Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, Thailand. I took the pregnancy test. But before I took the test, as I said, I already knew I was pregnant. I'm not sure how I knew, maybe it was that all I wanted to eat was ice cream, watermellon, and Italian food. But I knew for about a week that I was pregnant before I took the test, and while I was in communication with plenty of people over e-mail (including Bill), I didn't want to say anything to him until after I had tangible proof. During that time though, I had a lot of time to think about what I was going to do. What were my options? I could keep the baby, but where? Where would I live? I already had a job in Alaska for the summer as a restaurant manager, with my room and board taken care of, which was a great opportunity to save all of my salary. Even though the job was only through the summer, I'd be nuts to change those plans, but I certainly wasn't planning on staying in Alaska to have a baby! By the time I was through with my Alaska gig, I'd be going into my third trimester, which would give me about 3 months to find a job with insurance (yep- no insurance. And can you tell me who would hire a 7 month pregnant woman? In the restaurant business?), and a house or somewhere to live, not to mention things to put in the house like a bed, or a sofa would be nice. Oh, and then there's the crib, high chair, bibs, clothes, and of course diapers galore, all in 3 months time! Would I have to move in with one of my parents? Become a 33 year old single mom who has to mooch off of her parents? The thought didn't exactly make me happy, to say the least. I couldn't even imagine staying in one place for longer than 6 months at a time.
Ok, so what about other options? Well, there is a way to make this all go away and no one would ever know about it... but that option lasted all of about one second for me. I would rather have the scars of stretchmarks than the emotional scars that an abortion would surely leave me with. Besides, I already loved this baby. There is still a chance I could miscarry... at that thought I instinctively clutched my stomach and said "No! You just stay put for a while and be safe and healthy, and I'll take care of you the best I can." I didn't want to miscarry, I didn't want this baby to just go away. I had already started talking and singing to him, wondering what he was going to look like, wondering about his future, thinking about holding him in my arms. Well, there's also the option of adoption. But could I really go through with something like that? Could I go through a whole pregnancy, knowing that I already love this child and will love him more every day as he grows inside of me, and then give him away? For him to be out of my life forever? Nope, can't do it. Now that I've created him, there's no way he's getting out of my life! I didn't know much about the specifics of adoption, but I had always been a fan and even thought that maybe some day if I ever met a person I wanted to have a family with, that I might rather adopt a child who needs a home than have my own child. Now that's a twist of fate, isn't it? All I knew was that I wasn't in a position to raise this child, but if I chose adoption, I would have to somehow find people who are crazy enough to let me be a part of this childs life, and their family, for the rest of my life. Essentially, they couldn't just adopt my baby, but they would have to consider me a part of the family as well. Who would be crazy enough to do that? A stable, two parent home is what my ideal would be for my child, but if that means that I have to be excluded, than I'll just have to find a way to make it work myself.
The research began. Every chance I got I would get on the internet to find out what adoption entailed, and started looking at prospective couples. I found a website, parentprofiles.com, and read some profiles and contacted some who seemed interesting, as well as some adoption agencies. I had already done this when I took the pregnancy test and then, after eating a large pizza by myself, was sitting at the computer trying to find the words to say to Bill. After typing and deleting three different times, I finally sent this message: "I'm pregnant. I've already contacted some adoption agencies, and I haven't told anyone else yet, not even Renee." That was it. Looking back at it now I suppose there were other ways to say it that would have eased his mind and heart a little, but nothing at the time seemed right. That was on May 9th, a day Bill says he'll never forget. The day before mothers day.
Bill was immediately supportive- and totally freaked out. In fact, the first sentence of his response was "Ok, I'm totally freaking out." But then he asked me if I needed anything, if there was anything he could do for me. He was in Utah spending time with his family and I was in Thailand, so there wasn't really anything I needed him to do. The only thing I needed from him was his response, and his support. The next day I met up with Renee again on another island where we had been planning to celebrate her birthday big time with a full moon party on the beach. I was hesitant to tell her only because it was her birthday and I didn't want to steal her thunder, but she was so worried about me that I had some kind of parasite that wouldn't go away, so I told her to ease her mind. She gave me a big hug and told me that she was there for me in any way that she could be.
I finally left Thailand a few days after that, and went straight to Alaska to begin my new job for the summer. I told my boss and my two assistant managers about it, so they would know why I was looking so green and why I might have to suddenly excuse myself from the room to either eat or throw up. About two weeks later I was able to see a doctor for the first time, a small town general practitioner who's office was in the same building as the fire department and the city hall. I knew he was certainly no specialist, but he'd have to do since the next nearest hospital was 2 hours away and I didn't even have a car. After all of my restaurant employees arrived and had been there for a few weeks, I finally told them as well, just as I was entering into my second trimester. I had worked with some of them the previous summer, so they were quite suprised to say the least. But even more than suprised, they were supportive too, and became a big source of support for me over the summer by always asking how I'm feeling, if I need anything, bringing food to me when I was in the office, and not letting me carry any large loads. Of course I told my family before I told my employees, but that's a whole different subject that I might go more into depth at a later time.
By then Bill and I had established regular e-mail communication. He had started his summer job as a private chef on a ranch in Colorado, and he didn't have cell phone reception so we had to stick with e-mail. We were both in agreement by then that adoption would be the best way to go, so I continued to pursue it. I had told him that I was going to look for someone who would let me continue to be a part of our child's life, and that I didn't want to exclude him from any part of this process if he didn't want to be excluded from it. I wanted him to be as involved as he could be, but at the same time I didn't want to pressure him into anything. I knew he was supportive of me, but I got the feeling that his thoughts and feelings were a big wreck when it came to this baby, and I could understand that.
While I was looking for the perfect parents for our baby, I came across several different couples who caught my attention. I contacted them and was honest from the very beginning, and laid out what kind of people I'm looking for, what kind of enviornment I want for my child, and that I want someone who will be willing to consider me an extended member of their family. Some people were very uncomfortable with the idea of such openness, and some didn't respond to me at all. But I found that there are actually several couples who are willing to consider such an open adoption, and that there are many, many wonderful people out there who are wanting to adopt. How could I choose between them all? Then I came across Doug and Maura's page. He was a potter and computer guy, she was a child therapist. They lived out in the woods in North Carolina where Doug had his own pottery studio. With my background being in social work (that's what I got my degree in) and pottery (I started on a masters degree in studio ceramics before I ran out of money ), I loved them immediately! I couldn't wait to talk to them, so I sent them an introductory e-mail about me and my situation, and was extatic when they responded so quickly. We communicated a little more over e-mail, and then set up a phone conversation. I can't remember how long we talked on the phone, but I do remember that the only reason we stopped was because I had to let them go so I could get something to eat. I felt such a strong connection to them, and they seemed to be everything I was looking for. Following e-mails and phone conversations only added to that feeling, and finally I was ready to tell them that they were my choice for my baby's parents. I had already sent Bill copies of our e-mail communication and told him all about them, and that I was ready to tell them about my decision. I wanted his imput in the matter, but he said that he was behind whatever I decided and they seemed like good people.
Upon hearing the news, Doug and Maura were so excited, and planned a trip to come meet me in Alaska. Their sudden vacation was a blast for them, and for me it just confirmed every good and postitive feeling I had about them. They were so easy to talk to, were very open minded, down to earth, positive people. We asked each other all sorts of questions about our families and past experiences, as well as talked about plans for the future. And when I was able to schedule an ultrasound in Fairbanks, they extended their stay another day so they could drive me up there. They were in the room with me when we found out I was having a boy- they were going to have a son!