I never really intended for this story to be so long. I think I need to shove it onto the fast track, headed for ALL DONE, because, if the Mayans were right, no one will know how the story ends after Friday.
Oh, I kid.
When have I EVER shoved a piece of writing onto the fast track?
(*laughing alone at my computer*)
(*kind of the ‘mad scientist’ laugh, in case you were wondering*)
(And I just finished typing this post. It’s the longest one yet. You’d better get a snack and a cup of coffee to make it through.)
Our meeting with B went fantastic. After going through two full-on, can’t-handle-all-the-stress-this-month panic attacks, I was fine. Calm and peaceful and fine.
(Prayers can bring that about, you know.)
(And? For the record? I’ve never had another panic attack. Or even another heart attack. My nerves were simply as frayed as Hubs’ favorite sweatshirt, and my brain said QUIT. Also? I’ll give anyone who has ever had a panic attack an enormous, from-my-heart hug, because CRAP! Those are plum, dadgum awful.)
(Yes. I said CRAP. My mama is shaking her head right now while she reads this and mumbling, “I thought I taught that girl better.”)
(But EXPLODING HEART + FIRE SKIN + ICE SKIN + WHERE IS ALL THE OXYGEN? = CRAP. It’s the only answer that equation can end up with.)
B turned out to be adorable. Physically adorable. She has very blonde hair; so blonde, it’s almost white. Pale green eyes. Very fair skin. She’s little. Short and tiny. She was 24 years old at the time she was pregnant, and she had a two-year-old daughter that she was struggling to take care of. She talks nonstop. I had no reason to ever worry that I wouldn’t know what to say to her, because she talks like she’s known you for a hundred or more years, and there are no uncomfortable silences with B around at all. Hubs said she could even out-talk me.
Her story was simple. She came from a good family, and she grew up with her four sisters. Her mother left their family when B was six, and neither Hubs nor I nor Deb believes that she’s ever recovered from this loss emotionally. Her grandmother stepped in to pick up the slack of a missing mother. B grew up with her dad, her grandma, and her four sisters. (Her dad eventually remarried.) This was the reason that she was very firm on insisting that she would only consider families who already had children when she was picking a couple out for her baby; she said that she would never have made it through life, without the support of her four sisters, as they were all close. She said she simply couldn’t risk her baby being an only child, because she wanted to know there was a bigger support system for him.
And yes. She said HIM. B looked across the table, straight into the boy’s eyes, and she said to him, “I know you prayed for a baby sister, but I’m having a boy. Would having a brother be okay with you?”
The boy’s emotions were as high as anyone’s in the room, and he immediately burst into tears. They weren’t disappointed tears about not getting a sister — not at all. They were EMOTIONAL tears. He sobbed and sobbed. He laid his head down on the table, and cried his heart out, and all he could do was nod YES to B.
Everyone else in the room was crying then. The boy’s emotions were heart-touching beyond words. He was perfectly fine with having a brother. Eventually, he looked up at B and said, “I knew Jesus told me YES; I just got the part about the sister wrong, and that’s fine. I would love a brother, too.”
Deb interjected, “Well. We’ll just wait and see when this baby is born, because I, for one, am not convinced that the doctors know what they’re talking about! I’m thinking we’re still getting a girl here.”
But B was insistent. She’d had four ultrasounds, by four different doctors and technicians, and all four of them had told her that she was carrying a little boy.
B was very likeable… very sweet… and she had made some rotten choices in life. She had been working as a bar tender at nights, trying to pay her rent and support her toddler daughter, and she’d met a guy who frequented the bar… a black guy… who was nice to her. They started dating. He was a… farmer. He grew some plants. He was also into manufacturing. He made some products out of those plants. He was also involved in sales. He sold his products on the streets. He was making a very sizable, untaxed income. B ended up pregnant. When she found out, she told him about it. He told her to get rid of the baby. She informed him that she couldn’t, because she was actually too far along. (I’ll have more on that later.) He then told her that it wasn’t his. She insisted that the baby WAS INDEED his. He left her. He broke their relationship off. He blocked her on Facebook!! And he moved out of Rival Town.
B was overwhelmed. She was a single mother already, struggling to make ends meet. She said that she wanted to go to college. She wanted to enter a radiology program and become a radiology technician. She said she didn’t think that she could do that with ONE CHILD, let alone TWO.
She made the choice to give her son up for adoption. She told us all of this and said, “You can give him a lot of what I can’t. I love him, but I can’t take care of him, and I want him to have a real FAMILY. A family with a mom… and a dad… and a brother.”
We were so IN and ON BOARD.
