July 14, 2008

Our Adoption Story: Part 3

July 14, 2008

We arrived home late Saturday night. Yesterday, Sunday, July 13, all I could think about was the baby. I kept thinking that in two more Sundays, I would be holding my new baby boy at church! I kept imagining everyone’s faces when I walked in with a baby in the sling over my shoulder (most did not even knew we were looking to adopt)! I don’t think I heard one word of the lessons. My mind was completely distracted!

All day today, My hubby and I fasted and prayed in preparation for our meeting with ‘birthmom A’. We fasted to have the Spirit with us in deciding if this was indeed our baby. In knowing what to say to the birthmother (what do you say to the woman who may be carrying your baby in her womb?). How do you thank her enough? How do you let her know you are so excited, yet not step on her toes at all and come across as only caring about the baby? How do you not feel totally overwhelmed by the whole experience?

My sister came over unexpectedly today and I don’t even think I heard a thing she said. I was totally distracted. I felt bad because I could tell I was scatterbrained and she had to have known something was up. I went to Walmart for groceries and made the mistake of walking down the baby isle. I stood there staring at the binkies and had a 10 minute debate with myself on whether or not to buy any. I kept going back and forth in my head. I couldn’t decide if I should do it and simply return them if need be, or if by doing that I would get too emotionally involved. I finally couldn’t decide so I gave up and left.

I think I was half sick all day. I was so nervous. I thought my heart would beat right out of my chest! When we pulled up to the restaurant, my husband spotted her right off (because he is so tall and can scan the crowd).

She seemed to recognize him and smiled. Honestly speaking, it was awkward at first. We both hugged her and said “Hi”. We did not know her at all, yet here we were hugging her. I was concerned she was uncomfortable with it all.  We did the standard small talk. Then we started to relax a bit and asked a lot of questions. This birthmother is an amazing woman who has really been through a ridiculous amount of drama and stress lately. I can only admire her courage in placing her baby all alone, and in a state far away and unfamiliar to her. She was very shy and didn’t say a ton, answering mostly with “Yes, ma’am”, or “No, sir”. We asked her questions like “What is your favorite color?“, “What was your most embarrassing moment?“, and “What are your favorite family traditions?“, etc, just trying to get to know her better.

When we had reached the bottom of our question list, I asked her if she had questions for us. Our birthmom hesitated, looked at the caseworkers, then looked back at us and in a very humble voice responded with, “Would ya’ll really want to take my baby?” *sheer silence* We had expected her to ask us about our parenting styles, what our Christmases were like, how religious we were, etc. She went right for the heartstrings as we both instantly teared up and responded with “Absolutely!” This, of course, set her off as well. Fortunately the caseworkers brought plenty of tissues, because all five of us needed them!

Apparently, previous to all of this, our birthmom had narrowed down her options to us and one other family. She confirmed that she decided to go with the other family because they had no children and that she wanted to give them that experience since we already had four (as we had guessed). She had a phone call with this couple, and met them for 15 minutes. She felt good about it and was planning to proceed with them. That very night after their first meeting, she began thinking about our family. Something kept drawing her attention back to us, but she kept trying to rationalize that she would be blessing that other couple more than our family. She said that she dropped to her knees and began to pray to God to help her know what to do. Then, the next day she received a call from the agency stating that the couple had called and rejected her. They simply stated that they had prayed further and for some reason just didn’t feel like her baby was “their baby”. She was really hurt by that, but quickly recognized that we were supposed to be the parents of her son and that was the reason why she had kept thinking about us. However, since she knew the other family rejected her, she was so nervous at dinner that we were going to reject her baby as well. She keeps telling our caseworker that she is so afraid we will change our minds. That will not happen, for certain!

Later during the dinner one of the caseworkers asked her, “Do you feel that this is your family?” She looked down, then back up at us and said with a smile, “Yes!”. Out came the tissues again, and we were all crying! The crowded room at Olive Garden seemed to disappear as two families from completely different worlds… merged in what would be an unbelievable bond.

After the dinner was over, and we arrived home, we called the caseworker. She said our birthmother was very excited about us! Again, she was just nervous that we would change our minds although she was sure on her part. It’s funny because we are so nervous that she is going to change her mind! (Can’t we get this in a contract or something???)

At dinner we gave our birthmom a gift for her 12-month old, some bath and body lotions for her, and a present from our girls (who were not there). I had all four of them paint hand prints all over a sheet of paper. Then I glued a poem I wrote about the things “These Little Hands” would do for their new baby brother. (could kick myself for not taking a pict)

Dearest Baby Brother,

These little hands are anxious for you to appear,
These little hands are so excited to hold you near,
These little hands are waiting for you to play,
These little hands will love you night and day,
These little hands will smell your tiny stinky toes,
These are the hands that will teach you “eyes” and “nose”.

