Monday, March 05, 2007

Anticipation ....

Just like the ketchup song. The next five months went by both unbelievably quickly, and agonizingly slowly. When Blaine and I got settled in Los Angeles, we had a 1-800 line installed in the house so M could call us whenever she wanted. Sounds a little silly now, but back then, e-mail was a brand-new thing and none of us had cell phones or text-message capabilities, so an 800-line in the house was considered pretty high-tech, believe it or not. We talked regularly, and got better acquainted. I flew back to Oklahoma several times to spend time with her.

On the one hand, I can understand why adoption agencies normally encourage birthmoms to be in their third trimester before meeting the prospective family. Nine months is a long time to wait, for everyone involved, and obviously she had lots of time to consider her decision, and worst case scenario (for us) change her mind. Blaine and I were friends with a couple (the couple who wound up successfully suing this agency for their money back) who had gone through five birthmoms. FIVE. Five times they had met a birthmom, five times they thought they were getting a baby, five times it fell through. Once, they were standing at the hospital, camcorder and car seat in hand, when they got the news she had changed her mind. I was realistic enough to know that could be us, too.

But hopeful enough to think it wouldn’t be. M never wavered. Not once did she indicate to us that she had reconsidered, or was having second thoughts. I felt confident that she would go through with her decision to place her baby with us. On the flip side, you don’t ever, ever, EVER want a birth-mom to feel pressured or obligated to go through with a decision that she’ll regret later. It’s a fine line to walk. Being supportive, without being pushy.

The more we got to know her, the more we liked her. The more we discovered we had in common. I worried sometimes, when I would call her, that she would think I was checking up because I only cared about the baby. That wasn’t the case at all. I felt like we had become friends, and I cared about her and what was going on in her life besides the pregnancy. Of course, I couldn’t *not* ask about the pregnancy, because then what if she thought I didn’t care about the baby? As it was, we had a great, healthy, respectful relationship with a birthmom we liked and trusted … and I was still stressed out half the time. If ever I needed a crystal ball, so I could peer in the future and just relax, this was it.

About a month before her due date, we had friends back home getting married. Blaine and I flew home for the wedding, and then I stayed, while Blaine returned to LA to work a few more weeks. It gave me more time to spend with M, and I also got to spend time with her family, which was a wonderful opportunity. They were kind, and gracious, and welcomed me into their home. But there was a part of me, I must confess, that felt guilty. Here I was, excited and hopeful and thinking about what a wonderful day the birth was going to be for us, and how our whole life was about to change in such a fabulous way, yet remembering that this entire situation had come about because M had the courage to make the hardest, gut-wrenching, most selfless decision ever. For her and her family, it was going to be a day of loss. I felt very conflicted, because I had grown to care about her so much and I hated to think about the hurt she would go through, which would result in my happiness. I felt happy, I felt sad, I felt frightened, I felt hopeful … seriously. It’s a miracle I wasn’t on Prozac.

Then, a few weeks before the birth, we got a call from the social worker again. There was a problem.

In the state of Oklahoma, a birthmom can relinquish her rights at the time of birth, and the baby can go home with her adoptive parents. But if the birthmom is part Native American, which M was (technically, of course, she still is, although it just cracks me up to realize it because she is a fair-skinned blonde if ever there was one) then by state law, she is not allowed to relinquish her birth rights for ten days. “The Tribe” wants to maintain its integrity by ensuring babies are not placed for adoption “outside the tribe” without the birth-mom having plenty of time to make sure her decision is the right one. In theory, I understand it, but as it pertained to our case, it just seemed silly. We wanted the baby to go home with us … M wanted the baby to go home with us. We had discussed it, involved the social worker, made our plans …. And now, the baby was going to have to go into foster care for those ten days.***

Uh, no. Not MY baby!

***Let me just say, this is how things were for us, when *we* went through it. Laws might have changed since then, things are done differently in different states, and invoking the name of James Frey, I admit some of the details might have gone fuzzy in the past ten years. But this is how I remember it happening.

