The Risk of Adoption

Many people have expressed their outrage and disbelief at Kailee and Peter’s actions. LOTS of you have asked that we share Kailee and Peter’s information on my blog so that people will be protected from them in the future (which I plan to do in an upcoming post.) Others have asked what kind of legal action we can take against them for their adoption fraud or breech of contract or whatever you want to call it. Theft with malicious intent is what I would call it. Some of you have suggested that we show up at her door and tell her exactly what we think of her. Another suggestion, since we always ordered pizza for her, was to have a pizza delivered to her door with a special message (that Josh strongly advised me not to share on my blog) spelled out in pepperoni (especially meaningful since she is a vegetarian.) Some of you have suggested that we get a good lawyer or go with an agency next time. The truth is, we have had a good lawyer this whole time and even if we had stuck with the agency, Kailee could have done the same thing to us. All of the bills and expenses we paid for her and her family were legal in Alabama, as long as we knew they were considered “charity” and were not given in exchange for the baby. We never gave her cash and we were careful to only pay for the things we were supposed to pay for a birth mother. There are lots of laws in place to protect the birth parents, but not many to protect the adoptive parents. We knew the risk. Many people, including our lawyer, told us over and over again that she could change her mind in the end and choose to parent the baby. We were fine with that risk and we wanted Kailee to make the choice she felt comfortable with. It was glaringly obvious to us, though, from the beginning, that she would not parent this baby. I never doubted that she would place this baby for adoption. Not once did anyone warn us that she could end up placing the baby with another couple right at the end. It never crossed our minds that she would be texting me one day and literally giving birth the next day and handing Scarlet/Ava over to someone else. We were not prepared for her to just completely cut off contact with us and leave us hanging.

Any time anyone decides that they want to be a parent, they put themselves at great risk, whether it is a biological baby or an adopted baby that they are trying for. We knew that we were putting ourselves at risk when we decided to pursue adoption. I still think she was worth it. I feel good that we gave her a chance and we gave Kailee a chance to place her baby in an amazing family. There are no legal actions we can take against Kailee and Peter since we can’t PROVE that they were getting money from anyone else while we were paying all of their bills and living expenses. There are no contracts signed in an adoption agreement before the baby is born (unless the birth parents say they want to sign the adoption papers ahead of time in front of a judge, which they didn’t.) Even if Kailee and Peter had signed the adoption papers before she was born, they had up to five days after the birth to change their minds. They weren’t bound to us by the law just because we were paying their bills. The thing they were NOT allowed to do was lead on several families at the same time and promise them all that they could adopt the baby while receiving money or gifts from them.

Even if we could sue Kailee and Peter, they have no money to give us. I know we all want to see them pay for what they have done. It is natural to want justice, but trust me when I say that their life and the guilt that they have to live with is punishment enough. They live in poverty and they struggle mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, relationally, the list goes on and on. Can you imagine what a depressing life you would have to have to spend so much time and energy deceiving other people and using your own child to make money instead of just getting a job? It truly is a sad existence. More than anger, disbelief or disgust, the main feeling I have towards Kailee is pity.

I don’t want this horrible story to deter anyone from adoption. I know there are even worse horror stories than ours when it comes to adoption, but there are so many more beautiful adoption stories that end with joy. All you can do is your best, which is what we did, and understand that opening yourself up to a child also opens you up to risk. And aren’t these babies worth it? I think so.

 

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Square One

We have been so disheartened and discouraged lately, it is hard to believe we are back at square one. I still can’t believe all of the work we did and all of the money saved and donated did not end in our rainbow baby. Four times in the past two years we have opened our hearts to another baby and every time we have been bitterly disappointed. It is hard for me not to compare my story with other people’s stories. Most of theirs seem to end with a live baby. I wish that God could have put me on a forward moving track like all of the other baby loss moms. A track that leads to rainbow babies and healing and joy after the loss. Instead, it seems like He has us on this nightmare circle track that goes around and around with loss, loss and more loss. I am afraid of what He has waiting for me around the next turn. I feel skittish and nervous when I ask Him what He wants us to do next. I hate that. I wish I could hear Him clearly and know exactly what He wants us to do and then go do it with courage.

