Yesterday, I started to tell you about meeting The B’s for the first time (June 1st, 2010 as I was informed by J). Lots of crying, one good hug and a box of Atlanta Bread Company cookies later, I was sitting at a conference room table, seated directly across from the man and woman who were to become your mom and dad.
It’s weird to look back and realize how little I knew about them then. I didn’t even know their last name at the time we met. I didn’t know where they lived. I don’t actually remember what started off the conversation that day. I know my counselor facilitated the introductions. I also know that once we started talking, we didn’t stop.
J and E asked how C and I ended up together. They asked about our story and our history, and in return we asked them about theirs. I remember learning that E sent J a 20 page love letter at one point. I learned that for a while, they had all of their dates in the middle of the night because of the hours that they worked when they first started dating. I learned that they were married in November, the same month as my parents. J and E had been married for eight and a half years when I met them. Their tenth anniversary was last year.
We talked about what led me to adoption – how I had found Bethany, why I thought adoption was the right choice, etc. We talked about my past – what I did in high school, how I was enjoying college, what I was talented at, what I loved. I remember telling them that I loved writing, that I was good at it. J and I revealed how we had each always wanted a sister. They asked C the same questions – he and E instantly bonded over music. We could have been there the whole rest of the day if we had let them continue to talk about it.
I remember a couple of things very vividly, though. One of them was when we talked about The B’s failed adoptions. They had been through three, and though I’m sure each one hit just as hard as all the others, the first one was the one I remember. They had grown very close to the birth mother. The B’s family had met her family. They had invited her up to E’s hometown for Thanksgiving. She had gotten to meet Sports Man. They had painted their nursery pink in anticipation of the arrival of a baby girl. They got the phone call that she had decided to keep her baby on the day they had planned to go pick the baby up.
J teared up telling me the story. My heart broke for them. I can only imagine that kind of pain and disappointment - like the world fell out from beneath you and you couldn’t get your footing back. Or maybe it just stopped turning because it couldn’t possibly go on after it had dealt a blow like that, but you were the only one to realize it. I tried to empathize with that kind of devastation, but I don’t think I got anywhere close to how it must have felt. But what I did realize was just how much love this family had for a child they had never met, and how much acceptance they had for a girl who wasn’t technically family.
Which brings me to the second thing I remember very well: a story about one of E’s uncles, Kevin. E’s mom had a sister. This sister met and fell in love with a man named Kevin, and one day, he proposed. Sadly, during their engagement, the sister died suddenly in a tragic accident. The family, Kevin, everyone was devastated. But his family kept in touch with Kevin and he stayed in touch with them. Eventually, he met someone else and married her. They had kids together. But to E, he is still Uncle Kevin. He still comes to The B’s family gatherings. They still consider him family. I’ve actually met him – he came to Sports Man’s 7th birthday party.
They told me this story to try to tell me something else – that I didn’t have to be related to them to be a member of their family. That I didn’t have to be related to them through blood or marriage to be an integral part of their life. That their hearts and arms were open to anyone, and that they didn’t just want me to be “the birth mom” – they wanted me to be Renee, a member of The B’s. They wanted my family to be part of The B’s. Because you would link us all. You would forever be part of my family because you are part of me. You would be part of their family because you would belong to them and their hearts would belong to you. You would take two families and make them one. One month and twenty-two days later, you did.
The day I met The B’s was the first day I felt as though adoption could really work. Until then it had been this intangible thing, this unknown entity that could go up or downhill. I came into that meeting with a list of questions that I had spent days putting together, ready to make sure that “these people” were good enough to be your parents, and I didn’t use it once. They were better than I could have hoped for. Just by getting to know them, my mind and heart were put at ease. My fears were soothed.
My prayers were answered.