Authors: Trudy Stiles
Spring Lake, New Jersey
I am so excited to meet you today! I’ll see you for the first time during Tabitha’s ultrasound.
Oh Emily! I can’t wait for you to wrap your tiny fingers around mine. For you to squeeze them and know that I’m here right in front of you.
I have tons of plans to begin furnishing and decorating your room! I hope you like pink because that is going to be a key theme!
I’m overwhelmed with emotion as I write this. I know that Tabitha will not get to experience bringing you home and wrapping you in your soft, fluffy blankets. My heart breaks for her. I can only hope that she finds the peace and happiness that she deserves.
I can’t wait to see you today Emily!
Love and kisses,
It’s eight o’clock in the morning, and I’m so ready for today! I cannot wait to see our precious daughter. I look over at my sleeping husband while a tear silently slides down my cheek as I remember the events leading up to today.
About a month after ‘The Call’, our home phone rings at the time we planned for our first conference call with Tabitha and Seth.
Kyle answers the phone after a half of a ring. “Hello?” he says and quickly converts the call to speaker.
“Hi Carly and Kyle, this is Anna from Home Sweet Home Adoptions, and I have Tabitha and Seth on the line with me as well.” I hear the warmth in Anna’s voice, and it begins to soothe me although my feet are bouncing wildly on the floor as I’m planted at the kitchen table.
“Hi,” I say as my voice cracks.
Anna continues. “I will be on this call as a silent participant. It’s up to you to talk to each other. Ask any questions you want and answer any questions you feel comfortable answering. OK?”
“Yes!” Four voices sound in unison.
Kyle starts the conversation. “So, Seth? You like music?”
I can hear Tabitha softly crying in the background, so this was an excellent first move on Kyle’s part.
“Yes!” Seth answers. “I love all kinds of music, but hard rock is my favorite. What type of music do you play?”
Kyle chuckles, “Well, I only taught myself how to play five years ago, so I’m still learning. I like to play U2, Foo Fighters, Pink Floyd. I have a wide reach when it comes to likes and dislikes.”
Kyle and Seth continue a conversation about their favorite guitarists, drummers, and bands. They are talking as if they’ve known each other for years. Laughing like old friends. It’s calming me immensely, and I don’t hear Tabitha sobbing any longer.
Once they’ve reached the end of their epic music conversation, it’s quiet for a few moments.
I speak up. “Tabitha?” I hear a quiet voice on the other end of the line say “Yes?”
“Are you OK?” I ask. “Because, you know, it’s OK if you’re not.” I continue. “I can’t imagine what you are going through, and the one thing you have to know is that we are so very, very, very thankful. You are giving us a gift. We are so grateful.” I finish. “We absolutely love the name Emily. Thank you for giving her a name.”
I hear a quick sob and her voice. “I knew you were perfect as soon as I saw your profile, Carly. You are meant to be her parents.”
Then silence. It seems like the silence is going on forever. Anna jumps back on the line.
“OK. I’m so pleased, guys. This call went exactly as it was supposed to.” I can hear the pep in her voice as Kyle and I hold hands across the table and smile at each other.
“The next step is logistics. Tabitha has a doctor appointment scheduled for next Wednesday. Since you are only about an hour away, she really wants you there to see your baby.”
Tabitha quickly jumps in. “Yes, Carly, I’d like you there, but…” She trails off for a moment that makes my heart stop. “But it’s in a really bad part of Philadelphia, and I understand if you don’t want to come into the city.”
“No, I mean Yes! I’ll come! I have cousins near Philly so I can get some pointers and directions. I’ll be there!” I say as I smile. My heart is racing.
Anna concludes, “OK. So I will email you the name and address of the doctor and you’ll see each other next Wednesday at one o’clock in the afternoon.”
And with that, our first conference call is finished.
We hang up our phone and we both take deep breaths, still holding hands.
Kyle speaks first.
“OK,” he says.
“OK.” I’m smiling now.
We jump up, I throw my arms around his neck, and he kisses me so hard that I can feel it in my toes. He’s stroking my hair and pulling me close, devouring me.
We break apart to take a breath, and his eyes are glistening when he says, “I can’t believe you are going to get to see our little girl next week.”
I nod and pull him closer. I keep nodding into his broad chest and squeeze him until he can feel it in his toes.
