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Adoption Blog: Inconceivable Family

A Birthmom Picked Us
Filed Under: Domestic Adoption

Friday March 14, 2008, was the day that changed our lives.  It wasn’t Anna’s birthday or even the day that we learned of Anna’s potential adoption placement.  It was the day that we crossed from being a couple being viewed by birthmoms to a couple who were selected as adoptive parents.

Before we found out, I spent the day in an anxiety-induced hangover from staying up late.  The night before Tammy, our adoption counselor, called me to talk with be about two possible situations.  One was of a baby boy who had already been born, papers were signed, and his adoption was a matter of a few signatures, a relatively quick drive through a few state lines, and coming up with a name.  But there was something in my heart that didn’t feel connected to the situation.  The second opportunity, was for Anna, and much like our daughter’s personality, the placement circumstances were challenging.  There was an obstacle course of legal elements that needed to be navigated, a complicated medical history that would leave several important gaps in the story we could one day share with her, and a broader birth family with other adopted children that may be difficult to piece together should she want relationships in the future.  Nothing about this scenario felt like it would be easy, but all I needed to say yes was a feeling.  And that feeling came when our counselor spoke of one of the other adopted siblings. 

Tammy had helped to place Anna’s sibling a couple of years earlier.  She had been keeping in touch with the family through the years and maybe it was that element of reality that sealed Anna into my heart.  As I listened, Anna stopped being a theory and started to become a younger sister, a real baby, an honest adoption story.  The pieces took shape and my heart beat faster.  I remember very little of the details of our conversation, but I recall with incredibly accuracy the way my jaw felt paralyzed, my stomach quivered, and my breathing became a voluntary action of reminding my body to inhale and exhale.

I fell in love that Anna that night.  There was so much more that had to be done.  We planned to speak to the birthmother the following night and to the mom of Anna’s adopted sibling as well.  Nothing was decided for anyone but Mike and me. 

I remember cleaning the house when I came home from school that afternoon.  My head was pounding with the headache that comes from not having anything to eat or drink all day.  Still, I wiped down surfaces, vacuumed rugs, scrubbed toilets.  You’d have thought the birthmother was coming to our house, but no, I was preparing for a phone call that was still hours away. 

When finally the time came, Mike and I sat next to each other at the kitchen table with two phones, one to use and the other as a back up in case the battery (which indicated full power) suddenly died.  I had rehearsed the conversation for over a year, but it felt like I had never spoke a word in my life.  I was an English teacher.  My job was speaking and my passion was writing.  For this moment though, there was no rehearsal, no lesson plan, no higher education needed.  I just had to be myself and pray that being me was good enough.  For someone who spent over half a decade feeling utterly inadequate, “me” was the last thing I thought would be desirable.

There were awkward pauses, nervous laughs, ramblings, times when I spoke too fast, times when I spoke too slow.  There were times when the birthmom would say something and neither Mike nor I understood so we laughed cordially and hoped that would suffice.  I remember glaring at Mike, hoping he’d chime in more, but being nervous that he’d say something to mess up our chances of being chosen. The birthmom asked us about names for the baby and if we were excited.  I didn’t know how to answer.  Should I say we were happy, or should we been less than forthcoming to protect our true desperation inside?  Do we share a baby name or ask her what she’d like to name the baby?  What if she didn’t like the name we liked? 

As it turned out, Anna’s birthmom loved the name and loved that we had two cats.  She knew of our past experiences with infertility, miscarriage, and a failed adoption and and was thrilled that we were going to be getting a baby after so much time.  Between our profile book, the information that Tammy provided, and our phone conversation, all of our cards were on the table and this birthmother felt comfortable entrusting her baby’s happiness, well-being, and dreams in our hands.  Imagine that; for once the idea of “me” was what it took to make me a mom.

Life changed that night. One week later, life would change again.  Anna was born and suddenly “me” felt entirely lacking all over again.

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Jenna Nadeau

Jenna Nadeau

New Hampshire

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn

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