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

January 15 – Activation Celebration | Mae’s Adoption Journey

By around 8am the next morning, I had an email in my inbox. My heart started racing as I anticipated questions that were to come.  I thought about our previous meeting with the birth mom all night. She must have too. I got my “game face” on and opened up the email. To my surprise, a short note started out with

“I believe you and Mike will make great parents … and I feel blessed to have met you both.”

Wowza, and that was it. A night ridden with questions of how long this process would take, and wondering if the birth mom connected with us were answered within just a few hours. She had peace about us raising her little girl. She wanted us to be her parents. And after just seven days after we’d heard of the possibility to adopt a baby girl, she was going to be ours.

I called Mike into our bedroom and showed him the email. We hugged, mouths open wide at the shock of how fast everything had gone. And then finally the smiles we’d both been holding back came out. We were beaming.

Sharing the News

My friend Amber who was staying at her house with her hubby has always had a knack for coming into town at just the right time. She’d been with us to weddings, showers, birthdays, family funerals – all usually unplanned. So it was fitting that she was with us when we received an email from a birth mom asking us to adopt her daughter. We shared the news with her and then hid out in our room for a bit to type up a long novel to many close friends and family members.

Some of them had known about the events of the week, but some of them had no clue about what was going on. So to explain our upcoming life change that would be happening in a matter of three weeks … not nine months … we started out with an email. Replies flooded in with “Congratulations!” and “OMG!s.” This was the real thing.

Celebrating with an Activation Celebration

The Lord works in mysterious ways, and one that continually blows my mind is timing. Weeks earlier some of my closest buds Amy & Ashley had asked if they could throw a shower for me. I initially said “no way,” following all the adoption manual’s cues when it came to this sort of thing. Any sort of shower was highly discouraged until the baby was home with us – there were so many things that could fall through. They advised we wait.

However, the girls insisted and still asked to do a little something. It didn’t have to be a “shower.” They came up with the idea of an “Activation Celebration.” They knew our activation papers were coming soon and that when we did get the call, gift cards would be handy. The original thought was that if we were chosen by a birth mom in a different state and needed to travel, at least we’d have a way to buy the baby some needed items. So I agreed to them throwing an “activation celebration” where we’d have just gift cards as gifts … and no baby games.

I felt so honored and started looking forward to the celebration. The girls had been planning it for several weeks before the date. Little did we know that the very date they chose for the celebration would fall on the same day I would receive word from a birth mom that sealed the deal motherhood was knocking at my front door – and soon. Like in a week or so.

Let’s Party And Keep A Lid on It

Although the shower had some of my closest small group friends there, only a handful of them still knew about the baby, much less the email I’d received earlier that morning. My moms were there too, but they also kept quiet. All of the news throughout the week had been so tentative, we’d proceeded with caution each step of the way. So, we followed suit on this evening. Just to be safe. We celebrated a “Baby Burgess” and had an amazing time with Thai food, wine, cake and nursery room mobile making. And as each time somebody mentioned Baby B, some of us kind of smiled. Because we actually had an idea of what she looked like… and knew that in all actuality, she was already here.

January 15, 2012 at 10:27 am 3 comments

January 14 – The Wrench | Mae’s Adoption Journey

Some have described adoption as a journey of ups and downs, twists and turns. Yet the day after we’d told our parents we’d be adopting only get to get another “hiccup” along the way didn’t exactly feel like another “twist” in the story. Instead, it felt like someone had just thrown a heavy wrench at us.

Life Resumes … For A Few Seconds At Least

Almost a full week had gone by since the first text about a baby and in a matter of days I was involved in a process to adopt a four-month old. Although my heart still raced at the thought, I had more peace that things were getting “in place.” Our adoption agency was giving us the cues. We were in “wait until you hear back” mode.

I decided to resume my schedule and keep a meeting with a former co-worker about a possible freelance opportunity with his new company. It was something new to focus my anxiety upon. Although we were friends, I was meeting downtown with one of the largest Kansas City companies about a possible side-job. Nervousness took over, and my mind wandered to things other than a baby.

Crisis. Panic. Think Quick.

As I’m reminding myself of the route to downtown and merging on the interstate, I received a phone call from Scott. I answer with excitement, wishing him happy birthday. He quickly says thanks, but then gets a serious tone in his voice. He’d just talked to a panicking Nick. Apparently, after Nick spoke with his sister about adoption she called a Christian adoption agency before she called ours. That agency was bringing a couple out to meet her … and the baby … in just a few hours.

