As we drove that day - or should I say That Day? - the first day of the new year - I received a text from our social worker, saying that they were going to meet with the birth mom at 10 a.m. for her to sign papers. These were the papers which would terminate her parental rights to this baby girl.
When I think of any woman being faced with those papers, tears well up in my eyes. I cannot wrap my head or heart around what it would mean, how hard it would be, how seemingly impossible.
In Kansas, there is no "grace period." Once the document is signed there is no going back. This is good news for adoptive couples, but I can imagine that it might make such a momentous signature even a little scarier. Some moms choose to wait to sign, give it time, be sure of their decision. They have that right and if that's what they need, they should take that time.
For the adoptive family, though, that time before signing can be fraught with a lot of anxiety.
So, as we drove, I sat and prayed. Lest you be too impressed with my faith, though, I have to tell you that I also spent a lot of time wondering what we'd do if she didn't sign.
I imagined driving home with an empty car seat and my heart restricted with borrowed grief. I imagined having to explain over and over again to concerned friends and family members how, after all this time, our adoption had fallen through. I wondered what we would do with all of the money we had laboriously collected and so many had so generously donated. And I imagined explaining to our children how their little sister was not to be.
By 10:45 I was in agony - much of it self-induced, I admit, but agony just the same.
I texted the social worker: "How's it going?"
At 11:15, - finally! - I received the text that they had just finished; birth mother had signed.
I had to gain control of my voice before I could tell John, and then I cried. I let out all of the pent up misery I had been imagining, and let out a huge sigh of relief and gratitude. Once again, God had carried us over another hurdle.
So, by the time we reached little Evie, we knew that she was ours. She was still in the legal custody of the adoption agency, but for all intents and purposes, she was ours.