I knew from the moment I discovered a baby was growing inside of me that adoption was a possibility. I loved the little one inside immediately and wanted to give everything I could, which unfortunately wasn't very much on my own. I had a low-paying job and no clue what I wanted to do when I grew up, because I didn't feel I had yet arrived there. When I was about 20 weeks along, I got serious about finding my baby parents. I was determined that my little one would have two loving parents, and the biological father was not a candidate. I read profile after profile online of hopeful adoptive parents, and the burden was heavy on my chest. Finally, I read D and G's profile and immediately began bawling. Their two babies in heaven made me sad for them. Their love for each other was obvious. G mentioned D's delicious organic cooking, which caught my attention. I read that she was a holistic nutritionist and knew that she would provide that aspect of my philosophy I feared my child would lose if I chose to place her for adoption. My mind was set- adoption was best for my little one and I, D & G would be her parents, and my agency was selected by default.
I met D & G about a week later, on Aug 31, for dinner with the agency director. I had a list of questions to ask them. Initially, it felt like a high-stakes first date, and we all floundered through our questions. Then something clicked. We connected on a deeper level and spent hours talking about health and wellness, parenting, spirituality, and life in general. I gave them a copy of my anatomy scan ultrasound from that week to take home with them, and left knowing that God's hand was in this.
We met at least monthly for the next 20 weeks. D came to a few appointments with my midwife and we went through a birthing class together. We texted frequently and when my water broke on the evening of Jan 6, it felt like calling family when I let them know.
D&G were there for most of my 31 hours of labor. D was holding my hand when A made her entrance into this world at 4:01 AM on Wednesday, January 8. G caught her and was the first one to hold her. He placed her on my chest for skin-to-skin, and D cut her cord when it finished pulsing. I nursed her and we all cried, touched her, and admired her perfection. During the hospital stay D&G respected my privacy with my daughter, but I wanted them involved. I would nurse and snuggle her then hand her off to one of them to snuggle and care for. Watching them so deeply in love with her and caring for her as a team affirmed my resolution that God chose me to carry A for them.
The hospital stay was beautiful, painful, magical, and confusing. It was hard to be called "Mom" and spend nights alone with A knowing it was fleeting. God showed his hand in so many ways. The doula I was randomly assigned was the mother in law of the doctor that saw me at the University Speciality clinics when we thought that A had a trisomy syndrome. He was a rock for me during that terrifying time. Her daughter took care of D during her miscarriage and subsequent D&C in their city two years earlier. My doctor's office has many midwives, so mine is only on call about once a week- one time for 24 hours and another for 12. I connected only with this one midwife of all the ones in my office, and prayed she'd be on call when I went into labor. Sure enough, her shift started 8 hours after I was admitted and carried through the remainder of my very long and difficult labor. Nothing went as I had hoped it would and she is the only one I trusted when medical intervention became necessary.
My family visited and met A, and supported me the best way they knew how.
A's birthfather met and and fell deeply in love. She was the most beautiful thing he's ever seen, and he wanted to give her the world. The next night, he terminated his parental rights after meeting D&G because he knew that was the only way to fulfill his desire for her. Termination of Parental Rights was the hardest thing I've done in my life. I started crying before we even began and didn't stop until an unknown time after. I remember the director of our agency asking if I wanted to stop and making sure I knew I could change my mind, but I begged her to get it over with. I held A and looked her in her eyes as I agreed to forever terminate my rights to parent her, fueled by the incredible love I felt. Most parents I've met would agree that they would walk through fire for their child, and I was called to do just that. I didn't know it, but G was holding D as she cried deeply over the hurt she knew I was feeling.
When we left the hospital, I carried A in my wheelchair like any other mom, even though D&G could have already taken her home. I said my goodbyes, told her how much I loved her for eternity, thanked D&G, and placed her in their arms. I didn't know it, but my heart was already healing. Those first 24 hours hurt like nothing I've ever felt, but it's only gotten better since.
I started pumping breastmilk for A when I got home. I stayed with my parents for a while, and they took amazing care of me. I saw A every week the first three weeks, until she was almost a month old. I took my pumped milk on these visits and nursed her. Then I saw her roughly every 2 weeks the next two months, until she was 3 months old. After that it was every month until she was 6 months old. We're now aiming for every 4-8 weeks depending on our schedules until she's a year old, but it's much more flexible now. My family has been a part of a couple visits now- including the hospital they have seen her about every 3 months. We do have to schedule actual visits to block off our schedules, but it's not so much of a necessity now- more because we all want to. D recently told me that I'm also welcome to stop in any time I'm in town for a quick, unofficial visit, which gives me so much peace of mind. That is exactly the relationship I dreamed of.
I text D frequently about everything under the sun, like I do my sister. I text G from time-to-time, and they text me pictures often and exciting updates as they occur. We have a google doc where they share updates as a journal to A. The goal is weekly, but sometimes it takes a few weeks because life gets in the way. This is fine with me because I want our relationship to be joyful and relaxed. They update pictures to a shared album on Snapfish periodically as well. If I have a rough day of missing her, I text and ask for a pic, and they happily oblige (this is actually rare). Sometimes I research alongside D for resolutions to A's latest baby woes, and have numerous times been able to find answers that work, which D is constantly grateful for. I just love being a needed part of the family!
I pumped roughly every 3 hours around the clock for the first three months of A's life, making about 100% of her diet. I cut back my pumps and made about 75% of her diet for the next month. I pumped less and less frequently over the next month until I completely stopped around the time she turned 5 months. When visits weren't convenient, I shipped the frozen breastmilk to them. Overall, I provided well over 3,000 oz of breastmilk for A, which is one of the happiest accomplishments of my life. I probably shouldn't, but I also find pride in the fact that I found the one formula A seems to tolerate in small doses, and it's an organic one with no corn syrup. I just love that while this journey has been a team effort. It's not about me. It's not about D&G. It's not about our families. It's about A, and we all work hard to take care of each other.
A has flourished under our system. She remembers me at every visit and acts genuinely happy to see me. She behaves in a way with me that only comes out with her Mom and Dad. It seems to have benefited her to know that I haven't abandoned her after the bond we created while she grew inside me. She has absolutely benefited from the breast milk due to her stomach sensitivity and the boost to her immune system. She has a large group of people that love her dearly in my family, which is especially great because no other family lives within the state. My parents have shared advice with D&G when asked that has been a life-saver according to them. Even in the pain of largely losing A as niece, A has been good for my sister. She has struggled with mental illness for years and A gives her something to hold on to- like a light at the end of the tunnel when she has rough phases.
Our adoption is AMAZING. Thanks for taking the time to read my novel <3