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Voices From the Heart

a collection of writings from those touched by adoption

"The Birth of A Family"
by Carol M.

My husband and I had been tring to get pregnant for about two years. It was hell, there is no other way to put it. All those months of praying for success, only to be dissappointed once again. We were about to start yet another cycle when I had some lab work drawn. It just so happened that I needed to have a rubella vacination--I was not immune. So, we would have to wait for 12 weeks after the injection.

Three weeks later, we got a call from our local DHR (we had fostered in the past). They asked if we would take a child that we had had in the past. It was a three year old little girl we had had just five months before along with her 7 month old brother. Of course we asked about the baby. We were told that the birth parents had left the children alone in the house while they were at a neighbor's house smoking pot. The baby fell into the bath tub and drowned. The three year old little girl had pulled him out of the tub, but it was too late. By the time the birth parents got him to the hospital, he had been without air an estimated 45 minutes to 1 hour. He was flown to a children's hospital in Birmingham and died a few days later. He would have had his first birthday seven days after he died.

The little girl, Taylor is her name, was brought to our house that night. She remembered us and even showed the case worker where her room was. She was so scared and cried all the time for her brother and her birth parents. All we could do for her was love her, make sure she was safe, and get her some therapy to help her deal with the death of her brother.

A few weeks later we learned that the birth mother was pregnant. Seven months pregnant. We were unsure if we wanted to get attached to a new born. At this time reunification was DHR's plan. When the baby was born on December 30th, we got a call. My husband and I talked about taking the baby, but we decided not to.

The baby boy, Timothy, was placed with another foster family. After a lot of praying and soul searching, I told my husband that the children had to be together and if we couldn't take Timothy, we had to let her go to the other family. After talking, we made the decision to get the baby also. It took one year for DHR to terminate parental rights. During this time we had to meet with the birth parents to do visitation. Normally visitaion is done at DHR, but the birth parents couldn't come during business hours. This was the most difficult year of my entire life. I hated having to take the baby out of the car seat to give to the birth mother (if I did not take him out, she would just look at him). I was willing to meet any time for the baby to bond with them. They set up visiation times and then not show up; they would go up to six weeks with out any visitation, and every time they had to be in court one or both were always positive for drugs. This was really hard for Taylor. Even though they did not know how to be good parents (and were unwilling to get any help on how to improve parenting skills), she still loved them very much.

We had unoffically talked with DHR about adopting the kids. We were more than willing. . . in my heart they were mine from the first moment that I had them in my arms. After the parental rights had been terminated, the birth parents had the right to appeal the decsion. The birth mother did not appeal, but the birth father did. It took 18 months for him to get all three of his appeals. They were all turned down. During the 18 months, there was no contact between the children and the birth parents.

Our adoption would take another ten months to be final. During this time, I had an argument with my parents. They had never taken an interest in the kids. My mother would always say things like, "You are never going to get to keep them. Why don't you send them to another foster family? You cannot feel the same about children that are not your BLOOD relations." She not only told me, she would tell anyone who would listen the same hurtful things. It was devastating. We will never have the relationship with her and my dad that my sisters have. Both of my sisters have "natural" children. I take my children to my parents about once a month. I do not encourage the kids to call them. If the children ask to see or talk with them, I make sure they get to. My parents never ask to spend time with them.

My husband found a saying in a magazine that makes me cry every time I read it. It's about a little girl that is asked at school to talk about her family's heritage. She responds by tell her classmates that she is very special because she is adopted. One child asks what is adopted? She tells them it means I did not grow in my mother's tummy like other children, I WAS BORN IN HER HEART. I read this to my children often. My son is almost four now. He has never known another mother and my daughter is well adjusted as well. I AM THEIR MOTHER IN EVERY WAY, SHAPE AND FORM. The road has not been an easy one and yet, I would not change one part of it. I would do it all again. For me and my husband, we feel that this is God's plan for us. If I had been able to start that last cycle of fertility drugs, I don't know if we would have taken Taylor when she needed us most.

To the adoptive mothers out there. . . when some one makes a comment about you not knowing what it feels like to give birth to a child because you have never done it, you tell them that you may not have had the kind of labor pains they did, but pain comes in many forms and your labor started and lasted longer than they could ever imagine. Your pain started deep within, in your very soul. I know that these are the children that I was meant to have. It was written in the stars long ago; it is God's will. I hope that my story will give prospective adoptive parents a little hope that things will work out as God has planned it.

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