B had dozens of questions for us. How did we discipline? What kind of priority did we place on education? What kind of church did we attend? How often did we go? What did our holiday celebrations look like? Would there be tons of cousins for the baby to interact with throughout his entire life? Would he have his own bedroom? What if he didn’t want to go to college when he was eighteen? How did we feel about that? What if he wanted to go? Would there be financial funding from us for him to get a degree? What kind of elementary school would he attend? Private? Public? Would there be money for sports, if he wanted to play one or nineteen? What about music, if he was interested in that? Could he take lessons for the piano? Or band, if he wanted?
We told B the honest truth. We didn’t know how we’d pay for anything, because Hubs and I had been spending our savings account on hot beverages from Starbucks. We were simply hoping that the boy would become a rock star in a successful band, so that we wouldn’t have to worry about college tuition.
(Okay. That last part isn’t true. We didn’t tell her that.)
B loved the fact that her baby would have his own bedroom at our house. She said she’d grown up sharing a room with her sisters, and she always wanted her own room. Well. Since I had MOVED THE LAUNDRY ROOM DOWNSTAIRS FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER when we were designing this house, we had a third bedroom on the main floor. Oh, yes… we did! And the Bible verses that Sister and our friend, Katie, had written years before, about being blessed with more children, were still hiding in that extra bedroom, beneath the Sheetrock and the hardwood floors.
(So you can hide scripture in your heart, or you can hide it beneath the Sheetrock. It works both ways.)
We had questions for B, too. Was she drinking? Smoking? Was she taking illegal drugs? Was she seeing an OB? If so, what did the doctors have to say about her pregnancy?
The meeting went fantastically well. B hugged all of us, multiple times, and said that she felt like she had picked the right family. And then she said, “I’ve never really prayed. But while my dad and I were driving to Small Town last time… when I came to look at profiles and meet Deb for the first time… I just kind of talked to God. I don’t think I was praying, because I don’t know how to pray. I just talked to Him and asked if I could know when a family was right.”
Um, B? I think that’s called PRAYING.
After that meeting, Deb and Hubs and I met with B a few other times. We met her for lunch twice in Rival Town; we met her for coffee once in Rival Town. And each time, we learned a little more about her, because she is a talker!
During one lunch date, she told us that she was twenty weeks pregnant before she found out about the baby. I was stunned. How does a girl get to the halfway point in a pregnancy before she REALIZES SHE’S PREGNANT?! When I was twenty weeks pregnant with the boy, I looked and felt like I was going to deliver triplets the following week.
And that’s when she told us that she’d been in denial about it. She said that she’d had an abortion at the end of April. (My heart fell plum through my body with sadness over that statement.) She thought that the abortion had messed up her periods, so she wasn’t concerned when she’d missed a few. She thought she’d get back on track with them when her body fully recovered from the abortion. She carried her babies in a way that she didn’t look pregnant for weeks. When she was twenty weeks along, she decided that MAYBE she MIGHT BE pregnant. She took four home pregnancy tests, and she got four positive results. That’s when she made an appointment at our crisis pregnancy center here in Small Town. And when she came over and had her first ultra sound, she was told that NOT ONLY WAS SHE VERY PREGNANT, but she was twenty weeks along, and she was carrying a little boy.
That’s why she couldn’t get rid of him, when his biological father suggested it.
She also told us on a lunch date that she’d been in a terrible car accident on the interstate. It was during a blizzard, and she couldn’t see anything at all. She ended up slamming her car into a semi truck. The responding highway patrolman told her that he couldn’t believe she’d survived the crash, let alone that she’d just walked away with a few bruises and nothing more.
So here’s what Deb and Hubs and I put together.
She had an abortion in April. By the way she talked, I kind of assumed a D&C had been involved, but I never flat-out asked her. I had to have a D&C after I miscarried our first baby, because I was hemorrhaging. I remember Dr. S. being very straightforward with me and saying that Hubs and I needed to wait at least three full months before we tried to get pregnant again, because our chances of miscarrying a baby before the uterine lining had thickened back up were tripled. I don’t know for a fact that B had a D&C. I don’t. I just guessed by the way she was talking that she DID. In order for her due date to be when it was, she would have had to have gotten pregnant again at the end of May… four weeks after her abortion. It’s a miracle that she didn’t miscarry Thing 2.
B also never said that she would have aborted Thing 2, had she discovered his existence earlier. I want to be clear there: SHE NEVER ONCE SAID THAT SHE WOULD HAVE. Never. But we could tell from our conversations with her that she may have considered it, had she known in time; she just didn’t state it in words. She did keep saying that her boyfriend insisted that she get rid of the baby, and she insisted that she couldn’t, because she was too far along in her pregnancy.
She survived a terrible car accident with a semi truck during a blizzard on an interstate. The highway patrolman told her she was lucky to have escaped that unharmed. This accident was in November. B would have been about six months pregnant then.
