Friday, I was overwhelmed, excited, and terrified. Monday, I was so keyed up I couldn’t think straight. We had arranged to meet our social worker at the adoption agency at 2:30. In the morning, we actually had quite a bit to do because we were packing for a few days in Maryland. We’re approved to be adoptive parents in DC, but the baby (whom we’d already decided to name Teddy) was born in Maryland, so once we picked him up, we had to stay in Maryland until Maryland officials agreed we were fit to be parents. We were told this could take up to two weeks. We are blessed to have awesome friends who are huge adoption advocates who were happy to have the three of us stay with them until all that got sorted out. So we spent the morning tidying our condo and packing. We arrived at the agency and started the paperwork. Teddy’s foster mom wasn’t due to arrive until 3, and we had a mountain of documents to sign. We agreed we’d be foster parents for six months, as required by the state of Maryland, before the adoption would be finalized. We promised not to use corporal punishment on this child. We promised not to take the child out of the state without notifying the agency. We promised to stay in Maryland until we were approved to return home. We skimmed each document to be sure we knew what we were signing.
And then we heard a cry. My heart started beating about 14 times faster. Teddy was here! And our social worker was a meanie — she wouldn’t let his foster mom come in until all papers were signed. And suddenly we didn’t really care what we were signing. Our signatures got a lot messier. We passed the papers back and forth a lot faster. We prayed we were almost finished.
And then we were done, and our social worker left to get the foster mom.
That was the longest two minutes of my life. I wiped my hands on my jeans 40 times. I looked at Mike in panic and wonder and excitement. I stared at the door. And then the foster mom walked in with Teddy and her own three children. She handed Teddy to me, and I fumbled a bit and the waterworks started. With that handoff, I became a mama. I stared into Teddy’s big brown eyes and couldn’t believe our good fortune. He was absolutely perfect. The foster family watched as Mike and I took turns crying and oohing and ahing. And Teddy probably wondered what on earth was going on. The foster mom talked to us, trying to tell us about Teddy’s quirks and habits and feeding and sleeping. But she might have been Charlie Brown’s teacher for all I got out of it. Time stopped as I held my son for the first time.
And then we were putting him in his brand new car seat for the first time and carrying him out to our borrowed car. (We really do have amazing friends.) And that evening, we started learning how to be parents.