Every state has different policies when it comes to adoption. You were born in North Carolina, and they have a policy called the “revocation period.” It states that from the day the birth mother signs the adoption papers, she has seven business days to change her mind. In my case, I had ten days because I signed papers on a Saturday, and they couldn’t go into effect until Monday.
That policy was torture. Those were the worst 10 days of my life.
For those 10 days, you stayed with what the agency called an “interim care mother” - basically, a foster-mother who cares for infants during that seven-day period if the adoptive family chooses that option. The B’s wanted you to be a surprise for Sports Man and having dealt with a few failed adoptions themselves, they wanted to make sure everything was official before introducing you to your new brother.
It was a smart idea.
I spent those ten days making the world’s most comprehensive pro and con lists. I spent them looking over my finances with my mom and dad to see if I could afford to keep you. I ran every scenario through my head a million times – what I would do if I took you back, what I would do if I went through with the adoption, how The B’s would handle both scenarios. I saw a therapist. I talked it over with my parents every single day, getting their input – they never told me what to do because they knew it could only be my decision, but they were a wonderful sounding board. I went back and forth every single day of those 10 days. I didn’t think of anything else but you, trying to find a way that I could keep you and still give you everything I knew The B’s would give you.
It was agonizing. I know the policy is in place for good reason. All girls deserve a chance to change their minds, and I completely understand why they would. I almost did. I almost changed my mind every day. I would wake up and feel confident about adoption and go to bed that night, determined to bring you home to me. Two different scenarios, two different decisions constantly pulling me in two different directions. It’s difficult to describe, but I imagine if I were to be ripped in half, it would feel something like that. I knew that if I went through with adoption, you would be like a sort of phantom limb – an essential part of a person, felt even in its absence. Something so real, so necessary that you’re sure it’s there until you look down and realize it’s not. Having to deal with that disappointment over and over again…I wasn’t entirely sure I could handle that.
But in the end, it wasn’t about me. I wasn’t about what I would go through, or what being without you would do to me. It was about you and what was best for you. Grandma M asked me during one of those days what specifically I thought I needed to be good enough to keep you. I jokingly answered, “To be 10 years older, in a stable relationship with a college degree and high-paying job.” But it wasn’t a joke, really. I wanted to be the kind of parent who could give you everything, who would be able to make sure you never had to worry, who could provide you with everything I thought you deserved. And eventually I realized that I could. By placing you with The B’s, I could give you everything, I could make sure you never had to worry, I could provide you with everything I thought you deserved. It was all right there, in their family.
People ask me all the time if I think I made the right decision, and my answer is an instantaneous “yes.” I don’t even have to think about it, probably because I did enough thinking in those 10 days to last a lifetime. You – your life – was not a snap judgment. It was not an easy choice, or an instant decision. You deserved the best and I wanted to make sure you got it. And now, I truly believe you have it.
Actually, I think we both have it. The past 19 months have certainly been proof of that. And every time I see you with The B’s – in a picture, in a video, in real life – makes all of that indecision feel small and far away. The love we all share has turned those ten days from a gaping wound to a small scar. And that’s the beauty in the breakdown, I suppose – that despite all of the pain and confusion, we actually managed to find the kind of love that not only heals broken hearts, but builds stronger ones.