I am Ashley’s mom, Shawn, Aidan’s birth grandma, and I would like to share my side of the birth story of Aidan.
Ashley and Aaron (Aidan’s birth parents) met in 2001 through Ashley’s friend Jennifer. At that time Ashley had a daughter Chloe (18 months) and a new baby daughter Destine (3 weeks) and she was only 17 years old. Aaron was basically a good guy. He worked and lived at home with his mom and 2 sisters. We wanted Ashley to finish school and get her life on track, and then she can have a boyfriend! She needed to do this because she had 2 children and couldn’t expect mom and dad to support her forever. They ran together a lot, and she spent a lot of time at his house. It wasn’t long and she told us that she was expecting another baby. Now by this time I was really mad at her and wondered if my daughter was mental!!! How could she keep letting this happen? Has she not learned anything? I shamed them both and talked to them about what are they going to do? I expected Aaron to take responsibility like I did with the 2 other father’s (which didn’t happen) and he said he would. Soon the two moved into a trailer together and all was okay for a while. They are young, and for him to take on a ready-made family plus a new baby on the way, on a small paycheck wasn’t easy and I guess he was too scared and soon they split up. Ashley and the girls came back home and he went back home. They stayed together, just didn’t live together.
Ashley gave birth to their daughter in January 2003. She stayed at home for a few months and then Aaron got an apartment with a buddy. Ashley would spend time there with him and the girls, but would also come home. They went back and forth with this situation.
The day that Ashley told me she and Aaron was expecting another baby, my heart just ached. How can this be? All I could say was, “How can you possibly do this”? Once we got past the tears, she said she had already talked with an adoption agency on the procedures of adoption, and she was thinking that she might give the baby up for adoption. Aaron was against it from the start but also knew how hard it was going to be, they couldn’t afford the babies that they already have. Okay, so how did I feel about adoption? I wasn’t sure at that point what I felt! I just didn’t see how they could have another baby. Was this fair to any of them? What was the answer? I left Ashley alone to think about her feelings and began my own thinking. What was my place in this? Was I to go along with her thinking about adoption, or was I expected to say “no” you are keeping this baby and we will make the best of it. What did she want me to do?
“Adoption” What did that really mean? How do you make that final decision and actually live with it? Were we the kind of people that could do this? Will we regret it later? What will people think? Then above all, how do you choose a family to take your baby? After all, we weren’t looking for a good home for a puppy or a kitten! The one question that kept haunting me was how you explain why mommy gave you up for adoption but kept the other three!!!
When it came down to me and Ashley really talking about adoption, she was pretty sure that this was the right choice for her and the baby. She told me that the agency would be sending some paperwork for her to fill out and some information on couples wanting to adopt. I knew I had to help her with this, to help her think this through before a final decision was made, but I also knew that it had to be her final decision, I was just to support her, no matter what. We waited for her information package to arrive.
I came in from work one evening and found the package on the table. Ashley wasn’t at home and since this was all laid out on the table I figured she wanted me to look at it. The first thing that I noticed was that these booklets were in piles. “What did that mean?” She had gone through them and separated them into these piles, but I didn’t know what pile meant what. I sat down and began looking through these very impressive booklets that the families had so carefully put together. They consisted of pictures, letters, and their desire to have a baby, and all I could do was cry. I could not believe the couples that were so heart sick because they can’t have a baby of their own and my daughter was the answer to one of those couples’s prayers!
I spent the whole evening looking through and reading these booklets, and to my surprise by the time I stopped I had made a choice! When Ashley came home we sat down together and talked about her piles, and there was a little humor in this. She let me know, this pile is “for sure” this pile is “maybe” and this pile is “no” they look mean!!! I laughed at her because she was looking at the pictures of these couples!!! She said, that was her way to begin her elimination and she would go from there. It was funny, but that was her feeling so that was okay with me .I suggested that we concentrate on her “for sure” pile and in that pile of 2 couples, we had chose 1 of the same. She let me know that she was to choose a few couples and she will be able to meet them and talk with them to help her make a decision. We studied the 2 choices and kept coming back to the same couple.
