Life With BabyG
Happy Friday, everyone! As always, please get caught up before reading this post. Also, please make sure to subscribe by email if you would like to be reminded of posts.
As a little housekeeping note- there will be two more posts in this series after this one. I didn’t realize how much I had to cover, but I am so thankful I have been able to process and write about each step. It has been a little hard going back and if I am being honest, I am ready to move on from this chapter of our story. However, I know in the future, I will be glad that I finished strong. It has been a healing exercise to work through for both Justin and me.
In my last post, we had just signed the release papers and left the hospital with BabyG. The ride home was a bit solemn as we processed everything we had just witnessed at the hospital. We were both lost in thought as the car rounded the curves of the road as we headed home. She slept almost the entire 2.5 hours, with a quick stop to feed her.
We have the most thoughtful family. Justin’s parents were watching Jack and we hoped to come home when he was still awake so he could meet her. They had come over earlier and decorated the house with pink balloons and bought a slew of pink things for the nursery.
But, we got out of the hospital much later than expected and it was late when we got home. We planned for Jack to come home the following day to meet her.
It was a little strange coming home to an empty house with this brand new addition (who was very hungry!), but we knew all the fun would come soon enough.
Don’t worry… we fed her right after the video 🙂
The next day, Justin’s parents and Jack met BabyG.
Isn’t that smile just the brightest, sweetest one you have ever seen? He was such a proud big brother!
That night, my whole family came over and met BabyG. The evening was full of happy tears, smiles, and lots of snuggling.
Justin called us around the table and read an adoption prayer:
I was still sorting through my feelings and wanted to bond with her, but I hadn’t really had time to even take a breath. The next few days were full of doctor’s appointments and shopping for some essentials. We had planned a family trip with my parents and brother’s family at a nearby mountain town later that week. Since I wasn’t healing physically from birth, and we needed some quiet time, we decided to continue with the trip.
As the trip grew closer, our feelings of uneasiness about this adoption grew. We were in contact with our birthmom and I just knew how much she was grieving. Again, the mix of intense grief/intense joy continued as I tried to bond with BabyG, while constantly worrying about our birthmom. We reached out to our facilitator and our social worker. We all agreed that getting away to the mountains and soaking up some fresh air as a family of four would be good for us.
And there in that little town, I finally let my guard down for the first time since she was born. Justin, Jack, and I fell in love with that little girl during those beautiful days in the mountains.
We came home on Day 7 of her life.
Days 8-17 looked very normal. We went to more doctor’s appointments, got up in the middle of the night for feedings, gave her her first bath, our favorite photographer took beautiful newborn pictures, took her to church for the first time, went to see Santa, and prepared for Christmas as a family.
We went to our adoption center’s Christmas party and out of all the babies born that year, BabyG was the youngest. It was so fun to see so many of our friends from our center’s “families in waiting” support group there with their babies. Since our center encourages an open relationship, many of the families were sitting with their birthmoms and extended birthfamilies. There was certainly a lot of love in that room. Our birthmom was still healing and was still a few hours away, so she didn’t come.
The days continued with the ordinary and mundane moments of life (including a lot of spit up!)
But on December 17th, I knew our life was about to change.
Our facilitator recommended that we set up the first visit with our birthmom about three weeks after the birth. We had mapped out what BabyG’s first year would look like in terms of visits/communication, and this was the first step. Our birthmom and her mom drove to our home and some of our family came over as well. We shared a meal and there was friendly chatter as the night progressed.
But after my family left and it was quiet, it was clear that things were not ok. I don’t want to share all the details of the rest of the night because I think it is a little too personal for this forum. But to make a long story short, after a long conversation that went on well into the night, it became clear that she was considering changing her mind. And I will write more about this later, but I have no animosity towards our birthmom. Like I said in my earlier post, she was just in love with her daughter and had a very difficult decision to make. She expressed how much she loved us in that conversation and I believe her with all my heart. In the end, she drove away while BabyG slept soundly in her crib.
The last thing I said to her was, “Ok, just please let us know.”
In California, although we had signed papers that allowed us to take BabyG home from the hospital, birthparents have 30 days before parental rights are terminated. During those 30 days, it is completely within the birthmom’s legal right to decide to parent the child herself.
We were on day 17.
For the next three days, we were devastated. Living in this intense unknown was torturous. We continued getting up in the middle of the night and caring for this little girl. But as every hour passed, I felt myself pulling away from her. What else can you do when you know you are headed for heartbreak?
We received updates that our birthmom was receiving counseling and support from the social worker we had hired, but we weren’t allowed to know what went on during those conversations because it was confidential.
Meanwhile, 2.5 hours away in San Diego, we were in the dark.
We started the grieving process though. One of the things I had looked forward to most when I found out I was going to have a daughter, was developing that irreplaceable mother/daughter relationship. I remember holding her up to Justin in tears during those few days saying, “She was supposed to be my best friend.”
We went to look at Christmas lights with my family.
They were all aware of what was happening and they just surrounded us in love and support. They were all starting to grieve as well. They prepped the cousins for what may happen in the next few days.
Whenever I would start to tear up, or we would have hushed conversations, my sensitive, sweet five year old niece would ask in desperation, “Did she decide to take BabyG?” Of course, she didn’t know the P.C. way was to say, “Did she end up deciding to parent BabyG?” All she cared about was that she was about to lose her very first baby girl cousin. They had matching Christmas outfits planned for Christmas Day.
Poor Jack. He was a little too young to understand what was going on, but his birthday was on Christmas Eve. We had planned a small party for him on December 19th. Despite the stress and looming anxiety, I wanted to make sure my little boy had the Curious George 3rd birthday party we had promised him. Our families came over and even helped me decorate a little to make it more festive. We put BabyG in her party dress.
I remember taking two family pictures that night – one with her and one without. In case things ended up going the way I thought they would, I wanted to have a family picture of his birthday.
We climbed into bed that night and shut off the light.
It was the end of Day 19 out of 20.