My parents always spoke of the Golden Rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I knew exactly what this meant as I am sure most of you do. You treat others the way that you would want to be treated in every situation even if your heart is the one at stake. In June, I had the opportunity to really put this phrase in to action when I could of taken a totally different road. You see, my husband and I started on an adoption journey in 2017. We were quickly matched with an expectant mom. Throughout the next couple of months we met and talked daily about her progress through the pregnancy and began to make a connection. Over the month of May and in to June we secretly prepared for the baby. Being parents to three boys, we needed to buy the girl essentials but did not go overboard. Of course always knowing that this may not play out in the end but never really accepting that it wouldn’t. This had been so perfect, that I just felt so confident that God was leading me through it. There were so many signs that this was the road we were supposed to take and we followed.
On June 21st, we received the call we had been waiting for. Baby was born and it was time to head to the hospital. If I’m being honest, I was sick to stomach thinking about what the next few hours might look like. My husband also must of been nervous because not one word was spoken in the car ride to the hospital. Truly nobody can prepare you well enough for the moment you will walk in to a room of a mother who just gave birth, look at that gorgeous baby which you have big plans for and know that someone has to leave the hospital with a broken heart. The next two days were amazing. We bonded well with the mom and baby and chose to spend a lot of time in the room with the mom as she did not have many visitors.
On the morning of discharge, we presented the mom with a gift and promised her that we would raise this baby to know her adoption story from the beginning. We ensured her that we would provide a safe and loving environment and always speak of her (the mom) with love and respect. At that moment, we hugged her and told her we would be back but the baby had been discharged and to take all the time she needed. Of course we knew the sacrifices that mom would be giving come discharge and so our hearts began to hurt for her. We are parents to three children and so we know exactly what those moments feel like in the hospital room. However we had planned an open adoption and this wasn’t a goodbye, this was a see you soon and we felt very confident that we were ready to take the baby home and that she trusted us to do the best we could.
And readers, as you began to read the next part, please guard your hearts and maybe grab a tissue. We were waiting in our room when we received a text for us to head down to the room. My husband, although realizing the pain the mom was in, was as excited as I was because this meant we would begin a new chapter of our lives. We knew that those moments would forever be in our minds and we prayed for the mom in the next steps. When we pushed the door open, all I heard was “we have a situation.” My heart sank, as I knew what those words meant. The mom explained to us how sorry she was but she could not move forward. I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach and sat down.
However, what I did next surprises me even as I type this. After I caught my breath I got up from the couch, I hugged that birth mom and told her thank you for considering our family and that there were no hard feelings. I gave the baby a kiss who was laying on the bed next to her and it was time for us to go. In the days that followed, I told her that we would always be there for her if she needed us and we meant it. I encouraged her to stay in touch and to keep us updated on that sweet girl. You see in those moments when I could of stomped my way out of the hospital room and threw an ugly fit, I chose to love her. I chose to be there for her, to support her decision even though my heart was breaking in a million piece. I lived by the Golden Rule and hope that if you are put in a situation like this, you do so as well. I wanted her to know that while crushed, we respected her decision because had it been the opposite way, I would of wanted that. I can’t imagine the pure hell she went through in making the adoption plan, watching us name and parent her child for two days and then deciding to parent knowing she would be letting us down. She did not owe us anything but let us be a part of their lives and for that we are grateful. I wish most like others who have experienced a failed adoption, that this was not my story to tell but what I’ve come to realize is that God is in charge of writing these stories, not me.
In the days that followed, we cried a lot and gathered ourselves in order to move forward. I believe with my whole heart in the saying “if he brings you to it, he will get you through it.” We planned a last minute vacation to the beach with the boys to heal and just really took time for ourselves. As we were on vacation, I realized why we were there. You see God places you in situations maybe not for your own heart and journey but for others. When the mom did not have a lot of support, we were there. We spent so much time getting to know her, hearing her stories and just being friends. If I’m being honest, she never felt like a stranger even from the beginning and it really all came natural to us. I fully believe we were meant to be there to love on her rather than fulfill our adoption plans and you know what folks, I’m okay with that. Once we returned, I gathered all of the clothes that we had purchased and mailed them to the baby they were meant for. I received updates on the growth of that sweet girl and I checked in with mom and kept reminding her how proud we were of her for parenting and how blessed we were to walk this journey. Did it suck completely to respond? Absolutely! But ya’ll I promised her I would be there to help and listen and I meant it in that room and I mean it today. Although not regularly we have stayed in touch with the mom and hopefully someday have plans to see her and the baby again. I often wonder how they are and hope that she is doing well.
Most of you may never find yourself in this situation, and for that I pray. Please don’t get me wrong, I left that hospital room and collapsed in the arms of the agency who have grown to love. I cried a lot when we got home but I never wanted her to feel like she failed us. So I will stand proud in the fact that the mom knew just how much we cared for her even when her decision was not in our favor. I will always remind myself that I did what I knew I how to do as a loving person. I cherished the moments we had together and will always be grateful for this experience even though it left me broken. However, if she decides to parent, you have the choice on the next steps. It is not easy, although it does get easier. In this situation, if you have the strength, choose the road that is best suited for the mom because in those moments, she’s already been through so much. Choose the Golden Rule.. ALWAYS!