After Matthew was born, my female cycle never restarted. I went to a doctor and a specialist for about nine months. I took a number of different infertility drugs and hormone pills. It was very difficult on my body and emotions. They ran all kinds of tests, but they still were unable to help me get pregnant again. So we started talking about adoption. I had a very strong desire to have another child myself, but if that was not possible I knew there were a lot of kids out there that need homes. So in November of 2003 we began researching the option of adoption. I did not want to start the process until we had both agreed that we would complete the adoption even if I were to get pregnant in the process. So not wanting our children to be too far apart in age, we started making decisions. So around the end of January or the beginning of February 2004, we decided to adopt from
So the search began. We searched the internet and found a set of twin boys in
One day around March, my cousin Julie brought a “friend” named Sara with her to our Sunday School class. Sara was a very petite, pregnant black girl. She was introduced as a friend from
We got to visit with Sara a few times after that. Once at Aunt Nancy’s house and once at the hospital when my Dad got hurt at work. Then on Tuesday, April 6, Julie called and asked if we could meet with Sara on Saturday to talk about the possibility of adopting her baby. We were extremely excited. The baby was due to be born on Matthew’s second birthday. So we waited in anticipation of Saturday (little did we know what was about to happen). Friday morning we got the call that Sara’s water had broke. But she still wanted to talk to us on Saturday morning. Saturday morning, Sarah still had not gone into labor, so Julie took her to
Then while Sara was in labor, the emotions hit her and she decided she wanted Julie to keep the baby. So with broken hearts, we left the hospital after picking up lunch for Aunt Nancy and Julie. Sunday morning, we got the call that Sara had given birth to a 4lb. 8 oz. girl on
The baby was finally cleared by the doctor to go home on Thursday. I waited anxiously for the phone to ring. Finally, around the phone rang. I was ready to go out the door to go see “my baby”. But it was Sara calling to let me know she had changed her mind and was going to keep the baby. We were devastated. But we continued on. We proceeded with trying to get our approval for immigration.
Thursday night, May 6, we got a phone call around . It was Lisa, our social worker. She wanted to let us know that Sara had contacted her and wanted to know if we were still willing to adopt her baby girl. She had no support and she realized that it would be better for the baby if she had a family. We consulted lawyers and social workers on Friday and the processing was scheduled to start on Monday the 10th. Then on Monday, Sara told Laurie (her social worker) that she wanted to wait a week until the father graduated before proceeding. So once again we figured we had lost our baby. Then on Sunday the 16th, Aunt Nancy got a call from Sara. Sara wanted her to come pick up her and the baby. So she did. We went and spent an hour or so with her that night and took some pictures. Then we went back on Monday night and spent some more time with her. That was Matthew and Allison’s first time to meet her. My mom had met her on Sunday and Beck got to meet her on Monday. Allison was very excited and bouncy. She tried to pull the baby off Beck’s lap. Matthew was more reserved until some of the people left. Then he climbed up my lap with her and fed her a bottle. All the paperwork and meetings started that Monday. Matthew informed us that night that he wanted to name his baby sister “Eeyore”. We didn’t agree with him.
“Kalinda” was taken to a host family on
May 28 at . We were then given an appointment at the same time at the
We already had the baby’s room ready, but we needed clothes and a few other small items. So Beck and I went to a mom-to-mom sale on the 22nd and got a bunch of girl clothes. My dad walked up to the dollar store on the 19th and bought hair barrettes and clips for the baby. Everyone was excited now. It seemed that this was really going to happen this time. Aaron and I put in our requests to get the day off for court (Friday, May 28). Aaron did not have any trouble getting the day off. At first I was told it was okay. Then my boss pulled me aside to let me know that I would not get paid for the day because it was the day before a holiday break (Memorial Day). So we sat down with the employee handbook and tried to find a way around that policy, because Susan (the company vice-president) refused to do anything about it. So we found that for Family Leave Act required that you use up all vacation days first and then the remainder would be unpaid. The no pay policy for days before a holiday was worded in regard to personal and sick days not vacation days. So Fiona emailed Susan and explained the loophole that we found and allowed me to take the day as a vacation day. So everything was set to go get our baby.
