Saturday, March 10, 2007

Things Can Only Get Better

And we took Brayden home from the hospital, and she was the greatest baby ever, and we lived happily ever after. Forever and ever. Amen.

Um, yeah. You didn’t think it would be *that* easy, did you?

A few things first ……from your comments:

To all the adoptive parents, birth parents, prospective parents, and adoptees who wrote in, or e-mailed me privately, and shared a bit of your life with me, thank you so much. I am truly touched to hear from so many people who feel a connection, through their own experiences, with this exciting time in our life, and honored that you would share your own stories.

Jeff B, the new song is for you. I had trouble finding a song titled “Yippee, after all those years of infertility I’m finally a Mom!” so I chose this one, “Things Can Only Get Better” because that’s how we felt at this point. Thanks for reminding me, via Mel, that although “It’s All About Me” (and you KNOW that it is) that I’d been hammering it home a little too long. :)

Kim, yes, scalloped scissors. {hangs head shamefully}

D. Johnson, if you’d like, please e-mail me privately. There was no contact in your comment section so I can’t e-mail you, but I’d be happy to talk to you, if you feel comfortable.

So, ok, back to the story. You guys might have THOUGHT it was over, but no, we were just getting started. Remember we brought Brayden home to my parents’ house, in our role as fosters parents, for ten days, until M was able to relinquish her parental rights. Those were ten fun, happy, sleep-deprived, joyful, busy days. Friends threw us a baby shower, and prior co-workers threw us another. We were able to take Brayden to Blaine’s uncle’s church a few hours away and have her dedicated with all our family there to watch. It was a little stressful, sure, because we were staying at my mom and dad’s house and didn’t have all the “things” you normally need for a newborn. We had a fully stocked, fully furnished nursery back in California, but since we were only going to be in OK for ten days, we didn’t worry too much about what we would need there. We had a car seat, of course, for our rental car, and borrowed a bassinette and baby tub from my sister. Diapers, wipes, a diaper bag, a few outfits, a few bottles, some formula, and the gifts we got at the showers. That was pretty much all we had. And it was a little hectic, newborns always are, but mainly it was enjoyable to spend that time with family, and let them get to know Brayden, especially since we knew it would be a while before we would see them again.

After the ten days went by, M signed the papers. And the birthfather contested the adoption.

*** Here is that disclaimer again about how despite the song I normally play on this site, this story is not JUST about me, it’s about M, too. And at this point, it’s Brayden’s story as well, so even more, I feel I am not at liberty to give details. Especially legal details. Partly because quite frankly, they’re private, and partly because Brayden doesn’t even know the whole story yet. So I won’t get into things here, on the internet, like I might normally, and I won’t discuss the legal hoops through which we all had to jump, and the specific timeline during which these things happened. I’ll go over it from my point of view, because that's really all I have .... as thoroughly as I can without breaching any confidence, but suffice it to say, despite all the details I am leaving out, you'll just have to believe it was nerve-racking. ***

The gist of our situation is that a contested adoption is not something that can be handled in a week. Or two. Or a month. We had a great attorney, and trusted him very much. And understood why it was necessary that this situation be handled properly, and thoroughly, and correctly, so there could be no problems or ramifications down the road. But we had no idea what was going to happen.

After a few weeks, Blaine had to return to work. He only had so much time he could take off, even with FLMA, even with an understanding boss. So, he flew back to California and I stayed behind with Brayden. Because, here’s the kicker: I was *technically* the foster mother. And Brayden was *technically* in foster care. Which meant I was not allowed to cross the state line with her. So for as long as this situation was being handled legally, that meant I had to stay with Brayden in Oklahoma. Or put her in a real foster home and go to California to be with Blaine. Um, yep. You can pretty much guess that THAT wasn’t happening!

And thus began our odyssey of “Being a Parent Like THIS was Not Quite What I Had Planned” (See? See how I did that? Just tied right into the title of the blog? Because I’m clever like that and all…..)

And one month turned into two, and two turned into three. And I realized that with what I had already paid for the rental car, I could have just BOUGHT a used car. I had come to Oklahoma in mid-January with two weeks worth of winter clothes in a suitcase, and it was now almost May. And the novelty of the situation had worn off, and I was starting to get a little stressed out.

I love my parents dearly. I was so blessed that I could stay with them during this time, and not have to stay in a motel, or rent a furnished apartment. And it was nice to get to spend more time with M, and my sister and my nephew, and to show Brayden off to all our friends back home.

