our first baby
A year ago today, we learned about our first baby.
I’m a planner. Our adoption agency said that the average wait to be matched with a birth mom was about 18 months. We had our paperwork and home study ready to go in April 2015. Perfect! I would graduate with my doctorate a year later and then a few months later we would bring home a brand new bundle of joy from the hospital.
On August 5, 2015, just four months after being placed on “the list,” I got off a plane in Washington D.C. I was meeting my husband at a conference of his. We had plans with friends and family for a long weekend away. My dear cousin was picking me up from the airport, so we were texting and calling to figure out where to meet. Then I noticed that I had a voicemail. It was Megan. Our angel. Our guide. Our social worker. Our counselor. Our friend.
There was a birth mom. She wanted to meet with us. Could we cut our trip in D.C./Baltimore/Virginia short so that we could meet her?
We ate and drank and walked and talked and laughed our way through Maryland and D.C. over the next three days with some of the people dearest to our hearts. Then we drove home in anticipation. We stayed a night at my parents’ house and got even more excited. This could all be happening.
We met with Mama L and another social worker from our adoption agency. We were nervous, Mama L was nervous. We had fun. We felt comfortable. We asked questions. We answered questions. We were honest.
We parted ways so that Mama L could take some time to think and talk with the social worker.
My husband drove me back to the airport to pick up my car. We were pulling out of the parking lot when I got the call from Megan. “Mama L would like to match with you. Do you want to move forward with this?”
We pulled over, hugged, cried. Then we each got into our own cars. We called our parents, our siblings, our dearest friends. We got home and planned. We made lists. We looked at finances. We cried some more and we dreamed.
We met with Mama L a couple more times. We went to an OB appointment. We heard our baby’s heart beat.
We had a name. We had clothes. We had time scheduled off work. We had a plan for the hospital.
Then things started to shift. It wasn’t sudden. We knew things weren’t quite right any more. Our adoption agency is very focused on creating a plan that is right for the baby and the birth mom. We knew that no one would be convincing a birth mom to trust us with her child. The social workers would help the birth mom figure out what plan was right for her — adoption or mothering.
Then we got the confirmation call. Mama L was struggling with the adoption plan. She wanted to mother the baby. Our baby.
The day was a blur. I had two students with me in the office. My colleague wasn’t there. The work day was only half over. I had to wait five more hours to see my husband face to face. I had to keep caring for others when all I wanted was to care for this tiny human who I now would never meet.
My friend’s baby girl clothes stayed at her house instead of making it to ours. My schedule at work opened back up while I fought back tears to explain the situation to my co-workers in an email. Our families struggled to know the right words or sentiment. We struggled to know the right words or sentiment. Our baby girl’s name and clothes were packed away into a box that lives in the basement.
I am not sure what all happened next. We cried like we’ve never cried. We lost something that was so abstract and so real all at the same time. I didn’t lose a child inside of me. I didn’t have a baby in my arms that was now gone. This sweet baby girl is almost a year old now and is somewhere out there. So how do you grieve? How do you hear “it just wasn’t the right baby” when this was the right baby.
I guess the minutes and hours and days and weeks eventually started going by. I slowly packed up her items. We checked off the list of things to “undo” now that we weren’t expecting. We started to re-imagine our new reality.
Then we went out. Dinner and a movie. A night for us. “Hey, we can be young and romantic and carefree because it’s just the two of us.”
We decided to meet up with Megan before going out. We returned the sonogram pictures of our baby so that Mama L could have them. We were meeting with Megan as an unofficial way to say, “Mama L, we are entrusting this baby in your care. You will be a lovely mother. She is yours.”
“Are you ready?” Megan asked. “Or do you need more time?”
“We’re ready,” we halfheartedly replied.
“Well good. Because there’s a nine month old who needs a family to live with and his birth family is considering you.”