By Michele Fried (reprinted from 2004)
Marie* and Peter* (*names were changed) were coming up on their two year mark with the agency. Their home study was already updated once and soon to expire again. Marie and Peter experienced many years of unsuccessful fertility treatments before arriving at Adoption STAR. Once with the agency, they proceeded smoothly through the process and created a beautiful profile for expectant parents to view.
Often we give advice to prospective adoptive parents regarding “tweaking their profile” or grids, but with Marie and Peter we did not have much advice. They fell within the average age, they were good looking, had good jobs, owned their own home in the suburbs, and had some really cute pets. Their “dear birth mother letter” was beautiful and their photos showed a down to earth loving couple. In fact their profile was what many of the pregnant women we work with look for and so it received quite a bit of activity. They met their first expectant mother and found themselves disappointed when she chose another family over them. The second pregnant woman they met changed her mind about adoption when she gave birth. The third woman who chose them decided not to meet them but was nonetheless committed to her adoption plan. Sadly she did not honestly share her abuse of drugs and when the baby was born testing positive for numerous substances, it was clear that now she needed to be more forthcoming. It was a very difficult decision, but Marie and Peter very bravely decided to turn down the referral due to the fact that they were not prepared to parent a baby at high risk for special needs. Then there were the other times, when they were profiled but not selected. The staff, understanding the feelings of disappointment and rejection, tried their best to protect and soften the disappointments for Marie and Peter but could not shield them from the roller coaster that their adoption journey had shown them.
Being an adoptive mother myself, I knew they would adopt. When? I had no idea but I would not be in this field if I didn’t believe that adoption works! I hope that it is Adoption STAR that makes its clients parents but we are just as happy to celebrate with our clients if their child arrives due to an unexpected referral from a friend or another referral source. Over the years, I have many say, “The baby meant for them just hasn’t been born yet.”
I remember calling Marie and Peter on a Friday and spoke to both of them separately to tell them that their two-year mark was approaching. I invited them in to meet with us to begin discussing how they were feeling and what other options within adoption may open the door even wider for them to become parents. I mentioned international adoption and agency assisted private adoption. Peter said he has been getting “antsy” and wanted to look to see what changes they can make and Marie responded that she just didn’t believe it would happen for them. I told them to talk together over the weekend and to call me on Monday with a time to meet. Peter called Monday morning and we made an appointment that same week for Wednesday afternoon.
What none of us could have known was that on Tuesday we received a call about a baby girl. We spoke to a 17-year-old young woman and her parents and found a birth family that touched us all. They marveled over their new baby and just fell in love with her. They knew adoption was in her best interest and so the telephone rang at Adoption STAR. Because there were minimal risk issues in the background and due to short notice, several profiles of waiting couples were selected by the adoptive parent department as ones that best matched the birth mother’s preferences and who appeared to be in the best interest of the child.
I introduced each profile to the birth mother and her parents while she lay in her hospital bed. I did not highlight anything specific about the couples except for their first names and the fact that they fit the preferences that she gave to us. After giving the birth family time alone, I returned to find that one profile stood out over all the others and that profile was Marie and Peter’s. The young girl’s father explained that this couple appeared down to earth and traveled to many of the places that they have traveled to. An added bonus was that the birth mother loved pets as much as the adoptive couple.
All the birth family asked to know was what the reaction may be of the couple when the phone call was made telling them that were selected. It was at that time that I shared with them some of the losses the couple had experienced, so they would know that for waiting couples, adoption is often a long road.
As expected, Marie stayed reserved when the call was made with the news of “being selected”, as she had been so close before. We invited the couple to come to the office to meet the birth family the next morning. The meeting was lovely and tears fell freely. The birth family kept the meeting brief as they just simply wished to meet the couple that would raise and love this child and to wish them well.
After the meeting with the birth family, I asked Marie and Peter to return to the office later in the afternoon to meet their daughter. The really neat thing was that it was the same time that I was to meet this couple to discuss their feelings about exploring other options.
Sometimes while we wait for our baby to arrive, it may feel that it will never happen. I have always felt that you must believe that adoption will work for you. It’s just like the birth mother’s father said, “They were waiting for this baby.”