Throughout this whole process, it seems that Thursday is our “magical” day. Of course I don’t really believe in magic (well, maybe Disney magic…). But every important thing has happened on a Thursday:
Meeting the adoption social workers
Meeting the lawyer
Getting “the call”
Getting our first letter from S
Getting every letter, in fact, from S
Getting ultrasound pictures from S
Getting contact information for S
Exchanging first emails with S
Now we can add:
Newborn education class
First phone call with S
So let’s start with the newborn ed class, shall we?
I figured since we are going to be parents, we should get some education, right?
We signed up at the local hospital to attend newborn education classes. It was odd, I’ll admit, to be the only non-pregnant couple in the class. We definitely received some odd look. The instructor said there was supposed to be another set of adoptive parents, but they never showed up.
In order to adopt in our state, people are required to take multiple parenting classes. I firmly believe everyone who is going to be a parent needs to take classes. Having taught middle school for six and a half years and seeing parents from all across the spectrum, I can guarantee that parenting education would beneficial to many many MANY families.
But we are not required to take newborn ed classes. That is weird, right? I mean, aren’t children at their most vulnerable in that first few hours…days…weeks…months?
After class last night, I can firmly say YES. 🙂
I think the best part of the evening was watching my huge manly husband try to take a onesie off of a newborn sized doll and then change its diaper. He said he’d never made the connection that HE is going to have to change diapers – that I won’t be there 24/7 because I might actually want to leave the house at some point!! We also learned SO much about what happens right after birth, immunizations, feeding, clothing, bathing, EVERYTHING. And, two babies were born at the hospital while we were there, marked by cute chimes playing “Jesus Loves Me.”
So class was great, and I feel a little more competent about becoming a parent.
When we got home, we had about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to call S.
Can I tell you that throughout this entire process, I have probably never been quite so nervous??? I mean…how do you even have a conversation like this?
Well…first, we prayed. Granted, I had prayed all day, and Keith had prayed all day. But we sat down and prayed together. And then I dialed the phone.
The phone rang three times, and I thought for certain no one would answer. And then she did.
I said, “Hello, S?”
And she did that girly squealy thing (come on, ladies, you know what I mean!) and practically yelled out my name.
I just smiled from ear to ear.
I really treasure the conversation we had, and I want to keep much of it private. Well, I want to keep most of it private. But there are some highlights that I want to share, because…well…because this adoption thing? It’s weird…
First, S has no support from her family. Her parents, her siblings…none of them are supportive of the pregnancy. They aren’t supportive of the adoption because they aren’t supportive of the pregnancy. They are essentially ignoring her because she is pregnant. Yet they are criticizing her decision to make an adoption plan.
I asked her how she felt about that. She’s somewhat of a stubborn woman (so SHE claims!) and she said she’s the one who has to make this decision, because she’s the one that would have to support another child, feed another child, try to effectively raise another child while trying to get her feet back under her. All her thoughts…not mine.
She asked me if we were excited…if we were getting a room together…did we have a theme for the room. How to answer that? I mean, in reality, the answers are most days, yes, safari. But to hear her – to hear her voice and her emotions over the phone – she knows she’s making a tough decision. I felt like I would be rubbing it in her face if I appeared overly excited.
But she really wanted to know.
And then she said the thing I’m still chewing on the most. See, for the past few months, she has been separated from her children. Now she is back with them, and her family that they had been entrusted to did not treat them well.
She said, “A Momma bear has to protect her cubs. You just wait til you lay your eyes and your hands on this baby – you’ll know. You’ll know what I mean.”
She never once referred to the baby as “hers.” She kept referring to him in a very impersonal way or as “yours” (meaning ours). She referred to us as his parents multiple times.
Because I have all the details, I know how she’s felt about this pregnancy from the beginning. I know that she thinks adoption is the best choice for her…for this child. She is very excited to make us parents (again…her words).
I did suggest again that she meet with a birth parent counselor that works at our social work agency (it’s not an adoption agency; I’m not sure what exactly to call it!). Anyway…because she is all alone, she was wondering about the delivery plan. We offered to do whatever she wants – be near the hospital, be in the hospital, be in the room. But we also explained that N, from our agency, specifically works with birth mothers, including serving as a birthing coach. N is a birth mother in a closed adoption, and has such deep grace, compassion, and love for other birth mothers.
Anyway…N will also help us as we develop our relationship.
I’m still processing. But it was a wonderful first conversation. Apparently two of her children were early (one up to six weeks – which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving!) and two of them were five days late.
She says she is just ready to give birth. The baby is very active and heavy! And she’s planning to go back to school in the spring.
She’s ready to “put this behind her,” as she says.
Today I have very mixed emotions. I hope to call my counselor here in the next few days to process these emotions.
Yes, I’m excited that we might be parents in as few as 7 weeks.
I’m heartbroken that S’s family is treating her this way.
I’m relieved to have heard her voice…to have spoken together…to have laughed with her.
I’m scared that she’ll choose to parent (which I can safely equate with a good friend’s current fears that she will miscarry – because we’ve talked about fear).
But if she chooses to parent, I’m also confident it’s because it’s the right choice for her and Baby.
However, I also have to say that God is giving me such overwhelming peace. And I have to trust that.
I’m excited to see where our journey goes from here…
I’m “momma bear” that her family is mistreating her…it’s a good thing I don’t know them…