“Would you be ready to accept an adoption placement tomorrow?” I couldn’t believe my ears. A baby was already born who would be ready to go home with us the next day if the birth mother chose us as her child’s adoptive family! It seemed way too good to be true, but here we were, being faced with the dream I had been hoping for! A healthy baby that lined up with our desires in many ways and without anymore waiting! We happily said, ‘YES!’ to meeting with the birth mother the next day.
The Excitement Begins…
As many expecting parents do … we video called/texted our family! It was so fun to see the happy faces and hear the squeals of excitement as we told people one by one about this possible new addition to our family. My hope was buoyed. I immediately started thinking about all the things I’d need to do to prepare for a baby if we were selected as the adoptive parents. This was all so surreal!
Later that evening, my husband, Putty, and I talked more about how crazy-ridiculous (in a good way) this was feeling! We were excited and filled with anticipation. The last step for our evening was to review the birth family information. Our agency rep was getting that typed up so she could send it to us. I checked my inbox repeatedly for that email, but as evening rolled around, we got another text from the agency. My heart sunk a little as I read it, but I still held onto hope.
You see, the birth mother was having second thoughts about making an adoption plan for her baby and it was looking like the process would probably take longer than originally expected. In fact, it was proposed that the baby would go to a non-adoptive family while the birth mother made her decision to parent or not. I felt so strongly that if this was going to be our baby, I’d REALLY like to take care of this child from the beginning. I was ready! I didn’t want to wait, but I didn’t really have a say in these things. It’s all part of the process. The birth mother still planned to meet birth families the next day so she could have them in mind while making her ultimate decision.
Add in a Little Uncertainty..
And so… I went to bed that night not really sure what to expect. Would this chance at adoption really be ended as quickly as it began? Should I retain hope? What are my thoughts and feelings about a birth mother making a choice to parent instead of making an adoption plan? Is one better than the other? Well, I hadn’t met the mother and I didn’t know her situation, so I didn’t really have an answer. I had to leave it in God’s hands. He knew what would be best for this little baby. He knew and I trusted Him. I prayed that God would allow us to take the baby home the next day if it was to be our little one. Then I went to bed.
The next morning came. Our adoption meeting was scheduled for the afternoon, so I had all morning to prepare. Putty was out of the house when I got another call from our agency. It looked like we might actually have a chance at having the baby in our home that night after all! Although the birth mother still wasn’t sure if she would parent or not, she wanted the baby to go home to the prospective adoptive parents just in case she chose that option. Putty and I talked about it when he returned home and we agreed that we felt okay with this plan. We were now in a situation where we might take care of this sweet baby with the possibility of keeping or returning this child home to the birth mother.
This was not exactly what I pictured when we originally decided to do private domestic adoption, but we felt completely at peace with this decision, and so we continued onward. We only had a few more hours before our meeting with the birth mom. It was my first time ever meeting a birth mom. It was a bit surreal. I mean, how do you prepare to meet a woman who is trying to decide if you should parent her child or not? It’s a bit of a weighty meeting and there’s not really a way to prepare for it. In fact, we realized that the best thing to do was to be ourselves. That’s what this birth mom was really looking for anyway. She wanted to know authentically who these would-be parents are.
That afternoon, we entered the agency door and there she was, the birth mom! I’m going to go ahead and put out a side note that it’s very weird to be meeting people for the first time during COVID. I mean, do we shake hands or just wave? How do I express warmth towards this woman if I cannot touch her? It was okay to shake hands (PSA: hand sanitizer was available). We walked to the conference room together and sat across the table from each other. Our agency representative took the lead to start the conversation and from there we talked about the birth mom’s experience thus far and what she was looking for in adoptive parents. We talked about the birth mom’s desires for the level of openness in the relationship and even whether or not she wanted the baby to keep the name on the birth certificate.
As we went through all this, I felt very disengaged. I knew that I had to engage, but I didn’t quite understand why I was having trouble. Then I realized it. I got the feeling that the birth mom would eventually choose to parent. Her requests and even her low levels of engagement were indicators to me. Even so, I found a question to ask her and we had some better back and forth conversation for the last half of the meeting. As we said goodbye, we wished her luck and expressed to her again that we really didn’t want to pressure her on her decision, but rather support her in whatever she chose.
Not long after returning home, I got a call. Our agency rep told us the good news. We had been chosen to care for the baby! We had about 2 hours before the baby would be at our door! My sister and brother-in-law brought over their crib. My daughter and I pulled out the baby clothes and started to get them washed. Putty set up the Pack ‘n’ Play on the main level and we waited. Finally, the baby was here! We talked with the agency rep, signed some papers and then we were on our own with this sweet baby.
Oh the joy! But also mixed in was the feeling and sense that this baby was not going to be ours. I sensed that partly from our birth mom meeting, but also when the agency rep dropped off the baby, more texts had been received from the birth mother indicating that she was gathering things together so she would be ready to parent very soon. We still welcomed this child into our home knowing that it was unlikely we would be the parents. Sure enough, after 36 hours this baby went home to the birth mother. This was a good thing and that baby is doing very well now. I’m so happy that this mother can be with her child. But, it makes me yearn even more for our next child.
A Different Kind of Hope…
This experience was not what I hoped, but also not out of the question for the adoption process. Yes, I am ready for our next child and the idea of a baby coming to us ‘the next day’ is very exciting! My hopes soared high and then little by little glided downwards to the reality that this wasn’t going to be our ‘happy ending.’ It hurts. My heart hurts not because we didn’t get to adopt this specific child, but rather that our journey has to continue. I wanted to settle down with this story as our ending place, but God has something else in mind. If anything, this experience fanned the flame of anticipation for when it’s our turn to welcome our ‘forever child’. Oh, I can’t wait! Even though it’s hard, I am really looking forward to the future.