We were so close to our rainbow baby. I was so close to that healing feeling of a warm body nestled on my chest. Josh has recurring nightmares of working and working to build a high wall and right when he is about to put the final brick in the wall, someone comes and smashes it to pieces, the rubble falling all around his feet. I feel the same way, except now we are left with no more bricks and no way to build the wall up again. Kailee took them all. We feel incredibly low and defeated but we are not giving up. We are trying to decide what to do next in our family building journey. Our options are:

  • stop with our two on earth
  • become foster parents
  • try again naturally with a 50% chance of stillbirth
  • IVF with PGD
  • give adoption another try
  • use a sperm donor
  • try embryo adoption

How I wish I could just get pregnant again and have another baby. Each one of these options comes with a hefty price, some financial and some emotional. Each one comes with some amount of risk. We have looked at all of them extensively and we are praying a lot. Honestly though, right now we don’t have much confidence in our ability to hear what God is telling us since it seems like He leads us into disaster again and again. The IVF with PGD could bring us a healthy, biological baby, but it would end up being at least $30,000, so that is not an option for us. We don’t feel good about the sperm donor idea and we aren’t even sure if they could track down the sperm donor to test him for kell (kell positive blood type=stillbirth, kell negative blood type =normal pregnancy.) I don’t think we are willing to try adoption again since a birth mother could do the same thing to us again legally and there isn’t anything we can do to prevent it. Kailee has made it hard for us to ever trust another birth mother again. Thinking about it makes me feel sick. I don’t think I would be able to support a birth mother well through her pregnancy and birth. I would always be suspicious.

So, what we’re left with is stopping with our two, trying again naturally with a 50% chance of stillbirth, becoming foster parents or trying embryo adoption. Right now we are leaning towards embryo adoption, since we still have a home study and family profile that could be salvaged. I spoke with a woman from the Nightlight adoption agency last week. She was so kind and she prayed with me over the phone. She said it would be easy to test the genetic parents for kell and that Josh and I sounded like good candidates for embryo adoption. I could have a normal pregnancy and be pregnant with my adopted child. How amazing does that sound? The only problem is that it would cost around $11,000 (which we don’t have.) I don’t have the heart to fundraise or ask anyone to donate since I still feel tremendously guilty about losing everyone’s money on our “adoption.” We will probably try to save up the money to try embryo adoption in the future. In the meantime, we are considering foster care. It is the one option we have never even looked into before now since it comes with such a high emotional risk. I don’t know how I could love and take care of a baby and then give her back, especially after losing Lucy. But lately we have been drawn to the idea. We have EVERYTHING we need for a baby- a complete nursery, baby girl and baby boy clothes (I still have all of Liam and Asher’s clothes) carseats, a van, two stable parents and so much love to give. It wouldn’t cost us anything except courage. A foster baby could end up being our adopted baby, but we would first have to do everything possible to reunify that baby with the birth parents. We are still praying about what to do.

This morning I was so sad and disheartened and completely overwhelmed with my life so I decided to run to God with my fears and questions (even though part of me wanted to just run away from Him.) I read Isaiah 41:10. If there ever was one verse for my life it is this one. God has brought it back to me again and again during scary times in my life. I remember reading this verse over and over when I was lost for three days in Tokyo and Osaka (long, ridiculous story.) I had this verse written on a notecard with me when I was laboring and giving birth to all three of my children. It has strengthened and encouraged me so much.

Do not be afraid for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I have always focused on the “do not be afraid” part because I am usually in the middle of being afraid of something. Today I noticed “do not be dismayed for I am your God.” Dismayed is EXACTLY how I have been feeling.

