PAGE # 56
Approximately 5:00 pm 

"Where's Baby Lily, Mommy?" Sara asked.
"Shh...she's sleeping, honey," I said. 
Sara ran straight to the bassinet and climbed up over the side. 
"Careful" I warned.  "We don't want to wake her--she's really tired."
"Look!" Sara beamed.  "She's dreaming!"
"What do you think she's dreaming about?"
"About Jersey!" Sara declared, referring to our dog, who was resting just beneath the bassinet on the other side from Sara.
Since we had returned home from the hospital, our little dog refused to leave Lily's side.  I had been worried that Jersey might resent a new baby in the house, but I was so wrong.  Our dog loved Baby Lily and acted like her private guardian.

Whereas Jersey was inseparable from the baby, Sara would come and go, running back and forth between her toys and Lily.  She'd play a little, but a few minutes later, she'd be back, looking for Lily.  We hadn't been sure how to explain Lily's presence to our toddler--the biological father still had another three weeks to contest the adoption--but we ended up telling Sara that she was a big sister now.  It seemed like the simpler explanation at the time.
"I'm a big sister!" Sara had proclaimed, and we reread the "Big Sister" book that our friend Jim had lent us a week earlier.  I tried to lure TJ over to the couch too, teasing that I'd read him the "Big Brother" section of the book.  But our teenager rolled his eyes at me, kissed Lily's forehead, and started back toward his bedroom.  "I'll be on my computer."
Now, Sara remained perched over Lily in the bassinet.  
"I want to cuddle her," Sara said.
"Maybe later, when she wakes up.  And you can help me feed her too," I promised.
"Okay, Mommy," Sara replied as she climbed back down and ran out of my bedroom.  
I was resting in our bed, exhausted not from the physical labor of childbirth this time around, but from all the emotional devastation that adoption brings with it.  A terrible sadness filled the pit of my stomach.  Even though the baby herself brought us so much joy, her tragic beginning of life was almost too much to witness.  It was all starting to make me feel physically ill.  I closed my eyes, tried to sleep for just a few minutes, but instead, I heard my mother talking to Tom in the kitchen.
"She really is a beautiful baby," my mom said.  "She has such delicate features.  Do you think she looks like her mother?"
"I can't tell," I heard Tom say.  "I kind of think she looks like me," he joked.
I heard them both laugh a little, but I wondered how we would answer inquiries about Lily's appearance as life went on.  People were bound to search for family resemblance--would we constantly be explaining that Lily was our adopted child?  And how would this impact her development?  Especially with our other two children being our biological offspring?

As for similarities, Kendra and I share similar coloring, and she had been glad about that.  
"I don't want her to grow up feeling like she doesn't fit in with her family," Kendra had told me.  "So I'm glad she's ending up with you guys and not Jim and Tracey.  She would have been the only one in their house without red hair!  With you guys, she'll blend in better."  
But hair and eye color hardly make for true family resemblance.  And all the searching for family traits starts immediately at birth.  In fact, conversation about a newborn is mostly dominated by the topic of family resemblance and who the baby does/will look most like.  Let's face it:  there's not much else to say about a new baby, other than the eating, sleeping, pooping bit.

I heard a text message come in.  It was from Jim and Tracey--they were on their way over to meet Lily.  I got out of bed and started rolling the bassinet as gently as I could toward the living room.  Lily did not wake up.  She would prove to be a real heavy sleeper--something I was not accustomed to with my own gene pool--and really, she would be the easiest newborn I'd ever care for, if one wants the full truth regarding the eating, sleeping, and pooping parts.  Baby Lily was, indeed, a great little baby.

Tom joined me in the living room while we waited for Jim and Tracey.  I was actually a little nervous to see them.  
"Did I tell you what Tracey told me before on the phone?" I said to Tom.
"Well, Tracey forwarded Lily's picture to some of their friends.  And now, some of them are asking if they regret not taking her for themselves.  If they regret passing up this opportunity and handing it over to us."
Tom shook his head.  "That's ridiculous.  Tracey wasn't even remotely interested in this adoption.  She's sick as hell with her pregnancy."
"Yeah, but Jim wanted her.  Tracey told me so," I said.  "I just can't imagine how Lily will feel someday if anyone ever says anything to her about how our next door neighbors were her original birthmother's pick.  I don't know, it just makes me feel like we're talking about an object or something getting passed around.  It makes me uncomfortable."
Tom wasn't worried:
"In a few weeks, everyone will be so used to Lily being our baby, they're not even going to remember that part of the story.  And I'm sure Jim is over it."

To Be Continued...


Anonymous said...

Yes, adoptees tend to be one of two extremes: Either very easy - sleep all the time, never cry or colicky. Two ways of dealing with the extreme trauma of their mother/whole world at birth. Poor baby.

J said...

This makes me so sad. I don't know how baby Lily leaves you -- but I really hope she's ok wherever she is.

brian wagnon said...

Years later I was sent to this blog and saw lots of people mention crying through the posts. This is the first one that I cried on. They have al been heartbreaking but our daughter was about the age of your Sarah when we brought our first foster baby home. This brought back those memories. I was pretty naive about all of this sort of thing then. I am no longer.

by Jennifer said...

Hi Brian,

How did things turn out with your foster child?