It is truly an awesome thing getting to know my son. I did not carry my child for nine months. A baby was placed in my arms and for 48 hours I didn’t know if he was mine. The nurses treated us as if he was. They showed us how to feed him, change him, and burp him. At night we kissed him, and left him in the nursery while we went back to the hotel to sleep. We needed a break. Not from R, but from the reality of our situation.
Those 48 hours were some of the most trying days of my life. We lived in an in between. He was our son. He made perfect sense the moment we saw him. And yet he wasn’t our son. Not yet.
We were beyond blessed that R’s birth mom (I’ll call her “M” moving forward) wanted us to all be together for those two days. It was an absolute honor and privilege that she invited us to be with her as she got to know R, and also, as she prepared to say goodbye.
It did not ease our anxiety that M was so giving with her time. Every time we checked in with our lawyer she would say, “It’s not final until consent is signed”. This always stung a little, but I was grateful for the dose of reality, grateful for the important reminder that this was M’s time with R. She called the shots. The details of those days are still being processed. People often comment that those days must have been the hardest days of our lives. We’ll quickly answer in broad strokes, “Oh yes, they were simply awful.”
Oh what a disservice to us, to R, to M, to R’s birth father, and to my own mother who flew down the morning of his birth. There were so many gorgeous, hard, raw, funny, calm, chaotic moments that made up those two days. It was the most present I have ever been. Each moment was real and authentic. We were all together for those 48 hours with one purpose-to love and care for this tiny baby.
I did not experience the miracle of childbirth on March 15th, but what I did experience was miraculous. R’s birth father was there when we met R for the first time. I wonder what it was like for him to see us greet our child? His child? My hope is that he witnessed the instant love we felt for Rand was able to see our hearts leaping through our chests with awe, joy, and gratitude. Seeing that baby with E and R's birth father by my side was truly miraculous.
My mom spent quite a bit of time with M during those 48 hours. Seeing these two people who seemingly could not be more different bond over their mutual love for R was really something. Another little miracle. I wonder about their conversations. I hope my mom shares them with Rory one day.
My mom who sat patiently at hour 48 patiently out of site while E and I signed our paperwork at the nurses station and then stood. We stood and stood and stood. We stood and waited to get word from M’s hospital room if she had, or hadn’t signed consent. We shouldn’t have sped through our paperwork. But we did. We had been reading draft after draft for weeks. And then we waited.
All of the waiting we had done over the past year paled in comparison to what those 40 minutes were like. At one moment the doors to the maternity ward opened, and there was my mom, standing at attention, eyebrows raised, waiting for an answer. We didn’t have an answer yet. I couldn’t even look her in the eyes. First time ever. The doors closed and we all went back to waiting. The entire adoption process was relived as we waited for word. Every moment. And I’m not being dramatic. From the moment we decided to adopt, to our match phone call, to seeing R for the first time. It all happened again.
The nurses, who had become our friends over the past two days stood by offering silent support. It was almost too much too handle.
Our faith in the adoption process gave us strength to wait just a little longer.
And then it was done. It was over.
A text from M saying we could come back to her hospital room. That was it. Papers were signed and we were given parental rights. Into M’s hospital room we went. The hug and quiet tearful words I whispered to M didn’t do justice to my deep feelings of love and gratitude I had for her in that moment. A love and gratitude that grows each and everyday.
Knowing R as I know him now and thinking back on his birth-it really is a miracle that M choose us to be R's parents.
The specifics of those 48 hours and the days that followed are R’s story to tell. My lips are sealed on the rest.
A small miracle in and of itself. ;)