Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Story: Part 2

Well, how do I begin? I’ve always been completely honest on this blog of mine, but I must admit that over the last few months, I’ve been keeping something from you all. And not just my online readers and friends, but almost everybody I know. I suppose I should start from the beginning (be prepared, this is more of a book than a blog post).

The relationship between Robbie’s birth father and I has always been like a roller coaster ride. There have been too many ups and downs to count. I honestly believe if I had never gotten pregnant that first time, our relationship would have been over and done in less than a year. However, having sex with someone and conceiving a child together, whether that child lives or dies, creates one hell of a bond between you. No matter what happened, no matter how many times we broke up, we some how always ended up back together. Our on again, off again, relationship stretched out for a little over three years.
Because of this bond, I have given R many “second” (more like 222nd) chances. I cared about him, so I let him get away with things I would have killed other guys for doing. It wasn’t healthy, and I am glad I was finally able to put an end to things.
Robbie was conceived during one of our many short lived “on again” moments. For most of my pregnancy, we weren’t together. In fact, R actually dated some one else for the majority of my pregnancy. After Robbie was born, we got back together for a few months. Then of course, we broke up, only to get back together again before the end of the year. But by February, things had ended again. Unfortunately, there were a few times I let him get to me, and we ended up hooking up a time or two in the month  before Robbie’s first birthday. It was then that I finally realized I wanted better for myself, that I didn’t want to keep making the same bad choices that led to the same situations. I completely ended things with R, even going as far as blocking him from Twitter, deleting him as a friend on Facebook, and for a while I blocked his number from my phone. For the first time in three years, I made a REAL effort to move on.
Things were going pretty well for me. I was doing great at work, I started going to church more regularly, I had more time for friends and family, and I was finally rebuilding the trust I had lost with my mother.
Sometime last fall, I set up an appointment to have a physical at a low cost clinic. I don’t have health insurance, and I haven’t for most of my life, so needless to say this physical was long over due. They did all the usual things, including a pregnancy test. The doctor told me I tested positive for being pregnant. I laughed at him, and told him it wasn’t possible. I hadn’t been sexually active in MONTHS! And I had absolutely no pregnancy symptoms. “Trust me,” I said, “If I was pregnant, I would know. I’ve been pregnant before.” So he had me agree to do a blood test (they didn’t have an ultrasound machine), which after a few days also came back as positive. I know enough about this stuff to know that if a blood test says you are pregnant, you are pregnant. I couldn’t believe it.
After looking back over my calendar and figuring out when I possibly could have conceived, we calculated that I was over six months pregnant. I was due the first week of January. I was shocked. I mean when I say I had no symptoms, I mean that I had NO symptoms. I didn’t really have any weight gain, and the only time I ever vomited in the entire 6+ months was when I tried a White Russian with a friend (if you don’t know, a White Russian is a horrible drink consisting of Vodka, Milk, and Kahlua. I do not recommend it). It made me horribly sick all night and I felt queasy for about 36 hrs afterwards (Now that I am writing this, I remember saying to my friend (in between vomiting) something along the lines of, “Gosh, I haven’t been this sick since I was pregnant.” Ha. I should have knocked on wood!).
  
After finding out, I immediately went and applied for pregnancy Medicaid, and started searching for good doctors who accepted Medicaid and delivered at a good hospital. Lucky for me, I found a great doctor who was able to see me pretty quickly, and she was affiliated with one of the best hospitals in Atlanta. I had my first doctors appointment and ultrasound when I was a little over 7 months along (it took a few weeks for Medicaid to come through). Amazingly, he (yes, another boy!) was completely healthy, and was actually half a pound bigger than he should have been! It was a huge relief to know he was healthy even though I hadn’t had any prenatal care. God was definitely looking out for us.
Along with applying for Medicaid and finding a doctor, I also had to figure out what I was going to do. Parenting wasn’t an option. My situation hadn’t changed much since I was pregnant with Robbie. Sure I had a job, but with it only being part time, I really didn’t make much money. Not enough to support myself, and definitely not enough to support myself AND a baby. This left adoption as the only option.

