September 6, 2007. We arrived at our counselor friend's office and nervously waited to meet this young woman, Samantha.
I was SO NERVOUS. We were brought into the office where Samantha was waiting, and she was very friendly and smiled at us as we came in. My husband sat calmly while I asked her questions and answered any questions she asked. We had brought some family photos and photos of our house to share. It felt to me like the most important job interview of my life.
I remember two things clearly. The first was that Samantha was extremely calm and didn't seem to have a lot of questions for us. The second was that I remember that her main concern for us was that we were aware that the baby's birthfather was African American, and that meant the baby would probably have coarse, black hair. Samantha was just so concerned that we take the time to research how to do the baby's hair. I thought that was a weird thing to pick as your main concern.
Well whatever happened in that first meeting must have convinced her that we were the right couple for her baby, because from that point on, she was insistent that she wanted to place her baby WITH US. This became even more important when she moved to another state.
At this first meeting, Samantha told us directly that she wanted to place her baby with us. "You guys seem like a really nice couple...and I'm sure you'll be good parents for my baby." The whole tone of the conversation made it pretty clear that she had made her decision.
Samantha had just seen the doctor for an ultrasound a few weeks earlier, and he had told her that she was carrying a girl and that he expected her to deliver in mid-November. The delivery, she told us, would have to be a c-section. She already has three little girls*, all born by c-section, and the doctor felt it would be safest. So Samantha expected the surgery to be scheduled and invited us to plan to be in the delivery room with her. She said, "She's going to be your baby, so it's right that you should be there for the delivery." As a mom herself, she felt that those first moments and days were important for bonding, and she wanted us to experience that. I was ecstatic. How could we have been so lucky to be introduced to such an amazingly generous birthmom? I was totally amazed.
The next couple of months were a blur. We didn't yet have a homestudy, since we had only learned of this birthmom a few weeks earlier. We researched agencies and picked one to do our homestudy. We nervously waited for all the documents and paperwork to come in. We stressed out when we heard that Samantha was in the hospital with preterm labor, and was sent home with some drugs to stop the contractions. Our homestudy wasn't complete and we were panicked that the baby would come before we had everything ready.
And then came the big news. A few weeks prior to the due date, Samantha abruptly made the decision to move to another state. There is a complicated story behind why this happened, but the important point to know is that she felt she didn't have much choice. So here she was, a few hours away in another state, and it occurred to her that she needed to call and make sure that we were still on board with this situation if she remained in the other state. She didn't know what complications it would cause, but she thought it might cause us to think twice about this match if we had to travel. But she was still insistent that, if possible, she wanted to place the baby WITH US. She must have really liked us.
We were still on board, of course, but we needed to consult with our lawyer to find out what this new situation would mean. He needed to find her a lawyer in her new city, and he consulted with that lawyer about their state's adoption laws. After a lot of expensive phone calls, we got the information we needed about what we could expect when the baby came. It was all pretty complicated, but that will be explained in the next installment.
*There are various reasons why Samantha decided to place this baby for adoption, but one of the biggest was that she felt she was already limping along taking care of her three little girls as a single mom. I could tell she cared a great deal about this little one she was carrying, but she knew that she could give her a better life, and she was already stretched pretty thin taking care of the kids she had.