Six years ago today sleep would be evading me. I would be stressing and worrying I had made all the wrong decisions and that all of this would blow up in my face. I had told my parents and they told me “Sorry its your brother’s birthday you will have to reschedule it” I was too stunned to be angry but as I lay in bed on this night six years ago I realize how much more their support would have meant to me at that moment.
June 17th, 2008 would be our Adoption date.
I was terrified at a lifelong commitment. I had just come home from Iraq not long before and was planning my retirement when the kids came into my life. When I got them M1 was best described as “feral” she was sexually assaulting girls and boys alike and at the tender age of 7 just been potty trained. M2 was in her own world, while deaf at the time we did not know that, it would take another year to figure it out. She looked so sweet in her frilly little dress as we peeled M1 off the walls as she tore around the courthouse. Panic choked the air out of my lungs as I stepped into the judge’s chambers terrified but sure of what I was doing.
I had bought M1 a locket for this occasion because her favorite movie was Annie and of course Daddy Warbucks gives her a new locket on adoption day. I fidgeted with it anxiously as my BFF read the documents to me so I could more quickly understand what I was signing (I have a learning disability). The judge also reviewed what was happening and explained it to me ensuring that I understood what I was doing and committing to and despite my sweaty palms and shaky voice, sure I was sure I wanted to do this.
The judge turned to M1 and asked her “Do you want to be adopted?” and thankfully she said yes. The case manager signed to M2 “Name” and pointed at me M2 signed back “Mommy” Translating what they were saying to the judge he smiled and passed the papers and I signed away. The process took about 30 minutes and when it was over I felt such a rush of joy and fear I cannot even begin to explain it. We went to Friendly’s for lunch and had ice cream as part of our celebration. We were finally a family and I don’t ever remember ever being more happy and terrified at the same time.
I am so glad I was so naive at the time. I think if someone would have told me that the next 6 years would be full of CPS, counseling, parents hiding their children from me, ridicule at school functions and peeing everywhere I am not sure I would have signed. If they had told me that RAD was forever and that Autism was in my future I am sure I would not have been brave enough to handle it on my own. But I didn’t know any of that, all I knew was that these beautiful babies were mine now and that was going to alter my life forever. I had no idea at all what the plan was…not a single clue.
So Sunday we will go to church and the girls unbeknownst to them will hear the priest say “The flowers today are given in celebration of the adoption of M1 and M2 from their Mom” because yes it is super hard some days but more days than not it is a celebration of what a wondrous gift I have been given.