It was a very hard time for us when we got Lizzie. It was hell, really. Well, it was hell and heaven, for lack of a less cheesy way to express it. ( : Lizzie was one of the three best things that happened to us and we were so grateful for her. She was amazing and I loved everything about her. And, I spent every moment, terrified that I would lose her.
So, this is what happened.
Life was starting to settle down, a little. At least, we were finding some sort of routine. It was hard to keep up with two boys, but it was getting easier. I was still working part-time and luckily, the people I worked with, seemed to enjoy it when the boys had to come along.
On September 9, 2008, I was sitting on a bench inside Walmart. I looked at my phone and realized that I had missed a call from the agency that had matched us with the boys. I had no idea what it could be, since we hadn't had any contact since finalizing the boys' adoption.
I listened to my voicemail, they said that there was another baby born from the same biological mother and were we interested. I guess it shouldn't have totally surprised me. I had heard of this happening and even though, I had pondered the possiblilty, I didn't really expect it. Also, the biological mother was the fertile type and had given birth to (and eventually lost) 5 children. But, regardless, it was still extremely surprising.
After talking to Brian, I called for more information. She told me that it was a girl and she was 2.5 weeks old. She said the adoption was basically a done deal and they would just have to go through the process, which would be expedited, due to the woman's previous time in the system. I know that she believed that she was telling me the truth, but, unfortunately, she couldn't have been more wrong.
So, I told her I'd call her back the next day and Brian and I talked all night, even though, I don't think there was ever any doubt what we were going to do.
When I called, the next day, to tell her that we wanted her, I was terrified. I was afraid that they would really bring her to us and afraid that they wouldn't. I barely had my head above water and I was agreeing to take on a new-born? We must've been out of our minds. But, at the same time, she was their sister. Therefore, she was already part of us. I loved her already. And, the idea of having the chance to let my boys grow up with their sister and not doing it because it would be hard; well, that's would just be wrong. Obviously, amidst my internal freak-out, I was also excited. She was a baby and she was a girl. I was getting the opportunity to get the best of all worlds: my boys and a baby girl And, I'd finally have a face to put to the name that we had picked out years ago. ( : (She's named after my grandmother).
So, while I waited for them to call back, I worried that they wouldn't. But, they did. She called and, casually, said they'd bring her tomorrrow. Tomorrow? Not only was the idea of taking on a newborn in less than 24 hours a little scary, but, also, we were unprepared. We didn't have a crib, a car seat, nothing. We were living paycheck to paycheck; and payday wasn't until the day after tomorrow. Ugh.
That was when I was reminded how great people are.
All my friends were excited. Everyone told everyone. Before I knew it, friends of friends had gathered things for us. By the next night, we had a car seat, clothes, bottles, a diaper bag, a loaned bassinet, a promise of a crib, and, a Lizzie. And, she was perfect.
So, as I just tried to survive the days with three kids and no sleep, my done deal started to turn into anything but. The visitations with the biological parents began. First, every other week, then, when the judge wanted to insure they were given a fair chance, it was increased to every week. At least every month, a case worker would come to check on Lizzie and look through our house and open our cabinets. While, I understand and respect that there is a process and it's important that the biological parents are given the opportunity to get their lives together, it was very difficult since we had not signed up for any of that. Plus, we knew so much about the woman's history and could see all the manipulations that were happening.
There was a lot of back and forth. And, a lots of scarey moments. But, in the end, after several weeks of dodging drug tests, both biological parents tested positive for drug use. We weren't happy that they were on drugs and we weren't trying to tear apart a family. But, we knew they were on drugs and that was not safe for Lizzie. So, we were thrilled when the truth came out.
After that, things did get simpler. Basically, they quit. And, in the absence of any reason to show that they deserved her back, the parental rights were terminated.
You don't always realize how much something is affecting you, until it's over. I had forgotten what it was like not to have nightmares or to wake up in the middle of the night and not immediately start to worry. After adopting Lizzie, I was able to sleep again.
It took a long time to believe that this was my life and these were my children. But, they are.
After that, we moved on to just being parents. ( :