Please share these stories for and with each other.
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I will go first....I'm an adoptee, so perhaps my story will help adoptive parents....
I was born on April 1, 1982 after a very difficult labour, a whopping 10 lbs. 6 oz. My natural mother was living in a home for unwed mothers at the time. I was a "Prom Night Baby", and my mother was just about to turn 19. My natural father was 32, and had an 8-year-old daughter with his ex-wife.
My mother had been receiving information and counselling regarding adoption, along with many other girls at the home. The others, who were planning to keep their babies, were taught lifeskills.
However, after I was born, my mother felt she had to give it a try. I went to live with my natural father, and my mother visited me often. However, I would cry every time she held me, and her already shaky confidence dropped to a new low.
After nearly 2 months of living with my father, my mother decided that she couldn't do it. She wanted me to have a good mother, who could nurture and care for me in a way that she felt she would be unable to. So, on a May day, she and my father took me to the Children's Aid Society and handed me over to social workers.
It wasn't long before a couple was contacted. They had been waiting about 9 months to hear about a child. I was considered to be "difficult to place" because I was multi-ethnic, and they would adopt any child, so it was a quick match. They came to visit me at the foster home, and got pictures to take home.
Because the social workers were unsure about my natural mother's decision, they wanted me to remain in foster care for 30 days, until my natural mother could no longer change her mind.
And so, on June 23, 1982, I went home with my new parents. They were thrilled.
A year later, we adopted my brother, who was almost 6 years old, and milatto. He spoke only French, and my parents spoke only English. He'd had a very difficult life thus far, but having a little sister to help take care of seemed to help him.
The following year, we adopted my AA sister, who was 18 months, only 10 months younger than me. My sister and I grew up like twins (and actually got asked if we were twins all the time, even though we are not even the same ethnicity!).
When I was 3, we adopted my 2nd brother, who is CC. Finally, our family was complete.
Growing up in my house wasn't easy. From the time I was 3, I knew that my parents did not get along. For the next 7 years, they fought every night, unless my father was away on business trips. My siblings all had emotional and behavioural issues from being in abusive homes and/or foster care. They also had special learning needs, especially my 2nd oldest brother, who has a developmental delay, and required regular speech therapy.
My mom was very nurturing, and always had creative activities for us to do, or exciting trips for us to go on. We were lower middle class, but my mom went without to give us unique experiences. Still, the stress of my father never helping her took it's toll, and she became emotionally and physically abusive, mostly towards my siblings. It took some counselling, but I have forgiven my mother for this. She is a wonderful woman, and loves her kids more than anything. I can only imagine the amount of stress and frustration she was feeling back then, and I simply cannot blame her.
Eventually, my parents divorced. My siblings and I saw our father for 8 hours every 2 weeks for a number of years.....but now it's been more than 3 years since I have spoken to him.
In May 2002, I met my natural mother for the first time. It was pure fluke...she had seen a t.v. program about adoption reunion, and thought maybe, just maybe, she would have a little look....she went on a website, and found me immediately. She went on another, just to make sure, and there I was again! She sent me an e-mail, I responded, and within a week, we met face to face.
She came to my house, and had dinner with my mom and me. My mom was absolutely thrilled, as she had always wanted to meet my natural mother, and knew how important it was for me. They became extremely close. They have since drifted apart, and had a falling out, but they do still get along now.
In June 2002, I met my natural father. I now call him "Dad". He is the father I always wanted. He just loves my mom, and is eternally grateful for her raising me. He is getting married this year to a wonderful woman, who is "Nanny" to my son...
I have 3 half-sisters, one 8 years older, one 9 years younger, and one 11 years younger, all my dad's children. My natural mother never had any other children. She felt unable to be a mother, but also could not face placing another child for adoption. She has had 5 abortions since my birth. She, too, is getting married this year. Before being reunited with me, she was unable to have committed relationships. I am thankful that our reunion has allowed her to finally move on in her life.
My son's family tree is going to be hopelessly confusing....but I am truly blessed to have so many people who love and care about the both of us, both my blood relatives, and my wonderful adoptive family, without whom I would not be the woman I am today.
Mom to two amazing boys, C (July 2005) and D (May 2010)
Founder/leader of a Babywearing group, and loving it!
I have three adoption stories, my own, my dd's and my ds's. I will start with my own story. I will come back and post the other two separately.
I was born April 9, 1967 in a small town in PA. I was the second child born to my teenage mother. My 'first parents' were in high school when they got together much to the disappointment of both of their families. My mother is AA and my father is CC. In 1967 in our small PA town just slightly north of the Mason Dixon inter-racial relationships were frowned upon to put it mildly. The poor 'mixed' children would suffer was the thinking at the time.(just for the record my ethnicity has not caused me to 'suffer' at all. I feel I have the best of all worlds!) At any rate, my mother was living in the projects with my then 1 year old sister when she found herself pregnant with me. One Saturday night as she tells it, she was at home with friends dancing and having fun when her water broke. ( my name is Candance ) She had no car and her family was less than supportive at the time so she called the police and was driven across town to the hospital in the back of a squad car. She gave birth to me Sunday morning at 0838. There she was, a young girl less than 18 years old caring for two little girls of her own. She was overwhelmed and as she says 'clueless'. My bfather was in and out of her life. When he was around he was abusive verbally and physically. From all reports, he did take my sister and I out occasionally and tried to be a dad. Eventually, it all became too much for each of them. My mother could not take the abuse and he was given an ultimatum from his own mother. It was her family or my mom and those little 'n****r' children. He chose to turn his back on us. My mom struggled but within another year was pregnant again by another man. She gave birth to my brother. So, there she was now with three children, no support, no money, no education, living in the projects with no idea of what to do next.