My journey through adoption has connected me with quite a few awesome people. One of those people is my dear friend, “H”. H and I met in the fall of 2009 in an online adoption support group. We instantly clicked after she responded to one of my posts, and began messaging each other frequently. It wasn’t long before we found out we lived in the same area, and made plans to meet for coffee. We would meet for coffee at least one morning a month and talk for hours until one of us had to either work or pick up a child from school. With me being a birth mom and her being an adoptive mom, we had the best conversations! It was wonderful being able to learn from each other, share our experiences, and gain advice from the other. We quickly became close friends.
When I found out I was pregnant, I already knew M and S would most likely not adopt this baby. While M is a stay at home mom, S works a lot. So quite often it is just M at home with the two boys. Adding a new born to the mix would have been insane. As I thought, the answer was no (even though it just about killed M to know that Robbie would have a full blooded brother that wouldn’t be with me or them!).
So the next logical step was to ask H (and her husband, K). H and K aren’t an interracial couple, so I wasn’t sure how they would feel about adopting a biracial child, but I asked anyway. The answer was yes! And so we moved forward with an “adoption plan”.
 This situation was an answer to my prayers. I already knew them, they were looking to adopt again, and I knew first hand that they really did have an open adoption with their son’s family and wanted another very open adoption. It was nice because I already had an established relationship with them, and therefore already had a certain level of trust with them. There was no anxiety over them closing the adoption or not keep their promises (And there was no pressure. I knew that if I changed my mind and decided to parent, they would support me 100%).
It was completely different than the first adoption. I did things with them I wish I had been able to do with M and S. For instance, I brought H along with me to a couple of doctor’s appointments, the four of us got together for a 3D ultrasound, H came with me to my hospital tour, and I invited them to visit us 3 out of the 4 days we were in the hospital. Oh, guess what? R and I got to pick his name! I picked his first name (William), and R picked his middle name. As far as adoption goes, it was the perfect situation.

                                  William 12/29/10  7lbs, 10 oz 19.5 inches long

 Unfortunately, everything started to go down hill once William got here.

First- R’s girlfriend (who, by the way, is pregnant! Shocker! I’ll call her #3, as she will be his 3rd baby mama) showed up to the hospital not once, but TWICE, and once she was there she stayed for several HOURS. And to make it even worse, R’s mother actually gave her a ride both times! She went completely out of her way to pick her up from the other side of town and bring her to see MY son! Apparently in their family, it’s completely normal to bring your sons pregnant girlfriend to the hospital room of his ex girlfriend who just had his baby and is recovering from major surgery and then stay for several hours (ha, can you tell I’m still pretty pissed off?).  After the second day of #3 showing up, I had a “talk” with R. She didn’t show up again after that.
Second- R’s mother, Sandra, asked me if she could “have” the baby, since I was “giving him away”. She continued to ask this the entire time I was in the hospital, and tried to bribe me with things like letting me keep him on the weekends and still allowing me to be called mommy. I appreciate her “offer”, really I do, but the only way she is raising my child is over my dead body (I won’t go into specific reasons as to why I would not accept her offer, but trust me when I say I have very good reasons).
Third- When Robbie was born, R was great! He was so helpful the entire time we were in the hospital. I didn’t have to ask him to do anything because he was already doing it. This time was entirely different. The first night (when I still couldn’t get out of bed because my legs were numb from anesthesia) he didn’t do anything but sleep. I couldn’t walk, but some how I managed to do every feeding and every diaper change. When I tried to wake him up to help me (I even threw a few things at him), all he did was roll over. He once threatened to leave William and me alone at the hospital during a fight about #3 showing up. He even went so far as to pack his bag and leave for a short time before showing back up.

We had planned to sign the Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) papers after being discharged from the hospital. Last time we signed at the hospital and Robbie and I left separately. Being wheeled out of the hospital with a swollen stomach and empty arms SUCKED, and there was no way I was doing that again. Well it turns out I didn’t have to worry about that. The day we were discharged, Rob decided he wasn’t ready to sign the papers. There was no choice but to take little William home with me. Thankfully, M lent me Robbie’s infant car seat, a pack and play, bottles, clothes, etc. I don’t know what I would have done without her help.


I called H the day we were to be discharged from the hospital and informed her that R was having second thoughts. She and K had already accepted that the adoption wasn’t going to happen. We both cried on the phone together as she told me something along the lines of (I’m paraphrasing here) “It might not be what you planned for, and it may not have happened the way you envisioned, but I have no doubt in my heart you will be an amazing mommy to William. He is so lucky to have you for a mother. K and I completely support you parenting.” She assured me that while the situation sucked a little, this didn’t change our friendship, and she hoped to still be a part of mine and William’s life. She even lent me a few things like clothes and bibs for William to use.

