BabyGirl and I were at a birthday party yesterday. In the din of the 5-year olds dancing to traditional music from India, another mom pulled me aside. I like this woman. I've known her since infant Gymboree. She's a nurse-midwife, aka, the BabyCatcher.
A client of hers had been in the process of adopting an infant who, coincidentally, the BabyCatcher happened to deliver a few months ago. The potential birthmom also had a 10-month old at the time. NewBaby goes home with the potential aparents, everything looks like it's following the plan. Birthmom asks aparents if they'd want to adopt the older child, too. They hesitate, but don't say no. Birthmom says never-mind and reclaims NewBaby shortly before her consent hearing leaving the devastated aparents wondering what the hell happened and vowing to never try open domestic adoption again but rather go international instead, because there's no chance for a change of plan.
Now, mind you, I'll always be the first to protect a woman's right to choose to parent, I'll always be the first to stand up for truly ethical open adoptions. This is in no way a rant or screed against potential birthmoms who change their minds--for whatever reason. I whole heartedly believe that unless a woman comes to the decision without coercion or pressure, the adoption shouldn't happen. Even if the change happens at the last minute, like ours.
This isn't about that situation, it's about what the BabyCatcher said next:
Would you and Mr. Handsome consider them, now 4- and 14-months old, since the mom is still talking about adoption?
Immediately, a whole list of questions come to mind. How much real and helpful counseling has this woman received? There must have been something that was causing her to hesitate about continuing with the adoption plan in the first place, was it an uncomfortable relationship with the prospective aparents, some look they gave each other? Were they starting to exclude and marginalize her already? Was it because she really wants to be the mommy and shouldn't make an adoption plan at all? Was it because she needed a way to call the whole thing off without feeling too guilty for putting them through the pain of losing the baby they started to bond with? Afterall, it's got to be easier to be angry at someone than to feel guilty? (Hey, that last one is just me, I'd like to think that moms have some compassion for devistated, shell-shocked, and heart-broken prospective aparents after a change of plan.)
And not to ignore the issues that we still have at our house! I'm almost done selling all the baby stuff (to the tune of nearly $500 so far, thankyouverymuch). Do we want to get back into the baby business again--and with two of them? I just started a consulting business and landed my first paying client. Could we put BabyGirl through all that again; heck, she still calls AJ her brother and mourns losing him. Could we somehow manage to not take the babies until parental rights are terminated and still make ethical choices and decisions that we could explain with integrity to them? (Throw in something about having cake and eating it.)
I almost wish the BabyCatcher never asked. It's too hard to have to go through these decisions again. We're out of the pool and we're ok with that, sad but ok. But I still miss babies and I'd always wanted more than one...
Am I really ready to be done expanding our family?