Leaving the Hospital

Drive Thru Baby

Leaving the Hospital

Sarah Baker | August 06, 2013 | 03:05 PM

Adoption is such a surreal experience. You go into it not pregnant and yet hoping to come home with a child one day. We went through the steps. We decorated the nursery. We bought clothes and toys. We had family members and friends asking questions about when the baby would come. But, it sort of feels make believe.

There is no physical evidence that we had a baby on the way. No food cravings. No morning sickness. No feeling the baby move. No doctor checkups… at least not for me. When we were matched with Ezra’s birth mom it was so exciting, but also so scary. Joe and I were fearful that we would have another match fall through. But, we also were concerned for this woman who was making a huge sacrifice for her baby. How do you thank a person for giving you something so incredible and trusting you with their most precious creation? How do you protect them from the sadness that will surely come? How do you address something bringing you so much joy but is so tragic for them? The answer is love.

At the hospital when a baby is born, you are usually bombarded with family and friends coming to visit. Adoption is a sensitive matter and we felt that having our family visit us at the hospital would be disrespectful to Ezra’s birth parents. This was their special time to spend with the baby. This was also a time for us to not only bond with the baby, but to strengthen our bond with them. We laughed, we cried, we hugged, we visited, we bonded. The hospital staff was very generous in giving Joe and I a room of our own, right across the hall from Ezra’s birth mom. We could rest and talk and spend time together and apart. It was a beautiful experience. (minus the stomach bug I had while there)

The final day at the hospital was a very emotional day. Ezra’s birth parents had to sign papers stating we were allowed to take him home and have guardianship of him even though their termination of rights wouldn’t be signed and completed for another day and a half. (72 hours in Ohio) There were social workers coming in to talk with us and them. His birth father filled out his birth certificate paperwork and gave him the first and middle name we had chosen and his biological last name. What a gift to give him a name that he can take with him as his identity. While the adoption has since finalized and he now has our last name, he will forever have that first surname to carry with him as a part of who he is. We ate lunch together and quietly oo’d and ahh’d over the adorable little miracle.

As we packed our things, I sobbed. We were taking this little baby home with us… and they were not. How can you feel so much joy and sorrow at the same time? We walked with them to their car and said our goodbyes. We hugged and tried to hold back more tears. We waved as they pulled away and suddenly we were hit with the realization that we were now with a little infant. As we walked to the other side of the hospital, holding hands and carrying our newborn son in his infant seat, we smiled and were rather quiet as we tried to digest that “this really just happened”. The thought of 4 months prior, our hearts were crushed by the loss of our first matched baby. Then 2 months later we learned that we were matched again. To that day… where there we stood with a baby we had prayed for. We arrived at the hospital for a fluid check of a woman that was not me, carrying a baby she intended to give us, that part of me was unsure would be mine. Only 2 days later we were headed home with this perfect little human. That’s the enormity of that event is so hard to comprehend. All I knew was that was the scariest drive home EVER. I was now responsible for another little tiny life. WOW.

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Continued Training

Continued Training

Sarah Baker | May 30, 2013 | 01:36 PM

Once your adopted child is home with you, the adoption doesn’t stop there. While your heart may love the child as if he is your own, the fact remains, that biologically he is not. As mothers we want to protect them. So when people ask me if I plan to tell Ezra that he is adopted, the answer is, “I already tell him”. Ok, so he’s not even 5 months old, but it’s never too early to start building his identity. An important part of who he is is that he is adopted and that he has more than one family that loves him.

Every family is different, but one thing we cannot do is be afraid to discuss with him where he came from and how he came to us. I would never want him to think his birth parents didn’t love him and that they “gave him away”. Can you imagine the pain that would cause a person going through life, feeling unwanted by someone so important? Obviously they love him; they chose life when the easy way “out” is readily available abortion. The worst thing I could do for myself would be to try to hide his story from him. He would resent me in the future. Kids have enough reasons to “hate” their parents as they get into their teens, I am not going to fuel that fire.

Not all adoptions are as open as mine, with having an ongoing relationship with the birth parents. But, if you are considering adoption, I really do encourage you to try to have an open adoption. Ezra’s birth mother initially wanted a closed adoption. We would know who she was, but she wasn’t sure she wanted contact after placement. She thought it would hurt too much. I told her how important I thought it was for both her and for him to remain in contact. I am glad she changed her mind. Information you can provide your child about his biological family will help him understand who he is and feel more confident in life. Parenting is hard enough when the child is biologically yours, but add adoption to the mix and you have a whole new set of things to think about. This is why continuing to learn about adoption is something I take very seriously. There will be questions I don’t think of. Problems I never heard about. Emotions I don’t know how to handle.

There are local support groups I have joined. I can connect with other adoptive families and hear what they are going through and share anything I may have going on. There are thousands of online resources with training, tutorials, guides, tips and social networking communities. There are books. There are counselors. Building a foundation of support is a good thing. It would be too easy to just forget that a child is adopted and keep on trucking along. But, in that child’s mind, he knows, he will fantasize about life with his birth family, he will have questions. Creating a Life Book for your child will be something he will cherish. It is a story about his life, not your adoption of him.

So, don’t be afraid. Do your research and keep learning. I think it’s much easier to address things if you see them coming than if you aren’t prepared.