Friday, October 1, 2010

Why we adopted a child with Down syndrome

On this first day of the 31 in 21 day challenge, I decided to post about the beginning of our journey with Olivia. Above is our first photo with Olivia. She was born at 36 weeks gestation, weighing 4 lbs 3 oz, by emergency C-Section at 4:51 am. When we received the phone call at 8 am that Olivia's birthmom had delivered Olivia that morning, our first thought and first question was, "Is the birthmom alright?" We had gotten to know and love her quite well in the two months preceding Olivia's birth, and the thought of anything happening to her was devastating. Birthmom and baby were fine, and we were able to go to the hospital that afternoon to see them both. It was a relief to see the birthmom, tired and worn out, but smiling and sweet as always. She took us to the NICU to meet Olivia for the first time. I will never forget the awe I felt as she said to Olivia, "this is the other mommy I was telling you about." Words cannot describe the sorrow and joy intermingling in my heart at that moment. I knew that forever Olivia and her birthmom would be in my heart unceasingly.

We were in the NICU with Olivia for 13 days. It was a tough time, but a good time for us to learn from the nurses the best ways to take care of Olivia. Thanks to their expert instructions, when we went home we knew what we were doing to take optimal care of this wonderful gift with special needs.

The second day in the NICU, the NICU social worker asked us a bunch of questions. One question sticks in my head especially. It was " why do you want to adopt a baby with Down syndrome?" Although we had been working on adopting a child with Ds for nearly 4 years, at that moment we could not remember why we had wanted to adopt a child with Ds. It was the most surreal moment! My husband said, "Because God called us to adopt a child with Ds". That is the first time that we had said this, and the first time that we had realized it, but all the many people with Ds in our lives over the years, and all the infertility, and all the joys and all the sorrows and everything in our lives simply made adopting a child with Down syndrome seem to be the most natural step in the world. Before Olivia entered our life, there was always this weird empty hopeless feeling that weighed me down. Hard to explain, but no matter how wonderful things were, something was missing. Now that feeling is gone! No matter how hard the day is as a parent, things finally make sense! For anyone considering adopting a child with Ds, pray! If you still feel that "tug" then pursue it!

The steps to adopt are rugged! We went through it for 4 years, and talk about ups and downs! We experienced adoption nightmares that are unbelievable. And that is the story for many adoptive families on the journey to adopt. But it all is worth it! Olivia is wonderful!!!!!! We love her more and more everyday!


stephanie said...

There are so many beautiful posts during Down syndrome awareness month and this one has me in tears.
Thanks for sharing Olivia's beginning, it was beautiful.

Csunshinegirl said...

Yup had me in tears too! Lovely - just lovely!! :)

Any my Olivia was born almost a month early too. BUT at 6 pounds. She was a BIG baby for being born early.

I love the picture!!