First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my Canadian friends! I hope you all are enjoying this wonderful day with your families and friends!
Now for today’s special treat: a guest post from Amber!
Amber is one of those ladies that I totally wish lived around the corner from me, so we could have play dates and coffee dates and girls nights and all those fun things. She’s totally awesome, compassionate, and sweet. She’s one of those people that I just clicked with. I’ve been eagerly following her adoption experience since December 2010, and I gotta say her story is an amazing one! She’s is a fantastic mother and her children are beyond adorable!!!
I was so stoked when she asked to write about her experience into motherhood, because I love her story!
Thanks again for being a guest poster, Amber!!!
When I was a little girl, I had a reoccurring dream where I journeyed to foreign countries in a “Noah’s Ark” boat, gathered up all the orphans, and brought them home so I could be their mommy. I had no idea back then just how much this would shape my heart and my life as an adult.
In December 2010, I received a phone call from my sister, who immediately asked if I was sitting down. I turned the Kitchen Aid off that was mixing cookie dough for me, wiped my hands, and asked her what was up. She proceeded to tell me the story of a sixteen-year-old girl that was pregnant with her second child. Her parents were addicted to cocaine and alcohol, none of them had jobs, and she and her boyfriend were desperate to find adoptive parents for this new baby, as they could barely feed and clothe her one-year-old little boy.
Two weeks later, we met with this girl and her mother in our mutual friend’s home. She was pretty, shy, and determined. I would find out later that I wasn’t the only one who felt a “click” when they walked into the room and our eyes met. Introductions were made and a lot of questions were asked and answered. And at the end, this young girl took my hand and placed it on her tummy as she asked, “Would you like to feel your baby?”
Tears filled my eyes as I felt the solid “kick” of our unborn child. It was in that moment that I was overwhelmed with a love so powerful and intense, I could barely breathe.
What followed was several months of traveling every couple of weeks to their home three hours away to take her to doctor’s appointments as she had no way of getting there on her own. And we wanted to be a part of it all. We started buying clothes, diapers, and baby furniture. We gave them gift certificates for food, took them to lunch, bought prenatal vitamins, oohed and ahhed over ultrasound pictures, held her hand when she cried about going through this basically alone, and had long phone conversations about her pregnancy symptoms, her hopes and dreams and feelings about giving this child up for adoption. She asked us about our hopes and dreams and feelings about becoming parents and I answered her as honestly and candidly as she had been with me. We built a relationship of trust and intimacy quickly because of this.
Fast forward to April 5, 2011 at about 8:30am, when we received the phone call from her boyfriend that they were pretty sure it was time. His mom was taking them to the hospital about 30mins away and we were to meet them there as soon as we could. I called Noel with shaking hands to tell him the good news. By the time we got there, about 2.5hrs later, she was dilated to 8cm, had been given an epidural, and everything was in place and ready to go. My parents arrived about 20mins after we did – they had told us to invite anyone we wanted to because it was “[our] special day.”
She pushed for literally three minutes before our daughter was born, weighing in at 6lbs 15oz and measuring 20.5in long. My husband, Noel, cut her umbilical cord and she was whisked over to the warmer to be cleaned up. I couldn’t quit crying… but my daughter did as soon as I took her hand and let her grab my finger. We named her Emmalyn and when she was cleaned and swaddled, they took her to the brave woman that gave birth to her first. She held her for a minute, looked at her with tears in her eyes, and then passed her to her birth father for a minute. Emmalyn was coming to me next so I leaned down to hug her birth mother, who pulled me even tighter and whispered in my ear, “Don’t worry… I’m not changing my mind. Just take good care of her for us!”
I cuddled my beautiful, perfect, angel-baby for a couple of minutes before passing her to her daddy, who was standing next to me with tears slowly rolling down his cheeks. I ran out to the hallway where my parents were waiting with the biggest grins you could imagine on their faces – they had heard her first cry. I rattled her statistics, gave hugs, showed pictures, and then ran back into the room.
Emmalyn’s birth mother & I spent the night in the same room that night. We stayed up all night talking, confiding in one another, and taking turns holding our daughter. Noel was given a room upstairs as the maternity floor was full and he went up to get a few hours of sleep as I refused to leave her side and there was only room for one of us on the couch in her room.
Looking back, I can honestly say that it was an almost magical time. It was as if the rest of the world didn’t exist – it was only the birth mother, Noel, Emmalyn, and myself – all connected with bonds of an indescribable love. The kind that gave her the strength to relinquish her flesh and blood to give her a better life and the kind that opened our hearts as we chose to love this child as our own.
It’s still incredibly sad to me that her family showed up drunk and high, and then quickly left when she told them that she could smell it on them. And that her boyfriend left with them so he could get stoned and sleep in his own bed. But I think it was ultimately for the best and it gave us precious bonding time.
The next day, the lady from the adoption agency we chose came to the hospital once more. This time, it was to finish having papers signed and to complete the process with the hospital. Noel & I were assigned three videos to watch before we could leave and I had to make arrangements for my grandmother to pick up the birth father so he could come say goodbye, then bring both of them home as her mother had called that morning and told her to, “find a ride home.”
When all was said and done, we dressed Emmalyn in her tiny, new, pink sleeper with the monkeys on it and the sleeves that turned into mittens. We gently bundled her into the five-point car seat after her birth parents gave final hugs and kisses goodbye. And then we all walked out of the hospital: the adoption facilitator pushing the baby cart with her in it, the birth parents walking behind her, and Noel & I walking behind them. It was somber and quiet as everyone watched us load her into our vehicle. The nurses had walked out with us as well and were discreetly wiping tears away as we hugged the birth parents again and then got into the Jeep – Noel driving and me sitting in the backseat with our newborn.
As we were driving away, I remember this sudden onslaught of panic and I told Noel to “hurry up and get us out of here.” I know he was driving as quickly as possible out of that parking lot, without drawing undue attention to us. And to be honest, it was kind of stupid because the birth parents legally had four days to change their minds before the papers were filed and their rights terminated. But right then, none of that mattered. I don’t think either one of us started breathing again until we were about an hour away.
Since both of us hadn’t really slept the night before and our family wanted to spend some time with the new baby, we stopped at their home and spent the night. It was a joyous evening as people cried, posed for photographs, and expressed their love and delight in our new addition.
For those four days, we sent several pictures via text message to the birth parents every day. We expressed our love and gratitude for their gift and I spent hours rocking our baby and taking short naps with her. People didn’t cook us dinner or help me clean, but our house was overflowing with cards and presents for the new baby.
I guess… in some ways… there were differences in our experience of becoming parents and those women who actually gave birth. But does it make me any less of a mother? Absolutely not. The same feelings of joy, euphoria even… peace, consuming love, anxiety, fear, and complete inadequacy were all those of a new mama. It has been almost six months to the day since we brought our daughter home and it has been one incredible ride!
And you know what makes it even more amazing?
They asked us to adopt her half-brother, too.
On June 2, 2011, we brought home our son and completed our family… and our hearts.
(You can read more about our story at: http://laprincesse04.wordpress.com).