if you are new to this series, please start here and follow the links.
We leave the hospital and go to a nearby deli for lunch. We order our sandwiches and sit in silence for awhile. Neither of us are eating and neither of us is talking. Both of us are lost in our thoughts and emotions. We are not aware of our surroundings or of each other. Something finally snaps between us and we are aware of each other and the food sitting in front of us. We look at each other, smile tentatively, and we are back in the moment.
We both have the same fears taking root in our heads and hearts. We talk about it, we pull up the roots before they settle in and sprout. We smile again and talk about how beautiful our daughter is. We marvel in the fact that we are parents...finally we are parents. We eat our sandwiches and try to decide if we have been gone long enough. We are anxious to be back. Our arms are aching to hold our precious daughter. We have been parents for 3 hours and already we feel the longing for her. That is it...we have to go back...we can't wait any longer. We have been gone for only 30 minutes.
As we are entering the hospital, A's parents are leaving. We stop to talk with them. They tell us how beautiful Cassie is and how happy they are for us. They tell us that A is resting now and Cassie is back in the nursery waiting for us. Tears are in their eyes, they form in mine. They are grandparents now, but not really. They have also been in our shoes 18 years ago. A was adopted in an open adoption eerily similar to this adoption. The emotions we are feeling have been felt by them all those years ago. Eighteen years later, they are on the other side.
Adoption was very near and dear to all of us that day. I was also adopted. My adoption was closed, that was how they did it in those days. I have no idea who my birth parents were, or are. That day I saw and felt what they went through on the day I was born. A was adopted in an open adoption, but she had lost track of where her birthmother was. She did have her name and had the potential to find her. A is now a birthmother herself, she is now experiencing what her birthmother went through on the day she was born. A's parents are adoptive parents and now also birth grandparents. They know the emotions we are experiencing, they are now realizing the emotions A's birthgrandparents experienced on the day A was born. A full circle of love and emotion, loss and pain.
We enter the nursery, scrub up, don a lovely yellow gown and reaquaint ourselves with our daughter. She has become more lovely in the past hour while we were gone. We find our rocking chair and rock, cuddle, love, and talk. Peace fills our hearts once again. We are complete, we are whole.
Mid afternoon the phone in the nursery rings. A requests the baby again and she wants us also. The nurses allow us to roll Cassie's bassinet to her room. A is in wonderful spirits. We have a wonderful visit with her. She holds Cassie and we are able to take a beautiful picture of the two of them. We marvel at how perfect she is and thank her profusely for giving us this precious gift. We cry and we hug and we laugh and we talk.
We decided before Cassie's birth that our adoption would be as open as A would like it to be. We were open to anything - visits, letters, phone calls, pictures...whatever she wanted. A decided that all she wanted was a picture and letter in 6 months, but we made a pact that we would always know the whereabouts of each other. If either of us moved, we would forward our new address to each other. I asked A to write a letter to Cassie that I would give her at an appropriate time. She agreed, actually, she had already started one. I told A that if she changed her mind about visits, all she had to do was call and let me know. We were open to anything. We would not deny her a letter, picture, phone call, visit....we loved her and trusted her, just as she trusted us and loved us enough to allow us to parent her daughter.
We finally left the hospital that evening and drove home. Many phone calls were made. Friends and family members were over the moon with excitement. We would be bringing home our daughter, their granddaughter, their neice the next day. We knew we needed sleep...we knew we would not sleep....we were right....we didn't sleep.
The next day we drove back to the hospital and went immediately to A's room. She was up and in good spirits again, she was amazing! We told her we were going to bring Cassie home that morning and asked her if she wanted to see her again. A told us that she had Cassie in her room last night after we left and she said her goodbyes at that time. She told us that she did not want us to bring Cassie to her that morning. My heart broke for her. We hugged and cried, thanked her again, told her we loved her. I promised a letter and picture in 6 months. I again told her that if she changed her mind about letters or visits, to please let me know. One more hug, more tears and we walked out of her room and entered into parenthood.
We entered the nursery and the nurses were waiting for us. They were very excited for us and very sad for A. This was their first open adoption and they were very impressed by the level of love and respect all of us had for each other. Cassie was dressed in her special 'going home' outfit and we began our journey home.
Our Journey to Parenthood began 7 years ago on the day we were married. In that 7 years there were many potholes and curves along the way. Rivers of tears flowed, many disappointments. We climbed to the highest peaks and descended into the lowest valleys. Those 7 years culminated into this day....the day we walked out of the hospital carrying our new daughter. The potholes and curves of our journey were forgotten....we were looking ahead into our new journey...Our Journey of Parenthood.
stay tuned for an Epilogue and Life in Pictures of Cassie....