These little hands will wipe away your tears,
These little hands will quiet all your fears,
These little hands will pick you up when you fall,
These little hands will clap when you learn to crawl,
These little hands will help give your tooth a wiggle,
These are the hands that will tickle and make you giggle.

These little hands will show you how to climb a tree,
These little hands will snuggle you while watching a movie,
These little hands will help you fly your first kite,
These little hands will cradle when you’re scared at night.

There are so many memories we are just waiting to create,
You being a part of our family is nothing short of fate.
We cannot wait to be near you, give hugs and big kisses, too.
Oh, Baby Brother… it’s certain we already LOVE you!

She really started to tear up when she read it.  She acted like she had never been given a gift before! Her baby “J” is cute. She has big brown eyes and really curly hair. Adorable! She is a full sister to this baby so he will probably look a lot like her. She is what I would call chocolate in color. I noticed that when she straightened out her arm the creases in her elbow joint were a pink color… it was cute! I haven’t seen her dad, but I have heard many of the caseworkers say he is handsome.

On the way out of the restaurant, I was holding baby “J”. I could hear people oohhhhhhing and ahhhhhing and talking about her as we walked by. I guess a white woman holding a black baby is quite noticeable (both good and bad). I am sure it will be something I will have to develop a thick skin too. In Missouri, we had a former friend (whom we love dearly) who attended our church say, “When the baby comes out, you need to look at the lips and if they are too big… give the baby back.” My jaw dropped.  We knew she meant NO harm with her comments, it was just a generational thing. It was good for us to see what we might face in the future. I am sure we will hear worse things than that over time by people who just don’t understand, should understand, or won’t understand.

Too many thoughts and emotions are swirling around in my head! I can’t seem to think straight. I feel like I am in a deep fog just floating through my normal life routine…

July 15, 2008

Tuesday was really a weird day. For some reason, I was just so tired and overwhelmed that I could not think straight. I kept going over the financial ramifications of this adoption and stressing about it over and over! I just couldn’t get my mind to think about anything else. It was really weighing on me and my spirit was down. At one point, I even called my hubby and asked him if he was really sure about all this. I think I would have jumped ship at that moment if he hadn’t been so calm. I was just so scared by it all.

We finally told my parents about the pending adoption on Tuesday (they were the first to know). I think they could hear in my voice that I was hesitating as I told them the news. As concerned parents should, they were really grilling me on whether it was the right option at the right time. The adoption process is just so hard! I have never done anything this emotionally draining in my whole life!! How do you prepare for a baby (#5 no less) in only 9 days? How do you simply fork over so much money blindly hoping this woman signs over her parental rights, knowing she could walk with the baby and you are out financially? How do you get as emotionally involved as you need to be without crushing her in the process? How do you protect your heart in the event she does keep the baby? Was I confusing my fear of rejection and financial stress for the Spirit saying “no”? Or was this the adversary trying desperately to freak me out so I wouldn’t follow through with adding to my eternal family? Those are a lot of unanswered questions and I just could not get past it all. My hubby offered me a blessing and it did help.

So Tuesday night I really prayed hard and turned to my scriptures for some guidance. I came across several meaningful scriptures, but Mosiah 4:9 jumped right off the page for me. “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth, believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” It really reassured me. The thought came to my mind that I needed to simply eliminate everything but the very basics. Take it back to the things that I do know and He will take care of the rest!

As I did this, I started thinking of everything that had happened along the way for us to be in this spot at this precise moment in time. I know it wasn’t coincidence… there were simply too many random miracles that happened. I needed to remember how I felt the day we turned our papers in, beginning the formal process of this adoption. I just felt so right … we both did! We knew it was what we were supposed to be doing. I needed to remember how random it was for an agency to contact us letting us know about their many birth mothers and not enough adoptive families. About the urgency we felt to switch over.  I needed to remember how our birthmom felt drawn to us although she had selected another family, and how that family miraculously decided on another direction.  Those are the things I know! Whether it works out good or bad, I know we did what we felt was right in this moment with this knowledge. Now I have to believe that there are things I don’t comprehend and cannot control… and that the Lord will make up the difference. There is unbelievable comfort in that knowledge!

When my hubby and I talked later about all this, we both decided that win or lose… at the end of the day we did what we felt we were supposed to do. And that acknowledgement brought a really deep feeling of peace. I slept well for the first time in many nights.

To read more, click Our Adoption Story: Part 4