At about 9:30am we met our caseworker at the hospital and went up to D's room to visit. She looked exhausted (Axton was born very early in the morning) and we were extremely nervous. We asked if we could hold him, and she nodded. He was pretty darn cute in that just-born kind of way. She asked what we were planning on naming him and we told her. She said she liked it. We met the social worker at the hospital briefly and our caseworker helped us get settled as it were, saying that if we needed anything we should let her know. We thought we had it. We would let Axton stay with D as much as she wanted to and mostly spend time with them together. Little did we know that we were embarking on a difficult hospital stay (our caseworker's words as we have no experience other than this one).
I felt too weird the first night to ask if we could have him in our room, and then the second night, D and her family kept us out of her room except to say goodnight. That's when we started freaking out. The nurse on duty assured us that her grieving process was typical and that it was a good sign that she had started to recognize what was happening rather than being shut down and not dealing with the feelings as she had the first day.
We should have freaked out. We should have called our caseworker that night and told her to get cradle care (temporary foster care) set up. We should have told our caseworker the next day that we were too uncomfortable to bring Axton home. But D insisted that she knew that this was the best thing to do given her rocky situation and what she had been through trying to raise her daughter by herself. She knew she was going to be sad, but also knew that we were going to see her soon (yes, she had to trust us on that, but we don't renege on our agreements).
Should've, should've, should've. You know when you have a gut feeling and you ignore it? I ignored my gut. How do I know I ignored my gut? Because one year later, I can clearly remember and still feel like I was there...the moment in the hospital cafeteria working through paperwork that I felt like something was wrong. That he wasn't our baby. But I pushed it away, trusting that D's caseworker, and our caseworker could read the situation better given their detachment. We were an emotional mess - excited, scared, sad, who knew if what I was feeling was really something or just me being kind of a wreck in a situation that was unfamiliar?
And so, I continue to beat myself up for not speaking up. For not taking the stand that something just didn't feel right about taking him home. For not realizing that the interactions I had with D showed me much more than she was revealing to her caseworker. It's a struggle to convince myself that I didn't know that we would be bringing Axton back to the agency 3 days after taking him home from the hospital.
One year ago today. I embarked on a week long journey that ended horribly. That changed my perspective on adoption. I still grieve today for that little baby I held and showed to Baby X, my parents, S's parents, the picture I emailed to a coworker. I grieve that our family-building journey was almost over and then it was yanked away with a phone call. I grieve for me and S in that we have been broken by both the infertility and adoption processes. Any call about a match now will only result in anxiety and fear until we know for sure that the baby will be ours. There's no room for joy when we know how fast it can be pulled away, again.