In honor of Mother’s Day, a special two-part guest blog by Jody Cantrell Dyer, author of THE EYE OF ADOPTION: The True Story of my Turbulent Wait for a Baby. Part One: Jody was published last week and Part Two: Tobi follows. Thanks to Jody for her thoughtful contribution.
My dear friend Tobi found a well-constructed American Robin’s nest (pictured) in her East Tennessee back yard last week. Doesn’t it look like a sweet place to snooze with feathered siblings or gobble down a juicy worm? Like fellow author and blog host Patty and me, Tobi has suffered great loss. Patty lost her precious mother and I lost my father, both at young ages. Tobi survived a horrific house fire in college and spent months recovering from burns and surgeries. Years later, she endured a complete hysterectomy, which made her unable to bear a child.
We three mama birds have suffered great loss through tragedy and infertility, but we were and still are determined to fill our nests with baby birds. Patty has two well-adjusted sons and “the light of her life” in her beautiful daughter. I have my miraculous biological son, Houston, and I brought home my “Smiling Boy Scotty” in 2010. Tobi still anxiously waits for a daughter through adoption.
Patty illustrates her longing for a daughter in her poignant memoir, March into My Heart: a Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption. I chronicle my trek through the rigors of infertility and adoption in my narrative The Eye of Adoption: The True Story of my Turbulent Wait for a Baby. We wrote these books to help others, especially those who are still waiting, like Tobi. Like many of you.
Tobi is diligently focused on her nest. She is an artist and sells her hand-crafted pieces made of woven yarn, stitchery, and felt to finance her adoption efforts. She named her business Ivey Handcrafted for her future daughter, Ivey. When Tobi posted the bird’s nest photo on her Facebook page, eighty people “liked” or commented. We all saw those delicate blue eggs in a meticulously interlaced bed of twigs and had emotional reactions; we thought babies or family. “Only a mama could make sticks look so cozy!” I commented. “Print that picture on canvas and hang it up in her room!” I thought the cradle of blue eggs would be a beautiful illustration of safety to place over Ivey’s baby bed.
Many waiting adoptive parents shy away from creating a nursery or child’s bedroom. That is completely understandable. No one should judge the decisions of waiting parents. During my wait for Scotty, I admitted to Tobi, “I feel so weird and sad when I buy something for my baby.”
She replied, “Yes, it’s like shopping for a ghost.”
In 2010, I introduced Tobi to a birthmother named Morgan. The young girl was beautiful, kind, and committed to the adoption plan, but the birth father broke all our hearts when he would not relinquish rights at the last minute. Tobi was on the way to the hospital to meet her baby when a social worker called and gave her the shattering news. We were all devastated and Morgan was terrified to face single-parenting in college. The failed adoption evolved into a unique friendship and Tobi, Morgan, Scotty’s birthmother, and I are friends to this day. We cheer Morgan on as she raises her child. We cheer Tobi on as she waits for Ivey.
You may ask, “Why did Jody expose us to this sad story just before Mother’s Day?” My biggest fear throughout the adoption wait was that a birth parent would lead my husband and me all the way to the hospital, then change his or her mind and crush my soul. Although that happened to Tobi, she recovered, regained enthusiasm, and knows that adoption is an enlightening, spiritual experience.
Currently, Tobi is an “official waiting parent” on international and domestic waiting lists. Every day, Tobi binds branches of spirit, effort, fundraising, relationships, art, and prayer to construct her nest. I recently told Tobi, “You are one heck of a mama bird. You just need your little chick!!!”
To all the waiting parents: I encourage you to pro-actively anticipate your child. As soon as you become pregnant, you are a mother. Once you decide to adopt, you are a mother. Build your nest.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Tobi Weldon is an artist and waiting adoptive mother in Tennessee. You may read her blog and learn more about Ivey Handcrafted artwork at Bring Ivey Home.
Jody Cantrell Dyer is a mother, writer, and teacher in East Tennessee. You can learn more about Jody and her book, THE EYE OF ADOPTION: the true story of my turbulent wait for a baby, at www.jodydyer.com, via The Eye of Adoption on Amazon.com, or by “liking” her page: Facebook: The Eye of Adoption.
Patty Lazarus is the author of a new book about adoption titled “March into My Heart: A Memoir of Mothers, Daughters, and Adoption.” Available on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Y5JNvg