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Thursday afternoon 12:45 pm (January 22nd): It felt like a foreign place…like I had never been there when in reality I had hundreds of times before. We walked to her room and the Social Worker looked at Adam and I and asked us if we were ready? How could we be ready? What would we say? What do you say to a woman that has a child that you want?! I was trembling. The three of us entered her room and she was sitting on her bed. We said hello and I walked to her bedside. I think my instincts of greeting a patient as I had done many times before upon first entering their room kicked in. As I neared her though I began to cry, making me stop in my tracks. I said “I guess I’m not sure how to do this”, to which she replied “me, either-how can anyone know how?”. I responded with saying “why don’t we get to know one another by just visiting then?”. We pulled two chairs up next to her bed while she sat on the edge of her bed. The Social Worker stayed with us the entire time. I started by telling her about us, how we met, got married, what we do, how we live-basically our story. I told her about our babies, including our last two little girls, Noelle in 2013 and Lainey in 2014. She told us about herself, about how she grew up, what she does now and she shared her dreams for her future. This was an unplanned pregnancy, the father unknown. She had soul-searched since the very beginning of the pregnancy and knew she could not provide for this child the way she would want to. She stated, “I have so many friends that should have made this exact decision for their child and they didn’t….and I don’t want to be like that”. She knew what she wanted. While this was clearly the most painful decision she had ever made, she was at peace with it.
At about 2 pm someone came in to visit with her about the birth certificate. They told her they needed to get it completed as soon as possible and that she could put whatever name she would like on it and that it would later be changed once the adoption was completed. It is at this time that our miracle was truly, truly shown to us. The birth mother’s response to this staff member? “Well, they are her parents…so, they are the ones that should choose her name and her last name should definitely be Carter on her birth certificate.”. Adam and I both looked at each other with tears going down our face. AH.MAZ.ING. There are no words for how we felt at that time. No words. Absolutely none.
The woman looked at Adam and I and asked us what we wanted to name her and we responded by saying, “well, umm….hmmm, err….we, uhh….didn’t know we would need a baby name, today…ummm…..can we have a minute?”. After she left we asked her birth mother what her middle name was and if she would like us to use it in the baby’s name or if she had any ideas, thoughts or recommendations, to which she responded by saying “I really think you should come up with a way to combine Lainey and Noelle together, you know, your other daughter’s names.”. I was floored. This woman was giving us this gift, her child….and actually picked up on that small detail from our story when we were talking! I asked her if she thought it would be weird if we actually just named her Lainey Noelle and she said “absolutely not…I think that is what you should do!”.
She had yet to meet Lainey Noelle at this time. We asked her if she would like to and she was still hesitant. We shared two things with her from our (very brief) education we had received so far from our home study. First, we were taught that a mother had to say hello before she can ever say good-bye. The Social Worker that is doing our home study also shared a story with us of a mother that placed a baby for adoption years ago that was not allowed to see her baby at birth. For decades this poor mother has dreamed of a “faceless” baby every night. Lainey’s birth mother decided to meet her. It was beautiful. She unwrapped her and counted her toes, kissed her, held her and loved her like only a mother can do.
After about an hour of Lainey, her birth mother and Adam and I being together it was time for Adam, Lainey and I to go to our room (yes, OUR room!). We told the birth mother to please come to our room to visit whenever she would like, to which she responded “no, I need to grieve”. As we were taken to our new room by our nurse (at about 3 pm), the other nurses and staff that were just then becoming aware of the miracle that was happening before them began to cry. Ours is a small hospital…only 21 beds but we were taken to a different hallway. It was incredible to think that in our hallway it was the best day of our lives but in the other hallway, someone was having the worst day of theirs.
*more to come
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