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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Footprints of a Family, our second adoption journey, part 15

this journey begins here

Our first night with Michael was wonderful. It felt so great to hold him and love him and care for him. He took to the breastfeeding like a champ, unfortunately the supplemental feeding device was not as user friendly as I had hoped....but we persevered, and were very glad we had bottles also!!

Wednesday morning we awoke and called Laura. I was worried about her and her mother. I imagined their night was not as magical as ours was. We decided to go to their house for a visit.

When we had left the hospital the previous night, we did not make plans to see each other again until right before we left for home. Funny how you make plans you think are right, and what actually happens is the complete opposite, but is so right!

We spent Wednesday and every day until we left at Laura's house. Those days were wonderful for everyone. All of us cared for Michael, feeding him, burping him, changing his diapers...we all did it, and it was the best thing for us. It was magical to see the smile on Laura's face when she held Michael. To see Laura's mom talking to him like only a grandmother could was breath taking. Time stood still those days while we basked in the love of a new life.

We were also in constant contact with our attorney and social worker. Apparently the birthfather decided to contest the adoption. The was a major bump in our journey and this bump was keeping us in South Carolina while we longed to be home in California. Day after day went by....waiting for the okay to leave.

Our days were spent at Laura's house, our nights were spent in our hotel room with our son. Our hearts were torn between our new son and our daughter we missed horribly. Each time we snuggled our newborn son and kissed his sweet smelling head was a reprieve from the terrible ache in our hearts missing our daughter's sweet hugs and cuddles.

Tuesday.....Wednesday......Thursday....waiting....always the interminable waiting.

Thursday we speak to our attorney and our social worker. The consensus everyone has is that the birthfather is only contesting the adoption because he thinks Laura has been compensated monetarily for the adoption and he wants his share of the profits. He has no desire to parent Michael. We get the okay to leave the state. If the birthfather is serious about contesting the adoption he will have to fight it in California. We can finally go home!!

Thursday night we go out to dinner with Laura and her mom. It is a goodbye dinner. We are all lost in a fog of fatigue and emotions. Our plans are set to drive to Atlanta on Friday and fly home on Saturday. Our time with Laura has come to a close. She has given us a most precious gift, how can we ever thank her for it.....the reality is we can't. Over dinner Laura and her mom offer to take Michael home for the night so we can get a good night's sleep before we go home. It is a generous offer and very tempting....we are very tired. As much as I wanted to say yes, I couldn't. A part of me felt very selfish...I had his whole life, why couldn't I give her one night? I couldn't though, I just couldn't. They were very understanding, if they were disappointed, it didn't show. Their level of generosity was unimaginable.

Friday morning arrived and we were ready to leave. We stopped at Laura's house to say our final goodbyes. Her mom and her grandmother were there. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, saying goodbye to the three women who I came to love, who I admired greatly, who had a place in my heart. The three women who gave us a gift of life.

We received a phone call while we were there from our social worker. She told us we could not leave yet. We did not understand...we were told we could....we were packed....don't you understand, we have to get home...our daughter...our son.

We called our attorney. He said we could go. He would take care of it. Everything would be okay. Don't worry.

What do we do?

We leave as planned. We say goodbye to Laura, we say goodbye to her mom, we say goodbye to her grandmother. Her grandmother holds Laura as she sobs, as we leave. I cry as we get in the car. Adoption....such joy amidst such pain....a paradox.

Atlanta is a 2 hour car ride and I promptly fall asleep from exhaustion. I wake up and ask Dave, "Are we in Georgia yet?"

"Yes", he replies.

My heart is at ease. We have crossed the state line with our son. The son we may have to fight for when we get home. The son we have known for only 5 days, but we have known for a lifetime. The son we would give our life for. We are taking him home to meet his sister. The daughter we would give our life for. Our family is complete. Our journey is coming to a close. Another journey awaits us....the journey of parenthood....the journey that never ends.

This is the conclusion to this series. I will post an epilogue shortly and a journey in pictures of Michael's life. Some wonderful questions have been asked in the comments and I would like to answer any questions you might have when I write the epilogue. Please feel free to ask your questions in your comments. Thank you for embarking on this journey with me.


Stella said...

What an incredible story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Do you still keep in contact with Laura and her family?

How did you share with your children that they were adopted?

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

In addition to Stella's questions--
Is there any contact with either of the birthfathers at all?

Thanks for sharing this story!!

ChrisB said...

