We met Amanda, Madison's birth mother 10 years ago when Madison was 19 days old. We met her at LDS Family Services in Illinois. We were all nervous to meet. We wondered what she would think of us and whether she would want to change her mind about placing her daughter with us. She had signed placement papers a few days before and was grieving for the child she hadn't seen in 5 days. We had a very nice meeting with Amanda and her mother. We felt such a mix of emotions that day. We were thrilled to be parents. We were overwhelmed at another woman's grief, and in awe of her love and willingness to do what she felt was in the best interest of this little soul that was just placed in our arms. We left with an increased desire to make Amanda part of our family, if only through sharing our lives through letters and pictures. We felt that someday Madison and Amanda would meet again. Amanda left thinking she would maybe never hear from us again. She had entrusted us with everything yet had no expectations from us in return.
Over the years, we communicated with Amanda through letters. When Madison was 3, we sent her our email address and access to a website where she could view pictures online. When Madison was 5, we visited Amanda in Illinois. We met Madison's birth father and his family as well. When Madison was 7, we met Amanda's father and mother, brother and extended family. They have all made our family part of theirs and we have made them part of ours. There have been other visits and we have enjoyed everyone of them.
Amanda is an amazing person and is such a great advocate for adoption. We love you Amanda and just can't imagine our life without you a part of it.
The twins' birth mother wanted a closed adoption. Since I don't have her permission to blog about her, I will just call her "N". In September 2004, our case worker with LDS Family Services called us and told us about twin girls due in December. Their birth mother was working with a different adoption agency in Utah and this adoption agency didn't have many adoptive families to show the birth mother. She asked if we would be interested. We had had many calls like this before, but things never worked out. We had been waiting to adopt for over 3 years. This time, it just felt right. I didn't want to get my hopes up, but I just had this feeling....
I met with the case workers at Children's Service Society of Utah and filled out some paperwork and gave them a letter for "N" and some pictures of our family. I felt really good when I left and again felt like these babies were meant to come to our family. They told us that "N" was due at Christmas, but would likely deliver early because they were twins. They thought she would deliver by Thanksgiving.
We waited anxiously to hear something about the twins. But we didn't get a call. In November, I finally called CSS of Utah to see if "N" had picked a different family. They told me she still had not chosen, but they would let me know one way or the other when she had. On November 16th, I got a call around noon from a case worker saying that "N" was in labor and would be delivering today. She asked if we would like to come up to the hospital and finish our paper work. We were so excited that "N" had picked our family.
We quickly did some shopping. We bought a necklace to give "N" with the girls' birthstone. We made arrangements for someone to watch Madison and headed up to the hospital. We finished filling out mountains of paper work and finally decided we better eat something. While we were in the cafeteria, we got a call saying they were born at 8:00 PM. We hurried to the nursery, but they weren't in there yet. We waited and watched as they brought in two beautiful babies. We watched through the window for a few moments while the case worker and the hospital staff worked out an agreement to allow us to be in the nursery with them. We went inside and helped weigh them and bathe them. They were so beautiful.
It was about 11:00 PM and we hadn't left yet. The case workers had gone for the night. "N" had indicated that she did not want to meet us. Then a nurse came into the nursery with a young woman in a wheelchair. It was "N". We wondered what we should do. We introduced ourselves and told her how grateful we were to her for choosing our family to adopt these beautiful children. We thanked her for giving them the gift of life. We told her how much each of them weighed and how we could already tell them apart. She told us she was glad we were their mom and dad now and that she would not interfere in their lives. We told her she needed to have time alone with them and we would leave. She told us not to go too far, she didn't want them to be alone after she left, but she would like some time.
The next day, "N" asked the case worker if we could come to her room and have a visit. We were thrilled and cherish the time we spent getting to know her. We asked her if she had any names in mind for the girls. She didn't, but she loved the names we picked, Sierra and Savannah. "N" was a beautiful, strong woman who wanted her children to be in a home where they would have 2 parents and would be loved and well-cared for. We assured her we would do this. We gave her all the pictures we had taken the night before and told her we would write if she wanted us to. We have never heard from "N" since then, but we respect her wishes and hope and pray that she is happy and doing well.
Ruth is Lilly's birth mother. When Lilly was 4 months old, her father died suddenly. Ruth was very young and life if very difficult in Ghana. Ruth cared for Lilly for several years and provided for her the best she could. When Lilly was about 4 or 5, Ruth took her to Luckyhill Children's Home where Lilly would receive regular meals and an education. Ruth visited Lilly nearly every day and when she could spare a bit of money would buy yogurt for her. Ruth's mother works at Luckyhill helping care for the younger children. Lilly's grandmother took good care of her. Ruth is currently working at Luckyhill cooking meals for the children. We are so glad we were able to meet the people who loved and cared for Lilly for so many years. They are very good and generous people. We are able to call Ruth every once in a while and send letters and pictures to her with other families traveling to Ghana. We love them and know that the reason Lilly has adjusted to her new home and family so well is because she was loved before. She doesn't have bonding issues because she was loved and cared for before she came here.
Love Makes a Family.
It's our family motto. It's the love of these birth mothers that built our family and the love we share with one another that makes our family complete.