"Every child deserves a home." --Harry Holt

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cupcakes and Meatballs?! Part 2

When I left off, we had received a call from an agency that a woman had chosen us to be the parents of her baby girl due to be born in a week. At the time, we knew the ethnicity of each first parent and some vague health information. All in all, that wasn't much more than we knew about Cupcake's 'background' either. We quickly started telling our close friends, family members and co-workers. We bough my mom a plane ticket to Philly so that she could entertain Cupcake in a hotel while we stayed at the hospital with baby girl, we got loaded up on all kinds of baby equipment, including an infant carseat from our good friends Amy and Josh (thanks, guys!), and we secured a spot at daycare for our new little bundle. 

The 'funny' thing about adopting a newborn this time around was that we had NOTHING, and a week to get it all. We had no newborn clothes leftover from big-sister, because she came home at 10 months wearing 9-12 month clothes. We didn't have a carseat, swing, bouncer seat, swaddles, newborn bottles, rattles, pacifiers, baby bathtub, spit-up rags, bassinet... We had nada for a wee one. So, when I say Amy and Josh saved our rear-ends by unpacking Andrew's baby stuff (including newborn clothes) into our car, I mean it! 

We headed out on our 900 mile drive to Philly, and we drove through the night (blech). It was nice that Cupcake slept fairly well on the drive, normally she sleeps a maximum of 45 minutes on super long car trips and that is only if she is abnormally exhausted. We got to Philly about 16.5 hours later, unpacked a bit at the hotel, and took a quick nap and headed out to pick Nana up at the airport. 

The next day, October 25th, we woke early, showered and got Cupcake and Nana set up for a day o' fun while we headed to the hospital to await word that our new daughter was born and that her first mother was ready for us to meet her. We waited what felt like an ETERNITY. The hospital social worker was not overly fond of us being at the hospital and stashed us in an out of the way waiting room. She was a nervous lady, and her nerves were sending my already through the roof anxiety even farther off the charts. A few hours went by, and the social worker came to tell us that we should go, the baby had been born, but it was requested that no visitors be allowed in to see her. Gut-punch. We knew this was a possibility, but if you know me, and someone tells me there is a plan... WE NEED TO STICK TO THE PLAN, MMMMK? 

There was quite a bit back-and-forth throughout the rest of that day. I was certain this meant that she was not our daughter, I just needed someone to say the words, but I didn't want to give up hope. The next day, we FINALLY got word that we could meet the baby and mother. We were so excited. It seemed that she just needed time to spend with her daughter before officially meeting us. We were excited and what's the word I'm looking for? Oh yeah, TERRIFIED.  I took a deep breath before being escorted into her hospital room where she let me hug her, she looked me in the eyes and said, "I'm so sorry, I don't know if I can do this." For a second and a half I had a flash of anger. A really selfish moment where I thought, "How can you do this to me?" 

It might have been longer than 1.5 seconds, but I don't think it was terribly long before my rational side took over and I realized, of course. Of course this is difficult. Of course she doesn't know if she can do this. She loves this beautiful baby girl radiating such a glow of love from the hospital bassinet. You should have seen her perfect little nose and her perfect little lips and her perfect skin. She was breathtaking. I was offered the chance to hold her and I didn't think that I should, because I already knew that I loved her. She sucked me in from the very first second I saw her perfect little baby eyelashes, and I knew that I might not get to call her daughter, and that would be painful, but before I knew it, I had scooped her up and I just held her and stared, and listened to the deep, deep pain of the woman who gave her life. We listened and we spoke for a few hours. She was a momma in the midst of turmoil and trauma, and I didn't know how to help. We assured her that we certainly didn't hate her. We assured her that if given the chance, we would love her daughter, our daughter with everything we've got. We left, and I knew deep-down inside that her momma was not going to complete her adoption plan, but was going to take her baby girl home instead to be love her with everything she had, but I didn't want to admit that to myself. I also, really wanted to be happy for them, but I was selfishly sad... for me, and us. 

The call came the next morning, and she had indeed decided that she was going to take her baby home and raise her. She is one determined lady with a heart of gold. That momma has seen a lot of pain and struggle in her life, but she is nothing if not a fighter. Amidst many racking sobs, we packed up our stuff, finagled my mom an early flight out of Philly just as Super Storm Sandy was about to hit, and as soon as we dropped her off at the airport, we drove the 900 miles back home. 

I really just wanted to see the Liberty Bell. I had imagined this would be one of our first outings as a family of 4, but instead it ended up being something we did to kill time after checking out a week early from our hotel and waiting to drop Nana off at the airport.

When we walked in the door, I asked K to round up all things newborn and throw them in the basement where I wouldn't have to look at them each second. He dutifully did as I asked, though I know it wasn't any easier for him. We spent the next few days just getting things back in order and playing with Cupcake, who thankfully had no real idea of what was happening. I'm pretty sure in her mind, it was just a long car trip so she could swim in a hotel pool with Nana and go out to eat a few times. 

We picked up, celebrated Halloween with our Cupcake who went as an adorable piggy, went back to work, tried to pretend that our hearts weren't completely broken. It is so weird. We were not expecting to be picked, but we were in love with the idea. Then, we fell in love with the baby girl who we had only seen for a short time. We were sad to feel the loss of this special little girl, but prayed that they were doing well together. In the meantime, we asked our agency to not show our information to any other women contemplating an adoption plan, because we just weren't quite ready to brave the journey yet.

I'm going to take off and find ALL the candy!!!!

After a couple of weeks, we started talking about, "How will we know when we ARE ready?" Neither of us had a very good answer, but we were feeling okay. We were still sad, but we were okay, and we thought that we could be ready again. Gone were the days of thinking that it could be a year before we were chosen. We started approaching it as if we could get picked at any moment, which is understandable based on what we had just been through. We had decided that after Thanksgiving, we would call our caseworker and let her know that we would be willing to have our family profile made active once again.

There is MORE to this saga...

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