I checked my phone. It was 6:30am. As usual he hopped up perkier than any person should ever be and got dressed. He grabbed his bag, looked at me and said,
“Put on a sweater to cover yourself (referring to my bruises) and don’t tell anyone.” and he walked out of the bedroom and out the door.
If you missed Part 1, The Beginning or Part 2: The Decision you can read those here.
I scrambled. My thoughts and movements were flying a thousand miles a minute. I stopped. I hear his car start. I put my ear to the window and heard his car pull out of the lot and off down the street. You would think relief would set in but the panic was increased. The thought of being caught in the act of fleeing made me stumble over everything, trying to rush and grab my things. I picked up my dress…torn in half. I picked up my coat…ripped to shreds. I grabbed my heels..no way in hell I was putting those on. Where were my keys? I searched everywhere frantically. I had to get out first. I just needed to get to my car and leave. Then, I could figure out what to do next. All I knew is that I couldn’t be here when he got back. Keys. Where are they? I finally found them on the top of the refrigerator. Great, now I can leave.
My legs shook. My body hurt. My hair was a mess and I could hardly keep myself from screaming with each step. I made it to my car and tried to start it, dropping the keys’s twice in the process, all while constantly looking over my shoulder. I was out of the parking lot and driving. But where was I going? What was I going to do?
Mom. Mom will know what to do. Mom didn’t answer. Why wasn’t she answering? Doesn’t she know I need her? She must be asleep. Dad. I’ll try dad. It’s after seven. He will be at work.
“Hey dad, I need you to call mom and tell her to meet me at the hospital.”
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t really talk to you about it right now but I’m hurt. He hurt me and I need someone to meet me at the hospital. Can you call mom?”
I drove another ten minutes to the closest Emergency Department. When I got there I just sat in my car and stared at the entrance.
“Once I go in there, there’s no turning back,” I thought to myself.
I sat in tears for what seemed like hours but it couldn’t have been more than a couple of minutes. I got out of my car and walked into the ED. Barefoot and bruised. My heart was in my stomach waiting for the ultrasound. After is spoke with the police, the doctor ordered the ultrasound. The tech was thorough. I held my breath as she moved the prob around on my stomach.
“The baby is okay. It’s doing just fine.” Thank God. It was okay. That was all that mattered.
By lunch time I received word that Matt had been arrested. A few hours later, he would post bail and be back home in his bed where I had laid, terrified for my life the night before. What a day. Happy Birthday to me.
Over the next few months, I would be making the most difficult decisions on my life. Deciding what was best for this child. I was entrusted with the life of a child. I struggled to even get my son nice things. How am I going to take care of another baby? How would I be able to keep myself safe? These thoughts are ones that would be on replay for the next several months. It had been extremely hard raising my son up until now. His father and I had had a horrible relationship and our interactions were toxic. Why would this be any different, especially after what Matt had done? I wanted better for this baby. Don’t get me wrong, I was super lucky and happy to have my son. But I knew that I was spread thin as it was. How could I make this baby’s life the best it can be? There are plenty of people who could give this baby stability, love, comfort, and happiness. How could I keep it safe? I thought and prayed endlessly over the nights. They were filled with nightmares. Every night I relived what happened so, sleep was hard to come by. I can’t tell you exactly what day I came to the decision of adoption because, honestly, I had been thinking it all along. I knew if this child was going to have its best chance at life, it wouldn’t be me. So, I met with a local adoption agency, put out the word I had made the choice to seek adoption and waited.
You’d be surprised at how people respond when you mention a birth mom’s adoption. No one ever thinks about the bearer of the child. Only the “soon to be” parents. The support I was looking for wasn’t there and I felt extremely harassed. I was getting countless messages and they all said the same thing. I know someone who wants your baby. Can we have your baby? Now stop right there and think about that for a minute. Think about what I had just gone through and the monumental decision I had made. Now, picture a pregnant woman in the first trimester who had been abused and was in survival mode. Now, if that was you and people were basically fighting over the child you were carrying, you would come to know just how messed up those comments were. I had just experienced the most traumatic thing that had ever happened and yet, I’m was being bombarded with requests for my child. I was extremely turned off and numb. I ignored them. I was repulsed. None of these people actually knew me or knew what I was going through and it didn’t seem like they cared either. I had decided it go with the adoption agency because it was the most detached way to proceed.
At some point during all this I got a message from a friend. Her and her husband had been my youth group leaders in middle and high school. She brought up a friend of hers that was looking to adopt. I brushed it off. I told her no and left it at that. Another message came through. It was the family that she had told me about. She sent me a long message about their family and I honestly, don’t remember much of it. But, what I do remember is, she sent a photo of their family. That photo stuck in my head for days. I could not stop thinking about them. I prayed a lot. Asking God for direction. Holding the life of a child in your hands is such a huge weight to bear. I felt like this was them. This was where my baby was meant to be. This baby belonged with them. So, I called up my youth leader and asked to meet with her.
Her and her husband had been best friends in college. They were still close. She adored this family. She answered my numerous questions about the family. I don’t know how I knew what to ask. It was like a job interview. But how can you know what the correct answers are? To what’s best for your child’s life? You can’t. All you can go with is what you know. This family was everything I wanted for my child. They were a family that loved God. They had other children of their own which was super important to me growing up with two sisters. I wanted this baby to have a big family. Their values and lifestyle was ideal. It was what I wished I had to give her.
A few weeks later they made the drive to North Carolina. We met. It was so weird but, yet, it felt so right. It’s so hard to explain but I just knew it was them. They were the family meant to have my baby. After that, we spoke regularly and continued to grow our relationship. I shared my appointment updates, ultrasound pictures, thoughts, worries, and prayers. We bonded over this baby I was carrying. Looking back, I am so glad that we did. That was what solidified it. My decision. I grew to love the adoptive mom. We became fast friends. I admired everything about her (and I still do.) Time went on and we grew closer to my delivery date with baby girl. YES, it was a GIRL! I was nervous. They were nervous. It was almost time. Shortly before I was due, they had just completed their home study and were ready to go! God had provided all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. (If you’re not familiar with adoption, there is a lot of time, money, paperwork, legal work, inspections etc. that have to happen before a child can be adopted. And there it was. All ready and waiting.
At 38 weeks I went in for an appointment and everything was great! I left and went to stroll around Target for a bit and there were those contractions! I phoned the parents and they prepared to drive into town the next morning. Later that evening, I ended up at the hospital but my labor wasn’t progressing so, they sent me home. I stayed with my friend, Mary, that night because I just knew it wouldn’t be long before this baby arrived. At 6:30 the next morning, I woke up in extreme pain. I stood up and made it to the bathroom and sat there for a few minutes. My contractions were a minute apart. I called Mary and told her we needed to go NOW. An hour later, we were in the car and headed to the hospital, which, was 45 minutes away. I called the adoptive parents and my photographer between contractions. They were getting unbearable now and much stronger. My water broke in the car.
We pulled up to the front of the hospital at 8:15. Soon, I was wheeled up to labor and delivery where they attempted to start an IV but this baby was not waiting. Haven Delaney was born at 8:42am on July 24th, 2015. A handful of pushes and that beautiful baby was in my arms. She was perfect and I was so in love with her. We spent two days in the hospital together. Those days were not long enough. The adoptive parents came and visited and it was the most surreal thing. Seeing the way they looked at her made it so certain. This was how it was supposed to be.