We are four friends who found our babies through adoption. In our book, each adoptive mother describes to you, in her own honest and heartfelt words, an adoption journey that was startlingly different from the others.
Three of us live in California, one in Colorado. We started trying to make families in our mid-thirties and, in one case, early forties. One of the four already had a child through a donor egg. We’re all married, with professional backgrounds. None of us ever dreamed we would adopt. The paths that led us to embrace adopting, and our adoption journeys themselves, were filled with drama and emotion. Along the way, we experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs of our lives.
Out of our many conversations with one another about those wildly zigzagging emotions, a book was conceived. We shared so many feelings and reactions unique to this situation. At the same time, we marveled at how different our fertility and adoption journeys had been. And we never stopped being amazed that, for all four of us friends, adoption turned out to be the answer. The diversity of our adoption experiences, coupled with our friendships, seemed unusual to us—remarkable. It occurred to two of us that, almost at the same moment, other people might be interested in our interlocking stories… a book! As soon as the word was articulated, the universe seemed to smile. Yes, a book! The book would be a record of our amazing experiences; it would be a source of inspiration and information for others; and it would be a loving gift to our children when the time was right.
If you are contemplating adoption, or if you have adopted, we hope our book inspires you on your journey, and shows you the indescribable happiness that is within reach.
Chapter 4 Excerpt: Match Made in Heaven
There was no getting around it. They had to go through it. Each woman had to keep her heart open as she sought the biological mom whose sweet “yes” would give her a happiness beyond anything she’d known. First came the false leads, each one a small heartbreak a biological mother she would never know, a child she would never hug. Throughout, each woman had to stay open and let herself be wounded. She had to accept missed phone calls and no-show, surprise reversals and vanishing acts. Sometimes searching for the bio- logical mom felt exciting, like dating. Sometimes it felt like hell. But it was the one path to the heaven of a baby.
The day we got “the Call,” it was like God was speaking over a loudspeaker in my living room. I was all alone because my husband was in Germany on a business trip. I danced with joy until late at night. It was our third biological mother connection but the first mom I would meet alone. The phone call was from Hope, the biological mother’s facilitator. And right away, things felt different. Hope reassured me that this connection would turn into a match. It was the first time anyone had gone into full detail about the biological mother and about where Phillip and I stood with respect to other potential adoptive families being considered. She told me that the mom, Quinn, was choosing among three families (my heart sank) but that both she and the biological dad’s mother liked Phillip and me best (my spirits soared). And it was the first time anyone had actually strategized my meeting with the biological mom to give us the greatest advantage. Hope thought it was important that we be second in line to meet with her, so she had one family before and after to compare us to. Then she asked me, “Do you want a boy or girl?” When I replied that it didn’t matter, she said, “Girlfriend, you are having a boy!” I couldn’t feel anything but matched! Hope truly gave me hope.
On April 20, 2010, at eleven a.m., I got “the Call.” I had just arrived at work and was in a horrible mood. I was in the process of closing my stores, which I’d had for almost a decade, and I was trying to put on a happy face for my employees, who were now about to be without jobs, and for my customers, because I was trying to keep the store closing a secret in order to get full retail dollars off what was left on my racks. I was standing behind the cash wrap, going over the day’s to-dos with Ashley, my store manager, when my cell phone rang. An unknown number flashed up. Usually I don’t answer unknown numbers. But, for some reason, that morning I decided to. Here’s how the call went:
Megan: Hi, Elle?
Me: Yes, this is she.
Megan: Hi, Elle. This is Megan from the adoption agency. Are you sit- ting down?
Me: No. Is everything okay?
Megan: You might want to sit down… are you sitting yet?
Me: Yes. What’s up?
Megan: You, my dear, have been selected by a birth mother! The baby is going to be born in twenty-three days!
A year into the process, with nothing to show for it, I promised Oscar I’d meet with a fertility doctor to discuss trying IVF again. But my heart wasn’t in it. I waited and procrastinated in filling out my medical questionnaire. Someone with history of endometriosis, infertility, stroke, and adrenal failure does not have a short history. I always dread the paperwork.
About a month before our appointment, I finally sat down to fill out the stack of forms. First page: name, address, date of birth, etc…. Second page: my phone beeped… it was a text from Hope! She had a biological mom who was interested in us! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think it was divine timing. I balled up the medical questionnaire and threw it in the trash.
One day, our adoption attorney, Melinda, called us about a biological mom in Ohio. Amber was a woman in her mid-twenties who had placed previously, and was interested in speaking with us. My attempt to connect was unsuccessful. She answered the phone while she was shopping and promised to call me back… but never did. I figured that was that. I felt sorry this opportunity fell through, as Melinda had spoken very positively about Amber’s interest in working with us. But actually, it was easy to move on; I hadn’t invested much emotional energy in the situation at that point.
A few weeks after my call with Amber never happened, our adoption attorney, Melinda, called us. Amber was in labor.
While I was on the phone with Melinda, her cell phone rang with a call from a friend of Amber’s. The baby had just arrived at 11:13 p.m., EST. She weighed six pounds and four ounces. A girl! I didn’t even take a moment to think. I yelled to Gordon, “Call United and book a flight to Ohio!” Since Amber was considering us to be adoptive parents, Gordon and I agreed it was best to be present, for her and for the baby. I took a red-eye flight across the country.