During our adoption training and home visits, we were repeatedly told that the hospital-time with the birth-mom can be tense and awkward. It’s really not surprising that this would be the case. Adoption is no Facebook-garage-sale-goods-swap. This is a mother making a decision to forego parenting her infant and place it in the care of another. Every birth-mom has a different reason for her decision. The hospital brings the decision to reality for her. Then add in post-partum hormones and exhaustion. Plus the warm little lump of snuggly baby with soft, fuzzy, irresistibly-kissable hair… Nothing about her decision is easy.
In fact, if a birthmom is going to change her mind about choosing adoption for her baby, it usually happens at the hospital.
When we first walked through those hospital doors, I couldn’t wait to get in-and-out and on our way home. The security and relief of carrying him to our car was 24 hours away, and after watching our best friends endure an adoption reversal (though theirs was after 4 weeks with her), every milestone towards legal adoption was another drop in statistics for reversal and another hedge of protection around my heart. Though hedges can still be plowed down…
Yet our hospital-stay with Isaiah’s birthmom was not tense at all. That night, we all three sat next to each other, taking turns holding him and feeding him and kissing him and gushing over him. Lights dimmed, watching Ben Affleck in “Surviving Christmas” on TV, I thought about what an odd sight we must be.
During commercials, she talked about her family life growing up and the challenges she faced when she left. She wouldn’t be living on the streets, but she was home-less nonetheless. It dawned on me that not a single friend or family member came to be with her during her delivery or afterwards. She was completely alone.
And the one person that loved her more than anything in the world —
he was lying in my arms…
That night, Tyler and I stayed in a hospital room at the Women’s Health wing across the long hall from the Birthing Center. The staff at the hospital were so accommodating to us… it was overwhelming. All of it — every moment of that day had been so very overwhelming.
Isaiah stayed with his birthmom that night. That was the only time that I felt scared about what the next day held. She needed that time; deserved that time. As hard as it would be to leave the hospital with empty arms, it had to be her or us… and right now, her leaving with empty arms was going to be infinitely harder. We wanted her to be sure of her decision, no matter what the cost was to us.
Still, I awoke that morning in our room feeling caged, waiting anxiously for a call that she was awake and ready for us to come back to see them both. Even watching The Food Network couldn’t distract me from my anxious thoughts. I zoned out, eyes glued to the TV, but thinking and praying incessantly, “God please be with her… Please be with us.”
Finally, the phone rang.