Saturday, August 4, 2012

July 31, 2010

Two years ago today, July 31, I was curled in a ball on the bathroom floor crying for what felt like hours on end believing that my life as I knew would cease to exist from that point on. Today I wake up disheartened by an unrelated event, but I can't help but have joy as I walk into my living room and see a picture of 16 month old Grace and her parents. Three people that, unbeknownst to me, would be the reason I get up off that bathroom floor, wipe my tears, and accept each following day as it came to me. That being said let me back up to what lead to that moment on the bathroom floor. I have shared many of my thought processes throughout my blogging journey, but I have not shared many of the actual details of what I was thinking in the moment.

July 31, 2010: The whole day felt off from the moment I woke up. It was the day after my 26th birthday. I went out for brunch. On the way to the store after brunch I felt nauseated, and it was unlike any other nausea I had ever felt. I knew I was late and I knew what the nausea meant. But there was no way I could be....I couldn't think the word much less say it. So I played it off. I continued to do this all day until the evening when I was still "late". I did what any other girl would do. I Googled. Yes, I really did Google "signs and symptoms of pregnancy"What did I get? Nothing of reassurance that I wasn't pregnant, that's for sure. In fact every single symptom on there seemed to fit the last 2 weeks of my life perfectly. The floodgates opened and I became very panicked and desperate for a pregnancy test to prove Google wrong. Forget the pink lines, I wanted words. Am I PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT?! The three minutes of waiting were a blur. I don't remember what was on the television. I almost decided to just not go back into the bathroom to look. If I didn't look, then it wasn't real. And if it wasn't real then I didn't have to deal with it. Unfortunately pregnancy is a very difficult reality to conceal. I made the walk back to the bathroom to discover what deep down I already knew: there was no NOT before the PREGNANT. So there it was; a life altering moment happening as quickly as it takes to read one word. It is in this moment that I slowly sink down to the bathroom floor and weep and weep and weep. I manage to peel myself off the floor and up to bed where sleep evades me for many hours, eventually winning me over. Now there is something amazing about sleep, aside from the rest it provides, it gave me a break from my new reality. Until I woke up of course. It took a second for the events of the night before to resettle within me. See there's this split second when you open your eyes and you're in limbo between your dream and your reality and reality hasn't set in yet. Ever had one of those moments? I would have many more of them to come and in each of mine during that split-second spent in limbo I was not pregnant and everything was as it had been before. They would come to fade over time as I accepted my pregnancy and my new reality.

August 1 was a blur. I spent the day in between crying and calm, thinking it everything was going to be ok to how will I ever survive this. I was afraid to be alone, afraid of silence, afraid of my own thoughts, I was just terrified of the road that lay ahead.

I remember those days very clearly, even now two years later. As I reflect back on them I share in the pain and loneliness I felt during that time. I also note that while I couldn't see it at the time, I had hope. Deep down I knew that everything was going to be ok. I didn't know the end result, I knew my life would never be the same and that was terrifying, but somewhere inside of me I knew everything would be ok. I distinctly remember sitting on the stairs at Austin's telling myself that the whole world may turn against me, but God will not and that is the only thing that matters. And I meant that with all my heart.

This day will always be significant to me and this year, as I am now 28 and 2 years have come and gone, this reflection is significant to me as I am in my career and pursuing the next chapter of my life. Am I making the decisions I want to be making? What am I doing to "maximize my utility"? I have found that those who experience the greatest utility in life are those that know who they are and what they stand for and are unwilling to change for anything or anybody. I admit to falling short of this and losing a lot because of this. This reflection has thus served me well in reminding me and redirecting me as I continue on my journey. I hope it is able to help someone else out there too!

PS: If you desire to know more about utility and how to maximize it, check out the book Naked Economics. While any title with the word 'economics' in it sounds utterly disgusting, it is truly a fascinating book.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Reflections from the panel

This past week I had another opportunity to share my story before prospective adoptive parents. What was special about this time was for that for the first time, Liz and I would be sharing our story together. Eric and Grace planned on joining us but Grace came down with pneumonia (poor thing - she is feeling MUCH better now) so Eric stayed at home with her. I was sitting there sharing and listening to Liz's side just thinking about how beautiful this whole dynamic is. Before we even met each other we both had plans for closed adoption. In fact we were each determined that that would be the case. It's amazing how time and circumstance can change the most determined heart. Now we couldn't imagine our relationship being anything other than what it is now. During the panel Liz said she is so grateful that I am in Grace's life because she loves watching Grace's natural habits and seeing the similarities in me and being able to ask me if I did the things Grace is doing. All of which I answer yes to, of course. I have an identical twin, who just so happens to be 26 years my junior. I am grateful for the chance to be in Grace's life and to hear all about her life and milestones. 

