Our story of our miracle baby is precious, and we love how we’ve been able to grow our family.
The Beginning of Our Beginning
Most people go on their first dates and talk about movies, their likes, and dislikes. Maurice and I talked about wanting children on our first date. Granted, we weren’t 25 anymore and we both had a previous childless marriage as experience; nevertheless, this is how we started.
Eight months later we got married and started planning for a family right away. The initial excitement for a miracle soon turned into anxiety and stress. After a year of trying on our own with the help of books and fancy ovulation gadgets, we decided it was time to seek professional help.
We picked a fertility specialist and started with tests and drugs. All the test results indicated that we were both “fine”, but we still didn’t conceive. The fertility drugs in the meantime made my body crazy—up and down mood swings, stomach cramps, and a general feeling of exhaustion. Soon, I’d had enough of this. Maurice and I decided to go the “for sure” route—adoption, which led us to our miracle.
Starting the Adoption Process
Not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we first decided to educate ourselves a bit. We went to a few open houses at local adoption agencies and started talking to friends and family about our plans. My father told me about the son of one of his closest friends who had recently adopted a baby. This couple used a lawyer that they liked very much who was located in Los Angeles.
We knew that either way we went (meaning adoption agency or adoption lawyer), the average costs were high. We quickly drew up some tentative numbers and, since we had a personal recommendation, decided to go with this lawyer in Los Angeles.
The Lawyer in Los Angeles
We contacted him, and he sent us a video and some paperwork about the process. It all seemed very organized and thorough. For starters, we had to fly to Los Angeles and subject ourselves to an 8-hour interview with the lawyer and his staff for profiling purposes. During this same day, we talked to a “sample” birth mother, a psychologist, the lawyer’s assistant, the lawyer himself, and viewed several videos.
Of course, we were charged for this day even though we hadn’t committed to anything yet. We returned to Houston, thought about what we had experienced, and decided that if that lawyer was so thorough in background-checking two hopeful adoptive parents, he must be just as thorough in background-checking birth mothers.
So, we accepted and sent him our first retainer check. This check was for him to start searching for a potential birth mother. We then waited for about a year. It was understood that the moment we got the call, we basically had to drop everything and fly to Los Angeles to meet the expectant mother.
A Year-Long Wait
For almost a year, our lives were on hold, keeping our cellphones on hand at all times, not planning vacations, not spending money. Just working and hoping, working and hoping.
The call came on a Friday afternoon. The lawyer gave us a quick “run through” of the birth mother’s information. She was 32 years old, this was her 7th pregnancy, she had given up her 5th child for adoption, kept her 6th child, and now again needed to place her 7th child due to financial problems. She was technically unmarried and living in Phoenix with her partner who was the father of all her children. He was currently without a job.
During the interviewing and profiling, these expectant parents indicated they would need living assistance for two months because they had lost their home. They also wanted some help with maternity clothes and medical co-payments. We were told that, all in all, these were pretty modest requests. So, we agreed to meet with her and fly to Los Angeles.
The Opposite of Miracles
If a flight can be an omen to what was coming our way, we should have listened! It was a flight from hell. We were bumped at every stop and arrived in LA very late at night and completely exhausted. We just grabbed our rental car and went to the hotel. A good night’s sleep was sorely needed to prepare ourselves for what was coming the next day at the lawyer’s office.
Monday morning we arrived punctually at the lawyer’s office. We were asked to sit and wait for a while, and then we briefly spoke to our lawyer who had to be in court all day. He introduced us to a young lady who had recently started working for him because his assistant was on vacation that week. The young lady was supposed to coordinate the day for us and introduce us to the expectant parents.
Meeting the Expectant Parents
An hour or so later, we were introduced to the birth mother, her partner, and their youngest child who was about 2 years old. It was an awkward and surreal experience. The birth mother came across as a spooked gazelle, only concentrated on the 2-year-old, and never even made eye contact with us.
The birth father on the other hand was friendly and talked about his extended family and the future work projects he had planned but which hadn’t come through yet. With our naïve and inexperienced minds, we ignored all warning signs and trusted our lawyer who had picked this couple for us. We decided to move forward with strong encouragement from our lawyer who told us that these situations are always difficult because you are often putting together people of very different socioeconomic and educational levels.
At that time we had to pay the second retainer, plus money for the birth mother fund and all travel expenses for the birth parents. We were left in the room to further “bond” with the birth parents for a long time. No true connection ever really happened between us.
We Agreed to Adopt
After we had agreed to adopt their baby, the tone in the birth father’s communication started changing a bit. Basically, he wanted to get out of the lawyer’s office as soon as possible, but not without a $2,000 check to pay for the hotel in Phoenix their family was going to move into. The check had to be cut by our lawyer who was in court all day, so we had to wait around.