Enter my adoptive mother. She had one son, was married and quite a bit older than my mom. She too was AA and was married to a CC man. From all appearances, a perfect 'fit'. It started off that she babysat my sister and I quite a bit. (we were now 2 and 3 years old) This is where the details get a bit fuzzy for some reason. At some point I became the only child being 'babysat' and it wasn't just for a few hours. I was staying for weeks on end. At some point, a lawyer got involved and papers were drawn up making my adoptive family my legal gaurdians. ( I would not be legally adopted until much later) I have as an adult read through all of the paperwork and it was legal but questionable in my opinion. My bmom was young and being told it was for the best and she just needed to let me be. So she backed off and let me be raised by another family. I grew up not knowing I was "adopted" until I was 12 and heard my parents arguing about telling me the truth and 'making it right'. The next day I asked if I was adopted and my mom broke down in tears. She told me some fabricated story and gave me a made up name of my birth mom. Her story made me hate my birth mom. She was in my 12 year old mind an evil witch who just pawned me off. However, I will never forget it was my dad who took me for a walk one afternoon soon after.He told me the truth. He told me my story. He told me about my birth mom, my sister and brother and that the really nice lady who always came to visit was really my maternal grandmother! He tried to explain why my mom didn't want to tell me the truth but why he thought it was important that I knew all of it. (we lived in a small town the truth would have come out eventually) I remember feeling so many emotions and at 12 not having any idea what to do with any of it. I remember feeling some relief that my mom and I were not biologically connected. She was an alcoholic and at times quite abusive. I remember feeling disconnected and like a fraud because I was not Candy G-------- legally, I was Candy G----. It was all a bit much and I kept the fact that I knew all of the truth from my amom because I didn't want to hurt her feelings. However, I harbored a lot of resentment and started acting out. When I was 14 my amother died. Less than a month later, I recieved a phone call from a girl who said she was my sister. I was thrilled. About a week later I met her and my birth mom. Looking back it was all too much. I had just lost the only mother I remembered and suddenly here was a woman who was biologically connected to me and a sister who looked so much like me it was like looking in the mirror. I found out I had a brother and a little sister too. I had oodles of cousins, aunts, uncles and they all wanted to meet me. It was overwhelming. I'd grown up with a brother 9 years older than me and an extended family that lived far away. I was convinced at 14 that life would be perfect from that point on. The teen years is not, I repeat NOT the time to spring all of this on a kid. I began a crazy spiral and continued spinning for many years to come.
This story is getting long so I'll try to speed it up a bit...
My father agreed (for whatever reason) to allow me to go stay with my birth family in another state. I lasted less than a month. There was nothing perfect about any of it. These people were strangers to me and I felt like an outsider. I missed my dad and my familiar. I went home. My dad got me involved in therapy, we associated with many other adopted families/children, we survived. A few months later my dad asked me if I wanted to make it official and if he could legally adopt me. I talked to my birth mom who had no objections at that point and soon after my dad and I went to court and I legally became his daughter. Finally! I continued relationships with my birth family and it was crazy for many years. We have all settled into it now and when I was married ALL of my parents, aunts and of course my grandmother were there. It took almost 30 years for us to get it together but we did it. I still feel more comfortable and at home with my dad. He is my rock. I love him more than words can say. I am so proud to be his daughter. My 'first parents' gave me life my dad helped me live it.
I did feel resentment for a long time about being the only child my mother 'gave up' but I no longer blame her. She was young and thought she was doing the right thing. I know my birth father's name, where he lives and that he has 3 other children. I have chosen to do nothing with that information. I don't feel a need for that connection (confusion) in my life. I have forgiven my amom for not telling me the truth. She too thought she was doing the right thing. I try to count my blessings and trust that everything happened just the way it did for a reason. I believe everything in my life lead my own children to me. Everything in my life lead me down the path of adoption.
I learned lessons from all of my parents. I know how important it is to trust.
I know how important truth and honesty are within the adoption triad. (and in all things) My children will always know their truths. Even when truth hurts, it's always better than a lie. Most of all I know that no matter how poorly my parents dealt with the adoption process and the many mistakes they all made (untruths, timing etc) they all loved me in their own way. I would not be who I am today without any of them in life. I love them all with every ounce of my being. Hopefully, I can use everything I've learned and experienced to guide my children and be their rock in this great big world just as my father is for me.
At 20 years old DH and I were married. To a lot of people this may seem very young but we had known eachother since kindergarten and had a strong bond. During highschool I discovered that I "could" have a hard time conceiving, at the time I didn't give it much thought because that was the last thing on my mind. Fast forward a few years and becoming a reality...
Afte having no luck we were faced with three options. Plan A was to dive into the infertility world and all the tests and uncertainty that came with it. Plan B was to go ahead with an adoption which while quite the process at least there was some hope at the end of the tunnel. And Plan C was to accept the fact that we may never have children and move on with our life. We chose Plan B.
When we first started looking into adoption I remember feeling overwhelmed, thinking we were a little crazy, and just overall how are we going to do this. So many countries turned us down because of our age, I was 21 and DH 22. I would say 95% of the countries need you to be 25 years old, but when your 21, 4 more years feels like an eternity. We finally found a country that we met all the qualifications, Guatemala, now all we needed was an agency. I called several ones in and out of state but was always told that while we met the requirements it was just too risky to take us on, they had never completed an adoption with a couple so young. Finally I called a larger adoption agency and was told that while our age was a red flag there was no reason they couldn't handle our adoption.
The homestudy, what can I say? This process is basically when a social worker comes in and learns everything about you and your SO and gives you the go ahead to move forward. I remember being on the phone alot. Our SW was 3 hours away so at night we would talk and get a list of documents to gather and homework. The paperwork part of the adoption can seem unattainable. We both had FT jobs and our lunch hours were filled with gathering documents and waiting in lines for copies. In the end she determined we were normal, understood the challenegs associated with adoption and were qualified to parent. Yay!
