one exhale

by Betsy Hinkle

On August 17, 2017, I was suspended in mid air. For the past 6 months we had been presented with birth mothers making adoption plans about every 1-2 weeks. We’d weigh all the factors, then say “Yes!” we’d like to be presented, then wait for a “Yes!” to come from them. It never came, most of the time for random or even wonderful reasons such as POC already in the family. I felt like I couldn’t really do much but wait, couldn’t concentrate on work, or being a Mom to my then 4 year old, Mabel. Slowly we brought out the baby clothes and accouterments we had kept from Mabel. I grew very attached to certain sparse birth mom stories, only to feel that horrible loss once again when we weren’t chosen. I am sure my three miscarriages in 2013-14 played a roll in my devastation.

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We decided to take a mini trip over a long weekend. Friday, August 18, 2017, we were at home packing when we got a call that a birth mother in GA was in labor. If we could get ourselves to GA by Sunday, we could potentially adopt this baby. He was born healthy, but four weeks early, weighing 5 lbs 7 oz and 19.5 inches long. Our unusually kind and thoughtful Air B and B host helped us talk through our feelings to make the decision to get ourselves to GA as soon as possible! We then sprang into action, looking for plane tickets and hotel rooms. However, the impending Eclipse soon revealed we’d have to get to GA the old fashioned way. We rented a comfortable SUV, asked my Mom to come along, and the four of us set out on an amazing 20 hour, overnight drive through 9 states.

I definitely remember how amazing it felt to hold that gorgeous baby in my arms for the first time, and I also remember the nervous fear. When the nurses said “it’s your son!” I didn’t share in their joy wholeheartedly because I was heading the many warnings I’d received: he’s not “our son” until parental rights are terminated. Then there’s the six month wait, etc.

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But I put him to my breast, let him sleep skin to skin on my chest, and pumped with the large yellow Medela the hospital lent me, all in the private room they had prepared for me to stay in. What a gloriously happy time. After many years of inhaling I was finally able to take one exhale.

We were in GA for about 10 days while we waited for the states and lawyers to talk to each other. We decided to get an Air B and B in Blue Ridge, GA and make a vacation of it. We re-acquainted ourselves with having a newborn, and the accompanying waves of laundry and daily trips to the grocery store. We also got to enjoy our time there by going tubing, horseback riding, and on long beautiful drives through the countryside. Mabel was thrilled to spend time with her Great Aunt Kathy whom we were so grateful to have since my Mom needed to get back to Boston.

Now, 14 months later, we have finalized and he is officially our son, named Samuel Dennis Warren VII, and we call him “Micah”. A beautiful human being who was supposed to be a member of our family all along, we just didn’t know it yet. I can’t imagine any of this happening any other way.

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It’s most definitely true love.