Back in November, a few of you may remember that I submitted a diary about our newly adopted daughter. We had waited many years to become parents and we were rewarded with a precious, healthy and downright perfect little nugget we named Catherine Anne.
My wife and I waited years to become parents. As our friends got pregnant, experienced childbirth and transitioned to parenthood, we stood by wondering when...then if...our time would come. We told our friends we just weren't ready yet. That maybe we'd have kids later. And we tried. and tried. and tried.
I do not want to sound as if I'm complaining, but I think there's value in the story. We went to Doctors who gave us hope in exchange for our lifesavings. My wife endured countless exams and visits. Three times, we attempted IVF. Each round more hopeful than the last. And each time the disappointment became even more profound. This finally came to an end when our Doctor, a wonderful man who truly seemed to internalize our anger and fear, looked us both in the eye and said "I can't recommend you continue to attempt getting pregnant."
We both cried. For what seemed like days. We pondered going to a different hospital. We searched for hope at various clinics and at the crossroads of science and pseudoscience. And thanks to the very sage advice of more than one medical professional, we quit hoping. We quit envisioning our biological offspring and started to envision a life with the next best option: Adoption. It felt like a sell out. It felt like there was something wrong with us (To be fair, there actually WAS something "wrong" with both of us, but that's not the point...) I can't speak for my wife but I felt cheated by the universe. We're not great people and we're not special in any way. But we are caring, loving people who could offer a child so much stability and so much love. And we were being denied. Meanwhile, my wife's clients were accidentally getting pregnant while continuing to struggle with addiction and other challenges. It didn't seem fair. It wasn't fair. My friend once said "it's all part of God's plan", to which I responded with a tinge of anger: No God would ever have such a plan.
After some time to mourn, we spent a weekend at a B&B nearby and began a long and winding journey towards adoption. Shortly thereafter, we met with an adoption counselor who ended our conversation with this: "There's a baby at the end of this journey". a baby. at the end. of this. Journey. Hope. Not in science, but in time. In time, we would have a baby.
That time turned into 2 years. There were fits and starts. There were periods of profound disappointment when a potential birthmom didn't "choose" us. Each time we wondered what was wrong with our profile or ourselves. Each time we cried. But each time, we remembered: There's a baby at the end of this process. In October of last year we were visiting family; the first time we'd all been together in years. The phone rang. It was our counselor. We were steeled for more bad news. We were wrong. I took the call in another room and my wife came back a few minutes later. I was balling. I gave her the thumbs up. She was balling... My mom came in to make sure were alright, which we were, of course!
Two weeks later, we met Catherine Anne, her biological grandparents and the beautiful young women who knew she couldn't care for her girl. I talked at length to the grandfather while my mother spoke to the young girl and her mom. My wife sat in the corner, holding her baby and crying. She's been holding that little girl ever since.
We returned home a few days later and started our new journey, our new life. Within days we couldn't imagine life without her, and we couldn't imagine how any biological parent could love their child any more. Those first few days were heady and tiring. We celebrated our first holidays together. We laughed as she tasted Thanksgiving gravy. We smiled from ear to ear as she recoiled at the site of Santa. We watched as she slowly began to interact with the world around her - first by following eyes, then by reaching out, then by moving about. Every day she learns a little bit more about the world, and every day we learn a little bit more about loving. To say it has been an amazing and remarkable transition seems trite, but it's true.
So anyway, last week....Last week we finally had our court appearance whereby the judge deems the adoption final and the parental rights permanent. We had some trouble with interstate paperwork and the process got delayed. In addition, our adoption counselor had to pay five visits to our house to make sure we were fit parents (I notice that biological parents have no such requirement, but whatever!). With several of our closest friends by our side, we entered the courthouse and patiently awaited our call. We were told the process would take about 30 minutes. What we didn't know is that the "process" was almost exclusively this judge regaling us with all of her wonderful adoption stories and how this was the one day per month that she could focus on good news, on love and joy instead of probate. She gave us flowers. She demanded we keep her updated. As we were leaving, she said "oh wait, you need to sign here!" We signed. It was official. The judge gave us her (nondenominational) blessing and wished us luck.
After seven years, our long journey to parenthood has finally, completely ended.
There is a baby at the end of this journey.
A baby. at the end. Of this Journey. Catherine Anne.
We love you Catherine Anne. We are sad to report that we spent your college fund on the front end :)
If you've read this far, wow...Thanks for reading. This was cathartic.