Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bittersweet

Monday, February 23rd...the day we were taking Josina home to Calgary. When Sid and I woke up that morning we were both a bundle of nerves and in very sombre moods. How else can you feel when you are going to watch a family say 'goodbye' to their little girl. We weren't meeting at the hospital until noon so we had a long morning ahead of us. After eating breakfast in the hotel I knew that I needed to write Marcia a letter so I was prepared with something meaningful to say at the ceremony at the hospital. Otherwise I'd just stumble and say something stupid as I am not good with speaking of the top of my head. What do you write to someone who is going to allow you the privledge of raising her baby? The words came somewhat easy and yet difficult at the same time because it had to be just right. After a few drafts I felt I said what I needed to say. It was time to go and I was still writing more as an afterthought as we walked out of the hotel room door.

In the car on the way to the hospital our social worker phoned to see how we were doing. I broke down sobbing in tears...I think it was obvious how we were doing. We'd been crying on and off all morning. You have to understand...Josina's birth family are very good people and this was extremely painful for them. This was going to be the hardest day of our lives. Yes we were going to become parents, but as adoptive parents you have to go through this part to get to the good stuff. I prayed to God that morning that he would make me feel the pain and suffering that the family was going through. It was the least I could do.

At the hospital our social worker had not yet arrived so we waited at the Tim Hortons for her. When she arrived she told us to wait here for her until she calls. She went up to the hospital room for what seemed like an eternity. Sitting at the table, all I could think of, with butterflies in my stomach, was that it wasn't going to happen. We were waiting so long because the adoption wasn't going to go through. In fact the opposite was happening...they were taking the time to say goodbye to Josina, to grieve this loss.

Then my cell phone rang and it was time to go up. That was the longest and most nerve-wracking walk I've ever taken. As we entered the maternity ward our steps became smaller and smaller, we walked slower and slower. Closer and closer we walked to the door to the hospital room...at one point my husband stopped in the hall, his feet would not carry him any further. We were sobbing and in tears before even entering the room. As I entered, sobbing, I saw Marcia sitting on the hospital bed with Josina in her arms...2 braids in her hair, looking radiant and yet so sad. She was looking down at Josina (which she did for the entire ceremony). Her mom, dad, sister, and brothers were sitting around her on the bed and in chairs. I skooched over to a corner, standing in front of the family with tears streaming down my face. We were all bawling. Our social worker said a prayer, read some scripture and then I had the opportunity to read my letter to Marcia. Again, she looked at Josina the entire time, never taking her eyes off her. Everyone had the opportunity to say a few words if they felt like it. I can't even begin to tell you how important that was to us. Marcia, such an amazing young woman, told us she couldn't believe our profile had never been chosen (it had been shown numerous times, just never chosen) but that she is glad that we were never chosen because that meant she got to choose us. We are the perfect family for her baby. This amazes me to this day!

After hugging each other, Sid and I left the room to let the family say their last goodbyes. We waited down the hall in a lounge until our social worker came and said it was time. As we walked back into the room where Josina was waiting for us we noticed that her hospital basinette had been decorated with gifts for Josina, so nicely displayed. Ok...this still gets me to this day. Her family says good bye to her...they are letting us raise her...the most precious gift I will ever receive...and in the midst of their greatest pain they take the time to decorate her basinette and shower her with gifts...I told you they are an amazing family! They love her so much!

So now the tears need to be put away, we have a big responsibility now. We are parents! It was time to be happy. We took this picture to celebrate our new daughter:
The weather outside was cold and snowy and we were anxious to get home soon as we had a 3 hour drive to make. Unfortunately we had to wait for the doctor to complete the final medical on Josina before releasing her. Well, it took 3 hours for the doctor to show up...not fun. While waiting, a nurse spent some time with us to educate us on bathing, etc. (thankfully we had taken an infant care class 2 nights before Josina was born, lol). Finally she was given a clean bill of health and it was time to go. After putting her in the car seat and getting the nurse to check that we had Josina strapped in properly (we didn't) we started walking down the hallway with our daughter...the same hallway that hours before we couldn't even walk down. As we walked further and further towards the exit I kept looking back to see if someone was going to stop us. They're actually letting us leave with her? I told Sid to walk faster before someone stops us. It reminded me of the Ikea commercial...you know..."start the car...start the car".
The drive home was fairly uneventful, long, but uneventful. After such an emotional weekend it was so good to be home. Our good friends and neighbours came over to ooh and awe over our gorgeous little baby. They brought an "its a girl" balloon and some gerbera daisies (my fave) and took some pics of us with her...I think she's going to have a problem with her eyesight with so many flashes going off in her eyes at such a young age, lol.
We didn't get much sleep that night (or for the next zillion nights, lol, for that matter) but were so proud to be her parents (still are).
The next few days after this are a blur. All I can remember is that Sid and I both cried and were so sad for Josina's birth mom and her family. We cried at the drop of a hat so many times.
We had 10 days to wait to see if Josina would remain with us or if Marcia would decide to parent. The 10 days passed successfully and that's when I first posted about her arrival (see posting entitled "Surprise"). Now 3 months later you can see that Josie is growing like a weed and very happy with us. We feel so blessed to be her adoptive parents because we were made to wait so long to become parents and we never take her for granted. She is such a precious gift. I love her more than I can put into words.

10 comments:

Rana and Yvan said...

Tammy that was such a beautiful post.

Thank you for sharing your joyful yet heartwrenching day of Josina's arrival into your family.

emily and mike said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I'm sitting here crying just imagining it all! May I ask if it is an open adoption? I'd be interested to know... we are considering a domestic adoption in the future.

She's beautiful and I wish you guys all the best!

The Mannings said...

Thanks for sharing a beautiful story. Josina is a very lucky girl!

darci said...

well, I"M crying! what a beautiful story, thanks so much for posting it. congratulations again!

Long Journey Big Dreams said...

What a great story! I did this type of work as a social worker before and that type of experience is so amazing - but also happy sad for people! d

Natalie and Chris said...

wow, what a great day. So many different emotions. Thanks for sharing. Nat

Jenny said...

Okay, that caused my loud ugly cry. .. I hope you are happy!
But seriously, what an amazing journey and story, thank you so much for allowing us to share it with you.

Jenny

Janice said...

Oh my gosh, that was so very touching.

Lucky parents and a lucky little girl.

Sharla said...

Okay, thank you for my cry for the day. Your little girl is so blessed to have been so loved first by her incredible birth mother and her family and now by you and your family. You are all so blessed! Thank you for sharing that.

Katie said...

Hi Tammy! loved reading through your blog, and LOVED this post - identified with every word you wrote about the experience of waiting to meet your precious child and also the emotional process of meeting the birth family. Bittersweet is absolutely the right word - it amazes me that so much joy and pain can co-exist and center around such a tiny person. I look forward to continuing to read about Josina, and I'm so excited that you guys are also adopting from Ethiopia through Imagine!