By Taryn O'Flynn, Director of Advocacy and Outreach at Choice
It was 9:00 pm on a normal Wednesday night when a Choice Adoptions advocate received a phone call from a young woman named Tara. With a slight quiver in her voice, Tara stated she was referred to Choice by a social worker at a hospital in the Tri-Cities. Tara said that she had just given birth to a baby and wanted help finding an adoptive couple for her child. After determining she was safe and emotionally stable, Tara's advocate began asking some preliminary questions:
Why are you considering adoption?
Have you thought about what you would need to be comfortable and confident parenting? Can I help you attain any of those things?
What can you tell me about the baby?
Did you have prenatal care?
Do you know the gender of the baby?
Do you know the biological father of the baby? If so, is he supportive?
Tara answered each question thoughtfully and openly and expressed gratitude for the agency’s willingness to help on such short notice. After a lengthy and somewhat intense conversation, it was revealed the reason Tara and her boyfriend Ken were adamant about making an adoption plan for their daughter. This pregnancy was a complete surprise!!! Tara had been having cramps throughout the day and when they became unbearable, she had Ken take her to urgent care. In triage, Tara was told that her stomach pains were actually active labor pains and that she was already very dilated and needed to be admitted to the hospital. As you can imagine, both Tara and Ken were in complete shock. After they were transported to the nearest hospital, Tara received an epidural and was able to rest a little, and that's when she and Kevin began the discussion "WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?!?"
Ken was already aware of how difficult parenting can be. He has two gorgeous daughters from a past relationship. Tara is 20 years old and felt as though she was in no place to be parenting a baby. She works full time and even then, could barely pay her bills. Tara thought of what it might be like to have children one day, but having one at 20 was never in her plans. After talking about their options for some time, they decided that adoption was going to be what was best for their baby and for them.
Tara spent some time talking with her advocate about her hopes for her daughter’s future. After learning a little about Tara and Ken, her advocate sent her several family profile books that matched what they were looking for. Tara's advocate encouraged them to look over the books, and hopefully one would stick out more than the rest. Tara and Ken were given the night to rest, read and hopefully come close to making a decision.
Tara's advocate began packing in preparation to travel from Portland to the Tri-Cities the following morning. Within an hour of sending the family profiles, Tara called back and she just KNEW she had seen the perfect couple for her daughter. She didn't need the night to think about it...they were certain this was how it was always meant to be.
The adoptive family's advocate called the couple and left a message in the middle of the night, telling them that if they were willing, they’d become parents the following day. It wasn't too long before they heard the message, returned the call and jumped at the chance to add this precious baby to their family.
By the following afternoon, Tara's advocate and the adoptive couple she hand-selected were at the hospital ready to meet one another. The meeting between the birth and adoptive couple was brief but sweet, heartfelt, and emotional. Tara was ready to be discharged and she couldn't wait to get home and into her own bed. The adoptive couple couldn't wait to be walked upstairs to the pediatric unit to meet their daughter. So that is where they both went, but not without recognizing what an integral part they were going to end up playing in each other's lives...forever.
There is not a cookie-cutter way that adoption is done. Sometimes birth and adoptive families have months to cultivate a relationship and plan for what the future will look like. Sometimes a pregnant mom ends up at the hospital after thinking her appendix may be erupting, but a few hours later a beautiful, healthy baby is born who needs a family prepared for her.
We wanted to share this story for those pregnant women who think they have waited too long to make an adoption plan. A private adoption plan can be made at the last minute, even after a woman has been admitted to the hospital...We also hope that this story is encouraging to waiting adoptive families. We know the wait can be long, but your baby could be just 24 hours away. No one ever said adoption was easy...and it’s certainly not predictable, but each story is unique and beautiful.
If you are pregnant and need support, here are pregnancy resources:
The 9 Things to Know About Adoption In Oregon and Washington
You may also like some of these great adoption resources: