This Post was written by Adoption STAR CEO and Founder, Michele Fried.
Deb and Susana were at the very early stages of the adoption process when a phone call changed their lives. Within 24 hours of that call they found themselves flying from New York City to Buffalo, NY where I met them for the first time.
It is interesting to me how there are some “placements” that I remember so vividly that I could recount small things that occurred and this is one of them.
I remember visiting with these women and getting to know them. I remember being so touched by how they held hands during my many questions.
Their original home study was dated January 22, 2002 and focused on becoming foster parents. They learned about Adoption STAR from a friend and never realized that this then two-year-old agency would introduce them to their daughter.
On April 18, 2002, Deb and Susanna met one of the most gorgeous babies I have ever seen. Her dark eyes were truly sparkling as she looked up into the faces of her mommies. They named her Micaela.
A few months later, Finalization Day arrived and Micaela revisited the Adoption STAR office with her parents and we oohed and aahed over this beautiful baby and how much she changed in just a few months. What a special visit that was as Micaela’s birth mother felt ready to meet the couple she selected as her daughter’s parents and had a wonderful meeting with them and seeing Micaela.
Over the years, Deb and Susana developed an incredible circle of friends, many of them touched by adoption (and Adoption STAR). They consistently sent letters and photos to the agency to hold for Micaela’s birth mother should she request them. The updates the agency received showed a happy and healthy baby growing up quickly.
In 2007, Susa emailed me with their thoughts about learning they were going to become parents: “We have always felt that the spirit of Micaela chose us. And that’s why the process happened so amazingly quickly. And how great you guys were, and how important it was that you advocated for us.” Deb added, “When we first got the call from you we thought you were calling to ask about paperwork that we were supposed to have transferred from the foster care agency. It is for this reason that we didn’t return your call immediately. The next day you called Susana on her cell phone and we realized we had been wrong. Once Micaela’s birth mom selected us, you realized that the foster care agency hadn’t really completed the process and that many documents were still needed. You scrambled and made it all happen, we did massive amounts of paperwork in record time and 24 hours after that first phone call we had Micaela in our arms. The process isn’t supposed to work that way, but it did, and that always made us feel like it was meant to be.”
A few months ago, I received another email from Deb and Susana, asking if they could make a plan to meet me at the agency office with Micaela. They wanted to bring her to Buffalo to take a look around at the area she was born and where they first met her.
On October 7, Deb, Susana and Micaela came to the Adoption STAR office. I had the pleasure of meeting this spectacular 9 ½ year old girl and reminisce with her moms about the day they met her. I learned more about Micaela and how well she is doing in school. I learned about the band she plays in and the type of dance she does and the sports she loves. I learned about the trips she has taken and saw photographs of some of her friends. Micaela didn’t have many questions for me or about the process but she was assured that we would do our best to provide the answers should she ever wish to ask.
We spoke about the difference between an open adoption and a closed adoption and the fact that though her birth mother was not actively involved in their lives, she was the one who chose Deb and Susana to be her parents.
I wanted to write this story not only because it meant so much to me to see a child almost ten years after placement day but also because how planned their visit was and what their Western New York visit included. They came to the city where Micaela was born and visited the hospital her birth mother gave birth in. They visited the adoption agency staff that met her as a newborn and saw her newborn photo on the wall in our office. They spoke openly and proudly about the process and allowed Micaela to know that the journey was about her and that they were always approachable to answer questions whenever she had them.
After their visit, Deb wrote, “Thanks again for taking the time to meet with us. It was great to see you and your new offices. We had a really nice time in the area and think that it was just what we needed to do in terms of our adoption journey. Micaela isn’t yet at the point where she is focused on the “why” questions and it felt important to make this trip before that point. We hope that it helps to make it clear that the space exists to have whatever questions or feelings she ultimately does.”
Her moms report that Micaela was quieter than usual after her visit to Adoption STAR and the other highlights of her first few days of birth. No doubt a bit overwhelmed, possibly processing some of the things she saw and heard. Hopefully knowing that the visit was to assist her in her own personal journey, one that is touched by adoption and Adoption STAR.