The Miracle Of Thing 2’s Adoption — Part 7 (Alternately Entitled THE ENDING!)

Part seven?  Seriously?  I feel like I’m writing for the old-time Dallas or Dynasty.  It’s the saga that is wearing the Energizer Bunny’s power pack.

The wait for Thing 2 to arrive was long.  But I think it was worth it.  Just look at him!

I think the wait for Thing 2 was longer than my entire seven-and-a-half month pregnancy with the boy, even though it was just nine weeks, roughly, from start to finish.  I told my mom that it was an unbearable wait, because when I was pregnant with the boy, Hubs and I knew that we’d keep him.

Well, unless he had been born looking a little dorky.  THEN we might have traded him to gypsies for brightly-colored glass beads and vials of snake oil.

With Thing 2, I still had to trust that a twenty-four-year-old girl that we barely knew… had only just met a few weeks earlier… would hand our baby over to us when he was born.  Having already been a mother myself, I knew that nothing could have made me hand over my child moments after he was born.  Not even if he had looked a little goofy.  At our house, babies are meant to be kept, forever and ever, amen.  B was already a mother, too.  She had a two-year-old daughter.  She had experienced childbirth and all the emotions that went with it.  She knew the joys of slobbery baby kisses and the smell of baby lotion, while a tiny head rests on your chest.

In my mind, I couldn’t come up with a single reason to give a child to someone else.  In B’s unselfish mind and heart, she couldn’t come up with enough reasons to keep him.  Several times she told me, “I love him, but I can’t take care of him.”

All the cliches in life always lean toward saying that love is enough.  Sometimes though, love just isn’t enough.  Sometimes, when you’re wondering if your rent will get paid that month… sometimes, when you’re racking your brain, trying to come up with an idea for childcare at night while you work as a bar tender… sometimes, when you want to go to college and learn something… sometimes, when you wonder if the pantry will be bare at the end of the month… sometimes, when your heart just wants to go out with friends for a night, and you have no one to watch your child, love simply isn’t enough.

And it takes a very strong woman to realize that.

In this sense, B was stronger than I am, to the millionth degree.

Hubs and the boy and I got the nursery ready.

And then… well… we had never met Thing 2’s biological father, and B assured us that we certainly didn’t want to.  There was some speculation that he was going to refuse to sign his parental rights away, because he insisted that the baby wasn’t his, and he had basically disappeared.

Deb and her husband had tried to contact him through Facebook, to encourage him to put his signature on some paperwork that simply stated he had no responsibilities to the baby.  I had no idea that  Facebook was a legal way to contact someone that will now stand up in court.  The father, S, ignored all contact.  He was gone.

Deb showed us his Facebook page, so that we could see what he looked like.  I’ll tell you this:  He scared me.  Yes, he’s black.  Yes, he’s pretty dark.  And he had the very stereotypical look of a man in his line of work.  (The farming… the manufacturing… the distributing… the selling… the I-don’t-pay-taxes-on-my-product way of life.)  In a couple of pictures, he was wearing a skin-tight, Fruit of the Loom, underwear-type tank top.  He had tattoos up and down his arms.  He had gold chains around his neck.  He had a flat-billed ball cap on sideways.  He was flipping the camera off in one picture.  He was smoking a joint in another picture.  He was posing with thousands of dollars in cash in another picture.

My gut reaction was instant.  I wanted NOTHING to do with him, and I was terrified to take the baby for a moment.  Hubs felt the same way.  Hubs was quiet, and said, “I don’t want access to him at all.  I’m not sure I even want this baby any more.”

It was a quiet night at our house.  I didn’t sleep.  And then, somewhere around 2:00 in the morning, a passage from the book of Matthew unexpectedly popped into my head.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

This baby was a gift from God.  He had been from the start.  Not approving of what his biological father looked like wasn’t going to change the fact that we were being handed a good gift, by God’s very own hand.

First thing in the morning, I told Hubs about this.  And do you know what he said to me?

Well.

He said the exact same verses had come to HIS mind overnight.  And then he said, “We’re taking our baby!  I feel badly for even thinking otherwise.”

And then… I was in a Christian book store here in Small Town, USA later that very morning.  I was looking for a gift for my mom, because it was her birthday.  This store has an entire bookcase filled with devotionals.  Lots and lots of devotionals.  I grabbed one at random, thinking it might make a nice birthday gift for my mom.  I opened it up to see what kinds and styles of devotions were written in it.  I opened up to a devotion from Matthew 7:9-11.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Coincidence?

Probably not.  I honestly believe it was confirmation from God Himself that we were on the right track with our thinking.  I bought the devotional, planning to keep it for myself, because I felt like I had gotten A Word out of it.

