“Like many adoption stories, ours begins with loss.
After many trips to the fertility specialist and a major loss in March of 2005, it was evident starting a family in the traditional sense was not going to be a viable option for us. This was particularly heartbreaking for me, as an Afro-Latina whose family valued growing a family.
Getting pregnant with medical assistance was not what we expected but miscarrying after only eight weeks broke our hearts. In the end, my miscarriage was a hard-ambiguous loss. Infertility was not something I could have planned for, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Sitting in my bitterness, I reached out to my mom. I remember in the middle of having a heartbreaking conversation with her, she asked me the following. ‘Do you want to be pregnant or do you want to be a mom? Because they are not the same thing.’ Can you imagine how wild it was to hear those words from my own mother when I was in the middle of my career as an adoption social worker? If I’m being honest, adoption was always in my heart.
Together, my husband and I made a clear plan to adopt. I am forever thankful for his courage and strength during those dark days. Later, he would share that he experienced silent grief out of our loss. I wish other men who experience similar losses were given the space to share their pain as well.
Our adoption story began with deciding on a private infant domestic adoption. Meeting our son’s first mother changed everything for me. Although it was scary and exciting, I never expected to love her like family. Initially, I worried if she would like us. Would she turn and run? The moment we met her, we were all in. She was beautiful, caring, and committed to her decision. As time went on, we became friends.
In the months leading up to his birth, we spent a great deal of time together. I accompanied her to medical appointments, developed a delivery plan, and discussed what interactions would look like after he was born. It’s was crazy to decide what openness in adoption would look like without our son actually being born. Nonetheless, we were committed to continuing this relationship with her because she and our son needed to know each other.
Imagine how over the moon I was when she introduced the idea I would be in the delivery room with her. I was there for it all. There we were, both his moms, welcoming him to our lives. What sticks out the most was her desire to give our son (hers and mine) the life she never had. In hindsight, I can say we grew to love her before we even met him. Loving her was something I could not have anticipated and yet it was easy. You see, how could I not love the woman who gave me my son? Without her life and love, I would not be a mother. The magnitude of her sacrifice is not lost on me.
One warm November morning, she called early. Her water broke and contractions were strong. She wanted us to meet her at the hospital! My heart stopped. Everything moved very quickly after that. I remember getting in the car and thinking, ‘When we come back home, we will be parents.’
If I’m being honest, there was a fear that set in as well. Many people may not realize the complex layers of losses experienced by the adoption triad. Emotionally invested, my husband and I knew she could change her mind at any time. We would always honor her decision, no matter which way this all turned out.
We arrived and spent an hour staring at one another, fueled with fear and anticipation. This is when I am reminded that adoption, in all its beauty, is not a natural process. Every adoption experience is different, and I was standing in the middle of ours.
We sat with her, held her hand during the hard contractions and I quietly prayed for her and our son. After about 2 hours and her contractions settling down, she encouraged us to go get some food in the cafeteria. We were sitting down to eat when the call came in. It was her nurse, ‘Get here now or you’ll miss it.’ I ran into the room and witnessed the moment my son entered this world. What an amazing, breathtaking moment. He was perfect. He looked just like her. He was loved and I cut the cord.
Was I the first to hold our handsome boy? No. It was his daddy. He was the first to hold and feed this new person that would come to change our lives forever. When evening set in, Heath went home to get the house ready for our guy before he came back. That gave his two moms time alone.
Together, in my room, with him, we both laughed, cried, and shared stories of our childhood. I tried to memorize every detail of her story so I could share it with him as he grew. This time together is forever etched in my soul.
When the time came to go home, she left first. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her to walk away. I went to say goodbye, embrace her, and thank her for her sacrifice and love. We both knew this would not be the last time we would see each other, for we are forever tied together.
Today, our son is fourteen. He knows and most importantly, loves his first mother. To all the adoptive parents out there, remember our children have enough space in their hearts to love all of their families. That’s evident in our son and we have never regretted this decision.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ligia Cushman from Tampa, FL. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and their website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories like this:
‘The family stopped answering. ‘They’ve backed out of the adoption.’ They wanted a healthy baby, not my son with a disability.’: Mom of 5 adopts special needs child after rejections, now in beautiful open adoption with birth mom
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