My daughter was born August 24, 1998 and was placed with very loving adoptive parents who I picked out. I was 18 and in my first year of college when I got pregnant...my boyfriend "didn't feel ready to be a father" and I knew that I wouldn't be able to give my baby the life she deserved. When I was two months along I went to an adoption agency where they gave me books and information and paperwork...then they told me to think about it very hard. As the months went by I struggled over what to do. I was living in the dorms at school during this time where there is no privacy...so many days I would find myself sitting in the shower sobbing at the thought of giving up my baby. I knew I couldn't support myself much less a baby...I wanted a better life for her and for me.
The search for the adoptive parents was crazy...I had people who were promising to buy me new cars, pay for my college if only I would give them my baby. (Like I would consider selling something that precious.) The worst was when a lady I knew somehow got my number at school and said, "I heard about WHAT happened and WHAT you are doing and I WANT IT!" Like I was giving away a puppy or something.
The couple that I finally chose was wonderful. The adoptive dad (Tony) worked with my mother and I had known him for years. They both drove over for my first ultrasound and that was my first meeting with the adoptive mother (Kathleen). It was great...I felt no pressure, and they weren't offering me insane things to try and buy my baby. From then on I would get a weekly call from Kathleen and she would just ask about how I was doing. Many times we wouldn't even talk about the baby...we would talk about family, school and work.
Towards the end of May I went home for a visit and ended up in the hospital because of pre-term labor. I was sentenced to 8 weeks of bed rest and couldn't return to school for finals. Kathleen and Tony would come to the hospital to visit and they got to hear the baby's heart beat for the first time. After two days in the hospital I went home to my parents' house. As the weeks went by the tension levels in the house got higher. My step-dad and mother were constantly fighting. After a horrible day when my step-dad blamed their marital problems on my unexpected pregnancy...it was decided that the environment there wasn't a healthy one. So I moved in with Tony and Kathleen for about a month. During that time I was able to really get to know them and began to think of them as family.
Together we all prepared for the baby's arrival. Tony, Kathleen, and my mother attended Lamaze with me and went to the doctor appointments. My mother and I went to the baby shower thrown by Kathleen's co-workers and I went with Tony and Kathleen when they bought a video camera to film their daughter and all of her special moments. Tony and Kathleen picked out the name Kayla Nicole and asked if I wanted to add or change part of it. I had never thought of a name for the baby because I knew that I was going to place her...but it was so special that they asked me, so we all decided that she would also have the middle name Leigh. (It is my dad's middle name, my middle name, and the birth father's middle name...although we all spell it Lee)
Tony and Kathleen were there when Kayla Leigh Nicole made her appearance in the world at 2:19 a.m. on Monday, August 24, 1998. It was the most amazing thing I have ever been through. It was almost a shock to see the little one that had been kicking me and giving me heartburn for the past nine months. She was so beautiful and perfect...a true gift from God. I had a day and a half with her in the hospital. She cried and screamed almost the entire night. I don't know what I would have done if my mother hadn't been there. She wanted to be held all the time and I was afraid that if I held her in my sleep I would crush her or something. But sometime during the night I woke up with her in my arms...I had no idea how she got there. I slept like that holding her until early the next morning.
On Tuesday afternoon I checked out of the hospital and Kayla went home with me for the afternoon. Once we got there my mom left to run errands and I was completely alone for the first time with my daughter. I think both of us were tired from the night before and I lay down with her in my arms and we slept. It was bittersweet having her cuddled up on my shoulder...knowing that we only had these few hours together as mother and daughter before I would take Kayla to her new home and new parents. Then I would become her birthmother and someone else would become her mommy. A the hours slipped by I explained to her how much I loved her and that she really was a gift from God...but not a gift I could keep to myself but one I had to share with others. Then I cried for the first time since she was born...my heart was breaking.
The time came for my mother and I to go to Kathleen and Tony's for the entrustment ceremony and give them Kayla. I have to say that it was the worst drive of my entire life. My heart kept screaming for my mother to stop the car and turn around...I couldn't do this. But eventually we arrived at their house. Everyone was there and we were the last to arrive. During the ceremonyTony and Kathleen both read aloud letters that they had written to me and they gave me a few gifts. Afterwards we talked to the few people that had been invited and took some pictures. As we drove home I felt so much better and I told my mom that I didn't feel the great loss that so many people talk about...I feel like I have gained so much. Tony and Kathleen were now a part of our family and when I saw the look on their faces when they held their new daughter I couldn't help but notice the love that you could almost touch it was so strong. If you can help someone feel that type of love how can it be a bad thing?
Since then we have continued having contact. Tony and Kathleen have brought Kayla over to visit me and I go home about every three weeks and visit. My mother visits them about once a week and is so proud to be considered one of Kayla's grandmas. We are very careful to give each other space and avoid uncomfortable situations and to talk about anything that is bothering us.
I have had somehard times in learning how to cope with the adoption...but with the support of my family and friends I have found peace and I see the wonderful things that come from a having an Open Adoption. I only wish more people understood Open Adoption and all the great things that can come from it.
Please visit the links below to learn more about adoption and hear about other birthmothers and their experiences.
*BACK TO HOME* *KAYLA'S PICTURE BOOK*
*LETTER FROM THE ADOPTIVE PARENTS*
*MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES*
*ADOPTION LINKS & WEBRINGS*
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