Monday, November 26, 2012

To V & K on a Very Important Anniversary


For a chick who sometimes forgets where she parks her car, I have startling recall of certain events.  For example, I remember the warm, sunny afternoon of Tuesday, September 2nd 2008 with perfect clarity. It was just after the long Labor Day weekend.  I was sitting at my desk, typing an email to someone I would rather have swallowed a cyanide capsule than spoken with, (and I’m pretty sure that sentiment was mutual, because this was back in my lawyering days), when my phone rang.    A woman named Olga called to tell me about a couple in Illinois who expected a baby in early December.  They’d reviewed our “Dear Birthparents” package and chosen us.

First thing I did?  Burst into tears.  Well, first I closed my office door, and then I burst into tears.  Joy, panic, hope, anxiety – I couldn’t hold it all in.  Hubs and I had undertaken the adoption process with cautious optimism.  Our motto?  “Who knows, it just might work out.”  But deep down, I think we both feared we didn’t have a prayer of winning the pageant of potential parents.   I mean, in our birthparent brochure we used our best photos and tried to highlight anything we’d done that could arguably be called an accomplishment, but c’mon, we’re no Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Yet you guys chose us for this incredible gift, which forces me to believe in miracles.  A few days later, we all talked on the phone for the first time, and I could have cried again … this time with relief.   I came to the call 100% certain I would screw things up somehow, and send you running for the hills, but you were both so kind, and funny and human.   During our conversation, and the ones that followed, you taught me a thing or two about complicated circumstances and overloaded plates, and handling a tough decision with faith and grace.  That too was a gift.

In late November Hubs and I flew to Kentucky to spend Thanksgiving with his family, but, before that, to drive to Illinois and, gulp, meet you in person.  There is this little shred of fatalism adoptive parents hold fast to, no matter how well everything seems to be going.   As soon as you’re matched, it seems like you hear every rocky, messy, or plain-old jacked-up adoption story in the universe.  The agency suggests you not schedule the baby shower until after the birth, and keep receipts for all the baby stuff purchased ahead of time.  Just in case.  So, with all the precautionary advice swirling in our heads, words can’t really describe how nervous we were to meet you, and how absolutely petrified that we wouldn’t measure up to your long-distance perception of us.    Every once in a while during the drive Hubs would squeeze my hand, smile and say, “It just might work out.”

It did, of course.  You guys were lovely, and welcoming, and just as nervous as us.  Who knew?  By the time we headed back to Kentucky, I felt slightly calmer.  Then, the day after Thanksgiving, we got your call.  V was at the hospital, and they were inducing labor.  Holy craaaaap!  Pack some clothes.  Put the baby seat in the car.  Go, go, go.  It’s a five hour drive.  For God’s sake, go!

We drove like maniacs and, turns out, got there with time to spare.  Inducing labor took longer than expected, but some things are worth the wait.  The 29th dawned cold and partly cloudy.  Labor went slow, but steady, (“managed,” according to the hospital staff).   You both had been through the process before and seemed amazingly, reassuringly relaxed.   We sat around the hospital room and watched a Jurassic Park movie marathon on television.  Then, all of a sudden, the doctor and nurses were on hand and ready for action.  K said, “Sam!  Stand here,” and motioned me over to the quarterback position.   And I stood there, rapt, with Jurassic Park dinosaurs roaring in the background, while V pushed six pounds and thirteen ounces of squiggling, healthy, impossibly beautiful baby boy right into my arms.

He’s almost four now, and still the most precious thing I’ve ever held, (and the most squiggly, though at some point during the day he’ll usually say, “Snuggle me, Mommy,” and curl up beside me).

He’s smart, affectionate, and highly active.  He loves to laugh.  He loves to visit the toy stores at the Malibu Country Mart, the cupcake store, the fish aquariums.  He likes his preschool teachers, and Drummer Ben the music teacher, and the Jumpstart Kids from Pepperdine.  He likes cheesy pasta and chocolate milk. 

He likes his science book, which includes renderings of a woman growing a baby in her womb.  He says, “That’s V, growing me in her tummy.”  Because to him, right now, that was all pre-ordained.  He won’t appreciate the gift of what you (V & K) did, and this anniversary, the way Hubs and I do, for some time.  But he will.  He’ll learn that two people with complicated lives and full plates loved him enough to try to give him a less complicated situation in a loving, stable family with the bandwidth to focus on his needs.  Some days we get it right, some days we don’t, but every day we are grateful for the opportunity. 