Next we had to compile our dossier. A fancy term for more paperwork, alot more paperwork. We got referrance letters from friends, Dr.'s approval saying we were in good health, a bizillion copies of our birth and marriage certificates and my favorite- getting fingerprinted at the immigration office. Looking back now it wasn't that bad, but I remember feeling like a kid in HS with a list of homework to do.
Our agency submitted our dossier in so that we could be put on the list for a healthy infant girl, at our request. We waited and waited, I can imagine for women who give birth this is quite different. I mean here we are wondering if thousands of miles away our child is being born. What is the birthmom going through? Is she healthy and taking care of herself? Does she yet know if she will be placing this child for adoption? So many questions and all you can do is wait... Our agency called and told us that within the next week and half we should have our referral. We were ecstatic then we saw the headlines on the internet everywhere "Guatemala: Deadly Mudslides". My heart jumped into my throat this could change everything. I was so worried that I actually became ill with a stomach bug. I was sick for two days. A week later the call came. This in iteself is a whole nother story, I remember everything about that day. The highlight being DH and I staring at a computer screen with a picture of our daughter. WHile this may sound all teary eyed and philisophical, I remember distinctly telling DH that she wasn't that cute. I know bad me. But I didn't fall in love with her picture, and thats perfectly fine. Another thing is we found out is that she was born the day of the mudslides, the same day I got sick. Her birthmom chose to have her delivered at a hospital. We also learned her pregnancy went a full 40 weeks, Olivia was a whopping 8 lbs. 13 oz. considered huge by Guatemalan standards where babies are usually 4 to 5 lbs at best.
In Guatemala, one of the first steps is to have a DNA test done to prove the birthmom is who she claims to be. Our concluded that yes there was a mtach. Also the birthmom has 4 seperate times she needs to sign off and give her consent for the adoption, at any point she can change her mind. Once the DNA was a match we traveled to Guatemala to visit with her. Olivia stayed with us for four days in our hotel room and we were able to talk with the fostermom who she was living with. As soon as she was placed in my arms I was in love.. SHe was so curious and kept checking me out, DH too. I remember at one point DH tickling her chin to make her laugh and she gave him the meanest scold ever. This wasn't going to be easy she had to approve us. Giving her back over to the fostermom was the hardest thing I have ever done. We had been through so much already and we didn't know when we would be back. I remember collapsing in the elevator going back down to our room, crying in the shuttle going to the airport, crying through security, and taking sleeping pills the next week to help me sleep. It was not pretty. I lost 20 lbs. in two weeks, it came back, and barely functioned.
A month later we got the call that we would be going for pickup. Pickup is so much better than visiting. This time she would be coming home with us. My mom came with to help and we savored our last days as a childless couple.
On Feb. 27th we stood at the embassy in Guatemala and were granted full approval. The adoption was complete. It was also a heartbreaking trip as well as we learned more info on the birthmom. While we know the info it is locked away in a safe deposit box for Olivia when she is older. I can say this, her birthmom knew she would be placing her for adoption from the very beginning, the decision was not based on money or her lack of funds to provide for her, it was a decision she had to make for herself and I beleive many people are benefitting from it.
I knew that I wanted children for a LONG time. I managed to fall deeply in love with someone who did not want children, but we were fairly young and I thought, "Oh, we'll work it out somehow." Ten years later, we still hadn't "worked it out" and I was increasingly unhappy. We went to couple's therapy, and my darling partner found a way to open her heart to a child. I had always assumed I would adopt, but she really wanted to have as young of a child as possible, so I agreed, whole-heartedly, to try to get pregnant with donor insemination. However, my age, 39, was against us. From the start, we decided that we would not do extra interventions or fertility drugs, and that if it wasn't meant to be, we would move onto adoption relatively quickly (i.e. when the insurance paying for the IUIs ran out!)
So while I was trying to get pregnant, we also checked out adoption agencies. Agency #1: said they were supportive of lesbian parents, but it turned out that was only for their domestic program, and they weren't accepting any new clients. (We didn't feel up for domestic adoption due to the uncertainty after placement and our concerns about being "chosen".) Agency #2 said we would be ok for them to work with, but I would have to travel alone for two trips to either Nepal or Siberia. This seemed daunting, but doable. Agency #3: We walked in the door, the woman we met with was so supportive and fabulous, they had children waiting in Guatemala as soon as our homestudy was done, and we could both travel. We liked many facets of the program, including the possibility of sigificant contact with birth families, and so we said YES! We did the world's most efficient home study and application process (six weeks, start to finish - I can't get pregnant, but I do know how to do paperwork!) and two weeks after that, our daughter's photo came across my email. Yes, we fell in love instantly, and a few months later, we flew to Guatemala and brought her home.
My daughter said "hello" by biting down on my thumb (she loves this story now.) She had a rough transition with lots of grief and tears for the first days, but we stayed in Guatemala for almost a week and she really started to bond with us before we left for home. She will turn three next month and we couldn't have asked for a more wonderful child. She is a perfect fit with our family and we have no doubt we were meant to be her mommies. She has been talking about and asking about her adoption for almost a year now and it's a regular part of our lives together. We have some contact with her birth mother, and hope to return to Guatemala as soon as she seems ready for the trip.
People ask if it was a long process, and I don't know whether to say 12 years, or 7 months! Now, in the day to day of parenting, it's hard to remember the hoping and waiting and longing.
I just want to start by saying that this is MY story about my daughter's adoption. She has her own story, her birth family has their own story, and my partner has her own story.
I plan to come and share my stories...it's just a matter of finding time to write them out. Of course I have both stories written in their entireties, but I need to edit for a public board.
Em was born in the spring of 2004. Her first Mommy labored long and hard during her birth. She was born healthy and perfect. She went home from the hospital with her first mommy (V) without incident. She was taken to her first checkup at the pediatrician and everything seemed to be going well for mother and child. Em remained with V for 5 weeks until one day, she rushed the baby to the hospital. Em was examined and she was found to be a victim of child abuse. ( I am obviously leaving out many details) V went off to jail along with the 'boyfriend' and Em after spending 10days in the hospital went off to live with a foster family.
