I gave notice at my job, to the employer who had been so very understanding and supportive of the eight thousand medical appointments, the days and days of doctor-ordered bedrest after each IVF, and the birth parent classes and requirements from the adoption agency, that I had to take off work to attend over the course of the past three years. Blaine started gathering our records, we made a house-hunting trip to Los Angeles, we sold our house, we were in the middle of the “Pre-move how much junk have we accumulated over the past three years and what can we get rid of and what should we take with us to California” survey process, when the phone rang.
It was the social worker.
From the adoption agency.
The one that had not placed a baby with a family in the two+ years since we had been approved.
They had a birth mother who wanted to meet us.
All the feeling went out of my legs and I had to sit down for a minute.
Although Blaine and I were still very excited about the possibility of adopting, and sure, if you want to be honest, nursing a teeny, tiny flame of hope in the very dark, very back corners of our minds that it would happen, the practical parts of us had written this adoption attempt, with this particular adoption agency, off as a lost cause. We had written it off over a year ago, when we quit hearing from anyone there. So to suddenly get a phone call, out of the blue, as we were packing up to move thirteen hundred miles away, telling us there was a birthmom who wanted to meet us, was a shock indeed.
~~~~Now is when I have to be completely honest with you guys. I am so proud of Brayden, and so proud of our getting the opportunity to be her parents, that I would pretty much take out a billboard and advertise the entire story without a moment’s hesitation. But at this point, the story is no longer just about me. I can sit here and talk, unabashedly, about having a strange man between my legs gathering semen half an hour after having sex, and not blink an eye. But at the point where Brayden’s birthmom enters the story, I feel I need to draw some boundaries, to respect and protect her privacy.
Not because I’m embarrassed or awkward or self-conscious about the process or about her. Just the opposite. Blaine and I ADORE her. We would build a shrine to her, if that sort of thing were allowed. And not kind of creepy. She is a cherished part of our family, and she even reads this site.
And specifically because we owe her so much, and think so highly of her, I’m going to leave out any part of the story that I think might be encroaching on her personal space. I’ll still give you every detail as it relates to us (rest assured, you know I’ll manage to babble on for days, just as I always do) but if I have to skip over a few things, or leave out a few details, you’ll just have to trust that I’m not being lazy ….. simply protective. I’ll call her “M”.~~~~
She had seen our profile at the agency, and wanted to meet us, the social worker said. We made plans to have lunch at our local TGIFridays. I cannot tell you how nervous we were. Imagine the single most terrifying, thrilling, and anxiety-provoking-but-in-a-good-way feeling you can have. A blind date, with the perfect guy, multiplied times a bazillion. THAT’S how I felt. To this day, when I see the red and white stripes of a TGIFridays restaurant, I still get a little tingle in my gut.
Would she like us? What if she didn’t like us? Oh God, what if she hated us? What if we walked into the restaurant, she took one look at us, and she said never mind? What should I wear? What should Blaine wear? The social worker told us to bring more recent pictures of ourselves, our lives, our interests, etc. What pictures should we take? What if we came across as desperate and pathetic? What should I order to eat that will make me look like a responsible adult, yet still approachable and relaxed and fun? What will we talk about? What if I cuss by accident? What if I laugh at something completely inappropriate? What if I’m so nervous I forget the English language? What, what, what????
I remember washing the car before we went, so if she saw us drive up she would know we were responsible adults. I remember Blaine parking the car in the TGIF parking lot and us walking to the front door. I remember he reached over and held my hand, as a show of support. I remember thinking, “What if she’s looking out the window and sees us and thinks we’re dorks for holding hands? Should I jerk my hand away? But then she’ll think we’re not a loving couple. Oh GOD, WHAT SHOULD I DO!?!?!?!” You know, when you’re nervous enough, you can over-analyze the way you breathe.
But we walked in, and met her and the social worker, and had lunch, and talked and laughed and got acquainted and looked at pictures and told stories and you know what?
We adored her right from the beginning.
Sure, it was nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing and I probably tried a little too hard. And she was kind enough to overlook it. And she even told me later that she was nervous about whether or not *we* would like *her*, a thought that just cracks me up because hello? Who could NOT like her?
There were fluky things, and similarities, and we discovered our lives had intersected in ways that were too coincidental to overlook. Again, I’m not at ease sharing these specific details, but believe me when I say some of them were amazing. We felt very comfortable with her, and I think she felt the same way. Best of all, we actually, honestly, truly LIKED HER. I told Blaine later, “Not just because of the baby, but if I met her at work, or some other way, I could totally see us being friends.” Despite the social worker telling us all contact needed to go through the agency, we exchanged phone numbers before leaving the restaurant.
M. was the first birthmom to contact the adoption agency in over three years, or at least, the first birthmom not in crisis mode.** She told me, just recently, that the only reason she chose that particular agency was because she gets lost easily and she thought the address of their psuedo-office was one she could find easily. They told her to look at their book of prospective-adoptive-parent profiles and pick three to interview. She picked one; ours. She told the social worker she didn’t want to talk to anybody else, that we were the only couple she wanted to meet. She was only in her first trimester, and they told her when she reached the third trimester, she could meet us. She *insisted* on meeting us now. What if she hadn’t insisted? We would have been in California.
All these things led us to believe our meeting was meant to be, and that God had a hand in how things were happening.
**I should probably clarify that during this time, I believe the adoption agency had placed a few emergency-situation babies …. High-risk, drug-addicted, special-needs, emergency foster care situations. But this was the first “non-crisis” potential adoption since we had been approved.
So, with promises to keep in touch, we moved to California. And started praying that this would actually work out the way we so desperately hoped it would.