So I have been dreading talking about this because it was such a low day in my life, but eventually all things gotta be let out before you can heal, so this is how I handled giving away my heart...
Arizona law requires at least 72 hours after the birth before you can sign papers. In those 72 hours, I ran through every possible emotion you can think of. Satisfaction in myself-for building a family, for staying so calm, for not making a scene, for keeping my word. Guilt-for not holding her, not hugging her, not naming her, for sending her away as if she were less than my own three, and even for my children, who were stuck with me instead of having the opportunity to have more than what I could provide. Sadness-so strange to feel so empty, no more late night dance sessions with her little feet, and above all else I felt ANGRY-at myself for being an idiot and not demanding alone time with her, at my husband for not wanting to talk about it, at my Aparents for wanting her in the first place, at my stupid "friends" who never called to see if I had made it out alive, and then at myself again...I genuinely was BEWILDERED...I knew I made a good choice in her parents, I knew adoption was the plan, I knew I did the right thing...but WHY...WHY was I such a wreck? I would love to blame it on hormones, but I have never had them hit me like that, and I did give birth three times prior to this. I could not understand why my heart was running in one direction, and my head was in the other. I was so angry at myself I could literally feel it oozing out of me. I felt like an egg that had just been cracked, or like the ground in the movies where you see the hairline crack start running off getting bigger and bigger until whatever it finally stops at drops to the ground. I would close my eyes in those three days, a million times, and visualize myself dissolving into little pieces. Those three days were the longest ones of my life, because so many times during them, I thought about taking her back. Just calling and saying, "Ok. Enough. Can't do this". Of course I never did. Why would I? No matter what I felt, the circumstances hadn't changed any, and I could not even imagine what would have happened to L* & M* had I acted on those thoughts. They were primed, prepped, prepared, BY ME to be parents. I couldn't do it. So I bled, and I cried, and I waited until it was time to go...
I have read on so many posts about how signing was done at a lawyers office, or a church office, or in someones home, or in a court...but have yet to find someone who actually had to suffer the humiliation that comes with sitting at a notary's desk in the middle of a bank. That's what I did. I signed away my heart at a Bank of America. A run down, crummy bank that I have to drive by every single day on my way to and from work. I am past the point of wanting to burn it down now...so I am making progress. I think the visit on November sealed up most of those insane feelings...but I digress.
Anyways, we all had to meet there...even my super reluctant husband. Not for support, not for love of me, but because they needed his signature too. We got there first by a few seconds, and I remember thinking that there was no way I was getting out of the car. They were going to have to bring the papers to me...in the car. Drag the damn notary out there if they had to. I had done enough. I was not getting out of the car. And then I saw their truck pull in, happy faces all around, and guess what I did...I got out of the car. Stupid Michelle.
It took them forever to get the baby out of the car (I remember those days), and her new Daddy proudly presented her to us as "L--*". I remember thinking, "L--*"? WTF?" They had gone through a million names, some that I had really liked, but I am pretty sure I didn't like that one. And then I calmly reminded myself that she was not my baby. She was theirs. And then I began to breathe, slowly and deeply, not wanting to make a scene, not wanting to embarrass anyone. The tears sat in the bottom of my eyes, and I just stared forward for a long time.
The two Daddy's were talking back and forth about baseball, as usual, smiling and joking. The amommy had turned the carseat away from me (though I don't think on purpose) and I just sat there staring at the back of it. I remember thinking crazy violent thoughts about smacking her in the face for doing that. I remember thinking that it was my God Given Right to stare at the baby if I chose too, and how dare she....and then I remember I just started laughing at my own craziness.
We had to wait forever, and finally it came our time to sign. We sat at the desk and signed paper after paper after paper, and I remember being so self concious about sitting in the middle of this bank. It made me feel so so low. And Amommy sat on the very far end of the desk with the carseat tucked on the side, so now I couldn't see the baby at all. I was getting more and more and more pissed off at this totally innocent act from the Amom, when the notary stopped everything, and asked my for my marriage certificate. I had forgotten to bring it with me, and so my husband and I had to leave to go get it. Embarrassing...but it did give me time to calm down considerably.
After we got home, and retrieved the certificate, I remember saying that I wasn't going back to the bank. If I never went back, I couldn't sign anything, and they couldn't have her. I thought about how long they would sit there and what they would do if I refused to come back. I asked my husband how long he thought they'd sit there. 15 minutes, an hour, until it closed. He told me to calm down, do the right thing, and get in the car. I got in.
Driving back, I remember feeling so ashamed that I would even think about taking her from them. I felt as if they'd see all of my swirling emotions on my face, and know my secrets at that point. I was ruining my own happy ending. Now I understood why Lauren's mommy had her tucked way off to the side. I was insane. I could feel it, I am sure I looked it, and she was simply protecting her baby. Like a Momma Bear would her cub.
I went back in, apologized for keeping everyone, and signed as fast as I could. I remember hesitating for a brief second at the last signature, and waiting when I was finished for a weight to lift off of me. Or for balloons to fall out of the ceiling. Or for her parents to start jumping up and down in satisfaction. But none of that happened. I was the same as before.
Afterwards, we were handed a check for the reimbursement of living expenses, while the Adad waited for us. Mommy had gone to put her baby in the car, and I remember feeling a huge mix of hatred and satifaction at the same time. When the check was cashed, I started bawling...no holding it back. The three of us walked backed out to the cars and started to say good-bye. Mommy came around after securing the baby in the car seat, and I remember wanting to hit her in the face again for doing that. I guess I had wanted a huge scene, with my holding her and yelling, "Why Me? I am sorry!!!" and other craziness, but with her safely locked in the car that wasn't going to happen. In all reality...that was for the best.
We hugged and talked, and then my husband said, "Wow, you're not going to have your little friends anymore", meaning L* & M*, and I lost it. For the first time it dawned on me that I wasn't going to see them all of the time, and that our friendship was going to be reduced to emails. And I was so sad...equal if not more so to the sadness at realizing the baby was going away now too. I felt as if my heart had broken to nothing at that point, and then the gifts started flowing.
My Aparents are two of the world's most amazing and thoughtful people. I love them like I love no one else on this planet. They always did right by me, went above and beyond, and NEVER did anything to hurt me. A lot of the sporadic hostility I have felt towards them if from my own lack of education, or reality. When we were done saying good-byes, they handed us some amazing gifts, including a spa day at one of the biggest resorts in town. They got engaged there, and said it would be a great way for us to spend our anniversary. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever recieved. And I loved using it that May.
But, as we walked away from them and they drove off, I remember feeling like they had received the world, and I was merely left with the consolation prize. I think I even said that to my husband, at which time he told me I was crazy and that we did the right thing. And to get in the car, because I was still bawling in the middle of the parking lot and people were starting to stare.
That's all I can write on that right now. My heart is hurting a little remembering it all. And its still very early in the day...miles to go before I sleep.