We love him.  You are our angels, for bringing him to us, and “Thank you” seems hardly sufficient, but Thank you.

November 2012 is National Adoption Month.  I’m no expert, but if you’re thinking about adoption as an option for your family, I say, “Who knows, it might just work out?”

22 comments:

  1. This is such a warm, touching, beautiful post, Sam. I didn't even cry. It made me smile and feel all fuzzy inside. I'm so happy you got to be parents.

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    1. Me too! Before parenthood, Hubs & I used to say life was good, but there was a little piece of the puzzle missing. Then we got our little guy and we realized ... it's not about our puzzle at all. We're a couple of corner pieces in HIS puzzle!

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  2. So moving, Sam! You three were meant to be together. That's the ultimate love story. <3

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    1. Thanks! It's worked out pretty well (unless you ask Bebe the Killer Chihuahua, who would say, "Remember how it used to be, just Mommy, Daddy and me?) I keep telling her he's going to be her favorite person once he gets just a little older.

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  3. What a beautiful story, and you made me cry.

    Thank you for sharing this encouraging adoption story, for making it real, and for easing the grief birth parents must go through. Sometimes heartrending decisions are the absolute best for everyone.

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    1. Thank you for the lovely comment. Sorry for making you cry!

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  4. What a lovely story. Congratulations to everyone involved!

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    1. There's some magic in the timing. The little guy wasn't due to arrive 'til 12/3, but now I'm always a little extra-special thankful around Thanksgiving.

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  5. I've got tears in my eyes, too. This is a gorgeous post, Sam, and that little guy is one very lucky dude. Thanks for sharing this story. As usual, your fine way with words makes my day. <3

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    1. Aw ... thanks. I can tell you, he's feeling pretty lucky right now! Almost 30 minutes past bedtime, sitting here in our bed, eating cashews, drinking Sprite, watching Handy Manny.

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  6. Oh Sam, as I read this tears filled my eyes. I must say that you and Hubs are our angels and we couldn't have asked for better parents for such a sweet and wonderful little boy. We love you all so very much and it brings so much joy to me that I could give you such a wonderful gift. Dreams do come true all you have to do is have faith :) Tell Hud Happy Birthday from all of us.
    With All Of Our Love, V

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    1. We'll do! And love back to K, to you and your family. Thanks so much for commenting, V. Your words mean a lot.

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  7. Happy birthday/anniversary to you all, and thanks for sharing this.

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  8. Such a beautiful post. I'm so glad I followed the link from Facebook.

    Adoption is a wonderful thing. And I say that as a grown woman who was adopted at birth and brought up by the best parents ever who gave me amazing opportunites I probably would not have had otherwise. Like you, my parents were open about my being adopted and it never felt like a big deal to me....until I got pregnant with my first child and realized how difficult it must have been for my birth mother to give me up.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Wendy. I hope someday my little guy feels exactly as you do! And, yeah, I think there's a special place in heaven for birth parents.

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  9. Oh, Sam, what a wonderful story :) Congratulations to you all (everyone involved in this adoption came out with something to be thankful for).

    Thanks for sharing it with us!
    Leigh

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  10. Happy to share. Nov. really is National Adoption Month, and there's a great website at: http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption. One of the major focuses is drawing attention to the thousands of children in foster care who are waiting for permanent families. As part of our adoption process, we became California state qualified foster parents, so I can say with some authority to anyone who is interested, but maybe intimidated by the paperwork and other requirements, it's not so difficult.

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  11. I didn't cry - but I did mist up. What a wonderful story, for everyone. Your son is lucky to have you - I think V and her partner made the right choice.

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  12. Thank you! We feel like the lucky ones, for so many reasons. :)

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  13. How times have changed!
    This story illustrates the change in society's attitudes more than amything I've ever read. So thank you for sharing.

    Adoption is now an open subject, birth parents meeting adoptive parents. This is a universe removed from the closed door secrecy surrounding the adotpions of fifty years ago.

    Then birth mothers had their babies, handed them over and were told to forget they'd ever had a child and get on with their lives.

    As for couselling, what was that?
    Ah yes, how times have changed since the bad old days.

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    1. Adoption is, I think, at an all new level of open-ness, even between birth and adoptive parents that didn't necessarily go so far as to define the arrangement as such. But with Facebook and Twitter and Google, it's easier than ever to maintain some level of connection with people are, in fact, family.

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