Saturday, April 6, 2013
We arrived at our new home in Washington, after enduring a long drive from Texas, on August 23, 1990. At the time had no idea how life changing that date would be. We settled into our new house and began to build another life far, far away from all we had ever known.
Then one day it happened, a call came in to a second phone line we had recently installed for only one reason. We waited and waited for that phone to ring, one morning it did.
It was from a woman at a church that had received one of the hundreds of letters we’d sent out about our deep desire to adopt a baby. We had made the decision to adopt only 3 months prior.
I have a tendency to be a wee bit, well quite a bit, impatient. Waiting for that phone to ring was torturous, so we decided to adopt from overseas. We had started the paperwork to adopt two children from Romania the very day that phone call came.
The woman introduced herself and asked if we were still interested in adoption, that she had someone that might want to meet us. She asked us what was important to us about the baby we would adopt. We had no criteria as long as it was a baby.
She explained the woman was about four months pregnant and didn’t yet know the sex of the baby, and that the baby was of mixed heritage. She wanted to know if that would be a deal breaker for us. We only wanted a baby, not a special order baby.
We set an appointment to meet two days later. Those two days were some of the longest days of our lives. We didn’t know what expect; we had no idea how to act or what to ask.
On the day of the much-anticipated appointment we were sitting in a Shari’s restaurant, impatiently waiting, when we saw two women walk through the door, one was pregnant. We all introduced ourselves and began to engage in a bit of small talk. About 15 minutes later it came to the important questions. We really didn’t have any, but they had many.
I can’t really remember their questions, only a statement the pregnant woman made. She told us from the moment she found out she was pregnant she knew the baby she was carrying was not her's. The, married, birth father had demanded over and over she have an abortion. She refused and each time he insisted, she told him the baby wasn't hers, but belonged to someone else.
Two hours after the meeting, the woman from the church called again. She said the decision had been made, the pregnant woman had instantly known we were the parents of the baby growing inside her. We were elated! The woman, however, had one request, and that was we record a tape telling stories, talking, and singing. She wanted to play it many times a day in the hopes the baby would know our voices when it was born. Since there was no way I was going to sing, Jeff did, he sang Amazing Grace.
Soon there was appointment made for an ultra sound and we were invited to go. It was then we found out we were going to have a boy. We already had names chosen, Madison Olivia for a girl and Michael Julian, my Dad’s name was Julian, if it was a boy. We left the appointment knowing Michael was healthy and everything was well. Then the woman revealed another bit of interesting information, our child had been conceived August 23, the very day we had moved into Washington.
We were included in birthing classes and doctor appointments, so while Michael was developing, we were there every step of the way. She wanted Michael’s parents to go through the pregnancy, and develop a bond with our soon to be born son. She always referred to him as “you’re baby,” and introduced us to people as “Michael’s parents.”
That was 22 years ago and cell phones weren’t common, so Jeff carried a pager. We had a special code I would enter to alert him when the time came to go to the hospital. We were to be present when our baby boy was born. Jeff was to cut his umbilical cord. Then the day came the code was entered.
Everyone got to the hospital, and soon we met our son. He was screaming as Jeff cut the life sustaining cord. They tiny room was filled with nurses, Jeff and me, the woman that had introduced us, and the doctor.
As soon as Michael was born the nurse wrapped him tightly and tried to present him to the birth mother, she refused, telling the nurse Michael’s parents should be the only ones to hold the screaming infant. She never held him, she wanted him to realize we were his parents.
The screaming bundle was placed in Jeff’s arms, and Jeff began to sing Amazing Grace. Michael instantly stopped crying, turned his head and looked into Jeff’s eyes. The entire room of people began to cry, even the doctor, who told us later, in all her years of delivering babies, she’d never once cried.
Unknown to us at the time, the hospital had prepared a room for us, and Michael would be staying in our room. Michael was born at 5:02 that Tuesday afternoon in May. In Washington at the time you had to wait 48 hours to go to court and to have the judge approve the adoption. Since he was born 2 minutes after the courthouse closed we had to wait an agonizing third day. We spent every second of those days getting to know our new child.
The minute the courthouse opened, on that third day, we were on the steps. As soon as the judge signed the adoption papers, we quickly left the courthouse and drove directly to the hospital to officially claim our son. The nurses greeted us with tremendous joy. Then we noticed the board that had previously had the name “Baby Boy Blue,” written on it had been changed to “Michael Julian Worley.” All of the nurses were crying, as were we, while we dressed our tiny son. After we dressed him, we carefully strapped him into his car seat, hugged everyone there, and took the newest member of our family, our gift, home.