Do you ever have a conversation or write an e-mail (or blog post) about how things are going well…and the next minute everything falls apart? Yes? Then you know how I feel right now.
Yesterday started off well. I picked up MissS and ZGirl and took them to the local mall for some walking time. The weather was bitterly cold, but MissS wanted to walk. We spent about 4 hours in the mall. During that time we talked about lots of things, from the challenges and joys of parenting a toddler to hair care. Several times we spoke about the specifics of the birth plan and the adoption.
I noticed that MissS and ZGirl were both starting to get tired, and suggested that it might be time to go. I asked MissS where I should drop her off: sister’s house or uncle’s house. She spent a moment thinking. Then asked if it would be okay for her to “take a break” from her family and crash at my hotel for a while. It was something I had suggested to her a few days before, when there had been some down-time. The hotel room was a suite, and had plenty of room for ZGirl to run around in.
So, I drove to my hotel…picking up some lunch fixings on the way…and walked them to my room. MissS immediately warmed to the idea of taking a nap, so I offered her my bed (thankfully housekeeping had already been by), and she took me up on it. She and ZGirl fell asleep for almost 2.5 hours. I sat in the living room area, watched a few episodes of “West Wing” on my iPad and did some knitting.
MissS had only been asleep for about an hour, when her phone (which she had left on the desk near where I was) started to ring…and ring frequently. MissS slept through it, but every 15 or 30 minutes, the phone would go off. I thought about waking her up, but she clearly needed the sleep.
When MissS woke up, we chatted on the couch for a while. She started to talk about some of her reasons for placing babygirl. As the conversation progressed, she started to share some fairly painful things that she had been through in her life. While I was honored that she felt comfortable to share, I also felt awkward that she (a relative stranger) was sharing some very intimate details with me. But, she continued to talk, and I continued to listen…occasionally gasping in horror or sadness.
We had been talking for almost 30 minutes when her phone rang, she looked at the screen and shook her head. She then told me to keep quiet, as she was going to put the call through on speaker phone. It was her mother.
Now, I need to back up. There are several family members who are very much against the adoption plan. Some I have met, but others I haven’t. The one person that is most vocal is MissS’s mother. I have never met her, per MissS’s request.
I’m not going to go into the specifics of what MissS’s mother said to her, but I will say that under any definition I’ve seen or heard of, it was verbal abuse…pure and simple.
This call went on for close to 20 minutes…all on speakerphone. I gestured several times if MissS wanted me to leave, and she shook her head. So, I sat and listened to a call that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I watched as MissS seemed to shrink deeper and deeper into the couch cushions.
At the end of the call, MissS got another call, this time from the uncle she had been staying with…he was telling her that she was kicked out (by virtue of her mother’s influence). At this point, MissS was getting several different phone calls, all from various relatives who oppose the adoption, all telling her how horrible she’s being.
Let me be clear here, these are not people who are offering her a permanent place to stay, money, resources, or any sort of support. They are just telling her that she’s a horrible person for contemplating this. And I heard several of the conversations, and all of them were saying things about me. I especially was horrified when one relative suggested that I was planning on selling babygirl’s organs for profit , and another was adamant that I was planning on kidnapping ZGirl…as well as babygirl. It was abuse and lies, almost everything I heard. I never heard anyone say that they love MissS and want to help her through this time…it was pure vileness.
I was starting to get more and more overwhelmed with the situation. And I started to text our attorney and McRuger for some guidance. The guidance was to help MissS, keep her safe, and offer her a room for the night…which I did. I gave MissS and ZGirl the suite, and took a smaller room on a different floor. I wanted to make sure that she had space if she wanted it. I also made sure that she had food for dinner, plenty to drink, and knew how to reach me.
I left to take my suitcase up to my new room, and came back to check on MissS. She opened the door and was sobbing. In the short time I have known MissS, I had never seen her cry…even when talking about some very painful memories. But she was sobbing. I sat with her, rubbed her arm, gave her a hug, and listened as she explained that this drama was why she wants babygirl out of the area and family. She said that it was too crazy to bring up a baby in that sort of environment, it’s all she can do to raise ZGirl with no support.
