It was Thursday morning and my husband Tony and I looked forward to another day of work. He worked in athletic administration at the local university and I was a social science teacher at the local high school. We had been married only three years, but were ready to start a family. In fact we were ready a few months after we were married. On this particular Thursday I woke up with a distinct thought in my head and I said to my husband, “We are not going to bed tonight until our adoption papers are finished so we can turn them in tomorrow.
I think I need to back up just a bit to give to some back story. We got married and wanted kids. We were both through school had good jobs and we didn’t want to wait the customary “year” to start our family. So it was as easy as that, we were pregnant just two months after we were married. At 13 weeks we had a sad miscarriage. The doctor said just wait a month and try again. And that was that. Haven’t been pregnant since. I know that sounds trite, and I’m sure we were more sad than we remember but that is the joy of family, we have kind of forgotten the sad parts. Doctors didn’t have a whole lot of answers. We were sad, but we were also people of faith and knew Heavenly Father was aware of us and our righteous desires. We did some fertility treatments but never felt like IVF was for us.
Our papers were sitting the kitchen counter and had been there for several moths. We were not scared, just busy and they got put off. I picked up the papers one year after we were married from the agency only to find out that we were not eligible to apply until we had been married for at least three years so they were filed away. After three years of frustrating and uncomfortable doctor appointments I pulled them out of hiding three years to the day. Still they kept getting put to the side as doctors continued to give us hope. We also took great comfort in knowing that both our patriarchal blessings told us we’d be parents to special spirits.
It was one day while I read my scriptures that well know scripture touched me differently. 1Nephi 3:7 I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments until the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them. “Well,” I thought, “it’s a commandment to multiply and replenish the earth so He will help us accomplish that commandment.” Not until I humbly knelt down in prayer to my Heavenly Father and told him if the kind of mother I was to be was being the best aunt to my nieces and nephews, I would be that. All fear let me and I knew we were going to be blessed in His way and in His time.
So back to Thursday morning, Tony’s reply to my inspired suggestion was, “OK.” And that was it. We stayed awake deep into the night completing every form, letter and questionnaire. The next day I went to LDS family services first thing after work and turned them all in. We went through the usual background checks, home visits, and paperwork. Our caseworker went right to work on our profile and we received a letter March 5, 2002 stating that we were approved and officially on the books for birthmothers to evaluate.
After three weeks of waiting I was getting anxious (I know, I know, ridiculous) however, I have an explanation for my impatience. We were on an email list for special needs adoption opportunities. One such email caught our attention and appeared to be a good fit for us. Quickly I called our caseworker with the desire to adjust our birthmother letter to emphasize those things about ourselves that matched the profile. An appointment for the following day was set and Tony and I went to the agency expecting just to hand in our adjusted letter. As we arrived, our caseworker casually asked how we were doing and then handed me an envelope. I wasn’t sure what it was as I proceeded to open it. It was a letter from a birthmother telling us we’d better be ready because she was due any day with our baby girl! It caught me so off guard that I had to read it again, to realize what I was reading. We were ecstatic to say the least. Following our meeting we went home and occupied the phone lines for hours, phoning family and friends to share our excitement. No one could believe it.
Our face to face meeting with our birthmother was awesome. We were so nervous. I think I ironed everything I owned because I could not decide what to wear. Shortly after we arrived at the agency she came in, with arms outstretched she broke the ice by saying “Are you as nervous as I am?” We embraced. All fear was gone and it was instant love. What an incredible girl. Her testimony was awesome. It was like we knew each other before we met.
During those long two and a half weeks of waiting for baby to come we wrote, getting to know each other the best we could, asking questions about likes and dislikes and anything else we wanted to know. The call came to Tony while I was at work. Our baby girl was here! Still pinching ourselves back into reality we jumped in the car and drove the three hours to where baby and birthmother were.
Placement was surreal. Thinking back to that time seems like a dream, probably because our biggest dream had just come true. That day we met the birth father, who was wonderful too. He was very supportive and said to us as he was getting ready to leave, “She did a great job picking you guys.” Soon after Birthmother and baby arrived. Birthmother came in first without Baby. She told us how the delivery went and brought a huge pile of things for the baby that people had given her. She also made her a beautiful blanket.
The moment that would change our lives forever was here. The birthmother brought our baby girl in the room. We did not want to seem too anxious so we just stood up and waited. The birthmother brought her straight to me and placed her in my arms saying, “She’s always been yours.” I was in awe of our birthmother. That love she had for this little baby girl was amazing. We took several pictures together, hugged, laughed, and cried. Finally, it was time to say our goodbyes. Our Birthmother walked over to Tony as he held our new life and whispered, “be good” then kissed her and walked out of the room. It was then we fell apart. “What did she just do?” I kept asking myself. I would quickly answer my own question, “She just gave us our baby!” Tears would not stop as our hearts followed her out the door, for we knew she was in tears on the other side. Our Birthmother stayed strong through it all and I knew it was for our benefit. Her eyes always glistened tears, but that was all.
Elle is now 13 years old and the oldest of three siblings. Each with their own miracle story (to be continued…).
We can’t imagine there being any difference between the love that exists between biological children and adopted children. For we are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves us. I like to call it Plan A and Plan B. We grow up counting on Plan A not really thinking about Plan B. Neither is better than the other. I am grateful we have a plan in our lives.