I just really want to tell you about my son's birthmother. Who for privacy sake, we're calling her "Hannah". I'm not going to share her reasons for choosing an adoption plan for that is her and J's story to tell. But I still wanted to talk about her.
What do you wear to meet your son's birthmother? Man, was I freaking out a little. Nervous doesn't even describe. As we were driving to the agency (where we were doing the first initial meeting) a song from our wedding march came on the radio and that calmed me a bit. It ended just as we parked. We were asked to arrive before her so we could sit down and chat with the agency to prepare for what was about to happen. They told me that typically birthmothers are super nervous too. Minutes seemed like hours as I kept looking at the clock. I remember the women talking although, I'm sure I just did a lot of nodding.
Then she walked in. My word, she is beautiful.....this tall, Bohemian-dressed women came in and the air left me. She lost her breath too as she sat down. She was holding her daughter who I tried not to stare at (of course wondering--will he look like her?).
She had trouble making eye contact so I blurted out, "I'm super nervous too." And her muscles relaxed and she smiled and said, "ok". I remember thinking. I can't believe she's worried we won't like her. I mean, she chose us to raise her son....how could we not like her? She holds all the cards.
She had written down a list of questions, but was too nervous to ask them, so Pam-our advocate read them out loud. The first question, (and I cry when I type this) "Will you tell him about me?"
Without pause we exclaim, "Yes!!! Of course!!" and I add, "Whatever you want us to tell him....whatever you want him to know..." The look on her face still breaks my heart. You could tell she was really worried about that.
There were more questions-- does my husband plan on being really involved? schooling? family traditions? Will we teach him his culture and incorporate some of her holiday traditions?--which we will do.
Hannah is Haitian. I have a younger brother who was adopted through foster care who is also Haitian and my oldest brother is dating a Haitian. So we talked about that. It was really important to her that J grows up with Haitian culture. She didn't know we were praying for God to send us a Haitian child. I want my little brother to have someone else in the family like him. When Hannah heard that we wanted a Haitian child, her face lit up. She was worried a couple wouldn't celebrate his heritage. She would tell Pam later that meeting us was like a huge weight had been lifted and she knew this was the right thing to do.
The next time we would see her was a couple of weeks later for an ultrasound. I think I was more nervous about this appointment. But whenever I am around Hannah, I feel calm and peaceful. The nerves fade away.
We cried during the ultrasound and after hearing his heartbeat. J sucked his thumb. And when the lights went on, I saw that Hannah was crying too. We left the room so she could get dressed and then we sat down and chatted a bit more with her. Pam would tell me later that Hannah told her she felt sad till she saw how excited we were and she felt better.
We wouldn't see her again until his birth day. We had been praying God would give her an easy labor. She was induced and that worried me because (I've been told) labor could be even more painful and take longer. But thankfully, only 4 hours from the time of being induced and three pushes and J entered the world.
We were not in the room. Pam and Alexis (both from the agency were with her). But as soon as they cleaned Hannah up, we came in. They waited to weigh or clean J till we were in the room. When we walked in, Hannah was holding him and she instantly put him in my arms. What an insane moment. Dreamlike. My husband and I sat next to her bed for the next 2 hours and took turns holding him. Our first pictures of him were taken with Hannah--all four of us---our family.
This hospital unfortunately was not adoption friendly. It is the one hospital in our area that won't acknowledge the adoptive parents, but it was also the only hospital where her obgyn would deliver and luckily he had a sister who was adopted and was so wonderful with Hannah--a true God-send. But the hospital was crap. Most hospitals give the adoptive parents access to the baby and their own set of wristbands, but nope....it was Hannah's call for when we could see him. The nurses made a big deal to make sure we knew they were only going to ask her questions involving his care.
They had to move her to another room, so we left for a few hours to let her get some rest. Now many of you have asked me, "Did the baby go into the nursery?" It was her choice and she chose to have him in the room with her. Now I would be lying if I didn't say that in the moment she told them "No, I want him with me." My heart stopped and I got nervous. But then I reminded myself. God is sovereign. I am trusting in His perfect will. I am here to support and love on Hannah and will support her in whatever her decision is. She had 48 hours to sign the papers and until then....as much as I was already falling in love, I was still guarded. But I must admit, after the initial fear, I felt comforted that he was with her getting personal attention and not in a bright room all by himself. She said she had heard too many horror stories and I laughed and had to agree cause I would have said the same thing.
Throughout those 48 hours, Hannah was great. She let us visit for however long we wanted. We sat next to her and held J. Sometimes when we came in she was holding him and when we left, sometimes she wanted me to put him back in her arms. We were never alone with her for those of you who were wondering. Pam or Alexis had to be present...to keep things on the up and up. We brought her flowers. Her favorite color is purple, so I made her a bouquet filled with 5 bunches of tulips in 3 different shades of purple. We weren't allowed to bring her anything else because to keep things ethical, you don't want it to seem like we are bribing or paying her.
Those two days spent sitting next to her were spent watching HGTV and chatting. I didn't ask a bunch of questions. It was like visiting a long-time friend who either suffered a loss or was very sick in the hospital. The conversation was kept light and was pretty natural like we'd known each other for a long time. She talked about her life here and there, but we had more conversations revolving around whatever we were watching....commenting, making fun of....etc. She was having a lot of pain, so one of my main concerns was making her comfortable.
I love her. I like her. She is a person, I'd want to be friends with if I had met her on the street. And to be honest, I got used to spending so much time with her that when she was released and we brought J home, I missed her. I know this is not always the situation with adoptions and I'm sure it won't be for my next child, but I feel so blessed to know her, to love her, and to see her face when I look at J. She gave us the most wonderful gift. And thank-you just isn't enough.
I am told she never wavered. Now it wasn't easy. At first the agency called saying she wanted us there and for all of us to walk out of the hospital together, but when the time came and she signed the papers, she wept, Pam crawled into bed and held her, and when she was released, Pam drove her home.....Hannah couldn't see us and I understand. We arrived after she left and Jax was with our lawyer and a nurse...waiting for us.
It's been six weeks. We have sent her 3 photo updates with several photos in each update. We do plan on seeing her in the future and introducing J to her, but she needs time to heal and mourn. But I think of her everyday and pray for her constantly. I smile when I watch a show on TV that I know she likes or when I eat or drink something that she said is her favorite. I talk to J about her. How she feels ugly without her jewelry and had to put earrings on asap after the birth to feel beautiful and how much she loves him. My heart hurts when I see the news updates on Haiti and I pray for the heartache she feels for the family she lost. She is apart of me. And I think she is strong and brave.....selfless and loving. And her picture is the very first picture to be framed in his nursery.