My Adoption Placement Experience
Since adoption is a large part of who I am, I figured I would post my Adoption Placement Experience story here on my site. This is a very emotional process for all parties involved. One of the coping strategies that is recommended for all birth-mothers is to write their experience soon after placement. This helps process the feelings that one may be feeling. I followed this advice and I wrote my story about six weeks after placement and the emotions are very raw.
This story may make you cry. Please have a box of tissues ready.
My Adoption Placement Story
In May of 2003 (age 22), I found out that I was pregnant. I had been friends with a guy named Scott. I had started talking to him on the Internet a year earlier, and we had met several different times in person more for a friendly date. On the night of May 9, 2003 after attending a friend’s wedding, I went to his house for the night. We were lying in bed and he asked me if I was still on the birth control pill. I told him no because I had run out of them and had not gotten any yet. He then said, “Uh…Oh!” At that moment I knew that I was pregnant. That next morning, Scott told me to go get the “morning-after pill”. I was mildly freaking out full well knowing that I didn’t have health insurance. Since I didn’t have health insurance there was no way for me to obtain a prescription for the needed medication. I kept my fingers crossed that my period would start, but had a good feeling that it would probably not come around.
A few weeks past and I still had not gotten my period. I finally took a pregnancy test, the Tuesday after Memorial Day, at work, and sure enough it came back positive. I didn’t even have to wait the whole three minutes, as the pink line was very bold! That night I went home and told my mom. I was extremely nervous in telling her, but I had to, before she found out from someone else. When she got home from work, she had asked me how my day was. I was freaking out inside and told her that it was ok, but that I needed to tell her something. As she changed out of her work clothes, she asked me if it was good or bad. I told her that I guess it would really depend on how she looked at it. I stumbled to find the right words, but I just finally came out and said, “I’m pregnant.” She was very quiet and said, “Well, ok.” She asked me if it was a previouis ex’s and I told her that it was not. There was a sigh of relief but I could see the thoughts of, “What are we going to do?” running through her head. A while later, my dad got home and my mom told him what I had dropped on her earlier that evening. Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable evening, to say the least. I felt like this was just one more thing to add to my plate of wrong doings. I was mad at myself for ending up this way.
The next day I went to the Canby Crisis Pregnancy Center to confirm that I was pregnant. They asked me if I was going to parent the baby or place the baby into an adoption. I told them that I was going to keep the baby. When I got home that night and told my parents that yes I was definitely pregnant, they asked me what I was going to do. My answer was to either keep the baby or place the baby into an adoption. However, I was adamant that I was going to keep the baby. I called my best friend who lived in Arizona at the time and just bawled on the phone. I told her that I wanted to parent this child but had no idea on what I was really going to do. She asked me if I had spoken to Scott since, and I told her that I hadn’t. She said that I really should talk to him to let him know the entire situation.
I found Scott online that night and told him that I was pregnant. He was furious, to say the least. He could not understand why I didn’t go and take the “morning-after” pill like we had talked about. He told me that since I didn’t take the pill, then I had to get an abortion. I told him that there was no way I would get an abortion, as that was totally against what I believed in. I told him that I was going to keep the baby. He asked me why I would want to keep this baby and that I was stupid for keeping it. He told me that by getting an abortion it would be the quick fix to all of this. He also said that I needed to go back to school and get a degree and a baby was just going to be too hard to do all of that. I fully knew that by keeping the baby would complicate everything, but I just didn’t really know what to do. I knew that he would be mad and that these things were exactly what he would probably tell me.
That next week I went to a counselor that I had seen in the past for several different issues. She asked what I thought about being pregnant and what I thought about being a mom. She also asked me how I felt about adoption. I told her that 1) I didn’t know too much about it, and 2) what I did know about adoption, I didn’t really like. For homework, she has me write out a PROS and CONS list for both ideas.
