Monday, March 12, 2007

Things *WOULD* Be Getting Better, If I Could Pull My Head Out Of My Ass

You would think, after trying six years to have a baby, that I would be thrilled to find out I was pregnant, no matter the circumstance. But can you believe that I wasn’t? It wasn’t that I didn’t recognize this for the amazing thing that it was, or that I wasn’t happy; I was just so stunned, and taken aback, and in a way (a very small, petty way but hey, that’s just me) even sort of annoyed about it. Because yet again, it felt like life was happening TO us, and nobody was asking our opinion, and none of the plans we made, or the things we wanted to have happen, mattered.

First, I was in knots about telling M and the people involved with the adoption. I had this awful feeling in my stomach they would think we had somehow duped them into letting us adopt Brayden, and that we had made up the entire story of our infertility just to trick them --- that we were great big, Liar, Liar Pants on Fire Big Fat Fatty Pants Liars.

I felt guilty for what this would mean to Brayden --- we wanted to raise her in an environment where we were dedicated solely to her, at least for the first few years until we could adopt again. I just wanted to go back to California and concentrate and focus on HER. Nothing had been normal for her yet (I know, I know, it’s not like a six-month old knows the difference, as long as you show up with the bottles and strained peas and Desitin on a regular basis they’re pretty much happy as clams) but now, she was going to wind up with a little brother or sister barely a year younger than she was, and it’s not like she had any say in the matter.

And, because I am a shallow, one-dimensional, stubborn, thick-headed, raging bitch of a person, who cannot BEAR to be proven wrong, plain and simple, I just didn’t want to hear all the “See?!? See, I TOLD you it would happen that way!!!” and “Everyone who adopts gets pregnant afterward!!!” comments which I knew we would get. Which, we did, just like I suspected. Which, I hated and resented, just like I suspected I would.

I tried to tell people that we were the exception, not the rule. This was a fluke. Our first miracle brought about a second miracle, blah blah. People just rolled their eyes and smiled condescendingly at me, and repeated, “It always happens like that” and I. Hated. It. Because it was a repeat of how I felt when I had heard “Adopt, then you’ll get pregnant” when we were going through infertility treatments …. I felt like these comments were insulting and patronizing, and diminished Brayden and her treasured place in our family. Like people expected us to say, “Oh, thank heavens, it worked! That was the only reason we adopted, so *this* would happen!”

Maybe it was me, being overly-sensitive. But I don’t think so. A few of the specific comments made to me during the pregnancy:

“Oh, I bet you’re excited to have a baby of your own.” --- Um, excuse me? Because Brayden is not my own? She belongs to the family of rabid squirrels in the backyard?

“Oh, now you’ll be a real mom.” --- As opposed to the fake mom I am now?

“You’ll never love your adopted baby as much; the feelings just won’t be the same” --- Um, ….. WTH????

“See? You did a kind thing by adopting that baby and good karma comes around.” --- Ok, that one made me the angriest. First of all, adopting a baby is not like going to the pound and picking out a puppy that no one else wants. Believe me, we did not do anyone a *favor* by adopting Brayden. Again, if I could toss out a statistic from that time frame, studies showed for every healthy white newborn put up for adoption, there were 100 couples ready and waiting to adopt. ONE HUNDRED. (I have no idea what the numbers are nowadays.) We were incredibly lucky and blessed and thankful for the chance to adopt her, and never forgot it for one minute.

I guess I was worried that if other people thought those things, they might think *WE* thought those things as well, which we didn’t. Or that someday Brayden would wonder if we ever thought those things. Bottom line, I felt like I was cheating Brayden, the person I had come to care about most, and the most innocent in all this. Even if she did have a mom who, in addition to being unexpectedly pregnant, would sadly, often, without intention or malice, have a tendency to, in her story-telling ways, dreadfully overuse and abuse the comma.

It took me a long time to come to terms with the pregnancy. I stayed annoyed for quite a while. At that point in my life, being annoyed was sort of a permanent condition for me. Luckily, I came to terms with it before he was born. And the minute he was born, I felt like an ass for ever worrying about stupid things like that. And to this day, I look at him and watch him with such pride and joy and wonder, and feel shame that I wasn’t overjoyed about his pregnancy from day one.

But, I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t. I just wasn’t in the right mental place. But for the first time, in a long time, it appeared we were going to catch a break and something was going to go OUR way for a change.

