We didn't know how much contact they would all want in the future, so we felt like we should absorb as much as we possibly could, to pass along to Babykins when the time was right.
We weren't sure if it was appropriate if our family visited at the hospital, especially because I have a large family. We wanted to allow time for Carla and her family to spend time with Babykins on their own, without a crowd. We talked with the hospital social worker about it and she encouraged us to invite a few people to come, and so that Carla and her family could also see the support network that we had, and the excitement for our family that surrounds him becoming a part of our family.
My Dad, his fiancé, and D's parents and his 90 year old Grandma came to visit. It was the day we had waited for for seven years. We beamed with pride. I swear our pride could have burned holes through the concrete hospital walls. Everyone was in awe of how sweet every little part of him was. "He is just perfect", everyone said, and we couldn't have agreed more. We couldn't believe that such an amazing little boy was in our arms.
We invited Carla to meet our family. We told her there was no pressure to do so. That we would completely understand if she wasn't feeling up to it. And my goodness did we mean that - walking into a room of strangers only a few hours after you have given birth, and have placed a child for adoption is a huge thing. We didn't have any expectations of her to come, but hoped she would.
She bravely accepted the invitation, and joined us. She walked into our room and said hello to everyone. She was smiley and laughed and joked with everyone. She is so personable. Everyone told her how amazing Babykins was, and she beamed with pride. I love that our families got to meet this amazing woman, the one who has changed our lives forever. It is hard to describe just how awesome she is. We loved that they could all meet her for themselves. It was such a special time and an amazing privilege.
During the meeting of our families, D's mother said some really beautiful words to Carla. I didn't know she was planning to do this, but I am so glad she did. She quietly told her about how D was their only child, and that this boy is their only grandchild. She told her that they would treasure him so much. She told him that she was not only changing our lives, but theirs too. It was beautiful to hear, and I am so grateful that someone was able to verbalize our family's feelings to her. She spot on with every thing she said. We love this baby AND Carla so much.
We also spent part of the day visiting with Carla and Mark's family. We met with Mark's sister and her friend. His sister brought a nice gift of clothing and a stuffy. We took some pictures. Carla's Mom also came with her husband. Her husband shared how he thought this adoption was a beautiful thing, and that he was so happy for us. Carla and her mother gave us a gift of clothing for the baby and the book Love You Forever by Robert Munch. Carla's Mom said that she read this book to her girls all the time when they were growing up.
Have you read this book? OMG. It is a tear-jerker. If you haven't read it, it's a story about a Mom who tells her baby "I'll love you for always, I like you forever, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be". As he grows, she sneaks into his room when he's a toddler, a young boy, and a teenager to whisper the same thing. Later, when he's an adult, she drives over to his house in the middle of the night to cuddle him like she did when he was a baby - he was a sound sleeper! At the end of the story, she calls to tell him that she's very ill, and he goes to be by her side. She starts to say the same words to him that she always did, but she cannot finish. He instead finishes for her, and tells her that "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my Mommy you'll be". She passes, and he goes home to his new baby and says the same words to her, that his Mom always said to him. *Tears*
It's such a beautiful story. Oh my goodness though, I don't know if I'll be able to read often it to our Babykins because every time I do, tears pour down my face just thinking of the message of this story, who gave it to him, what it meant for her to do so, and how much my heart explodes for this precious little boy who I will love for always and like forever, until my last day.
Later that day, Carla's Dad came back to meet the baby. He gave a beautiful card (the one I wrote about here) and a gift card for the baby. He just loved looking at the baby, as we all did. He talked about how happy he was for us. Hearing that was so amazing.
Carla popped in to visit and snuggle the baby throughout the day. It was so nice to see her with the baby, but also very difficult as well. It was difficult because we had strong feelings of guilt, and sadness for her loss. D felt like she had her life together maybe better than she gave herself credit for. No, she hadn't gone to college, didn't have a job or a car or a lot of material things... but she had what we felt was most important for being a parent - she put her son's needs above her own. She proved that by making one of the hardest decisions that anyone could make. She showed so much grit, and selflessness. She cared for his wellbeing and future as a good mother would.
And you know what - as I write this now, I've had an lightbulb moment. I realize that it's not that she isn't his mother anymore - she will always be his mother. His B. Mama as we think we will call her, IS his mother. And I'm his Mama too. This lucky boy has two women who love him so much, that they would do anything for his health, happiness and well being.
When we tried to thank her for the gift of being chosen to be his parents. We struggled to find the words to adequately express our feelings. How do you thank someone for such a huge sacrifice? How do you thank someone for a human life being entrusted to you? Even though our thank-yous seemed inadequate to us, she beamed and was genuinely happy to hear about how she was changing our lives so much. She also thanked us for being his parents. She said she was getting a second chance at her life. She said she was going to enrol in school, and we learned that the very next day, she did.
We texted about her starting college in January. We told her that we were so proud of her. And we knew Babykins would be so proud of her too. She wrote back that that is all she ever wanted, was for him to be proud of her. It melted our hearts.
After a day of visiting, Carla was ready to be discharged and to go home. After all of the hospital time leading up to the birth, she was especially ready to go home. She had recovered very well from the birth. Mark came to get her. He came into visit with the baby. He was still very shy, and it was hard to get a read on how he was feeling about everything.
The social workers told us they wanted to do an entrustment ceremony before Carla went home.
So, in our little crowed hospital room, the social workers set up ceremonial candles (that we didn't light for obvious reasons). They read through some poems and said some words about open adoption, about Carla and Mark and D and I. The ceremony was to represent the unofficial entrustment of Babykins care to us, from Carla and Mark. Carla's Dad was there too. There wasn't a dry eye during the ceremony. There was so much sacrifice, pain, beauty, hope and, so much love in the room. All for this precious little boy.
After the ceremony, Carla and Mark went home, and D and I were left alone with our Babykins. We were running on fumes after 40 of the most emotional hours of our lives. We marvelled at the baby, and felt a honestly little bit intimidated about being responsible for his care. We tried to get some sleep, but babykins had other plans.
As it turns out, he's a noisy little baby. While he doesn't cry often, He loves to make goat noises as we affectionately call them, even in his sleep. As new parents do, we were constantly checking him in his isolette making sure he was comfortable, and yes, a thousand times to see if he was still breathing. :)