Our plan is to make a quick getaway, to say a guilty goodbye to Crystal and bring our daughter home. This plan was carefully crafted to make this day as bearable for Crystal as possible.
Crystal had called me from the hospital that morning. “You know,” she said calmly, “I’m going to cry today. I’m going to cry a lot. This is going to be an unbelievably tough day, having to leave the hospital without Tessa.”
“Of course,” I mumbled, my throat tightening.
“But I just want you to know, “ Crystal continued, “that I’m not changing my mind. My tears do NOT mean I’m changing my mind. I still know this is the right thing, and I need to know I can cry in front of you.”
I begin to cry, too, anticipating her feelings. “Just don’t take it personally,” Crystal concludes, “when I cry because you walk in the door.”
Prior to this moment, I loved Crystal as my daughter’s firstmother. But now, I have such deep respect for her as a person, for being able to be so clear and compassionate with me. For knowing herself so well, for facing her day with such clarity. I am so thankful to her for having this conversation with me.
Sure enough, when we walk into the hospital room, Crystal and her mom begin crying. I join them. We all hug each other, and then notice the lovely stink of a freshly soiled nappy.
Crystal and I laugh as she shows me how to change an impossibly small diaper. She mentions that her grandma, whom everyone calls Honey, would really love to meet the baby. But she’s been battling cancer and isn’t well enough to leave her home.
We find out Honey lives not far from Crystal, who lives within 10 miles of our home.
So we decide not to listen to the adoption experts about the clean getaway, and to follow our hearts instead. We ask Crystal (though she could have dictated any route home from the hospital had she wanted to, since relinquishment is still weeks away) if she would like us to take the baby to visit Honey.
She lights up. And we begin to load the cars.
(This entry, along with other posts about my daughter's coming home story, were edited and published in the May/June 2007 issue of Adoptive Families magazine.)