A Tale of Two Women…
They found each other. I no longer question the synchronicity. The union is preordained. After being a part of over 1500 adoptions I now wait excitedly for the connections and the relationships to build and solidify. These two women were destined to change the other’s lives. The birth mother…scared, young, facing inconceivable loss. The adoptive mother…scared, a bit more mature, facing losses of her own. I had the birth mother interview and the home study in my file. I read the words. I felt the pain these women lived.
The adoptive mother was missing a piece of her past. She too was adopted. But her adoption took place in a time when “openness” was not embraced. Her story leaves her with many questions, many that will never be answered. She loves her family and is thankful for the life she has, but wishes she knew more about the mother and father that gave her life. It is hard to start your life at “Chapter Two”. All she ever dreamed of was being a wife and mother. In 2003 she married the man of her dreams and believed that motherhood was sure to follow. This was not to be…infertility was an inconceivable reality.
Only one state away, an incredible young woman was faced with an unimaginable decision. She had to choose between parenting her fourth child and jeopardizing her family or placing this child for adoption. The stability of the three and the loss of the one, or the potential destruction of the entire family, these were her choices. I can hardly wrap my head around this type of pain. This young woman, just barely an adult, had the weight of the world on her shoulders. She is a survivor, a brave solider, asking for next to nothing in return. The world had not always proven to be a safe place for this young woman. The individuals that were entrusted to care for her were not well suited for the job. She too was adopted, but challenges remained. Our parents teach us our worth by the way they treat us. These lessons are hard to forget. All that this young woman wanted was to be a wife and mother. At a very young age she found herself pregnant and alone, this was not how she envisioned her life turning out. Although the father of the child did not stick around, her “Prince Charming” arrived soon after and fulfilled her dreams. He took responsibility for this child and they were blessed with two more beautiful children. These children were each a year apart and three children under the age of four was quite a responsibility.
When I received the call asking for adoption information, I could tell how hard it was for her to make. This was a call from a young woman who loved her children and never thought she would be in this position. But, here she was and she was asking for my help. I will never forget the visit to her house. I think it was the cleanest house (including my own) that I have ever been to where three little children live. We sat on the floor and completed the paperwork on the coffee table. I look back now and smile because I do not believe that she trusted me at that first visit, not that she should have. I promised her that I would walk beside her on this journey. I let her know how unselfish and honorable her adoption decision was…I think she thought I was a bit wacky!! I said that I would go to her doctor’s appointments with her and be in the delivery room if she wanted…don’t think “she wanted” that the first day and was just humoring me. But something happened at that first visit. We connected; she decided that I just might be worthy of a bit of trust and that was all I needed.
The next visit I showed her profiles of all the adoptive families that were hoping to be selected. This was not a decision she took lightly. If she was not going to be able to parent this child, she was going to select the very best family possible. This is where God kicks in…you just feel it. She was immediately drawn to the adoptive mother who could feel her pain. She did not know this, but it was there.
Protection was most important. This young woman had learned that if you show no emotion and have no expectations you can survive. So a relationship with the adoptive parents was out of the question. She just wanted to get this done and go on with her life. But God had a different plan. Another problem was that I kept showing up and caring. “OK” she thought, “I will let Angela in, but no one else”. All I needed was a toe in the door! These two moms, who shared the same dream of being a “wife and mother”, started to text. This is a very safe means of communication. You can backspace and delete. No emotion needs to be expressed. But something unexpected happened, they became friends. That’s right; they learned that they wanted the same things out of life. They started to share hopes and dreams, daily frustrations and triumphs. They worried about each other and looked forward to meeting with bittersweet anticipation. One woman was blessing the other with an incredible gift and the other promised to cherish that gift forever.
The day finally arrived for the big face-to-face meeting. The funny thing was that both of these very special women were texting me with almost identical emotions…nervousness about their first meeting. The first meeting included the whole family and went really well. The adoptive mom got to go to the doctor’s appointment the next day and then to the hospital to prepare for the birth.
This is where I see God’s hand so clearly. The original birth plan included the adoptive mom in the room for the birth, a short “good bye” between the baby and the birth mom and the baby going off with the adoptive parents until discharge. But the adoptive parents got to spend a whole day with the birth mother in her room before she delivered. They joked, they talked, and they shared their dreams. When it came time for the birth it was a true “team effort”. We were all there for this amazing event. The adoptive mom even got to cut the cord. Something changes when you share the birth of new life with someone. You are forever connected to them. These two women will forever be connected by this life altering event.
The plan changed. The birth mother did not want the adoptive mother to have to leave the baby in the nursery overnight. Instead, she wanted her to be in the room with her, as she was the night before. The birth mother knew that, although this was the hardest thing that she was ever going to have to do, she wanted the baby and the adoptive mother close to her for her last night in the hospital.
The time for paperwork came. This is such a difficult process. The birth mom asked me for one favor. She asked that no one cry during the signing of papers, emotions were difficult for her to manage. I assured her that the process could be anyway that she wanted it. Once we completed the paperwork the adoptive parents came back in the room. They had a gift for her. She was presented with a beautifully wrapped box with an extra special bow. As she opened it the adoptive mother put into words everything this young woman meant to her. She explained that the bow was from the baby shower that happened even before she had selected them. At the shower several women in the group said that they just knew that their birth mother was going to pick them very soon, and she did. The adoptive mom thanked her for sharing the pregnancy, her family and the birth with her and her husband. She recounted how difficult it was for her not to know these things about her own birth and how fortunate she felt that she will be able to share them with her daughter. She promised to love this little girl with all her heart and to provide an extended family that would love her too. Needless to say, the “no crying” rule was broken. The only one with a dry eye was the adoptive dad, but he went behind the curtain for a bit and I think he wiped his eyes!! The gift was a beautiful heart necklace to represent the interlocking hearts joined by adoption.
As I was driving the birth mom home we talked about how happy she was with her choice of adoptive parents. She thought that the adoptive mom and dad were really cute together, and liked the adoptive dad’s dry sense humor. They kidded each other and included the birth mother in on some of this too. I think that she liked feeling included in this good natured fun. She saw her own future in the adoptive parent’s relationship.
As we pulled up to the house we were greeted by three beautiful children who were glad that their mommy was home. They took me by the hand and showed me their fish tank. The fish was hiding and needed a bit of encouragement to come out of his cave. Children are the ultimate medicine. This family is strong, they will heal. This young woman will rejoin her life, because her children need her. The joy will slowly return, the pain will slowly subside. And when she thinks of the daughter who she so unselfishly gave to the woman who could not be a mother without her, she will cherish the relationship they have and the time they spent together.
A Tale of Two Women….