Some people may not understand how I have the strength to watch my own child being raised by people who were previously complete strangers to me. To that I say, you had to be in that room last week watching Liz's face light up and hearing the joy in her tone as she doted on her daughter. You have to be there every single time I spend time with them. I have never witnessed more joy and gratefulness in two parents as I have with them. To know that I have given someone else unspeakable joy is enough to erase any sense of pain, regret, or hurt I may feel with giving up my own flesh and blood. They have forever changed my life and blessed me.

Another guy, who was adopted and now in his early 40's, was there to share his story. He didn't get to meet his birth mom until he was 30. He spoke about how much he loved his adoptive family but always longed to meet his birth mom and fill that void in his heart. He searched for many years before he was finally able to find her. During the time he was adopted, all adoptions were closed and the majority of records were sealed and unobtainable. He fought and by age 30 found his birth mom. He showed us a video clip of their first meeting. It was probably the most moving video I have ever seen. He stays in touch with his birth family and has become close to them over the years. Amazing story.   

God gave up his own flesh and blood through Jesus. He didn't do it for himself, he did it for humanity. Abraham was willing to give up his only son. He didn't do it for himself. He did it for God. If he were doing it for himself, he never would've done it. I am by no means comparing myself to God or Abraham. To God I make no comparison. Do not misinterpret this. I am just saying that I believe God wanted Grace here for a reason and that reason was to bless someone else. I did what I believe God wanted me to do in the situation and that leaves me in complete peace, even when that peace is baffling to others. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I love you and I always will

I wrote this shortly after Grace was born. I am not sure if I have ever shared it on my blog but as it nears Garce's first birthday I have been doing some more reflecting and remembered these words I had written down:

"You came into my life and took me by surprise. Together as one we embarked on this journey, knowing it would be only for a time. Our time flew by too quick and the day came that I had to let you go. I love you and I always will. I love you enough to do what's best. I love you enough to let you go"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Butterfly Effect

Decisions. We make them everyday, multiple times throughout the day. Some are consciously made, others we make without a thought. Decisions are an unavoidable part of life. The decisions we make have a powerful effect in shaping our lives and paving our paths. Our decisions have the power to affect those around us, near and far.

 I made a big decision when I decided to give Grace up for adoption. I made that decision on my own. I did not ask others what they thought I should do. I knew what I wanted to do. And when I have my mind set on something I am going to make it happen. So that’s what I did. Without a thought or care about what someone else wanted me to do or thought I should do.

What I failed to realize in my selfish decision-making process was that my decision would affect many people around me. I believe a lot of those effects are positive, but there are also some painful effects. I failed to see that I would not be the only one to experience the feeling of loss and grief over the loss of Grace. I underestimated how much those around me cared about me and how much they would share in my pain and my experience. At the time all of my thoughts revolved around myself and what I needed and wanted.

All of you that follow my blog know that I am completely at peace with my decision and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Everything turned out the way that it was supposed to. I know that this was God’s plan for Grace’s life.

That being said I am writing this and speaking about decisions because my eyes have really been opened to the impact the decisions we make will have on others. None of the decisions we make in this life solely revolve around us. There is always some effect that we have. Economics agrees with this thought. As Charles Wheelan states in his book, Naked Economics, “My decision to buy and drive an SUV affects everyone else on the road, yet none of those people has a say in my decision. I do not compensate all the owners of Honda Civics for the fact that I am putting their lives slightly more at risk…” He goes on in more detail but the point is that “the private costs of my behavior are different from the social costs”.

As creepy as the movie “Butterfly Effect” may be, it makes a valid point: each and every little decision has an impact beyond our understanding and control. The more we try to control it, the more we lose control. That may not completely relate to my story with Grace, but it relates with life in so many ways and the decisions we make in this life.

I’m not even sure how to end this. All I can say is that I am aware of the powerful effect my decisions have and will take this life lesson with me through the rest of my life.