The First Meeting

Adoption STAR Associate Director Michael Hill shares information about when prospective adoptive parents and expectant parents meet for the first time.

michael-hall_adultBack in the fall of 2008, our oldest son Elijah’s birth mother was still in the midst of being pregnant with him (and unexpectedly so). She made the decision to contact Adoption STAR in an effort to make an adoption plan. She was shown profiles of prospective adoptive parents that might be a “good match” for her given the criteria she spelled out as being important. Our profile book stood out and she selected us. However, she still requested a meeting with us – perhaps so she could feel even more assured in her decision? That’s what we hoped at least.

The nerves we experienced leading up to the meeting were some of the most intense I’ve ever felt in my life. Interestingly enough, after the fact we discovered that our son’s birth mother was just as nervous about meeting us as we were about meeting her!

I recently came across a book entitled “Dear Linda: An adoptive father’s open letter to the birthmother of his child,” written by an anonymous author. There’s a section in the book that talks specifically about the author and his wife meeting the birthmother in question for the first time, and I was really struck by it. Here it is:

“Dear Linda,

I feel compelled to write you. Your child, my child, is well. She is a beautiful, intelligent, socially well-adjusted, ten year old girl.

Especially on Nicole’s birthdays, I notice her acute physical resemblance to you. On Nicole’s birthday, I recall the day we met. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for a sixteen year old, pregnant girl to meet two adults in their mid-thirties. It was an unusual and difficult day for, my wife, Jill and me too. I often refer to this as ‘the day out of the twilight zone.’ We were scared. After all, we were being interviewed for our most important mission, that of prospective parents to your birth child. I can imagine the thoughts, fears, concerns and emotions you felt leading up to that day. On that day, you conducted yourself as a mature young lady. Beneath the exterior of what appeared to be a confident young lady, I’m sure your heart was racing. If secrets may be told, two thirty-something adults, who outwardly appeared to be reserved and confident, also had elevated heartbeats on that day. You and your family were gracious to us. For that, and your subsequent decision, we are thankful.

As part of my maturation process, I’ve come to realize that it was an emotionally and psychologically rewarding day. At first I was hesitant to participate in another ‘touchy-feely’ social worker process by travelling to a faraway state. Many of the demands of the social workers, in both states, seemed excessive. While most of the mandated requirements were understandable, meeting with the birthmother in a faraway city did not, at that time, seem logical to me. In retrospect I imagine the purpose of the meeting was in part to assure a young girl that her birth child would be placed in loving arms. Jill and I learned that one family was about to transfer a guardianship to us. This guardianship would be founded in the love of an unborn child, and based upon a trust formulated in a short luncheon meeting. This process was not about disposing of an overwhelming problem. Instead, it was to be an act of love caring beyond one’s self. We were asked at that time to convey your love to Nicole. Consider it done.”

Poignant words for a surreal experience that has all parties involved on the edge of their seats…but ultimately for all the right reasons.