Posts tagged ‘adoption journey’

A Birth Mom is A Hero | Mae’s Adoption Journey

A Reflection

Few people have to make a harder choice than a birth mom.

Unplanned pregnancy. Decisions to keep the child. Only to in the end, give it away.

That’s probably the most Christ-like scenario we have on this side of heaven.

Many who adopt fear the birth mom.

TV doesn’t help. Crazy stories invoke fear that your baby won’t be yours anymore.

Even beyond that, having a birth mom in your life is a reminder that the baby isn’t “yours” in the first place.

But ultimately, isn’t that the same for everybody though? No child is truly “ours” if God is the originator of life.

I’m thankful for our birth mom who is in the truest form, a hero.

She made a selfless sacrifice so that her beautiful girl would have a good life.

I can only hope that if I was in a similar situation, I’d have the strength to make the same choice.

The choice that mirrors the love of my Savior.

January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm Leave a comment

January 23 – 10 Year Survivor | Mae’s Adoption Journey

If the journey to our three-week adoption wasn’t emotional enough, there was a special piece to the the timing of things that was making it even more memorable. I was walking in the shadow of another emotional January that happened just 10 years before. That one was just as thrilling, yet not so joyous.

The 2001 Diagnosis

Ten years earlier I had been rushed through a similar rat race of ups and downs – many that fell on the same days as key events in our adoption story. Except 10 years before, they weren’t full of anticipation and joy of a baby. Instead, they were full of fear and anxiety of cancer. As a 17-year-old, I had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. The roller coaster was full of doctors appointments, scans and scheduled surgeries. Not baby shoes and nursery items.

For months leading up to my “10 year” anniversary, I had come up with several ways I wanted to celebrate. I’d gone so far as to sketch out a big fundraiser to raise money for the Colon Club. Then I thought about running ten 5Ks in 2011, signifying my “10 years of survival.” But, nothing ever fabricated. And I realized that it was most likely because God knew I’d have other plans on the 10th year anniversary of being diagnosed with colon cancer.

10 Years of Survivorship and An Introduction to the Family

As the big day came, all I really wanted was to be with my family and our baby. Although I thought I wanted something “big” to give back to others – in the end I just wanted to be at home with the people who had supported me the most. My family.

Each one of the grandparents had waited for a new picture or update all week. While Mike & I would go visit the baby, they had yet to meet her. We wanted to make sure we had a court date and it looked like everything was a “go” before we introduced the baby to them. But as my special day came, I knew it was time. I wanted to celebrate my 10 year anniversary of being diagnosed with cancer with our family meeting our baby. Wht a way to redeem the day.

Meeting the Grandparents

Uncle Nick’s house had become like a second home to us, especially when he told us we were welcome to invite the family over. We gave each of our parents the time and address and told them we’d see them soon! We arrived a little early for more one-on-one time with our baby girl. Time flew and before we knew it, they had all arrived. And right on time – if not a little early. They couldn’t wait to meet our newest addition. It was a perfect moment.

The evening was one of the most memorable in the process. Grandparents ooed and awwed over our beautiful girl. Tears sprung when we finally disclosed her name to them, swearing them to secrecy. Even after a week of visits, we could tell she knew my face and responded to my voice. We ate pizza and had cupcakes. No talk of cancer was found – just excitement for a new baby. And in reality, that’s just how it needed to be.

Years earlier my parents were standing in a library telling me I had cancer. My life was at stake, and the future was uncertain. But now, 10 years later, I was still here. I had life. And what was even better was that another little life was about to enter our world. That was the best celebration I could have ever asked for.

January 23, 2012 at 2:31 pm Leave a comment

January 22 – Chair Shopping | Mae’s Adoption Journey

With a whole week left to go, we let our hair down and took deep breaths. We still had some time to get ready for baby. We already bought “must haves” just in case we had a baby living with us that weekend like diapers and a few clothes and bottles. But one thing we’d yet to do – get the nursery finalized. And there was one missing piece: a chair.

Buying Our Nursery Chair

It may seem crazy, but I was pretty particular when it came to the nursery chair. Following in my big cousin Kristi’s footsteps, I’d always loved how she had an actual “chair” in her kids’ rooms. Hers was a leather recliner. I liked that she could keep her chair for years after her kids were older. Plus, it was major comfortable. So, following suit I totally copied off of her and decided to do the same thing. She loved it.

