Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Phone Call

Texting and phone calls were not an unusual form of communication between our birthmother and me. We had grown quite close and talked almost weekly. I continued to send pictures and updates. We invited her and her family to Katelynn's baptism. They even came a day early so they could spend some uninterrupted time with us. 

One October morning, shortly before I returned to work from maternity leave, I received a text from our birthmother asking if I could talk. It is hard to explain, but I immediately got a feeling in my stomach telling me that this was going to be a life-changing conversation. I texted her back and told her to call whenever she could. The conversation that followed contained a message that was more shocking than I had even anticipated.

She was crying. She was scared. She was looking for a non-judgmental listener. She was pregnant....again. 

She wanted to parent this baby. I spoke calmly to her, telling her that she was going to be okay. After all that she had just been through, I couldn't even come close to comprehending how she was feeling at this moment. Her mind was so scattered. She was scared to tell her family. I was the first person she had told. That made my heart break. This poor girl was in a tough situation and the first person that she thought to call was not her mother, not her best friend, but the adoptive mother of her first child. She had to go back to school and she said she would call me later to let me know how she was doing.

When you struggle with fertility it is difficult to remember just how easy getting pregnant can be for some people. I did have to sit back at that moment and think back to being in high school when a pregnancy seemed to be the end of life as I knew it.  This reflecting helped me to understand her thought process over the next few days as she contemplated the outcome of this pregnancy.

Monday, May 23, 2011


After 10 days of waiting for paperwork to be filed in MN and WI, we were finally given the "go-ahead" to head for home! I was so happy! I was finally going to be able to bring our peanut home to meet the family and I was going to get to be at my house with my husband! Don't get me wrong, it was a wonderful 10 days thanks to my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. They opened up their house and lives to Katelynn and me and made us feel so welcome. But it wasn't home.

I called our birthmother and told her we were able to go home. We wanted to do one last visit before Katelynn and I left. This visit was bittersweet. It is so hard when your happiness and dreams depend on another's sadness and loss. 

For those of you out there that don't know a lot about the adoption and birthfamilies, there is one thing that you need to learn. These birthfamilies choose to create adoption plans for their children because they love them so much! They want them to have a life that they know they cannot provide. Adoption isn't chosen out of selfishness. Birthmothers don't give their children to adoptive families because they don't love them or want them. It is quite the opposite. Our birthmother loves her children so much that she chose to sacrifice her wants in order to give her children the life they deserved. 

We hugged and cried lots and promised that this was just a temporary good-bye. She put her trust in us that we would follow through with the open adoption and we have done our best to keep those lines of communication open and to let this relationship grow. Good thing because it definitely led to more surprises!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Dance

Katelynn was born in the wee hours of the morning. We had very little sleep but her birthmother did not want the baby to go into the nursery. I promised her I wouldn't do that, so....she stayed with us! It was a crash course in parenting!
We also promised that we would stay in the hospital until both birthmother and baby were released. At first the hospital had a hotel feel about it. After the second day I was ready to leave. It is so difficult to stay at the hospital when you are not sick or hurt. But, we were troopers and we stuck it out for the 3 days of recovery for birthmother. She was giving me a tremendous gift -- the chance to be called a mom -- how could I not keep these small promises?
Each day brought more visitors. My husband and I danced between both rooms showing off the baby when visitors came and learning to care for her during the down time. It was such an amazing experience to get to meet so many members from both birthfamilies.
It is interesting because these introductions to other members of these families made everyone much more secure with the choice of adoption for Katelynn. They were able to meet us and see that we aren't bad people who are trying to steal a baby away. We were able to explain that we just want to give Katelynn a different kind of family -- a "mega-family" of sorts. We want to surround her with love from her birthfamilies and adoptive families. An adoption plan doesn't have to be good-bye forever to the birthfamily. It just means more people to love a child.
This truly is how adoption is meant to be.
As we prepared to leave on that final day (which took especially long because of the nurses' strike), there were many tears from us all. If only we could live in this little utopia forever -- just across the hall from one another, sharing our love for this little girl. But, life has to go on and we all needed to take a step into the next chapter of our lives.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

She's Here!

We did have another visit with our birthmother the month after we originally met her. I wanted to know as much about her as possible before our baby came. I didn't want to make things awkward. Unfortunately she went on bed rest the month before the baby was due so we didn't get to visit at all in the month of May.

Our beautiful Katelynn was due June 6th, 2010 -- just in time for me to finish off the school year. Our birthmother's mother called us on the evening of June 6th to tell us that they were going to the hospital to induce labor. YAY! I flew around the house and grabbed everything I thought I might need for the next 10-14 days. (I had to stay in Minnesota until the birthmother signed off her rights and all the paperwork was processed.) Of course, I am a planner and my bag had been packed for a week and a half. My husband suggested we spend the night at home and leave first thing in the morning, but I wasn't about to miss the birth of our daughter!

My enthusiasm waned at hour 2 of driving. Luckily, we were by my dad's house so we spent the night there and woke up at 6 am to do the rest of the drive. In short we had about 4 hours of interrupted sleep. This was the beginning of my sleepless nights!

As we arrived in Minnesota, Katelynn was still not ready to be born. We spent the day pacing at my aunt and uncle's house dodging phone calls from anxious family members and pouncing on phone calls that would give us updates. At 11 pm we received a phone call to tell us that they scheduled a c-section for midnight and they wanted us to be waiting at the hospital! Again, I launched out of bed, grabbed our bags, and headed for the car with my husband and step-dad.

We were able to stay at the hospital in a room for the duration of the time that the baby would be there. We checked in like it was a hotel. They brought us to a room and we waited. Suddenly the intercom clicked on and the nurse said, "Are you ready to meet your baby?"

We hurried down the hall to the operating room. A few minutes later the doors opened and my life changed forever! Our beautiful baby girl was placed in my arms. My step-dad captured a classic photograph of this moment. It shows our fear, excitement, and exhausted feelings all at the same time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'd Choose Us!

Thus began the very long wait that most adoptive families experience. Everyone tells you not to think about it, but it is all that is on your mind. With every ring of the phone or increased number in your inbox on your email, all you can think about is, "Am I going to get a baby?"

Copies of our portfolio (scrapbook) are sent to the nearby adoption offices. We also create an online profile for birthparents to look at. Once a birthparent decides to create an adoption plan she fills out a medical history and then describes the type of parents she is looking to give to her child. The social workers give the birthmothers about 5 family portfolios that match her description and that match the waiting families' openness agreement. After the birthmother views these portfolios she chooses 2 or 3 families that she would like to interview.

I would page through our extra portfolio at home and each time I would think, "I would choose us in a heartbeat! Look at all we have to offer!" As we waited to hear that a birthfamily was interested in us I kept trying to figure out how to change us or our portfolio to get more interest from birthmothers. As with all things, God took his time. He was waiting for just the right birthmother to come along to bring us our little angels. His plan makes sense now but at the time, I certainly wanted things to go much faster!

They say most adoptive families meet with one birthmother before actually meeting THE birthmother. We met with two before meeting our amazing birthmother. The first birthmother we met couldn't decide between parenting and adoption. The baby was actually already born and waiting in foster care before the birthmother chose to parent. It was a difficult thing to process but would have been much harder if we had met the baby. The second birthmother was trying to choose between us and another couple. She chose the other couple but in the same week that we met her we also interviewed with THE birthmother of our children. She chose us right away.

Tears of joy poured down our faces when our social worker told us we were matched. We were finally going to be parents... in three months!!!!