DISMAY– To break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt. To deprive a person of courage or the power to act as a result of fear or anxiety. A sense of helplessness caused by an awareness of the enormity of something.

Even though we have an underlying peace, we are feeling more and more dismayed with our situation as we try to decide what is next. God tells me not to be dismayed because He is my God. We are trusting Him to strengthen us and help us yet again while we deal with this new loss and all of the hurt that comes with it. We still feel strongly that God has more children for us. We are not going to let Kailee’s act of evil determine how our family growing journey ends. Please pray that we can trust God again and do what He wants and if it is embryo adoption, that He would show us how to fund it. Thank you again for your many prayers and kind words of support.

Dear Kailee

Dear Kailee,
Since you so abruptly cut off all communication with us I feel like I am lacking closure. I am hoping to find some with this letter to you. Since I’m pretty sure you are not checking my emails to you, maybe you will find your way to this letter on my blog. I have so many questions. Was this your plan all along? Did you pick Adam and Gary at the beginning or at the end of your pregnancy? Were you lying to us the whole time? Did you see our deep love for your baby and take advantage of our vulnerability? Did you see all of our pain after losing our babies and think, “They look like good targets”? Did you do this to another loving family last year with Ben’s adoption too? Are you going to do this again with a different, trusting family next year with another sweet baby? Did you make this rash decision to pick another family after I finally set up some boundaries and told you that no, I would not be able to buy you $40 worth of pizza at the end of September because we didn’t have the money. We had just bought a van and a house that month. We didn’t have money to spend on frivolity. Do you know that we don’t even order pizza like that for ourselves because it’s too expensive? We go get a frozen pizza from Walmart and cook it at home to save money. Was that the reason you picked someone else to adopt “Scarlet”?

It is interesting how different Gary and Adam are from our own family. It is hard for me to believe that you just suddenly had a change of heart right at the end and decided to go with a family that was the opposite of ours. If you wanted your daughter to be raised by Adam and Gary, why didn’t you just go with them from the beginning? What was the point of dragging our family into it? Was it worth a few months of free rent and gas money to you? Why did you want to meet my children and my parents if you knew they weren’t going to be Ava’s grandparents and big brothers? Thank goodness I never let my boys meet you.

Were you actually going to the doctor the whole time and sending Adam and Gary the ultrasound pictures and updates while I stressed out week after week about the baby’s wellbeing? Do you understand how many people you have hurt? You have made people question the goodness of humanity, the existence of God and the very practice of adoption. Why did you give Ava the middle name that I picked out to honor my Mama-E? I cannot wrap my mind around that one. Part of me hopes that every time you see Ava’s middle name you are overcome with guilt and your heart burns with remorse for what you have done. I have so many questions, so many. I know they probably will never be answered.

Words are powerful. Part of me wants to rip you apart with my words right here for everyone to see. I could. I know things about you that no one else knows since you confided in me and leaned on me for emotional support all those months. People want justice. They want to see you punished for what you have done. They want to see you hurt. But I won’t tear you down with my words because I serve a loving God and He tells me to LOVE people like you.

If there is any one thing you remember from this letter I hope it is this:

I FORGIVE YOU

I forgive you for all the money you wasted and all the pain you have brought on my family, on my friends and on all the hopeful people around the world who have followed our story. I forgive you for all the ways you hurt me and my sweet husband and my little boys. I forgive you because God forgave me when I was nothing but a horrible sinner. I will pray for little Ava for the rest of my life, because that is what my Mama-E would have wanted me to do if she were alive today. Every time you see Ava’s middle name, Mae, I want you to remember that I forgive you and that God will too if you ask Him. I hope Ava grows up to be like my amazing Mama-E. I still love your children, J and A. They are so sweet. I will pray for them also for the rest of my life. And lastly, I will pray for you to find God’s peace and forgiveness in your own life. There truly is nothing like it. If all of this heartache ended with you turning to God and knowing Him and understanding His love for you, then it was worth it for me.

With love and unbreakable hope,

Bethany