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Meeting Birth Mom- Infertility to Adoption
This is the conclusion of our story of infertility to adoption where we meet our son’s birth mom for the first time. If you haven’t already done so, please read Our Adoption Story Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 to catch up.
To say that meeting our son’s birth mom was emotionally intense is an understatement.
There was so much more to it though.
That morning a NICU nurse reached her gloved-hands into a sterile incubator. She lifted a newborn out of that protective plastic enclosure and placed him into my shaking arms.
Just 18 hours earlier, he was delivered into the world by an incredibly brave and desperately broken woman.
There was no way to prepare for the depth of pain and confusion that would take place over the next 3 days.
Meeting Birth Mom
Crossing the threshold of her hospital room, Ian and I found ourselves engulfed in an anxious tidal wave.
There we were face-to-face.
For the first time, we saw the woman whom God would use to bring us another little deliverer.
Beyond the point of exhaustion from the year-long emotional hurricane that we had just survived, I was on the verge of a break down.
The fact that I was just snuggling her newborn son was too much to process.
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Our eyes met and without another thought, I rushed to her bedside.
She looked desperately broken. I immediately reached for her hands.
The tears streamed down both sets of our cheeks. I thanked her profusely for allowing him to live.
We live in a culture that would have encouraged her to end his life before he was born. Yet, even in her brokenness, she chose to let him breathe life.
I poured out my gratitude and shared how much God loves and treasures her. Nothing I said seemed to do justice.
My inability to say or do anything to make her pain go away magnified the pit in my stomach. I knew God was going to have to intervene in a very obvious way.
Normally a happy-go-lucky extroverted sanguine, I had nothing to offer.
Buried beneath grief, sadness, confusion and a tiny amount of relief, I sat in the void.
I knew very early on that I would be unable to hold it together much longer. There was no way I would be able to keep the conversation going for the next few days.
I was faking it as best as I could, but I was on the edge of collapse. Her internal torment was its own presence in the room.
Meeting His Birth Mom- The Confusion
The earthquake inside of me was an 8.0 on the Richter scale.
Our baby boy was still 100% hers.
Despite knowing this was not her first adoption placement, my awareness that she could change her mind left me shaky. I was so scared and anxious about losing our child and yet, I was also deeply saddened for her.
His birth mom was broken in spirit.
She was a brave woman. Sacrificing her role as a parent, she knew her baby needed to be the first priority.
She was a selfless woman who suffered incredibly for the sake of her baby’s life.
In her mind, she was a wretch. She didn’t realize that she was an instrument of God.
The emotional tension enveloping that hospital room was sucking the breath out of us all.
Her desperation for peace was evident to all. My desperation for finality had to remain quiet.
The finality in birth mom’s mind
And then it happened.
“Do you mind if I go and see him?”
She tentatively asked me the next afternoon.
“Do I mind?’
In her mind, all was final.
While I was doing my best not to lose it due to the uncertainty of it all, she mentally signed the paperwork. In her mind, she released her rights to Little Man over to us that first day.
He was still her child and not legally ours.
Didn’t she know what a basket case I was?
Ian and I felt like imposters every time we entered into the nursery, cradled and held HER baby boy.
Didn’t she know that I was scared to death that she would change her mind?
Her inquiry revealed the reality that in her mind he was already our child.
Demoralized, hurting and yet so decisive. I will never be able to erase her face from my mind.
The Tightrope of Meeting His Birth Mom
Ian did his best to walk the tightrope between two extremely irrational and hurting women.
The next two days dragged on moment by moment. It was as if every moment was a race through quick sand.
If it weren’t for Ian, birth mom and I would have likely gone insane.
Yep. It was my introverted husband who end up maintaining the conversations with her.
During the time we spent in her hospital room, he was the one to build a safe relationship with her.
Sports saved the day. My hubby is obsessed with sports and we soon realized that our birth mother was also a sports fan.
It was amazing to see my husband connect with her.
The two of them engaged in light conversations. They bantered about various sports teams and star players. Scores, statistics and clutch plays from years past were the topic of conversation.
It was my introverted, prefer-to-not-have-to-talk hubby, who held the room.
When she fell into deep grief, Ian dragged her out with some sports jargon that I don’t dare to interpret. She understood and would begin to engage again.
Friday morning arrived almost tentatively. It was as if the sun itself was aware that both a death and a life were coming.
The dichotomy of adoption played out that morning.
As she signed the paperwork, a death occured.
The slightest hope that she would be able to parent was annihilated with the stroke of a pen.
And with that same signature came new life in the form of a family which just grew by one.
His birth mom lumbered throughout her hospital room as she attemped to clothe herself in jeans and a sweatshirt.
She released the well-worn hospital gown to the floor as if she was releasing her shame and condemnation.
As only a mother could, she gifted her child a fresh start that morning. It was her turn to start anew as well. Ultimately, that was and is my prayer for her.
“Is it alright if I see him one last time?
She asked my permission to see him again.
Just typing those words brings back the muddle of angst which penetrated my soul at that moment. Her overwhelming sadness tormented us all. It breaks my heart just thinking about her anguish.
At the time, I was still shocked that she had ever felt the need to ask my permission.
Her humility was a bucket of ice-water poured suddenly on one’s back. It was striking and numbing at the same time.
“Of course you can see him,” I reassured her.
She and I slowly walked back to the nursery. The journey slapped her in the face repeatedly as the hallway walls were plastered with portraits of babies and their mothers.
I will never forget the words she spoke as we trudged towards him.
“Please don’t ever let him think that I don’t love him.”
My heart broke in two for her.
In response, I promised her that he will always know how much she loved him.
My son’s birth mother was and is simply amazing. In her brokenness, she loved him enough to give him a chance at a better life.
She is the picture of humility and my heart continues to grieve for her loss.
Additionally, our family is indebted to her forever. She gave us a son.
Little did we know that God would use this baby boy to radically destroy and transform our family. And more specifically, me.
To hear more about what happened after we brought our son home, to this interview with my friend, Kelli Belt of the Beauty is Rising podcast.