PAGE # 51
1:11 pm

I wasn't hungry but figured I should force myself to eat something.  There was a kiosk in the hospital lobby where I purchased coffee and a bagel.  
"You want anything?" I asked Tom.
He shook his head.  He had already eaten two muffins.

I plopped down next to my husband, kicked my shoes off, and sat with my knees crossed.
"Might as well be comfortable," I said.
"This will be a weird story someday," he said.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean the story of how we almost adopted a baby girl."
"Yeah," I agreed.  
I checked the time on my cell phone and noticed that our friend Jim had sent a text message. 

I had texted the following update to both Jim, and his wife, Tracey, a few minutes earlier:  
Tom and I are waiting in the hospital lobby now.  Shelley [the adoption attorney] and Margo [Shelley's partner] are upstairs with Kendra.  It has been a very long time.  Long long time.  We saw Kendra's dad going up a little while ago.  Whatever will be, will be.
And at exactly 1:08 pm, Jim had written back:
It took about an hour with the attorney and birthmom for us.  They have to go over a ton of stuff and it needs to be recorded.  
I showed the text to Tom who shook his head in response.
"About an hour!" he exclaimed.  "We've already been here for at least two, plus it took us nearly a whole hour to get here as well."
"Well, this is what we hoped for," I said.
"Yep," Tom nodded.  "I'm happy for them.  The baby gets to stay with her family and they're a great family.  We'll get to be like an aunt and uncle to the baby.  I'm sure Kendra will want that."
"Oh, honey, I just don't think so," I held Tom's hand.  "I mean, I'm sure Kendra likes us and all, but how would she explain our presence to the baby when she gets older?  I don't exactly think she's going to ever tell her that she almost placed her for adoption."
"Maybe she'll just tell her we're good friends," Tom said.  "I think that's why this all happened in the first place--so we could be like mentors for them.  We're older and went through early marriage and parenthood too."
"Maybe," I said, but I thought Tom was overestimating our importance in the whole scheme of things.
"Well, maybe they'll send us monthly pictures or something," Tom suggested.
I laughed at this.  I couldn't help myself.
"I'll miss them too," I said.
We each sighed, and without another word, we retreated into our own thoughts.

I wondered if everything was taking so long because Kendra was afraid to tell us she'd changed her mind.  We'd seen Kendra's dad in the lobby a little earlier--either he hadn't noticed us or hadn't recognized us or didn't want to be the one to tell us the news.  Or maybe he was there to help Kendra explain her change of heart?

Then I got to thinking about our friends, Jim and Tracey.  They were surely going to be acting sympathetic when we returned home with an empty car seat.  How would we explain that we felt happiness for the baby, as opposed to sadness?  As adoptive parents themselves, would they be offended that we thought it a better outcome that a child remain with her natural family?  

I finished my bagel and walked toward a garbage can to throw away my empty coffee cup.  And that's when I saw her.  She had a huge smile on her face, as if she'd just won the lottery.  I blinked, confused for a moment.  When she reached me, she threw her arms around me in an enormous embrace and said, "Congratulations!  Follow me!"

And so Tom and I followed the attorney toward the elevator.  I was sure I had misunderstood.

Shelley pressed the button for the third floor.  
"I don't understand," I explained.  "She's not keeping her?"
Tom looked just as bewildered as I felt.

In fact, I felt like I had stumbled into someone else's party, where all the guests jump out yelling "SURPRISE!" and then realize they've got the wrong woman.

Surely the adoption attorney was making some kind of mistake.  
"I don't understand," I repeated.  "It's been hours."
But the attorney was already out the elevator, plowing down the corridor.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This "story" is so riveting. So heartbreaking. I know you end up not having Lily, I just can't imagine how everyone felt through this. It is breaking my heart with each new post...