Friday, 5 September 2014

Meeting with Birth Mom and Grandmother

Woah.  What a stressful day, but a good day.

The adoption agency stuffed us into a tiny office.  D and I, the birth mom (I'll call Carla), and her mother (I'll call Lynn), and two social workers.   It was hot outside, and we were in an older building where the air-conditioning was next to nil.  The room was sticky and warm.  The temperature didn't do any of us any favours, especially Carla being 8 1/2 months pregnant.

The workers prepped us before the meeting to say that Carla was having a rough time the past couple of days.  That she just broke up with the birth father, and she seemed to be on a "bit of an up swing".

A previous note in her file, said that she described herself as bipolar, but we all did not think that that diagnosis was made after a proper evaluation.  We all agreed that it seemed to be a label that someone had given her, perhaps a little too easily, and she had hung on to it.  The only information relating to this in her file, was that she reported one episode of depression and hospitalization after a long term relationship break up two years ago.

In her current state, her mother, and the counsellors wondered if she was experiencing a mania. Especially due to some of her recent behaviour, which they didn't elaborate much on.   (Side note: We had already researched that risk, and felt that it was something we could accept, especially since it is something that has been in our families. )

Lynn wondered if the meeting should be cancelled because of Carla's state?  The social workers said no, they encouraged us to meet, even if it was for a short time.   They felt that she may find some relief in meeting us.

We met with everyone in what seemed like 15 minute intervals.  First we met all together, then just with Lynn while Carla was taking a break.  Then we met with with Carla and the birth parent counsellor, and then alone with Carla.  It wasn't planned to be like this, but there was a lot going on.  D and I stat patiently, glued (actually literally) to our leather chairs.

When Carla and Lynn first entered the room, there were smiles, and Lynn had what seemed like happy tears in her eyes to meet us.  I'm sure the moment of meeting us was bittersweet for her, she had been involved in helping to select our profile, and later she shared that she had two miscarriages and became a mother around my age too.  Carla and Lynn both gave us hugs.  I felt an extra squeeze, and a lingering in Lynn's hug.

Carla nervously munched on a veggie/pita/fruit snack while we met.  Giant tears flooded out of her eyes and landing on her teal cotton dress, leaving dark marks.  She was fidgety and her hands were shaky.  Ours were too. She flipped her thick beautiful wavy blonde hair back and forth, trying to get cool.  She kept apologizing to us, and we kept asking her not to.

They asked Carla to talk about why she chose us.  They said, "what did you like about them?" With tears, she said "everything".  We couldn't have dreamed of hearing anything better.  We remember saying something similar to our worker sitting around our kitchen table, while drafting up a matching report.   Carla told us that she read through our profile again last night, and asked us for another copy of it.

The entire meeting was tremendously emotional.  All in the same moment, my heart wanted to shatter into a thousand pieces thinking about what they must be going through, while swelling with love and empathy for Carla.  Our hearts overflowed with joy and excitement thinking about that precious baby she was caring.

So many words that came to mind after meeting Carla.  They are: strong, courageous, stylish, genuine, beautiful (wow, they told us she was, but really!), vulnerable, scared, caring, and emotional.

She told us privately about her dreams to pursue a health diploma at college next year.  She said that her mother viewed her as a child.  That she wouldn't let her drive her vehicle.  That she was more mature than anyone thought.

At 20 years old, I could tell that she was right about this.  She made one of the hardest decisions that anyone could, and was following through on it.  She told us she wants to have the things we have one day, and it melted my heart.  If I could have given her those things, or something to ease her discomfort right then and there I would have.

While alone with Lynn, she kindly told us about how Carla's view of adoption was "old fashioned".  That she always said she may not want to have children.  She said that at first, she just wanted to give the baby to us, and not have any contact.  The agency was coaching her to have some contact with us, and with the child in the future.   We communicated to the agency that we didn't want to push her.  We told Lynn that ultimately, we just wanted what was comfortable and best for Carla.

We told her that we started a password protected blog where they could login to get updates on the baby and us.  We liked the idea, because we thought that a text, phone call or email may not be received at a good time.  That she (or others) could save up the posts and read them all at once, or keep up with them regularly.  We liked the idea that she, the birth father, and other family members could comment on the blog.  We imagined that it might be a great keepsake for our child (OMG - our child!) one day.   We told Lynn that this was just one idea on how we could update them.  (Oh, and a nice bonus, was that I also liked that I could see who was reading the blog on the stats page!)

Lynn said she might like more updates than Carla.  We told her we would do that.  She was interested in reading the blog, but isn't internet savvy.  The worker offered to show her how to use the site.

Lynn said that she viewed this baby as our baby.  That she felt almost like a surrogate.

