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When she found out she was pregnant, she made a plan; a plan she kept to herself. She didn’t want to be pregnant, didn’t plan on being pregnant or on having another child. She was happy with her wonderful son, watching him grow and maintaining a great relationship with her ex-husband, the father of her son. She didn’t have a crazy life nor was she a wild child. She went through the pregnancy with little disruption, maintaining her healthy life but preparing for a child that she knew she would not parent. At the hospital she delivered the baby and immediately told the nurses that she was placing the child in care of an adoption agency, and she would be finding the parents for her daughter.

She spent a several hours with a social worker from the open adoption agency that she had read about and learned about during her pregnancy. She wanted an open adoption as she could read about the parents, learn about them, meet them, and be confident in the knowledge that she was the decision maker for her child’s life. She knew she couldn’t parent the child, but had strong feelings about what would make a good parent. She bonded immediately with the social worker and this is a bond that remains. She was told to look through profiles of prospective parents and talked to the social worker about those people. She thought the first profile that she looked at had the best parents for her child. She beamed and told the social worker why they were prefect: she was born in England, just like the man, she loved to sing, just like the woman. And the couple talked about laughing and living. She looked through more profiles and came back to the first. They were the ones.

We got ‘the call’ late on a Saturday night, only 6pm in our home city of Philadelphia, but 11pm in the seaside town in England where we were. The social worker was confused, didn’t know that we were away, and this presented a problem. The birthmother loved us from our profile, and wanted us to be the parents, but we couldn’t get back to the US until Monday. She could wait for us, but it meant that we had to get busy and get things in order quickly. We had a video call on the Sunday with the birthmother, and saw our daughter on the video. After two sleepless nights and a trans-Atlantic flight, we were ready to meet our birthmother. She was amazing from the moment we met; strength of purpose, joy of life, and confidence in her decision. She liked us as much as we liked her and we all decided to take the incredible leap. We welcomed our daughter into our lives and continue to fulfil the promises we made to her birthmother: love her, respect her choices, show her the world, raise her to love and respect all people.

So, maybe not my birthtale, but my daughter’s birthtale. Each journey to becoming a parent is different. The paths are filled with joys, sorrows, unbidden tears, nervous laughter, and quiet moments that help us learn about ourselves. Our hearts expanded and our future direction determined by one phone call.

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