I remember the look in their eyes when they asked their kids to clear the room so they could talk to my wife and me. My brother had 4 kids already, and when he and his wife told us they wanted to talk to us in private, we suspected correctly that we knew what they wanted to talk about. They were going to have their fifth child, and they were really nervous about how we were going to take the news.
They knew that my wife and I had been trying for years to conceive and that it had been a really bumpy road for us. We had been trying different infertility treatments and silly home remedies, but we never saw any results. They had also seen our disappointment when other couples announced their pregnancy and we were still left clueless about why we couldn’t conceive.
This time was different, though. We had no trouble being immediately excited for them and the rest of their family.
The difference with this particular situation wasn’t the fact that they were family. It wasn’t the fact that we were excited to have another niece or nephew. It was the fact that we had already finished out our paperwork to adopt. Sure, we didn’t know whether or not it would be a day or a decade before a birthmother contacted us, but we felt like we were actually on the road somewhere productive.
My mind quickly calculated the math, knowing that they had about 7 ½ months before they would give birth. I knew that the average adoption with our agency was somewhere in the ballpark of 2 years. If we ended up being like the average couple, that would mean our child would be a little over a year younger than theirs. I had high hopes, though, that we would be chosen quicker than the average couple. Thinking positively, I recalculated the age difference to be about 4 months younger than their kid if we took just a year.
A few months went by, and while my wife and I were out together doing mundane things around town, an email popped up on my wife’s phone. It was a birthmother! Our heads started to spin with excitement and since my brother’s home was the first place we wanted to go to spread the news, we recalculated yet again the age difference. They were going to be less than a month apart!
After my sister-in-law had another appointment with her doctor and the birthmother did the same with hers, their due dates both changed a little to actually be on the same day! We couldn’t believe it. One of our biggest hopes with the adoption was to have our child born close to the same age as my brother’s so they could grow up together.
I know my sister-in-law was hoping her delivery would come later than her due date. She told us she didn’t want to steal any of the spotlight of the day we became parents (kind thoughts, but it would have been just as great to share the day). Nature played its role and both women delivered without the need to be induced. My son and my niece were born one week apart.
I can’t describe the joy I feel when I watch the two of them splash around together in the kiddie pool or jump on the trampoline together. I have a hard time believing things like this happen by chance.
By Russell Elkins, author of Open Adoption, Open Heart