Thursday, February 26, 2009
1) Deanna and I share the same middle name, Marie. 2) I helped Don & De choose the name Deanna Marie. 3) I ravenously ate watermelon and fruit punch (Tahitian Treat) for 9 months...and everyone thought I was turning into a different race. 4) I had severe "cankles." Yes, my calves went straight down into my ankles about 7 months in. Attractive. 5) Because of my cankles, my friends pushed me around in a wheelchair for two months during the sweltering hot summer in North Carolina. Trouble. 6) Big feet = hurt ribs 7) I stand stronger in my belief that abortion should never be an option after going through unplanned pregnancy myself. 8) De and I had a joint baby shower in North Carolina. She got cribs and strollers... I got college stuff (which of course included a string bikini). 9) I laughed through labor...seriously. They gave me medicine that made me giggle and I started telling ghost stories. Doctor Anthony advised that I stop...but I couldn't. 10) My best friend Jacqueline and I shared a bed for the last 3 months of my pregnancy....we had some serious cover fights. And Deanna kicked both of us. 11) 9 = the average number of times I got up to pee at night. My bladder was reduced to the size of a walnut. 12) I wasn't allowed to eat sushi...(high levels of merc). :( 13) De slept in the same hospital room with me for three days after the babe was born. 14) My family did not want to meet De and Don. They only did at the hospital because they had to...and they immediately changed their minds after meeting them. :) 15) My uncle Alan died from a massive heart attack a few weeks before Deanna was born...and that made my decision so much more difficult because I didn't want to cause any more hurt. 16) Deanna is Type-A personality--just like me. She has to have matching hair ties on each side of the handlebars of her bicycle...oh, perfectionism. 17) Deanna knows that I am her "Tummy Mommy." 18) When Angela and I stayed over Deanna's house in Myrtle Beach this past May, Deanna woke me up at 7:00am to give me a Mothers Day Card and a lock of hair from her first haircut. 19) A little bit of distance can be a good thing. 20) Deanna calls me, "Amy Hutton" (with a tiny little southern accent) because her aunt's name is Amy White. 21) I was 99% sure Deanna was going to be a boy--even after the doctor told me otherwise. 22) I gave a speech at Meredith College about open adoption and Don & De brought Deanna in at the end of the speech as a surprise...it was amazing. 23) Deanna absolutely loves watermelon. :) 24) When you walk across the stage at high school graduation in a white gown when you're 7 and a half months pregnant, you might resemble a blimp. FYI. 25) I wouldn't change a thing!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
My older sister, Michelle, age 24, is one of my favorite people in the entire world. She is absolutely amazing. She is one of those people who does the most random stuff--and acts like it's completely normal. I wasn't surprised the day she came home and told us that she was going to be a seasonal police officer in Ocean City for the summer (Oh, okay). And I didn't blink an eye when I mentioned that I felt unsafe walking home at night and she offered me her extra pocket knife since she just upgraded to a switch blade. And the time she tackled a 60-year-old peeping tom outside my aunt's window in South Carolina, put him in a headlock, and handcuffed him in the driveway? Normal. Somehow, someway, mother nnature decided that she liked Michelle so much that Deanna ended up favoring, not me, but Michelle. In fact, she resembles Michelle so much that it's scary. I'm pretty sure that I was the one who craved watermelon and Hawaiian Punch (Tahitian Treat) for 9 months and then went through labor. Yeah, almost positive. But Michelle doesn't mind taking credit for the Hutton chin/nose/cheekbones. Those are a rare find, and I sure wasn't a part of that "genetic miracle. " Michelle gave this sweatshirt to Deanna on her 3rd birthday. Deanna said that she couldn't wait to grow up and be a "life garden!" Michelle was skeptical when I first told her about my decision to place Deanna in an open adoption. 'What if they never let you see her again? How can you trust these people?" I didn't really have an answer except to say, "you just have to meet them." As soon as she did, she knew what I meant. I spent the duration of the pregnancy getting to know Deanna's parents so that we could develop a strong relationship build on trust and communication. This would have never worked if we had doubts or concerns. Michelle eventually changed her mind after meeting De and Don. One of my biggest fears was upsetting my family with my decision. But when I talk to Michelle about it today, I know that she has accepted my decision and she loves Deanna and her new family as if they were her own. And THAT means the world to me...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
So I was looking through my old pictures today, and I came across this ancient artifact. Wow. I was only 18 years old and Deanna was just a few months old (and she looked like a chubby little martian). It was taken at De and Don's (her adoptive parents) house when they lived in Raleigh. I always loved visiting Deanna, but it was so difficult. Sometimes I wondered whether seeing her was better for me...or worse. I can't help thinking about how different a person I was when this picture was taken. I was an insecure 18-year-old college freshman attending a school that I hated. I had no close friends, I was depressed, I was far away from my family, and I had just given away a part of myself.
