The phone rang at 4 p.m. on Aug. 22, 2008. An adoption agency in Indiana was calling to tell me a birth mother wanted to talk to me and inquiring about whether to give her my telephone number.
The young woman called a couple of hours later.
She told me her name was K., and she had chosen me from a pile of scrapbooks of prospective adoptive families.
She wanted me to adopt her baby.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“I’m sure,” she said.
I was certainly pleased to hear her decision, but I refused to count on it.
I had heard too many stories about broken promises and broken hearts.
I knew of prospective adoptive moms who had decorated a nursery and bought baby clothes, only to have a birth mother change her mind.
I wasn’t ready to make an emotional commitment.
The next day, I left for Denver to cover the Democratic National Convention.
I didn’t think much about the call while I was away, but as soon as I returned, I called K.
She was still certain that she wanted me to become the mother of the child she was carrying, she said.
She stuck by that decision, though she didn’t receive much support from family members or friends.
She told me an aunt of hers had told her she was “going to hell” for offering her child for adoption.
“But I’m not paying her any attention,” she assured me.
Her ex-boyfriend initially refused to sign off on the adoption, though K. had not seen him in months, and he had not provided any financial support.
Still, he instigated a campaign of harassment, persuading his family and friends — including his mother — to call K. and browbeat her about her decision.
“You can’t give away my grandchild!” his mother screamed.
But K. wasn’t easily intimidated. She had made up her mind.
In September, I flew to meet K. in person and to accompany her on a routine visit to the nurse/midwife from whom she was receiving prenatal care.
She was an attractive young woman of 20 who already had a toddler. She wanted to resume her nursing studies, which were interrupted when she had her first child.
She and I talked about her toddler and my hopes and dreams for the child she was carrying.
We talked about staying in touch after the baby was born. I asked her if she’d want pictures.
She wasn’t sure.
On Dec. 22, she delivered a healthy baby girl who weighed in at just under 6 pounds.
I asked her to write the baby a note in a baby journal I had started keeping, and she did.
My daughter is now 11 months old — happy, friendly, inquisitive, occasionally obstinate and the light of my life.
I took her to visit K. last July since she hadn’t seen her since birth. K. was surprised that the scrawny newborn she had handed over to me was now a hearty baby. And she took pictures. Lots of them.
K. and I still talk about twice a month. She wants to keep up with my baby’s progress — first solid food, first steps, first cold.
I’m happy to talk to her because she’s given me a gift of immeasurable value.
And I’ll always be deeply grateful for her maturity, her courage and her unselfishness.