My wife and I have been following a story going on about a thousand miles away from us, and this couple’s experience begs the question: At what point is the baby “our” baby? It’s not something that I hadn’t thought about before, but I ache when I see the way this particular couple has been handling their situation.

I’ll get back to that couple’s story in a second, but permit me to go back early into our second adoption, when we were first contacted. When we met our daughter’s birth mother for the first time, she told us about the couple she had originally chosen. For reasons that are her own, she changed her mind about the couple she was originally considering. We ached for her as she told us about the things the couple said and how rotten they made her feel when she broke the news to them. We assured her that we understood the decision was hers to make and that nobody should feel “entitled” to the baby growing in her belly. As I say that, I’m sure some people are thinking it’s easy for me to say since her change of heart was in our favor. Was it, though? She was talking to us, but she wasn’t committing. She made it clear she was only considering us and not committing to us.

Because of how that couple handled it, she wouldn’t commit to us and we knew we couldn’t ask her to. Even on the day the baby was born, with my wife and me in the hospital delivery room, the answer was still “maybe”. Even after our daughter came home with us from the hospital, the answer was “probably”. It wasn’t until a month later when she stood in front of a judge, when she couldn’t put the decision off any longer, that the answer was “yes”.

She had us feeling pretty confident that she wasn’t going to change her mind about placing the baby with us… if she chose adoption. During that whole time of no commitment she was deciding whether or not to even choose adoption. It was tough for us to handle the situation with things the way they were, mainly because we knew we weren’t entitled to that child and yet we were madly in love with the infant in our home. We loved her more and more every day, but even though we were the ones waking up at all hours of the night, and changing stinky diapers, the baby wasn’t yet ours.

That brings us back to what has just taken place with someone else. Their story seemed to share a lot of the same aspects, except we ended up avoiding the pain of a failed placement. They didn’t. What bothers me is seeing how this couple has handled it. I’ve seen blog posts and things about how bitter they are. I know it hurts. I know it does, but that decision has always been for the birth parents to make (in this particular case, just the birth mom). The disappointed woman says things like “She made the wrong decision”, but only the birth mom can know that. I know quite a few single mothers who considered adoption and then didn’t choose it, and their decision was the right one for them.

Adoption is one of the most wonderful things this world can offer, but don’t ever let yourself fall into the idea that someone owes you something because you want it so badly.