That first night home from the hospital was the hardest. I was so physically and emotionally exhausted from the stress of dealing with Robert’s family on top of major surgery and taking care of a new baby, I actually slept through two of William’s feedings (I am an extremely light sleeper, so this is highly unusual, basically unheard of). I don’t know what would have happened if my mom and her boyfriend hadn’t been around to take care of him those two times.
I had no idea what was going to happen for me and little William. R was refusing to sign the papers, and I had NO plan B. I had no way to raise or care for William, and neither did R. Then there was R’s controlling, selfish, and manipulative behavior (e.g. “If you don’t do ____, then I’m not going to sign the papers”)... The stress on top of the pure exhaustion left me in tears many times. I decided this was not what I wanted my son live with. After talking with my adoption coordinator, I decided I still wanted to try for adoption. I called and talked to H about it, and we agreed that as long as everyone was on board, they were still interested in adopting William.
      After a little over two weeks of R’s constant back and forth, he finally agreed to sign. January 15th, the day before my birthday, we met at the agency and signed the TPR papers. Again, it wasn’t anything like the first time. I didn’t cry; I didn’t feel any overwhelming sadness. We signed the papers, and then went back to my house where we ate tacos and watched the Atlanta VS. Greenbay football game with H and K. After watching Greenbay unfortunately destroy Atlanta, I packed up William’s things, kissed him goodbye, and sent him home with his new family.
     It wasn’t goodbye for long though! The very next day the four of us (plus William!) went to dinner for my birthday, and a few days after that they had us over and I got to give William his first bath! So far, I’ve seen William at least once a week (sometimes more!). Things were going very well until that next week.
            He liked the water, but not so much the whole cleaning process lol
                                                                         So cute!

In Georgia, you have 10 days to change your mind after surrendering your rights. On the very last day (the 25th), just hours before the deadline, R revoked his surrenders. He had no real good reason, and he had no plan for what he would do next. After dealing with a few more of his childish antics, I decided to move forward with the adoption with or without him. If he didn’t want to re-sign the papers, I would take him to court and terminate his parental rights. I shared my desire to do so with H and K, who (much to my relief) said that as long as I was 100% sure, they would support me. I contacted the agency attorney and made plans to have R served with a notice of my intentions.
 
 The past weeks have been an emotional roller coaster. That being said, the few weeks I parented William will forever be treasured in my heart. I loved everything about it; the way he felt in my arms when I held him, learning all of his facial expressions and sounds, having him scream in my hear non-stop for over an hour and still being able to laugh and tell him how absolutely precious he is, and most of all- realizing that I COULD do it. Coming to the realization that I could handle parenting, and handle it well, was amazing.
  In the two weeks since R revoked his surrenders, we have set things in motion for him to be served. I suppose the knowledge of this has scared him a little, because yesterday afternoon he resigned the TPR papers with the attorney. He has until midnight on Valentines Day to change his mind (again). If he does revoke his surrenders a second time, he will have 30 days (starting the day he is served, which will be soon, very soon.) to obtain a lawyer and take us to court. If those 30 days pass and he does nothing, his rights will automatically be terminated. If he takes us to court, I have no doubt that we will win (due to his horrible job history, lack of income, lack of housing, lack of transportation, the fact that he has other kids by other women that he can not care for, etc.).
I am just hoping it doesn’t come to that…

So now we hold our breath until V-Day. I’ll keep you posted….

9 comments:

A Life Being Lived said...

You are such a STRONG momma and woman! Kudos to you for recognizing what your children needed and providing the environment you wanted for them and what they needed. You really have lived through a lot and this story and your strength reminds me of how amazing moms are- we will really do anything for our children even if it is not being their moms. Congratulations for making good choices and learning from your past (I'm on the same journey and it's not always easy!).

Duchess said...

I just found your blog through a google alert. I'm an adoptive mom in an open adoption. I just wanted to let you know that I am sending you virtual adoption love and support. You are a strong amazing woman and your boys are lucky to have you in their lives.

LeMira said...

I think you are amazing, and the adoptive parents you chose are amazing, too.

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Thanks ladies!
LeMira, you are so right! They are truly wonderful! I knew you'd figure out who they were once I posted this :)

Leah W said...

wow!!! i wasn't expecting all of this when i came here to check on you! i have missed you too and will be sending you an email...

mamamargie said...

Wow! I think I held my breath through the entire reading of this whole saga! What a surprise!!! I really admire you doing what you believe to be right. Keep taking care of you and doing all the things you were doing before you delivered William. Don't let anyone treat you any less than the incredible person you are! Hugs to you!

Coley said...

I haven't come by to read in awhile... Too long I guess because I didn't know you were pregnant and placing again. I'm glad that things are working out so positively for you and both your boys are adorable! :)

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