Back in January, 2000, my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family. We knew we couldn't have children, so we researched fertility treatments, in-vitro, you name it. Then my co-worker adopted a baby from China, so I began researching adoption. I did a search on the internet and came up with tons and tons of stuff. I then tried to make sense of all of it. I spent about 1-2 hours per night just poring through these internet sites. From that, I put together a list of "favorites". I read lots and lots of the recommended reading material.
One of the recommended things is to tell EVERYONE you know that you are looking for an infant. That's what I did - everyone: my family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, doctors, people at the grocery store, etc....AND asked them to also tell 5 people (domino effect) and to keep an eye out for me if they knew someone that was pregnant and didn't know what to do (wanted an abortion) or whatever.
To our surprise, only 2 months later, I received a phone call from my cousin up in Pennsylvania. I had never told her but it got from one of my family members all the way up to her - I hadn't talked to her in over 10 years! Anyway, her best friend was 42, pregnant, and didn't want the baby. She didn't want to begin a new life all over again, etc. and had gone to get an abortion the week before but just couldn't go through with it. She had no idea about adoption, etc. So, I asked her to call me collect.
She called me and we were both really uncomfortable at first, but after we got to talking, things got much better. She indicated that she had never done anything like this (she had 3 grown children) and I indicated that this was a first for me, too. I then contacted an attorney and hired an attorney for the birthmother. Then, the birthmother and I decided to actually meet. We were both scared and hesitant at first, but after the initial shock, we became fast friends and stayed in touch weekly.
I was able to know how much the baby weighed, what it was doing, feel it kick, etc. (all while getting my home study done)... The birthmother told me that she wanted me to be in the delivery room when she had the baby and asked if I wanted to be there. I was so excited! About a month before she was due, we went up and stayed in a hotel up in PA because she just knew it would be any day now and I didn't want to miss it -we waited for 32 days.
During this time, we had scoped out the place and knew the quickest route to the hospital and had talked with social workers at the hospital to explain everything. We finally got the call at 3:30 am on November 26, 2000. We went to the hospital and I was rushed into the delivery room with her to be her coach. I was there when my daughter's head popped out (all 6 times! - she was too big) and the doctors went to give the baby to the birthmother and she said, "no, give the baby to her mother, she has been waiting for a long time for her!" And, I got to cut the cord and hold her for the first time. Needless to say, my husband did NOT want to be in the delivery room but was right outside the door. When the nurses asked the birthmother what kind of formula she wanted the baby on, she said, "I don't know, ask her mom" and pointed to me. Later on, when just the 3 of us were in the room, I asked the birthmother if she wanted to hold the baby. She did, and when she gave her back to me, she said, "Tammy, this is a gift from me and God to you and your family." Boy, I couldn't stop crying; I was so happy. She asked me if I would spend the night with her at the hospital in her room with the baby, and I couldn't have been happier.
The next day, I asked her if she wanted some time alone with the baby to say her good-byes, etc. She did, and my husband and I took that time to make phone calls, order baby pictures, etc. When we came back, she had the time and had made her peace with saying good-bye to the baby. Later on, her attorney came to the hospital and had her sign all of the paperwork and had us sign ours. That afternoon, we all left the hospital together. The birth mother rode in a wheelchair and held the baby while I went to get my van and her ride came to pick her up. She then handed the baby over to me and wished us luck and said we should get together soon. She also said that she was so happy that the baby was going to a good home with good people, etc. because she knew she couldn't take care of her and start a new life, etc.
Then, we went back to the hotel in PA, because we were doing the adoption in MD, I couldn't cross the PA state line until the ICPC was completed (where each state coordinator signs off on paperwork saying I could cross the state line). So, we stayed in PA for another week. I would have stayed for another year as long as I had my baby. The birth mother had 30 days from the time she signed the paperwork to change her mind and take the baby back and we could give the baby back within those time frames too. The only problem was we couldn't find the birth father. He had taken off to another country. To make a long story short, after he signed off on the paperwork, we sent everything to the courts, and on April 23, 2001 our daughter was "officially" ours.
I get up every day at 3am to be at work by 6:30am because I live in southern Maryland. I have over a 2-hour commute (one way) but I love my job. I work for the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. I work 10 hour days from 6:30am-5:00pm and am off every Wednesday. This really helps me. I am also allowed to work at home, if the project I am working on allows it. My husband watches our daughter 2 days a week, and my mom watches her the other 2 days a week so I don't have to worry about day care worries and expenses. I just live for my days off when I can be with my daughter, husband, and small dog.
We recently purchased a new house and are so very happy with all of the space. Before, we were living in a very small 2-bedroom house -- which we are now renting out to my cousin, so we get a pretty good tax break.
On the weekends, I love to spend time with my extended family (we all live in the area) - I have 7 godchildren and countless small cousins that my daughter just loves to play with. We are thinking about adopting again as we had such a great experience, and she just loves to play with other children.
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