The next week was filled with dealing with attorneys and doctors, getting all the paperwork together, putting the nursery back together (!), and packing up to head back. Once we had the go ahead from both attorney's we headed back to Ohio. We left on a Mon and the plan was for K to sign the paperwork on Tuesday. When we got to Ohio we went straight to K's and Jack was back in our arms. I had some time to talk to K one on one about some concerns that were weighing on my heart. I wanted to be sure that this was her decision and she was comfortable and confident with it. I told her that if she wanted to parent that we would not abandon her, but help her find resources to be the best Mom she could be. She told me she was certain that this is what she wanted. I was so happy that she got to parent Jack for 8 weeks. I think that helped her not only bond with him, but also cement her decision. We hugged and I told her that our adoption would always be open, that it is important to us that Jack know his birth family.
The week didn't go exactly as planned, signing day was postponed because it came out that Jack was 1/16th Native American, and we needed to get tribal clearance. What!?!? Seriously, I was freaking out, because if there was proof of a connection to a tribe we would have to petition that tribe for his adoption. Was everything unraveling? When we arrived Monday, K & S asked us to take Jack with us back to the hotel. I think they were ready to start to let go and wanted us to have time to bond with him. I can't even describe that first night in the Comfort Inn, John and I spent hours just staring at Jack on the bed, in complete shock that within days Jack would legally be ours. We had a lot of firsts the few days - our first sleepless night, our first bath with him, first trip to target, people stopping us to see him. It was incredibly amazing and surreal at the same time. Just a week or so earlier, we were still waiting, and had no baby, and now here were at the bookstore strolling our son around. I was still a bit cautious as the paperwork hadn't been signed yet, but each hour, each minute I spent with him, my heart filled with a love I never understood or thought possible.
Finally we had clearance, and the court date was schedule for February 15th. We ended up driving with K & S to the courthouse and we dropped them off with Jack so that they could sign all their paperwork. John and I sat at a McDonald's waiting to get the call we could come back. I remember being so terrified K would change her mind, 4 short days Jack had been with us and I couldn't imagine losing him. I looked at John and said: are we seriously sitting at a McDonald's waiting to find out if we are going to finally be parents??? Then the phone rang....
It was the attorney, and she told us K had signed everything and it was our turn to come and sign. We were taken to a separate room to go through all the paperwork, I just kept signing my name over and over again....knowing right next door was now officially OUR SON! When we were through we went into the other and just hugged and cried with K & S. I knew in my heart that as I was filled with joy, this was a day of sadness too for people we had come to love.
We all went to lunch together, and I gave K a charm bracelet that I will add to each year from Jack. We talked about what open adoption meant to each of us, and the expectations and commitments around our life long relationship. It truly was a day of celebration, and I truly believe that K was happy in her decision.
The next day K and her family and friends threw Jack a going home party. It was the amazing, gracious, awesome gift they could have given us. They not only completed our family, their made us a part of theirs. There was food, friends, gifts, four-wheeling, and through it all baby Jack slept peacefully in all of our arms.
It took 10 more days in Ohio to get clearance to come home. We spent time with K, and her family. Jack had a procedure at the Cleavland Clinic for his heart and K stayed with us and Jack at the hospital, we had the last few days alone in Cleveland which was so wonderful to be just the three of us for awhile. All through the time in Ohio, everytime we turned on the radio, Daughtery's song: I'm coming home came on. It became our song with Jack - and truly as we finally hit the road with interstate clearance - the song came on once more. As we crossed the Ohio border, we sang along, all the while Jack slept peacefully in the back. We were going home, finally, as a family of three.
At the hotel watching Sports Center with Daddy
First Pediatrician appointment
Signing Day - It's Official!
**I hope to blog someday about open adoption becuase it has truly been a blessing in our life. This story is obviously told from my perspective and I recgonize that K and her Mom S had very strong feelings about this process as well. Throughout it all we respected where they were emotionally and what needed around this major change. They loved, cared for, and parented Jack for 8 weeks, and I couldn't imagaine a situation any better than that for Jack, and for all us.