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Perspective

Our journey to foster/adoption was impacted along the way. From the time I was a child young enough to need a babysitter to the time I was the babysitter and now as an adult. But yesterday something odd happened and I was reminded of the Safe Haven Baby that was in fact not placed.

It was May of 2009. A co-worker of mine was talking at lunch about her Sister who was pregnant and giving the baby up for adoption. We had friends that were going through the process of working with a domestic adoption agency. I decided to open my big mouth.

Oh are the adoptive parents going to be there?

No she didn't do that she was just going to leave the baby at the hospital under the Safe Haven Law

Oh. Well you know we have friends who are trying to adopt.

Do you think they'd be interested in the baby?

I could ask.

So I did. I e-mailed with the details I knew. Baby Girl. Due in a month. Bi-racial. Dad in Jail. Mom Drug user. No Prenatal care. The friends were interested. So I texted my co-worker. I recieved one back. I talked to my Sister she wants to give her to your friends. WOW. Just WOW.

These friends of ours had tried for years - undergoing every fertility treatment possible. Even trying massage and acupuncture and there was no medical explination for their inability to get pregnant. They didn't have any trouble with their first pregnancy and they desperately wanted to give their child a sibling. I was excited! Maybe working in this office finally had MEANING. We were facilitating a much wanted adoption helping everyone out. (Yeah I was that arrogant.)

Then the sister went into labor. That night. She labored for 2 days. The families talked. They decided to go forward. Could we come and introduce them at the hospital the day she is born? Sure. We walked in and saw this tiny beautiful baby girl hours old. I got to hold her. And went to change her diaper not realizing it was her first diaper change. We listened as her Mother told the potential adoptive parents how she wanted her to have better and that she was sure of her decision. Hire the lawyer. Hold your daughter. I would never tell you I was going to give you the baby and then change my mind. Until she did. And the social worker told the adoptive family's lawyer that there was no baby to adopt.

I was angry and upset. I felt responsible for bringing this heartache into our friends lives. How could she do that to them? To her Daughter? These people could give her EVERYTHING. I was concerned about the $1,000 retainer they plunked down. And this was all complicated by the fact that I worked with the Aunt. Maybe this is my Sisters chance to change her life around. Perhaps now she'll stay clean (apparently her 15 year old wasn't reason enough, or her boyfriend who over dosed and died at her house the previous year). She quailifies for state insurance and she can get a voucher for a free high chair. The updates on the baby started to sting as I heard them. My office was careful not to mention it around me but I did hear things here and there. I found out the Aunt had taken custody of the baby in order for her to leave the hospital as she tested positive for drugs at birth. I saw her picture and her beautiful curly hair. And a gigantic smile.

Then we ventured down the road of foster parenting and adoption and I learned a ton. That drug abuse is a common reason for children to be taken by DCFS. That an adoptive family in a "better" situation does not give the chid an automatic pass to a great life. That often adoptive children have trouble coming to terms with how they came to be adopted and that knowing their birthfamilies becomes very important for many of them. That the best interest of a child is to stay with their birth families if at all possible. In reading the blog of a woman who did place her baby up for adoption under Safe Haven I learned of the pain that birth mothers go through. I know that with the joy of adoption for the adoptive family also come with a great loss to the birth family and the children.

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk working at my computer with my back to the hallway. I heard little feet running down the hall and I turned to look. It was her. Full of energy, same big smile. She came running straight to me. Her Aunt laughing. She came straight to you. Thats so wierd! And instead of the prick of heartache I felt joy. Joy for this little girl that her Mom was able to parent. Happiness that she looked well cared for and adorable. Relieved that she seemed healthy. Blessed that she popped into my life. I have a different perspective now and I'm glad I was able to be a part of their difficult journey so that if ever faced with the situation again I'll have a better understanding of the emotion involved.

You might ask what happened to our friends. They found out they were pregnant not too long after going through this situation. Their baby was born in May and while she had some serious health problems she is now home and doing well.

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