Friday, June 22, 2012

The Real Parents

Sitting in a hospital bed watching other people fawn over my daughter was a lot like sitting in sound proof room looking out through anti-bullet glass.  I sat silent, placidly smiling and feeling ashamed of asking to hold her.  There needed to be a full 72 hours from birth to be able to sign any adoption paperwork so legally she was mine.  Was she still my daughter?

I shifted in my bed while they passed her around.  Mom, dad, then adoptive grandma, aunts, would I be able to hold her too?  Do I have to ask for permission?  Times would come and someone would ask if I wanted to hold her.  I'd offer a lazy 'yes' wanting to leap off of the bed to embrace her if only I wasn't recovering from a c-section.  Was it okay that I wanted to see her? 

In the evenings the visitors would eventually go home.  I'd sit in my silence, afraid to ask the nurses to get her for me.  I wanted to be able to feed her, I even asked once but they never returned to either say 'no' or bring Alex to me.  I wanted to care for her in the precious hours that I had left before the sand ran out of my hourglass. Could I do that? 

My last morning came like an unwelcome relative on a Thanksgiving morning.  I didn't want to get up.  I knew it was the last day that I'd see her, see them.  The yellow island sun beamed through my hospital room window with the promise of another day in paradise to everyone in Key West who wasn't me.  Today was the day Brett and Kayla would be bringing Alex home. This was the day they had been waiting for since their adoption journey began.  This was the day I was dreading since the start of mine.  How much longer do I have?

After pushing my breakfast around with my fork I asked for her.  Just a few sweet moments with her alone.  I could finally hold her and look into her cherub-like face all nestled tightly in a newborn swaddle.  She slept as I held her in my lap, cradling her little head in my hands.  I wanted to get a solid look at her, to study her face.  I started talking to her. I wanted her to know that it wasn't that I didn't love her.  I loved her enough to let her go, for her protection, in her best interest.  The all encompassing love of a mother bids her to make the sacrifices she must for her children,  forsaking her own life even. This would be one of those times, so few really ever face, and  I was doing it. 
I told her how much her parents loved her.  I told her of how much I have adored them since the minute I saw their pictures.  I told her about the sweetness her mother has and how much I looked forward to hearing from her about all of her milestones.  Please God, let them tell me about Alex.

Tears spilled forcefully as I wrestled with my emotions.  I wanted to be happy for her.  This little life, having no choice in coming to be, having nothing to do with our separation was going to have to live the life of an adopted child and I was the one making that decision.  I wanted her to know how special we all thought she was.  Would she feel special?  Would she be sad?  Would she be mad at me?

I began to churn with desperation when the door opened to my room. It was Brett and Kayla.  I tried to smile through my grief-stricken face and greet them but they shrunk back from the doorway as they took in my appearance.

"We'll give you some more time." Kayla said, looking apologetically. 

"No, it's okay. Come in."

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