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The Words I Needed to Hear When I Adopted My Baby


It was a warm Thursday afternoon in June unlike any other. I was sitting in the back seat of the car, anxiously watching the trees zip by along the highway. I was in a strange city I had only ever seen on a map. My husband was in the front seat making small talk with the adoption lawyer, whom we had met for the first time that morning over breakfast. She was basically a stranger and we were about to share the most intimate of moments with her. We had dreamt about it for five and a half years of infertility and I had almost given up hope it would ever come.

We had been up late the night before getting ready — booking our flight and car rental, making sure all of our paperwork was in order. We had laid out everything across the living room floor; tiny hats, socks, cotton T-shirts, onesies, pastel blankets and bibs. Not only were we trying to pack for ourselves, we were also packing for a baby! What do you pack for a baby you’ve never met? We knew she was 6-pounds 11-ounces when she was born, but that was little help when trying to figure out which miniature pieces of clothing would fit her. In the trunk of the car we put the black suitcase full of newborn diapers, burp cloths, bottles and the white, cotton ducky PJ’s my husband and I had picked out together.

As we turned down the long, gravel driveway we got our first look at the foster home the baby had been staying in. It was a one-story bungalow clad in white siding surrounded by a large burgundy deck, a grove of trees off in the distance. At that moment a fresh surge of adrenaline started pumping through our tired bodies. We were propelling toward a moment that would simultaneously be the scariest and happiest of our lives. As we stepped out of the car, the foster parents emerged from the house. I still remember the warm June air touching our skin and the sound of the loose gravel crunching below our feet. We ascended the five wooden steps and were greeted by the foster parents at the top. As I shook hands with the foster mom she said, “Come on in and meet your daughter.” Time slowed down as my thoughts paused on the word “daughter“. . . words that turned out to be incredibly important on my journey toward becoming a parent.

I always knew there was enough love in my heart to give a child. I knew I was great with kids and had the ability to be a good mom. Yet I struggled with the moral questions surrounding adoption.

Would the baby be better off staying with her birth mom?

I had a hard time understanding how someone could make the tough decision to give up their baby for adoption when I was so desperate for one.

Did I deserve to be her mom?

Being a mom had always been a dream of mine, yet a small part of me felt adopting a baby was selfish.

Would the baby bond with me and accept me as her mom?

My biggest fear was that my baby wouldn’t form an attachment to me. When I walked up those stairs to the foster home I was carrying all of those fears. . . and more.

But hearing those words, “Come on in and meet your daughter,” helped me take the first tentative emotional steps toward embracing my role as her mom.

It was the first time someone had called the baby, our daughter.

It was the first time someone had acknowledged that we were her parents and that I was her mom.

Once I heard someone say that out loud — it gave me permission to step into that role. For those words I will forever be grateful.

We entered the house through the front screen door with the foster parents leading the way. We walked down a long hallway, past the kitchen and into the living room where we were introduced to the baby — to our daughter. We were surrounded by strangers as we picked her up for the first time, swaddled in a polka dotted blanket with only her pudgy little face showing. We were in disbelief that this moment had finally come. . . smile on our faces, tears in our eyes.

Later on we dressed our daughter in the ducky PJ’s we had picked out together. They were so big that we had to roll the sleeves up three times so we could hold her tiny hands. We sat on the couch next to each other, holding our daughter, staring into her face, stunned by our fortune and good luck.

We were finally parents.

I was finally a mom.

 

Image Credits: Erin Paterson

Photo submitted by contributor.