PAGE # 49
8:03 pm

It was getting late.  Far too late for our toddler, for Kendra's boys, for all of us. Sara, who had been climbing and jumping alongside Alex only moments earlier was now resting on the floor, her hands clutching at her ear lobes as they always do when she's had enough.  People often mistake this as a sign of an ear infection, but it is merely our toddler's strategy for self-soothing, much like how another child might suck her thumb instead.
"We really ought to get going," Tom nudged me gently.
"Yeah, okay, but maybe we should get some pictures of all the kids together first?" I asked.  This question was not so much for Tom; it was for Kendra.  "Would that be okay?"
Kendra said it would be.  

I took a few quick photos.  These pictures did not include the baby--she was already sleeping peacefully in the bassinet beside her mother.  The pictures included Sara, TJ, Alex, and Logan.  I wanted to capture some physical proof that the adoption, if it happened, was about our two families joining together--not an abrupt separation of the baby from her actual family.
"Okay," I said, after I had put my camera back into my diaper bag.
We exchanged goodnight wishes.  Johnny and his boys escorted Tom and TJ out of the room.  I stayed back for a minute longer.  I held Sara.  
"Kendra," I started,  "I know you said it's not even a possibility, but I have to ask you something."
Kendra looked tired but her eyes opened a bit wider as she listened to my inquiry.
"What happens if Bobby [the biological father] contests the adoption?" I asked.
Kendra did not even pause.  She gave an immediate reply that was clearly uttered and rolled easily off her tongue:
"Then the baby comes back to me."
"Okay," I said.  "I just needed to be clear on that.  Goodnight."
I went over this contingency plan in my mind:

If Kendra chose adoption, and if the biological father contested said adoption, then the baby would go back to Kendra.

It made surprising sense--a kind of circular logic.  I felt like a little path had been carved out of all the uncertainty.  There were only three possible outcomes:

1)  Kendra would choose to keep the baby in the first place.
2)  We would take home the baby.
3)  Kendra would get the baby back if the biological father contested the
     adoption plan.

It felt like the baby had a 2/3 chance of remaining with her family.  And in the slighter 1/3 chance that the baby did not, Tom and I were 100% certain we would raise this child in a way that included her family of origin.

To Be Continued...

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