My husband and I meanwhile had become foster/adopt parents that spring. We had gone the IVF route which nearly killed me. I have been pregnant 6 times in my life with no live births, the final pregnancy ended up with me being rushed to surgery for a ruptured uterus. My uterus was reconstructed and we were told we could try again. Yeah, that was not an option. Obviously the universe and my body were screaming at me that pg was not an option. We waited another 2 years before finally making the decision to adopt. We had always wanted to adopt but decided to wait and heal from our losses before pursuing this path. We researched agency after agency and finally decided to adopt from the system. We took issue with the cost of adoption and the 'reduced' cost for children of color. We took issue with certain agencies needing letters from our church. Adoption is such a personal experience for all couples and we chose what seemed to be more right to us and for our family. We went through the classes, paperwork, homestudy etc and were approved. We had children placed with us within a month. They were strictly a foster situation and went home with their grandmother. Two months later I was at work and when my husband called and said the sw had just called about a 4month old little girl. We learned that her current foster home was deemed inappropriate for her (they had 8other children!) We learned of her injuries and that she might have special needs growing up. DH and I talked for a few days and decided that yes we would love for her to come live with us.
On July 29 2004 in the evening Em was brought home. She was a chubby little beauty with the most beautiful eyes I'd ever seen. My dh, my dsd and myself were nervous and excited to meet this new member of the family. Em took one look at my dh and got the biggest smile on her face. It was like she knew she was home. I must say that she is a 'daddy's girl' still and it all started with a smile.
We spent the next year going through all the craziness that comes with foster/adopt situations. We went to court, panel hearings, and visitations with V. V was released from jail on the condition that she would testify in court about how and who hurt Em. She ended up not testifying so in the end all charges were dropped due to lack of evidence and conflicting testimonies. At any rate...we met V at a panel hearing and my heart just broke for her. I don't know if she herself hurt Em or the 'boyfriend' did it. What I do know is this girl was the saddest human being I had ever seen. She had grown up in foster care herself. She had been adopted at a young age only to be 'given back to the system'. Her mother had also grown up in the system and had died in jail. This poor girl almost didn't stand a chance in life. Noone had ever loved her, nutured her or stood by her. How could she know how to protect her own child? These are things that ran and still go through my head. We took Em to her home for visits twice and to the DFCS facility quite a few times. She only showed up once. I talked to her, our pediatrician found her a place to live and offered her employment, the sw offered classes and a safehouse to help her get out of her situation. January 2005 was the last time we saw V, she did call the sw 4 months later saying she had moved out of state and she would "try" to make it to the next court hearing. She never showed up and noone has ever heard from her. I think of her often and call the sw every once in a while to see if anyone's heard from her. Noone has. I did manage to get a pic of her for Em and hopefully one day they will connect and she can tell Em her story and answer the "why" question. We tell Em our version of the story and stress that V loved her. We leave out the abuse because we don't know what really happened and don't feel Em needs to grow up knowing all the awful details. When she is ready if she is ever ready I have it all (every hospital record, including her birth record, every document, every known address for V) and I will give it to my daughter. I have one little outfit, and a rattle from V that I will keep forever. I wish I could give Em more.
On National adoption day 2005 November 19th, Emma became our daughter forever. She is loved and cherished. She is a miracle. She has been diagnosed with mild CP. She has been receiving therapies since she was 5months old. She walks, runs, jumps, sings, says ABC's and talks a blue streak. She is a survivor and an inspiration. She is our blessing from the Creator. Did I mention she is a sassy little thing who has the most beautiful smile? Yes, I am in love if you can't tell. :
her adoption announcement reads:
Today I kissed an angel
I knew it from the start
the first time my angel smiled at me
I gave away my heart
Today I kissed an angel
this angel child of mine
though not of my creation
my child by God's design
today I kissed an angel
my heart is dancing wild
our family by a miracle
blessed by my angel child
- Brenda Meece
We dove into the paperwork (june 2005)and did our homestudy and international dossier simultaneously !
Things stalled a bit about 4 months in as dh’s fingerprints were rejected twice and homeland security was also being slow processing our file. We were getting discouraged…this was right around my 33rd birthday…and my oldest and dear friend suddenly died. She had been with me on this journey and saved clothes from her ds for us, was a reference and a witness during the dossier and homestudy processes. Suddenly things started happening quickly-apparently the afternoon of the day she died-I believe she had a hand in this! Within 3 days of her death and much sooner than we expected, we had a referral for ds-same name as her dh! We accepted the referral and sent in the $$/paperwork as we were on the way to her funeral-what a bittersweet day! A week later we found out we were pregnant! Our first thoughts were of ds far away in Guatemala-would we lose him? But hooray-our agency and Guatemala didn’t care! Omg, what had we gotten ourselves into-the babes would be 9 months apart!
Anyway-that was in October and ds was 16 days old when we accepted the referral. We got a coupla sparse updates and stalled again…then in January we got the call that we were going to visit on February 2-ds would be 4mos old and stay with us Friday to Monday in the hotel-it was a crazy sweet emotional weekend! Leaving him was the hardest thing I’ve ever done but we met his foster mom and knew he was in great loving hands so at least there was that. Finally, we got the call that we would be leaving in 5 days on April 1 to pick up ds-he joined us at the hotel on April 2, and we got home on April 5-ds was 6 months, 4 days old…and ds2 was born 3 mo 2 days later!-what a year this has been! Anyway, I can’t imagine things happening in any other way and thank goodness we started the process before we got pregnant cuz Kevin is definitely meant to be with us!