It's funny how things work out. De called me a few days ago to say, "Happy Anniversary!" I realized that it had been exactly 4 years ago on February 12, 2005 that we had met. I can't believe it has been that long. They are such great Christian parents, and I have learned so much about how I want to raise my own kids because of them. A while back, I jokingly told them that they should adopt a baby brother for Deanna. They laughed and said, "Well get started!" Very funny. :)
All jokes aside, I don't see how I could ever possibly create something more perfect than Deanna Marie. She is absolutely amazing. And I bet that she would probably torture a younger sibling in the same way that she tortures her 153 pound Great Dane, Hank. She bit his tail once and got a mouth full of fur. The day her parents brought her home from the hospital, they worried about how Hank would react to a new baby. They watched in amazement as Hank ran five circles around the large floor rug in Deanna's bedroom and settled snugly on a spot right below her crib, as if he was protecting her. Call me crazy, but I felt so much more at ease knowing that I had THREE amazing people--Don, De, and Hank (yeah, he's a person too)--to look after my little girl. It has never been easy, but it has always been worth it...
Friday, February 20, 2009
"Welcome welcome welcome welcome welcome!" -Michael from The Office Seriously, welcome. Blogging is something I have always wanted to do, but I never had the motivation or energy to do it until now. Amstel Life is going to be a work in progress, but I think it has the potential to do great things. I want to show people that open adoption is a real choice and that it can be a very successful option for anyone dealing with a crisis pregnancy situation.
So who am I? I'm Amstel (I actually don't like the beer). Amstel was a nickname I acquired during my college years (which are dwindling away as I type) when I began introducing myself as "Amstel" to strangers at parties, gatherings, what have you, simply to get a reaction. Some people believed me, and some did not...but the reaction was the best part of the recreational lie. It raised a lot of eyebrows...and I loved it. Speaking of raising eyebrows, I've done that a lot during the past five years of my life. I managed to be crowned homecoming queen, voted swim team captain, awarded powder puff mvp (over 100 rushing yards, byaaaa!), and get pregnant all in the same week during senior year of high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That's nearly impossible, and I'm pretty sure that it has never been done before. In June of 2005, after graduation and more than enough public humiliation, I moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to place my daughter in an open adoption with a couple who could not have children. When I placed Deanna with her family four years ago, I started over. I was no longer a humiliated unwed mother, but a college freshman who had a second chance to do all of the the things that an 18-year-old was supposed to be doing.I'm now a 22-year-old senior at NC State University, and I'm loving every second of it. I'm president of a student organization on campus, Real Choices, which is a group that advocates resources for pregnant, parenting, and post-abortive women on campus and in the community. I also serve as Arch Regent of The Golden Chain Society, an honor society for the top twelve rising seniors at NC State University. I work 20 hours a week as a Public Relations Representative for a neurologist, intern with the news desk at a local television station, teach Sunday School to a class of wonderful/rowdy/hilarious 8th graders, and I get to visit my beautiful 3 and a half year old daughter anytime that I want to. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism, but I did everything in my power to immerse myself in activities to prove that I made the right decision. I never really had the opportunity to share my experience with others. I'm finally ready to be honest about unplanned pregnancy, open adoption, and the loss of my daughter. A co-worker of mine told me about a new book that asks “famous people” to summarize their lives in just 6 words. The book: Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure by Rachel Fershleiser (Editor), Larry Smith (Editor). I struggled to capture the 22 years of my crazy life into just 6 words...then it came to me: "My failure was my greatest success"