But I was definitely veering towards frazzled. Blaine would fly in once a month to visit us for three or four days; a long weekend. He was very unhappy, because Brayden was getting bigger and older and he was missing it. And although my parents were good about helping me, I was basically doing the single-parent thing, which was exhausting. So when Blaine would come home, I would hand him the baby and just mentally check out for two or three days. He did all the bottles and diaper changes and baths while he was there. It was good for all of us, but it still wasn’t what we wanted; it wasn’t being in our own home, with our own baby, as our own family.

I was starting to resent the living situation, as well. I had flown back to California by now, and driven my car back to Oklahoma (my parents watched Brayden for the four days it took me to do this---see what I mean by how lucky I was?) so at least I had some of our things. But still, learning to be a parent, and getting to know my baby, out of a suitcase in the spare bedroom at my folks house, was NOT what I had in mind. I had been daydreaming and fantasizing about being a mom for six years, and this was not what I had pictured, to say the least.

My dad was retired and disabled, so pretty much sat in the living room all day. Although he did nothing to make me feel this way, I still felt like I had an audience all the time. I just wanted to be alone with my baby, and there was no real way to make that happen. So I would put her in the car and drive around for hours, letting her nap in her carseat. I took her to the mall, two or three times a week, and pushed her around in her stroller. My mom and dad were great, but I knew having us there was an imposition on them, and they missed their quiet life, as well. Brayden and I had a standing Thursday night outing with a friend for dinner out, then back over to his house to watch the Must-See TV shows. I had another friend who had a baby six weeks after Brayden was born, and I hung out at her house a lot. Mainly, I just tried to find ways to fill up our days, and get Brayden and me out of the house.

What I wanted, was to be ALONE, with MY BABY, in MY HOUSE, with MY THINGS. That probably makes me sound like a spoiled brat, but I was very much accustomed to privacy, and having my own space, and doing my own thing. My parents were kind and loving and hospitable, but I was a guest in their home, and I felt like I was stuck on “pause” in a movie about my life. And as grateful as I was for my parents help, the bottom line was, THIS WASN’T HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE, and I started to get frustrated and resentful. My very favorite time of the day, or night, as it was, were Brayden’s middle-of-the-night feedings. That was the only time I was ever alone with her; just the two of us, peaceful and quiet. I would give her the bottle, and sing “You Are My Sunshine” to her over and over. And I would actually feel sad when she would go back to sleep, because our alone-time was over. And daylight would roll around and once again I would get upset because there was no privacy, no where I could go that was my own, no way to be with Brayden, just the two of us, that didn't involve hanging out at a park or driving in my car.

I’m sure anyone with half a semester of freshman psychology can guess that my anger and resentment was nothing more than fear. Fear that the adoption would fall through. Fear that despite what our attorney said about our iron-clad case, he would be wrong and I’d have to give her back. Fear that this baby, this wonderful baby, who I had waited so long to hold in my arms and love and cherish …… who I knew, beyond anything I had ever known before, was MY OWN DAUGHTER, would be taken from me.

I kept saying to Blaine, every month when he would fly from California to visit, “This is just crazy. We have a great relationship with M. Everything is perfect; everything went textbook. Good grief, as far as the three of us go, we could be the POSTER CHILDREN for open adoption!” Yet we were still mired down in the court system.

Three months turned into four.

Four months turned into five.

By the six month point, I was crazy. Our case hadn't even made it through court yet. I was sick and damn tired of living with my parents. I was frustrated and anxious all the time, and rude to my parents, who had done nothing but try and help. I was terrified the adoption wouldn’t work out. I was bitchy to everyone, and paranoid and defensive and felt like life was out to get me. I had waited six years to be a parent, and I couldn't even enjoy it. And I hated myself for being such a hag, when I had been given this beautiful, amazing gift. I was perturbed and discouraged, and all the other adjectives you can think of to describe someone who is pretty much on the edge. The very far edge. The edge where your tippy-toes can feel the open air underneath them and you start to think you should back up a little in case heaven forbid you lose your balance and something really bad happens.

And then? I'LL BE DAMNED if I didn’t find out I was pregnant.

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

HEY Kristi, thanks for sharing this story with us. Just like I commented b4, you didnt need peace and calm you needed stress. That is when it happened to us.

;-)

Robbin

California Friend said...

