Through many years of infertility and major surgeries in the late 60’s and early in our marriage, it was clear that we had a zero percent chance of becoming pregnant. At that very moment, one realizes they have to change gears and start thinking about just loving a child and not just birthing a child.
Almost immediately we decided and applied to adopt. We were young and decided the most affordable option for us was to go through the state for adoption. Fortunately for us our dreams came to fruition in less than a year. There was one big hiccup along the way- the baby girl that they had selected for us (and who would eventually become our daughter) during the processing time became ill with pneumonia in her foster care placement and was transferred to a new foster care home. We had to wait for her to get fully well before we could proceed and then wait for all the red tape to clear. Waiting for her for those 4 months was the closest thing we had experienced to the anticipation of a pregnancy.
We got the call and were told that we could meet this baby that was selected for us for the first time, we packed up everything you could think of for the baby praying and hoping that we could take the baby home with us and made the drive from where we were living in Tucson to Phoenix. We were anxious about whether the agency would accept us as the perfect match for this baby they were presenting to us. After about an hour long meeting, the foster family was notified to bring the baby for us to meet. We really didn’t realize we may not be able to take the baby home until they told us when we got there. When we expressed that we had really hoped to take this baby home, they deliberated and then gave us the permission.
It was very emotional to have someone hand you a baby and have her smile at you with the look of “I just want to be loved” and her not knowing how much she would be loved. I held her in my lap and I didn’t want to let go. It’s something you never forget probably much like the feeling after giving birth to a child. My husband and I passed her back and forth several times and she had as big of a smile for him as she did for me. We knew at that moment that our dreams of having a family were finally fulfilled.
We didn’t realize it was going to take so long to get the final relinquishing papers and to go to court to finalize the adoption because there was a delay in getting the birth father’s signature which took 18 months. During this time we were completely surprised to find out that we were pregnant.
I always love to tell the story of how wonderful it was to get this 6 month old baby which felt like a newborn to us, who was already sleeping through the night, eating well, and smiling all the time. Close friends of ours’ would tease us about how spoiled we were to not have to experience the difficulties of having a newborn baby.
Flash forward and that beautiful baby girl that we were blessed to adopt is now almost 50 years old and has two younger sisters. My favorite story to tell is when my youngest daughter was about 7 years old she came crying to me and said, “I want to be special and adopted like her!”.
There is no greater gift in the world than the gift of a life, whether through adoption or through birth.