A Special Christmas Gift

Christmas 2005 was a busy one for us. We were doing the usual Christmas thing and were getting ready to drive to Florida for Shane’s birth on December 26. The delivery was scheduled for December 28.

We weren’t allowed to go into the operating room. After Shane was all clean and shiny, the nurse came to get us. We went to the nursery and could only look through the window. We were not allowed to hold him. We immediately knew which baby was ours. At 10 lbs., 2 ozs., and 22 inches long, he towered over all the other newborns. He was so fat we could see rolls on his back as the nurse was dressing him. The wristband he was wearing said “SNAP” which means Special Needs Adoption Process. He was the only SNAP baby there and the nurses were particularly protective of him. We couldn’t wait to snuggle this sweet little bundle seven years in the making.

Amidst all the tears of joy, I’ve never felt something so deep and profound as the feelings I had the day Shane’s birth mom left the hospital. Gratefulness, elation and sadness were among them. Shane had to stay in the hospital for a couple of extra days so she left before we did. She held Shane one last time and handed him to me in tears. We walked downstairs with her, had one final hug and she got into the car. As I watched her drive away, I felt like I was taking something from her that wasn’t mine and that I didn’t deserve. She had made the most courageous decision that could ever be made. I never could have done it. I would’ve been too selfish. She summoned the strength from someplace I’ve never been nor would ever be. I felt like she needed to be “mothered.” I can’t even begin to think of how she must have felt driving away from the hospital for the second time in her life without a baby. Making a decision that would give the babies a good shot at life is one of the most heroic decisions any woman could ever make. I often wonder what she thinks when she sees the beautiful statue of the elephant (she loves them) we gave to her at the hospital.

We agreed to keep in touch, send pictures, notes, etc. I send photos to the adoption agency to be kept on file in case she ever wants to open that chapter of her life and see the beautiful child she gave birth to…the one from her body and from my heart.

There are no words to describe the love and admiration I have for her. It is my hope that she has passed on her strength and courage to our baby boy. And judging by the type of little man he’s growing into, I think she did.

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