|January 23, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 2 • Oakland, CA|
Persistence helps family embrace joy of adoption
During our early years of marriage, my husband Steve and I looked forward to becoming parents. I came from a large, loving family and anticipated having a child of my own to raise. But it seemed this was not meant to be.
Unsure of where God was leading us, Steve and I began researching adoption, eventually deciding on Bethany Christian Services. During the orientation, the warmth of the social workers put us at ease; their dedication to life was evident. Bethany House provided birth mothers with housing, food and counseling free of charge, regardless of whether they chose to create an adoption plan or parent. This felt right, but the wait wasn't over.
It took four months to be fingerprinted, complete FBI and Department of Justice background checks, finish four interviews with a social worker, read books, take parenting and adoption classes, receive infant CPR and first aid certification, and create our profile to share with potential birthparents. After two years of waiting, we got the call. A birth mom selected our profile and her due date was in two weeks.
He was born June 22, 2015. The baby needed extra medical treatment, so we stayed by his side for eight days in NICU until he was released to us. On our drive home, we received another call: The birth mom had changed her mind. Trusting that the birth mother had done the right thing for her child, we continued to have faith in God's plan knowing that He would do the right thing for us.
There was a period of mourning after he returned to his birth mother, and I looked for a way to occupy myself through pro-family ministry. I began volunteering at Birthright Pregnancy Support Center in Livermore helping women, each with unique struggles. Our training included meeting with a social worker, Holly, from Bethany Christian Services, on how to talk to women about adoption if parenting was not an option. Ultimately, I was to discover that meeting Holly was no accident.
Four months later we received another call. A woman from Central California reached out to Bethany Christian Services with Holly assigned as her counselor. Initially, a closed adoption was requested — no contact with the adoptive family before or after the baby arrived. Holly felt that our preference survey and background most closely matched the birth parents' wishes.
After Holly shared our profile, the birth mother began to cry. She immediately felt a connection and wanted to meet us. On Sep. 19, Steve and I met with our counselors, and the birth mother and father, a unique bonus. After initial anxieties, the birth father asked Steve serious questions about our marriage and his job. The birth mother asked me heartfelt questions about the baby's name and the closeness of our family. Clearly these two loved their baby and desired to take him home and parent. Because of some struggles, they knew they couldn't provide for him the way they wanted.
Less than two weeks later the birth mother went into labor. Steve and I drove down to the hospital, and a boy was born on Sept. 28 with lots of beautiful, black hair. His birth mother insisted I change his first diaper and feed him his first bottle. Together, we shared several hours visiting and loving our baby boy. He spent that night in her room, and before he was discharged we took pictures of the two of them together.
The very next day our son came home, filling our once empty arms with the most magnificent, baby boy who brings so much joy to our lives and those of our family and friends. His birth mother and I keep in contact, and we send pictures and updates. She is grateful for the life we will provide him, for our presence when she needed someone, and for our ongoing friendship. Her trust in us finally made my husband a father, made me a mother, introduced us to the most amazing little boy and changed our lives forever. She carried her baby for nine months and courageously created an adoption plan filled with hope and love. We are forever grateful to this selfless couples' choice of life and for the love of family.
(Tricia Vieira is a Birthright of Livermore volunteer. Mair Moran, Birthright of Livermore executive director, assisted her in editing her story.)
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