October 22nd, 2007
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Categories: Other Birthmothers

In my last post, I explained that one of your rights as the mother of your child is to take him or her home before making a final decision and placing. My friend, Cari, did just this last July after giving birth to her daughter, Selah. Cari knew that adoption was the right decision for Selah knew that the short stay in the hospital would not be enough time for her to spend with Selah so Cari opted to bring her baby home with her before placing her for adoption. Cari agreed to answer a few of my questions and share this experience with us.

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When Cari began considering adoption, she knew that although signing in the hospital in her state was legal she didn’t want to sign in that environment. She also did not want to be rushed in the time she was allowed to spend with her daughter. That is when she decided that she would bring her daughter home for a bit before saying goodbye. The prospective adoptive parents were cautiously supportive of this as well as Cari’s friends and family.

Most of my friends/family did not even know about the pregnancy. The very few friends who did know about it were cautiously supportive. They were glad that I would have that time alone with Selah without people breathing down my back, but they were also scared of what (if any) additional emotional aftermath there would be when the time came to say goodbye.

During the time Selah was at home with Cari, Cari did what any new mother does. She marveled at the cuteness and sweetness of her brand new baby girl. They snuggled and cuddled. Cari bathed her. She took her clothes shopping because Cari says no little girl can ever have enough clothes! She read her bed time stories. She had professional photos taken. She told her about ten million times how much she loved her. She stared at her. She sang to her.

Honestly, I just spent time with her. I tried not to count down the days that I had left with her, but instead count the moments that I was spending with her.

When it was time for Cari to hand over Selah to her adoptive parents, the placement was very relaxed yet very emotional at the same time and took place in Cari’s home. When I asked Cari if she considered changing her mind and parenting Selah, she said that once her mind was made up regarding adoption, that was it. She didn’t make this decision lightly or in haste. She took a lot of time to research her options and talk with many different people in order to come to this decision. Of course, just as it is hard for any birthmother to sign those papers and part with their baby, it was hard for Cari to have Selah leave.

You go from having a baby with you for a week, to sitting in your living room knowing that these two people are about to walk out with the baby that you’ve given birth to, that you’ve cared for, and that you’ve had for 24/7.

I’m sure you are like me and are probably wondering if having Selah in her home made placing her harder for Cari. As I stated before, personally, I think it would be harder, but since I’ve never done it I cant’ actually say. Cari has though and offers that perspective.

Honestly, I can’t say for certain that having Selah home with me did make it harder. Being able to spend time with her outside of a hospital setting or lawyers office allowed me to grieve with her… it allowed me bonding time, and the time to say all I wanted to say at that time. I didn’t feel rushed or pressured. I felt more at ease with the whole decision mainly because of this.

Playing both sides, I asked Cari if there was anything negative that happened during this experience. During the week that Selah was home with Cari the prospective adoptive parents visited with Cari and Selah daily. They all became very close during this time.

When the time came to say goodbye, I felt like I was not only loosing my daughter, but I was loosing two people that I loved and respected more than anything. When the chosen time came, they came into my house and sat and talked. They didn’t ask for her, and at first I didn’t hand her over. After about an hour, I suddenly knew that they needed to leave with her, and they needed to leave right that very moment. Without warning, I placed Selah in the adoptive mother’s arms and said “You need to leave… now”. They started crying, I started crying. They walked out the room, respecting my wishes, and I instantly wished that I had more time. However, I knew that it was time, and I needed to let them go. My heart felt as though it had been ripped out on so many different levels. I sat and I cried.

While bringing Selah home was the right decision for Cari, she knows that it might be the right decision for every other expectant mother making an adoption plan.

I recommend that each mother really evaluate her situation and do what is best for her. I recommend that you talk with the prospective adoptive parents, your adoption attorney, and your support system before making your decision about whether to sign in the hospital, out of the hospital, instantly, or to wait a few days. Be open and honest about your choices. Don’t let anyone try to pressure you into doing something that you are not comfortable with.

Cari advises expectant mothers considering adoption, to talk with their support system and to not be afraid to talk about their feelings.

My most important advice though would be not to allow anyone to pressure you into making decisions too hastily. Take the time you need to think things through. If you have an open adoption plan, take the time to get to know the adoptive parents as best as you can. Build on your relationship together. Take pictures together for your baby’s life book. Ask questions, and most of all, be honest with yourself and with your child’s adoptive parents.

Again, as I said in my last post, I’m not saying that an expectant mom should or should not bring her baby home from the hospital, but it is a right that you have.

In my next post, Cari will share the reactions of others.

Photo of Cari and baby Selah during the week Selah was in Cari’s home before placement. Used with permission.

Related Posts:
Taking Your Baby Home
Your Rights

3 Responses to “Taking Your Baby Home: One Birthmother’s Story”

  1. Coley; this is a terrific posts for expectant mothers considering placement and potential adoptive families. There’s nothing “big or scary” about this mother taking her child home for a week. I wish that I had known this was an option. Even if I would have placed at the end of that week like this mother did, just think of the memories I could have had in that one week.

    All the same, this is, as I said, a terrific resource for parents involved with this issue! I hope that more expectant mothers realize that this an option for them!!

  2. Coley S. says:

    Thanks Jenna!! I wish I had known it was an option as well. I don’t know that I would have taken Charlie home or not, but I really wish I had known ALL my options.

  3. thomasina says:

    I don’t understand…I never will. My heart screams out: Throw those people out! Keep your daughter!

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