I mentioned that while we were on again, off again with Isaiah, we went through two other fall-throughs. The first was with a birthmother named Kaylee (name changed), who contacted us via our Parent Profiles account. I remember reading her initial email over and over again at work, where I first got it, trying to read into it to sense her true intentions and the meant-to-beness of this match. After a few more emails back and forth, I spoke with Kaylee on the phone and once we learned a bit more about each other, we arranged to meet. She lived locally, only about a 45 minute drive from us. We agreed to meet in a fast food joint near her home. We arrived, scoped out the place to see if we might catch a glimpse of her before she sees us (we did not), and we settled in to wait for her to arrive. After about a half hour, we tried calling but didn’t get a hold of her. We got stood up.
But she wrote to apologize and asked for another attempt. She couldn’t make it the first time due to family drama (of course). She was a young teenage wife, already with an 8-month-old, and sounded like her husband may have been abusive. We were understanding. We agreed to meet again after the holidays, in January (of 2009). We went to visit Mount Vernon as we waited for this next meeting. Everything about what we’ve talked about indicated that she was definitely interested in placing her son with us, that she was definitely not a scammer, and that we were several weeks away from being parents. I remember standing in line at Mount Vernon thinking about my son-to-be, and being so excited about the prospect.
For some reason, I couldn’t get to sleep the night before we were meant to meet up. I logged onto my email account to find an email from Kaylee . Not only was she cancelling our meeting, but she was backing out of the adoption plan. As it turned out, over Christmas she found out that her aunt and uncle were interested in adopting her baby boy, due the following month. Of course, we were all for children staying with their original families whenever possible. We are happy for the little boy, but sad for us.
A few months later came another “sign”. My friend Melissa told me about a lady she knew who was looking for adoptive parents for her unborn grandbaby. I remember the moment Melissa told me about Becky (name changed). I was at her house and we were watching a YouTube video of Gianna Jessen, a woman who survived her own abortion. It took me a minute to realize that Melissa was giving us a lead. I took the information, went home and contacted the grandmother (note to self: grandparents have no legal rights to their grandchildren). The very next day, I was on my way to meet the birthmother at her grandmother’s workplace.
Becky and her sister were finishing high school while living with their grandparents. You guessed it – drama at home lead to this living arrangement. Becky was only a couple of months along, but she was happy to meet with me. I took her to the food court at the mall, and we chatted over lunch. During our conversation, Alex called. He didn’t know we had another lead. I told him where I was, and I remember what I said: “I’m having lunch with a young lady considering placing her baby for adoption with us.”
We proceeded to spend a lot of time together over the next three months. She came to our house, went to work with me, we went out to eat, and took her and her sister sightseeing in DC. At one point, we got to talking about names. She wanted to know if we had thought of names, and we shared what we were thinking of. She didn’t like the names. Then she shared her ideas, and we didn’t like those. It was an odd conversation, because parents name their kids… if she wasn’t trying to parent her baby, why was she thinking of names?
I made contact with the baby’s father, who was also on board with the adoption. We never worried about someone else adopting their baby due to the unique circumstances of the baby’s conception. Becky’s mother had a baby she placed for adoption before Becky was born. We actually thought this was a good sign that Becky had first-hand experience already with adoption. But wait, there’s more. After Becky and the baby’s father “hooked up”, it turned out that Becky’s new boyfriend was the very long-lost brother placed for adoption many years earlier. Many people worry about babies conceived through incest, but we never really worried about it. The chance of birth defects only goes up something like 1 or 2%, which we thought was not significant enough to pass on this lead.
At any rate, the whole family seemed to be on board with the adoption. On one occasion, Becky’s sister mentioned what she thought the baby might look like, except that she made a point to say to us “your baby”, not “her baby” or “the baby”. We thought, great, so the sisters are talking about this, and she sounds like she’s not attaching too much to the baby.
Let me stop right there. I was actually happy to hear that this baby’s mother was not attaching to him. This is the sort of mentality that develops when you try to adopt. It is so easy for it to become about you and your needs, and not the best interest of the child. The best thing that could’ve happened to that baby was that his mother figured out a way to make things work and keep him. And that’s exactly what happened the moment she turned 18. She moved back to her mother’s in Florida, and we found this out through her status updates on Facebook. When I contacted her to see what was going on, she matter-of-fact said that she decided to parent.
I stayed Facebook friends with her for another year, during which time she had another baby, apparently to keep her sister company during her sister’s pregnancy. In retrospect, I was relieved to have dodged the bullet of an open adoption with the drama in that family. Little did I know that there was drama coming to my very own family as well.
(Part Four to be continued...)