Sunday, May 20, 2012

Adopting Grace and Hope

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you'll know that there's been something major going on in my home life. Something I have not been at liberty to share. Something that was traumatic, painful, devastating, brutal... how many other words can I come up with? This week saw the finale to this situation, though in truth - there is no true finish.

Through my websites, and this blog, I have shared my life with you - my triumphs and tragedies, my rises and my falls. Not all of them are fitness/nutrition related, but I've chosen to be transparent in the hopes that others might benefit from the lessons I've learned (or, haha, not learned). This is the case, also, in the crisis my family has been experiencing. I will say, though, that criticism will not be accepted in this. I am sharing now because that's who I am, and because I have been given permission to do so based up on the outpouring of love and support I have received from all of you over the years. I do not anticipate harsh words from you, but we all know there are those who love to pop onto blogs and such and spread their personal misery. To those I warn, I will delete you.

So... what's been going on?

Three months ago, our oldest daughter discovered she was pregnant. This was not a planned pregnancy, and there were aspects to her lifestyle that gave us all cause for concern. You and I know how difficult it is to make a lifestyle change - for my daughter, this change literally took place overnight. And she held to it. Though nearly 20 years old, she moved back home and dedicated herself to caring for her changing body and developing baby. She also made one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make. She chose to allow her baby to be adopted.

The day we went for her first OBGYN appointment, the doctor did an ultrasound to determine the age of the baby, and we saw for the first time the beautiful little girl our daughter was carrying. It was incredibly traumatic for all three of us - my daughter, my husband and myself. The doctor was wonderful - gentle and kind. As we pulled ourselves together a nurse came in and whispered to the doctor. There was a couple who were patients of another doctor there, who very much wanted to make a family but were denied the ability to do so themselves.

Our daughter connected with this couple through her attorney, and over the next months, met with them regularly. As the relationship developed, her confidence in them grew, and we were all assured that they would be wonderful parents to this tiny new life. We met together in group, our daughter spent time with them one on one, we all attended the birthing classes, doctor's appointments and ultrasounds. As the birth approached, our daughter remained true to the course she had set, standing tall and facing what would be more painful than words can convey.

Very early Wednesday morning, we checked in to the hospital. Our daughter had a very clear plan on how the birth was to go... who was to be there, who would hold the baby and when, and the doctor and nurses were all aware. Not only were they aware, but they were incredibly supportive. Our birthing nurse, in particular, was a godsend. In the delivery room were my husband and myself and the adoptive parents. Per our daughter's plan, the adoptive mother held the baby first, then our daughter, then the adoptive father, then my husband, then me. It was wonderful. It was painful. It was bittersweet.

After a bit, the birth father joined us, then the rest of our family... my husband's father and grandmother, our other children, our daughter's boyfriend and her best friend. We have the most amazing photos and videos. Including a five generation photo. We have photos of our family, and the baby's adoptive family, and every combination you can imagine. As I went through the photos yesterday, there is one I don't even remember taking, when the adoptive mother first held baby Lauren - the look on her face is amazing - the joy, the surprise, the 'oh-my-god, here she is!'.

The stay in the hospital was dedicated to our family spending time with Lauren - and we all did. We all held her, played with her, fed her, changed her, cried over her, and laughed over her expressions. On Friday, when it came time to leave, our daughter bundled her into their carseat, and we followed them home, where she took the baby from the seat, carried her to her room and laid her in her crib. Today, she signed the papers. It is done.

There is no part of this experience that has been easy. We have agonized, as parents, over the choice our daughter made, and the pain we know it causes her. Both she and the baby's birth father are shattered by this, yet have chosen to allow this sweet baby girl an opportunity of love and grace. Our daughter hand-picked this couple, and they are wonderful. We have no doubts that they love little Lauren, and will make an amazing family. We have no doubts that they will do everything in their power to protect her and allow her to reach her full potential. We are grateful to and for them. And we are so incredibly proud of our daughter - not for the decision she made, but for being a woman who could make such a choice - for the well-being of her daughter.

As I watched my family this week, through this, I was struck by how blessed I am. I am proud of each and every one of our children. They are amazing people.

We are moving forward. Our daughter is recovering from birth, and we're all settling back into a normal we no longer recognize. And we are grieving. But in our grief, we know hope. In that hope, we hold tight to each other as we face a changed future. We will stand strong. We may bow, but we will not break.

Allow me to share with you my beloved granddaughter... Lauren Ann.









23 comments:

  1. I don't see how in the world your daughter could let her go. She is beautiful. Your daughter is awesome for putting that baby first and the couple who will raise her were very blessed to be chosen.