We’re pretty sure that God had Thing 2 planned out for us from the get-go.
Okay… okay. Thing 2 WAS planned out for us, because God INVENTED the get-go.
God kept Thing 2 secure as a developing baby, when his chances of being miscarried were high. God hid Thing 2 for twenty weeks from B, to insure that he would be able to finish out his gestation period. God kept B and Thing 2 safe during a horrible car accident, because Thing 2 still had to finish developing and be born.
B had also had another family lined up to take Thing 2 when he was born. No attorneys were involved in that. By word of mouth, she’d contacted a family. A friend of a friend had told her they knew a childless couple. In the end, B said that they scared her with some of their thoughts and she was worried that they weren’t the right family for her baby. Deb interjected that what they were trying to ask B to do was illegally abusing state money. That’s all that we know about this other family. Deb assured us that B had been very brave to break off contact with them and that she had absolutely made the right decision there, because they didn’t need to have this baby.
God even took care of another family who was in line ahead of us for Thing 2. B left that family, came to Small Town, met a nurse at our crisis pregnancy center who put her in contact with a Christian counselor. That Christian counselor goes to church with us and Deb’s family, and she put B in contact with Deb. Deb said that she had NO REASON WHATSOEVER to call us about B and her pregnancy when she did, except that Jesus wouldn’t let her rest until she had called us. She said that if the Holy Spirit hadn’t convinced her to call us on Christmas Eve Day, she never would have, because she never thought we were interested in adoption, because we had never mentioned it to her.
Deb had no idea that the boy had been praying for a baby, and that Jesus had told him YES, and that his mama had told him, “Oh, Jesus did not say that!”
I have asked Jesus to forgive me for that one.
In fact, I’ve asked Him about 900 times to forgive me, just in case He didn’t do it on the first 899 times I asked.
This is why Jesus says, “Let the little children come to Me.” It’s because they believe Him so easily, and they can hear His voice.
We spent the majority of January with this enormous secret, because I was terrified to tell anyone. WHAT IF B DECIDED TO KEEP HER BABY WHEN HE WAS BORN? How would we tell everyone then? When I was pregnant the first time, Hubs and I pretty much stood on the roof of the tallest building in Small Town, USA and shouted, “WE! ARE! PREGNANT!!!!” And then I miscarried that baby at eleven weeks. When people would ask, “How’s the pregnancy?” I would have to say, “Um… it’s over.” And then I was comforting THEM because they felt like they’d shoved their own sneaker into their mouth.
I didn’t want to risk that again.
So we told nobody.
We didn’t put a nursery together.
During one meeting with B, she asked me, “What does the nursery look like?” I told her that we hadn’t started. She asked why. I told her… “Because I’m afraid you’ll keep the baby in the end, and I can’t come home to an empty crib without my heart snapping in half.”
B hugged me and said, “This is YOUR BABY! Your baby, and Hubs’ baby, and the boy’s baby. He’s not my baby. I love him, but he’s not my baby. Please! Go get his nursery ready, and I want to see pictures!”
On the drive home from Rival Town that day, Deb told me, “You need to get the nursery set up. You need to tell people. B is solid in this decision to give the baby to you. I’ve never had a more solid birth mom ever. This is your baby.”
…Hubs and I made a T-shirt for the boy to wear.
When we picked him up from school one day in the middle of January, we had him put it on, and we took him to see Hubs’ parents. Hubs’ mama was gone to the grocery store, but his dad was there. The boy wore his T-shirt around Papa for 45 minutes. We talked. We laughed. Papa never commented on the shirt. Papa, in fact, never even noticed what the boy’s T-shirt said.
Hubs’ mom came back from the grocery store. She walked in, saw the boy, and she said, “Hi, honey!” And then she stopped, with her hands full of grocery bags and said, “WHAT DOES YOUR SHIRT SAY???!!!” She had been with the boy for exactly eight seconds and had noticed his shirt.
There was happy crying involved. Hubs’ parents went shopping. We ended up with the cutest denim overalls and a blue teddy bear. They were our very first baby gifts.
Later that night, we sent the picture of the boy in his T-shirt to the boy’s aunts’ and uncles’ cell phones. The text messages started firing in.
“WHAT IS GOING ON? WHY IS THE BOY WEARING THAT T-SHIRT???”
Phone calls happened like a telemarketer conference center.
We were having a baby, and all of our family now knew it.
The next day… I sent that picture of the boy to our closest friends’ cell phones.
I fielded phone calls all day long.
Our baby was due on March 8th, which just happened to be the boy’s cousin B’s birthday. I was hoping that we could have any other day, because every boy needs his VERY OWN birthday. Cousin B needed HIS OWN birthday; Thing 2 needed HIS OWN.
WE. WERE. HAVING. A. BABY.
And everyone finally knew about it.