❤️ The Final Day ❤️
May 25, 2016: Signing Day – the most gut-wrenching but happiest days of my life.
If you read Dear Life, you will already know a piece of this day because I wrote it in the book. It was a way for me to express the still built up guilt I carry on a day to day basis.
The day before we got Olive Garden, this day she wanted Red Lobster, who doesn’t love their biscuits? We ran around that morning picking up items our birth mom requested, got her lunch, and transferred THE CHECK to the lawyer, the final one.
When we got to the hospital, lunch in hand, we walked into the birth mom’s room to find her quietly sitting on the bed, cross-legged, holding the baby close to her chest. She looked up at us and said, “We need to talk.”
Have you ever experienced a panic attack but had to act totally cool and smile and act like the world around you isn’t crumbling down? I have, at that moment.
Nervously, we set the food down and listened to what she had to say.
She was honest and said she hated the name we chose for him. Said it was a yuppy name and asked us if we would change our choice when the time came. Our adoption advisor warned us about this. In her time, she had seen many failed adoptions over a name. Silly, right? But understandable, it’s something the birth mom’s hold on to. Knowing this, Steph and I huddled together and did an errand for her. I said, I don’t care what we call him as long as she likes it. We settled on the name we picked with his middle name being what she named him, instead of Quinn, what it was originally supposed to be.
When we told her it was in honor of her, she cried.
The next few hours were really strange, kind of like dooms day. Five o’clock was when it was all going down and we all knew it. It was weighing heavily over us but we tried to make the most of our time together.
The last hour, we asked if she would like time alone with him. She nodded so we left and went down to get his diaper bag and car seat. I kept begging for strength, for her and us.
We met the social worker in the waiting room. She gave us the run down and told us to sign our papers while our birth mom was with the witness and the court stenographer.
And we waited. We didn’t text anyone, thankfully Catfish wasn’t on the TV, I don’t even know what was going on. I buried my head in Steph’s iPad and played Candy Crush. It was the only thing I could think to do that was mindless.
Since we were right next to the door of the maternity ward, we saw everyone come in and out. So we saw our birth mom walk out of the maternity ward with the social worker and go down the elevator. The social worker gave us an “I’m sorry” look and disappeared.
The air stood still, our hearts beating out of our chests. All we knew was her eighteen year old was in the room with the baby and the court stenographer, and the witness. Steph asked what was going on, pure fear in her voice. All we could think of was the birth mom signed rights to the eighteen year old. That was it, it was over.
After what seemed like hours, the birth mom returned with the social worker who asked for our papers. Confused and very unsure of what happened, we waited some more.
And then the door opened and a nurse called our names. She started rambling on about Squirt and how healthy he is and everything the doctor said as she walked us back to the nursery. This doesn’t seem like a big moment, but it was the biggest we ever experienced because at that moment, we knew she signed the papers. The staff didn’t speak to us leading up until we were guardians and right then, we were.
Once we went through the process of discharging him, we went back to the hospital room where we hugged our birth mom.
But what I witnessed next will NEVER leave my memory. It’s the guilt I feel everyday. We watched together as our birth mom chose one of the outfits we brought Squirt, dressed him, parted his hair, cried over him, and buckled him up in his car seat only to hand him over to us with shaky hands.
I bawled then and for days later. Even as I write this I’m crying because watching a mother selflessly hand over her baby to another human is the most gut-wrenching thing you will ever see. It’s forever engrained in my mind. When I hugged her good bye, I told her he will know of her strength, her selflessness, and the love she carried for him.
That night, we went back to our hotel room with OUR baby where our parents were waiting for us, a mini welcoming party for Squirt in the room. We spent that night fawning over him, taking pictures, and crying over the journey we travelled over the last year and a half.
It was done, we were finally parents. ❤️
(Pictures: us walking out of the hospital taken by the witness. Us with the baby in the parking lot. And our baby)
❤️ The Final Day ❤️