With my heart set on having a “comfortable” chair that could be reused in any room, we set out shopping. We grabbed my bud, “Auntie Amy,” and headed out to Nebraska Furniture Mart. It didn’t take us long to find it, even after we stopped at the massage chairs. There it was:  a perfect, dark brown, gliding, reclining chair. Our nursery was complete.

First Stop: Massage Chairs

The perfect nursery chair

January 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

January 20 – Meeting Lawyer Mike | Mae’s Adoption Journey

In the midst of long days of waiting, we had a crazy bout of snow & ice. School was cancelled every other day. Mike certainly didn’t mind. So on a snowy morning we headed over to see our baby once again. She was still staying with the neighbor, but between drop-by visits and calls, the neighbor seemed like an old-time friend.

We headed out to see our gorgeous girl and on the way received a long-awaited phone call from our lawyer. This was the first time we’d spoken and he wanted us at his office that afternoon. He had papers ready and was still going to try to get us in court the next day.

So, our long visit to the baby was cut short as we gave her a few hugs and kisses and then headed for downtown Kansas City.

Meeting With Our Adoption Attorney

I’d never met with an attorney before so I had no idea to expect. The tall building and long elevator ride seemed right but as soon as our lawyer Mike greeted us from his waiting room, my perspective shifted from there. He was funny and told jokes. He told us stories about his kids and laughed a lot. It was refreshing – it made the process even so much more … fun. Even the legal side of it. Mike walked us through each paper and the process that awaited us. He’d go file a petition and wait to hear of our date. Then for six months we’d have temporary custody. He’d need to place a few notices and check a paternity registry since the birth father had never been in the picture. (although he was sure he wouldn’t be resurfacing, it was protocol.) And then after court, we’d head home with the baby, meet with our social worker for six months and then return to court to make it final later in the year. That seemed simple enough.

One of our First “Just the Two Of Us” Meals

We were beaming once again after leaving the lawyer’s office. The ball was rolling. It’s amazing how much hope and excitement flooded back in after a long week of waiting. We headed down to Power & Light for a nice dinner. As far as we knew, this could be the last night it would be just the two of us…. forever. So, we ordered a few drinks and had a great meal. We couldn’t wait to hear if we’d be in court the next morning.

January 20, 2012 at 9:44 am 2 comments

January 18 – Visiting Baby | Mae’s Adoption Journey

It’s amazing how just a week earlier, time couldn’t go any faster.

Yet upon agreeing to adopt a baby girl living just 10 minutes away from us, and waiting for a final court date to be set, time couldn’t go any slower.

Our days were full of working and then figuring out how to slip over and visit the baby. We wanted to see her as much as we possibly could. Uncle Nick had gone out of town and the baby was staying with his neighbor for the week. As much as we wanted to keep her with us, our lawyer advised we not bring her home until the judge handed us the paperwork for custody – so we settled with visits. Even if we did have to travel in the snow. To a stranger’s house. To hold our baby in their bedroom. And hang out to take pictures of her in their living room. Even if we didn’t know them.

Not really our cup of tea. But at least they were some of the nicest people we’d met. Oh the things you’ll do for your … kids.

 

January 18, 2012 at 6:53 am 1 comment

January 17 – Registering | Mae’s Adoption Journey

We were on cloud nine after spending a whole evening with the baby girl who would soon be ours. We couldn’t wait to bring her home and begin a new life together. We’d been in contact with our adoption agency who kept giving us updates on what the process looked like. They’d assigned us a lawyer, gotten everything in line for the birth mom, and expected us to be in court by the upcoming Friday if everything fell into place … meaning in four days we’d be coming home with a baby!

Baby Names

We sent out a quick email update again late afternoon letting our friends and family know what our process was looking like. We also told them that we’d not be disclosing the baby’s name. We’d been asked repeatedly about her name, and chose to keep that confidential. It was a sensitive issue, and we wanted to approach it cautiously.

Even before we’d married, we had always had the name of a little girl picked out. It had stuck with us in our dating days and grown to mean so much more to us over the years. However, as we thought through baby names, we’d never expected that our baby would already come with a name. We figured we’d be bringing home an infant from the hospital and the name we chose would be the only name he/she would ever have. We didn’t quite factor in adopting a 4-month-old who’d gone by a previous name for several months.

I struggled with the thought of changing her name, not wanting to show any disrespect to her birth family. However, deep down inside of me I knew it needed to happen. God brought example after example of Biblical stories where names were changed when a transformation occurred. From Sarah & Abraham in Genesis to Paul in Acts – we had a Biblical mandate to change her name. So after prayer and conviction, we proceeded with the plan to change this baby girl’s name to one that God had already put on our hearts. One that would officially make her part of our family.

