We were officially certified to adopt on September 13, 2012. The initial home study is good for 18 months in our state, and from that vantage point it seemed like a long time.
Our first match seemed to come very quickly. She was about 3 months pregnant, so we still had a long time to go, but that was fine. We met her, and she seemed satisfied with the match, so we felt satisfied as well. One of her priorities was to find a Christian family for this child, and we fit that criteria.
From that point forward, though, things were awkward. She wanted me to meet her for doctor appointments, but it always seemed a little strained. She missed appointments here and there, though she did make the ultrasound that showed us she was having a girl. That made things more real, but then she blew off the sugar test for diabetes. More than once. There were times she simply refused to answer her phone. All throughout I felt hopeful that this match would stick, but in the back of my mind I half expected it to fall through.
We got the call the day before her 38-week appointment, telling us she had the baby early and decided to keep her. I was not surprised, Disappointed, but not surprised. We talked it over and decide we would hang in there until our home study expired, and decide at that point whether or not to continue further.
Part of the driving force for that decision was loss of money. We lost half of what we had paid already, per the contract we signed, when this disruption happened. The balance would not be refunded – again, per our contract – but applied toward our next match. These terms are not unusual in domestic adoption contracts, but they are expensive. We knew the risks when we entered into the contract…it is the nature of any adoption contract that potential adoptive parents have all of the money and none of the power. You have to accept that going in…and we did.
Match number two happened within a few weeks. We were thrilled about it, and perhaps I was especially so, since the disruption had caused me to start wondering what was wrong with us that she didn’t follow through. This is not the first time I struggled with those questions – the waiting can beat you down – but more on that in another post.
We met this birth mom on a Friday. She was visibly pregnant – close to seven months we learned – and she had CPS problems that prevented her from parenting this child and the two other children she had not surrendered for adoption. They were with family members. She wanted to decide where this child went, rather than having him (yes, it was a boy) become a ward of the state when he was born. She was positive, upbeat, friendly, and excited about us. We felt the same way. Everything seemed great.
On Monday morning we got the call. She had suffered a psychotic break over the weekend, and had to be involuntarily committed. It was then that we learned she suffered from bi-polar disorder – apparently severe bi-polar disorder – and she was not only institutionalized, but she was not deemed competent to make decisions regarding the baby.
“Run, don’t walk, run from this match. You do not want this.” That was the advice from our social worker, and she was right. We were thankful that this happened right away, that no contract had been signed, that no additional money had been paid. I believe that God was protecting us here from a situation that could have been very difficult, and very costly, for our family. Costly in more ways than financial.
But then, through both of these disruptions, I saw that God was protecting us. The little girl from the first match? She had a heart problem that required open heart surgery and a feeding tube. We would have taken her anyway, but I wondered if the birth mom was afraid we wouldn’t.
The other (more sinister) hunch I had about the first match, though, was that this woman scammed everyone. She was a single mom of three already, all with different fathers, pregnant with her fourth, with no way to provide for any of them except through the state. I wondered if she decided to “give this one up because she couldn’t care for her” (her words) in order to get support until the baby was born. I don’t know this, but I half suspected it. Whatever her reasons, I didn’t trust her completely, and I see now that God was protecting me from myself. I wasn’t highly emotionally invested in her…something held me back…and in the end, I was not devastated by the disruption. I thank God for that, because it enabled me to be open when the right match came, and I was able to connect with and care for our birth mom in a way I could not have otherwise.