There are thousands of stories about adoption – open and closed – that captivate the hearts of others affected by adoption. So how can I inspire the world with my son’s adoption story? How can I make it stand out without romanticizing or embellishing? In short, I can’t. Micah’s adoption, though openly talked about, was very personal. It only affected a handful of people, but it changed me completely, from the inside out.
I can only speak for myself, but I think everything about Micah’s adoption went as perfectly as possible. Let me explain.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was in the bathroom stall of the daycare I worked for, holding two pregnancy tests, both striped with hot pink lines. Tears flowed while my heart stopped. I was that person. I had gone against my beliefs and standards, and was now an example to the world of the consequences. It was a few days before I told my family; I didn’t want to break their hearts in the middle of the work week. They were going to need the weekend to process the news.
I’ll never forget my mom’s silence and dad’s wide eyes as I let them know I was expecting, but I will spend the rest of my life trying to forget the self-loathing stare I saw when I looked in the mirror. I had become someone I swore would never, and could never, be, because I knew in my heart that I was not this child’s parent. I was going to place my child for adoption and be a childless mom.
Denial only worked for the first few months before I recognized that my options and waistline weren’t getting any smaller. Adoption was the plan and there was no other avenue to consider. I contacted LDS Family Services with the help of a newfound comrade who had lovingly enveloped me with her experience of placing her daughter for adoption several years earlier. I met with my caseworker, Heather, for the first time at 4 months along and started looking for the family my child was intended for.
If things went well, I was going to tell them I was choosing them to be the parents of my son. If things didn’t go well, I was going to tell them I was choosing them to be the parents of my son. It was that simple. I knew it was them.
It was a tedious process to look for my standards in still faces on a computer screen with nothing but persuasive bios and well wishes from families looking to raise my child. Though within my most stringent demands, one family kept appearing. They looked like a lovely family with everything I could want for my son, with one missing piece: me. I knew Micah’s family almost the instant I let my mind start to wrap around the idea of them raising him. However, this was going to take some serious interrogation-style questions and investigation.
After the first few emails, I knew more about the Greens than I knew about most of my close friends. I knew their occupations, their disciplinary style, their outlook on baby foods for toddlers, and their favorite flavor ice cream. It was pretty intense. And through all the questions, I loved them more and more, receiving confirmation that I was headed in the right direction with every conversation.
And then we met. Phone calls and emails had ceased to satisfy. The tables had been turned from them needing a birth parent to place a child with them, to me needing them to adopt their son. If things went well, I was going to tell them I was choosing them to be the parents of my son. If things didn’t go well, I was going to tell them I was choosing them to be the parents of my son. It was that simple. I knew it was them.
We met at Happy Hollow Zoo and Park. The list of attendees was my social worker (Heather) my mom (Cindy), my best friend (Bud), the Greens (Marcus, Jenny, Sammy, and Callie) and Marcus’ mom (Peggy). I’d gotten a few onesies for Marcus and Jenny, along with a letter I wrote congratulating them on the new addition to their family. It was also Sammy’s birthday, so we brought her a birthday gift. And how fair would it be to give gifts to everyone but Callie? So we got her a gift for being adorable.
After walking around the entire park like a sloth out of its cage, I finally sat down at some picnic benches with Heather, my mom, Bud, Marcus and Jenny. Peggy graciously took the kids for another round of animal watching. We discussed what an adoption would look like should I “eventually decide” to place my son with them and what expectations were on both sides.
They were perfect. But how could they not be? It was them all along. They were the true parents of my son. After Peggy came back with the kids, we opened gifts. They gave me a few things to remind me to take care of myself, and Sammy and Callie opened their presents. At the very end, Marcus and Jenny opened their gift and read the note silently. Tears flowed while my heart stopped. The final confirmation came to me. That moment of peace and clarity struck me so hard I couldn’t breathe. We all embraced and our happily ever after began. And so, it all started with, “Once upon an adoption . . .”