Alan and Gina!
Why? Well, We loved their book, the letters from family and friends telling us all about them and how they would be such great parents and we really liked that Gina was able to be a stay at home mom. There are a lot of things our families have in common that really wouldn’t make a difference but it was like we were drawn to them because of it. We just knew that they were the couple for us!
Ashley went along with her pregnancy just fine and from time to time we would talk about Alan and Gina and how we thought they would be great parents and how they will take good care of the baby; they just didn’t know it yet! Then the day came that we found out the baby was a boy. Were our feelings about to change? Ashley has 3 girls and this may be a reason all of it’s own to keep the baby. She was sad at first, and again we talked and she said something to me that made me so very proud of her. I asked her if she was changing her mind now that she knows that it’s a boy, and was she sure that this is really what she wanted to do? She thought a few seconds and then said to me in such a heart breaking voice, “Mom, this is so hard, and knowing that it’s a boy makes it even harder, but do I worry for the next 18 years, trying to take care of all of them or do wait and worry 18 years from now, when he wants to know why I gave him up! What a brave young woman!
More time went by and we didn’t talk much about the adoption, I thought time would also help with a final decision. Ashley’s dad kept saying, she’ll change her mind at the last minute, and how are we going to feel with a grandchild out there somewhere! I told him that I didn’t think she would and that it will all work out for the best, but my heart kept asking “was I sure?” Would I be able to comfort her when she’s crying for him and wondering how he is, and what he’s doing and was he ok! I didn’t know how I was going to do this but I knew that I had to. I had to be strong for her. She is my baby girl, and I didn’t want her hurting!
The Adoption Agency called one evening checking on Ashley. The lady was very nice and had many comforting words for me. She said that it made her happy that I was being so supportive of Ashley at this time and that we can talk to them any time. She said that it was important that Ashley get her papers filled out and sent in and they needed to know her choices so they could arrange a meeting with the couples. She then asked Ashley what couples she wanted to meet. Ashley told her of the 2 couples that she had picked out, even though she wanted just the one couple. The lady said, she was sure the 1 couple already had a baby but wasn’t sure about the other couple (Alan and Gina). Now that I look back, at that point we should have been concerned that the couple we had decided on could have a baby any day now so if we wanted them we better tell them!! But we never gave it any thought. I guess I thought that they were just waiting on us!
Ashley finished her paper work the 1st of November and sealed it in the Fed Ex package and I took it to work and sat it on my desk. It sat there and sat there. I ignored it; I didn’t want to send it yet. I wanted to make sure that she was sure, before we got any hopes up!
On December 13th, when I woke up Ashley said she wasn’t feeling well, it sounded like the flu to me. I told her to lie in the bathtub and I would get the girls some breakfast. She came out about 1 hour later and said that her stomach really hurt and it kind of felt like contractions. She wasn’t due until the first part of January and even though the girls were born early I didn’t think that it was time. She lay on the couch for a little while and still no better. I just had this feeling now that she may be in labor. I said let’s just watch the clock and see if something is happening. Within half an hour I knew she was in labor. We timed the contractions for another hour and they were regular.
Oh my god! All of this talking and decision-making that had gone on for months about adoption and now this baby will arrive soon and nobody knows about it!! I told her that I hadn’t mailed her adoption papers and she just looked at me, and then I said “Ashley this is it! Right here, Right now, you tell me that this is what you want to do and that you will NEVER change your mind and want him back! You can’t do that to yourself, the baby or Alan and Gina.” She began to cry and then I cried and she said “yes, it’s what I want to do and I won’t change my mind.” I then asked her if she wanted Alan and Gina and she said, “Yes”.