As I wrote the lists like she had asked, I began to see how much more adoption was. I then decided that adoption was probably my best choice. I had to stop thinking about myself and start thinking about this baby. I also had to think about what was best for this baby. Scott settled down a bit and actually started looking at different adoption agencies since he knew I wouldn’t terminate the pregnancy. I called around to about five different adoption agencies. Some of the agencies were excited to hear that I was pregnant and pretty much wanted me to sign my life away to them right there over the phone. The agency that I really ended up liking was an agency that Scott had found online. The agency was called Open Adoption and Family Services, which had an office in Portland, Oregon.
Within the next day or two, I called them to set up an appointment. While on the phone with agency for the first time, I could tell that they were concerned about me AND the baby. That is one aspect of their agency that I really liked. The intake person took my information and told me that my first appointment with Sari (pronounced Shari) would be on July 23rd. On the day of the first meeting with Sari, I was pretty nervous since I didn’t know what to expect. Sari was extremely nice, and she was pregnant herself. We talked about why I had chosen adoption over parenting. She also did a “getting-to-know-you” interview as part of her intake process. When the appointment was over I was sent home with a little bit of homework. She wanted me to look at all of my options for parenting and placing for an adoption, and then make a new PROS and CONS list for both options. I started to go see her once a month.
On September 18th, I had an ultra-sound and was told that I was going to have a little girl. Sadly, Sari told me that she was going to be leaving for her maternity leave in the end of October, so I would be meeting with a new counselor and her name was Amy D. I found Amy to be very nice and that I could connect with her a lot more than what I did with Sari.
In October, I started looking at adoptive family packets. Amy told me to look them over and to choose five different families. I had many regulations that the couples must have. I was looking for a family that was: heterosexual, young, went to church, lived in Oregon or Washington, had good family values, had either no kids or one other kid and many more things. Since there were so many families listed in the book, my mom thought she would help. I read through the book and choose my top five families, and my mom then read through the book to find her top five families. When we came back together to share our top families, we noticed that we had chosen the exact same families! Since we picked the same five families, I knew it was a sign. I called Amy to let her know which five families that were chosen. When I went to the next appointment at the adoption agency, Amy gave me a full detailed packet on each of these five families. From those five I had to narrow it down to one family.
Once again, my mom and I did the same process with the five families to try and narrow it down to two. When we came back together, my mom and I had once again chosen the same two families. By talking and reading over the top two, I finally narrowed it down to a couple named Darrin and NaeDean. Their full detailed profile just seemed very down to earth, like Scott and myself. I felt like I could really get along with them, ad they had all of the items on my MUST HAVE list. They didn’t have any kids yet, they went to church, liked to go camping, very close to their families, and they lived in Oregon. The next day, I called Amy to let her know that I wanted to meet them.
A couple weeks before I met Darrin & NaeDean, I had a counseling session at the adoption agency with Scott in attendance. This was the first time I had seen him since the night that I got pregnant. He agreed to meet with Darrin and NaeDean, too.
On the morning of December 3rd, my mom and I went to the adoption agency. This was the day that we would meet Darrin and NaeDean for the first time. I was extremely nervous and sick to my stomach. I told my mom that I didn’t know if I could go through with this. She just told me that it was just my nerves and that I would be just fine. The moment I walked into the mediation room at the adoption agency, all of my nerves went away. I knew that Darrin and NaeDean were the people to parent my baby.
The first mediation went very well. We shared pictures of our families and told each other about our hobbies and aspirations. I was so calm and myself. I was actually a little giddy. Amy asked all of us why we had chosen an open adoption. When it came around to Scott’s turn, I was so scared in what he was going to say, since he really wanted me to get an abortion. He said, “Well, because I knew Amy would like this better than a closed adoption.”
After the meeting, Darrin, NaeDean, Scott, my mom, and I all went to lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant. The lunch was a little weird but we all got though it. We were all just nervous and didn’t really know what to say. Before we all got into our cars, NaeDean asked me if I still wanted to go through all of this. I said, “Of course!” I was so happy that she was feeling the same way I was. I felt like I had known her and Darrin for a lot longer than just a couple of hours. While we were at lunch, we exchanged addresses and phone numbers.
