Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mom and Dad For 56 Days

You probably have been wondering what happened to the posts from Two Cats and a Cradle, okay, probably not, but I was in babyland for 56 days. We were mom and dad to Ian and Ada. Before you cheer in excitement for us, this is a very heartbreaking story. It is the worst nightmare for any adoptive parent. What I have written has been simplified from what actually happened. There are many reasons we pursued this adoption and felt we had a chance. We had to take the chance.

We were matched again at the end of May with a birth mother expecting twins. This match was made through our adoption agency but because of a previous failed matched and health concerns of the unborn babies, we decided to keep this match under our hats. We only told our family, a few friends and our jobs. We were cautiously excited. We were going to have twins - a boy and a girl!

On June 13th, Ian and Ada were born eight weeks premature. It was an emergency cesarean and we were not notified of their birth until the next morning. When I got the call, I was shaking uncontrollable. Was I really just about to be a mom? We rushed to the hospital and met with the birth mom, her family and the social workers. The babies had a rough entry. Ian was on a ventilator and had a tube in his chest to drain fluid. Ada was tiny, 1 lb, 12 oz. The doctors seemed confident and their prognosis was good, but they would be in NICU for quite awhile. We were in awe. At that moment, Marlon and I loved these babies. We quickly rearranged our life, took time off from work, bought a car and prepared to be parents.

The birth mom had picked names for the babies, but she wanted us to name them. We used the birth mom's names as their middle names. I always knew I wanted the name Ian for a boy, he was quickly named Ian Lucas. A girl's name was much harder to come up with. I kind of wanted them both to have three letter first names. Marlon didn't want to put perimeters on her name. He wanted her name to shine on its own. We went round and round on girl names. Finally, one of us said, Ada. I say that I did, but Marlon thinks that he did. It fit her. It was a strong name. This little girl already had a lot of spunk. So, she was named Ada Stella. The birth mom put these names on their birth certificates so that they would only have one name.

On day three, the birth father showed up. We met him for the first time briefly. He was understandably very emotional. He said that he would come back the next day to talk with us more. The next day, we sat and talked about open adoption, tried to get to know him and answer any questions he might have for us. He was still very emotional and wasn't sure he wanted a relationship with the twins. He agreed that adoption was the best for them. We all went to see the babies together. We hugged him goodbye and knew the next time we would see him would be the day the birth parents would sign surrender papers.

That day came and the birth mom signed her surrender and the birth father did not. Red flag. He claimed he needed time to look at the papers, that he did not understand the PACA (post adoption contact agreement) and maybe he did not want to have a relationship with the babies. He got up and left in the middle of the meeting with the attorney and social worker. This was upsetting to us, but we all agreed to give him time.

He returned to the hospital two days later with a haircut, his aunt and cousins in tow. Red flag, red flag. But maybe his family wanted to see the babies, the birth mom's family saw the babies. I had a lovely conversation with his aunt about open adoption and we wanted the babies to know their birth family.

Then the birth father got an attorney. Red flag, red flag, red flag. He rarely visited the babies at the hospital and did not participate in caring for them. A custody suit was not filed. We retained an adoption attorney. The birth parents were not married, did not have a relationship during her pregnancy and the birth father had no means to support the babies. The NY adoption law is clear and we knew if he contested that a judge would decide what was best for Ian and Ada. We felt the law was on our side. Our intention was never to cut the birth father out, but to give Ian and Ada the best possible home. We always maintained that we would pursue a relationship with him after the dust settled. 

Our relationship with him was tense, however he was only at the hospital a handful of times during their stay. We had a wonderful relationship with the birth mom and wanted the same with him. Our days at the NICU is what I like to call a Lifetime movie. There was immense joy and unbelievable stress.

Marlon and I were at the hospital every day. The staff treated us as Ian and Ada's parents. We attended rounds and cared for them. We were so excited at their progress every day and so in love with their little faces. I got to watch my husband of 19 years turn into an amazing dad that encouraged and loved Ian and Ada with everything that he had. There wasn't a day that went by that he didn't tell them how proud he was of them. I could not have been prouder of him.

We brought Ada home from the hospital on July 31st. We brought Ian home on August 5th. Those were the two happiest days of our lives.

On August 6th, an emergency injunction was filed by the birth father to remove Ian and Ada from our home. The judge ordered us to bring the babies to court on August 8th. We came to court knowing there was a good chance our babies would be taken from us. The judge would not acknowledge there was an adoption plan and seemed uninterested in adoption laws. Without listening to arguments from our attorneys, the adoption agency or the birth mother, he awarded temporary custody to the birth father. We had to give Ian and Ada to a young man who is basically a stranger to them. We are absolutely crushed and devastated. The birth mom is devastated. How could this happen? What the F* just happened?

I could not hand Ian and Ada over. Marlon stood when I could not stand on this day. He took them into the court house and gave them to their birth family. Their father took Ian and turned and immediately handed him to someone else. His cousin took Ada. It breaks my heart. 

