Friday, April 24, 2009

How I Became a Mom - Part 7

The baby I drove home that day was our dear Lil Sweetie. She came home in a borrowed car seat because we had no time to buy our own. She came home with no crib to sleep in and only two pieces of clothing to her name. Within hours, my cousin had come over with the cradle her children had used, a dear family friend brought over a huge sack of infant clothes that his daughter had and support and other necessities just flowed to us. We no sooner realized we needed something than friends or family was knocking on the door to deliver it. My in-laws drove 4 hours round-trip to bring a crib and high chair and presents and hugs. I have a friend who says “People are just no damn good.” Well, I’m here to tell you he is WRONG.
Mr. Sweetie was still on his business trip in North Carolina and would not be home for another three days, so my mom moved in to help with the baby. My dad built Lil Sweetie a website so that Mr. Sweetie could see his daughter from halfway across the country.

I won’t lie, the first few days were ROUGH! I was overwhelmed. And I had no idea what I was doing. The first diaper I ever changed was Lil Sweetie’s that first night I first met her in the hospital! Plus, Lil Sweetie seemed to have her days and nights confused. She would cry and cry all night long, then want to sleep all day. Don’t get me wrong, I was deliriously happy, but I was also tired, stressed, and overwhelmed.

I have heard some adoptive parents say that they didn’t bond with their child right away, but from the day I brought Lil Sweetie home, I adored her. I thought she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I could not believe that she was mine. And actually, she wasn’t. Her birthmom, Ashley, would not terminate her parental rights for another three weeks. And the birthdad’s rights were not terminated until months later. We had to sign papers stating that if the birth parents changed their mind before terminating their rights, we would return Lil Sweetie to the adoption agency within 24 hours. I told Mr. Sweetie that I would sign their little paper but I was NOT giving Lil Sweetie back. He gulped and imagined Lil Sweetie and I in Mexico; himself sitting in a jail cell. If it had really happened, I’m sure I would have done the right thing but I am just as certain that it would have killed me.
Mr. Sweetie came home 3 days after Lil Sweetie did. It is a powerful thing to get to just sit back and watch your honey meet his child for the first time. Lil Sweetie seemed to bond with him immediately and liked sleeping on his chest much better than anywhere else in the world. He is awful cuddly!
The same day that Mr. Sweetie came home, I had this amazing conversation with my boss:

Mr. J: Hello?
Sweetie Pie: Um, Mr. J? You know how I am supposed to come back to work tomorrow? Um, yeah, I would like to talk to you about that, well, you know, we’ve been trying to adopt and um, well, we have a baby and um...
Mr. J: WHAT?! Oh my goodness! I’m so excited for you! Is it a boy or a girl? How old? Height? Weight? Are you excited? What do you need? Tell me the whole story! Start at the beginning!...
[30 minutes later]
Mr. J: So, I guess you will want some time off. Let’s talk about the work on your desk and how we will handle it...

HOW LUCKY AM I? To this day, I get misty-eyed thinking about how great Mr. J was about the whole thing. I ended up taking the equivalent of 12 weeks of leave, but I worked 1 day a week while Mr. Sweetie stayed home with the baby. (His boss was also great...his employer was not even subject to the FMLA and they still gave him 1 day off a week for something like 15 weeks!) And this arrangement was so great for us in other ways. I loved having that intellectual stimulation of going to work 1 day a week and talking about big people things and getting to eat lunch while it was still hot and getting to go to the bathroom without holding someone on my lap. Also, I can be a little, shall we say, UPTIGHT. I really had to learn to let loose and let Mr. Sweetie do things his way on his day home with the baby. I figured if I got home and everyone was still alive and well, things hadn’t been done “wrong” even if they had not been done the way I would do them. Ahh, that was an important life lesson right there.

So that’s basically the story of how I became a mom. We still had some hoops to jump through—visits with the adoption agency, still more paperwork, etc. But on December 17th, our adoption became final and we were finally and forever a family.


Barbara(aka Layla) said...

came over from Milly's....what a beautiful story, Lil Sweetie is blessed to have such loving parents...and she is a doll!