So, we did what no other adoptive family we know has done. We didn't tell our families we were parents until after we had our daughter.
First, let me say this: I do believe a child's biological mother is the child's parent if and until she chooses to place her baby for adoption and signs official paper work. I also believe that if she does sign those papers, she is ALWAYS a mother to that child. The papers are legal documents and are necessary for the adoption to take place, but that signature does not eliminate physical and emotional FOREVER ties between a mother and her child.
Because of this reason, I felt strongly that we should not share the news of a match (defined as an adoptive couple being chosen by an expectant/biological mother) if or until the official paperwork had been signed and verified by the courts. A match is not a guarantee, a promise, or a counted on commitment. A match is simply a step that might or might not lead to an adoption occurring.
I knew that once we got THE call, we weren't parents. We were potential parents. Were we thrilled? Absolutely? Did we proceed with caution? Um, yeah. Was I guarding my heart? Sometimes.
But the whole time I prayed: Lord, give this mother the peace, understanding, and courage she needs to make the best decision, even if that means this baby doesn't become our child. That is no easy prayer to pray when one's emotions are so conflicting and the possibility of being a mother is a dream come true.
We met our daughter the night before we went through the legal proceedings. We spent an hour with her---changing her diaper, kissing her, staring at her in awe, feeding her, and cuddling her. We took dozens of photos, and then we headed out for what we called our "last supper" (as a family of two) before going to Wal-Mart to develop our pictures.
That evening in the hotel, I placed four of the photos on a scrapbook style card we purchased at a Hallmark store and included a personal message:
SURPRISE! After you get this, call our cell phone. If we don't pick up, leave a message (b/c we are probably sleeping). Please do not call and share with anyone~thanks! Talk to you soon! Love, Steve, Rachel, and Baby ????
We mailed one scrapbook card to each of our families after our time in court. We overnighted them via UPS, and then we went to pick up our baby girl.
I had long anticipated sending these cards.
That night, we were introduced to parenthood----a baby who projectile spit up, getting up every two hours for a feeding, living on fast food (thank God there was a local Chick-Fil-A), and making several trips to Target or Wal-Mart for "just a few more things."
The next morning, anticipating the arrival of our scrapbook cards, we headed out and about, too excited to sleep, too anxious to sit in a hotel room all day.
While on our trip, my husband's parents called---their card had arrived! They were in shock. (I guess we were good about keeping secrets!)
I anxiously awaited my parents calling. But as the hours ticked by and no call came in, I grew more and more nervous. Was the card delivered? Did it blow away while sitting outside the front door? Was it lost?
I sent my brother a text just to see where he was. At school.
My sister. At work.
My parents....working. (Text-ith my bro).
TICK TOCK TICK TOCK.
We got back to our hotel, put our phones on silent, and attempted to nap. Around 4:00 we got up, and I had a voicemail! My mom said, "Um....we just got something in the mail. WOO HOO! I can't breathe! Call me back!!!!!!"
I have that voicemail saved on my phone to this day. Love it!
Anyway, I do not regret not sharing sooner. We did what was best for our family, and I think in keeping our match private, we honored our daughter's biological mother's decision to "change her mind" if she chose to do so.
Will our next placement be announced creatively again?
What do you think? ;)