Our baby girl is now three and a half years old. I think back to four years ago and the entire process to make her part of our family and I’m surprised it turned out as well as it did.
Our story started almost exactly 4 years ago. My sister told me she was pregnant just after Christmas, just before we were going to be headed to Guam, my husband’s new duty station. The first words out of my mouth were “Congratulations!” after a huge stammer. She looked at me crookedly and said she really didn’t expect that response. Since no one supported the idea of her rebound relationship, she feared she wouldn’t receive support with the pregnancy.
My sister’s background is imperative here. She had some issues in high school with self esteem, like most girls do. Out of High School she met a man whom we shall call Shane. Right off the bat Shane presented some red flags to everyone. He was unemployed, claiming to be getting an education but with little to show for it. He very quickly began putting walls around my sister- capitalizing on her low self esteem. He started doing all the things that abusers do to their victims.
I know my parents tried intervening but there was not much they could do. My sister married Shane and their honeymoon was traveling to another state to a job that didn’t actually exist. That marriage lasted 7 years, spanning 17 moves and three children. He was verbally abusive to all the kids and my sister and very manipulative. The 17 moves generally involved a mysterious new job or feeling like they just “had to get away from controlling family” and were always very short notice.
By the time my sister was able to get out of that marriage, there was a lot of difficulties they all had to go through. Her three children needed a lot of attention. They all dealt with insecurity and self esteem issues, among other serious things.
My sister tried so hard to be a good single mom, but she was lonely. She tried an internet dating site and on a rebound found a guy who would accept her with everything she was going through and her children. Unfortunately, this man was another version of Shane. We will call him George.
My sister ended up pregnant after only a few months of being with George. George, father to three other children by three other women, was very excited. He talked of being a real family and how wonderful raising their child was going to be. My sister knew that this wasn’t a realistic idea, but she desperately wanted the perfect family he was painting a picture of.
Shortly after she told me about the baby, I suggested to her that my husband and I could adopt the baby, that we would love to adopt the baby. She cried. She admitted that as much as she loved the baby, she had thought of adoption because she knew it wasn’t the right time or situation to be bringing another baby to her family.
My husband and I left for Guam knowing that my sister was going to talk to George. I waited daily for word on how the baby was doing and if my sister had talked to her boyfriend. We were ecstatic to find out the baby was a girl. We were not so excited to hear how George was unwilling to even consider adoption.
The months went by and I tried to convinced myself to stop caring about the baby. It was heartbreak to consider the that the baby wouldn’t be our little girl. It was also hard to think how much my sister would struggle being a single mother to four and how much that would affect all her children. The baby’s birth came via c-section. I received pictures and tried not to cry over them.
7 weeks went by and I was starting to get over the “loss” of the baby and enjoy the fact that I had a new niece to love. I listened eagerly as my mom told me about my sister finally getting out from under her boyfriend’s influence.
One day my mom video called us and my sister was on the call. Not a rare thing. I was excited to see her beautiful little baby! But when my sister informed my husband and I that she had been thinking about what would be best for her child and that she wanted us to adopt the baby, my heart nearly stopped beating. I seriously had to rethink what she said a few times before I really grasped what was being said.
Plans were made immediately and within a week we were flying back to the states to meet our baby and start making adoption plans. We met our baby girl when she was 8 weeks old.
The waiting was difficult but the next few months were a mixture of agony and pure bliss. My sister moved out of George’s house and into a women’s shelter and then eventually into my parent’s house. My husband and I brought our kids to pick up the baby and also moved into the house. It was a very full house but it was so perfect for a transition.
We made a lot of good memories with our daughter’s half siblings…outings, pictures, cards and letters. We had the opportunity for my sister to continue to breast feed and pump so the baby could have the breast milk for a while longer.
This time was such a spiritual time for our whole family. There was a lot of praying, discussions on eternal consequences of our actions, and what role our daughter was going to play in the family and in life as a whole. I wish I could convey the depth of emotion that passed through this whole experience, ranging from grief to elation. The adoption was no light matter to anyone as we dealt with the emotions and thoughts of mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousins and siblings. The binding factor in everyone’s hearts was that we all knew the adoption was the absolute best thing for the baby.