Today was, again, a total emotional roller coaster. I always refer to both sides of adoption - the beauty and the tragic separation of mom and baby.
We had our second visit with the the birthmother today, who I am going to call N. for the remainder of the blog. I am tired of figuring out a politically correct term for "lady who had a baby and is planning for you to adopt said baby, but everyone knows that she has a window of time where she can change her mind, in which case she'd just be a mom, you don't need to say birth." Until there is a good word for that, miss N. it is.
Visit #2 happies and crappies:
Happy: This visit was exponentially better than the first one. For starters the social worker actually joined us and was able to facilitate just enough to get conversations going, but not enough to make us feel mediated. Our conversation and rapport is very natural and comfortable. This girl has blown my mind with how kind and respectful and others-focused she is.
Crappy: We did not get to see the baby during this visit. He had been taken to the NICU for IV antibiotics. The infection is either at risk of moving toward the brain, or is possibly already on the brain... But after two unsuccessful spinal taps, they have yet to find answers. When London was sick, I knew how to be there and advocate for her because she was my daughter. It was exhausting and challenging, but my role was clear. It is very difficult to have your child sick in the hospital, when nobody but the child's other mama is acknowledging us as his parents! We have no right to speak with his doctor or ask questions or even be in the room while things are discussed. Even though N. wants us to be involved, we have zero understanding of how to navigate this situation as maybe-parents.
Happy: We got to meet another one of N's family members... and it was still very emotional, but with her there was obvious love and support along with genuine grief. She was not pressuring N. to change her mind, there was no guilt or manipulation. She was accepting of the decision and we spent a good amount of time alone with her, and letting her know us more. She said that this made her feel much better about the adoption.
Crappy: We have found that a lot of people involved (miss N. EXcluded) are confusing adoption with foster care. Some have not understood that adoption would be long term, and others have concerns about whether or not the baby would be properly cared for. Yesterday, the family member said she was just scared because she had heard horrible stories of kids being beaten and even burned. What on earth do you say to that?? We were shocked and horrified that THAT was what we had to address to make her feel at ease.
Happy: We are not criminals, so we could actually reassure her that we will love and care for this baby well. We described all of the fun things we take our kids to do, in Rochester and on our cross country road trips. We described a typical day in our home, which involves neither neglect nor abuse. We also mentioned that we would never burn a child. It made me sick to even have to say that out loud. In the end, she felt very positive and reassured and wants to remain involved.
Crappy: During this discussion, the family member mentioned that she has a box at home that she has been keeping for N. when she had the baby. It is full of diapers and clothes and little things she would need as a young, single mom. She said she still wants to send it for the baby, which is so sweet and should be a happy, but when I pictured her saving away little baby items to make sort of starter kit, I couldn't help but feel like it was just a straight. up. crappy.
Happy: In the exact moment that Tom and I were deciding how often we could realistically afford to travel to New York City to see N., we got a message from a long ago acquaintance who offered us the use of buddy passes available to her as an airline employee, as well as a stay in her Queens apartment if/when we would need. This was such an overwhelmingly generous offer, which would allow us to travel back and forth so cheaply that we can actually agree to all of N's visitation requests!! It felt like more than a happy, it felt like God's perfect providence... and timing!
Crappy: There is still a major piece of the puzzle missing in order for things to move forward. We need the signature of the birthfather. Whether or not he would be willing to sign is still a little wishy washy. Whether he has any real interest in parenting or not, remains uncertain. The not knowing is craptastic.
So, we keep waiting. We head back to the hospital shortly and if I don't get my hands on that baby today, miss N. and I are storming the NICU. I think that the best way to connect as two mom's is to have a good caper on the books.
N. may be discharged today, so I am dreading what this goodbye will look like. I don't know how to do this. I have decided that I love too much for my OWN good, but I think it might be good for her. And as we face a possible goodbye today, I would be lying if I said that I didn't want to adopt her too.