Six months after Brayden was born and shortly after I discovered I was pregnant, something happened (again, with the legal details I’m not at liberty to share) and we realized it was going to be months, and perhaps more months, before the court case would be over. I don’t know who felt more despair; Blaine, alone in California, me, or my poor, displaced parents who couldn’t walk two steps in their own house without tripping over baby paraphernalia, and who didn’t have room in their kitchen cabinets for their own dishes and glasses because I had taken over all the space with bottles and nipples and formula and baby bathtubs and bottle warmers and baby food and all the eight bazillion other things you need on a daily basis with a six-month old, and whose laundry room had been overrun with dirty sleepers and jumpers and cute baby outfits and burp rags and blankets and crib sheets and all that other good stuff.

Our attorney took pity on us and on our situation; I guess is what finally happened, once we saw it wouldn’t be over anytime soon. He went to the judge presiding in the case and asked permission for me to take Brayden and leave the state. It’s not like we were a flight risk … Blaine worked for the government, for Pete’s sake, they could always find us. We weren’t going to take the baby and flee to Canada, and our attorney vouched for us that if need be, if we lost our case, we would bring Brayden back to Oklahoma. Although, God forbid, just saying those words aloud made my heart fall into my kneecaps and my stomach churn and my throat close up and my neurons and synapses completely quit working until I could barely walk or talk or think.

And the judge gave permission.

And I got to go to California with Brayden, and join Blaine, and at long last, begin our life as a family of three.

And a half.


California Friend said...

Wow Kristie,
With all of the emotions you had concerning what WASN'T happening with the adoption coupled with all of the emotions you were having about what WAS happening, I don't know HOW you managed to keep it all together & stay sane.....ah, wait, it's becoming DID keep it all together, but as for the sanity.....
um, er, well......enuf said about that! ;-)
Seriously, I'm sure that while the fear of losing Brayden before you even officially had her had to be overwhelming at times, I bet getting "home" helped alot!
I'm like everyone else out here....SO glad to know how this ended! I'd be pulling my hair out otherwise!!
You and Blaine SO deserved the "happily ever after" LONG before it reared its sweet head! Thank God that "M" was the person she was too; I know this had to be so hard on her too!!

Pat in CA (who uses and abuses the ..............)

Leeann said...

Damn, I thought I was the first comment today. Oh well!
I just want to tell you I am loving, Loving, LOVING reading this story of your life and Brayden (and now Kellen!) I just hope it continues into bringing Kellen into the world. Girl, you are a bookwriter!

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank goodness, a new chapter. How many time can a person refresh while waiting? Too many to count.

I was adopted also(at four months old) little brother came along a little over a year later. I know, I know, it's not supposed to happen, but it did. I told myself I was the chosen child.


Clara Zimmerman said...

I'm going along, reading about your wonderful new unexpected (annoying) miracle to-be, and then I am laughing OUT LOUD when I read your sentence about the comma. Have you ever read Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series? You remind me of her writing. Thanks for sharing your story and your talents with us.

Clara Zimmerman said...

Almost forgot, how do you feel about semicolons? I love using them!

M said...

ok that comment...the one about karma...pisses me off! Its not like she was some orphanage baby or unwanted child that no one could find a home for and you did some good deed... the nerve of some people! But you make me laugh with your retorts, and I hope you actually used them. I will have to tell you sometime about some of the comments that I would get after I told people that I placed a child for adoption.(assholes)I eventually just stopped telling people.


(and let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with orphans)

Anonymous said...

As always, thanks for sharing. This story just keeps getting better and better..... :)


katy said...

I am so glad you updated. I spend very little time on the computer (3 teenagers in my house) but I keep kicking them off the computers so I can check to see if you updated. I spend a few minutes after every post quizzing myself....would I have said something like that? Does that sound like something I would say? I always try to be careful and I think I am but sometimes I read something and think "Would I be that insensitive without realizing?" I'm a nervous wreck now;-)
I love your blog and have been following since the beginning on Caringbridge and can't wait to hear THE REST OF THE STORY

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the next chapter!

Patti in NJ said...

Been meaning to post for days, but haven't. As I've been reading this saga it's occurred to me that it wasn't Brayden who was selected, but you and Blaine. Thank goodness "M" had the wonderful good sense to select you. You (B, K & M) all ROCK!

