a less usual approach
Please note this is a less usual approach to adoption these days. Most families meet through Child Youth and Family and not their midwife. This adoption took place 14 years ago.
The day my 19 year old daughter came home and told me that she was pregnant, I must admit, I thought “Oh! Well she has done everything else. After four years of Police and Social Workers, this could not be any worse.”
As she was living on our property I knew that it was my responsibility as a parent to support her through the next 8 months.
The pregnancy went well and she kept good health. As the months went by we discussed what she saw as her future and that of the coming baby, I outlined the options for her to consider.
As my husband and I also had a five year old daughter we discussed the idea of adopting the baby ourselves but felt that as we had six children already, it would be too much. We also thought it would be hard for our daughter and it would be too confusing and not in the best interests of the child.
Our daughter came back to us and said that she had decided on adoption. Where to now? We then approached the midwife attending to her and within a week, she got back to us saying she knew of at least five couples, one in our country area and four others in the South Island. My daughter took a few days to consider this and we talked at length about the pros and cons. I said “to me it would always be my grandchild regardless of who the parents were and I would like to have regular contact”. My daughter decided that at this stage she would not want any contact, declining to give any explanation but we started the process.
It was explained in full that we would be given five couples to meet and we would have portfolios with a full background to read through before hand.
We were both nervous as the first meeting approached and discussed what sort of questions we needed answers for. It was really hard for me to stand back, be detached and unemotional. Having had four children of my own I knew that I could not do this myself but my daughter was adamant that this was what she wanted.
The first couple and their little boy arrived one afternoon at our door, they were very pleasant. We had a cup of tea and chatted, answering their questions.
With the full consent of my daughter I then explained that I would like to have regular contact and outlined how we thought this would work. They then departed and three days later our midwife rang to say they had changed their minds. They felt they did not have enough love to give another baby while the first child they had adopted was still so young. We had already decided that they were not the right couple for us.
Along came couple number two who lived in our small town. After chatting to them my daughter felt that they lived too close and the thought of bumping into them at our local shopping area was too much for both parties to deal with, so we declined.
The third couple came down from Nelson after lunch one day. For me the gut reaction was immediate. We hugged at the door, these complete strangers, it felt like greeting old friends. I could see straight away that they were very grateful to even be considered.
By now we had our little speeches well rehearsed so over coffee and fresh baking, time just flew by. I hoped that they felt as comfortable as we did. They had already adopted a little girl who was 18 months old and their open adoption was working well.
On leaving we hugged again and within seconds of closing the door I turned to my daughter and said, “what about them”? They felt so right and were happy with our requests. I told her to sleep on it for a few days, as it was a major decision. The next morning she said that she did not need any more time, that they were the right people and phoned them to say that in about three months they would be getting a new baby, they were ecstatic and could hardly talk on the phone.
As time got closer my daughter never wavered from her decision but I must admit that I had a lot of weepy sleepless nights. I was awakened early one morning to stones on our bedroom window, I had forgotten to leave the door unlocked and labour had started.
As the day progressed we had many walks around our two acre garden and talked in depth about what was about to happen. She was calm and very positive about her decision. We had called the adoption parents and arranged for them to wait close by for our call. Labour was a very typical textbook affair and our midwife wished later that she had thought to video the procedure. It was a very emotional time for me but I would not have missed it and my daughter coped amazingly throughout the whole thing. I was given the chance to help deliver him after the head came and cut the cord. It was a tremendous thing and I then gave him a big cuddle. There is nothing like it in the world. After all the emotions connected with the birth, the feelings to hold him and never let go were so intense. My daughter did not want a hold so I then took him down to the nursery to his new Mum and Dad. To walk from that room was just the beginning of some very tearful moments but another milestone in his little life. My daughter was well enough to come home a few hours later. She appeared to move on from the situation, would not talk about it and did not want physical comfort; this was just her way of coping. I tried over the next few weeks to get her to take the option of counseling but she was adamant that she did not need to talk to anyone. I myself went to counseling for a time to deal with the issues that I had, i.e. feeling that I had let him down by not keeping him. In hindsight I should have insisted that she went too, as in my opinion she is still carrying baggage today (but would deny this) her angry outbursts over the years proved that this was the case. The papers were duly signed and our life moved along.
He has a great life with two sets of adoring adoptive grand parents and wonderful caring parents who have given him so many opportunities. Having a fully qualified nurse as a mum has been of the utmost benefit, as at times her skills have been put to great use.
I contact both of their children (as I treat them the same) for birthdays, Christmas, Easter and always welcome any visits. On the death of my dad last year I sent photos and some family history for him to keep, as one day he might need these answers. I also keep them all up to date with new arrivals in our family.
I feel a nice part of their lives and would not change anything. He has grown into a very lovely young man (although I am not biased). His adoptive parents have done a really great job in bringing out the best qualities in him.
It is a shame that more young mothers today do not look at this option, especially when in my work place I see young mums with no parenting skills, no back up, little money and no future, barely making ends meet with one or more children in tow and not clothed adequately. Without good role models, life is one big struggle. I am pleased that we helped make the right decision for our grandson to have the best possible chance in life he could have.