(P.S. There's a lot of adoption lingo (in particular a lot of LDS adoption lingo) in Renee's post. If any of you have questions about anything please feel free to e-mail. I'll totally get back to you after our move!)
Above: 1. Kenz's Dad, Jeff with baby Nolan.
2. The girls waiting around for baby Nolan to show up!
3. Kenz's parents, aunt, siblings, and cousins seeing Nolan-one of my favorite pictures of all time.
“Mom, I’m pregnant.”
Not exactly the words a mother wants to hear from her just barely 19 year old daughter. Although I wasn’t completely in shock, it took awhile to let it sink in. Now mind you, Makenzie’s choices the last few years haven’t led her down the path to peace and happiness, but, she has a loving and caring heart and would do ANYTHING, and I mean anything for me or one of her siblings, Grandma, Grandpa, favorite aunt and cousins.
We have always had family scriptures, family prayer, fhe, church every week, mutual every Wednesday…you get the idea. We have great YW leaders who have always taught righteous things. Sometimes though, children start to make their own choices no matter what or how much they have been taught.
As we moved into the early pregnancy months, Makenzie met with our Bishop, who basically told her the only option was to give up the baby. If any of you know my daughter, you will be laughing hysterically right now. She is just one of those kids who if you push one way, they will push you back harder. We met with LDS Social Services and the lady there was really nice. She told us the options and we said we would get back with her…which never happened. I counseled Makenzie letting her know both sides of the equation: 1. She could keep the baby. Try to work or go to school. Deal with shots, sickness, sleeplessness, trying to deal with a boss or professors who don’t care that you are single and have a baby. Or 2. Give the baby up for adoption. Find her baby a loving, eternal home with 2 parents who love him. Have a chance to get her education and have a job. Learn to take care of herself. Grow up.
Now I understand lots of girls have had babies out of wedlock for lots of years. Jeff and I told her that the decision was totally hers and NO matter what she decided we would make it work. She bounced back and forth for awhile…some of the ladies I worked with thought I was crazy to let her make the decision on her own. I told them, grown up choices; grown up decisions. One night out of the blue, Makenzie called and told me she was on the LDSSS site looking at couples to adopt her baby. WOW! Now I was in shock. So was Jeff. She said that she had found a few couples, but one couple really stood out to her. She emailed them that night and that started a correspondence of emails, phone calls and texts. I read Ashlee’s blog, thought they seemed like a likeable couple. J
About 6 months into it Makenzie decided, at Ashlee & Collin’s invitation, to go to Arizona to stay with them for awhile. They showed up just in time for church Sunday, walked into R.S. and started to whisper. A lady sitting behind me told me later she couldn’t believe the similarities between the 2 girls. Makenzie introduce Ashlee as being the adoptive mother to her baby. I think a more than a couple of ladies got whiplash they turned around so fast. During Sacrament, the 3 of them passed paper back and forth talking about names for the baby. They liked the name Nolan, which just happens to be Makenzie’s grandpa’s name and his middle name is Blake, for the brother Makenzie lost at 3 years old.
After we had dinner, we had a chance to talk to them. They are so wonderful and loving and caring and accepting and dang cute, and were just missing a baby. They told us that Ashlee’s family would love him and Collin’s family would love him, but why limit the love there. He would have us too. We had a bowling party for 2 of our children who have birthdays in March and met the rest of my family. Ashlee stuck a bowling ball up her shirt and Collin took pictures. It was too funny. All too soon the 3 of them left for Arizona. Those 6 weeks were long ones for me. I know she was having fun and meeting lots of new people. She had a great time getting to know the Smith’s and Martin’s. On Easter weekend my mother, Morgan and I left cold Idaho for sunny AZ.
We were greeted with hugs and more hugs. We shopped, went to Red Lobster, had a baby shower, shopped, attended Ashlee’s senior recital, which totally ROCKED, and got some sleep, despite Grandma’s snoring. Lots of tears were shed as we left knowing the next time we would see them we would be having a baby.
The weeks flew by, doctors appointments came and went. Finally, early one Saturday morning, Grandma called me and said “HOSPITAL”. That was it. I told Jeff and he asked what I wanted him to do. I told him to go to work and I would keep him posted. I got to the hospital and she was in pain. Now it is hard to see your children in knee scraping pain, but this was heart wrenching. Her first epidural didn’t take, she had to have a second one. There were lots of us in the room with her, not exactly what my choice would have been. Rania was a trooper, feeding her ice. Ayla rubbed her hand to keep her calm. Grandma, Karen and I sat there, not really sure what to do the girls had it covered.
Ashlee and Collin arrived just in time to take some boring pics of all of us sitting around. A little after 2 p.m. Nolan Blake Smith entered the world. I had told my mother earlier that Ashlee and Collin were there for the baby and WE were there for Makenzie. Our little man just happened to be the spitting image of his mom. From his little nose to his “Bronson butt chin”, as the kids call it. Actually it’s from the Koyle side of the family, but my kids are the only ones that have it…all 5 of them, out of all the grandkids. After they cleaned him up and Makenzie had some rest they brought him in. We all had the chance to hold him, then reality poured in. It was hard, but to see Jeff cry as he held him was very difficult for me. I didn’t think it would affect him that way.
Sunday came and everyone was discharged from the hospital. We went in to see him after church and took the kids. LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. They all held him, but Jeff did the most. Grandma, Karen and Ranai took Makenzie home. She had such a hard time leaving him there. Even with Ashlee and Collin whom she had grown to love. Even though she knew she was making the right choice for her. She could not say goodbye. The next day I had taken off work for Brett’s field day and she called asking if I would go to court with her…SO SOON??? I met her in town and we went to the courthouse. Brother Jakobia and the lawyer went over everything and we met with the judge. Now let me tell you….the pain with her labor was hard, the pain of her having to tell the judge she knew she was making the right choice and signing away her rights was horrible. I called Jeff and told him it was over and he met us a D.Q. and we talked for awhile, shed some tears and talked some more.
She had some very difficult nights that week. Physical and emotional pain I can’t imagine. The Smith’s had to stay in Idaho for awhile till they were granted temporary custody of our little bundle. The day before they left for happy reunions in Arizona, they met us in town to hold and cuddle him one last time, for now anyway. He had already changed so much, but still looks just like Makenzie. I don’t know if there is even another gene pool involved. Hahaha.
Ashlee and Collin are now a complete family. We get wonderful pictures and updates every week. We told them now that they had adopted one of us, we had to adopt one of them. Jeff decided it was to be Ashlee because adopting Collin would make him feel too old. J We are excited at the prospect of visiting them in Chicago next summer. We are also hoping we can be there when they bless him and are eternally sealed to him. As hard as it is to see, I know it is the right thing. I told Makenzie she would be blessed tenfold for what she has done for them. Some little blessings have already come…she has a job, an apartment, is enrolled in school for the fall, has family and friends that think she is “the bomb”. I told her that her time to be a mom isn’t right now, but that she will have that opportunity to meet “that guy” and have a family in the future.
Makenzie is beautiful, loving, caring, fun to be with, daring, sometimes outspoken, charming, spontaneous, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a daughter of earthly and Heavenly parents, and will always be a Mother. We love her…and Ashlee…and Collin…and little Nolan…J