I agree with Robbin.....remember all those people who told you to "relax & it will happen?" HA!!! You showed them!! ;-)

Pat in CA

Erin said...

Kristie,

What a long journey it must have all been. I can't wait to hear about more happier times with Brayden, M, and the Entire Escoe Clan.

katy said...

I would have been embarrassed because then my parents would know what I had been doing in THEIR house to get that way :)
I am glad I know this stories ending or I would probably be a nervous wreck right now.

Kris Herbst said...

This really would make a good book Kristie. I'm sorry it's real and not fiction, but nobody can tell it like you. Waiting for the next chapter...

Kris H
Iowa

Lisa said...

Good Grief! You have all been through the ringer and no mistake - but what a beautiful person M must be to go through all of this with you.

Keeping Blaine in my prayers - any news?

sbmaya said...

Hi Kristi -

I came over here from....I think it was Amalah's Mom's daily dose...Suffice it to say that a) that was about 2 hours ago b) I've read your archives straight through c) you're just....an amazing family. Amazing. Astounding. Inspiring. Both heartbreakingly lucky and UNlucky. Blessed with the twin curses of great resiliant spirits and great tragedy. Thank you for your stories. I'll be reading.

The funny thing is? You probably couldn't stand me in real life - we are probably as polar opposite as could be. But really, thank you again for your story. I realize (again) how lucky I am to have the gift of basically good health.
PS F**k cancer.
PSS Can help you if you'd like to switch to wordpress. It's easy, you can even transfer your archives.

M said...

Those 10 days were the hardest days of my life, leaving the hospital empty handed is just such an unnatural feeling. And here was this law making me wait 10 days, essentially giving me a way out, if I was ever going to change my mind it would have been then. I was so nervous about signing the papers but again when I got to the court house I felt that same peace that I had felt at the hospital and I knew once again that God was with me and everything was OK, all the nerves just went away and I signed the papers and I felt good about it. I thought the hardest part was behind me but little did I know! It made me so angry after all the three of us had been through, that he would contest.

This was not how things were suspossed to be. It was just so unfair. Let me just say that the legal procedings, were such a hard thing to have to go through. I also had the fear that something would go wrong and they would make you give up YOUR daughter, and she would be taken away from the only parents she had ever known. It was all so damn hard on everyone.

Thank God I had little D to take care of or I probably would have gone crazy. He was my little light in a very dark time.

M

kim said...

Oh.My.Gosh. Oh.My.God. Oh.My.Hell. Oh.My.F**k.!!!!!!!

Kristie and Blaine, since this is the two of you, I believe it. If anybody else were to tell me this, I'd laugh and say, "you're sh**ting me." Yeah, kind of a gross thing to say, but...but...WTF??? I am dyin' here! Poor you guys. Poor M. Poor Kristie's parents. Poor Brayden, who probably HAD to be a little carsick at times :). Why on earth did I ever think you would breeze through your 10 "foster parent" days, you all would hug M, and take the baby home to California. Where you all would be so darn happy and carefree that you would be thrilled to find out you had accomplished the elusive pregnancy. Why did I ever think that.

Plus, I, too, have to give it to you for "doing it" in your parents' house; I never could get up the nerve for that. Or wait...did you guys go for a drive...Oh, I truly AM so sorry, but I just couldn't help it. HAHAHA! Ignore this last paragraph...but, nothing would surprise me...

Gotta just LOVE all of you!

M said...

By the way, I was pretty damn surprised then you told me you were pregnant. If thats not a shock then I don't know what is.

M

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristie,
Wow, this just gets more and more stressful..... just to read, goodness knows how you coped! So you got pregnant with stress! Let nobody ever suggest again that couples who can't get pregnant need to relax! I hope it didn't take much longer than the 6 months before you could go home again!
Hey, I liked that music, 'It's all about me!' I was dissapointed not to hear it tonight, as they say, 'nothing lasts forever'! But I don't know what happened to your new song, I hear .... silence!!??!
Take care,
All my best wishes for Blaine
Love Angela

Patricia said...

Oh my gosh....this is like a soap opera..only better in some ways (you got Brayden and you and M are friends and you have other sweet children) and worse because you had to go through so much crud getting to that point. Can't wait to see how much LONGER it took to resolve all you went through so you could go HOME!!!

JoAnn said...

