I wrote our adoption story a couple of times but this particular version of it was written on April 20, 2003. I thought it might be a good place to start my blog as the intention of the blog is to be related to my journey as a mother so it makes sense to start with how I actually became a mother! I will probably talk more about his adoption in future posts but for now this is a pretty good run down of our background!
I find it only fitting that I share our story one more time on this date! Itâ€™s Easterâ€¦ a day we celebrate the lives that we have because of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. Itâ€™s also been exactly three years today since a judge sat in his chambers in Medicine Hat going through his weekly pile of adoption papers. At some point in that pile, he signed a paper that made Mikey and me legally the family we had been in our hearts since the beginning of time! And so, I tell our story. Iâ€™m pulling some of it from the story I told just months after brining Mikey home but Iâ€™ve added some too as he has now been home just three months shy of four years. He is now 4.25 years old.
I think the idea of adopting has always been there somewhere in the back of my heart although it was never formed into thoughts or feelings or words until much later in my lifeâ€¦
I would say the first time that I truly thought of adopting right through to planning out the process and the child was when I was about 22 years old and finishing college. It was as good of time as any to make that future life map that I now know at 34 is something that you really donâ€™t have that kind of control over. But I was ready to face the worldâ€¦ and it was going to be on my terms! So I envisioned getting married at 25, having a few kids through child birth in the next 5-8 years and then after that adopt at least one child with special needsâ€¦ and depending on how things were going maybe a couple more â€“ didnâ€™t want to be too inflexible in my life plan . As we all know, life does not always turn out as you plan â€“ yet the seeds that are planted take root and begin to grow in their own way!
When I was 27 years old and still single, I began to realize that perhaps my life would not go according to the map in which I was supposed to pregnant with number 2 by now! This would be the first time the seed of adopting as a single mother was planted, although the way it was planted would not be a joyous one! One of my dear friends was pregnant as a result of the rape and was trying to figure out what to do. She phoned me trying to sort and one of the solutions she had was to abort. She knew I was opposed to abortion and as we continued to talk she revealed the real reason she had phoned me in particularâ€¦she revealed that she wouldn't abort if she knew that someone she knew and respected would adopt her child and asked me if I would considered doing it. I needed to give her an answer so that she could make a decisionâ€¦ many emotions ran through meâ€¦ fear of being a single parent probably most prominent. But there was also my gut feeling that this child deserved life and that God would not have put this before me if it werenâ€™t something that was meant to be. I did a lot of soul searching because I felt very strongly that I wasnâ€™t cut out to adopt as a single parent and I also didn't feel that I was at a point in my life where I was ready to take on the responsibility of parenting. On top of it my friend suffers from some psychological problems that could potentially be passed on to her childâ€¦ this was a big fear to meâ€¦ and yet I could remember the whole part of the plan which was to adopt children with special needs. Despite all that, I felt there really was no choice and that I had to do it and so I phoned my friend and told her yes. She then decided to carry the baby to term, and started getting pre-natal care but she miscarried about three weeks later. After a few good cries (as once I committed to it, I could envision it and I started planning for it) the whole situation moved itself into that place in the back of my heart that helped to shape the rest of my life.
Time went on and although I felt the whole thing from time to time, it really seemed to stay in its place and I moved on with the life that I had known before it. Through all of this I had met friends who became like family to me. I was living about 12 hours from my parents. I had moved their shortly after graduating from college and stayed to teach there through the next 6 years. These friends were very much family to me. In fact, they taught me things that my family never had. They had five living children as well as one child they had had for just a flash of time that I never met as he had went home to God before I met their family. Their first three children had come to them the good-old-fashioned natural wayâ€¦ their next three (the one who had died as well as the next two that they got while I knew them) all were adopted and they all also had Down syndrome. The two children they adopted while I knew them touched me to my coreâ€¦ they made me really think about what was important in life and taught me many lessons of love, acceptance and living every minute to the fullest. After 6 years of living in the same town, we both moved long distances away back to the places we had grown up in. It was hard for meâ€¦ I missed them desperately. They really had become family to me in every sense of the word. Within 6 weeks of moving I flew down to visit them and was heartbroken when I had to leave.
