By Guest Blogger Barrie Harris:
You’re Single.. And… You are ADOPTING???
That was the question I heard repeatedly as I disclosed to friends my intention of adopting. Not to get into the details of how I got there, but I was not able to have a child while married, now divorced, and had a biological clock that was more like a bomb. I always knew that I wanted to be a Mom – that raising a child or children was truly a “must have” in my life. I have 5 sisters who had all married, had children before me and I wanted to share this blessing with them. To keep that timeline in perspective, I have great nieces and nephews older than my son.
I was researching adoption alternatives and had this overwhelming desire to provide a home for a child that was either an award of the State and/or in Foster Care when my phone rang one Saturday morning….a family friend was expecting a child and wanted to know if I would consider adopting her child. WOW!!! I dug deep in my soul…consulted with a very close friend but knew the second the words came out of her mouth what my decision was. My next step was to talk with family members. I had it in my mind that due to the circumstances, my family’s input was, well, another need I had. I recall sitting in the living room floor of my sister’s house where we all talked about the possibility, potential issues and risks – for all concerned but mostly for this blessing that would be such an important part of our collective lives — as well as the sheer joy and opportunity!
It was mine and the birth mother’s opinion and desire that the adoption be very open. I must admit we were a bit naïve to the range of emotions for everyone involved. The two of us were so connected, we both firmly believed that as long as we stayed on course with our intent that everything would fall in place. Thankfully, we did hold strong and, we were right. That was in December, 2000 and in April, 2001, Matthew entered this world full of spirit! I received the call in the early evening of Thursday, April 12. My parents drove from Texas to North Carolina so that my Dad could stay at my home with our dogs while my Mom would travel with me and be with me to share the memories (yes, I am very lucky!) I tried every airline but there was not a flight until Friday morning. We landed in Texas about 1.5 hours after he was born, rushed to the hospital where the birth mom escorted me to the room where he was laying in an incubator due to some lung/breathing issues. I wonder how often adopting parents get to share such a moment. One would think … hum… how awkward was that… but it wasn’t at all…. the two of us now share such a bond with tears of joy… there are just no words.
The most difficult part was leaving the hospital. We all tried leaving at the same time but getting into the separate vehicles going our own way was ….. challenging… I will leave it at that and would strongly encourage others not to do the same.
The next few months were full of legal requirements which led to his adoption hearing… our “gotcha day” of September 10, 2001. I was officially a Single Mom by Choice!
Our journey of almost 10 years together has gone by way too fast. I had no idea that such a deep, emotional, unconditional love could be established so fast. Thru my research, there were quite a few pieces of material which informed potential adopting parents that you may not feel an immediate bond. I credit our faith in God in following, tackling, embracing a path he laid for our lives to become one.
For us, maintaining a very open relationship with the birth Mom and her new family has been rewarding to Matt, the birth mom, and me. This is not the best option for everyone. If you have any questions (as I did) please feel free to reach out and ask me.
With all these words of encouragement, I also want to include some hurdles. First, I am not his father. I cannot be both. You should seek a good role model of the opposite sex so that the child will have that person to go to with questions and conversation. Second, you will meet the “nay-sayers”…follow your heart, raising a child is not a “one size fits all” adventure. Go with your instincts, your heart, and your intelligence. Third, Matt is a typical child and would like to have a mom and dad as well as siblings. We go thru challenging periods where he hurts because we have a unique family structure but I am very honest and open with him and we seem to make it thru the those periods.
Good luck with your journey – I would not change anything and I strongly encourage single or married persons to adopt!
Smarties, be sure to check out Smarty Scoop tomorrow for SPAFA’s “Getting Started With Adoption” event this Saturday! Should be a very informative seminar for those considering this as an option to start or grow their family!