From the time Anna was placed in my arms on a Saturday morning till we left the hospital after lunch on Sunday, I felt a very strange tug in my heart. Please hear me out.
I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms safely around Anna and ensure that she’d be my sweet little girl forever, but this was no ordinary baby girl. This was a little girl created with two mommies and her other mommy was down the hallway recovering from delivery… and she was just starting to learn what it was like to not be with the child she was carrying. My joy was real and it was matched in severity by her pain. I took Anna to her a few times to nurse and to spend some time together before we left the hospital, but looking back, I wish I had given her more time with Anna. My friend here who is a few years ahead of me in this open adoption lifestyle encouraged me to offer more time, and I thought I was offering more time, but in retrospect, I didn’t offer enough.
I’ll admit here, it was simply out of fear. I was afraid that the more time they spent together the more likely she’d change her mind. And I’ve said all along that if Mama had decided to parent, then this child would at least be with her very-loving birth mother. That wasn’t really a bad thing, and I knew that. But my heart wasn’t as strong as my brain and I was protective of her in a way that I didn’t need to be, looking back from where I sit now. I’d go back and do it differently if I could. I’d spend time with Mama if I could go back and do it differently.
But you know, we’ve talked very openly about this topic and she doesn’t hold anything against me and I’ve told her I wish I could go back and change some things. She and I are building an open and honest relationship and I am thankful she has been able to forgive me my mistakes. We have both said over and over, “Neither of us has done this before… we’re bound to make mistakes.” and thankfully, we are both willing to offer grace for those mistakes.
I share that bit of information for those out there who are considering an open adoption. I hope it helps you to make the decision to be more generous with the time you have in the hospital… especially if you live a great distance from Mama and getting together frequently will be difficult.
So, about us “going home” away from home.
We loaded up our van and drove to Portsmouth, to the apartment we had rented.
The next few weeks were quite surreal: loving every second with Anna knowing that technically each moment could bring a phone call that ended our time as her parents, but feeling pretty confident that Mama was content with her decision and was not going to change her mind.
The time we spent in Portsmouth was a time for snuggling Anna. Pretty much every picture we have is of someone holding her. They’re not fancy pictures, for sure, but they’re treasures!
Our first time out as a family of seven… off to the mall!
Out for a walk with my two littles:
Nana gives her a bath and gets lots of squeezes. In fact, Nana gets priority when she’s in the house…
Getting some “indirect sunlight” to help with the touch of jaundice she had.
Tummy time, a ride in the car, and first well-visit.
Saying goodbye to Nana and Papa the day after we brought Anna home. (They have a business to run, after all!)
Three generations of girls.
Our last picture before leaving our Portsmouth “home.”
We had a great place to stay while we were in Virginia… there was a little drama at the end: basically, the person who owns the place didn’t know it was being rented out on AirBnB and when he found out [because his realtor wanted to show the place] he wasn’t happy. It was a bit scary when he told us to vacate or he’d call the police, but Matt straightened everything out and we were able to stay until we were supposed to check out. Family drama that we were almost caught in the middle of!
At any rate, we loved the location, the house itself, and how close we were to the hospital when Anna decided to be born during Winter Storm Jonas!