The next morning, I received a text telling me that the baby was born. The mother had told me that she wanted me by her side during the delivery, but I was never notified that labor had started. It didn’t matter, I got to the hospital as fast as I could. I walked in to the private room that I made sure the biological parents had and there was the baby. They allowed me to hold her as I sat down to talk with them.
I felt strange as I held the baby that was supposed to be my new daughter. The baby was asleep and as I sat there with her, I felt like I was holding a baby that was never mine, that’s when the ugliness started. The father started talking about how this is his child and he would never allow for his flesh and blood to be raised by someone who practiced Islam. He went on to say that Muslims are ruining this world and that taking money from them is almost a patriotic act for all the damage we caused, also isn’t adoption forbidden in Islam??
I told him that he was wrong, that most Muslims are just people that want to live in peace and have what every other person in the world wants, ie, love, family, children and a good home. I tried to educate him by saying that adoption is forbidden in Islam only if you lie to a child and pretend that they are biologically yours. In fact, our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had an adoptive son named Zayd. I said that this baby would have had everything I could give her in life. She would be educated, loved unconditionally, and that I would devote my life to her. I knew I was only prolonging the inevitable, these people used me and now they are humiliating me.
The father laughed and said that he and his wife had all the rights to the baby and that my money was a gift, nothing more.
I felt like I was in a horrible nightmare. I asked him, “Why did you lead me on like this? You took the money and you had no intention of allowing me to adopt this baby because of who and what I am. You both got on a plane and came to New York to have an all expense paid trip and a private room in a private hospital to have your baby in!”.
Before I can utter another word, a social worker from CPS came into the room and asked me to leave after telling me that the biological parents had every right to change their minds. All I could do was walk out as I tried not to let anyone see my tears. I thought about the life I thought I would have as a mother and all the money that I spent on a nursery that was waiting for my daughter to come home to.
I lost thousands of dollars, every penny that I saved for years was gone. Losing the money hurt, but what hurt me more was the fact that they did this to me because I’m Arab and Muslim.
I was not seen as a person by these people. I was something that wasn’t human in their eyes, and I guess it is alright to hurt something that wasn’t human, something that had no feelings that mattered, as far as they were concerned. I never knew that people could be this cruel. I kept thinking of when the mother asked me how many pregnancies I have lost.
I wanted to die and wished that they had stabbed me in heart instead of doing this, death would have hurt less. When I got back home, I received a visit by one of the social workers from CPS. I showed her the nursery and she tried to make me feel better by saying that they may still allow me to adopt the baby. She also kept apologizing for my pain, but nothing that she said made a difference.
The hospital called me regarding payment for the delivery and hospital stay, it seems that the parents have given them my information as the one who is covering the expenses. I said that I will not be paying for anything and that it is the parents’ problem, not mine. I was angry and called to cancel their plane tickets back to Texas where they were from. I didn’t care what happened to them at that point.
I cried and stayed in bed for days on end. I tried to understand what happened and just couldn’t. I didn’t how anyone can be this cruel. I knew I had to pick myself up and try to move on, but it was very hard. The nursery stayed, but I didn’t understand why I kept it. Maybe there was a small part of me that still had hope of becoming a mother someday.
I received some criticisms from some people regarding how I canceled the return trip tickets for the couple, especially when they had a newborn. I didn’t try to explain what I felt or why I did what I did. How can I when they didn’t feel the same pain that I did?
I often think about if I would pursue an adoption if a situation presented itself and I think that I would. Even though I’m afraid of being hurt, the desire to be a mother is still there. I would be lying if I said that most of my hope isn’t gone, but there is still that tiny spark, that belief that miracles are possible. Maybe that’s why I kept the nursery.
A few weeks ago, someone that I thought was a friend asked me if I still have the nursery and if so, would I give the baby items to her brother who is having a baby. I became very angry when I heard her ask me, it was like saying, “Hey, you can’t have a baby or even adopt one, so give the baby things to someone that can.”. I thought it was a very insensitive thing to ask me. Suffice it to say, she is no longer a friend because a friend is supposed to more sensitive than that. She had other friends with children that had items, but maybe she wanted things that were never used. Things that were laid out carefully for an imaginary child that never came home.
I recently found a sticker that had a picture of a positive pregnancy test that said, “This stick does not define your worth”. I almost bought it, but then I thought, “I know that I’m worth more than the stick, but do others?”.
I don’t know what the future will bring and if I will ever be a mother, but I want my story to be told. I want the love that I have in my heart to show. Lastly, I want my hope to shine.
© 2021 Johanna Elattar