It was a strange waiting time. We kept trying to get through to the birth mother who was still very shy. She spoke a little but never really paid a lot of attention to what was going on around her. The picture album we had prepared for her was looked at quickly and then left and forgotten on the couch she was sitting on.
But it was all signed and done; they committed to become the birth parents of our child after the adoption was finalized. We flew back to Houston and proceeded with our lives as well as we possibly could. Then the phone calls started.
The Phone Calls
We were told that we were expected to check in with the expectant mother about once a week to see how she was doing and for further “bonding.” We didn’t have to worry, though, because the “shy gazelle” turned into quite the busy dialer.
She was calling us almost every day. One day, she needed extra money for a cab fare to the doctor’s office. Then she needed extra money for clothing, food, storage for her furniture, and cookware. The list grew and grew. The lawyer kept telling us to direct those money calls to him, but it didn’t do any good. If he didn’t react fast enough to her demands, she would ask us to get on top of him. So, the stress continued.
We ended up paying three months of rent, plus living expenses, before we finally started waking up and smelling the coffee! But even though we had a funny feeling in the stomach, we proceeded because we had invested so much, not only financially but also emotionally, and we were truly still hoping for a good outcome.
Then one week while attempting to reach the expectant mother, I got the expectant father on the phone instead. I asked how his partner and the baby were doing, and how his new job outlooks were. We were chatting. He was very friendly, and I will never forget how he even called me “hon” while telling me that everything was just great.
The Bad News
The very next day, we got a call from our lawyer. He had been contacted by the doctor in Phoenix who was taking care of the expectant mother. She explained she felt morally obligated to tell him that the expectant mother not only signed medical releases to us, but also to five other couples around the country.
I felt like the Hulk had just punched me in the stomach. We immediately withdrew funds from the expectant parents, but as there is no law to protect prospective adoptive parents, we had basically lost all that time and money to this con-artist couple. I notified the authorities both in Phoenix and Houston, but nobody reacted to my numerous calls. It was basically all our loss.
Coping with Irresponsibility
Our lawyer in LA kept telling us that “these things happen” and there are “no guarantees” and “we told you this from the beginning”. Never did he admit his office was at fault for not being thorough enough, or for pushing us toward a situation that they weren’t even sure about. They just wanted to make sure all expenses were covered. So we stepped back, decided to cancel our contract with the lawyer (even though we would not get much money back) and take a break from all of this.
It was a sad time, and it didn’t feel like any miracle was about to happen. We felt really taken advantage of. Our hearts were aching, and we had no plan. We decided not to pursue any other adoption avenue until the beginning of the next year. This would give us a break and a chance to enjoy life a little. We needed to recharge our batteries and bank accounts.
A Miraculous Connection
Several months later, in October, I received a call from one of my best friends. She told me that a friend of a friend had a friend who was working with an expecting teenager and that I really should talk to this friend of her friend about this mother. I was completely confused and also turned off. What could come out of this friend-relay service? But my long-time best friend is very pushy and convincing, so I gave in and called her friend’s friend, Stephanie.
Stephanie introduced herself as being the mother of a child who was also adopted. She also told me that she remembers how there was absolutely no help out there for her when she went through the process, how lonely and desperate she had felt at times, and how badly she had wanted a miracle.
Paying the Miracle Forward
When the time came, she’d promised herself, she would pay her adoption success forward and help a lost soul in need. I liked Stephanie very much; we connected on a level that only two people with similar experiences can connect on. I agreed to send her our picture album that the previous expectant mother had tossed aside.
Stephanie gave the album to her friend who worked with the expectant mother. A week or so later, I received an email from Tiffany, the expectant mother, which seemed like a miracle. She loved our book, our dogs, and our house. It all sounded to good to be true as she explained that she was religious and knew from the moment she found out she was pregnant that she would place her child for adoption. She said she wasn’t ready to raise a child herself. I thought it would have to be a miracle for her to be telling the truth, so I didn’t let myself believe any of it. But I corresponded with Tiffany via email for several months. Eventually, we decided it was time to meet her and her parents.
Meeting a Miraculous Mom
So on December 22, 2007, Maurice and I drove to Austin, TX to have lunch with Tiffany and her family. We were all very nervous, but we all immediately took a liking to each other, which felt like a great miracle. It was a very emotional lunch, and we all shed some tears and hugged. I especially remember Tiffany’s dad telling us that he came to the meeting expecting to hate us and that even though this was all very difficult for him, he really took a liking to us.
As our relationship progressed, I still didn’t let myself believe this was all happening but kept telling myself that if nothing else I was helping a teenager through this very hard time by talking and writing to her.
Legally Preparing for a Miracle
The months went by. About three months before Tiffany’s due date of May 13, we decided that it was time to involve a lawyer and see what we had to do to cross all our t’s and dot all our i’s. We picked a local lawyer that Maurice had done some work for, and she started guiding us through the process.
