This is not a picture of my actual mother.  She'd probably like you to know that.
PAGE # 14

Rise and Shine!

Tom nudged me.  "Wake up!"

"What is it?  Sara?"  I looked at the baby monitor, but our toddler was sleeping.

"It's Shelley," Tom explained.  "She sent us an email late last night."  

This adoption attorney was persistent.  

"I don't think you should read it," Tom suggested.  "We've made up our mind."

I sat up and turned to face my husband.

"Then why did you bother to wake me?"  I asked him.  "Did you read it?" 

"Yes, but..."

"Hand over the email!"  I reached out for his iPad. 

The attorney sent it at 12:53 am.  It read as follows:

I am so sorry you have come to this conclusion without meeting Kendra or knowing if the birthfather will cooperate or not.  Perhaps in explaining the worst case scenario I scared you.  I think him even challenging is highly unlikely, and him being successful, next to impossible.  I would think I would have also heard something immediately if he were going to try to block the adoption.  My name and phone number was right on the papers he was served Saturday.
Anyway, I would suggest that you meet Kendra before you make your final decision whether or not to take the next step.  You may feel more comfortable that this adoption will happen after talking to her.  I will also limit your financial investment to the bare minimum until the 30 days runs out.  [The law gives a biological father 30 days to contest an adoption plan, starting from the date he is served legal papers informing him of that adoption plan].
 Anyway, I hope to hear from you in the morning.  I would hate for you to miss this wonderful opportunity and for this child to miss the wonderful opportunity to become a part of your family.

I read the letter over a few times.  There was a problem with the first paragraph, in the form of a giant revision of the truth:

The attorney never described any 'worst case scenario' to us.  As I recalled, I probed her to divulge any potential 'worst case scenarios' and she had been dismissive of my concerns. Even nasty.

I didn't mention it to Tom.  We were resolved in our decision.  

"Are you going to write her back?" I asked him.

"Nah.  Why get into it?"  Tom said.  "Plus, these lawyers charge money for emails and text messages."

"Oh forget it!"

And so we did.  At least for a little while, until my mother called within the hour:

"What is going on there?  I get this text message from you that you're not adopting the baby anymore!  Not even a phone call!  And I texted you back last night and..."

I looked at my phone.  Sure enough, my mother had sent me several messages the preceding evening:

What the f?


U there


What's going on?

"You there?" my mom asked.

"Yeah, look, it's complicated," I explained.

"I was up crying all night!" my mom said.  "Nobody wants this poor baby!  I just feel so bad for this poor baby."

"I know, mom, I know," I replied.  "But the whole birth father thing.  It's just too much anxiety for me.  I can't handle it."

My mom continued:

"That poor baby!  Even her own mother doesn't want her!"

"I know mom," I said.  "But maybe she'll change her mind and keep the baby in the end."

I explained a little more about the birth father.  I described my fears.  Spun terrible 'what if' tales to help illustrate my anxiety.  My mom remained despondent.

"Then why don't you adopt the baby if you feel so bad?" I challenged her.  

That worked.  

We moved on to other topics.  

Then the house phone started ringing.  

"Don't answer it!"  Tom shouted from another room.  "It's the attorney!  She'll try to persuade us!"

We ignored her call.  

But then, she called Tom's cell.  

Then mine.  

Then the house phone again.

"Mom," I said, "Let me call you back.  I think Tom just answered the attorney's call."

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