I was asked to type up my adoption story by Ashley Mitchell. The amazing lady who is responsible for BIB Blessings In a Basket. Here goes nothing...
My life has been nothing short of a very extreme, loopy, up and down roller coaster ride. Over the past six years I have battled with substance abuse, an abusive husband, divorce, single parenting my wonderful 3 year old son Kade Barclay Koutz, the adoption of my beautiful little girl Azlyn Kate McEnaney (born 1/16/09), and also the adoption of my baby boy Liam James McEnaney (born 10/19/10).
My son Kade was born 3/29/07, he was 2 months early and weighed 4lbs 13oz. All anyone talked to me about was adoption. To tell you the truth I did not want to hear anything about it. When I held Kade for the first time, I promised him that no mater what I would do whatever it took to take the best care of him that I could, and be the best Mommy to him as possible. I went through my first pregnancy completely alone. Not even my husband at my side. I delivered him completely alone with only my friend Tawna to offer me support. My family did not support my choice in keeping him, so they were not around. My family eventually came around, but did not drop the possibility of placing him until the age of 3.5. (don't think my family is awful. They are wonderful, they just knew what was better for me than I did at the time.)
My husband was finally back in the picture. He seemed to be a better person then before, so we tried being "us" again. I got pregnant with our daughter quickly. I began pre-term labor at 24 weeks and had do be hospitalised and put on magnesium to stop Azlyn from coming. Then I was sent home with lots of labor stopping medications and on strict bed rest, with 3 Doctors appointments a week. My Mom, had to move in with me to help take care of Kade and myself until I delivered her.
At 6 months, Charlie flipped a switch inside of himself and became abusive once again. This time while I was pregnant with his daughter. The next day I filed for divorce, and a few days after that had this overwhelming feeling that I should place Azlyn for adoption. (Not one person had mentioned adoption my entire pregnancy.) It was around midnight when I reached the decision
to place her. I called my sister Merri right away, and asked her to contact her friend Dara who used to work with her here in AZ in Labor and Delivery. (Merri mentioned Dara to me often when I was pregnant with Kade, telling me I should consider them to adopt him.)
I knew that if I called my entire family in my moment of clarity, than I would actually go through with it. My sister contacted Dara a few days later to ask her if they were interested in adoption, since they had been trying for years to have a baby with no success. They were not certified to adopt, but hurried to start and complete the process. It was so ironic... They already had airplane tickets to fly from Utah to Arizona a few days later, to visit their family that lives here. We got to meet, and I knew instantly that they were meant to be her parents. I fought it, and did not like the answers I kept receiving, but I followed through with them. It honestly was so comfortable with them, like I have always known them.
In one month exactly from the day they got the call from my sister, they were certified to adopt. and boy was it a good thing. It was January 15th, the day they certified, my Husbands birthday, and 4 weeks until my due date. Wouldn't you know I go into labor. I refused to push and have her on his birthday. I was so relieved when I had her January 16th. It went beautifully. Dara and Jim arrived shortly after she was born, and we spent most of the time in the hospital together.
It was time to leave the hospital, and I completely fell apart. (FYI any mom's about to place... I did not sleep for 7 days strait after delivering her.) I was completely out of it. We did not leave the hospital together, but we were in close contact, and I got to see them a few times before they headed back home.
Well time went by, and I really never recovered from the pain of my divorce, nor the placement of Azlyn. I just felt empty. I thought I could do all of this myself, no counseling, and no talking about it. I pulled away from everyone. 13 months after Azlyn was born I found myself pregnant again, this time with a little boy. I was lonely, did not have the spirit with me and really wanted to Keep him. At 20 weeks, I was restless and stressed. I had told my entire family about the pregnancy, however I had not told Dara and Jim (my adoptive couple). I still did not know if I was going to parent or place. I was more nervous to tell Dara about this pregnancy than anyone in the world. I did not want to hurt her, or disappoint her. I finally got the nerve up to call her, with ALL of my sisters cheering me on in the background (at Amazing Jake's of all places, a kids play world). They all reassure me that Dara would not hate me. So I did it, I called her and burst into tears. I told her I just wanted her to know the circumstances... That I was not sure about placement yet, but I asked her to pray about like I was, and discuss it with Jim to see if it was even a possibility. She told me how much she loved me, and that no matter what I chose she would not be disappointed or hate me. Whew... I had done the hardest part so far!
Wouldn't ya know it. Dara and Azlyn had plans to come to Arizona again, before I had even told them. So they immediately were down here again just like when I met them for the first time to discuss them adopting Azlyn. I had no clue if her and Jim were even considering adopting again, or if they were even willing to adopt this baby from me. We just sat and talked for hours, and visited just like we always did. We never really even talked about me being pregnant. Then at the very end I quietly asked her if they even wanted a second child, and so soon. She responded that they had discussed it, and if I wanted to place him, they would love to be his parents. I had no intentions of giving her an answer during this visit, because I had not thought about placing him or keeping him much at all. I burst into tears, and said he is meant to be with you, Jim, and Azlyn. If I don't ask you now to adopt him, I know I never will. I was sobbing, and Dara and my sister Merri both just held me. We talked for hours after that too, while I cried almost the entire time. (I also had no idea her family was waiting out in the driveway for the 2 or 3 hours we were talking about this part.) I asked Dara if they had thought of any names, and she told me they had picked Liam James, which made my heart start doing flips.... A few days before, I had named him, and he was going to be Linken John. He is still an LJ. I love it!!!
I began pre-term labor with Liam at 23 weeks, but only had to be on modified bed rest. With numerous trips to triage to get shots of terb. to slow my contractions. Dara came down a few weeks early this time to be here for the delivery (with my track record we had no idea when to expect Liam's arrival). Three weeks before my due date of November 5th he was born. Oct. 19,2010 weighing 6lbs 14oz. He was perfect! Dara was not only in the delivery room, but my doctor allowed her to deliver Liam herself. It was amazing having Dara lay Liam on my chest!
This time when leaving the hospital we kept it low key. Dara, Liam, and I all left together and went to my sisters house and spent the entire day together (visiting, talking, playing with all of our kids, and eating Thai food). We had numerous slumber parties where Dara allowed me to have Liam with me all night each time. It was so nice, and I would not change the way we did any of it. My son Kade knows Azlyn and Liam as his brother and sister, and they all love being around each other. We talk on the phone often, have visits often, and Skype also. They also send me monthly updates of the kids with tons of pictures. They have become a part of my family.
Dara and I have never been threatened by each other because we both know our rolls with these beautiful angel babies. We have mutual love for each other and these children, which is all a part of why we can be so close. It's all about communication and respect! There is a quote I love: "He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood." ~desha wood
My life is finally on the right track. I am going through the temple for my first time March 26,2011 and this time will also get to be inside the temple with Dara, Jim, Azlyn, and Liam watching him get sealed to his family for time and all eternity. Just one of the many reasons I placed Azlyn and Liam in the first place.
I have never regretted my decision to place Azlyn and Liam. It was not always easy, but it has always been worth it. Now I am also able to keep that promise I made to Kade the first time I held him, that I would always do my best to take care of him the way he deserves. Azlyn and Liam have the most wonderful parents I have ever met, and I am proud that I have lived in such a way that I got them to where they belong. I am sure we all knew up in heaven what the plans were going to be, and I know I agreed to get them to their family. They made it! I have faith that one day Kade and I will have that too.