I started making plans with Tiffany to go to the doctor with her, and also to tour the hospital where she would give birth. It all went without a hitch. Time kept ticking by, and my heart was still on guard.
When Tiffany was about four months pregnant, she had asked us what we would name a boy or a girl. We told her that we wanted to name a girl Mia Elisabeth and a boy would be Luke Maurice. As soon as she found out that the baby was a boy she started referring to him as Luke. We all did. He was a miracle.
And then we got “the call” on on May 16, a Friday, at 2 a.m. Tiffany’s father called to tell us that she was in labor at the hospital. We jumped out of bed and drove towards Austin from Houston as fast as we could. I had already purchased a baby seat two weeks before and had it installed in my car, and we had packed bags ready to go as well.
The Birth of Our Miracle
The ride to Austin was nerve-wracking. Was this real? Was this really happening? I still couldn’t fully believe it. We arrived at the hospital around 5:30 a.m.. Tiffany’s grandmother received us with open arms, calling us “mom and dad.” She told us that Tiffany was in the delivery room resting and that we could see her later. She sat down with us and chatted. A few hours later, Tiffany’s dad came out of the room and sat down with us and chatted as well.
Then the nurse came out and called me into the secured area. She asked me to sit right outside the room because Tiffany was not ready to have me in the room yet. So I waited outside and listened to the noises in the birthing room. My heart pounding, I lost track of time.
Entering the Delivery Room
The door opened, and the nurse asked me to enter the birthing room. She asked me to sit on the couch that was opposite the hospital bed. Tiffany was in good spirits and surrounded by her grandmother, stepmother, doula, nurse, and doctor. They were all coaching her during the contractions and making little jokes during the breaks. And suddenly baby Luke started crowning.
The doctor said, “He’s crowning!” and I lost it on that couch. I couldn’t stop sobbing, and it was loud. I even lost control of my body. Right at that moment, Tiffany’s contractions were at a break.
She lifted her head, looked at me, and said, “Hey, you are not supposed to be crying! I’m the one delivering the baby!” We all burst out laughing. The next contraction came, and soon Luke’s head was out. Then they asked me to get off the couch and stand next to Tiffany, so I did.
Standing there, looking at Luke coming out, was a miracle. It was the most overwhelming feeling I had ever experienced in my life. The nurse and the doula were not only consoling Tiffany, but they also started consoling me!
Cutting the Umbilical Cord
Immediately after Luke came out of the womb, the doctor clamped his umbilical cord and asked out loud, “Who is going to cut the cord?”
Tiffany lifted her head and said, “Claudia, Claudia is cutting the cord!” So I took a deep breath, tried to pull myself together, and shakily cut the cord that attached miracle baby Luke to his mom. It was the most symbolic moment of our entire experience.
The nurse took our miracle, Luke, to the side room to clean, weigh, and test him. In the meantime, Tiffany’s family surrounded her to console her. I was shepherded into the side room with this miracle baby. Luke did fantastic in all his examinations and weighed 3407 grams. I am telling you the grams because as it happens that is exactly our home street address number! Funny and cute coincidence. It was a funny miracle.
During his examinations, I was leaning over him and had a direct view of Tiffany’s bed. She was looking at me as well. Our eyes locked. I blew her a kiss from my heart, and she gave me the most lovely and tender smile that I will always remember.
Then the nurse bundled our miracle baby Luke up and without much warning put him right into my arms. Tiffany’s dad, grandfather, and Maurice were allowed to enter the birthing room, and Maurice got to see his miracle son for the first time as well.
Gazing at Our Miracle in the Nursery
While Tiffany’s family was surrounding her, we left the room and walked to the nursery. There I held miracle Luke for four hours and just watched him, gave him his first bottle, and changed his first diaper. I have to selfishly admit that even though Maurice was at my side the entire time, I did not let him hold the baby. Not on purpose, but simply because I couldn’t put him down. I just needed to hold him.
As I am writing this, our miracle baby Luke is right beside me on the couch. He is now 11 weeks old. I want to put every memory down on paper so that, when he is old enough, I can tell him everything as it happened.
Tiffany talked with us before Luke was born and told us to make sure we never pushed the issue onto him. She was going to be there for him if he wanted her to, but she didn’t want him to feel like he had to contact her.
Still Marvelling at Our Miracle
I tell people who ask how the adoption went that, putting all my fears and anxieties aside, this was the most beautiful adoption in the world. Luke is a very lucky baby for having such an angel for a birth mom, to give him life. Now we are here to guide him through life. We feel truly blessed; he is our little miracle.
Do you feel there is a hole in your heart that can only be filled by a child? We’ve helped complete 32,000+ adoptions. We would love to help you through your adoption journey. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.