CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

June 12, 2008

AN ADOPTION EXPERIENCE


Infertility.

An experience I never expected to have, considering my husband and my family histories. I, the product of divorce, had parents who each created seven children. My husband was the youngest of ten. What was more natural than marrying and having children?

We were still young—I was not yet twenty-five years old, and my husband hadn’t reached thirty years. I knew many infertile couples that spent many years trying to have biological children before considering adoption. I’d always wanted to include an adopted child in my family, so the transition was easier. It didn’t matter if the birth child or the chosen child came first, so we proceeded with an adoption plan.

Infertility does things to a woman. Why can’t we accomplish something millions of other couples succeed at? Why do we need the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval stamped on our foreheads before we can be parents? Where does God fit into the picture? Is he punishing us? To what purpose is the monthly cycle?

Because I worked at an agency in another county doing adoption home studies, my caseworker was insecure with me. I couldn’t understand why, since she was a veteran and I was on my first job—and mine was part time! Yet it seemed I couldn’t supply an adequate answer for her, but my husband could say anything and it would be perfect. It made me paranoid, adding to the fear we wouldn’t pass the “parent test.” I was reassured when my boss assured me that if my county agency rejected us, she would place a child with us. That security helped carry me through the rough times.

A unique aspect of our adoption process made it more uncertain. I planned, if possible, to breastfeed my newborn child. Preparing for that goal, which might be thwarted if the infant refused to nurse, was a roller coaster ride, during which I had much support from friends and the La Leche League, an organization that supports nursing moms.

Our application was finally approved, and we waited. It wasn’t a really long wait, but it seemed like an eternity. January, now word. April, still no word.

Then the call came. It was mid-May when we knew we had a baby girl. 

The wait wasn’t over. We had almost two more weeks to wait. Our daughter was less than five pounds.

One morning I went strawberry picking with a friend, and vented my frustration to her. The agency wasn’t letting us know anything. I told her I was going to call the agency when I returned home.

The caseworker was on the phone immediately. Where had I been? The agency had been trying to reach me all day. And yes, Monte and I could pick her up later that afternoon. However, we wouldn’t be accompanied by a caseworker.

At the maternity home the personnel wouldn’t allow us to dress our daughter, whom we had named Sandra Nicole, so we turned over her cute outfit and watched while they prepared her. Then the moment came.

They placed Sandy in my arms, and I became an instant mother. It took nine months—just like the traditional means of becoming a mother.

On the way home I checked out our daughter’s fingers, toes. They were so tiny, yet so perfect. Her tinyness intimidated Monte. I was used to babies. I had no fear.

After having bottle-fed at the beginning of her life, Sandy seemed grateful to be nursed. She latched on like a trooper. No shyness there, thank you. Sometimes she nursed so long that I propped her on a pillow and worked on one of my knitting projects.

Six months later the county judge pronounced her our child, sealing his decision by signing the final adoption papers as a blizzard raged outdoors. The weather didn’t matter. She was now fully our daughter, not only in our hearts, but in the eyes of the law.

For additional reading:

 

ELINOR’S ORPHAN KITLINGS

SHALIMAR

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