Around a year ago, my husband and I were in the middle of one of those two-week waits. Not the dreaded post-IVF-pregnancy-test wait we had endured five times, but one that held a little more promise at the end – a baby being born and ready for us to adopt in two weeks. Of course, adoption comes with its own risks and fears that are too many to go into in one post. But our fast journey to adoption ultimately ended up wonderfully, and I share it here in the hope that others can learn something from our experience.
Starting the Adoption Process
Being in my mid 30s when I married my hubby, I immediately plunged into trying to conceive “before it was too late.” Early in the process, we identified a problem, tried some unsuccessful natural alternatives and were eventually deemed excellent IVF candidates. Thinking back, I remember what a blow it was just to hear that you can’t have a baby like everyone else. Our issue wasn’t age related, it was just dumb luck, supposedly easily overcome with IVF. But we ultimately experienced nothing but multiple unexplained implantation failures and miscarriages.
Following our last implantation failure, we agreed that if we weren’t successful by year-end, we would pursue adoption. We started the process by attending an information session that summer at our adoption agency of choice. When we miscarried again that fall, we got to work on our adoption application, and submitted it in December.
Then, application submitted, we took a break and went to a turquoise beach in Mexico for a week. Don’t think for a second that this journey didn’t come without tequila. Or wine. Lots of it.
But anyway, by the following spring, our application was accepted, home study completed and adoption profile book created. We hoped that by year-end we would be matched, but it didn’t take quite that long …
The Adoption Call – We Were Matched!
The adoption agency had “warned” us that, sometimes, domestic adoption is a very quick process. We totally dismissed that we might get this lucky, mostly because, when you experience the obstacles we had, it sort of feels like the universe is against you. Out of luck, kids are just not in the cards for you.
But, everything happens in its own time I guess. We were fortunate that after years of waiting, we didn’t have to anymore. It appeared to finally be our time.
I am working on a normal Tuesday, and almost didn’t answer my cell phone, but when I did, it’s the agency saying a baby girl is on the way. In TWO WEEKS. Two weeks!? I am floored, but thrilled (obvi). I call hubs, who may or may not have had to lie down in his office upon hearing the news. I have to go home for the day, not able to concentrate.
Birth mom wants to meet us, so we schedule something a week in advance of the due date. As we anxiously wait, a tropical storm is ascending upon the Gulf Coast, so it’s decided we should reschedule. I am literally looking out of my office window, watching the storm roll in, wondering when the new meeting date will be and how I will survive the next week of waiting, when the agency rings again. Instead of, “let’s reschedule,” I get a “she’s here!” A week early! Barometric pressure at its finest! Needless to say, we were completely unprepared, but we make a mad dash to the hospital in the pouring rain …
Meeting Baby … and Birth Mom
There must be a glow (or terrified expression?) that comes with parenthood, whether you birth or adopt. When we walk into the hospital lobby to meet our (hopefully) new baby girl, the guard takes one look and immediately directs us to the maternity ward – no questions asked.
We nervously meet birth mom. She tells us baby girl is so beautiful, and that she’s very excited for us to meet her. That she loved our adoption profile book, and just knew we were the ones. She didn’t get to travel much as a child and was drawn to all of our beach vacation pictures. That she really wanted to help couples like us who couldn’t have a family otherwise. She speaks of her heritage, and asks what name we are thinking. The name just happens to be of the same heritage, and she loves it. We also have some things in common: she is creative and likes to write, played the clarinet, did well in school, loves music and dancing.
I am thrilled with these commonalities and am so excited to meet my new daughter, who will hopefully share some interests and personality traits with me in lieu of DNA.
We finally head to the nursery. The hospital is not exactly accustomed to adoptive situations, so there is a little hesitation, but ultimately, we make it in, and the baby is, indeed, so beautiful! We fall in love. Immediately, we feel she is meant for our family, and that no one can take care of her like we can. She sleeps peacefully as we stare in awe, and the hospital tells us they will get a room ready for us.
Wait … what? I can’t experience birth, but I get the next-best thing — staying in the hospital and bonding with this beautiful newborn baby? Amazing.
But then I get really nervous! In Texas, as I’m sure is the case in most states, birth mom can’t sign adoption papers until 48 hours after birth. That’s two days of bonding (and worrying) time that I might put in only to have this all fall apart. Super scary.
Ultimately, hubby assures me that, knowing me as he does, I can’t NOT do this — I will regret not bonding with this baby, if it all works out. And if it doesn’t, it will hurt all the same, bonded or not. So I stay and become an instant mom, with baby in the room like she is already a part of our family. I feel like I’m a natural, if I do say so myself (ha!), but really, I think she is just an easy baby, and she has continued to be so. I like to think that she is peaceful on her life path, because it is meant to be.
The next two days are tense as we meet a few more members of the birth family, and wonder what is on the mind of birth mom. Aside from work and a few close family members, we tell no one, too afraid of the outcome to share with the world. It was a really difficult two days for our entire family as we all waited it out.
We are so thrilled and relieved to sign the papers. But little did I know, the hardest part was yet to come. Birth mom wants to see baby girl off, and, of course, we oblige. It is one of the most difficult moments of my life, to witness her tearful goodbye to this tiny human we are welcoming with a joyous hello. A miracle, y’all. What a life-changing decision that a birth mom makes for all involved. I literally can’t get over it.
We dry our tears and get in the car to take our new bundle to her new home. She is instantly loved by a parade of family and friends. As it should be.
In the state of Texas, a child must live in your home, documented, for six months, before they can be deemed legally adopted. That meant six months of home visits from the adoption agency. This entailed a medical form detailing any doctor visits, an agency form detailing any milestones and/or problems, and a visit to see how the baby is doing in the home environment. Not so bad! After that, we were able to appear before a judge to make everything legal.
Some Thoughts for Your Journey
I know everyone’s story is different. And I know if you have experienced infertility and/or are on the path to adoption, you are tired of hearing that everything “happens for a reason” or “in its own time.” But I do have some interesting “fate facts” to share: all of our miscarriages happened in early December; we ended up submitting our adoption application in early December; our adoption finalization hearing happened to fall on the exact December day that we submitted our application a year prior, which just happened to be the same December day the birth mom who chose us reached out to the agency. CRAZY good stuff right there, y’all!
We plan do it all over, but I am so nervous, because, how could we get so lucky again? Do you have an experience to share? Please email me or comment. Thanks again for reading!