Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Journey as a birthmom Part 2 ***Guest Blogger

I know I said I would post part 2 of Shantel's journey the other day. Sorry, the holidays are crazy. But here it is!


Two days before I received the message from Sophie, I read an email from my cousin, Merrady. She was good friends with a couple in New York that were hoping to adopt. They had already had two birth mothers change their minds. As painful as that was, they were still positive in their pursuit of finding a child to share their hearts and adventures with. I briefly looked at their profile and sent Merrady an email telling her I was already working with another family. When things fell through with Sophie, I took the rest of the day to relax and figure out how I felt. The next morning, I sent Merrady an email with an update, and looked more at David and Jessica's family profile. They seemed so warm and loving, and I began to get excited to get to know them a little better. I emailed them, and shortly after Jessica and I spoke on the phone. Immediately, I loved her. She was so kind and funny. The sadness I felt from Sophie dissipated, and I knew that I had found the right family to move forward with.David and Jessica were very understanding of my situation with Cory, and they were happy to be there for me as I made plans to leave the relationship. We were all very lucky that Cory willingly signed his relinquishment papers before I left. There were very ugly things that happened between us as I prepared to leave. Even now as I think of him, I choose not to be angry with him. There will always be a special connection between us, and I am grateful for the experiences I had in our relationship. Cory has many great qualities, and I wish him all the best. David and Jessica are always thankful to him, as none of this would have happened without him. He is always in all of our hearts, and I hope that someday he can move past the pain that this has caused him, and have a good relationship with David and Jessica, and his son.Yes, that's right, I said son! Shortly after I began speaking to David and Jessica, we all found out we would be having a boy. I felt early on that I was having a boy. David and Jessica were so excited, and quickly shared the news with their friends and family. My family was also very happy with this news too. There were many emotions throughout my pregnancy that made it difficult to know that adoption was the right choice. Somewhere deep down, I felt that this boy belonged with David and Jessica. I knew that he was brought to me for a reason, that this would be an amazing lesson for me. Never in my life will I again be able to do something this loving, and the knowledge of that is very comforting. When I left Cory, I moved about 3 hours away. I missed my sister, and Mariann as they were physically closest to me. I was sad and lonely at times, but loved being able to be with Brynn. We were together every day again, and that was worth any pain or struggle I had to go through. Shortly after moving, David and Jessica came from New York to visit me in Utah. It was the craziest 2 days ever. We spent time eating yummy meals together, did some shopping where they generously bought me clothes to get me thorough my pregnancy days feeling beautiful, and enjoyed being able to squeeze on each other and actually see each others big smiles. They were able to attend my 20 week appointment with our new doctor, and were there for me through the amniocentesis and genetic counseling session that took us all by surprise. In those 2 days, we were all able to see our sweet boy in ultrasounds several times, hear his heartbeat, and share the love that this amazing life had connected us all with. They went home, which was hard for us all. We knew it would be awhile before we would see each other again, but we stayed in constant contact over the next several months. We shared pictures in emails, and stayed in touch with daily text messages and many phone conversations. Jessica became my best friend. She has been there for me since the first time we spoke. If ever things are hard for me to handle, or if I have good news to share, I know who to call. Not only did I have their support, but also all of their family and friends were cheering us on. Go Team Desi!!!After having a difficult pregnancy with Brynn, I felt so blessed to have a beautiful pregnancy with Desi. There were hard times in the beginning with morning sickness, and the last trimester I had issues with carpal tunnel. But I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew that was the only time I would have with this sweet boy all to myself, and I cherished it. It all seemed to go so quickly.

