In support of National Adoption Month, we are honored to be sharing adoption stories and perspectives from moms in our community, as well as advice and insight from Wichita Attorney Megan Monsour on how to handle the adoption process. Click here for more on our National Adoption Month series.
My husband and I have always talked about adoption. We knew it was something we would do at some point in our lives, a calling of sorts.
We gave birth to a son and daughter a little less than two years apart, and I had many complications with our daughter that were likely to happen if I became pregnant again. So the call to adopt became stronger as time went on. We finally began the adoption process in the summer of 2014 and had many months of waiting.
Then, we finally received “the call” on April 27th, 2015.
There was a baby girl, due to be born May 27th. We went from waiting for months and months to hearing news that we would meet a baby girl in exactly one month!
Throughout that month we received updates of doctor appointments – how first mom was doing, if she was dilated, if baby girl looked healthy. I found myself asking so many questions. Is she eating healthy? Getting enough sleep? Is she ready to not be pregnant anymore? Or is she holding onto the last days of having her baby with her?
Adoption is hard, beautiful, life-changing, stressful, emotional, and one of the greatest decisions my husband and I have made to date.
Baby girl came two weeks past her due date. We drove up the night before first mom was to be induced and arrived at the hospital at 6 in the morning. First mom was already there, and they had begun induction. We waited in our own room, receiving updates throughout the day. At one point, they brought in baby girl’s bed where she would be placed once she was delivered. I stared at that bed for a long time. I kept picturing this little miracle we were going to meet soon. I received texts from friends and family all day asking if she had been born yet.
She was born at 5:09 on June 9th. We did not even know she had been delivered, and they wheeled in this beautiful baby girl. I stood over her the entire time they cleaned her up and took her vitals.
When I finally saw her, I thought to myself “There you are. I’ve been waiting for you.” I talked to her nonstop because I knew she and I had some catching up to do. She was beautiful: 10 fingers, 10 toes, dark hair, and big brown eyes that would melt even the hardest of hearts.
We spent the next 48 hours in the hospital. She saw her first mom a couple of times while we were all in the hospital. I cannot begin to describe how hard that was for me and my husband. But there is more to our baby’s life story than just us.
While we were celebrating, her first mom was grieving.
I birthed our two older children, and I simply cannot imagine what her first mom was going through. While it was hard for us, I also knew it may be necessary for her. She needed those visits, and I willingly gave them to her. And the entire time she was out of our room, I wondered if she would come back.
But she did, and we will forever be grateful.
Almost 5 months later, and this beautiful girl is thriving. She wakes up with a smile. Her smile lights up her entire face. She laughs at her brother and sister almost nonstop. She cuddles her daddy on a daily basis. I cannot imagine life without her. I have absolutely no doubt that she was supposed to end up in our lives. While rocking her at night, I watch her sleep. I hope she always knows how loved she is.
She may not have been born of my body, but she was born in my heart.
Adoption is a complicated thing. I don’t know that there is any black and white when it comes to this process; each situation is different. I will forever be grateful for her first mom for choosing us to raise this beautiful child. I am fairly positive I will always think about her as well. She was vital to our baby girl being here. We are all intertwined into this beautiful little life. While I mention that adoption is complicated, I cannot forget that it is also one of the most defining and beautiful moments of my life.
Regardless of whether my children are biological or adopted; at the end of the day we love and celebrate each of them. Not for the similarities we have, but for the special ways each came into our lives and for the individuals we are raising them to be.
McKenzie Barnes is a stay at home mom to three children ages 5, 3, and 4 months. She has been married for her husband Tyler for 6 years. She received a degree in Elementary Education from Wichita State University and resides in El Dorado, KS.