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Sharing My Adoption Story

Jun 17

Posted by: ACHA
6/17/2014 1:54 PM  RssIcon

By Kim Russell

“She will not be able to bear children,” the doctor said. Of course, this was disappointing, but understandable. “She can’t have children?” my mother asked the doctor.

The doctor shook his head. “No, I said she cannot bear children. She will need to adopt. And there are many children out there who need good families.”

In my mind I remember that conversation. Was it really my memory or just me remembering my mother telling that story? Either way, I remember thinking that somewhere out there God had a little girl already picked out for me.

After writing my book, In a Heartbeat, I have had opportunities to meet parents of children who have been told they would not be able to give birth. Some girls are told from a very young age and others do not find out until they are in their 20s, even married, and sometimes not until they talk to their cardiologist about family planning.

After hearing this I am able to reach out to these women with my story of adopting our baby girl and to educate people about adoption. What a fantastic opportunity! Unless you have been through the adoption process, it is probably hard to understand.

Tom and I had been married about 15 months and were sleeping in late, having worked the late shift the night before. At 9:10 a.m. the phone rang. I picked up the receiver. “Hello?” I said rather groggily.

“Mrs. Russell?”

“Yes.”

The woman on the phone was calling about a baby who needed a home and wanted to know if we were still interested. I relayed the question to my husband.

“Of course we are!” Tom nearly shouted.

“Of course we are!” I repeated to the lady. “Are you sure? Is this for real?”

She replied that in fact, it was, and provided some details and guidelines about the private adoption and how the process would be handled by our respective attorneys.

As we started to hang up, she added, “Oh, and the mother is only four months along, so you will have some time to prepare.”

After the phone was back in the receiver Tom and I were stunned. A baby? We were going to be adopting a baby!

The following months were filled with elation, preparation, and anticipation, all of which were very emotional. Through the excitement of shopping, decorating the nursery, and planning showers, we always had to keep in mind that until the 10 days post-birth period was over there were no guarantees. Things could change. But God gave us strength and confidence. Finally, one day while Tom was at work the phone call came. Our baby girl had been born. A girl! Yes, a girl!

Two days later as we drove to the hospital, I commented on how surprisingly calm I felt for such an exciting event. But when we walked in those hospital doors and saw the nurse holding our baby, the tears would not stop flowing (they even flow now, as I write this). The baby girl that I had thought of so many years ago was ours! We were actually picking her up and taking her home! We had a baby!

While promoting my book, I met a girl who found out she could not bear children when she went to the cardiologist to talk about family planning. She was devastated! I gave her my book and asked her to keep in touch. About five years later I found a way to check on her.

“Kim, we adopted two girls who are now one and three years old—and they’re ours! Just like you said.”

Reprinted with permission from Heart to Heart with Anna April 2014.

Kim Russell, who is also an ACHA Heart to Heart Ambassador, was born in 1960 with a double inlet single ventricle (left) with pulmonary atresia and chronic cyanosis. At three months she had her first Blalock–Taussig shunt and at age four, had another. Her final surgery was in 1992, at the age of 32. All along the CHD journey, she and her parents knew no one else with CHD. As Kim says, “No one else should to have to grow up or experience any CHD issues alone. We are all in this together!”

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