Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Questions, Comfort and Control

How is it possible that our little pumpkin is almost one?????
     We’ve often been asked about our experience when The Little One was born – what was it like in the hospital? When did we ‘get’ her? Did her birthmom see her? Did we ‘let’ her see her?  So as we approach TLO’s 1st birthday I wanted to share a little about what the adoption experience can be like in the hospital to help others understand. This was what it was like for us and it’s important to realize that every adoption is different.  This is also a lot of my opinion and others may not agree, and that’s okay too!

     First, it’s important to note that nothing ‘officially’ happens with the adoption until the birthmom signs consent to terminate parental rights. The timeframe for signing consent varies by state – but she cannot sign until 24-72 hours in most cases. This does not mean that they have to sign at that time, they can and should (in my opinion) take as long as they want – this is a huge decision and shouldn’t be made just because a clock says it should. Also, until she signs that consent all decisions about the baby belong to the birthmom. That means she makes all medical decisions and can decide she wants to keep the baby with her the whole time, she can decide when the adoptive parents can see the baby and if they can spend the night in the hospital with them. This is one of the hardest times for adoptive parents because that little baby that you’ve come to think of as ‘yours’ really isn’t yet. Legally the woman who just gave birth still has every right to that child, she has control and you don’t. (You would think that adoptive parents would be used to not having control because we have so little control during the entire process, but you never get used to that feeling!) But here’s my opinion on this timeframe: this time before she signs consent is a precious gift to the child. This is the time I imagine I will tell TLO about when she gets older. I will tell her about the first night of her life that she spent in the room with just her birthmom, the day we spent sharing the responsibility of caring for her; playing with her tiny toes and talking about her beautiful hair; the talks we had about careers, goals and life; and learning to love each other. I will be able to tell her how she held her one last time before we left the hospital and couldn’t take her eyes off of her. I will show her the pictures with loving arms wrapped around her and a face that both beams with love and is crushed with sadness. These are the just a few of the experiences I have to share because of this time we had together. We were very uncomfortable going in to this time, in fact ‘uncomfortable’ is an understatement. But I will be forever grateful for those precious hours.
     The state TLO was born in has a 72 hour wait before the birthmom can sign consent but she was discharged from the hospital at 48 hours. For that 24 hours she stayed with a very sweet family arranged through the agency, known as ‘cradle care’. This family welcomed us into their home whenever we wanted to be there and showered her with attention while we enjoyed 1 last night alone, got some sleep and frantically shopped for all the last minute things we forgot about. And approximately 72 hours after TLO came into the world we could officially call her ‘ours’!

Father God, thank You for putting me in a situation that made me uncomfortable. Thank You for giving me peace as we walked through a situation that we had no control over. You gave me a peace knowing that You were in control. Thank You for the sweet woman who chose life for her child and then chose us for her future. Thank You for this amazing child who is approaching 1 year old as she continues to help me grow! Amen.

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