The next morning, I called Amy to let her know how I was feeling and told her that I wanted to take the next step in the process. Amy told me that NaeDean had actually called the office on her way home from lunch, which made me feel really good. Amy told me that we would set up the second mediation for sometime in early January. In December my parents and I had went down to visit Darrin and NaeDean at their house. They also came up to Canby to meet the rest of my family for dinner one night in January.
January 15th was the second mediation. This meeting was when we talked about the Open Adoption Agreement. Scott was unable to attend this meeting, due to his uncertainty about what he wanted out of the adoption. Darrin, NaeDean, and I agreed on a minimum of four visitations a year for the first five years and then two times a year until the age of eighteen. Then we agreed sending pictures and letters at least four times a year until the age of eighteen. Next we talked about names. At that point, NaeDean and I had three names picked out. We had: Katelynn Rae, Karlee Rae, and Hailey Rae. I asked if we could use either my first name or middle name as part of the baby’s name.
A couple weeks before I went into labor, NaeDean and I spent a Sunday afternoon together. We went to lunch and then saw a movie. We had begun exchanging email and phone calls on a regular basis. NaeDean and Darrin were easily becoming new members of my family.
On January 30th (four days before my due date), I started to go into labor. My mom took me up to the hospital and I was admitted at midnight. After being in labor for seventeen hours, a five-pound, four and a half-ounce baby girl was born at 12:49pm. I looked at NaeDean and asked her what the baby’s name was. She hesitated and then said, “How about Kaylee Rae?” And it fit perfectly.
I stayed in the hospital for the next two days, since I could not sign the relinquishment papers for forty-eight hours after Kaylee was born. I kept Kaylee in my room most of the time. I let Darrin and NaeDean come and go as they pleased. NaeDean was in my room for the entire labor and then most of the day on Saturday. It was nice to spend sometime with Kaylee and NaeDean. She told me that if I wanted to be alone with Kaylee, to just tell her. But I wanted her to be there.
While I was in the hospital, I was experiencing a lot of different emotions that I had not ever felt before. I can not even really describe the emotions that I was feeling. I was so happy to see Kaylee in my arms, but yet sad at the same time. I knew that in just a couple of days she would be going home with Darrin and NaeDean, rather than with me. I did not allow myself to be in the room alone with Kaylee that much, as I would break down in tears when left alone.
On that Saturday, mainly just family came to see me, and my sister stayed with me on Saturday night. I kept Kaylee in my room with me most of the night. I sent her to the nursery for just a couple of hours, so that I could get some sleep. On Sunday, my parents and Darrin and NaeDean came back to the hospital. Sunday was also Super Bowl Sunday so I wasn’t expecting visitors until late afternoon. NaeDean had brought up a huge care basket for me, which had lotions, bath gels, slippers, a journal and a whole bunch of other stuff.
My adoption counselor, Amy, came and saw me, as well. She wanted to see how I was feeling and if there were any reservations that I maybe feeling. She was glad to hear that everything went well and that she would be back the next day around 11am or so to sign the papers and do all the legal stuff. My bible study girls and church group all came to see Kaylee and me after church. It seemed like there was a never-ending line of people on Sunday. My mom stayed the night with me.
Monday morning, February 2nd, I woke up crying and feeling very emotional. I felt mad, sad, and even jealous. I was jealous that NaeDean was going to be taking my Kaylee home with her. I felt like I was a bad mother for giving her away, but yet I knew it was the right thing to do. I kept telling myself that Darrin and NaeDean were going to take good care of Kaylee and that I was going to be able to watch her grow up.
