WE FOUND OUR STAR!!!!
Yep, we sure did! On July 27th, 2017 I received an email that someone found our blog online. Her adult daughter was pregnant and had chosen to place the baby with a waiting couple. She explained that the decision was made earlier on but they hadn’t found the couple they were searching desperately for. She made it very clear that we were exactly what they wanted in parents for this unborn baby. For the last few months they had been searching for us as hard as we had been searching for them. We spoke over the phone first then quickly after we face-timed. We all agreed this was exactly what everyone wanted. It felt like fate. See image for re-enactment of our disbelief!
Our Expectant Mother (EMom) guessed she was due around early October (our favorite month!) but she had no prenatal care at all so it was really just a guess. A lack of prenatal care, although unsettling for us, is not at all uncommon in the adoption world. For many reasons, EMoms choose to forgo medical visits. At first, we assumed she didn’t care about the baby, just wanted to get it out of her and be done with all of us. But, we learned a lot through all of this and one of the biggest things is DO NOT ASSUME other people’s reasonings. Several doctor’s appointments were scheduled and missed for one reason or another. We really started getting worried. We felt that her not going to the doctor might mean she doesn’t want to place her baby with us. When you have been waiting for 10 years to become parents, with many rugs pulled out from under you, it’s very easy to let negativity control your thoughts. This is what happened here. We didn’t understand why she wasn’t going so we let our past sneak in and eat us alive. It started to cause issues of trust between us and her as well as us and the whole journey. We didn’t trust them and they didn’t trust us. Their lack of trust in us led to dishonesty which caused more distrust from us. We knew we had no reason to trust them but knew they could trust us and vice versa but neither side realized that was one of the main issues. She met over the phone with our attorney (BIG STEP) and told us every chance she had that she still wanted to place her baby with us but we didn’t believe it until the day SHE placed our (ours = her and our baby) in my arms and called ME “Mama”. If we could do it all over, knowing what we know now we would have met them in person way sooner and made sure that trust was built early on. I highly suggest this for anyone just matching for the first time.
After many cancellations and rain checks we finally met in person. Nervous tension built on both sides of the equation until the second we all met eyes for the first time. It was like old family seeing each other again after several years. We hugged for a long time before, during and after our meeting. It was clear in the beginning that everyone wanted to cry but no one wanted to be the one to break the dam first. Surprise, it wasn’t me. It was her Mother who ripped open the seal first. Everyone held it together until “EGrandma” asked if she would be allowed to know how the baby is doing. Mike usually lets me do all the talking but he jumped in quickly to let her know that we are both definitely hoping for an open adoption with them. EGrandma bawled, I bawled, EMom bawled, Mike licked his ice cream cone to keep from bawling. I saw a little tear though. We sat in a quiet corner at a buffet, we hardly ate anything. In fact, I don’t think anyone got a second plate. We talked for several hours. So much came out into the open and filled in the gaps where our assumptions once lied (Did you catch that double meaning). EMom made it very clear that I was to be in the delivery room and she highly prefers not to see the baby until after she has gone to court and signed her relinquishment papers. I respected that completely and I was stoked to be invited in the room. It all started to feel real for Mike and me, finally.
Every few days we reached out to her and her mother to make sure this was all still happening. If more than 2-3 days went by without hearing from them our past told us it was all over and we would start to lose hope again. Then, it was all back on again! Our past kept torturing us both. When one of us felt positive the other one second guessed it all. The up and down emotions of it all were exhausting, frustrating, valid, invalid, and the hardest mental game we have ever been a part of. We never figured out how to stop it so we just played along and survived the best we could. Me, I was losing chunks of hair and getting almost no real sleep. Thanks PCOS. Oh well, at least it was preparing me for motherhood right?
October 25th…. That morning we text her Mother to see how EMom was feeling. “Fine, tired, ready to be done, no contractions…” All we had to go on was two ER visits where the due date was very much guessed, October 30th or November 7th or maybe even November 14th. Somewhere around there but really, both techs guessed so randomly I didn’t believe either of them. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to receive texted video of the emergency room ultrasounds and it was very clear the techs had very little to go on. It was also very clear that ER techs would not be giving us a gender. 😦
So, we could be parents today, in two weeks, two months, who knew? We could never be parents for all we knew (according to our past that popped in and out of our heads…constantly.) We went about our day, me “working” at the law firm while Mike worked his delivery job about 4 hours away from me. Then, another text came in suddenly less than two hours later. “She is having contractions!!! Head to the hospital now! Come now!” ‘WAIT! What! No, Mike isn’t here. I am too frantic to drive over two hours away by myself.’ What if I drove there and it was a false alarm? After much discussion with Mike and my immediate family I decided to wait and let them get to the hospital first then tell me if I need to come. EMom had been dealing with Braxton Hicks since we met and it just didn’t seem right that she would all of a sudden be having real contractions. Also, what do I know about all of this? Nothing. We knew for sure by this point the baby would be delivered via C-Section so we have time right? Right? Nope! Less than an hour later they texted,”she’s being admitted and they are taking her back asap. Get here quick!” I bolted out of work and honestly couldn’t remember the drive back to my house at all. I packed so many random things. The diapers bagS were stuffed full on unisex clothes, bibs, swaddles, bottles, etc., for weeks prior but we had none of our own things packed. Mike picked up the pace and headed home as fast as he could. Luckily, my Mama, who a few days prior dreamt we adopted a biracial baby girl with golden brown hair, owned her own business which was 2 days shy of being closed for her retirement. She cancelled the rest of her day and drove me to the hospital 2.5 hours away. I had to potty so bad about 30 minutes into our drive but there was no way I would stop.