I did look at S’s Facebook page again.  The next time I saw it, he had uploaded a new photo of himself on it.  He was wearing a normal ball cap.  It wasn’t turned sideways.  He was wearing a collegiate sweatshirt.  He was smiling.  He looked perfectly normal.  He looked like a college student, in fact.  And he was actually quite handsome.

So we began waiting some more for our baby to be born.

And we waited.

During the first week of February, B dilated to a 4, and she was 100% effaced.  Her doctor in Rival Town told her that he was keeping his fingers crossed that she’d make it to February 16th, at least.  He told her that he was quite confident that she wouldn’t be pregnant after the 20th of February.  We made plans for another preemie.

February 16th came.  B was still at a 4 and 100% effaced.

February 20th came.  And went.  And still, she was at a 4.

This was a leap year.  We began to joke that we were going to get a  February 29th baby, and my OCD could NOT have handled having my child’s real birthday every four years.  Because when?  WHEN do you celebrate on the off-years?  February 28th?  March 1st?  B assured us that she’d lay motionless on the sofa with her knees pressed tightly together all day on February 29th.

And then Leap Year Day passed, and we moved into March.  She was still a 4.  We laughed, because March 8th was her due date, and after all her doctor’s predictions that she’d have this baby in February, B had proved him wrong.

Hubs and I had experienced a preemie baby who couldn’t breathe already; we’d been praying for a very healthy baby this second time, who wouldn’t need ventilators and oxygen and round-the-clock care in a NICU.

Throughout all of these weeks of waiting, I was selfishly praying a naughty little prayer.

“Please, God, make this baby cute.  Please make him adorable.  And if You choose not to make him adorable, please blind my eyes to it and MAKE ME think that he’s adorable, no matter what anyone else says.”

I prayed it daily.  I wanted to think Thing 2 was the cutest baby ever… since 2000 when the boy had been born.

On Friday, March 2nd, Deb called and told us that if B didn’t go into labor over the weekend on her own, her doctor would induce her on Monday, March 5th.  He was leaving town in the middle of the week, and he wanted to be there to see her through her delivery.

On the morning of March 5th, Hubs and I the boy and I were up at 4 AM.  We had plans to be on the road to Rival Town by 5:00 that morning, because that is when Starbucks opens, and there wasn’t any way we were leaving without a cup adorned with a green Mermaid and filled with liquid goodness.

My parents went with us, because RSV was going around something fierce.  B’s doctor had called to tell Deb to tell us that we wouldn’t be able to get the boy into the hospital.  Rival Town’s pediatric wing was FILLED TO CAPACITY with RSV patients, and visitation was put on high alert and horrid security to prevent the spread of the germs.  Hubs and I had no idea what to do with the boy.  He was involved in this story from the get-go, and we insisted that he’d be there.  I couldn’t rest comfortably, though, knowing we’d be in delivery with B while my eleven-and-a-half-year-old son sat in a waiting room alone, in a town he didn’t know, in a place he was completely unfamiliar with.

Plus?  Every girl in the world wants her own mama there when she has a baby, whether she pushes that baby out or watches someone else do it.  The honest truth is that I wanted my mom there with me.  So she and my dad came, and the boy had his Mam and Pa to hang out with in the waiting room.

The good news is that we know a doctor in Rival Town.  He kind of has some pull at the hospital.  Just before Thing 2 arrived, we talked Dr. B into getting us clearance for the boy to come onto the delivery floor so that he could see his brother moments after he’d been born.  The nurses hated it.  The nurses weren’t pleased with him having a plastic pass card to wear around his neck, when other brothers and sisters hadn’t been allowed onto the delivery floor, due to the RSV outbreak.  Dr. B explained that this was a very special circumstance, and that the boy was to be given access to the entire labor and delivery wing, if he wanted.

It was a blessing.

At 2:25 that afternoon, after four epidurals that didn’t work, B — who broke my heart in half when she cried out for HER OWN MOTHER during intense contractions… cried out for a mother who abandoned her when she was just six years old — gave birth to our son.

He weighed 6 pounds, 8.8 ounces.

I watched his little head crown and come out… I had never, ever seen a delivery before.  I cried and cried; I couldn’t hold all the emotions in at all.  And instantly, when the doctor was suctioning his mouth… before his body was even fully out of B’s body… I realized that he was one of the most beautiful babies I had EVER seen.

Beautiful beyond words.

I must’ve asked every nurse and person in that room, “DO YOU THINK HE’S ADORABLE???”  Because I didn’t know if God had just blinded my eyes, so that only I thought he was cute, as I had been praying.  But… OH, MY WORD!  He was beyond cute.  He was breath-taking and gorgeous.