I laughed because there was really no other response to the news Scott had just given me. I thought we’d hit the speed bump a few days earlier when we realized the decision for adoption hadn’t ultimately been made. But this was a whole new side of unexpected. And instead of being handed a baby, now I was now being asked to fight for her against another Christian couple who also wanted to be parents.

What Do We Do??

I was less than thrilled to hear this news, yet something in me that wanted to panic, didn’t. At least not yet. I took a deep breath and talked through the game plan with Scott.

In our profile for the agency, Mike & I described ourselves as a dedicated Christian couple. We chose not to work with a “Christian” agency to cast our net as wide as possible, so I laughed at the irony of the situation. Nick was sold on having me & Mike adopt the baby. He was confident in our marriage, personalities, faith, home and our future – and he knew we would be the best place for his baby girl. He just needed his sister to also see that. And in order for us to not only show her, but to “beat out” another couple now in the running, we needed to meet her. And quickly.

I’d been waiting to hear back from the agency and held off making any personal contact with the birth family on my own. However extreme times called for extreme measures. And we needed to break the “rules” and meet her. Tonight. All plans were tentative until I talked with Mike. I desperately tried to get in touch with him while running in to my meeting.

My Most Embarrassing Meeting Ever

Face flushed, heart racing, I found the building and ran through the glass doors to meet my friend. I tried to find a simple way to answer his usual “How’s it going” as we greeted one another, yet I couldn’t hold it in. I quickly caught him up to speed not just with life in general – but the past 20 minutes – and what I was in the middle of dealing with. Thankfully, he was more of a friend than former coworker and understood my lack of focus and necessity to take phone calls during our meeting. By the time we wrapped up, I barely understood how his complicated industry worked – although he’d done a great job in explaining it. I did, however, have an OK from Mike for our evening plans and a text to Scott with the go-ahead to move forward.

I was so embarrassed, I’d never been that unprofessional before. However, this was a life-changing day and luckily my friend could see that. I quickly hurried back to my car just in time for the short breaths and nervous shakes to begin. I needed to start praying, and to get myself calmed down.

Praying Praying Praying

In a rush I went and got Mike from his grandma’s house where we’d originally planned to be that evening and we both hurried home, leaving the extended family questioning our sudden cancellation for a family dinner. I once again felt bad yet had no other choice. I had to get home. I needed to be with Mike. And we needed to pray.

Everything in me felt horrible. I didn’t want to fight. This wasn’t supposed to be a competition. And even as it was, the other couple we were trying to appear “better than” were also solid Christians who would be providing a loving, God-filled home too. Yet in my mind, I had to put us on different teams and figure out how to win over the birth mom if indeed this baby girl was for us. I had no other strategy than prayer.

With only an hour until we needed to leave, Mike and I laid on our bed and he read through the Psalms. We prayed for God’s comfort and his sovereignty. We knew that He knew the plans and the outcome of the evening. And we had to trust that even if this didn’t work out, He had good things in store for us.

Meeting the Birth Mom

Under the advice of Scott, we threw a few baby toys in a bag that we’d gotten from our excited-to-be-grandparents for Christmas. He thought it might help to show we were really ready for a baby. We headed to Nick’s house which was the meeting place of the night, driving carefully along the iced streets. Scott & Patti met us in the driveway. Although it was Scott’s birthday, he offered to be there since we still didn’t really know Nick all that well. We took him up on the offer.

Walking through the front door, we suddenly were greeted by Nick and then saw her.

She was beautiful.

We’d only seen pictures through a cell phone, but that didn’t give it justice. I walked over to the pink bouncy seat where a baby girl was snugly sitting in her green sleeper, content and watching the room fill with people. I noticed her brown eyes and sparse curly hair. And before I got too fixated, I turned around to see her birth mom coming down the stairs to meet us.

Complex Feelings and Hitting it Off

Trying to figure out how to be ‘real’ in such a moment was mind-blowing. I wanted to act interested in the baby – I mean I was interested in the baby – yet not overdo it. I wanted to focus on getting to know the birth mom, tuning into what she was saying, yet not overdo it and freak her out. And I had about one minute to figure out how to act, balance my focus of her vs. the baby, and get my face to not depict my out-of-control emotions and thoughts. Luckily, Nick helped break the ice.

