A Strange Bird Cry Announces Our Daughter

A Strange Bird Cry Announces Our Daughter

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


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  • Brutal and beautiful, is all I can say. The insane pursuit of fertility - who can forget? We did one IVF cycle where I went the whole route all by myself while my husband was working 10,000 miles away. I am amazed and grateful that our marriage, like yours, survived that insanity.

    And now the insanity is irrelevant in the wake of the bird cry that brought you two very beautiful girls - and brought us our son.

  • This is a great story from a perspective my husband and I can totally relate to.

    "A horrible, searing acid burned every twenty-some days." This is an experience those with infertility struggle with, often in silence. The body reminds you once a month that you have not become a parent, the one thing you so desperately want in life, regardless of your 'timing', painful fertility treatments or methods. My husband and I struggled with this monthly pain for most of our married life.

    I am very happy to hear that your long and painful journey brought all the happiness that two healthy, happy, beautiful children can. Thank you Jeremy for sharing your experience with all of us.

  • I know that insanity myself, having struggled to conceive my daughter and then placing her needs above mine (when my marriage to her father ended) and allowing my parents to adopt her (and her special needs) when she was 3 since I was having a hard time coping on my own, with no child support from her father (he hasn't seen her since she was 8 months old), and only getting my disability pension. I've moved every 4-6 months in the 7 years since, been homeless twice, bounced from job to job before going on disability at 30. She's lived in the same home she's always lived in, with two of the three adults who've always been there. She's had stability the whole itme - I've struggled to find it and I HAVE. I've been with my amazing fiance for 2.5 years now, we've survived cancer, swine flu, an upcoming back surgery, and we are problem solving around secondary infertility to have a single child together.

  • In reply to catmcroy:

    Wow, Cat, you are a SURVIVOR and I wish you all the best in your pursuit of a second child. Sounds like you have done right by your daughter.

  • In reply to catmcroy:

    I have to add my thoughts too. You are going to be a great mom to that second child waiting in the wings - somehow, some way. Just as you have already been a great mom to your daughter. Many hugs to you!

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