That fall (November 1998), these same friends phoned me to tell me about this amazing thing that had happened to them that they were trying to sort outâ€¦ they told of going to church with their children and of a lady that came up to them afterwards to meet their two children that have Down syndrome. She then proceeded to tell them about her cousin in Montana who was pregnant and had just found out her child had Down syndrome. She was due in February and her and her husband had decided that they could not parent a child with Down syndrome. They also were not going to abort so they were looking for an adoptive home for their child. My friends went home and did some soul-searching. They really believed they had finished building their family. Their youngest had started preschool, my friend had registered in college to get her sign language interpreter certificate. Their life no longer seemed set up for more children. They phoned me trying to sort out what they were meant to doâ€¦ and in the conversation out of the blue she asks if I would consider adopting this little boy who was due in February 1999. They proceeded to tell me what a wonderful mom they thought I would make. And, again, a seed was planted. I hung up the phone without giving them an answer and again started the process of soul-searching. This time the soul-searching was far deeper then the last! This time I seemed to be fighting something inside of meâ€¦ I kept trying to convince myself that I couldnâ€™t do it and kept coming back to a feeling in my heart that this was what I was meant to do. I prevailed and I phoned them and told them I couldnâ€™t do itâ€¦ there were just too many hurdles that I couldnâ€™t imagine overcoming! Yet, the battle within me continued.
That Christmas I went to visit them again. This time they sat me down as the adoption thing had continued to haunt them as well. They once again approached me with the idea and I once again shut down and became defensive. They pulled back realizing this was no time to push. Leaving them this time was even more heart breaking then the previous time. I returned home on December 31, 1998. The next two days I really dug deep and looked insideâ€¦ and sat still and listenedâ€¦ and realized that I was not the one that was making my life map at that time. I went back to my journal entry where I mapped out my life some years back and realized how silly it was. The morning of January 3, I woke up knowing that I was about to give in to what I had been battling the previous months. I decided that I would pursue adoption although not this specific adoption situation as the time frame would no longer work â€“ the child was due within about 7 weeks! I also knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my child would have Down syndrome. I got out a brand new notebook that I would track all information related to this adoption in and my first entry is in the afternoon of Sunday, January 3 just after I phoned my friends to tell them of my plans. The next day, I started making phone calls to adoption agencies to find the one that I would be working with. These dates become very significant... hang on!
By the end of January, I had picked the agency I was going to be working with and by the end of February I had finished the adoption training program required by my province. Then things were put on hold as I had decided to go with the provincial agency and paper work got backed up. At the end of April, I received the package that I need to continue and by the beginning of June, all paper work and homestudy visits were complete and I was looking at my homestudy to be written up and complete by the middle of July â€“ at which time the province would put me on the list of people waiting to adopt a child with Down syndrome. According to my social worker it looked like it would probably be about the summer of 2000 when I would be â€œmatchedâ€ to my child. This sounded fine with meâ€¦as it would give a year to prepare both mentally and financially.
I was reminded once again that those little life maps that we write out thinking we control our destinies sometimes just donâ€™t work! In the middle of June, a friend of mine who I had met on a listserve for single adoptive parents told me about a little boy in Toronto with Down syndrome who was looking for a forever family. I seemed to know immediately that this was my childâ€¦ even though I had heard about other children in the previous months in the same manner. Things fell quickly into place after my first contact with the social worker in Toronto. My social worker here rushed to finish my homestudy, the meeting was set up there to officially decide that I would be Mikeyâ€™s adoptive mom and it was all pushed through. By late July I was able to fly out and meet Michael, who was at that point just over 6.5 months old. He was born on January 3, 1999! Somehow I knew it was all meant to be when I found that out.
He was the sweetest little thingâ€¦ I walked in and he was sitting in his exer-saucer with towels wrapped around him on every side because he didnâ€™t quite have the strength yet to hold himself up. I was greeted by his precious smiling face and his foster mom grabbing him up out of the saucer and placing him in his armsâ€¦ and in that moment all that had been growing in my heart for so long became physically â€œrealâ€ and I totally understood the saying â€œadoption means that youâ€™ve grown in my heart!â€
The past years have been everything I imagined and far more. Mikey is an inquisitive, active, loving little soul that touches my heart and the hearts of almost everyone he comes in contact with daily! I have the same dream for him that I would for any child of mine... I want him to strive to be all that he can be. I want him to surround himself with friends and family that love and respect him. I want him to grow up and find his passion and live it with all his soul. There is a whole world out there for him... and I know that he will go and grab it!