After delivery, Deb and Hubs and I found out that B had been taking methadone.  I had no idea what methadone was, but let me tell you what I heard when the nurse told me.

Meth.

I heard nothing else.  I felt like I was going to faint.  No one had any clue that she had been taking this.  Deb went to talk to B’s doctor, and then to B.

What we learned is that B had been addicted to oxycodone two years earlier.  She had gotten off of it.  She was successful in her recovery there.  Thing 2 had been sitting on her sciatic nerve throughout her pregnancy.  We actually knew this, because once, when we met her for lunch, she was heading off to a physical therapy appointment afterward.  Her OB had prescribed methadone for her, because it was non-addictive, and it could be used to treat the severe pain she was in.

We talked to our pediatrician back home in Small Town.  She told us that methadone has no permanent effects on a baby.  She told us that Thing 2 could (and probably would) go through some drug withdrawals to it, because he would have had the same pain-numbing results from methadone that B was getting.  She warned us that the list of withdrawal symptoms could be huge.

Seizures.  Uncontrollable shaking.  Inconsolable crying.  Sneezing.  Trembling.  An inability to sleep.

The list literally took up the front side of an entire sheet of paper.

The good news was that B’s dose of methadone had been very, VERY small.  Her doctor assured us that it was the smallest dose she could take.  He had been monitoring her on it.

God saw Thing 2 through even this.  His little hands shook three times, that we noticed.  He sneezed, and he sneezed, and he sneezed.  He’d sneeze in groups of eight sneezes, all the time.  And he was a horrible sleeper.

No seizures.  No uncontrollable shaking.  No crying that couldn’t be stopped.

Our pediatrician assured us that we had been very lucky here, and she told us that Thing 2 will have no lasting affects.  No learning disabilities from it. No physical problems from it.  He’s done with the methadone.

Then, for one last little bit of a miracle here, I have to tell you that B and her cell phone are tight.  She texts constantly; it rings constantly.  She’d had her best friend with her throughout the entire delivery.  D was B’s neighbor.  She was nineteen years old, had a one-year-old daughter, and D and B had become good friends, babysitting for one another and seeing each other through thick and thin.  D and B had been on their cell phones forty dozen times throughout that day of delivery.

On the night that Thing 2 was born, he roomed with B and Deb.  Deb stayed in B’s room; Thing 2 stayed with them.  Hubs and I stayed in a hospital room across the hallway.  Mam and Pa took the boy to a motel.

The next morning, when Hubs and I went to see the baby, Deb announced, “We have had a major crisis!”

Exactly the words that a prospective adopting couple wants to hear, when their baby is less than half of a day old.

Deb laughed.  And then she said, “B lost her cell phone last night.  She can’t find it anywhere, and she hasn’t been able to text ALL NIGHT LONG!!”

We had a good laugh, and B said, “I had it in my bed.  I saw that D called me, and the nurse was coming in, so I didn’t take D’s call.  I was going to call her back, and then I lost my phone, and we can’t find it.”

It took some digging.  B’s phone had been set to SILENT, so we couldn’t call it to have it ring as we looked for it.  But, our perseverance paid off, because we found the phone, in the framework of the bed.  It had fallen between the side rails and the mattress, and had come to rest on the mechanical part of the bed that makes it bend up and down.

B had her phone back.  It was still set to silent, and she was so busy holding Thing 2, she didn’t really check it.

At 1:00, B was dismissed from the hospital.  She had signed the paperwork with Deb and us.  She had terminated her rights as  Thing 2’s biological mother; she had named us as his parents.  She had sobbed and sobbed through the signing, but she kept saying, “I am doing the right thing for him!”

Yes.  Yes, she was.

Deb gave her a ride home.  They stopped at the Dairy Queen for ice cream after B was dismissed.  Hubs and I took Thing 2 to our room, where we met with the discharge nurses and Dr. B, who had given the boy clearance to visit his brother on the labor and delivery wing.  We signed papers; we went over feeding instructions; we knew when to call a doctor for Thing 2, and when not to.

Just as we were packing up all of our stuff to  leave, Deb called my cell phone.  She said, “Can I tell you exactly HOW BIG God is?”

Oh, you can try, Deb.  You can try.  I’m not sure any of us really realizes HOW BIG God actually is.

Deb went on to say that when she took B home and dropped her off, D called her.  D had FINALLY GOTTEN THROUGH on B’s cell phone.  B finally answered.  And D said, “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?  WHY HAVE YOU NOT BEEN ANSWERING YOUR PHONE?!”  And then D told B that she wanted B to reconsider the adoption.  She said that she had tried to call B a hundred different times overnight.  She said, “That baby is so cute, you need to keep him.  He’s so adorable!  You can make it work!  You can do two kids!  Don’t give the baby up for adoption.  I like Mama and Hubs, but that baby is too cute to give away!”