Marlon and I drove home without saying a word. We were stunned. I sobbed uncontrollably and continue to as I write this. 

We consulted with our attorney and she said we could fight it but it would be a very long and expensive endeavor. There was only a slim chance that we would win. Marlon and I made the most difficult decision of our lives to walk away from our babies and to end our relationship with our adoption agency. We packed up the nursery the next day and got the hell out of town.

If I don't seem like myself, now you know why. I am not sure if my old self even exists anymore. I don't know what our future holds. We are exhausted emotionally and financially. We are trying to make sense of it all and putting our life back together.

We were mom and dad for 56 days. In our hearts, we will always be Ian and Ada's parents. Those were the best 56 days of my life and I would not trade one moment that I spent with them.

Update:  This post was written during a very difficult time in our lives. We thought we were the parents to these sweet babies.  It was such an emotional roller coaster during the months that we spent with them. Since then, we know we were misled and not given all the information about this situation. We would not have proceeded if we knew all the facts. About a year after that day in court, their father reached out to me to clear the air. It was healing to both of us to know each other's story.  I have the highest respect for Ian and Ada's mother and father.  We have learned from this experience and have moved forward.


  1. Jenn,
    I am so sorry to hear of this loss! You are in my thoughts and prayers as you continue on. Hugs to you!

  2. Jen and Marlon,
    I am so sorry!You both are in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. OMG! I am so sorry to hear this! You both are in my thoughts and prayers!

  4. I do not begin to claim to understand the unimaginable pain you two must still be feeling. My heart aches for you and for Ian and Ada. May God wrap them in peace and comfort you now and in the future.

  5. Sending you love love and more love.

  6. I can't imagine the sense of loss that you are feeling. My heart aches for you and your husband. Please do not lose Faith in God and his plan. How fortunate Ian and Ada were to have had you to care for them at such a critical time and in a way that the birth parents were incapable of. It was your love that helped those little babies to thrive!
    I may not know you personally, but trust that you are in my prayers - all of you are in my prayers.

    Michele N.

  7. My heart just aches for you! I have followed your blog and posts elsewhere for a while. This story is so disturbing and I am glad you got rid of your agency!
    When you feel ready I would highly recommend The Adoption Consultancy. We used them and they provide guidance with everything and have you sign up with multiple agencies that have low or no fees to sign up. The woman who runs it vets all the agencies and also revises your profile, etc. Just something to think about when you feel like you can start again. Hang in there. I am so sorry.

  8. I have no idea what to say other than I'm sorry. My heart aches for you. I'm sending you healing vibes and prayers.
    - Stranger from the internet

  9. I am crying as I read this and am so terribly sorry to read this outcome. Those beautiful babies were nourished and loved by you and Marlon and made stronger.

    The legal system is just incredibly uninformed and heartbreaking.

    I'll be praying for all the strength you both need. You are both beautiful people and so many people are rooting for you!

  10. This is just bloody awful and wrong. I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

  11. I pray peace and some form of understanding for the 2 of you. Prayers and hugs for you and those babies. We are in the middle of looming for a placement wit our agency and this is our WORST nightmare.

  12. Thank you all for your kind words. It means a lot to us. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love for us, Ian and Ada. We are taking this day by day. xo

  13. This is my worst nightmare. My heart is simply breaking for your family and those sweet babies. There are no words for how terrible you must feel, even though I don't know you, you will be on my mind and in my heart for weeks to come!

  14. My heart is breaking for you :'(

  15. I'm so sorry...for you and your husband, Ian and Ada, their birth mother, and this birth father. I so hope the Universe rights this wrong. Sending you healing peace.

  16. Jenn and Marlon we are so sorry for you - you are in our thoughts and prayers. I can't begin to imagine your pain, please know that we love you. Kathy and Harry

  17. Hello, You kindly shared your heartbreaking story in response to my question about cradle care. I am so so sorry that you have been through this. My thoughts are with both of you, with all my support.

  18. so very heart broken for you. We too turned over custody, but only after 4 days. Please do not give up hope. 6 months later our son was born, released from hospital at 2.5 months. 5 years later we did it all again. Today our boys are 14 and 9. We can see God's hand in our family plan, and would not go back to our first failed adoption even if we could reverse the situation.
    God knew our family, what we needed and what the future held. Press on! Praying for your family...

  19. So sorry for your loss. It makes me thankful that my husband and I have not endured a loss as great as this in our adoption journey. It's so hard to get so close and then have it all taken away. Thanks for sharing so honestly. Stay strong!

  20. I met you tonight in the adoption tweet chat! You are so brave to tell your story or unimaginable pain. I know your honesty will be a blessing to others! God bless you on your journey!

  21. Oh man : ( Tears streaming at the unfairness of it all. All I can think is that God is using it for His glory. Somehow.


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