This months inspiring woman is Kenzie Cowart! I went to school with this lovely lady and consider her a dear friend. She has been through a lot but is working on making a better life for herself and her beautiful family! I am so grateful she was will to share her story on my blog. She is definitely so inspiring. She made the hardest decision she will ever have to make and is trying to heal from it. She is a true mother, a beautiful person with a beautiful heart. She chose a better life for her daughter even though that meant not being with her. Life is full of curve balls but Kenzie know how to hit them out of the park! Love you Kenzie, thanks again!
Here is her story...
25. The number of my favorite baseball player. The number I wore on my back all throughout athletics. My lucky number. I never knew that it would end up meaning more to me than I ever imagined.
I kept telling myself, family and friends that this was it, this was going to be my year. I was turning 25 and I just knew that good things were going to come my way. Little did I know it wasn't going to be the year I had envisioned for myself. 6 days after my 25th birthday I sat alone in my room in silence, in shock. My eyes were so full of tears they had no other way out than to stream down both of my cheeks, burning all the way. I kept telling myself this has to be a mistake, this really can’t be happening to me. Why me? Why now? Why, why, why? I kept trying to tell myself that it wasn't right. But no matter how many times I tried to convince myself it wasn't real, the word PREGNANT wasn't going away.
I tried my hardest to go to sleep that night. Tossing and turning with floods of different emotions and thoughts keeping me restless through the night. The next morning couldn't come fast enough. I didn't know what to do or where to even start. I finally convinced myself that it wasn't going to go away and I called my aunt who happens to work at my family practitioner’s office. I told her I needed to come in and see her right away. She could tell I was emotional and my soft whimpers were far from being unnoticeable. She told me not to worry and come right in. As I drove to the doctor’s office I was still trying to tell myself that this wasn't real.
Sitting in a staff room alone with my aunt, hands over my swollen crying eyes, body trembling as bad as I have ever experienced, the medical assistant walked in and without a word, I knew for a fact that i was indeed pregnant.
I wasn't quite sure how I was going to tell my parents this news so for the time being I asked my aunt to not say anything. The next few weeks were just a blur. I woke up, went to work, came home, and did the same thing over and over. Keeping this information all to myself. Not knowing how to tell the one person I needed the most- my mom. I knew that I would feel better if I would just tell her but every time I tried my mind was blank. How could I hurt her, how could I make her disappointed in me? Instead I carried this tiny growing baby a secret for nearly 2 months.
One day around the middle of July I was helping my parents remove a tree from their front yard when our new bishop happened to show up. He asked when we could talk. He had been wanting to talk to me for a few months but we never actually sat down to do it. I had been asking God for help for a way to tell my parents and I knew that this was the answer I was looking for. The Bishop told me to swing by in a few hours and without hesitation I agreed.
After many tears a good long talk with my bishop he only solidified the need to tell my mom. As I made the short drive from the church to my parents’ house I was all geared up and ready to tell her. I remember her asking me how the meeting went and just bursting into uncontrollable sobs. The concerned look on her face pierced my heart and I knew that what I was about to tell her was going to break hers. Disappointing your parents is by far one of the worst feelings in the world. Getting the words out was extremely difficult. My mom threw her arms around me and told me I was gonna be ok. It didn't ease my pain any but I felt the burden of my secret instantly lifted from my shoulders. I knew the next step would be to tell my dad. I wasn't sure I could tell him on my own. I left to watch my softball team scrimmage while my mom talked to him.
When I got home, I sat in my car for nearly 10 minutes trying to play out the next 5 minutes in my head. When I finally walked through the door I saw my dad all dressed in his black suit. Head to toe he looked more calm and loving than I have ever seen him look. I walked over to him and he pulled me in his arms while I began to cry. He told me he wanted to give me a blessing so that I could feel the comfort of my Heavenly Father.
On July 24 I remember being alone with my Aunt who had helped me at the doctor’s office. We were sitting at my family’s cabin in the mountains when she asked me if I knew what I wanted to do, if I had some kind of plan. I knew that I should have one, but I just said, “I am still trying to grasp it all.” Her next words made the biggest impact of my life thus far. She said, "Kenzie, I want you to know that I am behind you no matter what you do, but being a mother on the receiving end of adoption is the biggest blessing anyone can get." Her son was adopted and I hear stories all the time of how happy our entire family was for the moment he entered their lives.
