Saturday, April 08, 2006
It wasn't supposed to work this way! (Part 1)
I've never been one of those women who had a timeline in know, get married by 23, have 2.5 children by 25. I've always known that I wanted to be a mother, but I always prefaced that with "Some day."

When I was 19, I had to have a partial hysterectomy, due to severe endometriosis. I'm 37 now and, back in those days, they didn't think twice about doing a partial hysterectomy given such circumstances. Maybe there are better alternatives today. I remember my doctor (the one I'd had since I was born) explaining to me that a partial hysterectomy would mean that I could not get pregnant and carry a child. Wow, really?? ((enter sarcasm here)) Since I wasn't given any choices, there wasn't much I could do about that. At least with a partial hysterectomy I was left with one estrogen producing ovary, for which I'm thankful.

I went through a grieving process for the loss of being able to get pregnant and carry a child, but it was short lived. I was young and I just told myself, "Not a problem, I'll adopt," not really understanding anything about the process of adopting and not bothering to do any research because it was that "some day" situation. I have to be honest, now that I understand the heartache that couples go through as they struggle with infertility, I'm almost thankful that I had to have a partial hysterectomy so long ago, because it meant I always knew what my outcome would be. I had 2 close girl friends that struggled through 8 years of infertility treatments and I watched and learned the agony they went through each time they didn't get pregnant. I saw what a strain it was on their marriages. Both have since adopted, they did newborn domestic adoptions and inspired me to try that route as well. One of those 2 girlfriends was even one of those myths that you hear about...after adopting her daughter, she got pregnant with twin boys 6 months later. She loves all 3 of her children to pieces.

Dating was somewhat difficult, because the few times that I allowed things to get serious, I had to explain to my boyfriend that I would never be able to give him biological children. I had that conversation with 3 men. All three took it well. The last man I had that conversation with ended up becoming my beloved husband, Oronzo.

I remember the day I had the conversation with him. We'd been dating for about a year. Things were looking serious, as in I could see myself spending the rest of my life with this man, so I decided it was safe to have "the talk." I sat on his ratty old couch left over from his college days, the one that the cats had scratched to pieces and the dog had gnawed on, and I told him I had something to tell him. Oronzo sat down, noticed my serious expression, and listened intently. I explained what I had had to go through at 19, my eyes instantly filling with tears, and let him know that I couldn't bear his children. Before I'd even had the opportunity to suggest an alternate means of becoming parents, he said gently, "So we adopt. I don't care how we become parents. A kid is a kid. Besides, my mom is adopted." Just like that, the conversation was over. Of course, my tears weren't. I again grieved for the loss of a chance to be pregnant, but I also cried tears of joy that I'd found a man that was so fantastic. As he pulled me into a hug and patted my back while the tears streamed down my face, I knew he'd be a spectacular father!

It would take us 5 years of dating before we married (more about that wonderful experience later). Less than a year after marrying, I was ready to explore our adoption options. So, the research began. There was so much information out there that I was quite Overwhelmed! Thus the reason for my original username of Overwhelmed (feel free to call me OW for short). I had no idea how to begin! I looked in the phone book and saw many pages of adoption agencies, so I started calling them and asking them to send me packets of information. The packets began pouring in. I also scoured the Internet for other information.

Oronzo and I read through the packets...okay, I read through the packets, he just skimmed. I was definitely the one who did the most research. For a while, it was like he was just along for the ride. I was kind of turned off by the approach most of the agencies took. It all seemed so slick, too commercialized. I hated the "Dear Birthmother" letter concept (little did I know at that time that it was insulting to even be addressing those letters in that way, these women weren't birthmothers, they were expecting mothers and deserved more respect).

The packets from the agencies discouraged me and I set the stuff aside for a while. Besides, many of them required that you be married at least 3 years before they'd work with you. I called and checked with one to see if the fact that Oronzo and I had been together for 5 years before marrying counted. It didn't. I was heartbroken at the thought of having to wait 2 1/2 years to adopt. I was 34 and ready to be a mom. "Some day" had arrived!

If it wasn't for my 2 girlfriends, mentioned earlier, I wouldn't have even known enough to think of the private adoption route. But they had both been matched through family and friends by spreading the word on their own. I figured, well, if it worked for them, it could work for us, right?

