I’m going to be honest. When we started the adoption process, I had a fairy tale, made for a movie, scenario that played out in my head about how this would work, how long we would wait, and what parenting would look like. None of it panned out, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Though I love to share stories of adoptees, I think that mine is a particularly helpful story to share with those who are involved in the adoption process, but guess what? It really has nothing to do with me, and it took me a while to realize it.
Again—full disclosure—when you’re in the adoption process, it’s hard to see past yourself, but the reality is, for the placement to happen, another family has to grapple with the decision of creating an adoption plan for their child. They don’t always come to that decision on their own but by talking to other people (which they should).
My husband and I had been waiting for a birth family to choose us for 18 months when we got the call to meet with a birth mother. We met her, and she was awesome. We worked out what would happen when she went into delivery and when the call came, we packed a bag. I stayed in her room chatting and was present when she delivered the baby. We cared for the child all night long. However, the next morning, a nurse came and took the baby back to the room and not too long after, a social worker came to tell us that the mother had opted to parent.
We were devastated. I couldn’t contain my tears as we left the hospital with a diaper bag heaping with baby stuff and no baby. We went to our agency immediately and talked about what had happened; then, we went back home to an empty nursery.
Our story is not unique; it happens to couples who miscarry. Also, mothers have every right to raise their children, and this can happen in other scenarios. In a sense, just three months later, it happened to us again.
We met a couple who was considering adoption. After meeting them, I knew they would and should be parenting that child. When I got a call that they had chosen to parent, I wasn’t sad at all.
Just four days later, we got a call to come to the hospital because our daughter had been born—we hadn’t met the birth mother, but she had chosen us from the book we created for the agency.
Of course, it was hard for us emotionally to go through the process, but now I know I’m a mother because some parents made the hard decision to consider adoption. I am no more deserving of a child than anyone else. Waiting, meeting perspective birth families, and hanging out in hospital rooms with children you may not get to parent can just be part of the process.
Although we weren’t emotionally or mentally prepared for the adoption process, and others might not have thought of it, these possibilities should be considered. These
experiences helped me better understand adoption from birth mothers’ perspective, and to appreciate the energy and bravery it took them to even consider meeting with us. And to no end, am I grateful to my daughter’s birth mother who allowed us to parent her beautiful, strong, and charismatic child.