Friday, August 31, 2012
August 29, 2012
The process started two years and four months ago and today the adoption process is over. Although the process is over; adoption is forever part of our lives. The application process was our conception, the waiting was our pregnancy and now we completed seven months of labor we are legally considered Mom and Dad.
I've read blogs that ask when did you start to feel like a "mom" and I've read more then once it was when they child called them "mama" for the first time. I distinctly recall in the hospital a moment seven months ago the first full day I was alone with Baby Girl at the hospital. I got this intense feeling of needing to protect her. Many days in the hospital I felt like I had no control. Doctors and nurses were making decisions, D was not being consulted, and I wasn't able to. My child was part of a "system" that unfortunately most children go thru alone. Although I'd never wish to relive that month in PA I know it made me feel like a mom. Since no one was making decisions I started to advocate for what I thought was right for my daughter. Legally they could have chosen to disregard my advocacy but I'm firm in believing that the love I gave her as well as the advocacy that I provided she came home to us sooner. Both D and J had signed their termination of parent rights paperwork prior to our arrival but since Baby Girl was still at the same hospital that D gave birth she was under D's original admission. Many of the babies in the NICU were from different hospitals and had that been the case D would have had no rights. Had baby girl been discharged and then the problem was identified and she was re-admitted again D would have had no rights. It was this loop hole that meant that a woman struggling to just care for herself, who already had determined that she was not going to parent was still the legal decision maker. It still makes me upset to think back to the legal limbo we were in. I understand the need for a "system" as there needs to be rules; but at the same time children like mine suffer the consequences of a system that sometimes neglects these precious beings when those involved choose to stick to the rules with no regard to the situation.
This morning while we listened to our daughter babble in the crib happily DH asked me if seven months ago I thought we would arrive at this day. I told him I did most days. Baby Girls Birthfather at times chose to drift in and out of the picture and wavered in his decision depending on the moment. I felt confident in D's decision and knew if she allowed us to leave PA we would be able to get to this day.
As we drove to court this morning I was nervous. I'm not exactly sure why. My nerves were quickly masked by panic as we realized that we went to family court as we had been instructed and the finalization was at probate court. The woman who was trying to find our court room at family court was confused "You are here for a divorce?" NO! She finally figured out we were in the wrong building. We quickly walked the six blocks with Baby Girl and myself in the lead. We had eight people in tow as we made the five block walk (with five minutes to spare). My rational was if Baby Girl and I made it- I'd just have to be a single mother but there was going to be nothing to stop me from getting there on time.
Lucky for us the paper work had an error which they were correcting so they were a few minutes behind. The proceeding was fun with a total of 14 people in attendance. The judge had music on when we arrived and sat across the table from us. She had us sign an unofficial adoption certificate which Baby Girl signed as well and then a legal version (that Baby Girl did not sign). We took lots of pictures with the judge and family. We went home and had brunch.
After all our friends and family left we planted a cherry tree. We had been planning for a few years to plant a fruit tree for our five year anniversary since that is the year you give wood as a gift. The tree is now a shared gift- an anniversary/finalization tree, but I suspect we will call it Baby Girls Tree forever.
Its a relief to finally have the process over. I have noticed though that I've been in hyper "fight" mode for a while. I was on guard while we were TTC and not successful, I was on guard about adoption and our wait, I've been on guard regarding baby girls health at the start of her life. This whole process is one that is unfamiliar to most and when someone is ignorant (willfully or otherwise) they often say things that are insensitive. I put my guard up and disclose so little that I think my overall demeanor comes across as negative. The process was long, it was heart wrenching, part of me wants to say I'd do it again knowing I'd get Baby Girl but the other part knows how wounding this process can be. A friend at the brunch asked me how it felt to have it be done. I told her relieved but that paper work starts again if we want a sibling for baby girl. I'd like to think that I could "just be happy" but adoption still for me is in part a reminder of our infertility and just how unfair life is. Adoption also is a reminder of what an unfair start baby girl got- unfair that baby girl couldn't have been born healthy, and unfair that her birthparents couldn't parent. So yes I'm relieved that this process is over but the process is not exactly like a pregnancy where you give birth and you are happy. There are many sorrows as well. Baby Girl lights up our lives and I can't imagine life without her and she was worth every moment of fight. Now I have to remember to take on her joyful perspective of life.
My plan is to write two more blog posts
1) Dear Birthparents
2) Thank you and good-bye
Posted by TTABaby at 5:45 AM