At age 33, I made a shocking discovery: I had already undergone menopause. My fertility specialist's most promising option was a technique called GIFT: The doctor could combine my husband's sperm with a donated egg. If the fertilization worked, the embryo would be implanted in my womb. As I pondered what that process would mean to me, I realized that I preferred to adopt. And so, my journey began.
Now, over a decade later, I proudly mother two fine children, a boy and a girl, as different from each other as East from West yet similar as only two children of the same parents can be.
An Independent Domestic Plan
First came Thomas Michael. We connected with our dear son Thomas by word of mouth, can you believe it? In this age of dedicated toll-free adoption phone lines and nationwide advertisements in small-town newspapers, we actually found our baby just by talking. While researching agencies and how-to books, my husband Bob and I told everybody we knew that we wanted to adopt. Our desire for a child seemed to bubble into every conversation.
Then one evening, my cousin called. Her friend's out-of-state visiting friend knew a young pregnant woman who was trying to make an adoption plan for her baby. Were we interested? You bet. We met the visitor, exchanged phone numbers, saw a picture of the birth mother-to-be and, within a week, were on our way to becoming a family.
In the ensuing months, we anxiously waited for our lives to change. Our contact with the birth family was mostly through a third party, which kept us disconnected from the people who were becoming so important to us. We sometimes feared that they might change their minds.
Thomas was born in April, two months earlier than we'd expected. We had just moved to a new apartment and were only partway through our state's required home-study process when the phone rang: "The baby's born!" "Oh no!" Bob and I cried in unison, "the painters are coming tomorrow. It can't be, not yet!"
After some fast phoning, faxing and fretting, however, we received the stamp of approval to adopt. Gleefully, hopefully, we boarded a cross-continental flight to meet our two-day-old son. Oh! what a beautiful baby! Two more days passed, and we flew home together. A family was born.