The Wait for Jenny

by Michele Fried

When Cindy* and Tom* first came to Adoption S.T.A.R. they already had many adoption experiences. Unfortunately none of them were positive. Cindy and Tom first joined a local adoption support group where they met several couples that successfully adopted. They listened to the many stories and followed the advice of many new adoptive parents, but they either weren’t at the right place at the right time or they just were not making progress going the private adoption route. In addition, Cindy and Tom still dealt with the grief of losing a premature baby who was born to them after years of fertility treatments. The loss of this baby boy was intense, yet they knew they wanted to become parents and no longer felt they could continue with fertility treatments. This led them to their adoption dreams.

When Cindy and Tom heard about agency adoptions they were negative at first. They felt that they went through a great deal medically, emotionally and financially to create a family and an agency would only be more invasive, time consuming and expensive. Finally Cindy and Tom convinced themselves to come to an orientation seminar that Adoption S.T.A.R. routinely offers for prospective adopters. They were cautious, but pleasantly surprised that many of their fears were only myths about agency adoptions. It does not need to be expensive and the process does not have to be invasive, but rather educational.

Cindy and Tom decided to apply to Adoption S.T.A.R. and they attended all the required educational classes. They found themselves enjoying the classes and learning so much. They thought they knew a lot about adoption, but realized many of those ideas came from lack of knowledge and fear about the process. What Cindy and Tom found most attractive was that they connected with the participants of the classes and most especially felt comfortable (and actually liked) the Adoption S.T.A.R. staff!

After the home study process and the educational classes were completed, Cindy and Tom took on the awesome task of creating a profile and letter that potential birth parents would see. This would be their first introduction to women who would be choosing parents for their children. This was one of the hardest parts of the agency process for Cindy and Tom. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to meet a birth mother; in fact, they hoped their adoption was open and hoped for a relationship with a birth family. It was that they were convinced that no one would select them. At 40 years of age, they were pessimistic that a young pregnant woman would choose them. They feared they may be too short, not pretty enough, rich enough or educated enough.

From January through June, Cindy and Tom were asked if they wished to be profiled 8 different times and each time they were profiled to pregnant women, and each time they were not selected. There was not a particular reason why Cindy and Tom were not chosen. No one said their profile was poor or that they were not good people. The women just felt connected to other couples. At first, Cindy telephoned Adoption S.T.A.R. frequently wondering if we had a possibility of a match for them. As rejection after rejection came, Cindy remained low key and was just happy to hear from the agency even if it was to learn that a birth mother did not select them.

Then in early July, Cindy and Tom were chosen to be the parents of Jenny*, a newborn baby girl who was born prematurely. The moment this couple learned of Jenny they just knew this baby was meant to be their daughter. Just a few weeks after Jenny’s placement with them, Cindy wrote a letter to Jenny’s birth mother. Here are some excerpts from her letter: “Our lives have found a wonderful purpose after years of searching, and her name is Jenny. It is our profound honor and privilege to raise your daughter as our own…. When I say, “God Bless Jenny,” I silently add, “and her birth mother too.” I will do that for the rest of my life, I promise… We can never know the pain you are dealing with. Placing a child in the arms and hearts of others is the ultimate selfless act. Three years ago we delivered a stillborn baby and not one day goes by when he isn’t missed. We can only imagine that your pain exceeds that… Please know that our love for you is real and our respect for you is great…”

After years of dreaming to become parents, Cindy and Tom now know that their wait was for Jenny. It was not meant for them to be chosen by any of the other women who saw their profile. It was simply that their baby was not born yet.