“That feeling of knowing a child that was never yours, but wanting so badly for him, is indescribable. There wasn’t ever a time I didn’t think about having a large family. I dreamed of sitting with my wonderful husband, watching in amazement at the children we created together. As I looked around at the age of 31, divorced and single, I saw nothing but the families and children I longed for.
I haven’t been too lucky in love. My ex-husband is now married to one of our bridesmaids and the only recent ex-boyfriend I’ve had was several years ago. I started wondering why I just sat around waiting for something I wanted so badly. I had thought for several years about adopting, but part of me still hoped that Prince Charming would come to my door on his white horse, sweep me off of my feet, and we would decide together what was right for our family. Spoiler: he didn’t show up (if you see him, send him my way).
My adoption story started much different from most. I got to a point that I needed to be realistic. Prince Charming wasn’t coming. I had no husband, no partner, and no child. There are many ways to decide to be a mom. Purposely choosing to be a single mom wasn’t one I ever thought about, but so started my journey.
After a mound of paperwork, a home study, and classes, I literally had a license to parent. I was excited to get started, especially because one of my single friends adopted a baby after 3 months of waiting! While I waited, a few of my friends and I decided to start our own Single Moms Adoption Support Group. It started with about six moms, who had either just adopted or were going through the process. Some for the second time. We were white moms, with black or biracial children. We spent countless hours discussing race, culture, fathers, our families, and just being moms. We laughed and we cried, but most of all, we understood each other. We shortly grew in size to more single moms/aspiring single moms. We added moms of color. We added younger aspiring moms. We added older aspiring moms. We eventually reached close to 15 moms, but I still felt sad going through it without a spouse.
I finally received my first call about a year and a half into the wait. It was from a mom who was interested in placing her three-month-old son THAT DAY. I rushed from lunch with a friend, to a McDonald’s on the other side of town. It’s an odd feeling to know in your head that a child is not, and never was yours, but your heart tells you differently. I held that boy in my arms and breathed in that baby smell. You know not to get excited, but it doesn’t stop you. It’s hard to wish for something that would make someone else devastated. But, three long weeks of back and forth later, it fell through. Mom wasn’t ready. After the fall-through, I was sad, but okay. I fully respected her decision, but it was still heartbreaking.
The next call came very soon after. Mom #2 was 8.5 months pregnant. We met up at a Mexican restaurant. We chatted over chips and salsa. This woman was a warrior! She wanted to go back to school, wanted to get a job, and already had a one-year-old. She was due in two weeks. I talked to her a few times during the week, and then, I stopped hearing from her completely. My adoption coordinator wasn’t worried. ‘Sometimes people don’t answer, but not to worry. Give her a few days.’ A few days later, we found out she had given birth, not told us, and gone home.
That one was rough. I drove into work, sobbing in my car. After close to two years, I still had no baby, but my bills were as high as ever. Still, little things were telling me to continue. I was teaching a class, when in walked a lady, asking if she was late to the adoption support group, the same day I heard about Mom #2. As I was driving soon after, I saw the most amazing sky – complete with sunrays coming from the heavens. I smiled, thinking about the quote I often referred to: Good things come to those who wait. Better things come to those for work for it. The best things come to those who don’t give up!
Adoption is not for the weak. It’s not easy for a single person, either. The costs alone were drowning me, and I’m not even discussing the emotional toll it was taking on me to continue to wait. Luckily, for me, my Single Moms group became the greatest support I’ve ever had. These women are amazing. We cried, vented, and laughed our way through the pain. Several of us were going through the same things. It hurts, but it’s a little easier when you’re not completely alone.
Mom #3 popped up at the beginning of the next year (exactly two years into it, if you’re keeping track). She was already a mom to two children, 8 and 10. She had some money issues, and Dad wasn’t around. She was turning 35 soon, too, and said she didn’t want to start over. Turns out, our birthdays were days apart. While she wanted to be done, I wanted to start. I started getting to know her. I met her each Friday for lunch and, when she needed it, a Doctor’s appointment. We did this for three months. I had ultrasound pictures. We agreed on a name. We got along like sisters.
Two months before she was due, I went to pick her up and her Grandma answered the door. She asked to get to know me. We spent two hours talking, looking at family pictures, and playing cards, then Grandma sprung it on me that Mom #3 had never come home. I drove home not knowing where she was. A quick call to my coordinator produced no new knowledge. No one knew anything. We found out a day later. She tested positive for drugs, after being on probation for drugs. She was in jail.
