Adoption: Not for the Faint of Heart

by Be Heard on August 30, 2012

in Parenting

When my husband and I and got married, we both knew we wanted children. But we were young, and we figured we had plenty of time for that later on.

Several years later, we decided that we were ready to start our family, and I couldn’t wait to be a mama. This wouldn’t take long, right?

Long story short, I was basically betrayed by my body and society. Nothing was happening. Did you know that sex doesn’t always equal pregnancy?! (Having that information during high school and college could have saved me some serious trips to the health department!) After more than three years of continuing down the path of trying get pregnant, endless doctor appointments, medications, fertility treatments, tears, and heartbreak, we had enough. This is when we made the decision to adopt.

Before you can adopt, you have to get a home study done. Tons of fun, I mean, there’s nothing like telling a complete stranger every single intimate detail of your life. You know, the important stuff. How much money you have, how much debt you have, if you have a healthy relationship and sex life, when you pooped last. They really get all up in your business. That process took about five months, and then we waited to be matched with an expectant mom.

During that time, we kept busy by preparing the nursery. We selected a gender neutral theme so that we were set for either a boy or a girl. We had also created a 25 page scrapbook-like profile for expectant parents to go through as they try to find the perfect parents for their unborn baby. Our profile was viewed, but not chosen, twice before we got the call saying that we had been picked. We were absolutely thrilled! The baby was a little boy, due in two months.

We told everyone. We named him. We bought all of the baby necessities and adorable boy clothes. We even made an 11 hour drive to meet our future child’s birth mom, “R.” The visit was short and slightly awkward; no one knew what to say. But we were happy to meet her, and we promised her that we would be the best possible parents that we could be to her baby.

The days leading up to the birth were filled with all kinds of emotions. On top of the normal parents-to-be feelings, there was also the looming fear that she would change her mind. It’s a possibility that you have to be prepared for. But “R” had assured us that this was what she wanted to do; it was what was best for everyone. Then we got the call. Baby Boy had been born and “R” had decided to parent him. We were absolutely devastated.

For the next week, we laid low. We let friends and family know what had happened, and we asked everyone to give us our space. We had just lost our baby. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. But somehow, we made it through. And apparently, fate had other plans.

Not even a month after getting that dreaded news, we received another call from our agency. Our profile had been shown again. Four days later, we were making the five hour trip to our agency’s office to meet with another expectant mother and her parents. I was a complete ball of nerves, of course. But the meeting went really well! It was much more comfortable than our previous experience. “C” was prepared, and she knew exactly what she was looking for. Her baby was a little girl, due in two months. She told us that she had met with another couple, and she needed some time to make her final decision. With that, we headed back home, anxiously waiting to see our agency’s phone number pop up on caller ID. It didn’t even take 24 hours. “C” had chosen us as parents to her unborn baby. Once again, we were “expecting!”

This time, we were much more cautious and guarded. We only told immediate family and close friends. With the previous situation, the adoption would have only been semi-open. “R” only wanted pictures and letters. No visits. No identifying information. “C” wanted a very open adoption. She wanted pictures, letters, visits, phone calls, and so on. Kyle and I had decided early on in our adoption journey that we were open to any type of adoption. When you are going through the home study process, you decide what you are open to; that includes everything from race, to health of the baby, to birth parent backgrounds, to the level of openness that you are comfortable with. They are decisions that you have to make, and they are decisions that almost make you feel like a jerk. “This is okay, but that isn’t.” “I could handle this, but couldn’t handle that.” For us, the only thing that was important was a healthy baby. We decided that for the rest, we would let the cards fall where they would.

The next two months were spent beginning to build a relationship with “C;” though we were constantly worrying and wondering if she would change her mind, too. We wanted to be excited about Baby Girl’s arrival, but we were trying to remain guarded. At best, we were cautiously optimistic. Then it was time to make a birth plan. “C” originally told me that I could be in the room when she delivered. Then she decided that she only wanted her mom there, but she would like us at the hospital. Finally, she decided that she wanted those 48 hours after birth for just her and her family to spend some time with the baby and say their good-byes. I understood, but was scared. What if she bonded with the baby? What if there was no way she would be able to go through with it? We kept telling ourselves, “If she is meant to be our baby, she will come home with us.”

The due date came and went, “C”s doctor scheduled an induction. Saturday, the day of her induction, was pure torture. We waited all day for an update, but heard nothing. I kept reminding myself that this was her first pregnancy, and these things take time.

