Gayle’s Story
Gayle and Jacob Adoption Paradox
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Gayle’s Story

Gayle and Jacob Adoption Paradox

I’m married to Matt, and I’m a petite little thing, and I don’t cycle properly. We married later in life. I was 28. We started looking at adoption immediately because it took us a year and a half to get pregnant with our first son, Jacob. We started looking at adoption, and then I was pregnant. Then I threw up for nine months. I left the hospital at 92 pounds after birth. I mean granted, I was only 94 when I got pregnant, but it was horrible.

Then we had feisty Brienne in March. As she hit one, Matt’s like, “What are we going to do? We want three.” I’m like, “I am never getting pregnant again because I puke from the minute the sperm hits the egg until that baby comes out of me. It’s horrible, and it’s just… I don’t want to puke for nine months again.” Apparently, it doesn’t matter the sex, because one was a boy, and one was a girl. So anyway, we started the adoption process. By now this is 2002.

It was extremely expensive. The first route we tried was the Mormons because they’re cheap, but we’re not Mormon so they wouldn’t help us. Then we went to Jewish Social Services. We are not Jewish, but they did our home study, and they wouldn’t help us find a baby because we’re not Jewish, but they did all the stuff that’s required by the state for probably $20,000.00 – less than Catholic charities, the state, anybody else. It was way cheaper, Jewish Services, but we had to find our own baby.

I called everyone. The state was more interested in you fostering and then getting your home study for the adoption process. I wasn’t really interested in adopting a seven-year-old. I think all in all it was about $25,000.00 to adopt our son. We paid her copay for the hospital, which was like $250.00, and bought her Panda Express. That’s it, as far as the birth mom. The rest was just all the fees required by the state.

They work on everything. They want to know your religious background, and what you believe in. They want to make sure you have an income coming into the home. They inspect the home to make sure it’s safe for a child. They wanted to know if we had relationships with our parents. Of course, any siblings. It wasn’t as intense as the amount you spend, how about that? You’re spending $25,000.00, and you’re kind of expecting them to do more. They do a background check. They make sure you don’t have any felonies, which obviously was not an issue. They make sure you’re not doing drugs. We had to do blood tests. It wasn’t that intense, really.

Then we get a call from Jewish Social Services. I can’t remember her name, but this attorney who deals with adoption, has this baby that’s coming quickly, and she needs someone to adopt that doesn’t care about race, color, skin, whatever.

When we went to the lawyer about the adoption, she tells us, “Here’s the problem, everyone says they want to adopt and they come to me because I’m the best in the city. But, everyone wants a baby that looks just like them.” She said 95% of her interracial babies are black babies, Chinese babies, or whatever get adopted in Canada because nobody wants them in America, which just boggled my mind. I didn’t understand that. I still don’t understand that.

It was January. The baby was due on February 14th. Jacob’s birth mom had her OBGYN’s nurse going to adopt the baby, but she never did the home study and stuff. If you wait, then it’s even more expensive. You’re talking $30-$40,000.00 easy because they have to rush all the paperwork. Now here’s the mom with a baby, and she has nowhere for the baby to go. She’s five 10, she lived with her parents and her daughter, and you couldn’t even tell she was pregnant.

We meet at Olive Garden, and we talk to her for about four hours. She was like, “Are you equipped and able to raise a chocolate child?” And yes, she actually used the word, “chocolate child”.

I worked at my son’s preschool. I’m at preschool. I get a call from her. She says, “I’d like you to take my baby,” to which I immediately left work. I had to go – I’m having a baby! This was probably, I want to say, February 8th. She was induced on February 12th. Not a whole lot of time to plan. I am used to carrying a baby, the baby comes, you feel the baby, and the baby is born.

Then the mom said she wanted me in the birth room. Okay. Then she changed her mind, but she didn’t call me. So, I know she’s having a baby, and I’m sitting on the couch rocking and back and forth. Matt walks in, he’s like, “What the hell’s wrong with you?” I’m like, “Well, she hasn’t called. I don’t know what’s going on. Where’s the baby?” He said, “Welcome to the man side of the story because the baby just shows up. I know you let me feel it move in your belly, but this is how it feels to be a man.” I’m like, “Well, I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.” So, she had the baby. She had her tubes tied.

She called, and she had him at the Hospital. We walked into the room and it was her and her sister, who apparently knew she was pregnant. She handed me Jacob, whom she called Caleb. And, she’s like, “Here’s your chocolate boy.” I said, “Thank you.” And that’s why he’s been Chocolate Boy ever since because birth mom called him that. I even call him that. Then we bonded. We bought her dinner. I don’t know. She wanted orange chicken from Panda Express, I remember that.