What she said stuck with me throughout the weekend and when I got home I couldn't shake the thought. I began reading the Family Proclamation and over and over the importance of a father ran through my head. To be complete family you need both a mother and father and that was the one thing I knew I couldn't provide. I have not a single doubt in my mind that I would have made a great mother. But no matter what I did I couldn't provide her with the most important thing- a loving father, a complete family that could be sealed together for all time and eternity. I told my mom I was maybe thinking adoption would be the best thing for me. She told me that no matter what I decided she would be behind me 100%.
My mom had spent some time looking at profiles of families wanting to adopt. She told me that one of them had caught her eye. The moment I read their profile I knew in my heart that adoption was my decision and this was the family I wanted my child placed with. I felt that this mother needed to be with me every step of the way so I knew I needed to contact them immediately. I stared at a blank screen trying to decided how to write an e-mail that would change my life. After typing and deleting for nearly an hour I finally pushed send.
The next day I was at my mom’s shop getting my hair done when I finally received a reply. We e-mailed back and forth until she asked me if she could call and talk to me later that night. We ended up talking like I had known her my whole life. Emilee began to tell me all about herself, her husband Josh and their sweet son Zak. She told me that when she opened my e-mail tears blurred her vision from just reading my name.
She explained that they had been picked to adopt a little girl in May of 2013, about three months prior to me contacting them. When they got the call that the mom was in delivery they packed their bags and headed south toward Las Vegas. 20 minutes outside of Vegas they received a call no one ever wants to get. They were told the baby didn't make it and had died during delivery.
My heart ached for this sweet family. She started to get really emotional and apologized to me.
She told me that on their way home from Vegas their son Zak who was five years old at the time asked her where his baby sister was. Emilee told Zak that his baby sister Kaylee was back in heaven. That she was needed with her Heavenly Father. Zak then asked if he was going to get a new sister. Emilee told him that they were going to try again but this next time it could be either a brother or a sister.
She paused for a second too emotional to continue. She said that Zak told her, “Ok, but if I get another sister I want to name her…. Makenzie.”
When I heard that, instant tears and goose bumps followed. How incredible for this first interaction with this sweet family. My second family.
We planned to meet the next time I was up near their area. My mom and I planned to meet with them at a steak house for dinner. As I walked in and toward our table this cute little blonde haired, blue eyed boy came up to me and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. We sat down and talked the night away. We were there for nearly 4 hours, just learning all we could about each other. It felt as if we had done this time and time before. This family was the perfect fit for me and I knew they would be for my baby as well. I told Emilee and Josh that they were more than welcome to be as involved during the pregnancy as they wanted.
Then came the day of my ultrasound. On the way to the hospital their son Zak asked if I would ride with them. As we were driving there they began talking about the play land at McDonalds. I asked them if they came to Cedar City a lot. Josh began to tell me that they came to Cedar one time for his cousin Shane's funeral who had died in a hunting accident. In the back seat of their car my mouth dropped and I shouted out, "that’s my cousin". We began to talk more about family and realized that his family was indeed my family too. Shocked beyond belief I couldn't wait to meet up with my mom and tell her. In this big wide world, we were finding many things that linked us together and our relationship was deepening.
When we were finally called back for the ultrasound I could see the excitement in this family’s eyes. My heart was so full for them. The technician asked what they wanted and everyone said girl. But of course we all just wanted the baby to be healthy.
When the tech said, ITS A GIRL, joy and tears flooded the room. I remember turning to my mom and telling her "DO NOT CRY". Seeing this family’s happiness made every single pain I was feeling or had felt go away. My pain and heartache was worth every single second from then on.
The months seemed to fly by and before I knew it we were in February. When I found out the doctor was going to induce me a week early I called Emilee right away. She was so excited I could feel her excitement through the phone.
