A Real Story of Our First Adoption
My dream was to be a mom. I had also dreamed of adopting one day. Anytime I would see photos of families with multiple races represented, my heart would get overwhelmed thinking of how much I would love for my family photos to look that way. To me, it was a look of love! Never did I imagine where life would take us!
Shortly after marriage, we were ready to have children. After months of negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test, we decided to have that hard talk with my OB-GYN. Long story short, we found out early on in our marriage that conceiving a child naturally would be impossible. No matter how much faith we had, there was no possible way we would ever conceive.
Adoption had always been in my heart but I had no clue it would be my ONLY option. My husband was a little reluctant at first but after a lot of reading, talking, crying, praying, and more praying…. we took the leap of setting up our very first appointment with an adoption agency. Let me just say, there are a LOT of agencies out there. Finding the right one is extremely difficult but we found one we were interested in working with.
It was during a trip to visit family in Chicago in March, that we started our mounds of paperwork. When I say mounds, I am not even kidding. If you have adopted before, you feel my pain! Basically, they want your entire life story written out and then your entire future to be written out, too. Ha! On vacation, we sat in my grandparents guest room typing away. No one in our family even knew what we were doing at the time.
We had a GREAT plan. Both of us were working. I planned to start staying home with the baby once he or she was born…. but that would be at least another year or two according to the agency. We had plenty of time to pay the monthly payments we had set up with the agency to pay all the adoption fees. I would continue to work but we would live solely on my husband’s income while my money was all dumped into the adoption fees. Perfect plan! Except when God had another plan!
We finished all of our paperwork, classes, more paperwork, more classes, interviews, more paperwork, more interviews, and then FINALLY were ready to adopt. The average wait for a child was around a year to two years. In mid-August, we submitted the final paperwork and mailed off a stack of “Dear Birthmother Letters” that would be mailed out to birthmothers who called the agency about possibly placing their child for adoption. The letters shipped out to the agency’s head office in California (from North Carolina) on August 16th.
On September 11th, 2002 my husband had gone home on his lunch break. The phone rang and on the other end was a scared voice. “Hi, my name is Lisa. I am a birth mom.” After a minute of silence, she told my husband she was nervous and he said: “That makes two of us!”. From then on, the conversation became easier. He came to my office and told me not to get excited but that we had a call…. a call from a birth mom. I think every single emotion ran through my body at once! Don’t tell ME not to be excited!! haha!
My husband and I worked together at a local newspaper at the time which was about 8 minutes from our home. When the clock struck 5, we had our belongings in hand and were racing towards the door to get home so we wouldn’t miss the next scheduled phone call. I was excited and nervous knowing I was about to hear the voice of my angel! The woman who had the power to make me a mama for the very first time.
After that phone call and much more, we finally met face to face just a month later… in October. She and her best friend met us at the adoption agency. There, we discussed how we both expected life after the baby was born. She signed papers, we signed papers. It just seemed too simple. Simple until reality hit.
Adoption is NOT for the faint of heart for sure. At the end of November, I headed a few hours away from home to be close enough that if she went into labor, I would be there. I had the opportunity to attend a couple doctors appointments with her during the three weeks prior to the big day. My grandfather had passed away the night before I left which made for an extra emotional journey.
On December 11th, she spent the night with us at a friend’s house who lived locally. I laid on the bed full of crazy emotions. The thoughts that I was going to be a mom mixed with the worry that she would change her mind flooded my mind that night. Two doors down, she laid in a bed also worrying and wondering what the following day had in store as she was to be at the hospital early that next morning to be induced.
We arrived at the hospital. All three of us a nervous mess. They got her checked in and all set up for induction. With an IV in place, medication had begun. At the same time as the medicine was traveling through her body, they broke her water. In a matter of minutes, the pain intensified and the desire for the epidural to be administered was heightening. 17 minutes after the doctor broke her water, our baby boy had made his grand appearance. Our little speed racer! Shortly after, the anesthesiologist came walking in the room with medical supplies only to say “I guess you don’t need this” and walked out of the room.
While she rested, we went to grab a bite to eat. I can remember standing in the elevator with my husband, calling my old youth pastor and his wife sharing that Cameron had just been born. We called what seems like every single contact on our phones to announce our new baby to EVERYONE! Only to have the doubts and fears that maybe I had just lied to all my family. Maybe he wouldn’t be our child. What if she changed her mind?
We were beyond ecstatic. He was happy and healthy… and his birth mom seemed to be holding up great. This was our first experience with adoption… and her’s as well. None of us knew what to expect. I felt… again…. like it was too easy.
We stayed in a hotel that evening just a block from the hospital. The next morning when we walked into the room, his birth mom didn’t even look the same. I had never in my life seen someone’s eyes so swollen from crying. My heart sank. We had formed such a bond over the months prior. I hurt FOR her. I wondered if she had changed her mind but I was scared to even ask questions.
I remember having to walk out of the room to regain my composure. Everything had gone so well the entire day before. This completely caught me off guard. This wasn’t the same confident woman I had left the night before. She was broken. She was hurting.
She signed her relinquishments and we all left the hospital. During the two and a half hour ride home, visions of her heartbroken face wouldn’t leave my mind. I felt like I was stealing someone’s baby. She loved him so much. She knew she couldn’t take care of him the way she wanted and made such an incredibly selfless choice to give him the life she felt so strongly that he deserved. What if I let her down? What if I couldn’t be the mom of him that she had visioned? What if the heartbreak never ended for her? My mind was in constant turmoil.
Everyone assumes that adoption is all joy for adoptive parents. Not for THESE adoptive parents. We were ecstatic to have our sweet baby boy but our hearts hurt for his birth mom. Adoption is an emotional journey. TRUE love ALWAYS hurts because it isn’t selfish… it is selfless. His birth mom hurt because she was giving up a piece of herself to make the best choice she knew to make for HIM. We were hurt because the woman that gifted us the most perfect gift we could ever desire was feeling the deepest pain she had ever felt.
This strong, loving, selfless woman loved him enough to deal with the pain she felt and give him the life she wanted for him. Here is a small glimpse of the last 15 years. Next month, we will celebrate 15 years of his life. How blessed we are to be called his parents.
National Adoption Month…
This month, come back each day to read a little more about adoption. I will be sharing stories about our experiences and even have some guest writers who have experienced adoption from all different aspects! Tomorrow, I will be sharing our second adoption.
I hope to not only bring you “stories” but I hope that you can walk away saying that you are far more educated about adoption. Please be respectful of any comments made below. Remember that not every story is the same and there ARE some out there hurting because of adoption.
Check out our Holiday Product Guide!