We had been ttc about 4 years. I was at a point where I had hit rock bottom, and my dh suggested that I see a counselor. We chose a social service agency connected to our church. It so happens that they did not only counseling, but adoptions too. I had a fantastic, life-changing therapy experience, so when we finally decided on adoption it just made sense to keep on with the same agency. I had been thinking about adoption for awhile and secretly reading books on the topic. We were at a crossroads--we hadn't done much actual infertility treatment, and at that point in time our plan was to do another year of treatment using an RE. But after our first appt with the RE, even though he said basically everything I wanted and expected to hear, something just didn't feel right. The next evening we had another appt with my counselor to talk about adoption, and we came away from that feeling so excited and positive. Still, I wasn't convinced. I didn't want to end the ttc journey prematurely. So I started into some testing at the RE's. One morning I was sitting in the waiting room listening to several couples discuss the experiences they were having with IVF. I sat there listening, and all I could think of was that I did NOT belong here! I went home, and never went back. We started the adoption process a few months later after taking a short break from everything baby-related.
We had been looked at by quite a few PBM's. Our caseworker, who was fairly inexperienced, had been telling us each time our file was being viewed. It got too discouraging, because several times we were in the top 2-3 families being considered, but we were never chosen. So my dh told our cw to stop telling us until it was for real. However, what was actually happening is that the cw was telling dh, and dh was not telling me, since I was the one freaking out about things and dh was more even-keeled. So dh knew a few days ahead of time that a particular PBM was considering us. However, I got one on him. The cw had told him that this birthmom wanted to interview us over the phone (she lived in a different state) and then make a decision. So dh called me from work early one morning and told me to expect a phone call sometime that day. Five minutes later our cw called and told me that we were getting a call, but it was not for an interview--this bmom had made her decision and was calling to announce it to us! So I got to call dh back and tell him the real news.
She asked us to fly out to her state to meet face-to-face. We had only a couple of days to arrange things to do this, as her baby was due in only 3 weeks. I have never been so nervous in my entire life, and I had such a time with heartburn and nausea that I almost convinced myself I was pregnant. We had a nice visit with E and her sister, and then flew back home. At this point, I was freaking out. I actually almost convinced myself that they were scammers and she was only faking pregnancy just to laugh when we were emotionally devasted. It was such a ridiculous thought, but it felt so real that I truly had myself just about convinced that this was all a big charade. It wasn't.
I"ll skip to the birth and placement, since that is where the real beauty of the story lies. We were told that the baby was probably a girl. They weren't sure, but the ultrasound indicated most likely a girl. This meshed really well with me, because all throughout my time of waiting for motherhood, having a daughter was part of the fantasy, and I honestly couldn't envision anything else. However, when our cw called and told us the baby had been born, his words were, "Congratulations! You have a baby boy!" My niece was visiting, and I had her call and tell dh the news at work. His reaction was, "Is L still alive???" It was definitely a shock to have a boy. We spent that evening returning all the little girl clothes we had bought (well, most of them anyway, I kept the cutest ones). We had to leave the next morning to drive to her state, and I literally spent the entire trip trying to figure out how I could parent a boy. My dh just kept saying, "Well, at first, there's no difference...you feed them the same, cuddle them the same, etc." He was right of course. Now I totally adore my ds and couldn't imagine having a little girl in his place!
We didn't see E in the hospital at all. She preferred to have that private time with her baby, and that was fine with us. We had the hospital experience with our second baby, and honestly, I like things better without it. Placement was set for when ds was two days old. We were originally told that it would happen in the early afternoon, but the cw kept calling to delay it, saying the birth family wasn't quite ready. We were finally told to meet at the location (a church) at 4:00 pm, I think, but when we got there the cw called again and told us it was delayed again. She wasn't reconsidering...she just needed more time to say goodbye. By the time placement finally got underway, it was 7:00 pm. By the time we took our little boy home, it was after midnight. We had a lot to do at placement. First ds's bmom came in without him and spent some time talking to us. She shared with us all the information the hospital wanted her to pass on. This was very poignant for me, because she was going through all this paperwork, basically telling us how to take care of her baby. She was struggling a little bit. She still felt it was the right thing, but the hardness of it was settling in. It was just so sad to watch. Then we met her mother. This was the nervewracking part of the night. Her mother had been adamantly against the adoption, even spending the entire time in the hospital begging her not to do it. So we basically got interrogated for an hour by her. Yet the whole time, we felt so peaceful as we answered her questions. It was really amazing--we felt like the right words were somehow just put into our mouths. And the most amazing thing of all was how ds's birthgrandmother's attitude changed. By the time we were done, she acknowledged that she felt we would be good parents for her grandson. She didn't hate us--she was just worried about her daughter and worried that we would take the baby and never be heard from again. She just didn't want her daughter to be hurt by us.
Anyway, we met our ds for the first time about 10:30 that night when his birthmom brought him out for us to see. I did not feel "love at first sight". There were too many other emotions. It all felt very surreal. I also absorbed alot of what I saw in his birthmom and most of my emotions were tied up with concern for her pain and sadness. It would have seemed inappropriate to be bursting with joy when she was obviously hurting. Also, I trusted the bonding process, and I knew that it would be OK and that I would be able to love my baby. After this, ds's bmom took him back into another room to say goodbye again. It took her a very long time, but she finally came back and put him in my arms and then left. There was much emotion to this moment, but it seems to intimate to go into any detail. There were many tears shed by all of us that were there, and hugs given too.
After the birthfamily left, we had to sign papers. It was 11:30 pm, and we were so exhausted. Actually, and this is embarrassing to admit, there were several times during that 5-hour placement that I thought that I would like to go home and go to bed and become a mother in the morning. But we now had a newborn baby boy who was destined to be up all night long, and we also had an hour's drive back to our hotel. We took shifts staying up with him. I took the first shift. I was planning to breastfeed. I did the first feeding with a bottle because I was so tired I figured I would try to get the hang of the lact-aid in the morning. But at 3:00 am when he was hungry again, I decided that since I was up, I might as well nurse him. That was a really sweet experience--nursing my brand new little boy in the dark. It was really something.