In Nevada, it’s a three-day wait. Mom has three days to change their mind. After 24 hours, she was released from the hospital and she says, “I just want to make sure you’re going to see him.” She had two rules, I had to call her if I couldn’t do his hair, and he had to be circumcised, and I could name him whatever I wanted. So, we named him Jacob, and then William after my father.

The state then literally called me when Jacob was six months old. They had a mixed-race baby girl that was due… My home study and everything was still good, and they wanted me to take her. I’m like, I can’t have a newborn and a six-month-old. Come on, now. I’m a good mom, but I’m not that good. I’m like, “Call me in a year.” Yeah, because they couldn’t find a home. She probably ended up in Canada.

For two days, I would just go to the hospital and hold him. My breast milk came in. I nursed him. But he didn’t really like that because nursing is more work than a bottle, and he was drinking four ounces of formula out of the hospital, which is a lot for a newborn. So, I nursed him for two weeks, and then I was just annoyed because I had engorged boobs and I didn’t even give birth.

Matt was on swing shift at work. When you nurse, you’re up every two hours. When you bottle feed, they sleep for four to six hours. Then Matt would come home from swings, and he’d do that 2:00 AM feeding because I was done. This is going to sound totally racist, but it’s not. So, he’s in his bassinet and he’s two days old, and he’s crying. I literally couldn’t find him. He’s black. It’s dark. I’m like, “Where the hell is he?”

I never didn’t love him from the minute I held him. He totally completed our family, but that made me laugh. I literally could not find the baby. Where is he? Oh, there he is. Cool. I couldn’t find him. After that, I learned to dress him in white because I couldn’t find him. He’s not there, and he’s crying. I can hear him. We didn’t have cellphones with flashlights then. So, I found said baby, took care of said baby, and changed his diaper. At three days old, Jacob went to his first rodeo with my mother. Jared and Brienne were rodeoing. Matt was putting in the floor at the new house. People literally came up to me and said, “You look so good for just having a baby.”

I said, “Thank you. I just saw him last month.” I’m obviously not pregnant. Whatever.

They do checkups like they have to, the state. The first time they came, it was three or four months of age, something like that. They were like, “Now you’ve moved to this small town, are there any other interracial children? Is he going to be okay growing up here?” I’m like, “Look two doors down, they adopted a black girl. Does that count? They’re white.” They’re like, “Yep, that counts. Perfect.

I remember one time I was at Babies R’ Us… this woman says, “I don’t know, but that baby should stay with his own race.” I said, “Really?” And I called the manager and that woman got fired.

Then fast forward, everything obviously was fine with the home checks. No big deal. Now he’s just my little pain in the ass. There’s the story. Now he’s just a grown-up pain in the ass. He’s a good kid. He’s a loving child. He doesn’t even question the race thing. It is what it is. I’m his mom.

When he was in 8th grade, he’s playing basketball for the junior high. He gets in the car and he says, “Mom.” I say, “What?” He says, “That kid, Paolo Verde,” I’m like, “Yeah?” He goes, “He called me a nigger. Does he want to beat me up or be my best friend?” I sat, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

I don’t know why we wanted three kids. I guess we just wanted them to totally run our lives, because once you have three they’re in control. It’s like a flock. I think some of it is too, because we started with the adoption idea, and even though we had… I had this huge talk with my buddy Kendall on the Fourth of July. He was a little intoxicated. He’s like, “Here, you have these two perfect babies. Why did you add this other one?” I’m like, “Because we needed him to finish our family.” He’s never been married, and he’s never had a kid. So, he doesn’t understand any of it. I’m trying to explain to him. I’m like, “Jacob finished our family. He made us complete.” Then he kept hiding his picture on the wall. “No, no, no, you had two perfect babies. You had a boy and a girl, like everyone’s dream. But you added another one.”

Jacob does have medical issues. He’s an epileptic. It’s a huge burden. I know his father was worried about the Black Lives Matter thing because I remember him calling Jacob. We were at Dick’s Sporting Goods. He was like, “If you ever get scared, you come to me.” Jacob’s like, “I could give a rat’s ass, dad. I don’t care. I’m good.”

I wish I knew more about his medical history. That would just be because of the epilepsy.

But that woulda/coulda happens even if I had had a biological baby. Other than the two days maybe it took me to just adapt to having a newborn in the house again, and then I never rethought it again.

To any other adoptive parent, I’d say, love it like it’s your own because it is. You have to go into adoption knowing that that’s yours until you die. No matter what they do, no matter their medical issues, no matter what. Jacob is mine until I die. I never questioned that or would ever re-think that, ever.

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