Thirteen years ago, on the first day of sorority
Rush, ahem, Recruitment, I met a cute, outgoing blonde from a little town less than an hour away from my hometown. Diana was my suite-mate for the week, and we quickly bonded over our shared love for bargain shopping and department store cosmetics. We were elated when, on Bid Day, we landed at the same place, and from those first crazy days of college, a deep and lasting friendship grew.
In the time that we've been friends, we've shared pop tarts and hot plate mac 'n cheese, played pledge pranks (it's owl's blood . . . really, it is . . .) and skipped class, weathered bridal showers and bridesmaid dresses, taught in Texas and left for home. We've met for lunch, gone out to dinner, shopped and shopped (she never let me miss a Harold's warehouse sale!) and talked for hours on the phone. There has been a lot of laughter, many tears, and an immense amount of growth for each of us.
While I could go and on with Diana stories, that's not what this post is about. Months ago when I opened up SortaCrunchy to guest posting, Diana offered to share her family's story with you, my wonderful friends and readers. I am humbled by her willingness to share their story, and I am honored to help celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month.
Welcome to SortaCrunchy my dear, amazing, wonderful friend Diana:
Our story of adoption is quite unique, perfect, and one that will rekindle your belief in fate, the power of love.
When we reached out to Adoption Network, like many couples, we were weary and heartbroken from the long journey of disappointments left by infertility. We desperately wanted to be parents. We had made every preparation possible from completing our education to the financial security that would make it possible to fulfill my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. And for reasons we did not understand, a biological child was just not in the plan for us.
When we made the decision to create a family through adoption, we researched dozens of avenues and agencies, and interviewed several. After a phone consultation with Mary, we instantly knew that what we had found with Adoption Network was kind, caring people with whom we shared a common goal. Though they had certainly heard our story too many times to count, they made us feel at complete ease with their encouragement and reassurance. For the first time in months, we once again had hope that we would one day share our lives with children.
We began working with Mary and Sue and after submitting pictures, profiles, and completing our home study, the waiting began in September…but it didn’t last long. In mid-February, while out shopping and errand running, my cell phone rang. Standing in line at Wal-mart, I heard Tammy’s voice on the other end. We had been chosen by a birth mother. I could not get to Brad’s office fast enough. Later that day, we learned of this amazing young woman, who through her youth was more courageous and wise than we could imagine. We learned the baby was expected to be a boy and that we had 3 short weeks to prepare for his arrival.
We had a single onesie, but more excitement and pure joy than a child on Christmas morning. In the weeks to come, this young woman was a fixture in my thoughts. While we had only spoken once, I already had such a fondness for her and found myself wanting to reach out to her.
To pass time, Brad worked to prepare for the time we would be out of town and I shopped for this baby boy who had a name, a room in our home, and more extended family than one could count.
On March 8 around midnight, our phone rang….she was in labor. We were on the road by 4 a.m. for a 13 hour drive to meet our son. We stayed in contact with her mom throughout the night, checking on her, her progress, and the baby. When I called to check in at 8:04 a.m., behind her mom’s voice, I heard him cry…he was two minutes old.
We could not drive fast enough, but weather-related traffic problems delayed our arrival by 3 hours. We were not going to make visiting hours, but her mom offered to talk to hospital security and the staff to let us in anyway. That single gesture of acceptance and kindness opened the door for what would become a unique bond and a lasting friendship.
When we arrived, we found such a sweet, quiet young woman who suddenly was a real person. She was no longer a birth mother, but the woman who have birth to our son, nurtured him for nine months, and was about to give us the most precious gift that no one else could. We felt an immediate connection with her and grew even more amazed at her choice of adoption for her baby. She, at just seventeen, was able to put her emotions and feelings aside and the needs of her son, our son, first.
We spent the next few days visiting him, her, and her family. They invited us into her room. The day she and the baby were discharged was more difficult than we could have ever imagined. Watching her say good-bye to him was heartbreaking.
When we created our adoption plan, we decided a semi-open adoption with pictures and update letters would be best for our family. While we had certainly heard of open adoption, we were in fear of it and concerned about the confusion it might create for our child. That day, while watching her say good-bye, something changed. How could we accept her gift, our son, and simply walk away? They loved him just as much as we did and had a need to know that he was happy and healthy.
In the days that followed our discharge from the hospital, we spoke to Tammy often updating her on the baby, and checking on his birth mother. We had promised to call his birth mom after we took him to a routine newborn doctor’s visit. When I called, she asked if she and her family could see him and we made arrangements to visit their home.
We were extremely nervous, but excited to get to know them…after all this was his family and we were making memories for him. We took pictures, shared a meal, got to know each other, laughed, cried, stared starry-eyed at this baby whom had brought us together, and cried some more. We spent two days in their home and while we did not anticipate this, we were incredibly grateful for our time with them and their time with him.
When we left their house for the last time, we told her to call anytime…and we meant it. We knew we wanted her to be a part of our life. While we were not sure how or the logistics, this would not be good-bye, but "see you later."
Our son is now 8 months old and we talk at least once a week, sharing stories, girl talk, pictures, and all the new and precious things he is doing and discovering. We adore her, can’t imagine life without her.
As I write this, our baby boy is sleeping like the angel he truly is. As we tuck him every night, we are still in awe that we were chosen to be his parents. On Mother’s Day, I received a text message from his first mommy wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day. My response to her was simply:
Thank you God for infertility.
Thank you God for our son’s first mom.
Without both, we would not be his parents.
We not only believe whole-heartedly that we were put on this Earth to be his parents, but also to be her friend. This baby boy brought us together, but our bond, our relationship, our deep friendship was a choice.
As you can imagine, we struggled during this time, especially with our faith. I leave you with this thought (it took me a long time to reach this point), imagine the possibilities when you allow yourself to believe in His plan.
(photos courtesy of Tyson Brown Photography)