Photo: Cristian Baitg
I’ve cried myself to sleep every night for months, wondering if my children will ever forgive me. Wondering if I’ll ever forgive myself. The decision wasn’t easy, and I still try to balance the good vs. bad reasons for making it. I still have time; I won’t give birth for at least another week. It’s always my decision, until the very end.
Until my baby is legally resting in the hands of her new mother and father.
I already have a one-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. It’s them I think of when I get a little kick under my ribs. How will they feel growing up, after learning that they’re the ones I kept, but I gave their little sister to somebody else to raise? Will they resent me?
We were homeless until recently; only assistance from the adoption network changed that situation. We were sleeping in my truck, so the county was threatening to take my babies from me, the walking pieces of my soul. The torment of that thought still wakes me in the early hours of the morning, to check and make sure they are still in their beds.
Having a third child would take us from the first home we’ve had in months. It’s transitional housing, and I’m only allowed two children. A third would get us evicted.
I received no help from family and friends, in fact, my own mother had been the one to make finding work impossible. For two years I was her personal nanny, taking care of her foster children for 12+ hours a day, 6+ days a week. Leaving me with no time to have a regular job, not with the ridiculous hours she already had me keeping.
Their father was in the picture until recently, when I came to my senses and realized that he’s never going to change. The children and I were homeless, and he took no steps to help us. I only receive $132 a month for child support. Yes, sixty-six dollars a child. And even then, he hasn’t paid in almost two months.
When I thought long and hard about what the two angels I already have in my life are going through, the constant change, the inability to settle into a routine, I started thinking about what kind of life that would be for a newborn.
She would also be homeless, and in winter in Minnesota, it is not a good time to be sleeping in a truck. She wouldn’t have the experiences of her older siblings, no rolling around on the floor, or sleeping in a musical swing. No bouncer to keep her content or a crib to keep her safe. Her space would consist of a car seat in the backseat of my truck.
I couldn’t do that to her. I couldn’t do that to my other two children, who already have so little. How could I divide what little we have with a third child?
My family doesn’t see why I’m doing this. There’s obviously something wrong with me to even consider it. How could I let their Grandbaby/niece/cousin go live with somebody else? The poor child will never know her real family, etc.
This is all one-sided of course. Because when I asked back if they were going to help me until I could help myself, they looked away. They didn’t have an answer for how I was supposed to find work without daycare, or daycare without work. They couldn’t let us stay in the spare bedroom for a while. Hypocrites, the lot of them.
I’ve spoken with the adoptive family that I chose, they’re amazing, intelligent people that are very deserving of my little girl. I’ve even met the adoptive mother, a sweet woman. They’ve had misfortune in another sense -- I seem to be ridiculously fertile (in spite of 99.9% effective contraceptives), while she has had miscarriage after miscarriage.
I try to convince myself that God meant for me to carry this baby. A little miracle meant for somebody else. As a teen I was told I couldn’t have children, I always thought I’d have to adopt. Now I’m in the completely opposite situation.
I don’t know how my future will play out, if I can look my children in the eye when this is over. I do know I’m trying, and I’m trying damn hard. I’m in school now to become a nurse, but 4 years is a long time from now. I have finished a Universal Healthcare class and found a job, working as a Home Health Aid, and though the hours aren’t by any means stable it gives me hope for sustaining us.
I don’t know if my family will ever become more supportive of my decision, or if my mother will forever call me a failure.
I don’t know how I’ll cope with sending the newest piece stolen from my soul to live with her new family. I just know it’s what’s best for her, and it’s what’s best for the two I’d already die for.
Adoption isn’t for everybody, but in my case, it is the only option. Give one child to a deserving family, or lose all three to a faulty foster care system run by the county… The hardest decision I’ve ever made, and it’s killing me from the inside out.
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