As we began talking, I suddenly felt an ease and comfort with the birth mom. Mike would chime in here and there, too – helping keep the conversation going. Sure, anxieties were still there. Another couple had just been sitting on the same couch Mike and I were on, having this same conversation. Yet pressing through the awkwardness, I just started to get to know her. I wanted to know what she liked to do for fun, and what she was passionate about. We hit it off by having the same phone. She already knew a bit about us because of a profile sheet our agency had given her. She asked about our dogs and love of Dawson’s Creek. It was as nice and comfortable as the situation allowed.

As the “who are you” conversations came to a natural slow, we turned our focus on the baby. Nick offered for us to hold her, and so I slowly walked over and carefully lifted her out of the bouncy seat. Every emotion possible was firing off in every direction inside of me. I couldn’t believe I was holding her. I wanted to study her and know everything there was to know about her. I wanted to kiss her forehead and hug her tight. Yet – at the same time – I didn’t want to jump the gun. No assumptions made. I had to show respect – not ownership. We were one out of two couples vying to be her parents. And I had to remember that.

After holding her for a few minutes, I passed her to Mike so that I could continue talking with the birth mom. Thanks to Nick’s help and promptings, we started to focus on some baby-related questions once she joined Mike & me on the couch. I got to learn about the birth mom’s hope for the baby to be in a Christian home. I got some background on her relationship with the birth father. I got to ask questions. I got real, honest answers. And at the end, I felt comfortable that whatever she chose, everything would work out.

Photo Time?

It was getting late and the baby had crashed in our arms. I considered that a good sign, especially when I saw Nick’s mouth curl up and look of “awe” come over him. As the evening came to a close, the birth mom asked if she could take our picture with the baby. Hesitation flooded my mind and I told her I thought it might be best to wait on that. I knew she had a decision to make, and with respect to her, I thought we should hold off on any pictures until things were more final.

She seemed to understand, but as we kept on talking and the baby slept soundly in our arms, something in the back of my head told me to just take the picture. “If this is your daughter, and this is the night that you meet her, you are going to want a picture of this.” So after a few more minutes, I asked her if it was OK for me to change my mind. And we took a few pictures of what could be our first photo of our family of three on the couch…

The evening ended with an exchange of emails from the birth mom and myself. This had already become way more of an open situation than I thought I’d ever want; but in strange way, it felt very right. She’d wanted to ask me a few more questions after getting some rest and I told her I was up for that. We thanked her for meeting, Nick for hosting, Scott & Patti for supporting and shuffled out the door.

Waiting for More Questions

My best friend from college, Amber, and her husband had just gotten into town for the weekend and were spending the night at our place. I told her we had an unexpected meeting come up but that we’d be home soon. We finally got home and began retelling the story of the past 24 hours to them. They shook their heads in disbelief with us. And then we dropped it. There was no use in dwelling on it, so we had a great time relaxing and laughing – and not thinking or talking about a baby. All I knew was that things were still so much up in the air.  I was expecting to have an email from the birth mom in the next few days with a few more questions to answer.

January 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm 2 comments

January 13 – Agency Calls | Mae’s Adoption Journey

Once again, my head was spinning. This wasn’t a new occurrence though. In less than a week there had been several days where the room was spinning. It started with a text and then a meeting. Then it really started spinning after a decision. But after I hung up with our adoption agency the morning after meeting Uncle Nick, I knew this was all for real.

You Ready to Proceed With Adoption?

The previous night, we left meeting Uncle Nick with unsettled feelings. Excited, yet uncertain. The situation called for several more meetings and several more phone calls. Part of me dropped some hope once I realized the “this person needs to call that person” web that was to come. I figured something was bound to fall through. Yet the next day when I recognized the phone number of the adoption agency calling my phone, I new we’d made some progress.

Yet once again, blood surged through my veins. Nick had talked to his sister and she knew that adoption would be the best thing for her precious girl. It didn’t take much convincing, she was already there. She wanted what was best for her, as did Nick. He let her know about us. And she trusted him. So much so that by the next morning, she had already called our adoption agency and set up a meeting with them. They were calling us before noon to fill us in on the morning’s activities.

“Hi Danielle, we’ve already talked with the birth mom and she’s ready to move forward if you are. Are you wanting to move forward in this process and adopt this baby?

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the question. It was one that I’d been asking myself all week. Yet something about having our adoption agency ask it put it in the major leagues. This was the real deal now.

“Yes, we will move forward.”

