Sunday, September 9, 2012

July-September 2009: Second thoughts and open adoption

A few weeks after CJ told us she was pregnant, and planning to place the baby for adoption, she had an ultrasound. Of course I was there with her, waiting in anticipation to find out if she was having a boy or a girl. That day we found out that she was having a girl, and found out her due date.  After that it finally started to really sink in that MY baby was really going to have a baby, and that baby was my first grandchild. MY FIRST GRANDCHILD! I SO wanted to be a grandma! Many of my friends were already grandmas, and I watched them, and listened to them with envy, and with anticipation of when this wonderful, blessed, thing would happen to me. And now it had. And my daughter was giving my granddaughter away!

As I mentioned in the previous post, our church (we are LDS) encourages adoption. I had always believed that IF an unwanted pregnancy ever happened to my child (which I truly never imagined), that I would want them, and encourage them, to choose adoption. I knew it was the best thing for the baby, to be raised in a stable home, with a mother AND a father. But now that it was really happening, it was a bit of a different story. In my mind. and in part of my heart, I knew this was the right option, the best option, for my daughter and for the baby. But, in another small part of my heart, I didn't want my daughter to give away my granddaughter. I was afraid of never seeing her again. I was afraid of all the regret my daughter might feel, and I might feel, also. But luckily, my daughter was so much braver than me. She was so much stronger than me. She never, ever waivered on her adoption choice. It's hard for me to admit, but there were times when I would ask her if she was having any second thoughts, and in my heart I almost hoped she'd say yes. I wanted to be strong for her, so I never, ever told her of my doubts. I was ashamed of them. I also didn't tell her because I never wanted to influence her decision. I decided early on, that she was the one who would have to live with whatever decision she made, and I didn't want her to ever have me to blame for pushing her into something. It all had to come from her.

The agency my daughter went through encouraged open adoptions. Open adoption? This was the first time we had ever heard the term. It sounded kind of strange to us. At first CJ was opposed to the whole idea. She was afraid it would hurt more to see the baby, or have pictures and updates. At first she thought she wanted to just make a clean break and try to go on with her life. My husband was very skeptical of the open adoption idea at first, too. He thought it would confuse the child, or put a stigma on her for other children to make fun of. But, as my daughter started going to the agency's group therapy, with other pregnant girls who were planning to place their babies in open adoptions, she started to warm up to the idea. My husband also started to see the positives of it, and warmed up, too.  Me? I LOVED the idea of an open adoption almost from the very first. You mean I can still see my grandchild, even though someone else is raising her? I don't have to completely give her up forever?  What a wonderful thing! Sign us up!  

So now CJ started looking for a couple, and I helped her. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of profiles on the adoption site. How could you ever narrow it down to choose? We poured over the many profiles and pictures of couples. She narrowed the search by only looking at couples who had no other children. She wanted couples who loved the outdoors. She wanted a certain look, too. The picture of the couple had to catch her eye, and they had to look good to her. For a long time, I felt that she was being judgmental, when she refused to consider couples who were overweight, or not good-looking, when everything else about them fit her criteria. But, I didn't push her, because I knew she had to feel good about the couple she finally chose. I now know that she was not being judgmental at all. I truly believe that she was led, by her Heavenly Father, to the couple she ultimately chose, and that  the "look" she wanted was the look they would end up having. Maybe that sounds weird to some people, but I strongly believe, with all my heart, that the process she went through to find the right couple had divine help.  

And so we looked, and looked, and CJ emailed back and forth with several couples in our state. We even met one couple, and my daughter really liked them, and thought she wanted to choose them. When that  all fell through, she was pretty devastated and confused. Why weren't they the right couple? How was she supposed to feel when she found the right one? How would she know they were right? Many of the girls in her group talked about knowing, the moment they saw their couple. There were stories of seeing a light around the couple, and practically hearing angels singing from above (a little exaggeration, but not really). All this confused her more, because she wasn't getting any such feeling.

She kept on looking, and I kept helping her. Even though I still had some doubts. 

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