This blog is a hard one to write. I experienced a failed (disrupted) adoption at the latest stage possible. I had been bonding with the expectant mother for 6 months and journaling to the baby girl so I could share what it was like anticipating her arrival. I was documenting everything I learned about her family so that I could share with her as she got older. For example, when the expectant mother ate chocolate, the baby girl jumped for joy in her belly! My husband and I chose a name for the baby that meant a lot to us and our family. The nursery was dolled up and clothes were washed and hung in the closet. All the legal paperwork was done and paid for, showers were had, FMLA was planned etc. You get my drift?
On Dec 17th 2008, we flew across the country for the birth. We were a couple days early, as we were not going to miss “the moment” she took her first breath. We spent every day with the expectant mom as we had grown close and it was Christmastime and we were away from family. We shopped, baked cookies, dined and played a lot of games! Labor was taking its time and the birth mother ended up having to be induced the day after Christmas. What a gift. When she was born, there was both joy and tears. This was THE moment we had been anticipating for a long time. Moods were elevated, cameras were flashing and visitors were coming to congratulate all of us.
However, the air changed when the birth mother was being discharged from the hospital. She was no longer smiling. She was quiet, and all of a sudden we were at a loss for conversation. The happiest time of our lives had coincided with her saddest. What could we say to her? I felt like I was kidnapping her baby. I wanted to cry for her AND myself for totally different reasons. I felt horrible and my heart was heavy. My husband drove her home and told me the ride was silent.
Now she was home and we were released with “our” baby girl. We were first-time parents and frightened to be so far from family and friends not knowing what to do! We had everything we thought we needed at the hotel.
Each state has its own laws pertaining to adoption. In the state we were in, a birth mother cannot relinquish her rights unless she is in front of a judge. We had a court date in 3 days. The morning of the court date, we received a call from the birth mother’s attorney asking us to bring the baby to the office because she had decided to parent. We weren’t totally surprised after the changes in the air. We cried and cried and cried. I felt like they were going to have to pry her from my arms. We packed up all the supplies, clothes etc. I will never forget walking in the freezing cold through the parking lot at the attorney’s office and looking down at her in my arms and only seeing her eyes peeking out of the pink blankie. Those eyes are burned into my memory. I can’t believe this baby girl that we prepared for, journaled to, and named, was not mine. But she wasn’t.
We quickly flew home to be with loved ones. We had an outpouring of love, food, cards, flowers and visits. We were mourning the loss of “our” baby girl. My mourning was so deep, I had to constantly remind myself that she did NOT die. She would go on living, just without us. She wouldn’t know any different. She was ALIVE. Our dream was dead, but she was alive. People close to us tried to comfort us, but it was difficult to do. The words I hung onto were “there is a baby out there that needs you more.” Where? I had faith.
After this experience, many people close to us asked if we were scammed. I never felt scammed. I am aware of scamming that goes on, but this situation never felt like that to me. She never lied to us about who she was or details of her life. It would be easier to scam without meeting the people you would crush in the end. She never hesitated to open up to us and introduce us to her family and friends. She was in this just as much as we were. My belief is that she was not prepared for the feelings she would have after the baby’s birth. She’d had children before, but never had to hand one over. It all became real to her when she had to leave the hospital without the baby. I didn’t blame her. I couldn’t do it either. How could I be mad at her for not doing something I wouldn’t do either? All I could do is pray that she was able to provide for her family and everyone would thrive.
During that time, I was asked a lot if we would try again. Are you kidding me? I was a mom for 3 days! I had a taste of parenthood–the coos, snuggles and the sleepless nights. We wanted it more than ever. We would continue to search for the baby that needed us more.
Spoiler alert: Stay tuned for another post on if I would ever see those eyes that are burned in my memory, again.