With so many children in America and around the world why would you adopt an embryo?
To explain why embryo adoption was attractive you must understand the back story that included the loss of a little girl we were in process of adopting. Please understand that this story only represents the Dillon’s feelings, events, and the side of the story that we see. We cannot see the other side of the story. We also love and respect the family involved and wish them the very best and we continue to pray for them. Many facts have been left out in order to protect privacy and to make sure that we remain edifying to all parties. That said, no question about it, this was a loss for us and factored into the decision for embryo adoption.
So, here goes:
3 years ago we met a young high school girl who was looking to put the daughter that she was currently pregnant with up for adoption. I was actually visiting with this young lady’s mother who was grieving the placement of this baby but felt like it would be a good thing-she just was having a difficult time with losing her grandchild. At the time, my friend did not know that we were looking to adopt in the future. When I told her that she went home to her daughter and asked her daughter what she thought about allowing us to adopt the baby. I don’t want to say too much here but there was not a very good situation in the young girl’s life at the time and there were complications to her parenting KK with the father or alone. We met the birthmom, she liked us and was happy to have us adopt the baby although she didn’t say a lot- you know it has to be excruciating to think about giving up your life, the life inside you. She wanted her baby to have a strong loving home though.
We completed the paperwork with the lawyer for a private adoption and began the joy of going through the appointments, ultrasound, and ultimately birth with her. What joy to hear KK’s heart beat for the first time, to meet with the OB and to text with her and hear about her contractions as each day we were closer and closer to meeting our little KK.
We got out the crib, set up the baby room (in Lexi’s room) and got all of the fun baby things out. We tried to love on everyone and I remember comforting the birth grandma and letting her know how much I wanted her to be involved with the baby- we will call her KK to protect her identity. We kept part of the name from the birth mom and changed only a little bit of it. It actually is a name we really really love and may use in the future. I even was able to relactate! My son was almost a year old and I had recently weaned him. With the help of a lactation medication I was able to restore a supply of mild in the 3 months leading up to KK’s birth.
KK’s birthday came and we were blessed to be with her mom, grandma, grandpa, at her birth. I remember holding KKs mom’s hand and arm while she labored and she was so strong as she beautifully delivered this amazing little girl.
The nurse showed her to mom and family but KK was hungry so she gave her to me to nurse. She took to me perfectly, naturally, easily. I felt like that was my child. The fact that she was not my genetics never even came to my mind. My body responded properly and I was making as much as she needed. I apologize in advance if this picture below is offensive. I love breast feeding and part of the preparation for KK was an intensive amount of pumping so I could feed my adopted child. This bonding made her feel like she was mine!
Looking back on it, I cannot imagine the pain and torment KK’s birthmom was in as I was feeding comforting loving her child. Or, was she trying to block it all out, was it ok- she knew the baby would have a good home, she knew we could give her a sister, brother, love and support in every way. We wanted her to be part of the family too. This would be a very Open adoption. I had brought the baby bag to the hospital, I had brought her going home outfit, her bows, her diapers, her blankets, her embroidered bibs, burbs, and bags all with her name.
The kids came up to see her and take pictures with her as did many friends! From these next few pictures you can see the joy on my daughter’s face- she was just glowing- she had a sister!
Mom and her Girls!
We stayed in rooms next to each other in the hospital. KK stayed with me mostly and some of the time stayed with mom. When she was hungry I fed her and I cannot tell you how well my body responded. I made more and more and more milk because of the connection with KK (remember I had been pumping for 3 months to get ready and very little was made every day). Now I was flowing and she was eating, I remember holding that precious baby and loving it and I absolutely felt like she was mine. It was as if she had come out of my very own body. She was mine! The whole time we were in the hospital we knew that mom couldn’t sign away rights until 48 hours after birth. I wish I could say that was an easy time but we were kind of in a wait and see attitude. Would we get to keep this precious one as we had been told? Could birth mom really do it? Or would she decide she can’t live without KK. Papers were signed allowing us to take KK home for the social worker.
