This guest post is by Stacy, an adoptive mother.
It’s been three years since I adopted my daughter, and I just realized I have never told her birth story.
Initially I put off telling it because I was just too shellshocked and concerned about her birthmother.
But it’s a story that still sits inside me, waiting to be told.
So I’m going to try to share it now—to capture that transformative experience in words.
I hope her birthmother will read this and know that it’s as much of a tribute to her as it is to my daughter.
My daughter’s adoption story began the very same day that I got the news that, after several failed attempts at frozen embryo transfers, my surrogate mother was pregnant
That pregnancy would later produce Selah Rose, my second beautiful daughter.
But at this time, after many losses and disappointments, I had only a glimmer of hope of becoming a mother.
That day, after 11 pm, I got a text message from a friend saying, “Wake up and call me now.”
When I did, she told me she was sitting with Shana (for privacy reasons, I’ve changed her name), a woman who had just discovered, to her complete surprise, that she was 28 weeks pregnant!
I had met Shana before and knew her in a small way.
She understood that she wasn’t in a position to keep the baby and had decided that she wanted me to adopt the baby.
She and my friend had both seen my announcement that my surrogate was pregnant.
“Are you still interested in adopting this baby?” they asked.
I said yes about 50 times and spent the next hour asking Shana if she was sure this was something she wanted to do.
She kept saying yes. I didn’t know what to believe.
Nevertheless I was on cloud nine! That night I didn’t sleep. I couldn’t believe it.
After eight years of losses and near misses and heartbreaks, I might actually become a mother of TWO? It was unfathomable, yet thrilling.
Shana didn’t know exactly when she was due. She said she’d be in touch once she had a follow up appointment.
A week later, I got a call from her. “Are you sitting down??? The baby is due in ONE month!”
I couldn’t believe it. I stumbled through the next month of my life, wondering if this dream would come true.
While Shana texted me periodically to reconfirm her commitment, I scrambled to get my home study updated and jump through the legal hoops.
I didn’t have anything arranged or set up. I hadn’t even told my work I might be taking a leave of absence.
I just tried to dissociate myself, numb myself, and just let the time pass as quickly as it could. It was a hard, hard, hard month.
Shana decided to come down to my town to deliver through a C-section. She spent two nights in my home and we got to know each other.
We instantly loved each other like family. The bond we feel for each other is strange and lovely and so very special.
I didn’t sleep the night before the birth, not one wink. I tossed. I turned. I watched TV.
I didn’t pay attention to what I was watching. I daydreamed about what the next day would bring. I braced myself for heartbreak and even took some valium.
In the morning, my family and I went to the hospital, where I sat in the room with Shana, trying to read her face and body language.
I was trying to see through her. Trying to believe this was really happening.
I also felt this tremendous conflict between the part of me that was so excited to be meeting my daughter and the part of me that was keenly aware that she was preparing to do something monumentally emotionally painful.
She was hunkering down inside, bracing for the loss, bracing for the pain, resolute in her decision, and it was written all over her countenance.
It was so difficult to know that my utter bliss was coming at the cost of her utter agony.
I LOVED this girl. I didn’t want her to feel pain.
How could I prevent her from feeling pain without causing myself pain? It was a conflict that still haunts me to this day, every day.
She has been more gracious than words can convey and continues to focus on the positive aspects of this adoption, something I’m so profoundly grateful for.
In the operating room, I sat next to Shana. As we looked at each other, we both cried silent tears. We smiled. We giggled.
“Don’t pass out on me” she told me about fifty times as I tried not to hyperventilate! It must have been pretty obvious how much I wanted to pass out!
The surgical team did their thing. During this time, Shana was the bravest soul I’ve ever known.
She was calm. She was focused. She was feeling God-Knows-What feelings and staying present and composed and thoughtful. She amazed me.
From the other side of curtain, I heard a sound.”Is that the baby crying?” I asked her.
She nodded. Tears ran down the side of her face and she smiled bittersweetly.
The nurses whisked the baby over to the other side of the room. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what I was allowed to do.
Was this my baby yet? I sat there, stunned and still.
The nurses waived me over to the baby’s station. They said, “Mama! It’s your baby! She’s beautiful!”
As they cleaned her, I sat there in silence looking at my new baby. It wasn’t real yet.
Shana was still in the room and I still couldn’t believe this was real. As the started started to wheel the baby out of the room, they told me to follow.
I turned back and gave Shana one last look — of gratitude, love, appreciation, sorrow and sympathy—and followed the rolling crib out of the room.
Once out of the room, they nurses asked me if my daughter had a name.
It was then that I opened my mouth and loud guttural uncontrolled sobs came out.
Tears flooded my eyes. A lump choked my throat. I sobbed and sobbed right there at the nurses’ station, for all to see.
My sister, who had been waiting in the family waiting room, had seen us come out. She came rushing over to meet her new niece. She saw me sobbing and stepped in.
“Eliana Jacqueline is her name” She knew the name I had picked. I was grateful because it was a while before I could speak.
We went to the nursery and I sat, for the next countless hours, staring at my new daughter, falling madly in love with her, slowly but surely finding my courage to believe it was real, to hold her, to love on her, to claim her as my daughter.
During that time, my sister went to Shana’s room to check on her. Shana’s first words to my sister were,
“Is Stacy happy? How is she doing?” It just goes to show what a generous and kind soul she is and was during that fateful day.
I was happy beyond my wildest imagination.
From that day forward, Ellie has lit up my life, filled it with meaning, amazed me every single day with her beauty and inspired me to grow and be stronger than I ever knew was possible.
She taught me more about myself than I ever knew was possible.
This is adoption at its absolute most beautiful. My gratitude for Shana knows no bounds.
My love for her continues every day.
My love for my daughter is the fiercest thing I’ve ever known and it doesn’t matter one single speck that she didn’t come from my body or my genes.
My joy is still spiked with the bittersweetness of knowing that it came at the cost of someone else’s pain.
But once again, Shana has shown her grace and generosity by telling me whenever we communicate, how happy she is with her choice and what a wonderful mother I am to Eliana.
I know it can’t be easy for her. She is the picture of selflessness. I intend to raise Eliana knowing that and loving her birth mother.
So, on this day, I wish my daughter the happiest of thirds birthdays. I wish Shana a day of peace and love.
I say thank you to God and the Universe for blessing me with this, the sweetest little rascal in the world. Happy birthday Eliana!
Stacy is 46 years old and a grateful single mother by choice, after battling eight years of infertility and loss. Professionally, she is a Senior Technical Writer; but her passions lie in high art and pop culture, justice, family, singing in the car, being silly with dogs, and of course, spending time with her two beautiful daughters.
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