The past 48 hours have been riddled with anxiety. One of my best friends was sitting, waiting, wishing for the opportunity to hold Maddie in her arms and know for certain that she was hers forever. In our state, a birth-mother giving her child up for adoption has 24 hours after the child is born to change her mind. After Maddie was born on Thursday, I could do nothing but worry anxiously about what might happen the following day.
Friday afternoon, my friend Steph and I sat outside our work in the sunshine watching the clocks on our phones, waiting to find out whether or not the birth-mother had signed the paperwork at 3:00 PM. By 4:00 PM we couldn’t take it anymore. Chests tight, adrenaline pacing through our veins, we drove in circles in the hospital parking lot, seeking a glimpse of our friend’s car; were they here? Did they know already? What would we do if the adoption fell through? How could we help? What could we say? The devastation we envisioned unfolding if the birth-mother had changed her mind twisted our stomachs with worry for our friend. Helpless to do anything more and feeling like God was trying to make a point of forcing us to be patient, we left the parking lot and headed towards a restaurant to eat. Just after we sat down and ordered our drinks, Steph received the text message we’d been so adamantly waiting for, “We have a baby girl!”
“She’s a mommy! Thank God, she’s a MOMMY!” I couldn’t help but cry with overwhelming joy. She and her husband had been waiting for that exquisitely sweet moment for so long. The roller coaster of emotions and obstacles they’d faced together on their adoption journey brought them to the breaking point, but the strength of their love and passion for wanting to be parents brought them to the finish line with glorious success. I know I could never face what they have faced with such strength and determination to so fiercely love and protect a child whose presence was so uncertain until yesterday evening.
To my daughter’s father,
I would like to tell you a story. In August 2009, my husband and I decided to start a family. We were giddy with excitement. I went to the doctor for a preconception visit and did all the “right things.” I read What to Expect When You’re Expecting cover to cover. I cut unheated deli meat, caffeine, and alcohol from my diet. I got a prescription for prenatal vitamins. Window shopping quickly turned into hoarding as we found nursery décor, children’s books, clothes, bottles… we figured buying what we would need a little at a time would save us stress later. The empty bedroom next to ours quickly grew.
My stomach didn’t.
Six months passed. The doctor said to give it six more. They passed, too.
In October 2010, the testing started. Low motility and morphology. “Incredibly low chances. You’ll need IVF.” We considered our options and decided to adopt. We did our research and talked to friends whose children are adopted. Fourteen months after we started trying, we met with highly recommended adoption attorneys to learn about the process and the cost. I am a teacher, and if we wanted to go through a private agency, the adoption was predicted to cost as much as my yearly salary. Of course, if we found the birthmother on our own, the cost was significantly less. In the next six months, we had two opportunities fall through: one fourteen-year-old birthmother simply vanished, and a college student miscarried. We decided to become licensed therapeutic foster parents while we saved the money to go through an agency, hoping to avoid further heartbreak.
The day we interviewed with the birthmother was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life. I couldn’t believe it when we got the call less than an hour after the interview that she had chosen us. We spent the next five months getting to know the birthmother, who we’ll call V. Of course, you weren’t there for any of this.
You accused us of stealing your child. You likened it to taking a baby out of someone else’s cart at the grocery store. You said that there are thousands of other kids waiting to be adopted, that we should go get our own.
I wanted to know why you were willing to tear this child away from the only family she had ever known.
Despite what came before, I hope that one day you two will meet. I hope you want that too. I believe that we’re all capable of change and deserving of happiness, and we’re destined to repeat what we don’t repair. I hope you fix the parts of yourself that need mending so that you’ll be whole enough to get to know our kid. She’s sure as hell worth it.
Until that day,