call from our case worker at LDS Family Services. She asked if Mark and I could come in today for a visit to update our "financial information". I didn't buy it. I knew this was it!!
When we got there, we were given a box from "Build a Bear" and in it was a bear dressed in a little boy outfit, a scrapbook page with priceless pictures of a sweet 15 year old girl and an ultrasound picture of OUR son! Words really cannot express the emotion I felt at that moment. It was like a dream. I cried and wondered when I would wake up. The spirit was so strong and I KNEW that this would happen. I instantly fell in love with that young girl and could not possibly comprehend what she must be going through at that moment. We learned that this precious baby boy was due December 28, 2005...just a mere 4 weeks away. As we left the agency...we just could not wait to tell the world...and that is just what we did! We decided to enjoy the moment despite the fear that until this baby was 2 days old and relinquishment papers were signed...she could change her mind and keep him (which I would not have blamed her for doing...but it was a real fear for me).
The next week, we got to meet McKelle for the first time. She looked so young and it broke my heart. We were so nervous that she wouldn't like us...that she wouldn't want US to raise HER son. Turns out she was nervous for the same reasons. She was worried that we wouldn't want to raise a child from HER family...silly girl. We had a great visit. We fell in love with her. Then we went home and we waited. We wrote letters back and forth to McKelle and got to know more about her, her family and Tyce's birth father.
On December 21, 2005, I was visiting teaching when my phone rang. My heart jumped when I saw my case workers number on my phone. I answered to find out that McKelle was in labor and it looked like Tyce would be coming tonight. I immediately ran home and told Mark and then, we waited some more. At eleven o'clock that evening, we got another call that Tyce was here!! He was 8 lbs 3 oz and 21 1/2 inches long and completely healthy with a little bit of hair. McKelle was doing well and we could expect to have "placement" in a couple days...they would get back to us. I was not prepared for the next onset of emotions. I was a wreck. Would she change her mind. Now that she met him...could she let him go? Was I really going to be a mom?
The hardest thing for me was the fact that McKelle wanted those 2 days in the hospital to herself. We were not asked to come visit. We completely respected her wishes and understood but it was still very hard. So...the days went by and on December 23rd, we got a call in the morning that she had just signed the relinquishment papers and Tyce was now legally OUR SON!!! How relieved we were. We were going to bring our son home from the hospital that night! It really happened! And then I cried. I tried to put myself in her shoes. She had just signed her title of MOM over to me...a stranger. How was she doing? Was she having any regrets?
When we got to the hospital, our emotions were very close to the surface but the Holy Ghost was right there with us and I assume that he was with McKelle very strongly as well. I know she was being lifted up at that time. The first time I saw my son was amazing. McKelle wheeled him in his little plastic hospital bassinette and he was so sweet and so beautiful. I just looked at him and I hugged McKelle and we cried. For the next hour or so...she clung to her little boy. And then it was time for her to say goodbye. How do you say goodbye to your baby? How is that possible? How is someone so brave? It is a mystery and I still just don't know.
She moved to hand him to me several times before she finally just did it. I could see the pain and torment in her eyes and it broke my heart. I wasn't even feeling my own joy at that moment. I was haunted by the ache in her eyes and certainly in her heart. She didn’t stay after that. it was just too hard for her.
The next several days were a blur. Full of sleepless nights and time spent gazing at my new son. I will be honest and say that he didn’t feel like MINE for several weeks. I felt as if I were babysitting. There was a sense of guilt over my happiness at his birth mother’s expense. I felt as if the rug would be pulled out from under me at any moment and we would hear that McKelle had changed her mind and some signature had been missed allowing a loophole for her to reclaim Tyce. All these were fears of mine and it prevented me from fully opening my heart to motherhood until some time had passed and I finally allowed the Holy Ghost to fill my heart with peace. Once this happened…I finally allowed myself to bond fully with my son. He has been my life for the last two and a half years. The best years of my life so far.
Little did I know that the Lord had in store for me another miracle. One I never thought was possible for me. I got pregnant! It was amazing…after 8 years of infertility the test was positive. I couldn’t tell you how many pregnancy tests I have taken over the years but I can tell you that they were never positive. We had adopted our son two years earlier and were anxiously awaiting another match to adopt again. We were excited and totally okay with adopting as a way to grow our family but there was always that part of me that felt broken. That longed to really be a woman and do what women should be able to do. To grow and birth a baby. I had already grieved that loss and moved on and now I found myself with the opportunity to do that exact thing. It was overwhelming and exciting and I was scared to death that I would lose this baby to miscarriage. I just put my faith in the Lord that he would surely not give me this blessing and then take it away after all this time and I was right.
My pregnancy was wonderful and I loved all of it. I miss it. I had two main fears through this whole pregnancy. That I would not love this baby like I loved Tyce. Tyce was my life and my heart. The second was that I would love this baby more than I loved Tyce because I was able to carry and give birth to this baby. Both were very wrong. It is amazing how your heart can grow to add a whole new section just for the new babe.
I had planned on having a natural childbirth in a hospital setting. I had labored all day…even going to the pumpkin patch with Tyce and grocery shopping. I was doing really well. Breathing through my contractions. Mark was massaging my back. All was well, until my water broke. WOW…that was intense. Little did I know that my body was going to go from nothing to 10 cm dilated in four hours. Once we got to the hospital, the contractions were just one to two minutes apart and very intense. I couldn’t catch my breath and began hyperventilating. I decided at that time to go ahead and get the epidural. That hurt too and I am still numb on my outer right thigh…but it was and is still worth it.
After the epidural…my birth experience became very peaceful and relaxing. When it was time to push, I did so with much anticipation. I couldn’t wait to see my new son. When he came out, I watched Mark. He was in awe of what was happening. He was right there and saw it all…yes…ALL! That was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. My baby crying on my tummy. He was so clean and pink and perfect. His daddy stayed with him while I got “fixed up” and then I got to really hold him and see him. He looked just like me! I was overwhelmed with the love that I felt for him. I was no longer worried that I couldn’t love him like I loved Tyce and that was a huge relief for me.
During the time in the hospital…I really reflected on McKelle (Tyce’s birth mom). How did she do this and then turn her title of Mom over to me? How did she survive? I have a whole new respect for her on top of the overwhelming admiration that I already had for her.
All in all…with my experiences with adoption and a “home grown” baby…my dreams have come true and I am content (until I want another!) Only the Lord knows the plan for me and my family and so far…I am very grateful for what we have been given. Both the good and the bad.
So, in essence, that is the story. Believe it or not, that is the short version. It is such a sacred and special experience that it is really hard for me to paraphrase it.