We left everyone in anticipation and decided not to share until everything was final. We approached the name issue with sensitivity, realizing handling it poorly could jeopardize the situation and relationships. So, we kept everyone guessing on the name, but at least threw them a bone. We went and registered.

Registering for Baby

Now we’d been married for almost six years so we were a little out of practice when it came to registering for gifts. However, once we grasped that Target gun in hand, we were on our way. And it took us very little time to remember how to use it.

Aisle after aisle, we added baby items to our list. Not even knowing what half of them did, we added them anyway. I’d babysat for enough kiddos to know some of the essentials. And then other things just looked really fun.

Bottles, socks, toys – you name it, we added it. It just felt awesome to be “doing” something after a long week of waiting and stalling. We wrapped up our registry list and sent out the news that it was live. It didn’t take long for the gifts to begin pouring in. After all, we had a baby coming – and most likely she’d be moving in by Friday.

January 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

January 16 – Becoming Acquainted | Mae’s Adoption Journey

By the next day, it felt as though we finally had a chance to take one big exhale.

We’d been through some of the strangest up & down moments of our life in a matter of a week. We’d never expected this journey in a million years. But we were thankful for it. Especially since there was no waiting for a “I’m in labor” phone call to arrive. The baby was already here and living just minutes away.

It seemed like much of the drama and unknowns had suddenly subsided. Now we could focus on getting to know this new little girl.

First Family Time

We were so thankful for such an “open door” from Uncle Nick. He made sure we knew we could come over to his house as often as we’d like, when we’d like, to get to know the baby and begin the bonding process. His number one priority was to get her attached to us ASAP, so we started in right away without any objections.

We spent the evening holding and feeding her. Nick gave me the scoop on what she already had, and some baby items she might need. It was the first time I could actually wrap my head around what was happening. She wears size 2 diapers – check. She likes to be swaddled before bed – check. Finally – we were in my element.

As Nick slipped away to hang with his daughter, the three of us were left to sit, watch TV and figure out what this new family of three would look like. As we were hanging on the couch, I realized that Nick had a dog. And my eyes nearly popped out of my head when she came up the stairs and sat by us. “No way,” I thought. This is just unreal.

The Big Black Dog Confirmation

Around the very same time we had submitted our application papers and begun the process in September, I’d received a text from my good friend Rene. She’d had a strange dream the previous night that a baby was on the way for us. She’d been staying at our house while we were out-of-town and awoke in our guest room with the feeling that she was sleeping in a “to-be” baby’s room. In her dream she saw me in the room, rocking a baby girl and a big black dog sitting by my feet. When she awoke, she began texting me.

“Do you have something you need to tell me?”

I got the text and quickly showed Mike. Nobody knew that we’d begun the process to adopt, yet something told me she was on to us. Luckily, she followed up her text with,

“Are you pregnant?”

I took a sigh of relief and quickly told her, NO – I wasn’t pregnant. Then I got the scoop on her dream and why she was asking. She was just certain that it had meant something, and a baby was on the way for us.

I didn’t think a lot about the dream after she told us. For one, I figured it just meant that she was right – we had begun the process and a baby was on the way. But, I deep down thought we’d be getting a boy. And I figured the dog in the dream represented one of our two dogs and their protection or something like that.

So – we were spending time at Nick’s house when his dog appeared from the basement. She was quiet and didn’t even seem to notice two strangers were in the house. I took one glance at her and then thought to myself, “Hmm, I didn’t realize Nick had a dog.” I went back to watching TV and then stopped dead in my tracks when it suddenly hit me. The dream. The baby. The dog.

Never in my life had I experienced anything like this but as soon as I saw the dog I got goosebumps all over. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God had sent that dream, and that it would be confirmation for us on this very night that we were on the right path. We’d had a crazy week with ups and downs. Even with the email from the birth mom, we still felt shaky. Everything was happening so fast. The week had been ridden with ups & downs. Yet one glance at that big black dog and my heart found peace as I held my baby girl. We were absolutely in the right place. And this little baby was 100% meant to be ours.

Eager To Get Her Home

We snapped a few pics before bedtime. And then we headed out to see what the news would be in the morning. We were eager to let our adoption agency know about the weekend and the finality of the birth mom’s decision to move forward with us. Rumors were that we could even be in court by the end of the week. And while just a few days ago that had freaked us out, after spending time with our precious baby, all we wanted was to get her home.

January 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm 1 comment

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