Written by Danelle Henden
Almost dying during childbirth isn’t fun. Especially when no one in your family knows you were in the hospital and you don’t get the joy of taking your babies home. Some say grief is like a blanket, but for me, grief was like an ocean—and guess what? I can’t swim.
The 10-day stay at the hospital with the twins was horrific and resplendent for me. I stayed in the hospital with them for two days as I recovered from my blood transfusion. I would trek down to the NICU even once I went home. I would show up and stare at their little faces while nurses whispered and gave advice that I should rethink my adoption idea. Doubt, despair, anger, and depression encompassed me and held me tight. I tried to put on a good face when the adoptive parents were there, but it hurt. The doctors asked me to pump, as it would be good for the twins, so I would go home, pump in secret, and go to the hospital and pump. They would let me hold them with all the little wires coming out everywhere. I got to feed them, and look at those beautiful little faces I created, and cry.
A part of me is still crying and will always cry about the lost moments and missed motherhood. But I know I wasn’t ready emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. Stephanie and Ron seemed like nice people, but at that time, they were just a countdown for me. It was wrong for me to want my babies to stay in the NICU for longer, but I had no guarantee that I would ever see them again once they left. So, when they left the hospital and communication was scarce, I thought: this is it, this is life now. I was sure that I wouldn’t see my kids again.
I was wrong. I know now getting an adoption finalized, settling in with two newborn babies while already having a toddler, and trying to bond as a family can take a minute. I know that now, in hindsight, but at the time, as I said, grief was an ocean.
We had our first two meetings at the adoption agency. It was very special to me. I got to know a bit about the two people I have picked for Dani and Darnell, and they were great people. After that, they decided to just invite me to their home. We got along great, especially once we found we had things in common. Eventually, I started to come to hang with the grownups more than the kids. It was amazing. I remember Ron had a family member or friend who asked if they were scared that I might kidnap the kids. To which Ron said, “Well, if she was to kidnap them, she’s the best person to do it, as she loves them (true), she doesn’t have the finances to get very far (very true), and she would never hurt them (especially true).” Hahaha.
I have no idea when I truly bonded with Ron and Stephanie. It could have been the frequent photos they sent, the fact that they trusted me enough to let me know where they live, the passion with which they showed they wanted me involved, them letting me bond with Dawn, or the extensive board game collection they have. Who knows what the reason was, but I am glad I have them all. They are my family! I often think I had triplets and one was just older and lighter than the other two, because I love Dawn that much as well. We have all blended so perfectly, and I couldn’t imagine not knowing any of them.
I love quotes, and it was the late, great Tupac who said, “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping its dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete.” This situation is concrete: birthmothers are not given a fair shake sometimes. So, this wall, this concrete that people say is necessary for the adoption process to function can be false. Ron and Stephanie planted seeds, despite it being concrete and despite what others said, and they got a rose. We have formed something people like to think is impossible, but it happens. I have heard stories and seen the roses growing. I thought I was losing my babies, but I gained a family, and I’d call that a win.