Friday, July 29, 2005

Adoption 2: THE DAY WE MET HER

Emma's Emergency Foster Mom, My Wife, Emma (Ashley), and our Adoption Worker

One week later on April 1st, 2004, we went to the "Telling" to learn and decide to take or not to take the baby! Our worker had already given us some information on baby "Ashley" (Emma's birth name) via the phone. I was worried to say the least. First of all, Ashley was not legally free for adoption - in other words we'd have to be Foster Parents until the Birthmom's parental rights were terminated and the adoption was finalized. She could get Ashley back! Second, Ashley had been exposed to Meth and I was worried about the long term effect on her development. Worse yet, my wife had initially said she did not want to accept a baby with either of these issues. Finally, I had this image of adopting a Hispanic girl with long hair who would speak Spanish with Esperanza - and Ashley was a little Black girl. (My wife and the workers had gushed over the polaroid photo of her, but I was not at all convinced that she was cute.) I was going to raise THIS little girl - I'd spent enough time on Adoption Forums to hear worst case stories about everything.

My wife's enthusiasm took over. Ashley was appearantly healthy, eating and sleeping well, and had few drug withdrawl symptoms. The Birthmom was very young, had grown up in a foster house with problems, and had shown little interest in her baby - "statistically," we were assured, the odds were 95% against her "reunifying." My wife thought it sounded good and then all the women in the room started gabbing about random topics while I sat, feeling kind of lost. "Are we doing this?" I asked. "Are you sure you don't want to wait over the weekend and talk about it," said the Worker. "Honey?" I asked, then shifted into project mode, "Ok, are we going to take her Yes or No?" "Yes," I looked at my wife, "Yes," she said. "It's up to you," said the Foster Mom. "Are your sure," said the worker. "Yes, were taking her, what do we sign!" The confidence in my voice in no way matched what I was feeling inside.

"You might as well see her then," said the Foster Mom, heading out the door to get Her.

"My BABY!" Esperanza lunged at Ashley, cuddling her. Stunned, I just sat, thinking, "What the hell did we just Baby? Who is this kid?" After not disturbing my wife's precious moment of fantastic joy, I kind of edged over to look. Short hair with a bald spot. Flat nose. Large gap between eyes. Was this evidence of fetal alcohol syndrome!?!?!?! I smiled for the photos and got into it enough that when they worker asked, "So when do you want to have her in your home....sometime before the next court hearing in three weeks would be good," I enthusiastically said, "Well how about Monday, or Sunday, or how about tomorrow!" The worker about fell out of her chair. Few people make this kind of lifechanging decision in 15 minutes and then take the baby the next day.

continued in Adoption 3, next post.
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