First, a little back story. I am unable to conceive children on my own. I lost one of my ovaries at the age of twelve to a large, gangrenous cyst that almost killed me. At the age of 24, I lost the other ovary, and I seldom discuss details of that time, just because I still find it hurtful. And, really, the fact is that the fine details really aren't important to the story. So, I found myself, at the age of 24 in menopause (and suddenly able to relate to all that women have been complaining about for years).
The loss of my fertility was a big one for me, as it is for so many. The biggest dream I ever had in life was to be a mother, and suddenly (and it was emergency surgery, so it was definitely sudden) there it was, being ripped away. I didn't know what to do, or what to think, and my body was doing all numbers of nasty things to me. There were some dark times. This was the winter of 1999.
For a number of years, I was on hormone replacement therapy so that I could keep my uterus healthy in the off chance I decided to try fertility treatment. I knew that adoption was also an option, but for the longest time, I left it on the back burner, and thought of it as a second best.
I'm not sure exactly what changed. In the late spring/early summer of 2003, I started experiencing baby fever. Badly. All I could think about was babies. I was 28, still not married, and unable to get pregnant. It was almost like a light bulb going off. I was going to "research" adoption. My first move was to go online and see how to go about the process. I called the number for the Child and Family Services adoption department, thinking I would ask for information, and maybe they would send me a pamphlet or something, to help with my decision.
What they sent, was an application. I decided it was a sign. I filled it out, gathered the appropriate documentation, and sent it in. And then I waited. Adoption is quite the process. It's a series of action, then waiting, and then action, then waiting. There's a lot of waiting. And it's nerve wracking. But it's worth it.
They say, all told, when you adopt through Child and family services as I did, it takes roughly a year to get on the waiting list. It took me about eleven months. I'm pretty good about doing what I need to do when I want something badly enough. Once you get on the list, who knows how long you wait. It all depends on whether you want a newborn, or are okay with an older child or special needs child. I opted to go the route of a toddler/special needs child.
Now this is where it gets good. Usually, parents have their own worker, and kids have another. In June of 2004, I got a call from my social worker. My application was approved, and it was time to finally sign off on all my paper work so I could be added to the list of waiting parents. Great! I could be added to the list and start waiting!
But there was another thing, she explained to me on the phone that fateful day. There was a child whose file had recently fallen on her caseload. A 17 month old boy who had been in foster care since birth, and had recently been officially named a ward of the state (his birth parents were given a year to see if they could get their lives on track and regain their ability to parent). She hadn't listed him as available yet, because she just "had a feeling" that this child was meant to be mine.
This meant it was even more important to get me sign my paperwork and get me registered. She drove all the way across town to meet me for coffee at my workplace so I could get everything done. Then, a few days later, drove all the way back with the registration papers. In the meantime, she "accidentally forgot" to register the little one for adoption so that no one else would see his file until I was one the list and allowed to see it. That same day, we also set an appointment for a few days later to review the file.
The morning before my appointment, I got a call from my social worker, saying that the child and I had both hit the waiting list the previous day, and that another worker was thinking of presenting the file to another family. Could I possibly come down? I called my Mom in an excited state, and she had me at the office in about 20 minutes. I don't even think that is possible considering where she lives! Ha!
At the office, I was shown an 8x10 photo of a brief bio of a very cute little baby whose name was David. My worker told me she had a really good feeling that this little boy was meant to be mine. She gave me some time to think, and upon her return, asked if I wanted to meet the foster mom (but not the child) to ask about him in order to help with my decision. I had pretty much decided, but didn't want to appear too eager, so I said yes.
The foster mom was a fantastic woman, and answered any and all questions I had. I knew that this child would be mine. I agreed to adopt David that day. Now, because he is older, there is a bit of an introduction process, so it was either start the next day, or wait a month, since the social worker was about to go on vacation for three weeks. I opted to wait a month, as difficult as it was, because I knew I had to arrange for vacation time and parental leave, as well as get stocked up. I sent the foster mom a few photos of me, which she was to put out for David a few days before we met to get him used to the idea of his new mother. She broke the rules and started right away telling D all about his new "mama." We even met for a doctor appointment during this time, and David was all over me and calling me Mama. By the time we "officially" met, he was very used to the idea.
The process was very smooth. I visited the foster home, at first to watch his routines, and then participate in them to make it easier. After a few days, I took him out on small trips alone, and then the foster parents brought him to visit his new home. Finally, on September 14, 2004, David came for his first overnight, and we signed the placement agreement the next day with much fanfare. I knew that I was going to love this boy forever. The adoption became final on May 12, 2005, not quite two weeks before my 30th birthday. Who can ask for a better gift than that?
David and I have been mother and son for seven years now, and there is not a single day that I don't thank that social worker for bringing us together and following through on her gut feeling. David could not be any more my child if I gave birth to him. He's so much like me that it's scary, and I can say it's definitely meant to be. Never before have I truly understood the phrase that an adopted child is not born in your womb, but rather born in your heart. David was born in my heart, and in my heart he will forever remain. I love you always, my boy.
If you made it through, congratulations! I know it was long. Thanks for reading my story.