When you make the decision to adopt, for some, it takes time to grieve the loss of not being able to conceive a biological child. I felt that way. I would find myself looking in the mirror wondering what it would have been like to have a child look like me and have my blonde hair and funny looking feet. Or my husbands long toes and round almond shaped eyes. I knew adoption was a light at the end of tunnel, but i still had to let myself work through the change. It took years to go through the IVF process and i couldn't just wake up one morning and say alright I'm all done with that, whats next??
My son was born on a major
holiday so he wasn't released from the hospital until the end of the
weekend. We were told to be at the agency at 11am to do paperwork and that our little boy would arrive about 1pm.
The moment I have been waiting was finally here and I felt sick to my
stomach. Was I good enough? Can I actually do this? You know what
maybe I should travel around the world instead. Maybe we can be a
couple that is childless. Maybe I should go back to the idea of getting
cats and dogs. They are much easier to take care of. No!!! I knew
this is what we worked for and I was going to do this!
As I sat
in the conference room, I felt even worse. This was the same room that
we met with L's birthmother only 3 months before. I couldn't believe
this was happening. I signed all the paperwork and wrote the check.
Yes, the check. What an odd way of doing things. I hand a social
worker some forms, a check and then I get a baby?? Sorry that sounds
terrible but I was just not how I pictured this moment. I pictured us
being in a hospital and some nurse hands me a baby in a white room that
smelled like alcohol cleaner.
We were finally handed our son at 2:40pm.
He was beautiful and chunky and wow all that hair!! Once the social
worker handed him to me, she said we could leave! Leave? Ummmm did
this baby have an instruction booklet that came with him?? Is she
seriously letting me take care of this child? Diapers?? Wipes?
Bottles? How, when, how much? Eeeek!
The first few weeks of being
a mom were terrible. He wouldn't get on a sleep schedule at all. He
was up every 45 minutes. I was crying and exhausted and so not happy.
It was NOT what I thought motherhood would be like. But in the off
moments, I would look into this beautiful little boys eyes and think he
needs me. He is relying on me to help him when he is hungry, when he is
sick, when is sad. He needs love and I sure as heck needed him. After
the first 6 months it got better. I fell into the best routine I could
and felt more at ease with what I was doing.
When L turned one he
started to try and walk. He would use my finger to help balance
himself as he wobbled across our floor. He had the cutest walk - he
would almost look like Frankenstein and even had his head tilted a bit
to the side. At 13 months he was off on his own! Still walking like
Frankenstein but no finger needed. I was getting better at this mom
thing and enjoying the fact I could be home every day with my son! WOW I
had a son!
One morning in March of 2011, I got up at 8am
and headed downstairs to start the coffee, walking by the babies room
to make sure he was still asleep, which he was. My mom who had slept
over that night got up from the sofa and joined me for breakfast. About
L started to make some noise and Rick went to get him. Like usual he
picked him up from the crib and just walked straight downstairs. When
he got the first floor Rick put him down so he could go play and L just
fell down. So Rick picked him back up and tried to stand him up. L fell
again. Now Rick was concerned! He looked at me and said can you see
this Chemene? He placed L down and asked him to try and walk to mommy. L
just fell literally flat on his face. He couldn't walk! What was
happening? Was he having a seizure we couldn't see? Was he having a
stroke? We decided to race him over the pediatricians office since that
was closer than the hospital. We strapped him in the car seat and I
hit the gas like I have never hit it before. Police don't count when
your child is hurt. On the 3 minute drive to the doctor, Rick began to
scream at L saying are you ok honey? OMG what is happening? I looked
into the rear view mirror and saw my beautiful little baby's body
contorting into a horrible curve! In the seat!! When we finally got
him out he was stuck in a horrible position and he couldn't move. We
raced him into the doctors office and she came running into the waiting
room to help. His body was completely contorted and he was almost
catatonic. She called immediately for an ambulance and rushed us to the
For the next 10 months this event would happen every 6
weeks. And remember that cute little walk and that wonderful head tilt
- well he would walk like that for 10 days and then wake up the next
morning looking like he was having a stroke. So it wasn't so cute
anymore. We went to hospital 3 times, staying for at least 2-3 days
each time. 12 doctors! 3 hospitals! We tried everything to help him.
The last straw was on my 40th birthday we were in the hospital again and
the doctors basically told us to go home! That's it? Go home? They
gave is no ideas of what to do next. I was livid. I was a mom and this
was my son! I wasn't about to JUST go home.
That night Rick and
I sat on the two computers we had and searched and searched. Finally
we came up with an idea of what it could be but it was so rare and not
many doctors would have heard of it. Only 200 cases were even logged.
One doctor in Boston did a paper on it and as I read the paper over and
over, I knew what we would have to do.
On October 23, 2011 we
met with this neurologist in Boston that specialized in this disorder.
After 5 minutes in the room with L, he said he had a classic case of
what was called Benign Paroxysmal Torticollis. It's a migraine seizure
disorder. But the bad news was there is no cure! We were thankful that
we knew what it was but now what? Watch my son have these seizures
every 6 weeks. I know many of my friends would say that my hard work
and persistence helped me help my son but I have to say that I got a
little lucky as well. Who would have thought that I would I start to
realize through daily living that certain foods made him feel worse than
other foods. And that would lead me to the idea of trying out a diet.
So after reading more and more on what they call migraine triggers, I
decided to try a migraine free diet. And holy moly it worked! No
kidding it really stopped the seizures, the tilts, the Frankenstein
walking. All gone!! A little luck on my side!
Going through the
adoption process you prepare for as much as you can think of. You dream
of what it will be like to be a mother or father. But I can tell you
there is nothing in the world that can prepare you for when your child
is sick. You will do anything in your power to help your child.
have been asked so many times over the last 5 years from those who have
never gone through the process of adoption, if I had any bonding
issues with L or did I think I would be able to love a child that is not
biological? When that precious creature was placed in my arms, he was
mine and mine to protect. He was my boy and no doctor, no hospital was
going to abandon him and no horrible disorder was going to take over his
body. I get kinda of upset knowing that is a question I am asked but I
take it as I am now here to educate others on a beautiful and wonder
journey that I wouldn't change for the world!
L's disorder left
him with some delays that was are working on in a special school. He is
smart and funny and he made me a mommy! And nothing will ever take
that away. I might complain that he didn't sleep for 4 years, but he is
mine to complain about. Just like my husband, I complain about him a
lot more but I still keep him around! Ha!
Support Group Leader