The Road to Cooper Lee

August 25, 2019Southern Girl

It’s been a year since we first met Cooper Lee but our journey started years ago and mine much longer ago that that. Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to adopt. I never had that urge to carry my own child, or wonder what it would be like to be pregnant. When I was in my early 20’s my doctor told me that having my own children would be dangerous to both me and any baby I carried. I knew in that moment God had been preparing me all these years.

When I met my husband, during our first conversation, I told him that adoption was something I wanted to pursue to grow my family. He surprisingly wasn’t thrown off that a woman he’d yet to meet in person was already bringing up children and a family. To me it was important. I was married once before and that marriage ended primarily over me wanting to adopt, start a family and move to Tennessee. I knew that whoever I was going to get into a relationship with would understand what my goals were in life up front, because the next man I married was going to share those same goals.

After we were married we didn’t wait too long before starting the process. I found an amazing local agency here in Nashville that walked us through everything we needed to do. It took quite a few months to get our home study approved, which is something you have to have completed before you can be presented to expecting parents. After the home study you wait, and wait, and wait some more until you’re contacted about a situation. We matched the first time in 2017 but that match didn’t turn into a placement. The woman decided to parent her little girl. To say I was heartbroken was an understatement. If you’ve never lived through a failed placement or a failed match then you don’t understand the grief that is felt. Even though I didn’t carry that little girl I had a nursery for her. I spent my days daydreaming about what she would be like and what her life would be like with us. She had more clothes in her nursery closet than I have in my own closet. The day I got the call that her mother had chosen to parent instead of go through with the placement I already had a feeling the call was coming. Something just didn’t feel right, even though I was already planning her future. It took me a while to get through the grief and the heartache before I was ready to start presenting to situations again. The whole time my husband was supportive but not pushy with the adoption process getting started again. He said that we’d take our time and proceed when we were ready.

A week went by before we were ready to present again but it really took months for me to get back into a position where I could trust the process again. I had to teach myself how to forgive someone that would never be in my life again. Before the failed match I was hopeful with every emailed situation we received. After the adoption I was overly cautious and every situation I tried to poke holes in to see if I could determine if the adoption would really happen or if someone was just playing us again.

It was over 9 months from the failed adoption to finding out that Cooper’s birth mom had chosen us. We almost didn’t present to her because it was the same agency we had our failed match with. I was contacted the day before and told the agency not to present us, even though they were presenting that night. We were trying to present to a different situation at the time and never felt right about having our profile shown to multiple women on the same day. We ended up not matching in that situation and found out late that night. I was a bummed that we missed our opportunity with Cooper’s birth mom. The next morning I typed and deleted so many emails to the agency because I was scared to try and match through them again. I thought I was over my trust issues but I clearly wasn’t. Finally, after saying a prayer, I sent them an email to see if they’d presented the day before. The email I received back told me they hadn’t but that the person I contacted was leaving in 15 minutes to meet her and she was going to grab my profile and take it with her and I was to send her a message letting her know whether to present us. I responded with a hesitant yes and went about my day at work.

A few hours later I received a phone call from the agency. Now, in my experience, No’s come through emails but phone calls are a positive thing. I found out, standing between a hallway of printer paper and filing cabinets that she had chosen us and that she was due in less than 4 weeks. In that moment I had a flood of emotions. I was excited that we were hopefully going to be brining home a baby boy, sad that I’d never have a little girl and scared that this was the beginning of the second failed adoption. After sharing my news with my husband we decided to only tell my parents because we needed to have my mom go with us to Arizona during the birth. Through the next few weeks circumstances would require us to tell a couple more family members but we kept everyone else in the dark.

Towards the end of June last year we loaded up my SUV and Jason, my mom and I drove from Tennessee to Arizona in just a day and a half. If you’ve never driven across the country I highly recommend it. I never thought I’d be a fan of Arizona and even though it’s unbelievably hot, it has some of the prettiest terrains I’ve ever seen. Outside of Phoenix we drove through the Tonto National Forest, which was green and lush, not how I ever pictured Arizona. It’s definitely a place, that someday, I want to take Cooper to. The whole drive through the park I was worried because his birth mom was supposed to be induced that night but I hadn’t heard any of the details. Finally, towards the end of our drive through the park, I got a phone call explaining the plan for the night. We were all getting nervous because everything was becoming a bit more real. After settling into our condo I received a call that would set the whole tone of our first week in Arizona. She had decided not to be induced and didn’t want to meet us. In that moment I thought everything was over. My internal red flag alert system was pounding in my head and I was almost certain we made the wrong decision by presenting to her.

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