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  2. Congrats on the birth of your granddaughter! She is indeed a beautiful little girl. I wish your family much love and peace at this joyous, yet sad occasion. I applaud your entire family for having enough love and strength to make such a tough decision, but I am sure, as you have said, she has an amazing set of parents who will love and cherish her. My God Bless you all : )

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  3. She is gorgeous. Congrats to you and your family, although bittersweet. It takes someone very strong, unselfish, and wise beyond her years to be dealt a situation such as this and realize this was the best outcome for her baby. Although this is a painful situation for your daughter and family, I'm sure time will tell that it was the right choice for baby Lauren, and for your daughter. God bless you all during this time of healing but grieving, while knowing Lauren is in very good hands.

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  4. I can't imagine. But I do know that little Lauren was the answer to those parent's prayer. Your daughter delivered a blessing of unimaginable magnitude and for that *she* will be blessed in many ways.

    My best thoughts to all of you and to her new family.

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  5. I'm so sorry for the trauma your family is experiencing. Your daughter and the baby's father will have a very difficult road ahead of them for many years. Many prayers to you and your family. Your blog has been a source of inspiration for me for many years.

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  6. That is a truly unselfish act of love.
    I am overcome by the strength that you all have.
    I send you all many prayers for continued strength and hugs to you.

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  7. Your story is so touching. What a beautiful ending/beginning and true testimate to your lovely daughter for being about to make such a tough decision at such a young age. I will pray for you and your family to have comfort from Him.
    She is such a beautiful baby.

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  8. Bittersweet tears in my eyes right now. What a true act of love! And the good and grace that comes and will come for many years for this decision. Many blessings and prayers to all!

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  9. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it. You must be so proud of your daughter. She made a hard decision, stuck with it and helped to create a family.

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  10. Very touching story,thank you so much for sharing,as i am sure this was not an easy journey for your daughter and family! while this moment in time is bitter sweet and difficult,and grieving may continue for quite a while,please find comfort in knowing that your daughter and granddaughter are the answers to someones prayers,and a true miracle of life. your daughter gave the ultimate selfless gift of love,and for that both her and little Lauren's parents will be blessed in more ways than simple words could express!
    It takes a lot of courage and strength to make such a decision,especially being so young!
    My thoughts and prayers are with you,your daughter and your family!
    *hugs*

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  11. Tears are streaming down as I read this. I too was pregnant at a very early age. Although my story ends differently, I feel the love and the hope and the pain that you are all going through right now. Your daughter is an incredible young woman to have made such a selfless decision, a true mothers love. Sweet baby Lauren is absolutely Heaven sent and blessing to every one involved. My heart goes out to you all.

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  12. Such a loving, courageous decision your daughter made! Adoption is difficult, heart wrenching choice and it takes such strength to see it through. You and your daughter are both amazing women and my heart goes out to you. {{{Hugs}}} to your whole family.

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  13. Lauren is beautiful. You and yours are wonderful and amazing. Love and respect to all of you!

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  14. Chelle,

    My prayers and admiration are with you and your family today! You and your daughter are both courageous women. Thank you for sharing, you are in my prayers and thoughts!

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  15. You are an amazing woman, Chelle. One with an inner strength and heart of gold. And you passed those blessings onto your beautiful daughter. It had to be both an amazing and painful day. And it is truly the ultimate act of selflessness to put another's well being before our own. Your daughter is an amazing woman and I have no doubt will be blessed, ten fold in the years to come, for her actions.

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  16. As I sit here reading your story...your daughters story, I weep for you all with love and sadness. This journey is just beginning for many and an ending too but with great thoughts and love I wish you and your family espec. your daughter HOPE to come.

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  17. You and your family are all amazing. God bless all of you.

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  18. This was a brave and wonderful act. What started out as an almost tragedy has turning into a blessing. No one should receive anything but "bravo" for how you have changed the life of a childless couple.

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  19. What an amazing story! God bless all of you!

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  20. Hi Chelle,

    My husband I are parents to the most beautiful (now 6 yrs) little boy in the world thanks to the miracle of adoption. We love his BirthMother so very much and always struggle to find ways to explain our unique relationship. Your daughter is brave and courageous! God Bless to all of you!!!

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  21. Oh, Chelle, what can I say that hasn't already been said. What a brave and selfless decision your daughter made and what a beautiful gift she has given that couple. Your daughter is so lucky to have the support of her family. I know you guys will continue to wrap each other in love and support while you all grieve and move forward. You will always carry Lauren in your hearts. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Sending you a great big hug.

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  22. This is heartbreaking for you all. I just can't imagine. The road ahead is long and hard and someday that little girl may be looking for answers. It was a brave thing your daughter did and braver that you stood by and watched. Bless you and the difficult decision that was made.

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  23. You are an amazing, loving family! Your granddaughter is a beautiful little sweetheart. What your daughter did is one of the most unselfish acts of love a mother can do. Thank you for sharing your story and your vulnerability. Your family is an inspiration of what love can do and the changes it can bring. God bless you!

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