This is part two in the series explaining Declan’s placement with us. See part one here.
After Greg and I called our social worker Kelly and told her that we wanted to move forward with placement, we were told we could go and visit him at the hospital. So at 4:30pm on Thursday, we walked into the hospital and headed up to the fifth floor on the yellow elevators to meet Little One. Now, I had thought about this moment a lot in the last ten months. I had imagined the overwhelming love that would flow as soon as I laid eyes on our baby. I thought there would be unrelenting tears of joy. And yet, as we walked toward the nurses station I found myself more shocked than anything. For the first time during our adoption journey I was admitting to myself that I truly never thought we would get a match or placement. I thought we would be one of those people who waited years and years and simply never added a child to their home.
Hear me out on this. I wasn’t being a pessimist or self-deprecating, this is simply our reality when it came to fertility and growing our family. The longer a couple struggles with infertility or experiences pregnancy loss, the more likely they are to simply not trust the outcome. Two people loving each other does not equal pregnancy; pregnancy does not equal baby and all the tests, and medicines and alternate routes of growing your family won’t necessarily change that. So in a real way, to me, choosing to adopt was just another route to try–but did not guarantee us a child. Along the way and unbeknownst to me, I had subconsciously decided that this was how things would end for us– no call, no baby. So the call, the match, holding Declan? All of that felt like a dream.
Instead of unending tears, I cried three times. Once when we had to leave him after our visit on Thursday, again after our visit on Friday and then finally when we were in the hospital holding him and heard that he would officially be ours.
That was the other level of emotion occurring for Greg and I during this time. You see we were matched on Thursday, not placed. Birth mama had picked our profile and had an adoption plan in place, but could change her mind before the papers were signed. So until noon on Saturday, this lovely little nugget of a baby– whom we had named and shopped for and prayed over and loved already– wasn’t really ours. It is hard to know what to feel when this incredible thing is happening, it happens quickly and unexpectedly AND it was all very tentative. Even here, two weeks later, when I remember those days I remember feeling physically dizzy with emotions.
In the almost forty eight hours from the phone call to signing papers on Saturday, our to do list included installing car seats, buying diapers, calling our jobs and insurance company, meeting with some birth family members, finding a pediatrician, cleaning everything in sight and trying, on any level, to process the reality of a son coming home on Saturday. I have joked that it was like squeezing nine months of pregnancy (and preparation) into two days.
Once the pile of papers was signed and the social worker had all the copies of paperwork she needed. Declan’s ankle bracelet was taken off, we dressed him and off to the car we went. The drive home was a blur as I sat it the back just staring at him. When we got home, I took a nap (the first of many). And as I was falling asleep I heard Greg and Declan downstairs. Greg showing Dec around the house and telling him, “This is the world. This is our living room. I am your Dad.” And that right there just might be the best thing I have ever fallen asleep to.