What the Baby Veronica Case brings up for me ….

Everyone’s story and journey to parenthood is different, ours changed from trying to get pregnant to not needing to be pregnant to become parents and then deciding on the family-building option of domestic open adoption.
 
From the outside looking in our adoption journey was seamless and painless, but that is not always the case.  We made tough decisions along the way and when our second daughter was born there was more than those on the outside looking in were aware of.
 
Our journey to parenthood was guided by the late great Ellen Roseman of Cooperative Adoption Consulting.  Her guidance and wisdom were with us throughout our journey as well as the education she provided on openness in adoption and not leaving anyone out in the family especially expectant/birth fathers.
 
It was this aspect of the process that reminds me part of our journey to our daughter J and the decisions we were faced with after her birth.  We met J’s birthmother 10 days before she was born which truly was not enough time (in our mind) for her to make a permanent placement decision.  We had begun talking about her parenting after the baby was born and she turned this discussion into our sharing parenting as she works through her thoughts and feelings for what decisions were ahead for her.  The plan became about her taking the baby home from the hospital and then passing her onto us with S’s time becoming less and ours more if she decided that adoption was going to be her plan.  Then on top of that when my husband contacted the baby’s expectant father he went from first thinking our adopting his baby was a great idea, and hours later he didn’t.  We realized at that moment we might have to walk away from S & J.  Heartbreaking to say the least but we knew we had no place to fight him if he really wanted to parent his daughter and this was something he and S were going to have to discuss.  Their relationship was long diminished before this and that is why he was not initially part of her decision to consider adoption for their baby.
 
During this time, S wasn’t still completely sure what she wanted as far as parenting or entrusting her daughter with us.  We had to step out of the conversations at that point as it was not for us to be involved it was between them.  Ellen was there with us along the way and guided us through. 
 
It was hard, very hard but we knew we weren’t part of this discussion and we couldn’t be, it wasn’t our baby to fight for even though our hearts felt otherwise.  We had our two year old daughter to be parenting at this time so we had to still be there for her while all this was going on and she was to stay our focus.
 
We waited and waited to hear what the final outcome might be.  We heard from Ellen and S that the baby’s birth father had in fact consenting on the adoption placement. 
 
To this day we don’t know what brought him/them to this decision.  This last December we reconnected with him and his son (J’s brother) in beginning to establish a relationship as a family together.   At first he wanted nothing to do with J and us as a family.  We always left the door open knowing someday J would want to know him.  Then just like that last October he commented on a photo on facebook (we had become friends even though we didn’t communicate).  From that initial re-communication we planned on getting to know each other in person.  Our first in-person meeting was in December 2012.   Today we are planning another get together in honor of J’s birthday.
 
So yes from the outside looking in no one would suspect what had happened on our second journey to parenthood … I can still remember it like it was yesterday and reading and following the story of Baby Veronica it brings back these feelings and memories.   I don’t fault the prospective adoptive parents in how they may be feeling, but I really feel when the father of this little girl started fighting for her when she was an infant they should have bowed out.  Now there is an almost 4 year old girl whose life is turning upside down yet again.  This case and others like it bring to light the non-ethical professionals in adoption as it appears from the outside looking in in my opinion that they are not being correctly guided … very sad for all involved.
 
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an engagement of sorts

You might say we agreed to an engagement with C after her visit … engagement you say?  What does that mean?

You see, during our journey to parenthood one of the many things that we learned and agreed was that family-building through domestic open adoption was similar to getting married.  How you ask?  First you meet, kinda like dating, then while continuing this relationship you are asked by expectant parent(s) to be the parent of the baby, it’s like becomming engaged and when the baby is born your relationship becomes like a marriage, family!

We enjoyed our visit with C so much!  It was so great to be together in person after months of communicating from a distance.  She stayed at our home, saw the nursery we had been setting up (prior to even meeting her).  We all attended a group gathering of the monthly support group with our facilitator.  We toured around together, and through this only deepened our affection for each other.

To our surprise and pleasure she also invited us to visit her in her home state, come to a doctor’s appointment and join her for birthing classes.  We were thrilled to say the least and this trip would also give us the opportunity to meet the baby’s father.  Her baby was due in July.  It would be May when we visited … so much to do and so little time as it was already the end of April!

 

 

Could this be it?

It was December 2005, we had already received some calls related to the website we had out there on the world wide web announcing that we wanted to be a family through adoption, domestic open adoption.  So far the calls we received had not amounted to any future calls with the person on the other line … until that one call in December.

C found our website on a google search.  She called through our 1-800 number midday and my husband (working from home) answered.  They talked for a bit.  Both nervous I’m sure.  We learned she was 8 weeks pregnant and was pretty sure she wanted to place her baby in an adoption.  They agreed to talk again.  It wasn’t until after the holidays that C called back again.  This time I happened to answer the phone.  It was a great conversation like talking to an old friend.  The three of us talked this time conferencing on our home phone.  We shared with her our facilitator’s name and number and asked if she would like to be called or to call her.  She chose to call our facilitator.  For us this was the first real step on our parenthood journey.

Turns out she called our facilitator within days of talking to us and after they talked and C gave a medical release for pregnancy verification, we all talked again soon after.  Because C was so early in her pregnancy we were all encouraged to start our relationship, too early for much else as a lot could happen in the next 7 months.

We talked, emailed and through Yahoo instant messages chatted and shared pictures.  Our calls would be full of fun and sharing about ourselves to each other.  Our Yahoo instant messages were filled with sharing fun photos that we all had to share of each other.

She told us more why she though adoption was the right plan for her baby.  She passed on the contact info of the baby’s father and let us know we could contact him to talk to as well.  My husband called him and with that we got to know him as well.

Before we knew it, weeks and months were passing by.  It was April and now C was 6 months pregnant.  Our facilitator suggested we meet in person.  Mind you we lived in different states that aren’t that close to each other.  We started making plans for C to come visit us.  Our only pre-requisite was that her parents knew why she was travelling (she lived at home and at the point had not told them she was pregnant).

We were excited to meet in person after these months of communication and developing a relationship.

As we waited to pick her up at the airport we wondered, could this be it?

keep on living while you wait …

This was a very important message communicated to us by our new friends and those we saw as our mentors on our journey to parenthood … keep on living while you wait!  A truer statement could not be told to us.

You see you jump every time the phone rings, every time you open up your emails and every time you check at the site meter of your website, is this the one, is someone calling us, did someone contact us via email? we hold our breath and wait to see …

So keep on living we did.  We jumped into our newly found community of families through domestic open adoption and made friends along the way.  We re-entered our life of other friends and our families with a new desire to be a part of everything again.  We dined out, saw movies, went up to wine country, played in the snow in the mountains, went camping, and enjoyed our lives while we waited you see we always knew we were still waiting during this time we just didn’t want to stop and wait while we waited.

But you cannot put your life on hold (well not any longer, I think we had everything on hold while trying to get pregnant).  You need to keep on living, working and enjoying life.  We were also told to make the most of our couple time while we waited.  And that was because when you become a parent it’s not about you and your husband any more. there’s another individual that takes your time and attention and when that time comes you want to be ready to jump in together!