I was holding my breathe as as I read this post~ but the question I'm sure that is in all our minds is did Micheal's father continue to obstruct the adoption? I guess we will hear in the epilogue!
You have kept me spellbound throughout both your adoption journeys~ I feel privileged to have read your wonderful story so thank you for sharing it with us.

swampy said...

This has been an incredible journey. I, too, was holding my breath...and have the same questions? Thank you sharing your story with us.

Just a reminder...Karmyn's Baby Shower is Friday.

Kim said...

I have loved reading every minute, but I am left wondering...What about Michael's birth father?

Cynthia said...

THank you so much for sharing this amazing story. I don't know that I could put my emotions out there like this.

Amazing and wonderful.

You have lucky kids.

karisma said...

Well obviously there was a happy ending! Im glad I know that or I would have been nagging you for a while!

cyndy said...

I can't wait to read the epilogue. I have LOVED these adoption stories, you write them so well.

Irene Latham said...

Two things stand out for me: first, the time you spent in Laura's home allowing them to love Michael. They were grieving, and what you did was allow them to work through some of that grief by loving and giving. It's a beautiful thing. And second, your refusal to let them have Michael for the night, how you called it "selfish." I can so relate to that! I was fiercely selfish with each of my babies... I wanted to do it all myself. I didn't want to miss a moment. I look back and think, would it have been so bad to let my mother (or whoever) do more? I think I would have done some things differently. But I'm not sorry for how it turned out. I feel like I eked every ounce of pleasure and love out of those experiences. I remember it all as being very intense. All this to say, I honor your experience and am so happy you decided to share it! Your story has meant a lot to me. Looking forward to the epilogue! xxoo

lisa marie said...

This journey felt like it would have been an extremely emotional one. Up and down. But happiness at the end, having your family complete. :)

Jennifer said...

I cannot believe what a bond you were able to form with Michael's biological family. It speaks volumes about you and your husband. I know it must have been easy for Laura and her family to give her baby a home with such wonderful people.
Gah...I am such a suck up!!!

Becky said...

I'm a fellow adoptive mom. Not sure if I've commented here before? Trying to go back as I have time and read your journeys. I've not done as well chronicalling mine!

Heather said...

Thank you so much for sharing these stories with us all. It has been a joy reading about how you came to be the parents of your two beautiful children. It has also been eye-opening to see what you had to go through.

ConverseMomma said...

I wonder if people really understand what a tough paradox that is. My greatest happiness came on the back of Angel's greatest grief. This story had me in tears. It reminded me so much of adopting Bug. Thank you for sharing.

Chrys said...

what a wonderful beautiful journey it has been. I love that you got so close with his birth family. His birth family are amazing. Michael is a special little boy to be so loved. Thank you for sharing.

bichonpawz said...

Oh Alison, this was such a sentimental journey! And it's extra special because of the bond you formed with Michael's birth mom and her family. Are you still in touch with them? Did the father contest? I wish you all the best and thank you so much for sharing this joyful story!

Pamela said...

I've felt a part of your journey -- every tear, every smile, every bump in the road.

Thanks for inviting us all along.

Tera said...

Thank you for sharing your intimate adoption stories. I have loved every minute of them.

Since you seem to be close to Michael's birth family, has this had any impact on Cassie, not having that same closeness? And have your kids ever screamed in anger that they wish you weren't their mom, but their birth mom was? A friend had this experience, and it devastated her.

Thanks again for sharing with me (us). It was so enlightening and emotional...simply a beautiful experience with positive results for all of you.

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

This has been absolutely fascinating Alison, thank you for sharing!

Laura McIntyre said...

As always just fascinating, you really show that your don't have to give birth to the child to become a parent.

It may be to late (im awfully behind) but i would love to hear more about the breastfeeding and how that went.

Jo Beaufoix said...

This has been amazing and heart rending. I am so glad you have your little girl and little boy, and I hope the biological dad didn't give you a hard time.

Anonymous said...

I am one of Michael's great aunts in SC. I can't tell you what it has meant to our family to see him growing up in such a wonderful, loving home. I held him the day he was born and met Alison and Dave. As much as I knew we would miss this little fellow in our midst, I knew he was blessed to have such loving parents. This was incredibly difficult for Laura
but once she decided this was the way to give her baby the life he deserved she never looked back.

It has made all the difference in the world to her peace of mind to be in contact with Dave, Alison, Cassie and especially Michael.

His family has become hers and in this adoption she has never felt that she "lost" her child.

We all have felt that this precious child God gave us has been blessed with a wonderful family which has given us the gift of watching him grow.

Laura gave them Michael to love and in return they allowed him to know and love her. Where has there ever been greater love for a child?