She ordered extra powdered sugar for her waffle.
As if I needed one more reason to love her. We met her for brunch in the middle of America, surrounded by the perfect small town that would be our daughter’s birthplace. Six weeks earlier, we had no idea the other one even existed. Today we were learning about each other over waffles, beginning to comprehend that this event happening in 4 months would connect us for the rest of our lives. We talked about our hopes for the baby in her belly. We talked about her family, her wishes for her future, when she was starting nursing school and her hometown-she loved it. She also talked of her love for Jayhawk basketball. Oh boy.
We broke the news about our Tarheel blood and agreed that this flaw would be a problem we’d just have to work out later. I was mentally trying to remember every single thing. That she was left handed, the way she talked, that she never sneezed just once. These things would be important to recall. There would be curious questions from a dark haired beauty one day and I wanted to have as many answers stored in my mind as I could give her.
She and I had been communicating with some regularity since we matched. It was important for both of us to learn as much as we could about each other over the next few months leading up to the birth. She wanted to feel like she knew everything about the mom and dad she would soon place her baby with. We wanted to know her so we would recognize in our daughter all the unique things that this beautiful woman would give to her.
Our visit that weekend was pretty great. We spent 3 days there, exploring her town, meeting people important to her and learning. I would love to tell you everything about her because she is that phenomenal. Truly. We’ve decided though, to keep and hold most things about Molly’s birthmom for Molly. We want Molly to be the first one to hear our stories about her, to see the beautiful pictures of her face and her birth city. The line by line details and stories of her birth and placement we’ll hold tight to share with Molly one day. All the conversations her birthmom and I have had over the last 7 months are all documented and ready to be seen first by Molly’s eyes. It’s her story. Hers to treasure and hers to share.
So I’m being cautious about what I write and show here. There are, though, some spectacular moments and sentiments and even a few photos I’m going to share-my hope and motivation is that I want you to know that birthmoms, like Molly’s, who make an adoption plan for their child are good and loving, smart and nurturing. They have dreams for their babies like everyone else and they want nothing more, like the rest of us, than to see their children grow to be joyful, full-hearted adults. I will tell you that Molly is a product of only love. There is no terrible story or circumstance for why she was placed for adoption-only a careful, thoughtful consideration of what her birthmom believes was absolutely best for Molly. Her birthmom and birthdad love her very, very much.
A few weeks into our match as we moved past some of the fluffier texts (what are your Top 5 favorite books?) we made our way to deeper topics. We started to talk about a hospital plan. Molly’s birthmom cautiously asked if I would be present in the room with her, for the entire labor and delivery. She had the support of many people in her life who wanted to be in the room but she wanted Molly to know that when she took her first breath on this earth, the two people who would always love her most were hand in hand. Tears for days y’all.
I didn’t know it then, but we’d take three runs at the delivery. Two were false alarms-one of those found me catching the last flight out of NC, driving along a dirt road at 3 a.m. in KS, looking for the hospital. Waze Fail. Another had me driving her car, trying to meet Darrin at the hospital, whilst counting her contractions that were two minutes apart and we got stopped by the longest flipping train crossing I’ve ever witnessed.
The real deal though, happened on the 22nd of June. So much about that 8 hours of labor I’m grateful to have in my memory bank. It was a thrill of feelings, and longing that I had held in my heart for so long. You already know about Tucker’s hard delivery, so to watch Molly take her first healthy breath and scream a loud thunderous roar is something I’ll never ever forget. One of the many gifts her birthmother gave to me. It was an emotional day as were the days after.
We had decided to bring in a photographer for the birth and I’m so glad we did. We both wanted to capture the day this sweet one was born-not only for Molly but also for our birthmother. Our phenomenal photographer captured and edited 1300 pictures over that 48 hours. They are quite breathtaking. So many are poignant and emotional. Some are funny and sweet. All of them are for Molly, her birthmom, Darrin and I to pore over when we need to or want to. I typically would always credit a photographer for pictures here, however to maintain privacy for our birthmom and her city I unfortunately can’t credit in this case. But I will always remember how unobtrusive and sensitive she was to our situation and her work is just so very beautiful to me.
You may notice in the photos that Darrin and I are wearing some wrong-color-blue shirts. You know of course, that Tarheel blue is that beautiful Carolina sky hue-these shirts though, are royal blue and have a funny bird logo on them. At the end of our first visit out to Kansas to meet Molly’s birthmom, we met her at the hotel for a quick breakfast before hitting the road. She was carrying a gift. When we pulled out the Kansas Jayhawk shirts-she giggled and said they were to be worn to the delivery, lest this baby girl be confused about which team she would love. Problem solved. She may have poor taste in basketball teams but let it never be said that Molly’s birthmom doesn’t have a sense of humor. I hope Molly gets that from her.
Just a few more things I’ll share about Molly’s birthmom:
She arranged a 3-D ultrasound on our first visit because, “I thought you’d like to see your baby girl”. Rockstar.
She didn’t want any medicine for the delivery-she wanted to bring Molly into the world fully aware and wanted to remember every single moment. She was the trooper of all troopers.
She is giving us breastmilk. Go ahead- re-read that. She wanted Molly to have the very best beginning that she could possibily give and she wanted breastmilk as part of that plan. She has been faithfully pumping breastmilk and we happily pay to have it overnighted once a week. You guys. Adoptive parents don’t even consider that their baby will get anything other than formula. This is truly amazing.
She chose Molly’s middle name. Adaline. It means noble. A better name for this entire situation is not in the dictionary.
This part of the series is dedicated to honoring Molly’s birthmom because I want you to see how much thought and effort, planning and love goes into a birthmother’s adoption plan. An easy decision, it is not. The pain for her is long lasting, don’t sweep it under the rug. But hers is a brave love. Molly is hers in a way she can’t be mine and Molly is mine in a way she can’t be hers. We are bound together forever by this spectacular creation who has her birthmom’s nose and eyes.
I can’t tell you the story about how Molly came to be ours without beginning with her. She was incredibly more than we ever dreamed we would find in a birthmother. She loves Molly with all her heart-never be mistaken about that. She is the heroine of this plot-and always will be.
That she loves waffles was just a bonus.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Psalm 13:12
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series, when Tucker realizes WHY we’re in Kansas. The video, you guys, holy moly.
*Post Script: I’m not ready to write about placement day-and don’t know if I ever will be. It was raw. Harder than I ever imagined and it is simply something that is so personal for Molly’s birthmom and for me. I just can’t put those moments into any sentences for public consumption that seem right.