Today, I have Jenni (renamed to protect her identity) on my mind. For all of you that dont know who she is, let me introduce you..she is the most selfless person I have ever met. She is Hallie's birthmother.
We could not be more pleased and happy to have such a wonderful person be the biological mother to our child. When we first got the call that we had been picked, all they told us was that it was an African American woman, 31 years of age. Little did we know what an awesome, special person we were about to encounter.
When we arrived at the hospital, Im pretty sure we were all a bit nervous. Here we were, in a New York City Hospital, waiting at the large metal doors for a nurse to let us through. We knew there would be no "buffer" in between us and the birthmom. No social worker, no adoption specialists. Just us, her and the baby. Would we feel comfortable talking to her? Will she like us? What will we talk about? What if she changes her mind? These were all the questions racing through our minds.
As we walked down the hall to her room, we looked into the baby nursery, wondering which one of the babies could possibly be ours. We couldnt believe the time was actually here. We had waited almost 3 years for this moment!!!(trying to concieve/adoption wait)
As I knocked on the door, I heard a raspy voice say "come in"... "Jenni"? I asked..and there she was..the mother of our soon to be child. She looked great! You would not believe she had just given birth. She smiled at us and we smiled back. She picked up the phone and asked that the baby be brought in.
O.M.G, we were about to meet our little girl. While we waited for the baby, we asked her how she was feeling, and how the labor/delivery went. She was kind of quiet and reserved, which made it hard to "read" her. As the baby was rolled in, we couldnt believe our eyes! She was BEAUTIFUL! The most precious, pretty baby I had ever seen!! Jenni picked her up and held her. I waited for her to let me hold her. It was only a couple of minutes before she passed her to me. My baby girl was in my arms. Wow, was this really happening>?? I thought for sure I would be balling at this point, but I wasnt. I think I was in shock, on cloud 9, and just overwhelmed with happiness.
Over the next 2 days, we sat at the foot of her hospital bed, holding the baby and getting to know Jenni. She was a very strong person. Did not show much emotion. We felt like we bonded with her just in the few days we spent with her. She gave us the best gift anyone could ever give. Even after seeing what a perfect baby Hallie Rose was, as hard as it was, she still knew she had to do what was best for the baby. She felt the best thing was for her to have a Mom and Dad who loved her, and could provide a loving stable home for her.
She loved Hallie Rose so much, she gave her up so that she would have a better life. For that, we are forever grateful.
We cant wait to teach Hallie what an awesome person her "belly mommy" was. We want Hallie to know how much Jenni loved her, and that because that love was so strong, she gave her to us in the hopes of giving Hallie a better life. We will also tell her what a strong woman her birthmom was, and is.
One of the hardest parts of the adoption process for both Joe and I was the feelings towards Jenni after the papers were signed. We were so beyond happy that we had our little girl, but we felt so sad for her birthmom. We felt sad that she had to give her up, and felt sad knowing she had to leave the hospital without her. In the days following the hospital discharge, we were very emotional when we would think about or even mention her name.
We, in a weird, way felt sad for Hallie too. We knew she was in the best place possible, but we felt sad that she was taken away from the only person she ever knew. Her birthmom. She spent 9+ months in this woman's womb, and nursed off of her for 3 days after she was born. There is no way the separation did not effect Hallie. We tried our best to talk to baby Hallie and let her know we understand her feelings and that we know she misses her birthmom, but that we are her parents now, and we are going to love her and take really good care of her. (I will post an article here soon that talks about the trauma a baby experiences when separated from their mom at birth. It can be from adoption, NICU, or lots of other reasons a baby is separated from it's mommy after its born.)
We feel very blessed to have had the experience we did, and to have made such a connection with Hallie's "belly mommy". I dont know if we will ever meet or talk to her again. We have a semi-open adoption which means our agreement is to send pics and a letter to the agency once a year, which we are excited to do! She had told us at first she did not want contact after the baby was born because it would be to hard on her. We completely understood and respected her wants. After giving birth and meeting Hallie, she decided she would like pictures and said she had to admit she is very "curious" as to what she will look like/turn out like. I do know one thing for sure, we will always have a very special place in our hearts for her.
Fyi..we never got the chance to meet the biological father. He was not a part of the birthmother's life during the pregnancy. All we know is he is fair skinned, with blonde hair and blue eyes.