The adoption agency pushed through some paperwork which allowed Blaine and I to quickly become foster parents for their agency, which meant the baby could be placed with us. Technically, we weren’t the “adoptive” parents. We were only the foster parents, and we did this with the complete understanding that if at any time during those ten days, M were to change her mind, we would have to give the baby back.

We never hesitated. She never gave us a reason to.

The due date was getting close. Blaine flew back to Oklahoma. We were starting to get really excited. We were starting to get really nervous. And anxious. And a million other things. We planned to stay with my mom and dad for those ten days until we could file the paperwork to legally adopt the baby, (which we didn’t know yet if it was a boy or a girl), complete with the Inter-State Compact Agreement, since we no longer lived in Oklahoma, and then we planned to fly back to California and begin our new life together, the three of us. We rented a car so we could get around in the meantime, and waited.

Finally, her doctor set a date for induction: February 13th.

The night before, Blaine and I stayed in a hotel across the street from the hospital. Not because we needed to be close, but because it was such a momentous night … our last night JUST THE TWO OF US, that we wanted to be alone, and not stay in the spare room at my parent’s house. I don’t remember what we did that night. You’d think I would remember … did we go out to eat? To a movie? Go to bed early since it would be the last night of decent rest we would get for awhile??? The final night before we became parents, and yet, I don’t have a clue what we did.

But I do remember getting up the next morning, and thinking, “Today is the day! Today is the day I finally become a Mom!”

41 comments:

Erin said...

Such a wonderful entry this evening. I loved that "M" signed the last entry too- Hi M!

Anonymous said...

Nooooooo!! Don't stop now!! How will I sleep tonight on this cliff hanger?? :) :) Seriously, LOVING the story and the way it's told... can't wait for the next chapter...

Mary

cakeburnette said...

I love how you describe how you feel about waiting for Brayden. It is often hard for people to imagine how adoptive parents feel, but as an adoptive child I always knew that most people wait 9 months for a baby while my parents waited almost 18 years...! I also love that Brayden gets to know BOTH the mother that grew her in her body and the one one who grew her in her heart. (That's one of my favorite adoption quotes!)

JoAnn said...

Ohhh- I have goosebumps. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Anonymous said...

Kristie- Are you seriously leaving us hanging like that?!?!? You better post again very soon. Really. No...we will wait as long as needed, but can hardly stand it. You have such a gift for this. Thanks for this wonderful sharing.

California Friend said...

Arghhhhhhh!!!! Ok Kristie, first I thought you should write a book, now I realize you never could; you just wouldn't have the time.....you're too busy writing the cliffhangers for all of the major TV stations....I was on the edge of my seat and you pulled it out from under me! (well, from all of us out here!) Can't wait til tomorrow!!

Pat in CA

Anonymous said...

What? You can't do this to us. Hurry up and write the rest of the story!!!

Anonymous said...

The last couple of entries have brought tears to my eyes also. We know now that the story has a happy ending but I can only imagine how nervous you were back then. But, it was meant to be. Can't wait to read the next installment. In the meantime, hoping that all is well with Blaine in Seattle. Take care, Elaine

MomSmoo said...

Your story has been utterly inspiring and heartwrenching to read. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Qtpies7 said...

You have me soooo hooked! I can't wait for the rest! I love birth stories!

~*~Snappz~*~ said...

Are you kidding me? You're just going to stop like that? Ok, now that's just MEAN!

Anonymous said...

Kristie, I cried at your ending to tonights post. I can just feel your excitement!!! I hope you continue this journal/journey and let us know how the surrogacies came about too.
Claire in TX

Sarah said...

Ackkk!! I am on pins and needles!! You are gooood... you have the "cliffhanger" gift!! I bet you are rubbing your hands together right now thinking... ha ha ha...

What an amazing journey!! More, more, more!!

laughing mommy said...

