Friday, January 21, 2011

Stepping Out and Changing My Heart

As we've prayed about agency choices, I've continued to pray for our would-have-been birthmom and the twins she's now parenting. For the last couple of days, I've felt strongly compelled to send a little something her way -- practical things, things I know she needs -- to show that we wholeheartedly support her choice to parent and harbor no ill feelings towards her. As we were getting ready for bed last night, I told James how I was feeling, but he was reserved -- he didn't want my gesture to come across incorrectly or for it to seem like we were stalking her or her babies. Initially, I agreed with him and decided to ignore the burden on my heart.

By this morning, though, that burden was back and stronger than ever, so I decided to go against what my husband thought -- not normally something I'd recommend. On Black Friday, I stocked up on boxes of baby wipes, so I snagged a box from the storage shelf and headed towards Babies R' Us. I had some coupons and reward dollars from some Christmas purchases I made, so I justified my plans by committing to keep my spending around what I could pass along for free or for very little money. The closer I got to Babies R' Us, though, the more I worried James was right. Maybe she wouldn't understand my gesture as one of genuine love and honest support and maybe I would seem like a stalker.

In my concern, I didn't call my husband -- I called my mom. I told her what I'd felt and what I thought I was supposed to do, then I asked her if she thought it was weird. "No, I don't think it's weird, I think it's nice, but here, talk to D." D is the babies' grandmother, and she played a significant part in connecting us with her daughter. She and my mom were working together today. After the adoption didn't work out, I didn't really expect to talk to her again, but she seemed very happy to talk to me and apologized for things not working out as we'd all hoped. I assured her we were fine and that we were so honored to have ever been considered as possible parents for the babies. Despite that arrangement falling apart, God is faithful and He has a plan for us.

I explained to D that we've been praying about our next step and the agency we're to work with. (Side note: we've decided we're going with the little local agency we loved so much before having Brystol). I continued by telling her that I've still been praying for birthmom and the babies. I shared that I felt impressed to pick up some diapers and essentials as a gesture of love and support, but that I had concerns about my offering being offensive or coming across as predatory. D was overjoyed. She said my gift would be a tremendous blessing, that birthmom was completely overwhelmed and deeply struggling. She said that birthmom was in a very hard place financially and was actually coming up within the hour to go to the store with D to pick up diapers -- diapers D couldn't actually personally afford to buy.

At that point, I called my husband for forgiveness (because sometimes it's easier to get forgiveness than permission -- ha!). I relayed the conversations and told him I was outside of Babies R' Us, then I confirmed it would be okay for me to buy a few things. When he knew the gift would be well-received and wouldn't seem weird, he was behind it, so I picked up some diapers and a few other essentials and headed towards the Home Depot where my mom works. I just planned to drop the stuff with a note, but about ten minutes before pulling in, D called me to say birthmom was so grateful for our gift and wanted to talk to me. She gave me her number and encouraged me to call. So, I did.

I'm so glad I did.

All the "conversations" we had before the babies were born were mediated by our respective moms, or were between me and Grandma D. Several times, James and I offered to meet birthmom and her boyfriend to let them get to know us better, but birthmom was scared and boyfriend was oppositional. Talking to her today was so natural and easy. She talked to me like I was an old friend and went on about how overwhelming parenthood is. I did my best to encourage her and I promised it would get easier. She said if she hadn't decided to parent, I was definitely the mom she would have picked for her kids. "Thank you," I replied, "I would have been honored." I told her I was on my way to the store to drop off the things I'd collected, and she said she was on her way up to meet me there.

Birthmom was so beautiful-- just a regular girl in a puffy black jacket with hair dyed pink and a rhinestoned bow. She noticed my nose ring and compared it to hers. She thanked me for the diapers and asked if I wanted to see the babies. I did, of course I did.

The babies were so beautiful -- scrunched little bundles of honey skin with tufted black hair, perpetually drowsy. They looked like Gracie as a baby, a small version of James. We visited for a few minutes, and when we parted ways, I did not feel sad. Sure, those sweet babies were perfect and would have been wonderful additions to our family, but they were perfectly hers and my heart was at peace.

Meeting this birthmom today was such a blessing. As long as we've planned to adopt (both before Brystol and of late), I've had some concerns about open adoption. Our situation with Bub is special. We've heard amazing stories about open adoption, but our adoption story with Bub is different, and we can't look to it as an example of something we can hope for in the future.

When we began exploring open adoption and had to consider including a birthmom in our lives for the long-term, Bub's birthmom is the sort of birthmom that came to mind. Long story short, the thought of inviting someone like her into our stable lives is not something I've ever personally been very excited about. We expressed concern to our social worker, even asked about the possibility of having an anonymous adoption, but he assured us that, when the time comes, God would bring the right match to our family -- both baby and birthmom. He reminded us that, even then, we have choices and can negotiate for things that make us comfortable. Still, I've remained unsure about that relationship.

Stepping out and doing something unconventional today led to a face-to-face meeting with our would-have-been birthmom, and meeting her both opened my eyes and changed my heart. She wasn't an angry and aggressive person. She wasn't high or strung out on anything. Nothing about our conversation was forced, uncomfortable, or frustrating -- we talked easily like we'd known each other for a good, long while. We hugged when we parted. She was just a regular girl who wanted the best for her babies, and who, at one point, thought adoption might be that best thing.

Sure, she didn't choose me to parent her children, but today she showed me that there are indeed nice, normal people out there considering the adoption option, and that what I've always assumed will be an impossible relationship might not be so bad after all.

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  • Randi

    Amanda, that story made me cry. Your meeting with her was a blessing in so many ways - to both of you. What a great, great story. And the fact that you could talk to her and love on her and walk away happy shows the power of God at work in your life.

  • Kim V.

    That is a beautiful story! To think that God would allow you to be an encouragement to her is such a testimony to His faithfulness and the work He has done in your heart. Your obedient heart is a blessing!

  • Jenny

    Wow- how cool that you listened as God tugged at your heart. Not only getting to bless that family, but getting to meet the birthmom and the babies. Sounds like a healing and encouraging moment for you. Can't wait to see what God has next for you and James!

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