Mostly what I remember about the first week is pure exhaustion. I wondered how on earth mother's did it after giving birth, because I felt like I'd been run over by a truck. We had to stay in that city for a week and then were able to go home to our state. We had some legal issues. His birthmom had 30 days to change her mind. We weren't worried about that, though. We just knew she wouldn't. However, his birthfather had to either sign or appear in court. He refused to sign. So, we had to wait for him to be summoned to court. After two no-show court sessions, the judge terminated his rights. Ds was 3 months old by that time...it was quite harrowing. We felt deep down that it would turn out OK, but it was still nerve-wracking.
Bonding went very smoothly. Breastfeeding helped enormously! But mostly I felt that bonding happened just through serving him 24 hours a day. To me, that's how love develops, when you sacrifice for another person. It took me a couple of weeks, but after that I was totally in love with him. When he gave me an ear-to-ear grin at 3 weeks' old, I knew he was bonded too. I also had what I would term a spiritual experience with him when he was about 2 months old that let me know we were indeed mother and child.
We keep in contact with his birthfamily. They live in another state, but we've visited twice with his birthgranda. His birthmom does not want to visit and wants only very occasional letters, and we've tried to respect that, even though I would love to see her again.
After adopting ds, we tried some more fertility treatment since we had not gone to the end of that road. However, when ds was 3, we got a surprise email one day that changed our plans. Ds's birth aunt wrote saying she was unexpectedly pregnant and wanted to place her baby with us. Within 24 hours, we had totally changed our course. We quickly contacted the agency and started rushing a homestudy, as she was due in about 3-4 months. About 2 months into this process, she told us that she was no longer sure if we were the right family. We were totally devastated. I was very angry at first, and felt very betrayed, since she had assured us that she knew we were "the ones". This had been an issue I'd addressed in our very first conversation--I didn't want her to choose us simply because our ds was her nephew. But, she ended up choosing another family, and then the adoption didn't happen anyway because of birthfather issues. I decided to forgive her, and at that point felt a lot of peace. In fact, we remained great friends, and I was able to help her with some support and advice after she was parenting her baby, which was extremely healing for me.
Anyway, this failed adoption is how we got back into the adoption process. We looked at it as something that must be meant to be, and this failed match was the way to get us to get our papers in again.
Again, our file was shown to PBM's many times, yet we were not selected. We were dealing with some intense family issues, namely that mil had been very ill for several years and was needing 24-hour-care. Dh and his siblings were taking turns providing that care, which took a great deal of time and took a huge toll on everyone. I had been feeling that we would not get another child until mil died. I felt quite guilty for that thought, but it was just a gut feeling. Well, mil died at the beginning of July. A few days later, we had a meeting with our cw, where we were told that nothing was happening with our file. Imagine our surprise when a few days after that, we get a call while driving home on the freeway saying that there is a birthmom in labor and are we interested in adopting that baby??? It was totally out of the blue. The agency had been asked to choose the family because the birthmom wanted a totally closed adoption. I was excited about a new baby, but less than thrilled about a closed adoption. I had really mixed feelings, but we felt we should go forward. Luckily, this birthmom did not have her baby that night. Yikes, that would have been a little too fast! We were still in the middle of mil's funeral. Our baby was born 2 days later in the middle of mil's viewing! We were taking cell phone calls all throughout the viewing; I'm sure the funeral directors thought we were the rudest, tackiest people ever. But dh's family understood. We all felt that it was no coincidence dd was born that night. We felt like mil helped to send her.
After the viewing, we high-tailed it to the hospital to meet our new daughter only 2 hours old, and her birthmother (who thankfully had softened on the closed adoption thing). Again, it felt very surreal. Again, I didn't feel instant love. But we had no time at all to prepare emotionally for her coming, and we were in the middle of a funeral and all. Again, I knew I would bond and it would be OK. It was one crazy whirlwind of a weekend! The next day was mil's funeral and burial. We were torn between not abandoning dh's family at this time, and not abandoning our new dd and her birthmother either. We went to the hospital very early in the morning, then traveled to a different city for the funeral events, then rushed back to the hospital for a little while, then ran around town buying baby supplies and finding some gifts for dd's birthmom, then it was back to the hospital.
The next day was placement day. We did not go to the hospital until early afternoon, time for the placement. I felt rather guilty about this, but we honestly needed some time at home to regroup and get ready for our new arrival. Placement went very smoothly and was very short, a complete contrast from our ds's placement. We had to stay at the hospital until dd could be discharged, so the kind nurses set us up in an unused overflow nursery. It was really nice and private, and I got to nurse dd here for the first time. It was at this time that I started to bond with her. For me, I feel like their time with their birthmothers is just that--their time with their birthmothers and vice versa. I hold back my feelings until after placement, where I feel free to start loving them. I also need private time and space in order to feel free with my own emotions.
We took dd home to the rounds of visitors. I almost longed for our quiet babymoon in the hotel by ourselves that we had with ds. Yet it was nice to be able to take dd to our very own home too.
There were no legal risks this time around. All birthparents signed relinquishment before placement, which was a relief. DD's birthmom initially agreed to more contact, after counseling with her cw, but in the end she has more abided by her initial chose to have a closed adoption. We send letters to the agency, but she isn't getting them.
The one thing that was neat the second time around was being able to involve ds in everything. I have a classic picture of him standing next to me while I hold dd, who is only 1 day old, and he has the biggest ear-to-ear grin imagineable on his face as he gazes at her. (I also have a picture of him at placement with a really great "mad-face" too. ) The day after we told him he was getting a new baby sibling, at nap time he insisted that we ready every adoption book and every baby book in the bookshelf. This was a child who had no interested in these books prior. He would tolerate an adoption book if I chose it, but not once in four years had he ever on his own picked an adoption book for story time...until dd was on her way.
