We wake up Saturday morning and J is full of nerves. I've had the luxury of spending 2 days with birthmom and Joshua while J is not only getting ready to walk into a room and meet birthmom, he is also getting ready to meet his son. We shower and get ready and J goes next door to IHOP to get breakfast for birthmom. After we eat the continental breakfast at the hotel (I wolfed it down, J barely touched his), we checked out and headed for the hospital.
We arrived around 8:30am and I went in first to make sure it was ok for J to come in. Birthmom was nervous to meet him too. J came in and introduced himself and we all spent a few minutes talking. I excused myself to go get birthmom something to drink and by the time I got back, she and J were comfortably talking. He got to hold Joshua for the first time and I snapped a few pics.
The whole time we were in the room that morning (around an hour), I had this feeling of a rock in my stomach as I knew what was coming that afternoon. She would be signing and handing over this little guy.
You see, with M.E., we never met her mom. In some ways, it made the adoption easier as I didn't have a birthmom to fall in love with. With J.T.'s birthmom, I now love her. I can see she is a wonderful mother to her other child AND to Joshua. I can see the love she has for Joshua in her eyes. I almost feel like a thief in the night as I know under different circumstances, she should be leaving the hospital that day with her baby. But the circumstances aren't different and I have to swallow the difficult pill that she wants us instead.
For the last two days, she has kept Joshua in her room with her THE WHOLE TIME. For some adoptive parents, this might intimidate them. I am glad. This is her time. I want her to take every last second to make sure she is doing the right thing. Yes, it has made it hard for me to bond with the baby, but I have decided that it's not my right to bond with the baby at this time, it's his mom's time. I'll have the next 18 years. Every time I go in, I ask her permission to pick him up, feed him. I'm sitting here trying to remember if I even changed a diaper and I don't think I did. She did a wonderful job with him in the hospital.
J and I leave the room around 9:30. We have realized we forgot socks for Joshua and we also need to buy formula, diapers, wipes, etc. We also decide to go get birthmom lunch as the hospital food sucks. We go to Walmart first and Joy, caseworker, calls. She is going to be tied up and won't be at the hospital until early afternoon. No problem, we are planning to be back at 12:30pm. We buy all the essentials, pick up KFC for lunch, head to CVS to pick up pics that Alison has sent down for birthmom, and head back to the hospital.
When we get back, we all eat and again, J and I spend about an hour in the room. We then would come out and sit and read in the lobby. About 3pm, we go back in and birthmom asks us to stay with her until it's time to be discharged. Around 5pm, we headed down to the cafeteria to get dinner for the three of us and when we get back, Joy has arrived. J and I sit in the lobby and eat while Joy talks with birthmom. Legally, she can now sign. Joy comes out of her room and meets J for the first time. She walks us through what is about to happen. Baby will be discharged first and we can leave. Then, they will discharge birthmom and Joy will take her home and get her settled.
Birthmom is insistant that we do placement in her hospital room. I think I started crying the minute I walked in that room. She looked so beautiful sitting in that chair holding Joshua. I know it sounds crazy, but I was filled with so many strange emotions, but mainly the feeling that life isn't fair. In a perfect world, I kept thinking to myself. But our world isn't perfect and I have to swallow the fact that she chose us. I KNOW no one forced her to make this decision. I was even able to ask her several times if she was sure she wanted to do this. Had she really thought about parenting? Because it's Joshua's story, I won't share the reasonings, but I can tell you that I felt like I caught of glimpse of what God felt like letting go of his son. I couldn't stop crying as the nurse went through the discharge paperwork. She would tell birthmom the information and then realize she needed to tell me, which was so weird. Finally it was time to say goodbye. I was crying so hard I couldn't catch my breath, which led to these horrible gasping sounds, but I didn't care. What was supposed to be a wonderful, joyous day was so heartbreaking for birthmom and for me. She kissed him goodbye and told us to take care of him and then handed him to me. I wrapped him in a blanket, and then turned and just hugged her. Told her how much I love her and how we promise to stay in touch and take good care of him. That's when I realized J was sobbing as well. I'm not sure what he said to her as he engulfed her in his arms, but Joy later told me it truly touched her to see how much we loved her.
We gathered Joshua's things, promised to see birthmom Wednesday, hugged Joy and walked out of the room. I was hanging on to Joshua for dear life as I sobbed. All the nurses looked up at us as the discharge nurse walked us out. They all were crying too. Shade, our discharge nurse, hugged us and talked to Joshua. Told him that he would make a difference, that he was to do great things in his life and that so many loved him. Those nurses saw a different side of adoption that day and for that, I am so thankful.
Then we left. Just walked out of the hospital. Buckled him in and drove off. I cried so hard I think Jonathan was worried I had checked out. I sobbed. I'm sobbing now as I write this. I called my mom and dad and cried to them. They cried. Joshua slept the whole time. Little guy had no idea that his life had just changed and I had just promised his mom that I would do my best to make sure he grows into a strong, black man.
We drove to J's friends house and although I had never met them, they welcomed us like old friends. I'm sure I looked like someone had punched me in the face (not a pretty crier), but they didn't seem to mind. We sat around and talked until 11:30pm and then turned into bed.
I wish I had some wise words to sum up this day, but I don't. It is what it is. In a perfect world, babies could stay with their moms. I write this so others can see what adoption is truly like. It is hard, sad, wonderful and happy all at the same time.