Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Piglet's Adoption Story, Part 4 (The Finale)

...My little girl had just been born!

 That was early Friday morning, and the next few days in the hospital were a bit of a blur. A blissfully wonderful blur full of holding, swaying, feeding, swooning, smiling, singing, and healing. We met Ray's dad and son, Bjorn, and some of Ray and Melissa's friends came to meet us and offer their love and support. That part of the experience was faith-inspiring and left both Nick and I in awe of the responsibilities we now had as Alexa's parents.

Alexa's half-brother, Bjorn, and Alexa in the hospital. He bought her booties and a necklace.

Ray left for scout camp on Saturday, and so Saturday night Nick was able to have Alexa in our room to love and feed and I spent the night in Melissa's room to give her a shoulder to cry on or a friend's ear to talk in if she needed it. There was so much love between each of our families one to another at that time. And because of a beautiful baby girl, we were all very much united as a family. Just as we always should have been.

Ray and Melissa with Alexa before Ray left for scout camp.

On Sunday we were allowed to go home, and placement was done in early afternoon. It was awful. I think I expected it to be exciting, and maybe I was a little excited, but the excitement really didn't set in until we were driving away from the hospital. Up until then all of our hearts were breaking. Watching Melissa cry and knowing there was a very simple way I could mend her aching, and yet it was not my decision to make, was just awful! As we walked out of the hospital doors, and both Nick and I both hugged Melissa. As she and I hugged, between sobs she whispered in my ear "Don't let me take her back tomorrow." I reassured her that this was the right decision and that overtime things would get better. I hugged her again, and we all went our separate ways. Finally to our home with our daughter in the back seat.

Melissa and our case worker with Alexa right before placement.

That night Nick ran over to Wal-Mart to get "burp cloths" (cheap wash cloths that we now use as rags) and a crib. It was a late night, but Alexa and I enjoyed watching dad put her bed together as his first official Daddy project. We all went to sleep in our respective beds and woke up many times for feedings, relishing every moment. 

Daddy putting the crib together, and Alexa using it for the first time.

Monday morning Nick had to go to work for just a couple of hours, so Alexa and I stayed home, where I just held her, didn't shower, and talked with friends and family on the phone. I think it was about 10am when I got a call from Nick, and as I type this my heart is just starting to pound a little. He told me Melissa changed her mind and had sent us a text that simply said "I want my baby back." My legs went numb and I slid my back down the wall and collapsed holding my daughter as tight as possible. This couldn't be possible!

And yet it was. We called our case worker in a panic and he made his way down to Ray and Melissa's home to discuss the repercussions of this decision. And so we waited. We waited to hear from him until 9pm that night, all the while hoping for the best and trying to avoid our thoughts from thinking the worst. We sat on the couch and watched a movie that we would feel good about never watching again if things went poorly: Nova's Ancient Refuge in the Holy Land. Oh yes, we also prayed. We prayed constantly! Out-loud, in silence, and on the phone with family. My goodness did we pour our hearts out to our God on that day, more than I ever had before or have since.

{Sorry, not a lot of pictures from this day. As you can probably imagine, it wasn't a day we really wanted to capture in photos.}

When we did get our case worker's phone call, he was somber and very tired. He told us she had not changed her mind and that we were to meet at his office at 10am Tuesday morning to hand over our daughter so he could return her to Melissa. Our hearts broke - it felt almost literally. We decided that on our last night together we would do everything we had dreamed of doing with Alexa that we could do with an infant. We read every book we treasured with her (ie. The Sneetches, The Lorax, Pat the Bunny, etc.), we told her every family/funny story we could think of, and we sang every song that we thought she might like. Once we were all too tired to stay awake any longer, we went to bed, but this night we couldn't bear to let her sleep alone...or maybe we couldn't bear to be without her for any longer than was necessary. Yeah, that's definitely it.

