I’ve debated about how much of the not-quite-adoption story I wanted to tell. But I think I feel okay talking about what happened, keeping everyone anonymous, since there is now very little chance this woman or her baby will be part of our lives. And I need to get it off my chest.
My niece (who is my age) has a friend who had just given birth to her 5th child. She does not have custody of the other four. She also had a warrant out for her arrest. The baby was born at 32 weeks because his mother had to have emergency surgery to remove all/part of her colon and intestines. She’d probably go from the hospital straight to jail. My sister called Tuesday night to see if Hubby and I would be willing/able/interested in adopting the baby.
The first question out of her mouth was, “How do you and [Hubby] feel about adoption?” I told her we had talked about it–hypothetically–plenty of times but that Hubby really wanted to try for biological children before taking that huge step. She proceeded to tell me the story of this little one, assured me he was healthy, just small, and that he had tested negative for drugs. She said that if he wasn’t adopted, he’d likely end up in foster care, for who-knows-how-long. I could tell, though, from what little she told me, that his mother was not yet sold on the idea of adoption, even though my niece had apparently been showing her pictures of me and Hubby and our travels (before they’d even talked to us). Showing her the life her little boy could have.
But his mom’s willingness aside, we had other concerns: Hubby’s still unemployed. We have no idea how to go about a private adoption for a child who is already here, in a Midwestern NICU, and we’re both overwhelmed by the process. It’s a lot to wrap our brains around. We live in a house that has always felt temporary. The plan has always been to be out of here before a baby comes into our lives. It’s dusty in the summer and drafty in the winter, and I have no idea where we’d put a baby and all the stuff that comes along with one. We’d just done our first IUI and tentatively scheduled an IVF cycle.
And yet, when these rational arguments were presented to me by my husband, my first reaction, my gut response, was, “We’ll make it work.” Somehow. “I’ll have twelve weeks of maternity leave. We can figure out the rest from there.”
I tried my best to convince him, even though I knew that couldn’t be the way we got our baby. Me beating him over the head with the idea until he gave in.
My heart broke. Every time I thought about that sweet baby, I could feel another piece of it crumble away. The next day, before I had told my sister and niece our answer, I spent the morning at work googling adoption lawyers in our area, looking for stories like this one that had a happy ending.
But he wasn’t meant to be our baby.
I know that now. And while I still ache when I think about his situation, what’s going to happen to him and his mother, it’s not the sharp stab it was when, for those 24-or-so hours, I wanted to be his savior.
Hubby said to me at one point, “I know you want to save all the babies in the world, but there are lots of other families who want children, too, just as much as we do. Someone else will adopt him. He’ll be okay.”
His words are ringing a little truer with each day that passes, but I still wonder, and will probably always wonder, how that baby boy is doing, where he is, if he has someone to hold him. someone to love him.