Mono, Selflessness, and Cooler Scooters

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I finally figured out what the mystery illness was that was making me so incredibly sleepy all of the time--the Epstein Barr Virus--aka MONO.  I was completely caught off-guard by the diagnosis because I didn't have any typical "mono-like" symptoms except extreme tiredness.  No cold, no sore throat, no swollen lymphs.  (Yes, I just abbreviated lymph nodes).  Nevertheless, it was mono. Don't worry, it's not contagious anymore, but I'm still sleeping like a hibernating grizzly every day after work.  Good thing I was working out and playing contact sports (co-ed soccer and flag football) without knowing that my spleen could have exploded at any moment.  So there's that.  I'm on the tail-end of my recovery, so I'm and praying for some much-needed energy very soon. 

Alright.  So there's been a ton of stuff going on in my pro-life, pro-open adoption world lately.  On Friday afternoon, I met with a 40-year-old woman who is the mother of the cutest little blue-eyed 5-month-old-baby boy.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, she can no longer care for him.  Without exposing her personal situation, let's just say that finances are the least of her worries right now, and it's not good.  I was asked to speak with her about my experience with open adoption, as she has decided that she wants to go the adoption route.  When I first sat down with her, I was surprised that she brought her baby with her to our meeting.  He was cute as can be, and he sat happily in his stroller during our entire meeting.  His bright blue eyes kept shifting back and forth between his mother and me as we talked, and even though he was cooing and smiling, he looked like he understood exactly what we were talking about.  I half expected him to start stating his requests, "I'd like a nice family with a big brother, a two-story brick house, and one German Shepherd, please." 

I listened as the woman spoke about her difficult situation, and we discussed all of her options.  I have to admit, I was trying hard to hold it all together.  I wanted to adopt her baby!  I asked her if there was anything that Triangle Right to Life or any local church group could do to help her until she got back on her feet.  She looked me directly in the eye and she spoke with confidence. She told me that she was not concerned as much about her financial situation but more-so being able to provide the emotional support that her son needed.  It was clear to me that she had made up her mind about adoption.

When I speak to women considering open adoption, I don't try to persuade them one way or another.  I would never want a woman to go the adoption route if it's not what she feels is absolutely right for her and her baby, and I do not think that adoption is for everyone.  But I do think it's crucial to be honest.  I told her that open adoption is hard, that it's not easy, and that she will most likely be very depressed and sad if she goes through with it.  But at the same time, I also told her that I don't regret my decision and that I still love Deanna more than life itself. And my daughter will always know that.  That's comforting to me. I stressed the importance of choosing a family who she not only gets along with now, but who she could see herself having a strong relationship with 20 years down the road.  I think the relationship between adoptive parents and birthparents is one of the most important factors in the success of the open adoption and the well-being of the adoptee.  I told her about my experience and how we worked out the arrangements for our open adoption. I showed her pictures and I gave her advice on realistic expectations and coping with her decision. We even talked about starting a local birthmother support group afterwards.

Life is funny.  I felt like I had been called to speak to this woman for a reason.  I felt like I had a true connection with her, knowing that we had been in somewhat similar situations.  And I felt like I had helped her tremendously by simply lending a listening ear.  Who knows, maybe that's all she needed.  I think every time I encounter these types of situations I realize even more just how important it is for me to keep spreading the word about open adoption, to keep sharing my story, and to keep on keeping on.

Please keep this woman and her babe in your thoughts prayers and pray that she makes the right decision for her child.  I think the moment a woman is able to realize that her child's well-being is more important than her own, she moves closer to Christ. Adoption is a selfless act of love and a commitment to giving your child more, and I admire this woman for choosing to give her son more than she could provide. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11 

In other news, I witnessed Deanna's first bee sting (yes, it was absolutely horrific), I had a great time eating fruit kabobs with Don, De, Deanna & friends at their tailgate, and I took my first ride on a motorized cooler scooter with my roommate, Emily, at the NC State football game Saturday. Great times.


Chelsa said...

glad you are making such a positive impact on so many people!!

hope you get your energy back soon!!! i have a feeling i won't be getting mine back for a long while (til at least february) lol! :)

Rachel said...

Hey Amstel!

Thanks so much for your positive commments and stories. I got hit with some "anonymous" comments today that made me cry for a bit. But I love reading your blog and realizing what a beautiful thing adoption - especially open adootion - is, and how honored God must be by it.

Thank you for sharing!

Mommy in Waiting said...

What an amazing opportunity the woman was given to talk to you about such a difficult decision. God has given you the gift of courage to talk so honestly about your own experience with adoption and to influence others, (birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees, and family and friends of those adopting and placing children for adoption), in such a positive way. I pray he continues to bless your life as much as you have blessed others.

Christi said...

You truly give an amazing face and story to open adoption, and show what it can be like. I am certainly that you are having a very positive impact on many more people than you can ever imagine. As we start our journey to complete our family through adoption, your story is always in the back of my mind, and hope to one day to share a special relationship as you do with Don, De & Deanna. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

Rest and feel better. Mono is strange like that. We tested my daughter for it last year thinking it was the cause of a mystery fever/fatigue, and while it wasn't, the tests revealed she had it in the past, and we never knew it. Go figure.

Queen Mama said...

You are a very positive person anyone can see that.

I love the scooter.. ha. CUTE PICTURES!!!!!!

Michelle said...

it is always a quiet reassurance that things happen the way they should when i think about adoption. this woman has to be very strong to do this when her baby is 5 months old.

and p.s. deanna is your little twin!! how cute! :)

Melissa said...

I will keep her and her precious one in my prayers. Keep up the amazing work!!!

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