February 12, the day of my induction. I told Emilee she was more than welcome to be in the room with my mom and me at the time of delivery. I told the doctor that the first person to hold this sweet baby would be Emilee. She was the one going to be called mom and needed to have the first bonding time with her new daughter. I carried this child for 9 months knowing that she would forever an always be in my heart but raised in a different home. She is my daughter and I am her birth mother and nothing will ever change that but from the moment I connected with Emilee I knew this miracle baby was hers.
After 25 (theres that number again) long hours there was the sweetest little cry I have ever heard. Thursday February 13 at 3:53 am my sweet baby girl Makenzee Ann Oliver was born at 7 lbs. 12 oz. and 19 inches long. She was more perfect then I ever could have imagined with beautiful color, a head full of dark hair, long fingers. She was finally here. The room was instantly filled with a strong spirit. There was so much happiness coming from two different families, this tiny baby girl making us one big family. Within hours she was surrounded by parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles. There was so much love for this little girl. Every aching heart in this family longing for a baby was healed instantly with a simple look at Makenzee.
I knew the next day wasn't going to be an easy one for me. It was the day I had to sign my name agreeing to the adoption. I have always been a stubborn tough girl and throughout the 9 months I told myself, “I can’t cry. I have to be strong.” When everyone said it was ok to be sad and show emotion I held it all in. I read through all the papers with my case worker and was finally unable to control the tears coming down my face. At 9:25am I did the hardest thing I will ever have to do in my life. I signed my name. I finally felt the urge to just break down and yet I couldn't do it with people in the room. My mom knew I needed some time alone and she and my dad left. I remember wanting to just cry but every time I was about to let go someone would walk in to my room. So I kept holding it in.
At 10:25 am I was released from the hospital. I remember looking up at the clock and telling my mom with what humor I could muster “So much for 25 being lucky.”
The ride home was a blur. When I was finally in my home I remember letting it all out, crying like I have never cried before. My mom told me we should say a prayer and the minute she said amen I felt calm. I laid down and went to bed for the night.
The next morning Emilee and Josh came over to my house and wanted to spend some time with me and let me be with Kenzee as much as I wanted before they headed home. To think that they are always thinking of me makes me feel beyond grateful and special. The Lord sure knew what he was doing bringing my family and theirs together. Saying goodbye would have been the hardest thing for me to do, but I knew that it wasn't going to be the end.
It has been five and half months since Makenzee was born and Emilee has yet to miss a day of talking to me on the phone. She sends me a picture every day and talks to me about everything. I have seen their family multiple times and feel more and more loved each time. Just recently Emilee drove down and surprised me on my birthday. She said it was my day and I deserved to have the best one. That was the best birthday present I have ever received. I have grown so close to Emilee I feel as if she is a big sister to me. We are both beyond blessed this sweet baby girl brought us together.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on things. Adoption is a subject that many people have different views on whether it’s open, closed, or in my case, really open. People have told me they can’t believe it’s that open, that they could never do that, doesn't it make it harder on you, etc... but, it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks as long as it is what I want. Everyone has the opportunity to write their own life story and this is the way I decided to write mine.
I am so thankful for this experience in my life. It definitely has shaped me into a better person than I ever was. I am happy with my story and if others don't agree with it, that’s fine. It’s mine and I am beyond proud to share it. I love the entire Oliver Family; I love both Emilee’s family and Josh’s family. They make me feel loved and welcomed as their own. I have had, hands down, the hardest year of my life. There has been constant pain. Pain that is never going to go away. Pain that will be a part of me for my entire life. But every time I am feeling sad, I remember the happiness Makenzee has brought to so many lives and each time I’m sad my pain and hurt is worth every second for me to see the smiles on all their faces. Maybe 25 was lucky after all.
I know that God has a plan for each and every one of us. Each person has their own trials. I am thankful for mine and know that it was part of my plan here on earth. I am so thankful for my amazing family who stood by me through it all. I am especially thankful for my mother, my rock that helped me every step of the way. I have had multiple people be huge examples to me in so many different ways this year and their love and support has meant so much to me. I am so thankful for being the tummy mom to my beautiful daughter and that I still get to be a part of her life. I have a huge love for adoption. Its a kind of love you don't know exists until you are apart of it. A love that will forever be tender and hold a spot in your heart. All those that have had experiences of their own know this kind of love. It is by far one of the best blessing in the world.