Alayna said...

I seriously can NOT believe some people would say those things! What are they THINKING? I guess, plainly, they're just NOT! Did the doctors ever give any type of explanation of how you got pregnant on your own? Was M upset you were pregnant? I feel like I'm reading one of those stories that used to come out in the paper when I was a kid, and it was always continued in the next issue - it's hard for me to wait! Hurry Up!

laughing mommy said...

Can't wait to read what happens next.

I hated the "just relax". And after we did get pregnant (after 10+ years of infertility) the "see, i told you so!"

People should just shut up already!

Lisa said...

You have done SO much in your life - even if some of it has been thrown at you to catch - you're very inspirational. And funny. Please keep writing. Love and prayers for Blaine and Kendrie especially - but I think you all need them

Anonymous said...

I can't believe people say such things!

My coworker adopted a little baby boy (Sam) and promptly got pregnant. Would you believe that someone actually asked her if she was going to keep Sam now that she was going to have "her own"? Seriously—stupid should hurt!

I love your blog. You're a great family, and M. is clearly a wonderful person.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on yourself-even in retrospect........Remember with you it is all about "CONTROL"! If only it was about love, it would have been so very much easier. And all your control freak reader fans are able to get through your saga because we all started from the "and they lived happily ever after" part. All those requesting a book should just admit after the first chapter - they would skip to the last and then go fill in... Control. chocolate, control, DDP etc...

Simply Jenn said...

Oh my goodness. People sure do really suck sometimes, don't they? It's interesting that with my fascination with your story I found out that my neighbors had adopted five children and brought them home last week. I can not even begin to imagine how huge their hearts must be. Your perspective, and for that matter M's, have given me a unique view of adoption, adoptees and the process. I thank you. My father was adopted and never had anything but negative comments, but you have shown me that he is NOT typical. You are giving a wonderful gift to everyone who reads this.

Tracy Stanley said...

While all of my children have been "born to me", I too suffered the guilt of not being quite as thrilled with a pregnancy when I found out I was three months pregnant with my second child when my first was only 6 months old. I know it's not the same as all of the additional emotions you were feeling, but I just wanted to say how much I agree that it doesn't seem to matter how much of a surprise the pregnancy is -- when the baby finally comes, they are loved beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

Preach on sister!!!!! Kristi, your story touches me at so many levels, and is truly amazing. Thank you, so much for sharing it!!!


kim said...

I just cannot even imagine how out of control your life felt to you at that time! Now, we Virgos can handle, like, ONE THING being out of control; we don't like it, but we can handle it. But when literally everything is or seems to be up to someone else? Well, it's a wonder you didn't spend all day, every day, alphabetizing the spices over and over. And now I understand just exactly how you evolved into your sensitivity about our children being our children regardless of how we got them; you learned it through all of those moronic comments made TO you! Some people just don't have enough sense to come in out of the rain...

As always, can't wait for the next installment! And just because I haven't reminded you for a while...YOU ROCK!!! Blaine, YOU ROCK, too!!! And also you, M!

M Gray said...

I just love the honesty with which you write...I have said before, and will state again, that you write in the style of Erma sugar-coating of the difficult, down in the trenches facts of life, just honest truth that everyone can identify with and enjoy.

Jody Poolman said...

Wow Kristie,
I can't believe the synonomous lives we live. We too adopted our first born and I HATED those stinkin' comments when I found out I was pregnant when Hannah was 8 weeks old. I felt exactly the same way you did about letting Hannah "down". I planned on mothering the hell out of her until we could adopt again! Man...
Isaac came along, and then another pregnancy, a little girl, Ellie Anne, who was still born 10 days before she was to be delivered. And then...Elijah...and you know his story and without that pregnancy after Hannah's adoption we wouldn't have Elijah because Elijah wouldn't have had Isaac and without Isaac we wouldn't have lost Ellie who would've been our last baby and thank God we had Elijah 'cause he's so cool, in my opinion and there would not be a identical donor match for his transplant! Anyway, I hope you followed that because, It's a Wonderful Life George Bailey!
How about this? God knows who he wants to parent his children and that's us damnit!
Anyway, I feel your anxieties and can definitely relate! You're my hero! Take care and keep writing!

Anonymous said...

Dammit .. Tuesday, no update. Kellen practice, Kendrie practice, homework, pizza on bagels for dinner. Damn !!!