Friday morning we got going early. We really had not slept much the night before because we were so excited. Since we had a three hour drive or so, we wanted to make sure we left time for traffic and stuff. So we ended up arriving in
Alisha did not think that nighttime was for sleeping at all, so the first few nights were rough. On Saturday, we went as a family to Samuel’s birthday party. Matthew kept a close eye on his sister. At one point, Alisha had fallen asleep and I laid her down in a baby bouncer. Then I went to get something to eat. Since it was all family, I knew she would be fine by Grandma B and Aunt Nancy. Matthew had been playing outside and came in to eat with us. He took one bite and then realized that I did not have the baby in my arms. He frantically scanned the room and spotted the bouncer. He climbed over several children and open birthday presents that littered the living room floor to get to the bouncer. He looked in and saw that his sister was resting peacefully. He looked at Aunt Nancy and told her that it was his baby. Then he was content and came back to share my food. Over the first few weeks, Matthew was always keeping track of where the baby was and what she was doing. He tried to help feed and burp her. He insisted on giving her a pacifier. When she cried, he would get upset and tell us “baby cry”. He really has been the most wonderful big brother.
We counted down the days for the 21 days when the birthparents could request a rehearing. As that day approached, we got more and more excited hoping that the chances of losing our little girl would be over. Then in the last week, we received a phone call from Laurie informing us that Sara had contacted her and wanted to request a rehearing. The agency contacted the courthouse on the following Monday to see if anything had been filed. They did not know because the person that deals with that was out of town. Then the judge was out of town. We finally found out that the judge had granted a rehearing and it was scheduled for July 29. We were very upset that it took two weeks to get into court the first time and then over a month the second time. But the agency kept reassuring us that there was no way the judge could reinstate the birthparents rights. However, he had granted a rehearing even though they waited till the 23rd day to file which is after the 21 days allowed, so we did not know what he would do when it came time for the rehearing. The agency sent us a copy of the letter that had been sent to the court requesting the rehearing. It was too well written to have been written by Sara. And it was full of how Ray’mon’s mom was going to take care of the baby till they got out of school, help them care for the baby while they were finding jobs, and giving them the family house when they had jobs so they would have a place to raise the baby.
I spoke with Doug, the agency's lawyer, several times as we waited for the rehearing. He tried to reassure me that there was no way that the judge could legally take our daughter from us. I also took the two kids with me to the agencies
The day of the rehearing, my dad, Aunt Nancy, Julie, Sarah (my cousin), and their kids went to the court for the rehearing. My dad called me that afternoon to let me know that the birthfamily was half an hour late to the hearing and the judge still waited for them. Then when they got there, the judge asked Sara what her grounds were for requesting her rights to be reinstated. She told the judge she could get an apartment at school, so she wanted the baby back. When the judge asked her again what her "legal" grounds for her request she stated, “I want Kalinda back because I can get an apartment at school.” So the judge turned to Doug and asked him what he had to say. Doug simply quoted a few laws of the state of
We waited patiently to hear if anything had been filed with the court of appeals. We did not think that the birthfamily had the money to hire a lawyer, but we were still not sure. The 21 days came and went and we never heard anything. I finally called the agency and they told me that we should have already heard if anything had happened, so we could assume that we were in the clear.
We made it through both of our home visits with Laurie. Our family had accepted Alisha and Alisha had accepted us. A few weeks before the adoption was supposed to be finalized, we got a letter from the agency stating that they would not put our adoption through for finalization until we paid the extra $2000 from the rehearing. They also wrote some threatening statements about making it cost more money if it took too long because they would have to do more post placement visits and they would have to charge extra. We just cried. We did not have any money to pay the bill. So we continued to pursue different adoption grants. Most of them turned us down because we already had the baby. Finally, I got in touch with a lady from Fore Adoption. She felt the agency was very wrong for how they were treating us and threatening. She presented our case to their board and got us a grant that paid off the remaining bill.
Then in the end of November, the agency turned our paperwork in to the courts for the judge to sign off on. On
No matter how much stress and agony we went through, we know that we made the right decision. God wanted Alisha to be a part of our family and she is exactly that now. I pray that one day she will also join her dad and I as part of God’s family.