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"This is not your typical adoption situation. I've been doing this for over 25 years and have done about 2,000 successful placements." Shelley was pleasant and talkative over the phone. She continued, "I can tell you this: Kendra is definitely not your typical birth mother."
There was an archetypal birth mother? Who knew?
"I'm sorry, Shelley, but I don't really know what you mean. What is a typical birth mother like?"
I thought pregnant women considering adoption were a collective group of individuals. Unique stories. Varying backgrounds. But Shelley wanted to set me straight:
"Most of them are drug addicts. Or alcoholics. They don't get any prenatal care. There's usually much greater risk regarding the baby's health. I'm not saying I can guarantee anything, but Kendra, is well, just a normal woman who got herself into a bad situation. She comes from a good family. And her husband's family operates a 100 year old business. He comes from prominent people in the area."
I didn't understand. "Then why is she placing this baby for adoption?"
"It's not her husband's baby. Their marriage is a disaster. They've already been divorced once, then got remarried, and when this baby was conceived, they were separated. In fact, he had filed for divorce again. But they're back together. They have two boys together and are trying to work it out."
"How old is she?" I pictured someone in her early to mid forties, given all that marital experience.
"She's 24. They married young--high school sweethearts and she got pregnant in their freshman year of college. She doesn't believe in abortion, so they got married and quit school. Got jobs in his family's business."
"That's funny," I replied. "Because I got pregnant in college too. Also before we were married. And then my husband went into his family's business."
"Jennifer, I must tell you, and maybe you'll think I sound a bit crazy, but I'm a spiritual person," Shelley explained. "And just talking with you, I can tell you and your husband are the perfect match for this birth mom and her baby. Babies end up with the families they're meant to be with. I've got at least 35 couples I've been working with for some time now, but this baby is meant for your family."
An hour earlier, I was competing for a spot at Chef Mickey's. And then, out of nowhere, I just skipped the whole line of hopeful prospective parents? I wanted a baby, yes, but we were blessed with two children already. What about those childless couples who were waiting and waiting?
Shelley was reassuring, "You need to understand that Kendra wants a family like yours. This is ultimately her choice. She wants a house that has other kids in it. She wants a couple under 40 years of age. A lot of people don't try to adopt until they've already exhausted all their other options. It's their last resort and they tend to be much older."
I was listening. Thinking.
"Jennifer, I need to call Kendra by the end of the day to let her know that her first choice, Tracey and Jim, is not going to happen. She's going to be devastated. But I think when she hears about you and your family, well, I think she will be very happy then."
"Shelley," I cautioned her. "My husband is in Europe right now. He doesn't even know this situation exists yet."
Shelley did not give me much time. "Call him and call me right back. I need an answer before the end of the day. This baby is due in a few weeks and Kendra is already dilated three centimeters."