Reading these posts takes me back to my infertile days and sometimes my eyes fill up with tears... I can't wait to read the next post to find out what happens.

Amanda J said...

I just love reading this story. Thank you so much for sharing it. It's like our very own blog miniseries, complete with laughs, tears and cliffhangers! Can't wait to read more! (And Hi, M!)

kathy in alaska said...

As always... you keep us waiting with enough suspense that we can't get to sleep tonight !

Anonymous said...

The story just keeps getting better and better and I can't wait to read more. You are 2 amazing women working together for this cute little girl. Thank you for sharing and giving so much hope Kristie and "M". Candy

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristie,
Reading this gives me goose bumps and makes me feel stressed waiting for the next obstacle!! How on earth did you cope?
Take care,
Love Angela

kim said...

Goosebumps here, too! I have known several adoption "stories" but this is the most incredible one, ever! I love "M", and I also love that she commented on the last post. Kristie, I love that you saw "M" for the person she was/is beyond the baby, too. The gifts that the two of you were able to give each other at that time--whoa! This is just awe-inspiring...as it has been right from the beginning...and I love that I get to share in this slice of real life at its best! From my perspective, I think all three of you--Blaine, you, and "M"--should get the freakin' "Parents of the Millenium" award. Every child should be so wanted, and have such dedicated parents! Hurry with the next chapter...please!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to feel like I'm reading a novel but the next chapter isn't written yet. This is the first thing I do in the morning, read your entry. How could you leave us hanging like this. I really think you should write a book, or maybe that's what you're doing, in your own way. Thanks so much for sharing this story with us, I'm impressed at how much you remember. Hope all is going well with Blaine and Kendrie. Waiting for tomorrow's entry.

Connie F-G said...

I'm afraid to read the next entry. I know the emotions that come next and some will be hard to live over...how can I be happy becoming a mom when my happiness makes my baby's birth mom so sad!? I know our daughter's mom has struggled with her loss of our daughter and that still breaks my heart.

M, thank you for helping Kristie and Blaine become parents. What a precious gift you gave them. You are an amazing woman for making their dream come true and from what we are reading, you are an amzing woman, period dot! You sound like someone I would like to know.

Thanks for sharing this story Kristie.

Hugs!

Andrea said...

You certainly have a way of keeping us all hanging! Very well written and even though I can tell from your masthead how the story turned out, I can't help but be riveted. You're a fantastic writer.

Briana said...

I just get chills reading your story. I think it is so wonderful about your relationship to "M". She must be an amazing women.

Stacey said...

Hey Girl,

you're right - we "almost" adopted 3 girls and 2 boys, but would never have ended up with our wonderful Alex had we gotten those other babies. I remember Jerry and I on our way to San Francisco the day Brayden was born and calling your dad and finding out everything was okay. For us it was bittersweet - one more couple was finally a family while we still waited - but were thrilled for you with a renewed hope that just maybe it would really happen for us, too!

Love you guys!
Stacey

"M" said...

Another tear jerker! Let me just say that the evening before and the morning of Brayden's birth, I was terribly nervous, yet when I got to the hospital and got settled I felt a peace wash over me and I knew that God was with me telling me everything was OK and I knew that it would be and that this was right.

"M"

Anonymous said...

I hope I don't die tonight because I WANT TO HEAR THE REST OF THE STORY! You are an amazing writer.

Leslie

Anonymous said...

Kristie & M-
Thank you both for sharing this incredible journey of hope. Having just found out I am having a girl (due in July), I am easily moved to tears anyway, and these entries certainly bring them pouring over! What a lucky young lady Brayden is to have such love surrounding her. not everyone gets to have 2 special mommies. I can't wait to read the next installment! Hope all is well in Seattle with Blaine!

Trisha in Leesburg, VA

Stephanie said...