So, in 2003, we put a paragraph in our Christmas newsletter, letting everyone know that we were looking to adopt a newborn and asking people to let us know if they hear of any adoption situations. 7 months letter, a friend put us in touch with a young woman that was pregnant and had made the difficult decision to place her unborn child for adoption. Our friend gave us this expectant mother's (to be referred to as Giselle) phone number, with her permission of course.

You have to understand how terrified we were. Oronzo and I had in our heads that we wanted a closed adoption. We didn't know what the hell we were doing, so that idea was very fear based. Suddenly, we had the phone number of an expectant mother that was willing to talk to us. It dawned on me then why some people were willing to pay large sums of money to an agency to act as an intermediary. If we called her, she'd have our phone number. We weren't sure how comfortable we were with that. I know this is quite idiotic thinking, but I'm being honest about how we felt at the time. Fear not dear readers, we pulled our heads out of our asses over time.

We took the plunge and I made the phone call on my cell phone. I was so nervous when Giselle came on the phone. I explained who I was and how I'd gotten her number and asked if it'd be okay to ask her a few questions. She told me that'd be fine, so I began. Sadly enough, these were canned questions that I'd found during my research on the Internet. Questions like:

"How far along are you?"
"How are you feeling so far in your pregnancy?"
"What made you decide to place your child for adoption?"
"Does the baby's father know of your decision and does he support you in this decision?"
"Does your family support your decision?"

I know there were many others that I'm forgetting and I didn't ask them all in that first phone conversation. I'm sure I sounded very stiff and uncertain and I finally admitted to Giselle that I was nervous. She laughed a bit and admitted she was nervous too. I also admitted that I really didn't know how this was all supposed to work. She said she felt the same way. She said the one thing she did know is that she didn't want to go through an agency to place her child. I told her we didn't want to go the agency route either.

Our first conversation was brief, but I asked if we could talk again at another point and she agreed.

Okay, that's enough for now. I'll continue on with my story in another post.

To continue reading about our first adoption journey, see Part 2.

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10:30 AM

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Jillian- thanks for stopping by! In all the time that we've communicated together, I didn't realize we have a medical condition in common. Perhaps this blogging isn't a bad thing if we get to know each other even better as a result!

At 8:09 AM, Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

thanks for sharing your story

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Heather- thanks for stopping by to read and leave a comment. I hope you'll come back because my story has just begun. I'm not familiar with your blog at this time, but I will rectify that by following your link to take a look!

At 4:57 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

OW - Thanks for sharing part I of your story, I can't wait to read the next one.


At 4:01 PM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Ruth- thanks for checking out my new blog. I must admit, I'm having fun with this. It's nice to see my fellow Dec/Jan thread mommies stop by!

At 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautifful story! I have to go cook dinner, but I can't wait to read the next installments.

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! I've been reading this story and I'm entranced!

I want to adopt, but for an entirely different reason, and hopefully, my story will be far less complex.

I married a man who has a child and the wife and mother passed, so my son (to be) is motherless (except for me).

I hope to read more installments in the future.


No Polar Coordinates

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Clickin Mama J said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story in the adoption journey blog carnival. I've now read all ten parts and feel like I know you so well. Funny how that happens.

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the photography in your blog ... reminds me of my trip to Ireland. So beautiful.

I read your story with great empathy. I knew early on that, for a different medical reason (car accident), I'd be unable to carry a child ... and my husband (whom I met at the tender age of 35) was equally supportive and understanding. We foster-adopted 3 children, 2 of whom we were able to adopt two years ago.

God bless you as you trudge the road ahead -- with many unexpected delights still to come!

At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have also adopted a newborn in a private adoption! He is 2 and 1/2 now and you made me remember some of the negatives from those closest to you! They are possibly trying to protect you-but now i think from what? Protect me from the greatest joy in the world! my son! I have only read part 1 and & 2 but i am already crying and looking forward to the rest of it!
Matts mom

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Caryn said...

How inspirational... I have to say...I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer 8 years ago. I had to have a hysterectomy at the young age of 29, and thought the same thing... "I'll just adopt." My husband and I are now beginning our journey of adoption, and we are hitting road blocks left and right. It's either the money aspect of 40,000 dollars or through being foster parents & now knowing if we could bond with a child only to find out they have to go back to their birth parents. We have Hope and Faith completely, but can't figure out what God has in store for us. Thank you for your LOVELY BLOG to help. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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At 3:45 PM, Blogger said...



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Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)

Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

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