The second night in the hospital the birth mom asked if she could keep KK that night. Something grew in the pit of my stomach, something I had probably been ignoring for a long time. I remember hearing KK cry that night through the hospital wall and my heart just broke. I knew she wanted me and would be comforted. Then, just before discharge from the hospital, the news arrived that the birth mom was going to take KK home. I was not going to have the privilege of mothering this child.
It is a tough thing to explain, I had been very public about all of this adoption. That taught me a lesson for the future opportunities to keep them very quiet until they are absolutely going to happen. Then to leave the hospital without a child in hand was crushing. My mom was at home ready to meet her new granddaughter. I couldn’t go directly home to the kids as broken as I was. I ended up going to Patty Lynn Weber’s home and just cried and she kindly held me and cried with me. (For some reason Paul and I had two cars at the hospital.) I am so honored that she took time out to comfort me at that hour. I really needed her. When we did get home we had to tell Lexi and Luke that KK was not going to be ours after all. I was sort of numb for a few days. I had booked a photographer to take her pictures (newborn pictures) when she was only a few days old. This photographer also had an adopted daughter so she wanted to love on the birthmom as well as me. She took some gorgeous pictures (I took the clothes I had picked out for her and a beautiful headband to the photog prior to the session). KK is an absolutely beautiful baby. That day the photog offered to help the birthmom if she ever needed anything. It was arranged that the photog would keep KK the next day so birthmom could go see her boyfriend who had not been able to see his daughter yet. He lived a few hours away. She would have the baby for the whole day so she asked if I would like to come over and love on her and take care of her. I said yes absolutely and spent several hours that day with KK. In those hours I was able to say good bye to this little girl, only 72 hours old (and already with a baby sitter for the entire day) that I had prayed for, loved, prepared for and thought was mine. I don’t think anything can prepare you for that kind of loss.
Actually, there is one thing that can protect you from that loss- guarding your heart. I cried for days, we cried as a family, Lexi and Luke were a little younger so they were not as aware of everything. My mom was angry, angry because she felt like the birthmom had taken us on a ride. (I don’t think she did it intentionally.) We had to heal as a family and we went through many emotions of the pain and the loss and I learned that expectation means a lot. I continue to learn this about myself- I need to manage my expectations because if I can set out for others what I can and cannot do, and if I have clear ideas of how things are going to work than I am better able to operate. Even then, we never know what tomorrow will hold. God is the only one there already.
This was her crib all ready for her. The next Sunday was mother’s day and the dress in the crib was for her to wear to be dedicated. Her crib had actually been given to us by the birth family so we disassembled it and returned it to them. The linens were Lexi’s and I have them put up waiting on another little girl to join our family. Perhaps this is the hardest thing for me to submit to the Father- the desire for another little girl. Lexi wants a sister, I want another daughter. I wonder if some of that desire is placed by God or is some of that desire is due to this loss. I am not sure but I trust God to give us what we need not what we want. We are submitted to Him. As soon as I say that though I immediately think “OK, God- I am submitted to you …….but could you please do it my way?” Isn’t that crazy! We all have things that we need to constantly give back to the Father, for me the desire for a girl is one of them.
And just like that May 6th, 2010 was over and we were moving on to all sorts of events- dance recitals, all of the end of the year things that I had problem solved how to do with our sweet little girl. Each event passed and it slowly became easier. I did not go to baby dedication that weekend. The loss was just days old at that point and I couldn’t do it!
We saw KK at the pool park last summer. She played with Luke and he has no idea that this cute curly haired girl was once to have been his sister. I smiled and waved at her mom. I wasn’t hurt or angry anymore. It was ok KK has a home, it just isn’t ours.
If you had lived through this experience then it would make an impression on you. The desire to not bond with a baby (even before it is born) and have a mom change their mind is a little like ripping your heart out. All we could do was pray that God would reveal himself to this child. I love this family- especially KK’s Grandma- and we still pray for that little girl!
This is one reason embryos were attractive- the genetic parents want their children to have homes. They are giving out of love. The gift is given and set in stone long before the baby arrives.