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Hannah’s Adoption Story

When we moved to Montana in September 2003 Daniel was just 6 mths old but we already knew that we wanted to adopt another baby. Montana law requires you to be a resident of Montana for at least 6 mths before starting the process so it was not until 2004 that we started to investigate adoption agencies. Montana is not that easy a state to adopt in as you are not allowed to adopt across state lines unless you actually are related to or know the birth family so that limited our choices & meant that we were not able to work with Lifetime, the adoption facilitator that we had used for Daniel’s adoption & the one we are using for Adoption #4 here in Missouri. (You are allowed to adopt internationally in Montana, but at that time we were not US citizens so that option was not open to us either.)

When I called one adoption agency I was told that because we already had three children they were not interested. (They only worked with couples who had less than two children!) I came away from that phone call absolutely gutted thinking that we were not going to be able to fulfill our dream. Thankfully we did not give up & the next call we made was to Catholic Social Services of Montana. Their policy was & is that God can & will bless you with as many children as you will have/take. It made no difference that we were not Catholic – they were more than happy to work with us & so the process began. It took a while to get the homestudy completed & because we were new to them we had to get psychological profiling done, go on a 2 day workshop etc. Yes there is no privacy when you decide to adopt!

Roll forward to April 27th, 2006 when we received a call from Helen (social worker) asking permission to present our profile to a birthmum who had used & was continuing to use drugs during her pregnancy. There were also some mental health issues to be taken into consideration. We honestly did not hesitate to say “Yes!”

The birthmum had told Helen that she wanted to place her baby daughter with an experienced family, a stay at home mum, a family with animals & a family that was not Catholic. We fit the bill, but would she choose us?! Those were some tense days of waiting, I can tell you. Finally on May 8th, we got the call that we had been chosen! Whoo Hoo!

The birthmum lived about 5 hours from us so the next part in the process was to get together with Helen & her. The first meeting went well & we also got to go to a doctor’s visit & listen to Hannah’s heartbeat which was strong & healthy. On our second visit the doctor was concerned that Hannah was small for her gestational age & so we had the privilege of being present for an ultrasound & saw Hannah kicking around in the womb. Yes she was small – estimated at 4lb 13 ozs (don’t remember the exact gestational age) BUT taking into account the drugs, alcohol & heavy smoking on the part of the birthmom this was to be expected.  A C-Section was planned for Tuesday July 18th, 2006 so not long to wait now 🙂

We (Richard, myself, Michelle, Michael & Daniel) arrived at the hospital early that morning. The hospital staff were excellent. The birthmom had requested a friend to be present at the birth which we totally respected. We were called into the nursery soon after Hannah had been born. Our new baby girl 🙂

 

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Hannah was 5lb 12 ozs at birth which was in fact, at that time, the biggest baby we had ever had! (Caleb now holds the record thus far at 7 lbs 13 ozs.) Michelle, the second biggest, was 5lb 12 ozs, Michael was 4 lbs 15 ozs & Daniel was 1 lb 14 ozs. It dawned on us that it had been 17 years since we had had a baby girl! Wow!

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Over the next two days all of us, including the birthmom, spent a lot of time with Hannah. On Thursday we took Hannah out of the hospital to the local Ronald McDonald house where we were staying & the birthmom went to her home. Montana law states that the birthmom cannot terminate her parental rights until 72 hours (3 days) after the birth. SO the “handing over ceremony” was not until Friday, July 21st. As always that was an extremely emotional experience. Even though we had already had Hannah in our care for 24 hours, the act of the birthmom physically handing Hannah over to us after signing the papers had everyone in tears. Joy & heartache mingled together. Here we are with a precious new gift being given to us whilst we also can’t even begin to imagine the heartache of giving up a child that you have carried inside you & loved for 9 mths.

We are very blessed to have Hannah in our lives. She is definitely a challenge to us all & does have alot of behavioral & emotional issues. For those of you that maybe think that what happens in the womb does not affect a child, please please know that everything that happens in the womb affects the child for good or bad. Drugs, alcohol & smoking do take their toll along with loud noises & violence etc. As Hannah began to mature we began to see some very disturbing behaviors. She would regularly bang her head & throw herself on the floor. There was not much we could do except encourage her not to do it & pray that she would grow out of it. As Hannah has matured (she is now 7) she no longer bangs her head, but is still able to throw herself on the floor & kick her legs in the air at a moment’s notice 🙂 Yes we smile, but she now understands that she is not going to get away with that behavior & is made to get up & behave. Hannah was also absolutely terrified of men (except Richard) from a very early age. When a man would walk in the door or go anywhere near her she would start to scream & become hysterical. Where did that come from? No man in her life after birth had given her reason to act like this. All we could believe was that a man during her womb life had caused the damage! Tragic! It took her many years to overcome her fear. I can remember when Michael had left home & came back for lunch one day. She absolutely refused to sit at the table with him & screamed hysterically. That was her own brother! Fast forward to now & thankfully that fear is gone. In fact she is now a big socialite & will talk to anyone.

 

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Hannah loves school & is actually very bright. The hissy fits (throwing herself around) make schooling her difficult at times, but we persevere. She is an excellent reader & loves books. We continue to pray that as she matures she will learn to control her outbursts. She has love, stability & everything else she needs to succeed. We’re not perfect, but we and obviously the birthmum believe Hannah is in the best place for her.

Take care,

Liz

 

 

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