This guest post is by Danielle Orenzow, an adoptive mother
Life is full of surprises.
After we bought our house and were financially stable, we announced to the world that we would start trying to grow our family.
It was such an exhilarating time. Never did we imagine that eight years would pass without even one positive pregnancy.
One day, as we discussed our upcoming IVF session at family dinner, my mother-in-law reached over and said with excitement, “I know someone.”
Through a friend of a friend, she had heard about an expectant mother who was considering placing her baby for adoption.
Her name was Destiny and she was just 15 years old. She was due in 10 days. To think of myself as an instant mommy was surreal but boy, was I ready!
When I got to the hospital and met the baby for the first time, I felt like I had known him forever.
Afterwards, my husband, Tom, and I did the paperwork to get him discharged from the hospital and went out for a celebratory lunch.
Along the way we stopped by Babies R Us to pick up a bottle, a blanket and some diapers.
As I walked down the aisles with the baby registry scanner in my hand, I thought about everything we had gone through to get to this point in our lives.
I couldn’t believe I was shopping for a baby who would be in my home that afternoon!
But no sooner did I finish shopping when Tom walked up to me and said the baby, whom we named “Carter”, would not be coming home with us.
Our attorney had just called him to say that Destiny had changed her mind.
Forcing a smile, I returned the scanner to the stunned clerk. I told him we wouldn’t be needing it and we went home.
We were devastated and exhausted.
But then, two weeks later, something magical happened.
I was organizing my teaching supplies when I came across a clipboard that my mom had given me many years ago. On it was a starfish.
Suddenly, I remembered something that our social worker had told us just after we first heard about Carter.
“I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but starfish are very auspicious!” she said. “Angels guide us with physical symbols and one of the symbols they use to unite families is the starfish. If you have a starfish in your house then this baby is meant for you.”
When I saw that clipboard, I got excited and shouted to Tom and my mother to come quickly.
As I held up the clipboard and recounted our social worker’s story, Tom got a text message from Destiny’s aunt asking us to call her.
By then, Carter was two weeks old and living in a homeless shelter with Destiny and five family members. Being a mother was harder than she had thought, and she had started looking at adoption again.
As we waited for her to make her decision, Tom and I went to a baby store. I was scanning items when once again his phone rang.
Bracing myself for bad news, I started praying and went through the store scanning every item with a starfish that I could find.
I was in the cradle section when Tom walked toward me and said my name the same way he did when he told me that Destiny had changed her mind.
“Oh no,” I thought, “not again.”
But instead of delivering bad news he got down on one knee and said, with tears of joy in his eyes, “Danielle, you’re going to be a mommy.”
I didn’t know what to say. All that I could do was cry and hug him. Our prayers had been answered and my heart was exploding with happiness!
Two days later, Tom and I met with Destiny and her family for the signing ceremony. After many tears and hugs, we walked out of the law office. It was raining slightly.
With Carter in my arms, I turned to Destiny and said, “You know the angels are celebrating a miracle. Those are tears of joy. It rained on our wedding day, but our friends assured us that it was an omen for many children.”
She smiled. Above us was a magnificent rainbow. I invited her to take a photo of it with Tom and me.
“No,” she said smiling, as a tear fell down her cheek. “That rainbow is for you. He is yours now.”
I smiled back and then Tom and I had our pictures taken as we laughed and cried like never before.
Today, Carter is nearly two years old and life couldn’t be better. We have an open adoption with Destiny, and added a second son to our family (also through open adoption) just six months after Carter’s birth.
I know adoption is hard. I know there are days when you feel like quitting.
But don’t give up. Adopting a child is unpredictable. Things can change at any time.
Keep your eyes open. Believe in miracles. And know that God loves you.
Danielle Orenzow is a native Texan who has been living in Long Island, New York for over 13 years. She and her husband adopted twice within a year. She hopes to use her experiences to educate people about how amazing adoption, and especially open adoption, can be.
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