As the story unfolded, she had previously failed a drug test, but she had told the coordinator and doctors it was a false positive. No one had told me. I had believed (whether right or wrong, and every one of you warrior parents has my admiration) that a child born with lots of drugs in their system deserved more than I could give as a single mom. Mom #3 got released from jail and soon after, admitted to using meth throughout her whole pregnancy. Walking away from a sure of a thing as you can have in adoption, was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s hard to turn away from a baby, knowing how badly you wanted him. But I couldn’t be selfish. The baby deserved more than I could give. Mom #3 went from being my friend, to calling me horrible, hateful names.
Three fall-throughs. Three. When you first start adoption, you are told of the possibility of a fall-through, but no one really believes it. And if we do, it only happens to others or only happens once. Not three times. At this point, it had been nearly 2.5 years, 3 moms, around $15,000, and no baby. I was at the top of the adoption list for my agency. And I was jaded. I was angry – really, really angry. I was mad at the coordinator for not demanding another drug test at the beginning. I was mad at Mom #3 for lying to my face. I was mad at myself for wanting to continue, but also, wanting to quit. I was angry with adoption and the whole process.
I wanted to give up. It was time to be done. I just didn’t care anymore. My heart was utterly broken. I was exhausted. I was cynical and I was mad. After calling up one of my ‘sisters’ from my group, I cried, vented, cried some more, and yelled. She said three sentences to me that changed my mind: ‘You have spent far too much money to quit. You want a baby, and your child is coming. Don’t give up now.’ Some people might not like the way it was said, but it was true. I had spent too much of my life to give up now. My baby was out there, and I just had to have faith it would happen.
Being at the top of your agency has its privileges. I was soon shared with three different moms, thinking about adoption. As soon as I heard her story, I felt the child was my child (in adoption, no child is yours, until the court says so). Her child was biracial. The child would be born soon. She was young and already had a one-year-old, and she had never told her family she was pregnant. As April became May, I was getting antsy. Two moms were due in June, and one in July. It came down to who gave birth first (these women were not wanting to choose their own adoptive families). I still believed Brooklyn had my baby. I was hoping and praying she would go through with it and maybe I could be there! For some reason, I really wanted to see ‘my’ child being born.
In May, a week before Memorial Day, my mom and I went to our agency to pay a bill. While we were there, my coordinator received a text from Brooklyn, stating she was scheduled to be induced the very next week, not even 7 days from then. I had so much to do! We excitedly, but still nervously, got a room ready, got clothes, diapers, and hospital gear. The next Thursday, I was working out of town when I got a phone call. ‘Pack your stuff! We have a baby coming! She was induced this morning!’ She didn’t want me, or anyone, in the room with her, so we waited in the waiting room of the hospital. I was met by the social worker to begin to talk about my son and the paperwork. I threw my hand up in her face (sorry, I was excited and shocked) and said, ‘Wait! Did you say son?’
The nurses started to feel sorry for us waiting so long, so they gave us a room in the brand-new postpartum wing. We had a room that had never been used before. My mom and I were met by my dad, who brought us dinner. My best friend showed up later to wait. After several hours and still dilated to three, they went home, and it was just my mom and me. It was Harry Potter weekend, so we watched for a while before deciding to try to sleep some. It didn’t happen.
It dawned on me I was sitting in a brand-new hospital room waiting on a 21-year-old I had never met to progress past 3 centimeters. She was alone in her room, telling no one, not even family, what she was doing. She was in the midst of a decision that would change at least three lives forever. What a courageous, young woman. I sat in my room excitedly, and nervously, waiting. Around 1:30 a.m., we received a phone call to come down to labor and delivery. ‘Do I have time to brush my teeth?’ was the only response I could think of. ‘Sure, but hurry!’
My mom and I got into the Jack-and-Jill room next door, just in time to hear the doctor yell, ‘Push,’ one scream, and then a rush of doors opening and closing. I saw my son’s first breath, first cry, first cleaning, and measurements. She didn’t even see his face (it was her choice). My joy was another’s sorrow. It is not lost on me that my greatest feeling of happiness was someone else’s worst feeling of pain. She quietly slipped out three hours later, only to return the next day to sign papers.
I did get to meet her, but she is not yet ready to meet him. One day we hope we can get together. He has two brothers with his birth mom and four siblings with his birth dad. We look at pictures and discuss his birth mom, the decisions she made, and how he was in her tummy. He asks great questions, but is too young to articulate how he feels about it all. I continue to leave the lines of communication open for her, and his birth dad. How great it must be to have three families who love you.
I cannot begin to imagine how it feels to place your child in someone else’s hands. I pray she knows how much we love her and are grateful for the decision she made. Our baby is loved by so many. I thank her for her courageous love and bravery that made me a mother. In the words of Harry Potter, ‘…You are so loved. You are so loved.'”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sarah B. of Indianapolis, IN. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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