Friday, July 16, 2010

My Journey Through Adoption: The end

My counselor was a surprise. I was very suspicious of my lawyer by January. I was starting to think that she had purposely kept the profiles from me so that I would feel like I had no choice but to select from her list. There was no time left to find the other lawyer and get to know him in order to get his profiles.

My counselor pushed me hard about my decision to give up the baby. The first thing she asked was, "What's stopping you from keeping your baby?"

"Mostly money. I don't want to have to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. I can't live with my parents. I'm not done school. I forfeited my maternity benefits (about $500) in order to get off work early".

"Money should not stop you. Have you looked into welfare?"

She told me about her past experiences with birth mothers. You usually stay in the hospital for a maximum of 48 hours, unless there are complications. You get 48 hours with your child before the adoptive parents take him/her. It's recommended you don't see the baby. Wait, WHAT?

I couldn't believe what her words. I thought maybe she was confused about my situation. I wanted an open adoption. I wasn't just give birth and walk away.

"The girls who stay every minute with their baby till the hospital throws them out are the ones who suffer the most. Honestly, I've had to carry girls out of the hospital because they're crying so hard. I love my job, but I hate this part".

She looked me straight into the eyes.

"Theresa. Trust me on this. You have no idea how much your heart is going to break when you walk out of the hospital room and leave your baby lying in her crib. You don't know when you'll see that baby again. Once your parental rights are gone, you have no say in that baby's life. Don't make it any harder than it has to be".

I'm pretty sure a part of me died when she said this. All I could picture was my counselor cradling a 16 year old girl slumped in her arms as if the world had beaten her to the ground and there was nothing left. Was that going to be me?

The next day, I looked into welfare. I'm going to rant a bit about how stupid the system is. Hopefully, you'll never even have to call and inquire about welfare. The system wouldn't qualify me for welfare until I had $500 in my bank account. By then, I had about $1000 left from my savings. If I was put on welfare, they were going to force me to get a job and get off welfare as soon as possible. The entire thing sounded ridiculous. The process was idiotic in itself. You had to be in immediate need of money (ie. on the verge of poverty) for them to CONSIDER you.

"Screw that", was my response.


I, finally, got my profiles a few days after meeting my counselor. Let me shatter your world for a bit. What comes to mind about these profiles is NOTHING like in reality. I received 8 profiles, was told to read through them and to only take, maybe, 4 of them home.


You mean I can't even leave the office and take my time reading through them?

"No, I just don't want 4 good profiles leaving the office that I could maybe give to someone else if you're not even going to pick them", was Andrea's reason.

I think it was in that moment that I decided I was going to keep the baby. Everything after just reaffirmed it.

You would expect these profiles to be lengthy, highly descriptive and informative. Again, NO. I can't even describe to you how disappointed I was at this essential part of the adoption process. The profiles were hand-made, duotang type packages that were self complied by the potential parents. They had headings like "How I met Julie... Why Andrew is the perfect father... Why we believe spanking is wrong".

That was the stupidest column. Of course you're not going to say you believe in spanking! No one would choose you. Why do you even bother to waste space writing it!?

I felt like I was carrying fairytales in my hands. Every family sounded too perfect. Fake. Guess how thick these duotangs were? I'd say no more than 10 pages. Maybe 4 if you took out all the pictures. I was going to choose the future parents of my child based on 4 pages of fluff.

I asked to see the notes that the social worker who evaluated the parents took.

"Oh! I can't give you those. blah blah bullshit bullshit. I can read you them though". She scanned and highlighted the good stuff.

This is the part that always makes me facepalm and want to punch something really hard.

"When can I meet them?" I asked.

"Oh! Meet them?" (why the fuck are you shocked that I want to meet them?) "You need to make sure in your heart of hearts Theresa that these are the parents you're going to choose if you want to meet them. Don't break their hearts. These people desperately want children and you don't want them to get their hopes up".

I left with 4 profiles but I knew that I was done with this. I knew I could raise the baby. I knew that I was the best option. I knew that I didn't want Andrea to get one penny from my baby.

I told her a week later that I had decided to keep the baby. She asked me to return the profiles and said, "Yes. I had a feeling you'd keep the baby considering how attached you were to it".

Of course I'm "attached" to it you stupid woman! It's my god-damn child!

I returned the profiles with a fake smile saying I'd keep her updated. I've never heard from her since. My counselor emailed me once to ask why I changed my mind and never responded when I told her the nicer version of the truth.

The experience was horrible for me but, maybe, it won't be so bad for someone else. I talked to an old elementary school friend who had given up her baby for adoption 3 years ago. Her process was infinitely different than mine. Her lawyer gave her profiles the day after meeting her. She gets to see her baby whenever she is in town. Her parents are just as involved in the baby's life as they would have been if the baby had stayed with my friend.

Maybe it was fate the entire process for Rosie to stay with me. Maybe what happened to me is just the standard. Maybe this is something that we'll never know because no one wants to re-live their experience ever again.

That is my adoption story.


  1. Given your experience, I believe you made the right decision. If you had worked with an agency that actually fostered open adoptions, you may have selected another family family to share her with, as your friend did. My prayers and hopes go with you both.

  2. Powerful stuff. Best wishes, Theresa.