When asking about what she might like to name the baby, she was interested to hear what we had chosen.  She said that we should name the baby, that it is our baby.  We nervously told her some of the names on our list, scared that she might hate them and it could derail everything.  One boy name that was the name of her Mom's cat ... that was kind of a weird moment! If it was a girl, told her we thought it might be nice to name her combination of her name, and mine.   She seemed to like that idea.

D and I had talked about that girl's name and agreed we both liked it.  Somehow though, he thought that I had on the spot come up with the the fact that it was a combo of our names.   He told me later that he was super impressed, and I sheepishly admitted that this what I had in mind with this name the whole time, I just must not have communicated it well.   I should have maybe just let him think that I was that smart under pressure!

She told us that they couldn't tell the sex of the baby at her last ultrasound.  That she had another doctor's appointment tomorrow.  She asked us if we would like to know.  D responded by saying, do you want to know? And she said it was up to us.  I said that we would like to know if it's possible.

The birth parent counsellor asked her to tell us about what she'd like to happen the day of the birth.   She was having hiccups, her eyes were still flooded, and the baby was moving a lot-  we could see her whole abdomen moving.  There was a lot going on, she was upset and so the counsellor asked if it would be okay if she shared what they had discussed with us?

She agreed.  She said that she wanted us to be notified of her labour right away.  That she wanted us to come to the hospital but not in the delivery room.  We heard about how her mother would be there with her.  About how her mother wanted to hold the baby, but how she didn't want to see her doing so.  The counsellor shared that she wanted us to immediately begin to care for the baby.  That she would go home as soon as possible and we were to stay there with the baby.

She said, again "this is your baby" to us.

We've been petrified of her changing our mind since we heard the news.  Hearing that was the best thing we could have heard that day.  It was almost like getting the news all over again that we had been chosen.   But this time it seemed a lot more real.

D and I had plans to shop in the city after the meeting.  However we were so drained, I don't think either one of us could even think about navigating there, or actually shopping.  Instead, we walked across the street to a nearby pub.  Over a glass of sparkling cider and a beer, we talked about the afternoon, and even had a little toast.  We are going to be parents!

Later on in the evening, we texted Carla.

"It was so nice meeting you and your Mom today.  We wanted to thank you again for this precious gift, you are truly changing our lives.  Let us know if we can help you in any way.  With love..."

She wrote back a few hours later:

":) thanks for the kind words, you both will be amazing parents, i feel really good about the both of you! I know ur the missing puzzle piece.  This baby needs you both, good night! Exhausted!"

Tears are flowing.  I am so thankful to her.



18 comments:

  1. Your description of meeting Carla just made me cry. I can't even imagine the emotional toll of the day on all of you and am so glad it went well and that it seems everything is in order and Carla seems firm in her decision. What a relief. I can't wait to hear updates in the coming weeks/months.

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  2. One of my favorite posts you've written...this melted my heart and I have tears in my eyes...so so happy for you and D!!!

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  3. Tears over here. Incredible. No words. I can't wait for you to meet this baby.

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  4. I can't even imagine how emotional all of this is but it sounds like you and your hubby are the perfect fit for this precious little one :)

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  5. Oh wow! What an incredibly emotional day! I'm so excited for you!

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  6. This made me cry. What an amazing meeting, what an amazing match. They both seem like wonderful people who only want the best for this baby and for you. I'm so very happy for you!

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  7. Literally crying reading your update, what an amazing and special day. So incredibly happy for you guys.

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  8. I'm crying too! What a bunch of sappy commenters we all are! But this is so amazing, so perfect...and you guys have waited so long for this. It's all coming together. Couldn't be happier for you!

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  9. Wow! Amazing! What a fabulous story of your road to becoming parents. Sounds like this is the baby that was always meant to be yours. I am so hopeful for you guys!!

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  10. This is wonderful! I so happy for you!

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  11. This is so so so so amazing!! Are you going to tell the gender?? I'm so excited for you!! I LOVE the combo name!! How honoring and sweet. Wow!!!!! So much love for you guys and her!! This is great great news!!

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  12. I am just overcome with emotion reading this, and the years are flowing. So happy for you both.

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  13. So touching, thank you so much for sharing this story. Adoption is such a beautiful way to create a family :)

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  14. Beautiful!! I am so happy for you!! The day I met my daughter's birthmom and grandma it felt like a movie. Like I watched it...It is a day I will always remember!

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  15. Wow. What a day! I feel drained just having read everything! You guys, Carla, and Lynn are in our prayers.

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  16. I should not have read this at work. I'm tearing up! I am so incredibly happy for you.

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  17. This post, Julia. I am literally pouring out tears…and it's not JUST my pregnancy hormones. What a day for all of you! She seems like an amazing, selfless young women. And I'm so happy the universe brought y'all together.

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