OH.MY.GOD!!!! This is a completely riveting story. It reads like a great fiction book so knowing it is real makes it all the more incredible. Gosh Kristie, never a dull moment huh????

laughing mommy said...

Did you say you are going to write a book? You should. You have an amazing story to tell. I can't wait to read the next post.

Tammy said...

Holy crap! Thats not what I expected you to say! Shit, can't you just keep on writting?? Love it!!

Amy said...

Geez Louise, WOMAN! I totally didn't see THAT coming! I mean, the dang words practically jumped off the page and whacked me upside the head! LOL!

You know, I always used to say that if it weren't for bad or weird luck, I'd have none at all, but I will now hand that torch to you sister!

Unreal. Best seller I tell ya, best seller.

Amy
www.caringbridge.org/visit/gerryheidt

Anonymous said...

If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. ;)
Erin R

Anonymous said...

I started following you wiuth Kendrie some time before my nice was diagnosed with ALL-T www.caringbridge.org/ca/rebeccalynn
I am also Tanners mom
www.tannerlaughs.net
I tell you, your stories are so intriguing~! I cant wait for every update!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Wow!! Wow!!! Sure hope that Sunday is not your day of rest and that you'll be continuing this saga tomorrow!!

Again.....Wow!!!

Mary

Melissa said...

This journal is like electronic crack cocaine, drawing me back to my computer jonesing for another hit day after day...I know I have a problem, but I'm not ready to quit yet!

Renee said...

I've heard this story but have loved reading it again in detail. M is amazing and I love that she has signed your blog several times. Brayden is so very lucky and must feel so loved. Ok, maybe not right now, being a pre-teen and all, but someday she'll realize how lucky she is. Right now, you are dumb!

Kristin Hicks said...

I knew that had to be coming. Not the part about you having to stay in Okalahoma with Brayden, but the pregnant part. I know Kellen and Brayden were fairly close in age, so I figured you were about to get pregnant.

WOW. What heartache, confusion and happiness all at the same time.

Keep writing!

Kristin in NC

Amy from St.Pete said...

Kristie,
Now you really have us all waiting with baited breath for your next post!

Anonymous said...

I think I have said it before - as well as others - but "WTF"...
I hadn't seen that coming AT ALL - however, I shouldn't be surprised because at Christmas time (I think) you posted a picture of the three kids with stocking hats on and their ages - which was only one year apart soooo that means after Kellen you were on a roll and Kendrie came shortly thereafter!! This is better than a soap opera - they are so predictable - and I am always surprised when I visit this site...which I do constantly waiting for the next chapter.

I can't believe your pregnant!! Good luck and I check back soon!

Kristina
OHIO

Anonymous said...

Oh.My.Gawd. You are killing me!
Seriously. I thought my life was a soap opera.

More, more, more, now!

Pretty please with 2 diet dr. peppers in styrofoam cups with rabbit pellet ice thrown in?!?!?
Carolyn in McChord AFB, WA

Anonymous said...

Dangit....you sure can tell a story!

Anonymous said...

My daughter and her husband, Jenny and Yancey, are bringing their preemie twins home to Atlanta tomorrow. She shared the link to your site with me and I have enjoyed getting to know you and more about your story. Having now had an "up close and personal" experience with infertility gives me a new perspective on how precious every minute of the twins' lives is and will continue to be. I'll continue to follow your writing, and I'm encouraging Jenny to share her story with others as you have done. Lee-Anne in NC

Michelle Adams, Al. said...

It is so neat to hear bits of the story from "M", makes it all the more interesting. Every morning at work I get my coffee and settle in to read the update. Your awesome!!!

Laura said...

I'm dying to hear the rest of the story!

Briana said...

Well, that was a kink in the adoption plan I wasn't expecting. And here I thought the story was almost over. Ha. We obviously know how it turns out, but I can't wait to hear the rest.

Sam Gleason said...

Whats life without a little stress!! Our daughter will be two in May, and we just found out that our "lawyer" put wite-out on a legal document!!! So now we are still trying to get her birth certificate!! So maybe with all that stress we will find out that I am pregnant!! My husband swears that Emma has a radar. When he trys to get close she wakes up and cries for one of us!!

If I did not know the how your story ended, I would be crying for you!

I think you should write a book!

Sam Gleason, NC

Anonymous said...

Love your blog.. love that M signs in and we can see why you think she's so amazing.. Waiting with baited breath to hear the 'rest of the story'...

Rosemary in Albany NY