After MissS had settled down, and ZGirl was curled up watching a cartoon, and Lawyer A had spoken to MissS about taking a night for herself to think…I left. As soon as I got out the door, I started to cry. The tension of the night was simply overwhelming. I began to question everything I had said to her family, every conversation I had had about the adoption, even every smile that I had been given…I questioned it all. And I cried for a good hour…crying for the horrible treatment of this young woman.
I called McRuger…he calmed me down. I called AE….she made me laugh. I called a good friend who is an adoptive mother…and she understood. In three calls, I had received more support than I have ever heard MissS get from her family. What a startling reality.
I slept fitfully last night. Tossing and turning with nightmares.
This morning, the goal was to get MissS to her doctor’s appointment, sort out a few messy medical insurance issues, and get her on her way to being induced. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. While MissS was seen by a doctor, she will not be induced (this is for insurance reasons, not medical ones). The doctor did say that she was clearly in the beginning stages of labor, but it could take days or even a week to get into full-blown labor. Babygirl is looking great, and despite being in pain…MissS took the news of “no induction” rather well (although clearly very disappointed).
By the time she was released from the doctor’s care, her housing situation had been temporarily resolved (her uncle said she could come back for a while) and a friend had come to spend some time with MissS. MissS asked me to drop her at her Grannie’s house on my way to the airport. She knew that if she wasn’t being induced, didn’t have an induction date, or was in labor…that I was leaving today. I gave her and ZGirl a big hug, helped her cart her belongings into her Grannie’s apartment, and drove off to the airport.
I technically didn’t have a flight tonight, seeing as how I didn’t know if I was flying out. McRuger found me an early morning flight for tomorrow (Saturday) and booked me into a very swanky hotel near the airport (room service…..rocks!!!). So, after a week of emotional rollercoasters, I am pampering myself tonight….all thanks to MCRuger! Thanks love!!!
To say I’m excited to be back home would be a tremendous understatement. I can’t wait to leave the drama and chaos behind. Yet, even as I’m eating my piece of carrot cake with sour cream ice cream, carmel sauce, and dehydrated yogurt chips…I know I am leaving MissS behind. Her life is that drama and chaos. And that makes me insanely sad.
I am as certain as I can be that this adoption will not be happening, despite what MissS says. If you are looking for a percentage, I’d say I’m 85% convinced she’s parenting babygirl. She says that all the drama makes her even more assured in her decision to place. But she is facing more negativity around this adoption than she had thought possible. She is being constantly berated for her choice. I doubt that I could stand up to that sort of thing for very long. If she does place, I will be pleasantly surprised, but I just don’t think we will hear from her again. Does that make me upset? No. I understand that this is not my baby, but MissS’s. And, even if nothing comes of the adoption…I sure have had an adventure here. And you know how much I love adventure!!
You know, there are adoption opponents out there who rant about how adoptive parents or adoption agencies coerce young women into giving up their children. But isn’t the opposite just as bad? As my adoptive mom friend put it: “coercion to parent”. MissS’s family is trying to coerce her to parent her child. Not by offering anything real in return (like housing, support, or resources), but by verbally abusing her and making her already precarious living situation even more so. I’m sure that there are people out there who will view my visit to MissS (by her own request) as a coercion of sorts. That somehow my presence is enough to make her question her ability to parent or something. But, I believe that MissS should have the right to meet me, spend time with me, and get to know me…so she can feel more informed about her choice. HER CHOICE. Adoption is a choice. It may not always be the right one, but it is a choice that a woman can make. From what I have seen, her family is doing more than enough to take away MissS’s freedom of choice.
So, can I ask you a favor? Put down whatever you are doing right now. Stop reading this. Stop fixing dinner. Stop running on the treadmill…stop everything. And spend just a moment of your day sending every positive thought/prayer you have to MissS. Just take a moment. Don’t pity her. Don’t question her choices. Don’t wonder about what has brought her here….just send her a little positivitiy. Can you do that for me? I may not see MissS again, but I can at least give her the gift of a whole bunch of strangers sending a bit of love tonight.