I know that National Adoption Awareness Month is over, but I hope y’all don’t mind that I have a couple more adoption posts. 😉
My husband and I were done. I had given birth to 5 children in a 10 year span, our baby was almost 7 years old, and we were done growing our family. We were enjoying the luxury of sleeping all night, having a child who had a job and could drive, and we were counting the years until we could move out of our house and into a small condo.
One phone call changed everything.
On August 24, 2013 we were enjoying a family day out when the call came; a relative on the other side of the country had given birth to a little girl and the state was involved. My husband hung up the phone and apprised me of the situation. I spoke without thinking, simply saying “we can take her” and my husband nodded. We reached out to the foster care system in her state and quickly received a series of phone calls.
The first call was cryptic and contained a lot of unspoken information, it urged us to get involved. The second call confirmed our fears that baby girl was born into a very negative situation. The third call informed us that baby had initially been released to go home with her parents but after a few days she was removed from the home and was in bad condition. The fourth call asked us if we would be willing to raise a baby girl. The fifth call asked us if we would be willing to raise a baby girl with significant health problems and an unknown future. Our answer never wavered, it was always “yes”.
It took five months of uncertainties, red tape, unfulfilled reunification plans, and eventually complete abandonment for baby girl to become legally free to adopt. There was a short custody battle with another family who wished to adopt her. There was a lot of paperwork and home studies that asked intrusive and offensive questions. There was the rearranging of my children’s lives that we would never be asked to do if we were bringing a biological child into this world. But finally, in March of 2014 my husband boarded a plane at 6am and returned home at 11pm with our new daughter.
The law in the state in which she was born requires a child placed for adoption to live with their new parents for 6 months before the adoption can be finalized. For months we dealt with regularly scheduled and unannounced visits from the state. For months we negotiated the world of foster care, learned how to care for a special needs child, but mostly we spent those months falling in love all over every single day. She wasn’t ours yet but at the same time she was just as much our child as the ones to which I gave birth.
There is something you don’t hear about, though. Sometimes what should be a joyous occasion causes heartache, especially when you adopt a relative’s child. Sometimes the people you are closest to aren’t supportive at a time when you most need them to be. We lost relationships with several family members, including my children’s grandmother and baby’s biological siblings, because they didn’t understand why the state would remove this child from their parents.
And the guilt, oh the guilt! I had dreams in which I met baby’s biological mother in public and she would cry that we stole her baby. Sometimes in the middle of the night while I was rocking a baby who was still feeling the effects of the toxins she was exposed to in utero, I questioned the decision that caused such upheaval in our children’s lives.
When the haze of sleepless nights and complicated medical terms wears off, however, I looked at that little girl and realize how lucky we were to have her. People told us that she was the lucky one but every day I became more convinced that we were the lucky ones.
Exactly 7 months after she arrived in our home we drove to the courthouse and it was declared that the child we referred to as our daughter was now truly, legally our daughter. We gave her a new name that means new beginnings and we went home a complete family, and we’re not looking back.
Meg Grooms lives in Central Florida with her husband, 6 kids, a dog, a cat, and a fish named Lucky Steve. Meg is a self-proclaimed Disney addict, frugalista, compulsive reader, and lover-of-all-the-foods. When she’s not busy raising her family and baking she can be found volunteering in the local homeschool community and blogging about it all at This Big Happy, Homeschool Gameschool and Facebook.
Hint: It has recently come to my attention that not all of my readers can easily tell when I’m being sarcastic. That is truly unfortunate, so finding a solution was imperative. ^Obviously, the easiest answer is to assume that if something can be read with sarcasm, it should be;^; but that’s not really workable, I guess. After reviewing several options for a “sarcasm font”, I’ve come up up with my own system. Whenever you see italics inside carrots (^snark^), that is my “sarcasm font”.