In honor of November being National Adoption Month, Portrait of an Adoption is running a special series called 30 Adoption Portraits in 30 Days. Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of adoption, this series will feature guest posts by adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, waiting adoptive parents, and foster parents-turned-adoptive parents. Painful and beautiful, these stories will bring you a deeper understanding of what adoption looks like, allowing you to appreciate the many brushstrokes that comprise a family portrait.
A Strange Bird Cry Announces our Daughter
By Jeremy Cressman
We wanted to have a baby. We tried, and failed more than once, and then ultimately rejected the fertility process. Bitter pain hit us when we saw others expecting. We felt our marriage was going to hell. We never understood the poison in the process. A horrible, searing acid burned every twenty-some days.
When we were dating, Kristin and I grew in travel and adventure. I proposed in an icy parking lot in Killington, VT. When we married, we celebrated weekends with road-trips, a summer in Ireland, a wedding in Rome. We ignored our church and learned about pinot noir. Sadly, we placed our genuine happiness in jeopardy after only four years together.
Fertility and its pursuit was the culprit – nothing short of blinding commitment to a single end. One of our IVF physicians put the brakes on a cycle and insisted we be cleared by a psychiatrist because we said we felt this was stressing our marriage. That’s right – tell the truth and they milk more out of you. What an asshole – just give us what we want; it’s what we are paying you for.
But parenthood was the ultimate high. Maybe we were strung-out addicts. Befitting, a few years in, we spent our anniversary in the desert and there we had a vision, or rather, heard a strange bird cry – our daughter announced her arrival.
Kristin and I decided to can another donor IVF and drop the blood-work in the fall of 2004 to pursue our adoption investigation. We met with a surrogate, a prominent attorney, and my uncle – an OBGYN who had placed some children over the years.
After processing our child abuse, criminal records, home study and everything else preliminary, we learned of another venue – the open adoption.
We visited a seminar at Adoptions from the Heart in Wynnewood , PA and were so touched by the frank dialogue -- a transparency of something once taboo. This is our way.
So we enrolled. And a wild ride ensued. In February we were in that desert. We heard the bird cry together. It was spiritual. It was madness. But we looked at each other and knew -- this is a sign.
March came and we had to redo all of that paperwork we had previously crafted in the fall. New clearances, payments, even recommendation letters from co-workers and friends. Now we needed formal approval to become parents. Bullshit. But from that psychiatry block three years earlier, we knew we had to play ball.
The morning we had to sit for a video-interview, we met a single women about ten-years older than we who renewed our optimism – if she can get a child placed, why can’t we? Why is she so sure this will work? Are we that messed up by now? We look normal, but this thing has made us mad. So how do you sit in-front of a camera and tell a prospective birth mother, “It’s going to be alright, trust us.” We assumed a confidence and told friends, “we’re expecting – on our terms.”
We never saw that video. A week later, we were in the book. We completed our profile, pictures and all. We prepared for the wait by buying fixer-upper – maybe it would be ten months, maybe eighteen, maybe two years for our domestic adoption.
But we got a call in two weeks. “Your daughter was born yesterday – she’s perfect. You’ll meet her tomorrow.”
Katie became our first child. She is so loving, beautiful, so smart. September came and Kristin went back to work. Katie was 5 months old.
My uncle called me on a Wednesday morning. “What are you doing right now?”
“I’m driving to the office in New York .”
“Well I am delivering a baby girl and I want you to have her.”
“I’ll call you back.”
That is how Mia became our second daughter. She is so sweet, loving, yet a bit aggravating. Now we were a family. Now we could forget everything else. Forget everything except that bird screeching our announcement – we love that story. So do our kids. They tell this better than I do.
By Jeremy Cressman