Ah, yes, ICPC and Native adoption law...been there, done that with my 10 years of doing adoptions in Alaska. Those 10 days were often the most difficult, gut-wrenching 10 days for our clients. I had no idea Brayden had any Native American blood in her!

I have sent my sister the link to your blog...she has been going down this path (fertility treatments) for 5 years and I think she'll really enjoy and appreciate your posts about this. Thank you for sharing!!

Lisa said...

Oh my word! I have a similar feeling in my stomach that I did waiting for my own children! What a blessing, Kristie for you to share this with us.

Anonymous said...

The suspense is killing me!! But at least there is light at the end of the tunnel!! How courageous "M" was and wonderful that you can have a relationship with her. Yes, please continue this story as well as how you ended with biological (well...I know "how" but you know what I mean...did the cervical mucous finally thin out or what!)as well as your surrogacies...if thats not TOO much to ask!
Waiting inmpatiently -

Kristin Hicks said...

You two are giving me goosebumps. What a wonderful situation and how great that you found each other.

Amazing, both of you!

Kristin in NC

Anonymous said...

I'm not a lurker. I'm a power reader! A friend sent me your blog which led me to Kendrie's CB page which I read in a week (while probably neglecting my two fosterbabies) and now I'm hooked! Totally! I have an adult daughter I adopted and one of the biggest regrets of my life is that I never had a way to say THANK YOU to her other mom. I want to find her, not for my daughter, but just to tell her how much I love her and her very selfless act of love.
Dixie

Jim said...

Oooh I didn't realise you had a mean streak get back to your keyboard NOW I've already checked back three times today.

Amy said...

Argh! Kristie and M!!!! You both have hormonal, emotional me in tears tonight!!!!!! CANNOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT!!!!!!!!!!

Amy
www.caringbridge.org/visit/gerryheidt

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to have a yard sale or something to raise lots of money and send everyone to Sanibel so we can all sit on the beach and drink Diet Doctor Pepper and have Kristie and M tell us the story all in one sitting. Both of you are such precious ladies to share your hearts and lives with us. God has truly worked in your lives!

Claire in Indiana

Anonymous said...

Kristie,
I am a lurker for your sites. I have followed Kendrie's story for quite some time now, but I don't think I ever signed the guest book. I am totally loving the story of Brayden's adoption. It is like a television show, stops just as it gets you hooked...and you have to wait until the next episode. You definitely need to write a book...I would definitely buy a copy. You could probably write more than one and have your own little series going. I just wanted to sign in and say how much I was enjoying reading your blog. I know many prayers were answered when "M" picked you and Blaine for Brayden.
Can't wait to hear the next chapter.
Your newest lurker coming out of hiding in Tifton, GA.
Donna M

Amanda Y said...

I am in love with your story. I have recently found your blog and am addicted. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing entry!! I CAN NOT wait for the next one. I think I have checked in at least 50 times today. You so need to write a book Kristie, I know I would buy at least one. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us

Jill from MO.

Jennifer in AZ said...

What a wonderful post. I feel the same as many. I feel as though I am reading a book and it is not yet finished. Thanks "M" for your entry. what a wonderful gift you gave. I can't wait to read the next entry. And becasue I don't post comments all the time I hope this story leads into your surrogacy. (note I am NOT a speller). My husband and I have often considered it. But not sure if I could. So I hope to read that part of the story to.
Thanks Kristie for sharing...

Jenny S said...

OK, I have been loving these posts and am totally relating to the infertility journey part of it. Laughter through tears is the sweetest thing (I think that's from Steel Magnolias or something). Thank you for sharing! But also, and very importantly, thank you for introducing (a couple posts back) the phrase "Oh my f*#k" to my vocabulary. I can't wait to use it!!

Love,
Jenny (former TOSSer)

Staci said...

HI.. i am a previous reader of Kendrie's site.. and i must say.. its a good thing that we all know how this ends.. :)

This is such a wonderful story.. Brayden is a very lucky little girl..

StaciC
hamilton NJ