Again, bonding has proceeded smoothly. It took a little longer this time, but I think that is mainly because we just had no time to prepare for her coming. Now, at six months, I am completely in love with her! I just can't get enough of her.
My journey to adoption started with my own childhood. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. I met my own birthmother as a teen, and chose not to have a continuing relationship with her, however, having had that experience I felt completely comfortable with adoption.
Fast forward to my adult life. My biological daughter was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which would make conceiving future children a challenge at best. I immediately felt drawn to adoption. There was no appeal for me in fertility type treatments and genetic testing. My goal was to have a healthy child, not to carry a pregnancy. So, we began our journey to our second daughter!
Our daughter came to us through the state foster care program. She came home at 3 days old. Her adoption was finalized a month before her first birthday.
Proud mom of three! Special needs teen princess , 7 year old happy girl , and my flower toddler
My husband and I moved to GA a few months prior to getting married and I started working in an area hospital. I made friends with many staff members and they were all aware of our attempts at IVF, our losses and the final almost fatal pg experience. Everyone was supportive and when they found out we were pursuing adoption the support we received was overwhelming. One day after our first foster children had returned home, my nursing manager and I were talking about family, adoption and my experiences. She said to me, "I may know of a situation... I'll let you know more when I find out what's going on" I didn't think much of it because by then I was used to well meaning people telling us about "situations". Months went by and in July our beautiful baby girl came home. We were adjusting to our new family life and our new daughter. We barely had time to think about anything else besides our new family, when out of the blue I received a phone call from a woman saying she heard my dh and I were interested in adoption. She said she had gotten my name and number from my supervisor at work. She was due in December and wanted to have the baby adopted. I was shocked. I had completely forgotten about the conversation I'd had with my nurse manager. I asked the woman "G" to call me in a few days so I could talk to dh and we could process the information. When the initial phone call came, Em had only been home for a little more than one month, she had some special needs (PT, OT). The babies would be so close in age, could we care for a newborn and infant? How would it financially effect our family? Many other questions and concerns went through our minds during the next few days, weeks and months. We decided that this was our miracle and we would proceed with finding out more about "G" and what had led her to this decision. We had many phone calls back and forth for a few weeks. I asked her to please talk to someone (I recommended a professional I knew) about adoption and what other options were available to her. She decided she wanted us to meet. On a Sunday afternoon, I drove to a restaurant we had agreed upon to meet her. I was so nervous, I didn't know what to expect and there was a fear that perhaps she was after $$ or this was all a hoax. I had no idea what I was about to find out... "G" was a beautiful young woman and something about her eyes looked familiar but I brushed it off as just my nerves messing with me. Although we had agreed it would just be the two of us meeting she came with her boyfriend "A" the baby's father. We talked for a long time about many issues and then I told her she looked familiar. She got a little smile on her face and said she knew I would find out eventually. She was/is the daughter of my nurse manager. Wow! As it turns out this person who was my boss and my friend had been really watching me for a long time. When her daughter became pregnant and decided adoption was the route she wanted to take, my dh and I were her first thought. She had formed an opinion of us and told "G" and "A" about us. She wanted us to parent her unborn grandchild. My husband and I were ecstatic, this all seemed so perfect. I did worry about how it might effect my working relationship with her but we talked it all through and worked it out. Within a few weeks I, dh, "G" and "A" met with an attorney. We went through paperwork, we talked about their decision, we signed some preliminary papers and then we waited. We kept in close phone contact over the next few weeks. I will not share why this young couple chose adoption for their child and why noone in either family was willing to parent this child but trust that $$$ was NOT the biggest factor.
We all went out together one afternoon for a coffee and the two of them told us their story of how they met, what they were like as kids, and just other random conversation. They showed us pictures of "G"'s oldest son and the son they shared together. We shared our stories with them too. We talked about parenting ideas, we all expressed our wishes for this unborn child on that day. We spoke openly and poured our hearts out to one another. That was a great day...
On December the 1st at 0200 "G" called to say she was in labor. She thought we had plenty of time the doctors didn't think she would deliver until mid-morning sometime. Of course we didn't sleep, we called our parents to share the news and we waited. Our neighbor had agreed to keep Em when we went to the hospital but we decided against waking her. We got a call at 0545 saying our son had been born at 0538 he was 7#3oz 19". We got to the hospital within 3 hours to meet our son. There he was the little boy from my dreams. He was perfect. We were overjoyed. We of course held him, fed him looked at his entire body. We were there for his first MD exam. All of us were there in that room loving this perfect child. "G" and I shared some special time alone with the baby while dh and "A" went off and talked. We took pictures not only of the baby but of his first parents and family. I wanted to capture as much on film as I could so he could see how very loved he was from the moment he was born.
The next day, it was time to leave the hospital. I can't believe I am crying as I type this. I always cry at this part because the emotion was and is overwhelming. The nurse gave us each of copy of his hospital birth certificate. She actually made me a new one. "G" handed me the original but after looking at it, I gave it back. That one was hers, he had moved his little foot just a little...oh I can't put into words why that one HAD to be hers it just did. We dressed him in his little outfit together and I put him in her arms for them to be wheeled to the front door. Now, I don't know how many of you will understand this but hopefully you will... as much as I already loved my son and couldn't wait to take him home, I was overwhelmed by the emotions I was feeling. I could not take him from her arms. My dh was the one to take him and put him in his carseat. She and I locked eyes and then we hugged one another so tightly. Everyone was crying at this point including the nurse. (except for the baby)
I whispered in her ear "are you sure" she hugged me tighter and said "yes just make sure he knows I love him". I am crying so hard now trying to type this because all those emotions come flooding back. It was the happiest/saddest experience for me. "A" said his good-bye to the baby and also said "make sure he always knows we love him". He and dh hugged the way guys do and we parted ways. We continued to talk on the phone over the next few weeks until "G" said she needed some time and space. I understood and respected her wishes. We have not spoken since.