B’s phone had been on SILENT, and it was lost all night long.  She hadn’t heard these calls from D coming in.  She hadn’t talked to D in the dark of the night, when a woman who has just given birth and is filled with hormones is most vulnerable.  She signed the adoption papers the following morning, never having known that D had been calling, over and over and over AND OVER, to convince her to keep the baby.

Deb said she asked B how she felt about this.  B said, “I know I did the right thing.  I’m glad D didn’t talk me into keeping him.  He needs Hubs and Mama and the boy.”

And THAT, people, is the story of how we miraculously got Thing 2.  God oversaw it, from start to finish.  I can’t explain it, other than saying that it’s a real, live miracle, from the hand of God.  He orchestrated everything… the story played out like a well-played melody.  All the notes were hit at exactly the right times.  It all went as He had planned for it to go, from an answered prayer, to a third bedroom upstairs, to a legal secretary named Peggy who helped us quickly redo our profile so it was easy to look at, to an attorney named Deb who listened to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, to a scripture passage that was laid on my heart and Hubs’ heart and reconfirmed in a store downtown that Thing 2 was going to be a good gift, to a lost cell phone.

In the end, B asked how she could become a Christian.  She asked us to pray with her.  She asked Deb to help her find a church.

I gave her the devotional book that I had bought.

And now?  Well, we don’t have contact with B.  Our adoption decree states that we will send her pictures of Thing 2 in June and December, every year, for five years.  After that, B is allowed to decide if she wants to continue to have us send pictures or not.  We give the photos to Deb, and Deb forwards them to B.

B has asked to meet Thing 2 at some point after his 18th birthday.  We have assured her that we will not stop him from finding her, but that we will let him decide if it’s what he wants to do.  She fully agreed, but she said she hopes with all of her heart that he’ll come meet her when he’s an adult.

There.  The story has been told.  One trillion words  have been used.

But, before I go, if you can keep reading for one last little story, I’ll tell you this.

In 2000, when I was pregnant with the boy, I was teaching PE at a private Catholic school.  (I actually STILL teach PE two afternoons a week there.)  But in 2000, I had a little 2nd grader in my PE class named Wynton.  Wynton is black.  Wynton’s parents are white.  He was adopted.  His parents went on to adopt three more black children, after they’d adopted Wynton.

Wynton was adorable as a 2nd grader.  Absolutely adorable.  And that boy could run like the wind!  He was one of the fastest runners I’ve ever had, in all of my years of teaching PE.  He ran like an Olympic sprinter.

One morning, Wynton asked me, “Miss Tammy, are you going to have a girl baby or a boy baby?”

I said, “You know, Wynton, my husband and I don’t know!  We wanted it to be a surprise, so we have to wait until the baby is born to find out if it’s a girl or a boy.”

And then Wynton asked me, “Miss Tammy, are you going to have a black baby or a white baby?”

I told Wynton, “Honey, I’m pretty sure that I’m having a white baby.”

Wynton said, “Well, you can never know if you’re having a white baby or a black baby.  My mom is white, and God gave her FOUR BLACK BABIES.  She didn’t get white babies.  If God wants you to have a black baby, He will give you a black baby, even if you are a white person.”

I went home that night and shared the story with Hubs.  We giggled.  (Okay, I giggled.  Hubs’ was more of a manly laugh than a giggle.  He’d like me to be clear there.)

And then Hubs said, “If God has chosen to give you a black baby right now, you are going to be in a whole big gob of trouble!”

God gave us a white baby when the boy was born.  But since we’ve had Thing 2, who is bi-racial… who is one-fourth black… Wynton’s words have echoed in my head, over and over.

“If God wants you to have a black baby, He will give you a black baby, even if you are a white person.”

Dear Wynton, I could not have said it better myself.  God bless you!

6 thoughts on “The Miracle Of Thing 2’s Adoption — Part 7 (Alternately Entitled THE ENDING!)

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I got a good cry in each day reading your blog. So many emotions. Such an amazing story, truly amazing. You have two beautiful boys! What a wonder Gift. Merry Christmas!

  2. I want to come play with Thing 2 and spend my savings account on Starbucks and laugh with you. Because, indeed, we would laugh. And cry over just how good our God is.

  3. Beautifully written! When I was young I sang a song that said, “Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” Praise God for the colors of our world! I love you!

    Mom

  4. Tammy I just read your story…Wow, Many years later! You are a gifted writer! You are blessed with 2 remarkable boys and a great family! What a beautiful story! Wow! Both sons are great individuals and Mark My Words ,will be adults who will do something amazing in this world!!

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