About 20 minutes before our expected arrival I got the text “its a girl!” I could have easily been broken hearted that I missed the birth but I couldn’t believe I was about to meet my daughter! I don’t remember much about the car ride but I do recall reading those words and immediately slugging my Mom in the shoulder in disbelief.
We pulled into the hospital and I ran straight to the bathroom while calling EMom’s Mother. “I’m here! Where do I go!” “The second floor in the “*******” Wing!We are waiting on you! She’s beautiful with curly golden hair!” I ran (I just realized I did a lot of running that day and I am NOT one to run) to the nurses station and asked where the ******* Wing was. “What? No, you’re at the wrong hospital.”….NOOOOOOO! So, yeah. We went 30 minutes out of our way and ended up at the wrong hospital. Same name, different location. Ugh. We ran back to the car and dove in only to find out the correct hospital was 21 miles away and we had 19 miles worth of gas. Are you freaking kidding me!!!
During that last little bit of time in the car my past wiggled it’s way in again. I recalled EMom saying she did not want to see the baby at all until after she had relinquished her rights. There must be a reason right? Maybe she knows she can’t handle seeing the baby and will change her mind if she does. I started to panic.
We pulled into the CORRECT hospital, which was a million times bigger than the last one, only to park on the exact opposite side of the where we needed to be. Great. More running.
My heart was racing, my phone was alerting me to text messages from Mike, my Mom was telling me to calm down, I just wanted to get to this baby before EMom bonded and changed her mind. Finally, I was outside the room and inside was who I have wanted so badly for so long, my daughter. I gently knocked (as if I wasn’t in a full on panic on the inside), walked inside and calmly sat beside EMom who was staring lovingly into the eyes of what I immediately thought was not going to be my daughter. IThanks Past, you jerk. Past told me I was too late. Everything froze as I put my hand on EMom’s hand and smiled at her with what felt like zero emotion. Then, I heard the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my entire life. “You must be the Mama of this little girl, we’ve been hearing about you all afternoon!” These amazing words came loudly from the nurse standing on the other side of the bed. The mama?! Me?! This women who just gave birth to this beautiful, perfect, healthy baby girl had done nothing but talk about me to every ear around. I burst into tears and suddenly my hand comforting EMom was switched to her hand comforting me. She leaned closer to me and said “Do you want to hold your daughter?” I don’t even think I was able to respond but next thing I knew I was holding my daughter, Kassandra Marie and I was a mother.
Now that I was there, with my daughter in my arms my focus shifted to Mike. I couldn’t stand that he wasn’t there. He was two hours behind me and it seemed like days. Then, just after I watched our daughter have her very first bath there he was. The door opened and he saw her for the first time. I’ll let the photo do the talking:
Shortly after the first moments we spent as a family, Mike and I were given our very own room where Kassie stayed with us. We visited with EMom and her family often and really enjoyed getting to know them more. 48 hours later we loaded up the car and headed home as brand new parents. 10 years and 7 days in the making. It wasn’t just a chapter in our life that was ending ending, it was like we were starting a whole new book. Like, we finally finished this horrible book, put it on the shelf where it will collect dust as the pages turn a soft yellow, never to be read again.
Some moments we are still in shock. Some moments it doesn’t feel real. Some days the past creeps in and little thoughts of worry take over until we can put them away again. In the next month or two this beautiful little girl, our Kassie, our Star, our World will become ours forever. For those of you just starting out on this journey to parenthood, we just want to say DO NOT GIVE UP! Most days we don’t even remember all of the pain, tears, torture, and heartbreak we went through to get here. Those 10 years felt like a hundred until we saw our daughter’s face. Magically, 10 years now feels like a single instant in a far off memory.
The best way I can summarize this whole journey is this: Someone asked me. “Candi, does it feel like you are dreaming?” Without missing a beat I replied, “No, it feels like I am finally awake.”
And with that my friends, I will turn off my computer and go cuddle with my Shining Star. Thank you all for being a part of this with us!
My next blog post will be in regards to this quote: “There are many complex moments that arise from adoption, because adoption, at it’s core, begins with brokenness.”