Tuesday, April 11, 2006
It wasn't supposed to work this way! (Part 2)
Now that I have a chunk of un-interrupted time, the saga continues.

I left off in Part 1 with my first phone conversation with Giselle, the expectant mother that we'd been put in contact with through a friend. It was a somewhat painful, brief conversation, but it was a beginning.

I don't remember how long it was until the next conversation, but Giselle and I had three more over-the-phone conversations probably within a month's time. Each conversation got a little easier. We got more comfortable with each other and began opening up and sharing more. Each time more questions were asked, on both sides. I spent many hours pacing our backyard patio, usually barefoot, as Giselle and I talked. By the third conversation, she knew what city and state we lived in and so much more about us. She shared with me information about the baby's father (to be referred to as Quinn), and let me know that they were dating and that he supported her adoption plan. Things were looking hopeful.

At first, Oronozo and I were reluctant to share the details of this prospective match with many. I'd read enough on adoption forums to know that even if we were matched, there were no guarantees. The parents of this unborn child could, before or right after the birth, decide to parent, and rightfully so. Oronzo and I agreed that, if at any time before the termination paperwork was signed by both Giselle and Quinn, we would do nothing to challenge their parental rights, even if it meant that we had their baby in our home before those papers were signed and had to give the baby back. We felt strongly about this.

When Oronzo and I did start sharing news of this potential match with close family and friends, we kept prefacing our comments with, "If things work out..." I have to admit, I was amazed at how much negativity we received from certain family members and close friends, both before we were put in contact with Giselle and afterwards! Not because we were building our family through adoption, everyone was very supportive of that, but because of the misconceptions people had about the process of adoption and of birth parents in general. It was alarming, to say the least!

In the beginning, I was continually told that finding a newborn (especially a healthy one) was impossible. Even after we'd been connected with Giselle, certain friends cautioned us that she probably wouldn't match with us unless we were able to offer her a lot of money along the way, which we would never want to do for fear of coercion. It was quite discouraging to hear these things and I defended Giselle by telling these friends that I could tell that she wasn't in it for money, she was considering an adoption plan because she loved her child and wanted what she felt was best for him. Despite the negativity, we pressed on, determined to see how it played out.
Towards the end of our third phone call, Giselle requested that we meet with her. She said that she needed to see us in-person before she could attempt to make a decision about placing her child with us. By this time, I suspected that this request was coming, and I had already discussed the possibility with Oronozo. Surprisingly, we both felt comfortable with an in-person meeting, something we would've never even considered just a month ago, and we found ourselves wanting to meet her too. So, when she asked, I told her, "We'd love to!"

We drove seven hours to the city where Giselle lived for this face-to-face meeting. Giselle, Oronzo, and I scheduled to meet in a restaurant. We arrived first and I was a bundle of nerves. I chose a table and a chair that allowed me a clear view of the entrance door.

When Giselle arrived, I knew instantly who she was, mainly because of her pregnant belly, but also because of her searching gaze that swept across the restaurant and the air of vulnerability that she exuded. I stood up and walked towards her, thinking two immediate thoughts, 'Wow, she's beautiful, and so tall!' She was about 5'10", medium build, with long blond hair and bright blue/green eyes. She smiled a sweet smile as she realized who we were and walked the few steps to our table. Oronzo stood up as well, greeted her, and offered her a chair. It was clear to me that she was as nervous as I was, but she remained calm and composed.

For two hours we talked, mainly asking and answering questions back and forth. It quickly became clear that Giselle was putting a lot of thought into her screening of prospective adoptive parents. She came armed with a list of about 40 questions, many of them quite personal. We, too, had well thought out questions to ask her.

During this first meeting, we all seemed to "click." I was still so nervous though that I didn't eat a single bit of the lunch that I had ordered! Oronzo and Giselle didn't have that problem, they finished every bite on their plates. I remember Giselle ordered a tall glass of milk with her lunch. She noticed me glancing at it and smiling she said, "I'm trying to drink more milk with this pregnancy."

During our talks, Giselle asked us if we wanted to know the sex of the baby or not, and we told her we wouldn't mind knowing. We also told her that the sex of the baby wasn't important to us, we'd love a boy or a girl. She told us she was carrying a boy and showed us an ultrasound picture of him. After we both looked at it closely, I handed it back to her and she carefully tucked it back in her wallet.

As our meeting was nearing the end, I presented her a simple gift. It was a photo scrap book that I had created (there was no way I was going to ever give her a "Dear Birthmother" letter). Inside, the album had 20 pictures of Oronzo and I and our extended families. Each page had a single picture and a handwritten paragraph describing what was going on in our lives at the time. Before handing it to Giselle I said, "If you're anything like me, I'm sure you're not making this decision alone so I put together a photo album for you to take back and share with the baby's father and your families. I want them to have a chance to get to know us a little better as well." Giselle seemed very appreciative of my efforts. Before parting, we exchanged more personal information (phone numbers and email addresses).

