Friday, November 27, 2009

Detour

(April, 2001) -- Roger has never been so nervous about driving. We have day-old baby in the back seat! He’s more attentive to the road than I’ve ever seen him. And I’ve become a contortionist trying to keep an eye on her. She’s quiet for now.

We are headed home. But not our home. Our first stop after leaving the hospital is Crystal's grandma's house.

As soon as we get Tessa inside, Crystal, her mom and Grandma Honey all huddle over the baby. They ooh and aah over Tessa's toes – she has the family toes. This is an intimate moment where I feel like an outsider, and I wonder if I truly am this baby’s mother. Tessa begins to cry and Crystal says to me, “Get the bottle, Mom.”

I didn’t even bring in the diaper bag! I’m not used to this. I can’t do this. I’m not a natural. We’ve all made a big mistake. I’m embarrassed. I’m exposed for the fraud I am. Who in their right mind would consider me a mother? Panic attack.

Roger brings in the diaper bag and I have a crying baby in my arms, so my moment of self-pity is over in a flash. Crystal giggles, good-naturedly cooing to Tessa: “See, Mommy has what you need.” And she smiles at me, telling me all is well.

Our glance also communicates that it’s time for us to leave. I know how grateful Crystal is that we’ve brought Honey and Tessa together. I know she will be incredibly sad as we drive away. I know I am itching to start our lives now with this baby.

We gather all the stuff and say our goodbyes. I whisper in Crystal’s ear during a hug, “You call whenever you’re ready. I love you and I’m thinking of you every single day.”

She looks at me with pure love and trust in her eyes and whispers, “I know. I will.”

We finally make our quick getaway and head home. With our daughter.

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(This entry, along with several previous posts about my daughter's coming home story, were edited and published in the May/June 2007 issue of Adoptive Families magazine.)

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