Once I was settled into my new home, I began attending therapy. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to do that, to have the support of an outside party to help me process the emotions and challenges of placement, as well as past issues and strengthening my parenting skills. When it was time for Desi to make his grand entrance, David and Jessica were able to attend a session with my therapist and she also came and did a session with me in the hospital. I thank her for her support and guidance, she is a very neat lady. She has such great advice for me, and also for David and Jessica in transitioning as new parents and how to have a successful relationship with me in our open adoption.Telling Brynn about the pregnancy was a delicate issue, one which I spent much time pondering what was right for her, and what would help her understand. Knowing that she had no concept of time, I waited for quite awhile to tell her. I didn't want her to spend time worrying about me and what would happen. In October, I snuggle up with her. I told her how I met David and Jessica from my cousin, and that they couldn't have their own babies. They asked mommy to do them a big favor and have a baby for them. I explained how special this was, and how they were wonderful people who really deserved something nice to happen to them. And that mommy was very brave and kind to help them become a family. At first she was sad, since she longed for a sibling. As time passed she became more comfortable for her. My main goal in telling her was to always keep openness and honesty a big part of our relationship. When she is older, we will be able to talk more about Desi. About how he is her half brother. For now she understands him as her spirit brother. We take it one day at at time with her. She loves to see pictures of him and hear cute stories of how he is doing, but sometimes it is too much for her. I can relate, as it has been the same for me at times.December came around so quickly. The pregnancy continued with only a minor speed bump at about 33 weeks. I rested as much as possible and took the best care of my growing body and sweet baby boy. Granted this pregnancy is how I developed my love affair with chocolate and lemonade, but hey, there are worse things I could be putting in my body. Before any of us knew it, David and Jessica along with her parents, Steve and Roz, hopped on an airplane headed for Utah. Merrady was headed here from California to visit for Christmas, deciding to come a few days early to meet our little guy. Since Desi was developing well, we had scheduled an induction for 7am on December 21st. David and Jessica came to spend some time with me and the big belly, spoiling me again and enjoying all the excitement in the air. We met up with Steve, Roz and Merrady for a lovely dinner. It was such a fun night, I really enjoyed spending time with Merrady, who I hadn't seen for too long, and meeting Jessica's parents. They are the sweetest people ever, and I am so blessed to be a part of their family. We all went home, looking forward to seeing each other bright and early for our induction.When we established the date to induce, it was my decision, backed up by David and Jessica's support and the all clear from our doctor. I had feelings like maybe I was forcing his birthday to be that day, and that maybe he was supposed to come when HE wanted to, not when I felt it was best. At 4am, 3 hours before our planned trip to the hospital, my water broke. I took this as a sign that he was in agreement with being born on that day. He was just as glad to meet us as we were to meet him. I woke David and Jessica up, and they drove through a crazy snowstorm to come take me to the hospital. My sister, and dad came up to be with me. Steve and Roz also joined us and waited patiently for things to progress. After 12 hours of labor, Desmond Rhys graced us with his presence. That 7lb 3 oz, 20 1/4 inch boy was placed right on my chest, and I fell so in love. David was able to cut the cord, while Jessica gave me and our sweet boy a big squeeze. No one could stop smiling. I was able to feed him his first bottle, and David and Jessica watched him have his first bath. There were complications with passing the after birth, and I am lucky to have a great doctor and awesome team of nurses taking great care of me. Desi was very healthy, and was so content. We were all able to share in caring for him over the next 48 hours in the hospital. I love thinking about that time I was able to share with him, and loved seeing David and Jessica bond with their son. My mom was able to come visit me the day after he was born, and take pictures and spend time with everyone. My best friend Tyler also came to see me that night, he was my biggest supporter through my pregnancy, and soon he will be my husband. {And that is a whole other story...}

The biggest relief came the day after Desi was born. Instead of having to go to court and sign my relinquishment papers in front of a judge, I was able to have our Utah lawyer and a social worker come to the hospital. David, Jessica, and I gathered with the officials in my room. We were read the documents by the social worker, and I signed all my parental rights over to the people I trust the most with everything I have inside me. This beautiful, intimate ceremony is a memory I will always treasure. No one outside of this adoption circle will ever know what a positive thing it was for all of us. I am so grateful to Merrady for connecting us, and for everyone who has and will continue to support the love that we all share. Such a beautiful, sweet boy came into our lives and has connected us all forever.

After placement, I spent some time at my sister's home. She took care of me when I developed serious infections from the after birth complications. She took me to the hospital for doses of IV antibiotics every 8 hours for 8 days. Not to mention she had a spirited 2 year old and was rather pregnant at the time. She was there for me when I cried and made me laugh in the way only a sister can. She is the definition of an angel. After I felt well enough to return home and back to my life with Brynn, Tyler drove the 6 hour round trip to pick me up. He has been there for me through my saddest and darkest times during my healing process. He has brightened my everyday just with his presence. I can't even tell you how much I love this man. Not only to I love him, but so does Brynn. And everyone else who is blessed to know him. Seriously, this man is amazing. I love open adoption! The relationship I share with Desi and his parents is fantastic. They are so open and honest with me. They will work with whatever I am comfortable with as far as contact goes. They understand when I need space to process my emotions, and are there for me to share in all of our happiness too. I couldn't have wished for a better outcome in all of this. Desi is blessed to be surrounded by love. I am thankful to his parents for making it so important that he will always know about me, my love for him, and the beautiful story of how his life began. Seeing pictures and hearing updates on his progress and life is so blissful. Soon, I hope to be able to travel to New York and visit the Eastern division of Team Desi. I miss that sweet boy, every minute of everyday.

( Shantel & her fiance' Tyler at the 2011 Adoption Walk With Me in Salt Lake City Utah November 12, 2011 Go Team Desi!! )

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