Thursday, May 19, 2011

Proud Mom Tonight!

I am a proud mom today!
My youngest child passed the driving test for her license on the first try! 
She was scared and she tried anyhow and that is a big deal!
She also hates it when I get all mushy with her and if I were to give her a hug she would probably act like I am giving her mom cooties.  So in lieu of that hug I will share with you the Commemorative speech I will be delivering on Saturday for my Communications 101 class.
To my delight I have seen that other ladies whom I love are celebrating today good news of babies and adoptions and weddings so this seem especially appriopriate today.

April 1st, 1992. I was in my office working when the phone rang. It was my (then) husband. “We have a daughter” he said. I told him that was not a funny April fool’s joke. “No really” he said “the adoption agency just called. We pick her up in two days”

Our journey to adoption started 5 years earlier when we decided to add another child to our family. Our son, Brandon, was 18 months old so we figured it was time to get started on number 2. What happened quickly and easily the first time didn’t happen again—I could not get pregnant. We tried everything we could do short of expensive medical treatment and hit a crossroad in 1989: we invest in infertility treatments or we invest in adoption. We knew we only had the resources for one or the other. We decided to try for adoption. We were so incredibly naïve about what that meant, which was a good thing because had we known we probably would have given up on the spot.

We spent a solid year doing all the things the agency we chose required of us to become approved. We took classes to be first aide certified. We had home inspections to see if we had an appropriate home. We were interviewed over and over. We had references. Our employment records were examined. Our credit rating was checked and our finances were reviewed. Finally we were approved.

Once we were approved we went to the park and took ‘marketing pictures’ to show that we were the perfect family; mom, dad, son and our trusty dog Jenny. We wrote letters to birthmothers telling her what great parent we would be to her baby. We told her what a great big brother Brandon would be. We talked about our family values. We described our personalities, our hobbies, our friends, and our church. We put it all together into a portfolio.

And then we waited. A week. A month. Six months. A year. Not a nibble. Not a word. Thirteen months. Eighteen months. Twenty months.

Around then we pretty much gave up and used our savings to buy a new car. Of course a few weeks later we get a call: there might be a baby for us. It wasn’t born yet. The parents are physically and mentally challenged. The mom has spina bifida so there is every possibility that the baby will have special needs. Would you consider taking this child?

What kind of question is that? We have been trying to have a child for 7 years! And now you ask if we want a sick one that could have all sorts of problems? Me? A caregiver for a special needs child? Me- who get nauseous just visiting people in the hospital? Could I handle that? Would God ask me to handle that? We think it over for a few days. It is crazy. What if this is our only chance? What kind of people does it make us for saying ‘no’? What are we volunteering ourselves for? What if this is our baby and we don’t accept him or her?

As usual I find myself wandering the baby aisles of the store. My heart hurts and I give up trying to hold back tears. I see the tiniest baby sleeper with little colorful animals on it. It looks so small! I check the tag to see what size this is. The name of the manufacturing company is “Hang In There” and has a picture of a little monkey hanging off a branch. I know this is a sign. I buy it on the spot. We call the agency. Put us on the ‘yes’ list.

A week goes by. No word. Two weeks. Six. We hear nothing. March goes by. We figure the baby must be soon to be born, but we hear nothing. We call the agency. They have no news for us. Then comes our April Fools phone call. “Come get your daughter.” They say.

We spend the next two days shopping. We tell very few people afraid the birthmom will change her mind. We are afraid to hope. We have nothing ready. It feels like tempting fate to get the crib set up. We do, however, have a very special sleeper to dress her in for her trip home. And we buy the most adorable pink and cream colored stroller. We realize we have spent our adoption money on the car--- we know we are going to have to pay for her with our Mastercard. It might be the first time she has cost us a fortune--- it would not be the last. The home health care provider brings over the monitoring equipment she will need. He reminds us of our CPR training and tells us what to do when she stops breathing. Not IF--- when. I am terrified. But already I know that it is my job and my joy to guard over this child. I will do it.

April 3rd 1992. We are excited. She is tiny- 5 lbs. at birth though full term. And she is considered a ‘failure to thrive’ so she doesn’t like to eat. I am terrified. Yet I know, more that I have ever known anything, that she is my daughter and I will do whatever it takes to be the best mom I can be for her. Though her birthmother calls her Elizabeth, we decide to give her the name we have picked for her; Lauren. After my grandmother Lurah. We want her to know she is part of our family- she has a family name.

We fill out all the paperwork. It is finally time to meet her and her birthmother and grandmother. I remind myself to pay attention to them even though I really only have eyes for my baby girl. She is beautiful and tiny and I am already irritated at the monitor and wires she is connected to. That mama bear protective thing is already in full swing. We make small talk. I just want to hold her. We exchange gifts. I just want to hold her. Finally Redi gives her a kiss and hands her to me. And I fall in love.

Here, finally, is that piece of my heart that was missing.


Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes.....You are truly gifted LeAnn, in words and in blessings :)

Yvonne (Catlovers)

ltlrags said...

I'm in tears too, which is an embarrassing thing at work. Oh well, I'll blame it on allergies. It's been 19 years and "Lauren's Adoption Day" still pops up in my calendar every year. You continually inspire me!