It's hard to describe how the following morning went in our home. We were quiet, constant tears were being shed, and heartfelt silent prayers were being offered without ceasing. Nick offered a special prayer, a Father's blessing, for Alexa that morning, as she was soon to leave our hands and we'd probably never see her again. We wrote a letter to Ray and Melissa expressing our love for them and for Alexa. We put that note in a bag full of things they would need: diapers, clothes, bottles, etc. We also decided that if this was going to be the last memory Alexa would have with us, we wanted it to be a positive one. If by some miracle she were to remember us, we wanted her to remember us as strong, loving, and happy people. So, we put our best foot forward by dressing our best and left for the adoption agency.

One last picture with Alexa, and one last one of her in her carseat. Doesn't Nick's face break your heart?

We arrived at 9:45, and we drove as slow as slow as humanly possible. Our case worker said that was the first time anyone ever arrived to a placement reversal early, so he gave us some time with Alexa. He said we could have all the time we wanted, and so we suggested driving until we got to Mexico. In our last moments with Alexa, I gave her a kiss while she was still in her carseat, but I didn't want to hold her again. It was too much. Nick wanted to hold her one last time before handing her to our case worker and then walking away. So he did - and he sobbed. And so I sobbed. And our case worker checked his phone (??)...because he had just received a text message.

From Melissa.

It said something along the lines that she had made a mistake and that Alexa should stay with us! Of course that all had to be confirmed, but after about 20 minutes of not breathing and being confused as all get out, our case worker came back in the room. (Nick and I decided that feeling must be what insanity is like. We were just so emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted and the ups and downs were just too high and too low to have life make any sense at all. That's insanity.) Our case worker held his phone up to me to read it...and the screen had turned dark! 

OH MY GOSH!! One more second of not knowing and my heart could have exploded!

Okay, so once I could read the message, it was from Melissa and it said that she meant what she had texted before and that she was wrong in asking for Alexa back. She belonged in our family.

Readers, I have lived a life of faith and spirituality, and I may live a hundred more years and never witness a miracle as blatantly obvious as I did on that February morning.

Nick and I decided to not call or tell anyone until the relinquishment paperwork had been filed with the court, so we waited for our case worker to draw up the paperwork, we drove with him to the court house, waited for him to come out after filing, and then on the way home began calling family members (who were all crying when we spoke with them). We were driving home, once again, with our little girl in the back seat.

Only this time it was permanent.

And suddenly we got very hungry (we realized we hadn't really eaten an actual meal in about 20 hours), so we pit stopped at Little Caesar's for a Hot n' Ready pizza. We now look back on those 24 hours, when we we must think of them, as the most challenging of our life. It's also the day I think of that when I forget how blessed I am to be ALexa's mom. Nick and I wanted this life enough to fight so hard for it. We would have done anything to keep Alexa in our family that day, and everyday since then. 

At the end of those awful 24 hours. So tired but so happy.

It's hard to imagine we maybe setting ourselves up for that type of craziness again...but it's so easy to see now that every pain and tear and prayer was more than worth it.  

Our family sealed together for time and all eternity: October 8, 2011

***I want to take this moment to be perfectly clear that we harbor no ill-feelings towards Melissa or Ray or anyone for anything that happened during those awful 24 hours. They made us stronger as a family and deepened our conviction that adoption was/is the right thing for our family more than anything else ever could. They strengthened our faith in God, in our family, and in the power of prayer. As hard as they were, I wouldn't trade them for anything...especially since I now know the outcome is awesome!***


Amy said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. Seriously, I needed to read this today and it got me all choked up. And that pictures of Nick really does break my heart.

Jessica said...

It was good to read the end of the story, even though I knew it was a happy outcome. Thank you for sharing. I shed some tears over reading it, and yes, Nick's face is absolutely heartbreaking.

Jenni said...

I'm a big baby. I cried when your first potential adoption didn't happen. And reading this made me cry again even though I know you have Alexa. I'm so glad that you have this experience recorded to share with her someday. It will be nearly impossible for her to not know how much she is loved.

Brianna and Andrew said...

Rachel, I had no idea this happened that day! Oh, I can't imagine how you felt that day! I remember being at day 4...and knowing Jessica was ours, and yet aching for her birthmom.