from the archives: alex's birth story

 Photographed December 18, 2012, with my iPhone 4 using Snapseed, Pixlr-o-matic and the Flickr app.

Photographed December 18, 2012, with my iPhone 4 using Snapseed, Pixlr-o-matic and the Flickr app.

This morning I was going through my photo archives looking for my favourite family shots of 2012, and I started thinking about Alex's birth story.  I knew I had written about it, but it turns out that I had shared it 8 years ago, on a much earlier incarnation of this blog.  So today, I thought I'd repost it here, to make sure that it's on these archives.  Thanks for indulging me -- I hope you enjoy it.

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Recently, as I was blog-surfing (which I do constantly, because, I've come to learn, blog-surfing is the new crack), I ran across the writings of someone who was about to embark on an adoption journey after dealing with years of infertility. She was in the throes of pre-adoption panic (hey, we've all been there), wondering, in essence, after all she'd endured with painful surgeries and fertility treatments, and after going through the emotionally arduous process of adoption, what if, God forbid, the little baby finally placed in her arms didn't actually feel like "her baby"? What if her son or daughter grew up never feeling like she was his/her "real mom"? What if, I suppose she wondered as an adoptive mother, she'd miss out on what a "real" mother felt like?

Poor woman. Many responded that she was being silly, that of course she would feel like her child's "real mother," and that her fears were unfounded. Perhaps, but I suspect all the well-meaning comments didn't make her panic any less real. So, for that poor tormented woman, and all other men and women out there who are still waiting to be matched with their sons/daughters and who are having similar fears and worries, the following true story is for you.

As you know, Alex's adoption is an open adoption, which means that we have a relationship with her birthmother. This wonderful woman was generous enough to invite us to be present at the birth of Alex. It was a really cool experience -- I'd never seen a child born before -- but it was actually what happened immediately after Alex was born that made the event absolutely unforgettable.

So Alex was born, and she was upside down in the doctor's arms, and he was cleaning all the birth gunk from her face and neck. At this point, I was sort of numb, and my first thought was that it was not possible that this little, tiny child was going to come home with us in a couple of days.

My second thought is that this baby was the most beautiful shade of cerulean blue I have ever seen in my life.

Alex's birthmother asked, "Doctor, why isn't she crying?"

The doctor replied, "I don't want to her to cry just yet. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her throat. Just one second."

The doctors and nurses kept doing their thing. I wasn't nervous, because they seemed pretty calm. And just as I was wondering if I should be nervous, the doctor said:

"Okay, she's going to cry"

And Alex took this big inhale ....

... and she turned pink. First her arms, then her hands, and her legs and her little face and chest. And, as corny as this may sound, it felt like we'd just witnessed her soul, which had been waiting in the delivery room with us, flying into her body, and giving her life. And I was convinced, at that very moment, that this little girl was meant to be ours, and had we not been waiting there for her -- had her birthmom decided not to place her, or if there'd been another adoptive family in the room -- a different soul would have entered her body, and she would have been a totally different person.

And then she started to bellow.

Anyway, Alex has proved me right every day since. She's just ... well, like us, I suppose. She gets our senses of humour. She'll look at Marcus and I being goofy with each other, and with her, and she laughs. We all just fit.

So, I guess the point of all of this is that when you adopt, you have to believe that God, or Allah, or Fate, or the Universe or Whatever You May Believe In has a plan. So for those of you out there waiting to be matched to your child, or waiting for that fateful call, trust that the child you bring home is meant to be yours and yours alone.

I promise.

~  Originally published October 23, 2004