January 17, 1991, the day the Gulf War broke out will be a day I will never forget. This day won’t stick in my mind because of the bombings I saw live on television but because of the telephone call, I received later that evening that made me a mother through adoption. It was a phone call from a co-worker who wanted to know if we would be interested in adopting the baby of a young girl she knew. She said that the girl had decided it would be better to place the baby with a couple to adopt and so she was about to start calling some of the newspaper ads from couples who were looking for a baby. I didn’t hesitate to answer. I immediately said yes.
The reason I didn’t hesitate was that I knew that this was the answer to prayers that had been lifted on our behalf by so many people. After three years of trying to get pregnant we had to face the possibility that we were never going to conceive a child of our own. We went through all the testing, exams, and even surgeries to try to correct the “problem” but to no avail. It was after all of this that we began talking about the possibility of adopting a child.
We had so many questions about adoption. They were questions that all infertile couples ask themselves. Can we love a child that is ‘not our own’? Would we be content to have a child through adoption rather than conception? What if the child rejects us after he/she gets older? All these types of questions run through the minds of millions of infertile couples. We decided that we would begin the process and hope that the questions we had would be answered.
To start our journey through the adoption process we asked our closest family and friends to begin praying for us. We asked them to pray for clear answers and direction. We then began the paperwork in December of 1990. To say this was the hard part would be an understatement. All couples wishing to adopt must go through a home study. This involves social workers visiting your home often, asking detailed questions about your past, like where were you born? how did you grow up? what were your parents like? what kind of student were you? were you a happy child? how were you disciplined as a child? etc. Questions that involved a lot of retrospects and thought. Some agencies require a psychological exam and parenting classes. We were required both.
Once we completed all the required paperwork we expected to wait on a list along with many other couples who were hoping to adopt. However, God was already at work on our behalf. He had already chosen our baby outside of the agency’s list! We were going to be involved in what is called a private adoption.
After receiving the unexpected telephone call on January 17th everything took place very fast. We gave the name of our attorney to my co-worker to pass on to the birthmother. She immediately contacted him and soon we were scheduled to meet with her in person! On March 14, 1991, almost one month since the first phone call, we were sitting face to face with the woman who would give birth to our daughter. Needless to say, it was a very exciting moment! She was so sweet and caring. She shared with us her need to find a good home for her baby because she was not ready to be a parent yet. She realized that she was still young and had a lot of growing up to do. I was so impressed with her love and care for the baby she was carrying. She had an ultrasound picture to give us and so that day we got to “see” our for the first time our daughter. She also asked if I would like to be at the birth. I was so grateful and accepted her offer.
Six days later I was called to my office by the birth-grandmother and told that if I wanted to see my baby being born to come to the hospital soon. I had already prepared my employer for this day and so I gave my final hugs and goodbyes to everyone and went to “have my baby”! To describe how I felt and what my thoughts were as I sat next to the birth-grandmother, holding her hand and watching her daughter give birth to a baby she was going to give to me and my husband is beyond words. It is a captured moment that will never leave my memory.
At 2:00 p.m. on March 20, 1991, Kelsey Beth was born. She weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 and 3/4 inches long. I was the first (besides the doctor) to hold her and look into her face. I will never forget the joy I had at that moment nor will I forget the look on my husband’s face after the birth-grandmother went out and told him to come in and see his daughter.
If this sounds like an unusual adoption story, it is because it was. I truly believe that God had heard the prayers of my husband, myself, our family, and our friends and he answered them. He knew that for Troy and I to overcome our sadness in not being able to conceive a child and our fears of what it would mean to adopt, he would have to perform a miracle. And he did.
To say that we don’t struggle with our infertility now would be untrue. We struggle with it maybe even more now. Why? Because we now know what it means to be a parent. We love being a mother and a father and we desire to have more children. We just don’t have the option of planning pregnancy as other couples may be able to do.
We and other infertile couples are often told comments such as, “Well, now that you have adopted, you’re going to get pregnant.” or “Now that you are relaxed, you will get pregnant.” These comments, we realize, are meant with good intentions, however, they are painful for us to hear. We desire to get pregnant but we have to face the fact that we may never conceive a child.
Every month of every year there is hopeful anticipation that I go through. I often daydream about a time when I will have the crystal candlesticks on the dining room table, my husband’s favorite meal prepared, soft music in the background, and I will happily announce to him that I am pregnant. The reality is, though, that my husband comes home from work to find me sobbing on the bed; month after month.
I share this not to be morbid but to give insight into the thoughts and feelings of couples all over the world who deal with infertility just like us. I share this because so many people, including our own family members, have clumsily tried to help but have actually hurt. We realize that it is an uncomfortable topic for most people to talk about, especially in the presence of an infertile couple. It is ironic to think that in our society abortion is easier and more prevalent to talk about than being unable to conceive children.
I am comforted that my Lord understands how I feel. I will never forget when I came across Proverbs 30: 15-16. It says, “There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, ‘Enough!’: the grave, the barren womb, land which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, ‘Enough!’ How comforting I felt when I realized that God knows that I have an unquenchable desire to bear a child. He cares enough that He included it in His Word!
I also know that He could change the situation completely and enable us to conceive a child. Only He knows the reason why He hasn’t. I am trusting that He will reveal the reasons to me, if not here then in heaven. Actually, I do know some of the reasons. One is that I can share my experience with others who are struggling as I am and second, that I would experience the joy of becoming a mother, through adoption, to my wonderful daughter, Kelsey!
© Dawn D. Modlin 2001
Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.