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Archive for April, 2020

One year ago, today, a 19-year-old girl made the biggest, bravest, most selfless decision of her life and changed our lives forever.  We were finally going to be parents.  After years of infertility challenges, health problems, and disappointment, it was finally in our future.

Jennings and I were on our way to Beaufort on April 12, 2019 to visit our friends Dave and Mindy when our adoption consultant, Melanie called us.

“What are y’all doing?”

“On our way to Beaufort for the weekend, “I answered.

“Well, when can you get back to town?” she asked.  “I am showing your book tomorrow, and I think this is the one.  I think you guys are a perfect match.”

“We can be back whenever you need us to be.”

“Ok, well I am meeting with them Sunday, and if they choose you, I am going to want y’all to go meet them Monday night, because she’s due in June. This is going to move fast.  She is a 19-year-old girl, no drugs or alcohol.  I will let you know more later.”

“We’ll be home Sunday.” And with that she hung up and Jennings and I were on pins and needles all weekend.  This wasn’t the first time we’d had our book shown, that we’d be excited only to not be chosen.  I had stayed up all night one school night redoing our whole “book” so she could show it the next day. That didn’t work out.  Every situation that didn’t work out broke us down a little bit more.

Just two weeks before this phone call, I had turned fifty and told Jennings that I was done.  I told him I couldn’t keep dragging this out indefinitely.  We had been trying for years and after miscarriages, 1 failed adoption and being passed over time and again, I just couldn’t face the disappointment anymore.  I have cried oceans of tears through this ordeal and didn’t think I had it in me anymore.  After Melanie called, I said, Ok, this is the last time. It’s now or never.

My entire life, I wanted to have kids.  I always said I wanted to have a soccer team of kids, only half joking.  One of the hardest parts about not being able to have kids and having adoptions fall through is that I was failing at something.  I have ALWAYS accomplished something if I set my mind to it.  I just seemed so unimaginable that I wasn’t going to be a mom.  I was failing. I mean, this was unprecedented.  I wanted to go to college, so I made it happen.  I wanted to work in a law firm, done.  I wanted to teach, yep, did it.  I decided when I was 42, Ok, I am going to meet the man I am supposed to marry. It’s time to get serious. I’m getting old.  So, I went on a million horrible dates, but they led me to Jennings, and I’d do it all again.  So, now, I wanted to have kids, and I couldn’t. My body wouldn’t cooperate.  Adopting had turned out to be equally as difficult.  Now, I had one last chance.

We came home early on that Sunday and waited and waited.  Finally, we decided, well, they must not have picked us. Let’s go to bed.  We were lying in bed when the phone rang at like 11 o’clock at night.  It was Melanie.  I have never had a bigger batch of butterflies in my stomach than I did when I answered that phone.  Her first words brought me to tears “Well, are y’all ready to be parents to a little girl in June?”  They had chosen us!  It was so surreal.  We were both in tears.  Melanie was in tears, and arrangements were made for dinner the next day.  We got our instructions from Melanie as to what we needed to do. It was like courting someone.  We were to show up with gifts and a card and don’t say this and don’t say that.

That Monday night, April 14th at Fatz Café, we met the two people who had chosen us to be parents to the life they had created.  They were so sweet and young.  We were so nervous. But the Birth mom and I felt an immediate connection.  She texted me that night and said after meeting us she knew she had made the right choice.  Over the next two months, we spent hours together getting to know each other, talking about her dreams and hopes and plans, how she and the boyfriend just weren’t at the place in their lives to give a child everything she’d want to give her.  She was not a religious person, but she felt like God had brought us together, that she had gotten pregnant so that Jennings and I could be parents.  Every minute I spent with her I just couldn’t believe this young girl could be so selfless and loving to a couple of people she had just met.  She wanted nothing in return but for us to give this baby the best life possible.  She is loving, kind, brave and generous.  There will never be enough thank yous in the world for us to give her.  Whenever she talks about Harvie, she always says that she was meant to be our baby and she was meant to have her for us.  She was so young, but so mature and practical.

When the time came for Harvie to be born, the four of us spent three long days and nights at the hospital waiting for her to make her appearance.  I was in the room, holding birth mom’s hand while she had contractions and was crying and scared.  I was right beside her as she pushed Harvie into the world.  She laughed at me for crying as the baby’s little head crowned, and I got my first glimpse of our daughter. Then when the time came, birth mom said, “She’s your daughter.  You should do it”, and I cut her umbilical cord, and we all cried together.   From that moment on, we created a bond that no one else has.  It was scary thinking, what if she changes her mind now that baby was her, but deep down, I knew this was real.  That night Harvie slept in a room with us, and the birth parents slept in a room alone.  I know this was not easy for her, and I know she mourned for a bit.  She would not change her mind and the next morning she signed her parental rights over, and all that was left was a court date to make it official.

Our love for her is enduring.  Our story is special.  Not all adoptive situations are like ours.  We continue to stay in contact with her and the birth father.  I send pictures and videos.  Why wouldn’t I share those joys with this person who gave us so much?  What does it hurt me to do that for her? The five of us have gone to eat and visit more than once.  We want her to know that Harvie is happy, well-adjusted and cared for in every way.  She is ecstatic that our little family is so happy and that she had such a crucial role in making it complete.   Now she says, when she has her own children, she wants me by her side in the room coaching her through because I made her feel safe and loved.  And if at all possible, I will be there to do it again.  Harvie will know she is adopted.  She will know these people, and she will know that she was always loved and always wanted.  All I can offer her is my small thank you and the promise to give all that I can to this little treasure that she made for me.

 

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