Saturday, April 10, 2010

Five Years On

It's the anniversary of the day that I was given the greatest, most selfless, generous gift.

5 years ago tonight, I was almost catatonic with Xanax, waiting for the phone to ring. The due date was the 9th, I believe, and we were so full of hope, wondering if the phone would ACTUALLY ring, or if this whole situation was some sort of weird, cruel tease. It seemed so unlikely.

I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I could barely talk. I cleaned a friend's bathroom, I was led to a restaurant for dinner, I sat on the couch and at the table and in the car and stared blankly into space. I had my cellphone clutched in one hand with a sweaty, trembling, white-knuckled grip. I had a warm bottle of water in the other hand, and occasionally I would take a swig and try to keep it down.

5 years ago, my daughter was born to another woman, one I had never met, and someone who still, to this day, remains a stranger. 5 years ago I was buzzed into a maternity ward and handed a baby, and I still can't believe it.

I can't fucking believe it.

So the next time you give me a gift, and my reaction is muted, you have to understand - the gift giving bar is VERY HIGH around here. I mean, someone gave me a BABY.
So that bathrobe I got for my birthday? Um.....thanks. It's really nice. It's not as nice as the time I GOT THAT BABY, though.

She's starting to ask questions, about WHY I can't grow babies in my tummy. WHY someone else had to grow her for me. WHO that person is and WHERE she is and WHAT is her name and even though I answer each question honestly, the truth is I don't have a lot of answers. And my patented "Mommy's belly is broken so someone else grew you for me" is just not going to fly much longer. This was not a surrogate. This was a gift. We're going to have to figure something out. A better version of a story that is pretty unbelievable.

My big issue, of course, is that I don't want her to ever feel that someone gave her away, or gave her up, or chose not to keep her, or anything along those lines. I far prefer the sweeter tone of someone growing her specifically for our family. That she was meant for us, that she is ours, that it was supposed to be this way and there was never any chance she wasn't our child.

The truth is, just like in any adoption, we could barely bring ourselves to hope that we might be able to adopt a newborn baby, never mind a healthy girl born at the local hospital who looked so startlingly like her brother that when people learn she is adopted, they immediately respond with "But she looks just like you !" When the adoption was completed (and it all happened so easily) it seemed like it was the natural order of things. We couldn't have a baby, ergo someone else had a baby for us.
There was no technology involved. Medical or otherwise. No background checks, no emails, no photos. We sent one letter to the birthparents letting them know who we were, and how we would love and care for a child. We spoke on the phone to an intermediary, briefly.
There was no agreement or agency or lawyer involved (until the adoption decree - this is a completely legal, finalized, permanent adoption). We were connected through friends of friends that we met through our state's foster care training program.
No names or other pieces of information were exchanged.
We never met or spoke to or even caught a glimpse of the birthparents. We know who they are, and we know where they live, and we have mutual friends - but they wanted this to be a closed adoption and we are honoring that (and in truth, we prefer it that way as well).
No money changed hands (except, again, during the actual filing of the adoption paperwork, to cover court costs).

If you believe in karma, I have one thing to say. Sami and I must have been SAINTS in another life, to be blessed with these two children - one through some seriously advanced reproductive medicine, and one through what can only be described as a miracle.


Aunt Becky said...

I have shivers. What a lovely post. Happy, Happy Birthday!

Marie said...

This is a beautiful post about a beautiful event for your family.