We share letters and photos with "G" and "A" ,for now that is all she wants. The best part of this I think is the relationship I/we have with my now friend Alexander's grandmother, "G"'s mom. I no longer work with her so we are able to relax and have a relationship. She is at every family event for both of our children, she needed encouragement but she is starting to spend more and more time with Xani. She didn't want to 'step on anyone's toes' she said, but I let her know in no uncertain terms we want her to be a part of his life. I believe the more people that love him the better it is for him. I don't want him to have to look too far to find his roots. There's a lot more to it but that was the gist of our conversation. Dh and I went for a much needed evening out on Saturday and Xani's grandmother (Nana) babysat for them! I ask about "G" without trying to pry and am assured she is doing well. I did receive a letter from her right after Xani turned a year old and she says she is at peace with her decision. I do believe and perhaps I am wrong that having her mother involved in his life helps her to be at peace.
I really believe that all the events leading to Alexander's adoption were paving the way for the miracle we call our family. I always knew he would be my son I just didn't know how it would happen after all I'd seen him in my dreams long before he was ever conceived.
A couple of years later we decided to go to the DHS classes for Foster/Adoption. We were only planning on doing adoption and not fostering. A week after we finished our classes we got a phone call about two boys that were 2 & 4 who needed a foster home. Although this was not our plan in the begining we decided to go ahead and take a leap of faith and hope they became available for adoption soon.
God is so good. On July 16th, 2007 both birth parents relenqished their rights and we are now in the adoption process. I find it simply amazing how two boys who were simply names and ages I jotted down on a peice of paper that Wednesday morning are now part of our family.
It has been quite a bumpy road and parenthood is a whole lot different then my idealistic view of it but it has been wonderful none the less and I would not trade this experience for the world.
It started with a phone call.
I’d always had irregular periods so we knew we’d have trouble getting pregnant. After we had been married 2 years we tried in earnest, getting all the tests,doing the Fertilty Awareness temperature thing and trying a few rounds of Clomid. After two years of that we started talking about adoption. I had been much more comfortable with the idea but DH needed to at least try for a bio child. I respect that.
Life intervened. DH was laid off for almost 2 years. By 2005 he had been employed for a year and we were feeling more secure. My New Years Resolution was to start working on adoption. We bought books and I downloaded the stuff we needed to become adoptive foster parents in our state. We intended to adopt a sibling group of 2 or 3 children as that seemed like a good way to go. I hadn’t intended to adopt an infant. Life is funny.
In May 2005 DH received an email from an old friend of the family asking him to call them. That Saturday I was puttering around the house while he made the call. He called to me to come to the phone. There was something strange about his voice. He said J wants to ask you something and handed me the phone. “Would you like to adopt a baby.“ she asked. “Yes!” I said and she explained that they were expecting their seventh child. They were scared and wondering how they’d feed their crew until they thought of us and were filled with joy.
We got off the phone and hugged and just knew. We knew, we just knew, that this is it. The family lives in another state but decided to give birth in my town so that DH and I would be surrounded by our support system. My OB/GYN (who is an adoptee and adoptive parent) was thrilled to help.
As we started to tell family and friends about the baby we heard so many wonderful and strange responses. The best part was hearing all sorts of adoption stories. The weird part was how many media conditioned responses we received. “Is she [insert distant race here]? Is the mom an unmarried teenager? Is this a surrogacy issue? What country is she from? I especially liked answering this last one with a deadpan “Minnesota.” There isn’t room in people’s imagination for a domestic adoption where the birth parents are married and the birth mom is older than the adoptive mom.
I tried very hard to induce lactation but my hormones were too out of whack. The attempt sent me into a deep depression that didn’t go away until I stopped pumping and taking the progesterone. I had looked at the side effects for Reglan and saw depression listed. I was already spending every minute on the sofa. I couldn’t get more depressed. My baby needed me!
My husband and I were there for the entire labor and delivery. He got to cut the cord and I held my wonderful daughter first. There are a lot of things about the hospital choices I would change if I could. Someone who had had six uncomplicated deliveries would have been a good candidate for a home birth or a birthing center but those are complicated in my state. Still, the hospital was really good about the adoption. They gave me the “mom” hospital bracelet and the b-mom got the “dad” one. All three of us stayed in the room together. We talked a lot while I held the baby.
New Years Eve we left the hospital, dropped the birth-mom off at her hotel, and went home. Then my husband had to back to the hospital for appendicitis! We spent a week hearing jokes about he was the delicate one with a bouncy baby appendix.
Our daughter is now 28 months old and the apple of our eye. We see her birth family often. It will always be a little weird. Some mutual friends were told and a few figured it out. It is good to see J stepping out in a way she couldn’t if she had yet another small child in tow. They really seem to be thriving now (though I wish they could have done a little more for themselves and the other kids with counseling.) J told me last summer that she was very happy about her decision and she could see how well we were doing and how loved our daughter is.
We’ve been wondering about what is next for our family. Maybe because I’m finally taking care of myself my cycles are the most normal they’ve ever been. DH has his dream job. We’d love to welcome more children into our family however they arrive.
My story is completely different as I was pressured into surrendering my son, that's another story and worthy of a thread of it's own . Anyway I found my son in Aug 2004 by sheer chance just after his 23rd birthday and it had turned out he had been searching for me since 1999. In Dec 2006 my son moved in with us so it's certainly been an experience in itself. Dh and I are planning to meet up with my son's adoptive parents soon as he hadn't wanted them to know about our reunion but recent events kinda forced the issue. I'm looking forward to meeting them though.
Wow. When I wrote that post I had a three year old, and now I have a nine year old. We've been through a lot between then and now, but things are still pretty terrific, all in all. I wrote "she's a perfect fit for our family" and I could still say that now. The three of us are very happy.
wow, that is pretty incredible!! Yes it has been awhile.There are some mamas on this thread I haven't heard from for quite a while.
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