After the concert
I guess since Rudy sprouted his first tooth today, it's high time I tackle his birth story. I will include many details, but like any blog I will keep some of the more gruesome and even sacred details to myself. Although I wish I could share all the details because this story is such a miracle, I think you will enjoy the basic story.
At Christmas-time last year G announced we had a year to find our next baby otherwise we were done. The family would have to be complete with the two boys we already had. We had been waiting awhile already for a birthmom to choose us and we had no prospects in sight. We had casually considered another agency, but the cost kept us from making any commitments. But more than that, switching agencies never really felt right.
His deadline was his birthday, December 13th. I was not OK with G's timeline. But I thought if his deadline came near I would re-negotiate a new one. In G's defense, our agency only had 2 adoption placements that year. So our chances were not good. Nobody's were. But I wasn't willing to let him or anyone decide if and when we pulled our application. After all, I knew we had another baby that would come.
Throughout the year we actually had a few remote prospects which hadn't happened in a couple years. A few friends told us about situations. We had a few email contacts from potential birthmoms. In September we began a brutally stressful situation with an unwed mother. That is a story for another day. But she delivered her baby in early October and decided to parent him. The details and the lessons we learned from this situation are sad, confusing, overwhelming, and profound. They were life changing for all four of us.
After this situation, I started thinking maybe G's deadline wasn't so bad. The emotional rollercoaster had gone on too long. Not just with particular wait, but I realized we had been hoping to adopt, getting fingerprints, having home visits from caseworkers for 10 years and I was getting tired of it. I started asking people how they know they are done having kids. Nobody could give me a straight answer. I thought after all these years, God owed me a clear answer.
But I really wanted a baby. Any baby. And I hadn't even received a vague answer this was it. G kept reminding me the deadline was around the corner. I could see his point. The wait had taken a toll on all of us. Our kids were fully immersed in the September/October situation. The knew the girl too and had tried everything they could think of to persuade her and God (and us) that the baby should be ours. They were devastated when she chose to parent and they grieved in their own ways over that situation.
So the first weekend in December I approached G and said I thought we should fast that it would be clear what we should do next. I suggested infant foster care. I knew I was capable of loving someone else's baby. Most infants return to their parents, and I knew that. I knew it would be hard on me, but so was the situation I was in, so I needed to determine which path was right. Torment myself with a temporary baby, or torment myself with no baby at all. I knew foster care would be really hard on my kids. But we had grown a lot as a family in our understanding of adoption and love, so I thought maybe they were getting prepared.
At any rate, G declined the fast. He said he already knew that if we didn't have a baby by Dec 13th, we were done. So I fasted. I planned to make a phone call about foster care the next day unless I hit a major roadblock. I prayed that a clear path would unfold as I took steps to figure things out.
The next morning, Dec 3, I called. The training started the next day. I told the lady that was too soon for us, but maybe in January. She mailed me a bunch of information.
Ten minutes later my caseworker, Joe, called and said his co-worker, Rachel, was meeting with a potential birthmom at that moment. She had made a plan early in her pregnancy to place the baby with his birthfather and let him raise the baby. She had considered this carefully. The birthfather had even met with Rachel a few months prior to get all the details straight and to learn his rights. But in the final days of her pregnancy, she had realized that wasn't what she really wanted.
She was due the following week.
My chest seized up right at that moment. And quite frankly, that feeling of not being able to breath has only started to ease up.
The birthmom didn't have Internet but wanted to talk to me on the phone later that afternoon. I suggested she call and leave a message and I would call her back that night once the kids were in bed. I have learned I can't put my life on hold every time a situation comes up, so I decided to finish out my day as planned: pick Buddy up from school, straight to piano, home for a snack, off to the gym for my Pilates class, home for dinner, and kids to bed. Mondays are really busy in the afternoon with no down time so as much as I was eager to talk to her, I knew I had to go about my day normally.
Sure enough, while we were out, she called, so around 8pm I called her back. The conversation went well, but was strained. I got the details on her heartbreaking situation. She seemed strong and sure of her decision to place her baby for adoption. I suggested she get to know other adoptive couples. She told me she was considering another family but didn't really feel inclined to talk to them after talking to me. I know them well. They have waited for their third baby for around TEN years.
We hung up with plans to meet on Sunday. She was going to work on the birthfather, who has rights and was expecting to parent the baby. And who was not supportive of adoption.
I went about my week. Luckily it was insanely busy. Wednesday was Sambo's birthday.
That morning she texted me and said she was starting to thin and dilate and since her first son was born early, she could go into labor at any time. I cautiously suggested we meet the next day (Thursday) instead of waiting until Sunday. Unfortunately G was having his big annual partner's meeting -- which is required to attend -- Thursday and Friday and he had an important client meeting that day too. We had planned to celebrate Sambo's birthday Thursday night as a family. Really the only time we could meet was during his client meeting. Fortunately, they understood the need to reschedule.
That night we went out on a date to the Killers concert and to a delicious meal. It was Sambo's birthday and like terrible parents, we dropped him off at our friends' house to be babysat. (He was thrilled by the way.)
We started to discuss baby boy names over dinner. We couldn't agree on anything. But I also couldn't commit to anything because I wasn't really certain anything would come of this. I couldn't name a baby that was only a vague idea at that point.
But during the concert, I had a distinct and powerful thought come to my mind: I was truly happy. I had worked over the past couple of years to figure out how to have joy no matter what. And I felt it surge through my body that night. Now granted, I love the Killers and the concert was amazing. But there was more to it than that. I knew my soul and life were complete and fine and full of joy no matter what happened. I really believed it.
I would think back on that feeling over and over again in the coming hours, days, and months.