O Baby, Where Art Thou? Chapter 6: I’ve been MIA

Editor’s note: Amanda and Hal Senal have been chronicling their journey of adoption for TCJewfolk. You can check out the first five chapters of their story here: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5. And stay tuned for the continuation of this post in a few more weeks.

So, I’ve been MIA for the past 4 months, and with a lot of prodding, I am finally resurfacing to attempt to explain where we have been. My lovely hubby, Hal, wrote our last blog entry and it was posted the day after my birthday on Dec. 21, 2016. And if we were to continue in the chronological order of our journey, this post would be writing about my own fertility testing. However, life is not linear, and after the last 4 months, I simply cannot write about anything but what has happened to us, for us, around us…

On Thursday, Dec. 29, at about 6:57 p.m., I received a phone call from our social worker, Amy. It was a screening call, to run a potential birthmother scenario by us to determine if we were interested in pursuing a possible adoption match. I fell to the floor, grabbed a piece of scrap paper from my purse and furiously started writing the details Amy laid out. I got off the phone, walked out of the meeting I had just arrived at, and called Hal who had only gotten off of work a few minutes prior. He was driving home, and I instructed him to pull over in the nearest parking lot. It was Menards. When the car was safely in park, I laid it out for him. There were many complicating factors to this birth family situation. The parents were still together. They were an inter-racial couple, and the Indian Child Welfare Act would be involved. There were multiple older children. There were significant socio-economic factors complicating the situation. There were also some educational and cognitive implications. There was inconsistent and limited prenatal care. According to the last doctor appointment, the baby was healthy and due at the end of February. Hal and I had 24 hours to decide if we would like to move forward with the next steps or if we wanted to pass. It took me about 2 minutes to get off the phone with him and call our social worker back. Yes, we wanted to move forward.

The following days and weeks were a blur. The next evening we had a phone conversation with the birth parents and set a day and time to meet in person on the following Tuesday. For the purpose of keeping their identities safe, we will call the birthparents Joy and Curt. We met them and their children. We all decided to move forward and were considered a “match.” Our profile on the agency website got a giant “CHOSEN” plastered across our picture within a few days. We started by just telling immediate family, our bosses at work, and our closest friends. Due to many factors for Joy and Curt, we made a trip up to the Twin Cities about once a week for medical appointments and to get to know them better. We discussed what would be best for the day of delivery. Joy wanted us in the delivery room with her. We discussed names, what Joy and Curt would call the child, and what we would be naming the child. Typically in Jewish tradition, names are not discussed outside of the couple raising the child until after birth or even the naming ceremony on the 8th day. However, Hal and I decided that since Joy and Curt would also be this child’s biological parents, we would share this with them. The name they had chosen, and the name we had chosen, started with the same letter. It almost seemed like fate.

Everything was falling into place and it seemed like it was meant to be. We exchanged a flurry of emails with our lawyers and set a date to complete pre-adoption paperwork. With the knowledge that Joy’s previous pregnancies went into labor early, we got in the mindset that we had about 4-to-6 weeks to plan and be ready to bring this little baby home. We have a second bedroom that is basically our catch-all storage room. Average wait time once you’re put “in the book” to be chosen by a birth family is between 9 and 24 months – and usually on the longer end. So in our minds, we had all this time to begin to prepare, but not anymore!

I had friends come over and clean out the “storage room” and help me turn it into a nursery. I dropped many of my personal daily routines including weekly meetings, going to the gym three times a week, meal planning and prepping for weeks ahead, and basic self-care; all to get this room ready for a little person that was supposed to be coming home to us. It was amazing, and although life seemed turned upside-down, it was the most exciting and miraculous time!

To be continued…