And with that, we were on our way. I quickly called Mike. He was in the middle of eating lunch with co-workers between classes. I had always tried to avoid calling him during school hours, not wanting to interrupt his teaching. But luckily I caught him at a good time. Making she he knew we had agreed to adopt a kid was sort of big news. Mike’s response was the same as mine. Surprised everything had moved quickly. Still in agreement to move forward. Happy. And probably more than anything, dumbfounded.

Time to Spread the Word A Bit

Granted, I was in shock that this was all real and happening. But I’d had five or six days to know it was coming. It hit me that Mike and I would be becoming parents very quickly, we had a daughter out there … and yet none of our parents knew any of this. So, although I hadn’t quite processed everything yet – I picked up the phone and called my mom. We needed to start telling our parents.

Telling Mom

My mom has always been able to take my phone calls at her job. Working in a school gives her the flexibility to put her kids first, even if we are, ahem, nearing 30. So, I called her school and asked the receptionist to find her. I needed to talk to her. In a grand opening statement where I stumbled over my words and such, I basically got out the gist of it: something’s been going on, everything is moving fast, there’s this baby, we’ve been put in line to adopt her, and as of this morning it’s real and looks like it’s happening. Mom’s response gave me a little comfort knowing that my reactions all week didn’t come from nowhere. She was excited, yet quiet, and mostly in shock. I could tell the room was spinning for her, too.

Telling Dad

Next up, I needed to tell my dad. Since his office is less than a mile from my house and his birthday had been the previous day, I thought it would be fun to somehow surprise him with a late birthday gift. I waited for Mike to get home from work and we slipped by his office. I’m sure when we walked in he thought we needed to talk about our cars or life insurance or something. But rather, we sat down across from him at his desk and proceeded to give him a gift wrapped frame. And then we began to explain to him that he could put his granddaughter’s photo in there. His eyebrows shot up. We started sharing the story again. Since I’d already had a first run with Mom, this one wasn’t as rough. Plus, Mike chimed in to help. Yet it was still stop-and-go and shocking. My dad is usually pretty calm and collected about everything … well except my colon cancer. So in his usual fashion he sat there, legs crossed (and shaking), hands clasped rested in his lap, head nodding as he took in our story. At first I thought he wasn’t surprised. But then I realized he was just processing. And at the end of our story, he got a big smile on his face. “I’m gonna be a grandpa!”

Telling Mike’s Mom & Dad

Last up, we wanted to tell Mike’s mom & dad together. Since we also lived just down the road from them, we decided to stop by once we knew Mike’s dad would be home from work. We knew this would probably already tip them off that something was going on. Years before we’d had a similar “drop by” experience when we told them we were planning to move to LA. We’d set this scenario up the same way, so they were excited to see us yet anxious to hear the “news” we had for them. I could tell they were hoping it was good. We didn’t mess around – we got right down to it. We began to share the story again about how a few days earlier, we’d received a text and had a few meetings and well – as of this morning – we’d agreed to adopt a baby girl. Reactions were the same. Excitement. Surprise. Little bit of shock. The super fun part was sharing that this little gal was just shy of two weeks younger than my niece. “They can grow up together!” I jumped at the thought. The reality had hit me once again in a whole new way. Holy cow, this was real.

Letting the News Soak In

After a long emotional day, we headed home to recover. We wanted to share our news with so many others, yet were exhausted and drained. We were glad all of our parents knew. We’d told just a handful of friends. We just needed to rest.

Before my eyes took their last blink, I reflected back on the day’s events. All of our parents responded differently (in a good way), yet they were all very similar. Cautiously excited. Surprised and shocked at the timing. Unsure exactly of how to react. Yet happy. And if we were being honest, Mike & I felt the same way.

It hit me once again that the journey of adoption is unique and different. There’s not one way it will ever be done. And most of the process is uncertain and requires great faith. There’s a typical pattern of responses when it comes to pregnancy or birth announcements. Even if they’re a total shock, most of us get what came before (that’s assumed) and what will come after. But with adoption, and especially our journey, there were no assumptions. We had no idea what had come before (only bits and pieces we’d managed to piece together) – and we especially had no idea what would come after. Nothing about adoption was familiar to us. And even if it would have been, each story has its own twists and turns and details to work out. And while I wasn’t saddened nor scared about the unfamiliarity of this process, I was just praying that I felt everything I needed to feel, and that this was right.

All we knew was that our lives were about to change. We handed the legal stuff and the details over to our agency. We asked our closest friends and family to be praying. And with that, we called it a night.

January 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

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