My mom and I took a whole bunch of pictures of Kaylee and I before everyone else got there. Amy finally got there and asked me how I was doing in which my mom told her that it had been a pretty emotional morning. Amy completely understood. She told me that once I felt ready to sign the papers to let her know. Around 11:30 am or so, I finally told Amy that I was ready and Darrin and NaeDean left the room. In the room it was Amy, my mom, my dad, Kaylee, and I. Amy started to read the document out loud and I was trying to be brave and not cry, but I could not fight back the tears. Once they started to roll, they came like a river. I could not really hear what Amy was saying, but I knew what the documents had said, since she and I had went over them at a previous counseling session. I felt like I was stuck in a bad dream, and that I was going to wake myself up and everything was going to be ok.
When Amy was done reading the first document, she asked me if I understood. I said, “Yes” and then I signed and dated the document. She then did this a second time with the other piece of paper. The hardest part was watching Amy stamp each document and notarize them, as it was very final and very done. There was no turning back after the stamps and signatures had been made. Once we got done with that, Amy gave my family some time alone in the room. All three of us just sat and cried, and my dad said a prayer for Kaylee after awhile.
Once, we finally got our composure we let other people come back in the room. Darrin and NaeDean came in first. NaeDean was crying just as much as me. I knew that her tears were of joy and sorrow. She was happy to finally become a mom, but at the same to be taking this precious baby away from her birthmother. Darrin came over to my bed and gave me a gift box. I opened the box and there was another smaller box inside. I opened the smaller box and to find a gold heart locket. On the inside of the locket there was a picture of Kaylee, and then a picture of Kaylee and me. On the back of the locket, they had engraved “Lil’ Miss”, which was the nickname I had given Kaylee when I was pregnant, since we hadn’t picked out a name yet.
Amy then came back in and Scott and his mother came in. Amy said that this was a time for all of us to sit and reflect on what had happened in the past nine months. We were all pretty quiet. Then Scott finally spoke. He thanked my parents and I for choosing such a great couple and said that Kaylee is pretty great. He got pretty choked up and it was nice to see that he was feeling the same way I was.
After Amy had everything taken care of with the hospital, we all got ready to go. Amy had to walk out with Kaylee, since I had signed the adoption papers releasing her from my care. When we got outside, we put Kaylee in her car seat and Darrin and NaeDean left. Before they left, both of them gave me a hug. NaeDean told me that she would call me to say that they got home safely. We planned on me going down to see Kaylee that next Saturday.
That first couple of days at home were the absolute hardest. I cried myself to sleep most nights, as my cat’s meow sounded like Kaylee’s cry. I slept with a little teddy bear that was about the same weight as Kaylee.
The next Saturday, my mom and I went down and saw Kaylee. It was so good to be able to see her within a week of her going home with Darrin and NaeDean. I feel like it helped me accept my decision a little easier.
Also during that first week of being home, I went in for my first grief counseling with Amy at the adoption agency. At that session, Amy and I sat and reflected about what had happened the past weekend. I told her that it felt like a very surreal experience. I said to her, “You go to the hospital being pregnant, do all the work, but do not end up going home with the prize.”
A couple weeks later, someone asked me how I felt on the day that I signed the adoption papers. I told them that it was a very hard thing to explain, as it really was a “You had to be there” type of moment. Awhile later, I was talking to another friend who had been through the same thing as me and she explained it like this. She said, “It’s like having someone stick a knife in your heart, slowly turning the knife, while patting you on the back telling you that you are doing the right thing.” I could not believe it! She nailed it on the head on the emotions that I had been feeling! It was just amazing!
Still to this day, I do not regret my decisions at all. Yes…sometimes I wish that I could have Kaylee here at my house with me and to experience all of those “first time moments”, but I know that she was meant for Darrin and NaeDean. I gave Kaylee a better life and completed a family. I feel as if I am some type of family to Darrin and NaeDean. Kaylee will grow up knowing her adoptive parents and her birth family, too. What more could she ask for?
Scott, Kaylee, and I on my wedding day (2007)
Kaylee with her birth and adoptive family (2007)
Kaylee and I during a recent visit in the Summer of 2013
For more stories like mine please check out the Showcase page over on the
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