[Guest blogger EN shares the 2nd part of her story: the years after giving up her daughter for adoption. See the first part of EN's story here.]
Six years ago, I made a choice that changed my life forever. I chose life for my baby girl. I also chose to place her for adoption. I found loving, wonderful parents for her, carried her, gave birth to her, and let her go.
In the six years since her birth, I have made peace with my decision. It has been a road filled with ups and downs, but, at the end of the day, I know I did the right thing by her.
The day of her birth:
Giving birth to a baby that you know you are not taking home is heartbreaking, to say the least. You feel all the physical pain and realize you are doing this for another woman. I felt a little resentment toward Kylie's mom at this point. I went through all of this, 9 months of pregnancy, 13 hours of searing pain, and a C-section: all for another woman? In the time since that day, I realized that, yes, I did go through all of that for another woman, but more importantly, I went through it to give life to my baby. It wasn't easy, but it will always be worth it, and knowing what I know now, I would do it again.
My hospital stay:
Knowing that my baby was in the same building but not in the same room was hard. Knowing that she was not going home with me was insanely painful. Knowing there was a woman holding her, overjoyed to be her mom, made me mad. My emotions were all over the map. I was proud of what I had done, but jealous of the woman who would be her mom. I was wavering... I wanted to keep her. Over the course of my three days in the hospital, I was not 100% sure I would be giving her up. It wasn't until my last day, when Kylie's mom came in and told me how complete she felt, how content and grateful she was, that I knew Kylie was where she was meant to be.
Signing away my parental rights:
Ten days after Kylie was born, I went to the courthouse to sign the paperwork that would allow her parents to adopt her. I was signing the paperwork that would make placing her with her new parents legally binding. By now, I was much more at peace with my decision; this day brought a sort of closure to the process. Kylie and her mom and dad were not there, at my request. We didn't meet again after I was released from the hospital until the day they left. I needed this time to reflect on and make peace with my choice.
Saying good bye:
Two weeks after her birth, Kylie left for her new New York home with her new parents. I had an afternoon with them to say goodbye before their flight home. It was at this point that it really sank in that I was doing the right thing. Kylie's mom looked like a new mom. She was glowing. Kylie's dad was loving and attentive. Kylie was their baby girl now. I would always hold her in my heart, but she would never know me as her mom. I was beginning to feel okay with that. We took a ton of pictures and knew that we would be in touch soon. I held her one last time, and whispered in her ear, "Good bye for now peanut." They got in the car and left. That was it. She was gone. It was time for me to get on with my life.
The first year after placing her was most definitely the hardest. I missed her so much. I wondered what she looked like, what her favorite toy was, had she cut her first tooth yet? But then, about a week before her first birthday, I got a phone call. It was Kylie's mom letting me know that I was to watch for a package in the mail. And then it came! A TON of pictures, a letter, and a necklace with 4 hearts on it. All the questions I had were answered. She had my eyes! She was happy and loved. I was told that her mom had the same necklace. One heart for each of us. I wear it to this day to remember the bond we all share.
In the six years that have passed since her birth, I have gotten my package of pictures every year like clockwork. She is beautiful, healthy, and best of all, happy and well-adjusted. She has parents who love her, and calls me her "tummy mommy." We haven't met yet. I think that will come one day, but for now, I am content to know she is happy and enjoying her life. She knows as much of her story as a 6-year-old should. She knows who I am and will always know that I love her.
No. I feel that I did what I was meant to do. Yes, of course, I miss her. I love her, and wish that I could have kept her, but that was not in the cards for us. She is where she belongs with a mom and dad who love her. This journey changed me for the better. I learned how to love someone enough to let them go. I am a better mom to the three kids I already have. I am a more loving person. Choosing life for Kylie and then giving her the best possible chance at living it to it's fullest was my contribution to her life, and for me, at this point in my life, I know that's enough.