My pregnancy with the twins was a completely different experience from my first pregnancy with my daughter. I went to California for the first time in my life and being a film/theatre lover ... what a rush to just be in the same state were so many movies are made. I loved it! The air smelled different there, I could smell the sea. The palm trees were abundant, and many times were in long lines on streets and beaches. The people were very friendly in the town I was staying in. I had never been that far away from home and staying for an undefined time, it was an extremely hard adjustment to get used to. I missed my mom and Bruce. I was staying with family whom I had not really had the chance to get acquainted with. I am a strong person, I had made a decision and I was finding relief amongst the mountains because a change of scenery always changes the senses, changes a way of thinking.
My cousins had just adopted a child moths prior to my coming to stay with them. They were very generous in their way of welcoming me into their home, and even better was in the way they made me feel loved. I had the pleasure, and to some extent comfort, of watching them delight and grow every day as a result of this beautiful boy who came into their lives. I loved to watch J with her son. She just glowed when he was around, reading to him, playing with him, feeding him. She had long hair and when he was going to sleep for the night, he would just wrap his little fingers around her hair and drift off with his head bobbing, and occasionally he would just begin to twist her hair while in a deep sleep. He was such a happy baby, and he would laugh and laugh, you know that belly laugh that babies do? The kind that reminds you what it is to just laugh for no reason at all? I watched as my cousin M, a real stand up guy, now turned to a goo mush of love for this son of his. He loved playing with the toys, my cousin...not the baby. I found a lot of joy in watching them as a family.
At the same time, they were so excited to see the pregnancy first hand. They were not able to watch their birth mother's pregnancy because they were chosen late in the third trimester. So to witness the continual growth of a belly that was ever expanding, they found it fascinating to be around. One evening, about a month from delivery, I was sitting on the floor playing with their son and the twins started to flip flop over each other in my belly. It was so obvious that my body shook at the vibrations it sent as they somersaulted over and around each other. It had only happened twice before and I had been alone when it occurred so to have someone else witness it was pretty freaky! Their eyes were huge and the look on their faces told me that it looked as crazy as it felt. The twins finally got comfortable, but there was always a series of kicks that followed for about 5 minutes. I told J and M to watch for the feet, by then you could see the toes through my skin because room was getting scarce in there. They both asked if they could touch it and of course I obliged. It was not long before M felt the first kick, a hard one right into his palm. "WOW!" he said with a huge smile on his face. J was saying she couldn't feel it when she felt a foot do a double kick by her hand. She was laughing and rubbing my ever tightening belly, and believe me it was HUGE!
I think the time I spent there was not only good for me, but it was also very good for them. They were in a closed adoption so they really had no idea what it was like for their birth mother. They learned so much about the letting go, the worry, the sadness that comes when you have to say goodbye. They were involved with a different point of view about adoption because I was able to share my journey with them. I, in turn, learned a great deal about the mind of adoptive parents. They also have their share of fears, sorrow, and sometimes guilt about raising another parent's child. I was there the day that they went to finalize the adoption papers. It was a very emotional day for everyone in that room for good reasons. I was honored that they had no fear in asking me to be there, no second guessing in having me there for such a big day in their lives.
J and M were so very good to me those months I spent with them, and I think we helped each other learn a little more about the other side of adoption. I grew a better appreciation for other adoptive parents out there because it is not at all easy to know what is right in adoption, there is no one manual that is absolutely correct because there could never be when you are dealing with such a delicate issue of the heart. Staying with them helped me see how happy they all were, how complete J and M were as parents, to see how happy that chubby cheeked little boy was each and every day, I think it helped me see past the immediate result of my pregnancy. I could see with my own eyes how cherished my own children would be because it was all around me,
I was able to relish in my motherhood that last month and just enjoy being with the boys. I was able to relax. I was understanding my consequences I would endure. I was able to find peace in a place I came to admire more every day. There, in the mountains, smelling the sea air, I found a different kind of Kelsey and she was even stronger than the one I knew before California.