He makes love to me all night until we are completely lost in each other.
I smile as I remember our first phone contact with Tabitha. I quietly get out of bed trying not to disturb Kyle and rush to take a shower to get ready.
I’m dressed and ready to go to Tabitha’s ultrasound, and I’m a nervous wreck. I’m going alone. We agreed that it would be a girls-only thing.
Kyle programs my GPS to get me into Philly by the most direct route. He’s anxious; I can tell. He’s a little twitchy and laughing nervously. He kisses me tenderly before I leave, winks, and says, “Go get ‘em killer.” He smacks me softly on my ass. I chuckle. “I’m not going up to bat, dear. I’m going to an ultrasound!” He chuckles as he closes my car door.
The hour drive goes quickly as my mind is racing with the usual questions:
What if she sees me and doesn’t like the way I look?
What if she already changed her mind and is going to let me down when I get there?
What if she and Seth decided to pick another couple?
What if – ugh!
I have to stop this.
As usual, Kyle’s navigation setup is perfect. I arrive at the clinic about ten minutes early. Tabitha is right. This place is literally in Hell.
I’m able park directly across the street from the clinic, thank goodness. The dregs of society are in the surrounding area, and suddenly I’m wishing that I had Kyle with me. He has a soft and kind heart, but at six foot-four and two hundred and ten pounds of lean muscle, he is certainly intimidating. He makes my five-foot-nine frame look small and slight.
I enter the clinic and suddenly realize that I have no idea what she looks like. She of course knows what I look like since she’s seen our adoption profile. I walk in slowly and scan the room. There is only one couple in the corner huddled together. OK, she’s not here yet.
I sit down and try to relax. I’m early. It’s OK. She will be here.
I don’t know what to say. I don’t feel worthy to be your mother. I’m damaged. More damaged than you could ever imagine. You don’t deserve a life with me. You deserve so much more than I can give you.
Please don’t hate me. Please don’t think that you weren’t wanted.
Please don’t hate me.
I gave up my other little girl a few years ago. Your sister, Sara. I didn’t know what I was doing then, and I don’t know what I’m doing now. I may actually be getting worse.
I’m going to meet Carly in person soon. She’s coming to my next ultrasound.
She deserves you and more importantly, you deserve her. She is not damaged. She is perfect in every way.
The first time that I saw her picture in their adoption profile, I knew she would be the perfect mother to you. She is beautiful. I think you are going to look like her. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s her coloring. She reminds me of what I used to look like. Before…
She is a teacher! Oh Emily, she is so smart, and her smile will make you laugh and giggle. Her presence will put you totally at ease.
She’s your Mom and you are so lucky.
I’m jealous of her. Of her life. Of what she is. Of everything that I am not.
I think I hate her a little…
I can’t finish the letter. I tear it out of my book, crumple it up, and chuck it across the room. I’m shaking and crying, and my mind is racing. What am I doing? What are
doing? This is the right thing to do, right?
Seth has other coping mechanisms. He’s become completely obsessed with Kyle. All I hear is ‘Kyle this’ and ‘Kyle that’.
“Kyle is going to teach Emily to play guitar as early as possible.”
“Kyle is going to get her a piano when she turns seven.”
Oh. My. God.
If I hear any more about what Kyle is going to do, and how great of a father he is going to be to Emily, I might just spit! I know that Seth is enamored by the type of father Kyle is going to be. I feel that same way about Carly.
But I’m also feeling jealousy. I’m
of Carly. Of Kyle.
I’m so angry with myself because I can’t cope. Not since Alex …
But Seth is OK with everything.
About our decision to give away our baby!
MY fucking baby!
When I found out I was pregnant, Seth went into full panic mode. He isn’t ready to be a father any more than I’m ready to be a mother. A real mother, like Carly.
God! I don’t even know if Seth is the father considering I slept with him just days after having unprotected sex with Alex.
But maybe, deep down, I think I do know.
Seth was here to pick up the broken pieces of me that Alex left behind.
Seth loves me, but he’s just not ready to take on additional responsibilities. He knows that we can’t handle it. I can’t handle it.
Decision made. We will move on and be happy after it’s all over. Right?
Carly is perfect. She is going to be the perfect mother, make perfect pancakes, and give Emily the perfect life.
I wish I were perfect.