Saturday, April 12, 2008

Our Adoption Story

I've decided to write about our adoption story. For me, it is a story of three miracles....the blessing of my children and the gift of knowing that this is how our dear Lord planned our family to be.

Mark and I were married in 1978 when we were both 20 years old. I still had two years of college left. He was working full-time and going to school at night. We decided that we would follow the Church's teaching on contraception. I was uncomfortable doing anything else even though I didn't understand at the time why the Church taught what it did. I knew in my conscience I could not do anything else, even though I didn't know why.
Nothing happened.
Two years went by. I finished college and graduated with my degree in Elementary Education. I was glad that I had received my degree, but I was worried because no baby had come along in that time. Mark still had another year before he finished his degree, but we would have happily welcomed a baby.
A teaching job fell into my lap. I didn't apply for it....the principal from a small Catholic school had heard about me from a teacher at a school where I had subbed the month of May. She hired me simply on her recommendation. I taught second grade that year and loved it, but I was still longing for that baby.
Then in April my miracle happened.....I was pregnant. We were overjoyed, to say the least. Mark would be graduating from college in June, and I was due at Christmas time. Everyone thought that we had planned it that way, but we knew it was God's planning and it seemed perfect.
I quit my teaching job at the end of the year knowing I wanted to stay home with our little one.
I endured two months of morning sickness but it was worth it! Then at the end of July, I started spotting. I was put on bedrest and the spotting thankfully stopped.
In early August, my doctor sent me for a ultrasound. The technician was strangely quiet the whole time. Mark and I walked out in a somber mood.
The following Friday, which was August 7th, I received a call from a nurse at my doctor's office. He wanted me to come in at 2:15 that afternoon and told me to bring my husband along. I called Mark at work and he came home to take me.
At this point I was into my fifth month of pregnancy and had not felt any movement yet. The doctor listened carefully and could find no heartbeat. He then told us that the ultrasound showed that our baby had died.
We were devastated. I cried for days. The following Monday, I delivered our son. They would not let me see him. They had done a D&C on me, and when I awoke, I was in recovery with all of the new mothers with their babies. I laid there trying to hold back the tears. A nurse came up to me and told me not to cry because I would make all the new mothers feel bad. No thought to how I was feeling!
There's nothing like coming home from the hospital with empty arms.
I called the principal at the school where I had taught to see if she knew of a teaching job somewhere. I didn't want to stay home. Thankfully, she had a position open teaching middle school, so two weeks later I went back to teaching.
Once again, nothing happened.
A year went by and no baby, so I went back to the doctor again. He told me to relax...
I kept asking our dear Lord "Why?"
But no answer came.
Another year went by....I went back to my doctor and started tests for infertility. He sent me to a specialist. At that time, there was only one here in Cincinnati.
We also decided to look into adoption and applied at Catholic Social Services.
For the next 18 months, I went through two surgical procedures which turned up nothing and took fertility drugs, which did nothing except make me feel miserable.
The doctor wanted to do in-vitro fertilization. It was a relatively new procedure at that time and he thought I would be an excellent candidate, but I told him no and said that I was Catholic and it was against my faith. He laughed at me and told me that lots of Catholics were doing it. We decided to end our treatment.
After three years of being on the waiting list for adopting a baby, we received "the call". It was a Friday morning, December 5th, and somehow I knew that this was the call. We were so happy...we spent the weekend getting ready and telling our friends and family.
On Monday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a beautiful baby girl was laid into my arms....19 days old. Our Beth.
Our eight years of waiting to become parents had ended.
When you adopt, it takes a while for the adoption to be finalized. We had monthly visits from our social worker through the winter and spring into summer. Finally the letter came....the letter informing us of our final adoption hearing. It was for Friday, August 7th, at 2:15. The exact day and time of the doctor appointment 6 years earlier telling me that our baby had died. I couldn't believe it! I felt like it was God's answer to me.....this is how I want your family to be.
Our social worker later told me that she had put in for three final adoption hearings at the same time.....the two other couples received dates in October, but for some reason we had gotten this early August date. She was puzzled, but I knew why.
After Beth's adoption was finalized, we were allowed to apply to adopt another baby, which we promptly did.
Five years went by....Beth was an adorable toddler, preschooler. We enjoyed every minute with her.
I would call our social worker who told us that things were slow.....not many babies. It was 1992 by now and I noticed on the calendar that August 7th would be on a Friday again. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I would tell people about the August 7th date and wonder if something would happen on that date again. Mark worried that I would be upset if the date went by and nothing happened.
The last week in July, our social worker called to tell me that she was going on vacation and wouldn't be back until the middle of August. She also told me that there was no possibility of a baby in the weeks to come.
On Tuesday, August 4th, a call came. It was our social worker who was calling from home to tell me that, unbelievably, they had a baby boy for us. He had been born in a different part of our state, but this couple had read our profile and picked us. We could pick him up on Friday, August 7th at 12:30. We were amazed and overjoyed....I couldn't believe that our dear Lord had picked that date again. Our friends and family were incredulous. The time of day may have been different, but the day and date were the same.
I couldn't help believing that once again our dear Lord was comforting me....telling me that this was the way our family was meant to be. He took my day of mourning and turned it into a day of joy.
So on Friday, August 7th, 1992, we brought home our son, Michael Joseph, 11 days old. I fell in love the moment he was laid into my arms.

There is more to our story....but I will save it for another day.
I always tell this story when people are struggling with the question of why. Why did this happen? Why me? Because I know that our dear Lord answers all of our prayers. Perhaps, not the way we originally hoped; perhaps not in the time frame that we would like; but in the way and time that He deems best. We must simply put it in His hands.

A blessed Sunday to all.....


Jennifer F. said...

Wow, this is such a touching story. Thank you so much for directing me to it!

Beth said...

Hi Barb, I read your comment on Jen's blog and came over to visit!

I'm 28 and had my first baby last year. We struggled with infertility for 4 years before that. I'm now hoping for many more babies!

Oh, and my name is Beth and my younger brother is Michael :)

Pa Beck said...

What a great story! I know that you read our adoption story, little Mary has been a great blessing. How great it is that the lord provides a child for us in a special way. I guess we were not meant to have a child of our own blood but my love for my little girl could not be greater. Sometimes when I look at her I get saddened at the thought of what would have happened to her if we didn't get involved. But anyway, enough about me, it is great that you opened your home and hearts for three children.

Deborah said...

What a beautiful and amazing story. God is good.

Ma Beck said...

Holy smokes!
An amazing story, to say the least.
Thanks so much for sharing.

catholicandgop said...

Welcome to the blogging world. You have an amazing story.

a thorn in the pew said...

Thank you for sharing. I am a fellow blogger in Covington KY diocese. Your story touched me so. I pray that God will continue to bless you. I have added your blog to my list of locals.

Melanie B said...

What a beautiful story. Truly God is good.