As we said our goodbyes with hugs and promises to be in touch soon, Oronzo and I felt that the meeting had gone well. Giselle had told us upfront that she intended to interview several couples before making her decision and that she would get back to us with her decision in the near future.

By the time Oronzo and I drove the seven hours back to the city that we lived in, we were quite surprised to find an email waiting for us from Giselle! In the email she explained that she had taken our photo album back and showed her family and her boyfriend and that she had shared our answers to her questions, as well as her impressions of us. Then she wrote that she had decided not to interview other couples, that she wanted us to be the adoptive parents of her unborn son! Oronzo and I were floored! We never expected her decision to come so quickly! We felt overwhelmed, panicked, and excited, all at once. She picked us!! We were amazed that she'd picked us after just one in-person visit! Now that I think about it, I know matches happen with much less contact, but it seemed surreal to us at the time. We called family members to share the news!

Over the next few months we scrambled to hire an agency to do a Home Study and get us licensed, we hired adoption attorneys for us and for Giselle, and we hired a counselor (of her choice) for Giselle so that she would have professional support before, during, and after the adoption. She initially didn't feel the need to seek counseling, but we encouraged her to go and so did her lawyer, and so she did. In fact, not only did she go, but so did her mother. I know Giselle met with the counselor not only before the adoption, but also after.

Once Giselle chose us, she made a point to keep in touch frequently. She called or emailed us after every doctor's appointment, she continued to ask questions even after she picked us, and she invited me to attend some of her doctor's appointments with her. I got to hear Snuggle Bug's heart beat at one appointment and the sound brought tears to my eyes. Giselle once placed my hand on her stomach and I got to feel him kick inside of her belly. He was quite strong!

Over the course of the remaining five months of her pregnancy, Giselle invited us to meet some of her family and eventually she arranged for us to meet Quinn.

We only met Quinn once before Snuggle Bug was born. It was in a restaurant and it was just the four of us. We talked more about their reasons for wanting to place him for adoption (I don't feel comfortable sharing those reasons, it seems like an invasion of Giselle & Quinn's privacy, even if I am using fictitious names). We talked about our collective hopes and desires for Snuggle Bug. Quinn got to ask us questions and we got to learn more about him. He came across as an intelligent, soft spoken man. He was tall, nearly 6', and was slender with brown curly hair and a great smile. Giselle had warned us, in advance, that Quinn was taking a back seat in the preparations for their baby's adoption. He was supportive, but left the planning to Giselle.

I remember a point that Quinn made during that dinner conversation. In part jest, I made a comment that Snuggle Bug would probably rebel as a teenager and yell at us, "You're not my REAL parents!" Quinn got very serious and responded, "You will be his REAL parents! Don't ever forget that." I was surprised at the firmness in his statement, and I assured him we wouldn't forget.

We wouldn't see Quinn again until the birth of Snuggle Bug.

Okay, here's a good stopping point. I'll continue on with Part 3 of our adoption journey soon.

To continue reading about our first adoption journey, see Part 3.

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11:52 AM

At 9:25 PM, Blogger TsoAbbie said...

Your blogs are so interesting! I cant wait to venture over and read part 3!

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fellow adoptive mom, I am inspired! You are documenting the journey of your son to you, and you to your son, in such a loving and honest way. I am looking forward to more installments.....

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Overwhelmed! said...

Thanks tsoabbie & mayasmom for your responses. Feedback is always appreciated. :)

At 5:05 PM, Blogger meliss said...

I am crying like a baby reading this story. It is so touching and happy. I can't wait to read more.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an overwhelmingly emotional story for me to read. Thank you for sharing it. I will continue to read parts 3-10 in the coming days.
We have 2 children and are experiencing "secondary fertility" since I have been diagnosed with PCOS. We have always wanted a large family so we are looking into adoption. This is such an inspiration!!

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Nicole said...

I've only just started reading your blog but I am totally intrigued and interested in teh adoption story you've posted. Adoption has been on my heart for some time, so I'm extrememly touched by the journey you and your family went through with Sunggle Bug.

At 2:59 PM, Blogger Calico Sky said...

Thanks for sharing your adoption story. I haven't checked in for a while, sorry! But it was lovely to read, I had forgotten how stunning your photographs are!!

At 8:56 AM, Blogger MommaLlama said...

As a fellow adoptive mom, I enjoy reading other's journeys. We tried a few times to go the private route, but ultimately went with a state adoption... and I totally agree with your opinion of the slick adoption agencies out there! I look forward to finishing your story!

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading this with absolute fascination and awe. What bravery!

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Annie said...

We have four children adopted from Russia as older children....so our story is very different, but mother-love is not... I look forward to reading more. Can't wait to discover if you are Irish or actually IN Ireland!

At 2:33 PM, Blogger Tara said...

I stumbled upon your blog, and am enjoying your story--I haven't made it all the way through yet:-)

Thanks for sharing!


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Name: Overwhelmed

My complete profile

It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)

Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

Look what Snuggle Bug is addicted to...
To squeak or not to squeak, that is the question!
It wasn't supposed to work this way! (Part 1)
Family Friendly
Mama's little gardener

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