An interesting thing happened on the way coming home from work the other day. ~ I’m gonna lose even more readers with this ~ I was listening to NPR radio when something got my attention so much that I felt I was meant to blog about it.
Now for all of you that are going to comment on how it is a sign of old age that I am listening to NPR on the way home instead of something to help me unwind, relax. Don’t worry….I am already afraid of this.
The story was on ‘All Things Considered’. It was on a Winter Song List of people that wrote in on favorite or most inspirational songs and NPR got to pick a winner. The collage of songs caught my attention. The winning song, and story behind it however, made me take notice and actually pull over to write down the author, the title to the song, and the winning contributor so I could follow up when I got home. Click here if you want to read this wonderful 5 minute episode in its entirety.
The winning song was Brandi Carlile’s, ‘Dying Day’. Its an upbeat acoustic song about a writer longing for her love that is far away. Its kinda a catchy song in its own right but it is not what drew me in.
You see the author of this winning story was locked in an adoption. She was going to adopt a darling 5 ½ month little girl from Ethiopia. She was on an international adoption trip where she had the opportunity to meet the potential baby she wanted to adopt.
For those not familiar with international adoptions, usually you sign on for an adoption program, you state what types of children you are willing and not willing to adopt, factoring on everything from race to birth defects to parental drug use and so on. Everything. The agency eventually matches you up with a child and you have to make the long trip to meet the child to see if each one is compatible with the other. Then you talk to the government agency, fly home and wait to hear if you have been approved or not.
The potential mother was Joanna Woodbury of Wauwatosa, Wis. and I’ll let her take it from here or you can listen to the episode here:
“It was awesome, and probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, all in one,” Woodbury says. At the time, the little girl the couple was applying to adopt was just 5 1/2 months old. “We got to be with her for about 45 minutes. I held her for 20, and then she fell asleep. We had to put her down and leave the room, and then take a 4 1/2-hour bus ride back to an Ethiopian court and say, ‘Yes, we want to parent this child.’ “
A few days later, they were back in Wisconsin, where there was nothing to do but wait to hear that the adoption had been finalized. It would be a trying 11 weeks before word came through — and during that time, Woodbury says, she found a new appreciation for “Dying Day.”
“I was in the car listening to this song, which has always been a favorite of mine, and all of a sudden the lyrics just meant something different,” she says. “The lyrics are, ‘I just want to kiss you, and I’m going to love you till my dying day,’ and that I should be there to take of you and I can’t be. … It’s all about longing and a little bit of hurt, and just waiting until you get back to that person. And that’s how I felt.”
I got it. I knew exactly how she felt. In fact, I couldn’t even listen to that song without tearing up a bit. If you are a parent you probably know too. Now, if any of you are readers of my blog you have to know how I feel about my two little girls. They are a gift from God that have far exceeded my expectations of what being a Dad and raising two toddlers could have ever been. But I think only a few may have guessed by now that our kids are adopted.
My ‘Dying Day’ moment was not pre-adoption though. We met our potential birthmother in a meeting prior to the adoption She was beautiful inside and out, as was her mother that came with her. We waited another 10 days ourselves until we found out we were finally going to be parents. Bam! parents in with 10 days to prepare!
But it was so much more than those 10 days. I found out in my early 40′s that we could never have children; Think about it, could never have children. Ever. We tried the IVF procedure several times and while hopes and prognoses always started off high they always ended in tears and silence.
And so, sitting in my car, on the side of a busy roadway, I knew exactly how Ms. Woodbury felt. When we finally were able to receive our new daughter, now about 2 ½ weeks old, we were the happiest people on the planet. But as all you parents know, the magic is only just beginning at that point.
I got to stay home on my company’s FMLA plan to be SAHD for the first time, as our new beautiful daughter slept and ate and pooped and occasionally smiled. And I knew I was going to love her until MY dying day.
Actually, in reality my song was Jimmy Buffett’s, “That’s What Living Is To Me”. The lyrics went, “..the world’s too big to understand. Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free. Live a lie and you will I’ve to regret it. That’s What Living Is To Me.”
We had the new tropical DVD version of this song, possibly one of the most scenic videos ever. We had just gotten back from vacation about 3 months earlier and I was still riding the tropical high. Knowing that my daughter was going to grow up loving Jimmy Buffett just as I did (living close to the beach) I would play the scenic DVD for her. And when this song came on I would pick her up and hold her gently close to my chest until I could smell her baby’s breath and slowly dance to this song while I quietly sang it in her ear, ” That’s what Dylan is to me. That’s what Dylan is to me”.
Now, the point of this blog though was not to be about me or my family or Joanna Woodward. Its about adoption itself.
Why isn’t the gift of Adoption considered more often?
If there is any worry about the parents not loving their adopted child as much, its simply not true. Hopefully I have illustrated that point here, and in 3D. Parents wanting to adopt wait a long time to do so, pay huge sums of money all in the hope of raising ‘their’ child. Adopting a child did not complete us. In fact that phrase doesn’t even relate.
Adopting added at least 5 years to my parents lives, easily. Adoption answered our very many heart-wrenched prayers, literally transforming birth mothers in to Angels in our minds. It taught us how much you can actually love. High school crushes and even marriages pale to the love for our child. Adoption is an ideal solution to an untimely or unwanted pregnancy I feel. So why don’t more young mothers do this? So many people wait so long to raise a child. The supply falls so short of demand.
Now I am not the authority on why adoption is not considered more often. Every pregnant mother might be, but not me. It shouldn’t be what other people might think about the pregnant mother, “why did she? Why couldn’t she? She should have…or that’s what my mother did”. My knowledge of birth mothers has shown me they think more about the wants and needs of their unborn child, than the needs for them self. In short, they love their children more than they love them self. And I think that’s what great mothers do. Right?
Birth mothers are literally Angels, answering the abundance of tearful prayers offered by families wanting to raise their own children but can’t. Its not the easy way out for them. I know from experience birth mothers love and think about their kids everyday. They wonder, every day, if they made the right decision…from a distance. There is nothing easy about that. Any birth mothers, if you are reading this, please know we will love both our amazing, beautiful, phenomenal daughters, until our dying day. And one is every bit as special as the other!
So if you know, or ever come in contact with a pregnant mother in an untimely or unwanted pregnancy, please recommend the Gift of Adoption; or refer them here to 3D. If the time is not right for these girls to raise a child on their own adoption is a beautiful option. Joanna Woodward and our family can attest to that. And I think how very different my life would be if our two amazing young ladies (birth mothers, a.k.a. Angels) thought more about them self instead of choosing us, yes they chose us to raise their daughters. To me, that would be beyond sad; for many people.
If you would like more information on the Adoption process, from either the adopting family or the potential birth mother side, please check out our adoption agency, Bethany Christian Services. They offer first rate counselors to both sides and can help one make informed decisions.
In an attempt to end this on an up note please watch Disney’s “Meet The Robinson’s”. It’s a great movie we watched last night. Purely coincidental! Our was it?