I called the agency, I was shaking and scared and happy all at the same time. I explained our situation, that my daughter had decided on adoption and I hadn’t mailed the paper work and that she was in labor. The lady laughed and wasn’t sure that this had ever happened before! She asked whom Ashley had chosen and then it dawned on me ‘What if they already had a baby’? She said she would check to see if they have a baby yet but she needed the paperwork faxed to her right away, and then she will call us back.
I called work and got Christina and Jennifer to get the fax rolling and to call me when they had confirmation that it went through. They called back, the Agency had the papers!
The agency wasted no time in getting things on the ball, because she called back really quick and said Alan and Gina does not have a baby and she is calling them now and we are to wait for her to call us back with their number, so we can make contact. We kept timing the contractions and they were very regular 5-7 minutes apart and Ashley’s labors have always been only 5-6 hours long! The adrenaline was high by now! I needed help!! I called my daughter-in-law and my sister. I needed sitters for the girls and now, some support for me! The agency called me back and said that all was good and Alan and Gina are now waiting on our call.
Before I made that call I had to sit down, to think of what I was to say. Ashley, Penny (my sister) and Megan (my daughter-in-law) all were crying by this time, they asked Ashley if she was positive this is what she wanted to do? All I could say was “can either one of you take him” they said “no” they really couldn’t, and I know that was so very hard for them to say! I told them that I felt good about this couple and so did Ashley and she has made her final decision. We all cried, but knew that this was the right thing to do.
I picked up the phone and dialed, they answered, and they both were on the line. I wasn’t sure what to say at first, I just wanted them to know that they were the couple that we wanted to take this Son, Brother, Grandchild, Great Grandchild, Nephew, Great Nephew and Cousin, to love and raise as if he was their own blood and to know that Ashley loves this baby and was willing to give him a loving home with a couple that she felt would love him and take good care of him.
In the conversation I had the feeling that they were accepting this baby, unknown and unseen and already loved him. That was so comforting.
We found out that they had quite a drive and I thought there was no way they would arrive in time for the birth, so we decided that I would continue to time her contractions and would call them back when we were going to the hospital. I called them back letting them know that her contractions were still regular and if they wanted to try and be there, they might leave now!
They were about to leave anyway, and that made us happy that they were that excited. I got their cell number so I could keep them posted, and we hung up. Ashley hates the hospital and didn’t want to go to soon, so we hung around still talking about the adoption and trying to stay calm for we had no idea what to expect in the next several hours ahead of us with the arrival of the baby and parents!
We kept timing the contractions, and they now were further apart. I fixed supper and Jennifer came over to sit with Ashley. We ate and then realized the contractions finally stopped! We waited and waited and nothing! I became concerned, what was happening? I called the hospital; they said that Ashley needed to come in right away. She wasn’t ready for that, but we went anyway.
The drive to the hospital was so beautiful. It was dark out now and snowing.
The snow that was very light and fluffy, it looked like shiny diamonds all over the ground. The kind of night that you would see in the movies when something wonderful is about to happen and it touched you so deeply. It looked like a miracle night!
Ashley was all set up in her room and being checked out for any problems and I couldn’t help but worry. Here we have this couple coming from far away to meet their son and maybe something was wrong! It wasn’t long and they assured me that all was just fine, the baby was fine and so from that we came to the conclusion that this baby was waiting on his mommy and daddy to arrive!
Me, Ashley, my sister Penny and Ashley’s friend Jennifer sat in her room talking and wondering what Alan and Gina may be thinking, saying and feeling about now! We had no idea how prepared they were for something like this to happen. Was this scary for them, would they change their minds? What did they think when they got the phone call that someone wanted them to be the parents of their baby and that he’s about to be born, NOW! No wonder you are supposed to meet these people first so you can talk things over! But, I now feel that this all happened the way it did, for a reason and we wouldn’t change a thing.
