Thursday, June 27, 2013

Signing Day

As I mentioned in an early post, most adoptions are not finalized for thirty days.  This is a tremendously difficult time for birth parents and adoptive parents alike- living with the knowledge that one can change their mind at any time.  I changed my mind every single day- the feeling of panic sometimes consuming me.  But some how I managed to get through this time, gradually coming to terms with the finality of my decision. I can't imagine what my son's parents must have gone through during this time.  But when the time came for us once again to come together at the courthouse, I was ready.

As we entered the courthouse, and walked up what seemed like a thousand stairs to one of the offices, I once again felt that quiet strength wash over me.  And with every step, that strength grew.  We rounded a corner and there they sat.  Unbelievably, my first thought was this: Look what I have been able to do! I have made them a real family, and they are a beautiful one.

As we neared, his mother rose to meet us giving me her warmest smile.  We all greeted one another almost as old friends, and then I got to hold him.  He had already grown so much, if anything he was more amazingly beautiful than before. They shared the name they had chosen for him and, of course, I thought it suited him perfectly.  In the hospital, I had named him as well, and it will always be my special name for him: Glenn. It was his name during our time together and I think I'm allowed to hold it in my heart.  I held him until it was time to start the signing of paperwork, and yes-that was the last time I held my baby.

Because I had never been able to get back in touch with his father, I learned that the only thing I had to do legally to have his rights revoked was to post an announcement in the local paper of his last known place of residence. If he saw it and wanted to contest it, he would simply have to call the number listed with the advertisement, which was the lawyer.  As predicted, there was no response.  I cannot allow myself to question whether this was fair, I can only remind myself of what happened to make me sure it was the right thing to do.  His rights were relinquished, and I signed my own away.

My baby, my son, was now officially theirs.  When we said goodbye, they were free to go back to their home state- hours away from me.  We all held back tears and I received the most genuine hugs from both of them.  I watched them walk away, taking comfort in the sight of this brand new family that truly belonged together.

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