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Waiting for the Call ...


a blog by Ellen Glazer, February 16, 2011

Thirty years ago I was waiting for a call. And this past January, I was, again, waiting for a call. I am fascinated by how different the two experiences were, especially since they are so closely connected.

Thirty years ago my husband and I were waiting for an adoption call. We had applied to adopt about six months before and knew that a call about a baby could come “anytime.” That said, as I remember it, there was a sense of unreality about the wait. I knew the words, “we could get a call anytime,” but I was disconnected from them. In some ways I assumed that call would never come. Then one Sunday morning, the phone rang, the call came, the baby was here, and we had a daughter.

Our daughter is now 30 years old and recently delivered her first child. The baby was due on January 11, but for some reason — which makes no sense at all in retrospect — we thought the baby would come early.

The Wait

And so I began waiting for the call around December 23. By December 29, I was in intense waiting (e.g., I told everyone, “My daughter is about to go into labor any second”), and by January 1, I was making no plans without the pronouncement, “I'll probably have to cancel because my daughter is about to have a baby.”

December came and went. Early January came and went. January 11 came and went. I got up several times during the night to check my phone just in case I might have slept through the call.

The Call Finally Came

At 3:20 a.m. on January 18, the call finally came. She was in labor. My baby was having a baby.

Eight hours after the call, my daughter gave birth to a baby boy by Caesarean section. It was the same way that she entered the world, and yet, as I stood outside the newborn nursery, I could not help but think of the differences in the two arrivals.

My grandson’s arrival was greeted with jubilation that reverberated through our family, her husband’s family and my daughter’s large and loving birthfamily on both sides. There is no question that this baby will be welcomed into “all his families” with great warmth and celebration.

How different it must have been at my daughter’s birth. While we — her adoptive family — welcomed her with great joy two weeks later, her first two weeks (she was a preemie) were spent in the hospital with two loving, caring birthparents coming in daily to feed and care for her. They never told their families that they had had a baby. I wonder what the nurses thought when they saw such a sweet couple struggling with love and loss.

Three Generations of Family

There have been many moments of delight since Ryan’s birth in January. However, when I look back on my growing treasure trove of early grandparent memories, one moment stands out: when I walked into by daughter’s room and saw her birthfather, Bob, holding his first grandson.

I hope that that experience was as healing for him as I believe it was. I hope he was pleased with the photo I took of him with his birth-daughter and grandson and that it touched his heart when I sent it out to his family, my family and friends with the proud heading, “Three Generations of a Family.”

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