I kept Alan and Gina posted and they were a little closer with each phone call. At 1:00 am Alan and Gina arrived, and I was so relieved to see them. They were just as wonderful as their booklet made them out to be. We talked about the things we had in common and the phone call that first brought us together. I had no second thoughts about them and was so happy that they were now a part of our lives. Ashley felt the same way and now knew that she had made the right decision. We were all tired and I thought they needed some rest and I would come get them when it was time. They settled in the waiting room down the hall, and I sat with Ashley. Finally, her contractions kicked in and full force. He was no longer waiting! His mommy and daddy were there and he knew we were at peace with our decision. I told Ashley that I was going to get Alan and Gina. She was a little reluctant at first, and I said “This is a very important part and you can’t take this away from them!” I didn’t understand her at that moment, finally she said ok, as long as nobody’s looking at my butt!!! I laughed at her and said “Nobody’s looking at your butt, but the doctor Silly Girl!”
I went to get Alan and Gina and the birth began!
Out came the cameras and the smiles and the tears and a brief moment of faintness from Gina! She recovered quickly and Aidan Charles was born!
The look on this new mommy and daddy’s faces said a million words and I knew my daughter was the reason for their happiness, and how proud I was of her bravery. Ashley cried, but she had told me earlier that day that if she cried it wasn’t because she was changing her mind, it was just because! So I knew those tears were ok.
The next several days were filled with legal matters, a lot of getting to know each other and just looking at this beautiful little boy. Ashley was released from the hospital soon, but Aidan had to stay due to legal matters. She said she wasn’t leaving that hospital until he was released too. She would feel like she left him. Later that day Ashley called me and said that Aidan was cleared to leave and to come get her now!
The hardest time came when it was time for us to part at the hospital. It became quiet and almost like nobody knew what to say. While Gina dressed Aidan for his pictures we packed Ashley’s things. We spent some time in the nursery with pictures and birth certificates and then it was time to say our good byes. Ashley went to the bassinet and kissed Aidan and said a few words. I told Ashley to let them leave first and they got on the elevator! We walked back to her room to pick her stuff up, she cried the whole way. When we reached the elevator doors they opened, and there stood Alan, Gina and Aidan!!! We all looked at each other and we got on the elevator too.
Maybe Aidan came back for one last look at his birth mother and to say it was ok and he loves her too!! We then parted, they went one way and we went the other way.
We got in the car and she really broke down, the kind of crying that was so heartbreaking. Although I knew that she was still very happy with her decision, this was a healing process for her, I had to let her cry, that was her way of expressing how much she loved this baby and would miss him and that it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I let her know that she should be very proud of herself, that she just gave the very best Christmas Present in the World! She said, “Yes, I did”.
Ashley and Gina kept in contact and on Friday, Ashley called me at work and was crying and said “Mom Aidan’s leaving today!! He had been cleared to leave the state, which was very good because I know they were excited to get back home. But Ashley was upset all over again, and I didn’t know how much more I could take! I told her that she knew that this day would come, but she had to see him this last time. Alan and Gina invited us to lunch, so we had a little family reunion with them, Aidan, Ashley, myself, Joel (Ash’s brother), Megan (Ash’s sis-in-law) Kaitlin and Dylan (Ash’s niece and nephew), and Ash’s Aunt Penny! It was a good time. The moment came that we had to say our final good bye, to these wonderful people, and give our “Little Man” a kiss and let him know how much we all love him!
The hours, days, weeks and months have passed and with each moment I could see Ashley getting better, and that Thanks goes to Alan and Gina. They have been so wonderful to Ashley, Aaron, Chloe, Destine and Malyah! All the e-mail, pictures, and Aidan’s web site made all the difference in the world to us! So see, I worried all that time for no reason, because I don’t have to take care of Ashley alone, I have Alan and Gina’s help.
Bottom Line, Adoption is a wonderful choice that we have in our country, I thank god every day for our adoptive parents “Alan and Gina”! They are now a part of our family, and I’m so happy that their “booklet” arrived at my house! I think it was meant to be! They were waiting on us, when we were looking for them!
We thank our family for their support and love through this time of need!
Love to all the Adoptive Parents and Birth Mothers!