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Jenny, Gerald, Max & Bella's Story

Ths is a letter written to a friend of a friend who just found out that one of them were infertile. This is our story.

Dear Mike and Mo

I'm not really sure where to start. I'm sure you are still in a bit of a
confusion realising what situation you are in and all the implications of
it.  Hope we can help you see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Just to give you a brief run down on our situation. Gerald and I had been
married for about 7 years before we started trying for kids, as I was fairly
young, we thought what's the rush and sort of carried on trying. As the
years went by a hole began to really open up inside me, something that only children could fill. We eventually went to see some fertility experts who said this and that, but couldn't find anything specific wrong. We tried the least invasive fertillity steps and when those didn't work we were faced with the option of going onto hormones and then proceeding onto Invitro and goodness knows what after that.

Both Gerald and I felt that since there seemed to be no obvious reasons for us not being able to conceive that they were just guessing in the dark. Our reasoning on this then was that perhaps it wasn't our time or our desitiny to have our own children. We decided that rather than going with all they had to offer us which included the risk of multiple pregnancies, serious invasion into our bodies and health it just didn't make any sense for us to go that route.

We started to consider adoption. I didn't have a clue what to expect, so I
made my first call to child welfare. On the phone that made it very clear to me that we would need to consider adopting across the colour line, getting a white baby is near impossible through them at any rate. So with this
information I thought about it for a while and stewed on it. Not sure about
my ability to love someone else's child let alone deal with all the issues
of colour and goodness knows what else. I was uncertain as to how all my
family and friends would react to us adopting. Looking back it was a scary
and confusing time.

We went ahead in October 2003 for our first of several interviews. Our
social worker explained the situation to us. Once again a confusing time, we just wanted to get a baby and there we were faced with all the options and possibilities :
Would we take any colour or did we want to be specific ?( ie black, mixed
etc)

Did we want a boy or a girl ?
Would we only take a baby or an older child?
Did we want a child that had been given up or would we take an abandoned child?
Would we take an HIV positive child?
As you can see very many questions and dilemas for an already stressed mind.

We proceeded through more interviews where we had to complete questionaires
and deal with issues in our marriage, give info on our finanial status etc.
Not too grueling, but comprehinsive. It was actually interesting to see
where we were at in our couple.
At the same time we formlise our baby's criteria:
We'd take a boy or girl, but wanted a baby as young as possible
We'd take a child that had been given up or abandoned.
We would only take an HIV negative child
We wanted a black baby rather than mixed.
Our social worker made it clear to us that the more specific we made our
criteria the longer
we would probably have to wait for a child, so we tried to keep it as open
as we could but at the same time what we felt comfortable with.

In Feb 2004 we had our final interview which incorporated a house visit -
they like to just check that you are where you say you are. It was a
wednesday when Carrie told us that we were on the list and that it could
take months but at the same time we should expect a call at any time. As she was leaving she asked if we'd be willing to meet the mother of " our child" if it was a condition of the adoption. I was quick to say yes, definiitely, Gerald was very apprehensive - seen too many movies about these mothers that stalk and try to steal the baby back and black mail you. Eventually with Carrie reassuring him that she would not know our identity or where we lived and with me telling him that the more we knew about our child's birth parents the better he agreed that he would be willing.  With that she left.
We thought it was just a bit of extra info to write in our file.

Monday morning came around and with it a call from Carrie to tell me that she had a baby for us. Shock was an understatement of how I felt. After
years of waiting and hoping and then suddenly to be told that you'd have a
child in TWO day time was terrifying, exciting, so so emotional.  On
Wednesday morning we picked up our little gift. Max ( now 2 1/2) came into
our lives and filled them with sunshine. We picked up the little bundle who
has now melded into our lives. All that uncertainty of wondering if I could
love someone else's child blaa blaa blaa went out the window when I held
that little perfect baby in my arms. I can't imagine being able to feel more
for any child than I did for him.  He was already 4 1/2 months old when we
got him ( this is about the youngest that you can get them through Child
Welfare) and he was so special.

Everyone wholey supported us, the family adored him, friends accepted him.
Strangers in the street stop us all the time to either speak to us or ask us
our story. I think for me, the fact that people can see that he is adopted
makes it easier in that its very out in the open and more a way of life. It
also reminds me of how lucky we are to have him in our lives.

We decided to go for round two last year and in November we got our daughter
Bella, she was five months at the time, and is gently settling into our
family. She is like a sensative fairy with whom gentleness and patience are essential.

For us there is no doubt that this was the right decision for us. We feel
overwhelmed everyday that these two souls should have found us. They are special and amazing.

There are really so many options open to you, adopt here, or somewhere in Eastern Europe, go for semen donation, decide not to have kids...... only you will really know what is right for you.

If you do decide to adopt there are several orgainisations here than can
help you.

Its really hard to make choices as huge as this when you really don't know how you'll feel about what you will feel once you have a baby in your arms.

For a while after I we got Max, I still felt like something was missing, as
if in some way I had failed by not actually getting pregnant and having my
own baby. But with time and now with Bella that feeling has totally gone, the hole in my soul is filled to over flowing. I feel gifted to be able to have
been given these children to raise and love and share with, more so that if they had been my own.

I hope that this helps in some way. If you would like more info or to ask
questions please feel free to contact me. I realise that each person's
choice is a very personal one and we each have our own journey to travel, no decision is right or wrong it is only what is right or wrong for the two of
you.

Kind Regards

Jenny

Our two precious children