October 17, 2009

We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 4




 Part 4 will conclude the post series, We’re Adopting a Baby! To read Part 1, Part 2 and/or Part 3 of this post, click on: We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 1 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 2 & We’re Adopting a Baby! Part 3

     Our own adoption home-study had proven a difficult experience for me. My caseworker didn’t like me very much. I believe she felt threatened by the fact that I was doing adoption home-studies myself, in spite of the fact that she had forty years of experience to my being a newbie. The only saving grace was that she adored Monte. He could, and did, say things that might be prejudicial against our acceptance, with impunity. For example, he stated that the only reason he was following through on the adoption plan was to please me. I kicked him under the table.

     My shakiness at being accepted as an adoptive parent was relieved by my boss, with whom I discussed the situation. She assured me that I needn’t worry. If we were denied by Catholic Social Services, we could apply to her agency, and we would be successful. This path would offer a unique experience: I would end up doing most of my own home-study. However, this was not necessary.

     It was a gorgeous June day. The strawberries were ripe in the fields. My friend, Shirl, and I decided to travel to a farm she knew about in Ohio, where customers could pick their own strawberries. We planned to can and freeze some, and to use others to make strawberry jam. We left early in the day for the hour’s drive to our destination.

     Around Memorial Day, the caseworker from Catholic Social Services had called us. There was a baby girl, she said. Since she weighed only four pounds eleven ounces, she had to remain in the hospital until she reached five pounds. I’d heard nothing since, and had resisted bugging the agency while waiting.

     However, by the time we went strawberry picking, I had reached a level of impatience. I told Shirl I planned on calling the agency when we returned home.

     At three o’clock I called them.

     “We’ve been trying to reach you all day,” the caseworker said. “If we had reached you, you could have picked up your baby today. Now it will have to wait until tomorrow.”

     I put on my best whine, combined with a professional voice.

     “You know I plan on breastfeeding her. Every bottle she gets makes it less likely we will succeed. Can’t we pick her up today?”

     The agency director became involved. Yes, we could go to Pittsburgh right away. However, there was no staff person available to accompany us.

     It took us an hour to get to Pittsburgh. I carried a small blue dress given to us by someone who knew about dressing extra tiny newborns.

     When we arrived at the institution where we were to pick Sandy up, we had to watch a staff member in a glass-walled room dress her. We weren’t allowed to do that task.

     Enroute home, Sandy lay on my lap (it was the day before car seats). I examined her tiny fingers and toes. When we arrived home, I introduced her to the two college students who rented a room in our house.

     Then she began to fuss. I retreated to an empty room, and attempted to nurse her, not expecting much success since she’d been bottle-fed for two and a half weeks. I was so surprised when she latched right on and ate like a trooper! We were blessed, to have her and to meet her needs through nursing.

     We were also blessed to have students renting a room who happily took on the task of preparing thirty-five quarts of strawberries for our freezer. Otherwise, they would have been forgotten in the joy of bringing new life into our family. 

ADDENDUM: Sandy is an adult now, closing in on forty years old. She lives next door to us, with her daughter and second husband.


Adoptee Finds Biological Family: Mine

Oprah and I: Adoption Reunion Experiences




Two Photographers Named Cornell


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