Sunday morning we got a call from the adoption agency. Baby Girl had arrived the night before, and she and “C” were both doing well. They told us not to come to town yet. “C” couldn’t sign her Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) until she was discharged from the hospital, but they would keep us posted.

Later that afternoon, the agency called again. “C” was wavering on her decision, and she didn’t know if she could go through with it. Once again, our world crashed down on us. We immediately assumed the worst. Kyle came home from work, and we spent much of the night in silence. I didn’t want to lose hope yet, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be able to handle having my heart smashed to pieces again.

Monday morning we were woken up by yet another call from our agency. I saw their name on my phone, took a deep breath, and answered. “Hi Tiffany, its Shannon. I just wanted to let you know that “C” has decided to go through with her adoption plan. She will be signing her TPR this evening around 6 p.m. You and Kyle should probably head this way as soon as possible.”

I’m pretty sure at that point I emitted a sound that could only be heard by dogs. This was it. It was finally happening! We threw our things together, carefully gathered our baby items, and jumped in the car. Most of the day was a blur. The drive, the hour of signing our portion of paperwork at the agency, and the two hour wait at the hotel for the call that “C” had signed.

But that first moment that I laid eyes on my baby girl, and the first time that I held her and inhaled her baby smell, those moments are all still crystal clear. That was almost a year ago. And every single day, I am still in awe over this beautiful little creature and the fact that I was chosen to be her mama. She is simply amazing. It’s also amazing how much love we have for “C”. She is without a doubt, one of the bravest women I know. And we are so lucky to have her in our lives and to have such an open and loving relationship with her.

Even though it took five years, endless tears and heartache, a huge blow to our finances, and lots of people to get us to the world of parenthood, it was absolutely all worth it. And I would do it all over again just to be Kennedy’s Mama. Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared for the worst, and hope for the best. Adoption is about creating Forever Families. And that is truly a wonderful thing.

Curvy Girl Guide Contributor, Tiffany, is a self-proclaimed superstar. She thinks she’s hysterical and knows she’s ridiculous. Her interests include photography, beer, wine, cheeseburgers, and ridiculously large hair flair and sunglasses. Motherhood is her current gig, and it’s better than anything she could have ever dreamed of. Married to Kyle and Mama to Keke. Currently residing in Upstate New York.

 

Kelli August 30, 2012 at 7:15 am

Thank you for sharing, because this is a road we’re considering.

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:54 am

Adoption is truly an amazing thing. The best advice I can give you is to read everything you can get your hands on, talk to people who have adopted, were adopted, and are birth mothers. And remember to take everyone opinions and comments with a grain of salt. Most people only know about adoption through what they see in movies or whatever, and the media loves to dramatize it. But just know, the moment you meet your baby, you will know that it was all worth it. Good luck!

Holly August 30, 2012 at 8:18 am

Thank you for sharing your story – it was great to hear the love you have for your baby girl – even before you met her. I am adopted (though closed adoption) and my parents are some of the most amazing and brave people I know. Every day I marvel at how lucky I was that fate brought me to them, and I’m sure your daughter will feel the same way. Good luck to your family!

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:55 am

I am always happy to share it! And thank you! I hope that she grows up and feels the same way as you. :)

Brittany August 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

Just…ugh. Ok I’m crying. Ignore the mascara. Just thank you for writing this. I was able to watch just pieces of your journey unfold on Facebook, and I have to say, you and “C” are just strong and amazing ass women, who I look up to and make me feel so proud to be a woman.

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:57 am

I’m sorry I made you cry, Brittany! But thank you for giving me the chance to share my story with a larger audience. <3

sabrina August 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

Best. story. Ever.

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:58 am

Thank you!

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thank you all so much for the love! I love sharing our story, and I’m always trying to help educate people on adoption. There are a lot of misconceptions about it. And I like to be able for people to see the non-Lifetime Movie version of it.

Heidi August 30, 2012 at 9:55 am

This is so beautifully written.

And your baby girl is the cutest! I wanna smootch those cheeks!

Tiffany August 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

Isn’t she though?! And those cheeks, they gone of for days and are incredibly smoochable!
And thank you!

Mariea August 30, 2012 at 10:00 am

Awesome article, Tiff! LOVE your little family!

Tarasview August 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

this is so beautiful- thank you for sharing your story!

Joy August 30, 2012 at 10:06 am

We love you guys and seeing yor family and the special relationship our families will always have. Awesome job on the article!

