You can read part one of Darlene's .
The bell had rung and students were dismissed when it happened. She was just beginning to talk to fellow teachers about the day and drop off and dismissal procedures, when the secretary summoned her to the school office. Darlene knew something important was happening but had no idea how her life would change in an instant.
The secretary told Darlene she needed to call her adoption agency immediately, and Darlene was kind of at a loss, overwhelmed for a few moments that something big could be happening. However, the Independent Adoption Center called again for Darlene at 12:30 p.m. She was told that a birthmother and birthfather wanted her, yes her, to parent their baby. And, by the way, the birthmother was in labor right!
At 7:22 p.m., Darlene’s miracle happened when a baby girl was born. Darlene got into her car and drove the two hours it took her to get to the hospital in Sacramento where her daughter was waiting. Two and a half hours later, this new mom was holding her precious daughter in her arms. Can you imagine dismissing students hours earlier, never knowing that would be the day a lifetime of dreams would happen!
Darlene shares that for the first five weeks of Shayna Rose’s life, she was kind of in a fog. How did this happen after waiting so long? Was this a dream? Luckily for this new mom, this was a different kind of dream — a real one that meant Darlene’s family was complete after infertility and 37 months of waiting to adopt. She celebrated her 41st birthday with her daughter and looks forward to Chsristmas.
So, what are the best moments for this new mom? Darlene says, “Each and every one!" Darlene says. "I love her smiles and laughter, this makes up about 90 percent of the day. She is a very easy baby and so content, rarely fusses. I love reading to her while cuddling, which we try to do twice a day.”
Of course, being a single mom is not easy. Darlene is the sole provider for her daughter and caretaker. She continues to be on maternity leave and is cherishing each moment of Shayna Rose’s life, yet she knows she will have to return to teaching soon.
One of the biggest surprises for Darlene has been how much the lack of sleep, night-after-night, affects her. Being a parent, especially a single parent, is exhausting.
“Another surprise is how much over the top in love my family is with her," Darlene said. "Prior to placement, I always knew they would love my child, but they are so gaga over her it is so fun to watch. She recognizes who each family member is and lights up when she sees them. That is beauty to my heart.”
Darlene counts her blessings knowing her family and friends are her support network. They step in to help hang out with Shayna Rose, while Darlene catches up on sleep or they offer Darlene a few hours “off” so she can run errands without toting a carseat, bottles and a pacifier. All Darlene has to do is ask and her support network eagerly comes over to play with Shayna Rose.
Darlene’s future, including her daughter’s first Christmas and her first Christmas as a mom, could not be merrier. Darlene and Shayna Rose are a family.