A baby named April
An expectant mom called at the late stage of her pregnancy. She had a young child at home already and was feeling alone and had no support from her family to bring another baby into her apartment. She admitted she was struggling financially and always had to call around for money and food as the months came to an end. She never could quite make the food stamps and WIC last, and the electric bill was always in disconnect. She said that bringing this baby home would make it even harder to care for her toddler. When I met this woman, her apartment was neat, and her toddler greeted me with her pacifier hanging out of her mouth and wanted me to read her a book. She was not afraid of me, and I even felt like she would have left with me if I asked her to. Being a sucker for toddlers I sat down where she instructed me to and held her while her mom started telling me what her life was like. Through her tears she said she’s exhausted and this new baby’s father has made it clear that she’s on her own. She looked at her toddler and said, if I love this baby half as much as I love my daughter, I know I am doing the right thing.
I did not hear from this woman again while she was pregnant. This was not unusual as back then, there were cell phone minutes. When they were out, you had to pay to get more. I was driving home from Hobart, IN on I-65 almost to hit 465 and then straight home. I had already spent the morning in Columbus IN, and then had a delivery up by Chicago, which meant I had to be there to hold her hand while she said goodbye to her baby. I was beyond exhausted and was driving in total silence trying to still my emotions before walking into my home.
My phone rang, and it was her. She had delivered her baby and was back at home with her. She had no cell phone minutes and had to wait to get some to call me. Can you come up and pick her up tonight? Right now? Her name is April and does that family I liked still want her?
‘K’ and I sat at an upscale brunch place across from one another. Neither of us know exactly what to say first. ‘K’ is 23 and she asked to meet with me. She is nervous and picks at her napkin and I let her chat about her current job as an ENT as I sip my coffee. I am about to hear what it was like to go from being baby April who was born to a poor, single mother and to a father that did not claim her to becoming ‘K’, who is now an upper middle class young woman with a college education and the world at her fingertips. ‘K’ is looking for answers and I happen to be the same woman that walked into that apartment 23 years ago and held baby April as her biological mom terminated her rights to raise her.
Oh Diane, of course they still want to adopt your baby, tell me all about her. I pass my exit to go home and continue on I-465 around the east side of Indianapolis. As I make my way back north, this time up I-69 it is now dark. The adrenaline has set in, and it will stay there the rest of the night. I listened as she told me about her labor, how fast she came and how she could not believe how much she looked like her first daughter. She asked if she could meet the family she picked before they took her. She asked if they would keep her name.
I was able to share with ‘K’ that I was there that night her mom and dad picked her up? She said, “I know very little about my first family, I know I have siblings, but not much else”. I said, “you look like your birth mother”. She said, “I know, I just saw my first picture of her this summer”. I could tell ‘K’ had a lot of what ifs and when and how’s. How could ‘K’ not be curious? Her parents always told her when she was 18, she could search for her birth family. ‘K’ knew what her paernts knew and shared with her all they could. They wrote letters back and forth to her birth mom over the years, but ‘K’ stated she never really had a conviction meet or know more until recently.
The truth of this is that many adult adoptees struggle to make sense of their life preadoption. There are lots of questions and some pain with the answers. ‘K’ has started down the path of trying to verify her paternity. She is excited about finding some answers and admits to being nervous. She is hoping to connect with other adult adoptees and have a community to come together where they all can share their experiences and feelings. Reconnecting with one’s first family can be healing, and it can also cause some old wounds to open again.
ASC is committed to supporting all three sides of the triad. If you were placed through ASC and are interested in a reunion or reconnection, reach out to us to start the steps.
Names have been changed or shortened.