Kristie August 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

*Crying* This is just a beautiful story, and you guys are a beautiful family. I’ve spent some time trying to convince my husband that adoption is a good choice if we want to grow our family (we have one child). He’s against it, for stupid reasons like “I know we’re smart and I want our kid to have those genetics” and real reasons like “I worry I won’t love an adopted child in the same way that I love our biological son.” It’s a process, and a hard one. Congrats to both of you, and best of luck in raising your child with all the advantages that her momma wanted to give her but couldn’t.

Coco Rogers August 30, 2012 at 10:10 am

First, let me just say that your daughter is lovely. Such a smile! I’m so glad you will have a fully open adoption.

Second, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for referring to the women you were matched with as expectant moms, and not as “birth mothers”. As a first/birth mom to a now 20 year old daughter, I know how much words matter. Even though your first match resulted in the mom parenting her baby, and your sorrow was as real and deep as anyone’s, you respected her decision, and respected C as well, for her baby’s birth. That means a great deal. Thank you, again.

May you and your family enjoy a wonderful life together.

tena August 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

I was blessed with fertility. I watched Baby Story on TLC like it was my job for many years. But then, Adoption Story came on, and as lovely as Baby Story can be, I discovered that I cannot watch Adoption Story without getting all gross and snotty cries from witnessing such strength and love that is obvious from such an action and journey as adoption. Thank you for sharing your story and starting my day with good and gross snotty cries and goose bumps.

Sarah V August 30, 2012 at 10:31 am

Seriously, I think you were just waiting for the cutest baby ever! Beautiful story, beautiful family… I don’t think there is such thing as having too many people love you.

Meredith August 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

I love her so much.

Every time you post a picture of her on Facebook, I just stare at her, and I think about how amazing you and Kyle are.

Habbala August 30, 2012 at 11:18 am

Man alive. Crying at 9:15 in the morning. Thank you for sharing your story. I am completely overwhelmed with the strength of you and your husband and “C”. My heart aches for her while also being so elated that you have you daughter in your arms.

Jodi Flippin August 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Tiffany,
With tears in my eyes, and a smile on my face I can relate to all you have said. I am Kayla and Sarah Flippin’s mom. My girls went to school with Kyle and Ryan. We adopted Kayla from India after a few failed atemps at local adoption. And that was in 1983. Homestudy was basicly the same, and the road also was rocky. I am so happy for you guys, from the bottom of my heart. KeKe is so beautiful, and God has Blessed you beyond measures. I admire you guys, and have enjoyed your story. hugs to all of you……

rachel August 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

the picture of you and C looking over K speaks beyond a million words. a picture, words, of immense love.

Nanette August 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Beautiful journey and beautiful family.

Sending so much love to you and your gorgeous family.

Jennifer August 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm

The photo of you and her hugging… OMG. I’m crying. So happy you got your baby girl, and that her birth mother is so amazing. I can’t imagine the sacrifice it would take to allow someone else to mother your child, but I’m so thankful for the women strong enough to do it.

SwingCheese August 30, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I can’t imagine the gamut of emotions that accompany an adoption, but you’ve done a beautiful job of articulating them! I applaud your idea to do an open adoption. If I were in a situation where I was unable to keep my baby, I would be a lot more at ease placing them with a family who was open to contact. If I were adopting a child, I’d be comfortable with a mom who wanted to still be in her child’s life, even if she knew she wasn’t in the best position to raise that child. I think that open adoption is the only way to go. And your daughter is beautiful!

Jodi August 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Thank you for sharing. I love hearing other’s stories. We had 2 “near misses” in the domestic program. One we spent 3 days at the hospital with the little guy and the other we backed out of days before the c-section because of some “hidden” things we found out about. We switched to Colombia and now have a happy, healthy 19 month old who we received 9 months ago! It is all worth it and in the end, you know why the things that happen in adoption do. Cause the child you end up with in your family is the one you are SUPPOSED to have :) Thanks again!

Amanda August 31, 2012 at 7:26 am

Beautiful story! It must be a very difficult road for all involved facing those decisions, but, in the end, the right decision was made. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

Vicky August 31, 2012 at 9:12 am

Thank you for sharing your story. We have a 1 year old little her ( open adoption) after a really really bad experience in the UKRAINE !!!

Tawny August 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Those cheeks need to be marketed. So happy your journey had a happy ending.

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