Tuesday, February 1, 2011

They Both Came "Home" or "Part Two"

Security guards at the hospital where the baby was knew me by name, but not by my real name. Safety issues caused a stir around both hospitals and we were forced to implement a few measures to ensure that both of my girls were safe, no matter where they were.

Mike had to work and gracious neighbors and friends took care of my home and children for 5 days, feeding them while I barely got to come home. Tiffany asked me to stay with the baby as long as I could, and to get there as soon as I could in the morning...so I did.

Tiffany's doctor wouldn't release her from the hospital and after a few tears, I walked out to the nurses station and told them in no uncertain terms that if they didn't get permission from the doctor, we would be taking her out on her own.  Calls later and after Tiffany tearfully begged her doctor for a good 30 minutes, they started prepping her for a release.

I drove her to the hospital where the baby was being kept and she saw the sweet baby girl she hadn't seen in a few days. She held her in the vinyl covered chairs they keep at the bedside of those tiny infants in the NICU. Tubes and wires were starting to be taken out of the baby as the doctors constantly came in and out, remarking every time that this baby was doing amazing things. She wasn't throwing up anymore. She wasn't pale. She wasn't in pain. She was recovering so quickly some of the nurses even thought that she'd been brought in by accident. One nurse said there's a little theory they who have the same faith as us like to call a "Miracle in the Sky". This is when the sickest of babies is flown by life flight to the NICU and somewhere in those skies in between, a miracle occurs. This baby was apparently one of those babies, she was more perfect as the hours went on.

Tiffany sat in that chair from the second she woke up til the hours in the middle of the night when they'd wake her to feed her. I would stay as I could, but for those next 3 days, I went home and took care of my other littles. Leftover food in the fridge prepared by angels around me, notes of love from those same ladies...these things wrapped themselves around my heart and I was surely saved by my sisters in my neighborhood.

One night Tiff expressed to a nurse that she was wavering a bit about what she wanted to do with this baby. Her ideas of placement had suddenly become so much more difficult and Mike and I knew we couldn't help her make this decision, but we definitely had to educate her on what the future would be like either way she chose.

That night, we brought her home. She needed to sleep in her own bed. We brought her in our bedroom and in  way too many words drew out the picture of what would happen if she kept the baby and if she didn't. One option clearly brought happiness and a beautiful life to both Tiffany and Maya. This road was also the hardest to step onto initially. The next option would lead to years and years of custody exchanges, lonely weekends, bickering, fear of uncertainty...a future both dark and continually difficult from the start. This way seemed easiest to choose at the moment, but it would be much more painful in the end, with the pain being dragged out for a lifetime.

Mike gave her a blessing and we prayed with her and she went to bed. We told her we loved her either way, would support her decision whatever it was and to get some rest.

The next morning, she called her caseworker in to the NICU and asked for her to bring the relinquishment papers.

In a small room they have set aside for the parents of sick babies, our caseworker met with me and Tiffany and two witnesses and read her the papers. They seemed cold and legal, but necessarily so. They told her that her LEGAL rights to this baby would be terminated. They in no uncertain terms spelled out the facts of her choices. Tears filled her eyes as she signed in all the right places and I sat next to her the entire time, crying for her pain.

Moments after the legal part was done, they asked her if she wanted to bring in the adoptive couple. She said yes. They also brought in Maya. In a moment of sweet peace, Tiffany handed her baby to the family. They in turn read her a letter. I can't share what was in that letter but it was so beautifully written, I will never be able to forget it. Simple words that meant more than just that. These people are truly wonderful people.

We sat for a while longer together and Tiffany and I left to get her something to eat. They let her stay one more night with the baby, and on a cold, windy and snowy morning I once again left Lola and Harper with generous neighbors to go up to pick up Tiffany as the new parents prepared to bring Maya home.

She cried and coo'd with that baby til I got the text that they were down the street, and I helped her get her coat and purse, and we left before they had to pass in the hall for that last time. Tiffany kissed sweet Maya one more time and while I know it felt like it was goodbye forever, we all felt that it was just goodbye for a moment.

A day later, we were there visiting with Maya and her new mommy and daddy at her home. They let Tiff hold her for 2 hours before she kissed her again goodbye as she was preparing to take a month long break from the stress of things.

Through all this, we've learned so much.  I can't even begin to list them out, not even one of them is something I can properly put into words right now.

We know this is a beginning and not an end and we look forward to seeing this sweet baby grow up with her new family. This situation is about as open as an adoption could be and the new parents get to choose who they let into Maya's life, but right now we know that Mike and I and all of our kids here are being welcomed as family.

Tiffany is on sabbatical right now, avoiding all cares and troubles that she can while she makes a physical, emotional and mental recovery. Already, there has been an outside source, again keeping up with his email contact, feeding on her impossibly weak state but at this point we have to trust her when she says she feels bad for his sad and lonely life. She's an adult and that's all we can do.

Adoption is a BLESSING and a PRIVILEGE. It's difficult and painful and beautiful and sweet all at the same time. It's changed our family forever.


The White Clan said...

Love you Tiff! You are such a strong and wonderful young woman! LOVE LOVE LOVE you and all of your family!

@emllewellyn said...

I was just thinking about you guys this morning. LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH.

KW said...

i like baby maya

Carla said...

You are amazing, Alli. Your daughter is especially amazing. All of my heart and love, I am sending your way.♥

Gwen said...

Miss Alli- I was adopted. It's a blessing for a lot of people, but I know it was unbearably hard for your daughter. Prayers and love to all of you.

mawayment said...

Alli thank you so much for posting this. I have been thinking about you guys non stop for the past month! I am so proud of Tiffany and you and the amazing/ difficult choices you have had to go through. I truly wish we still lived close and I could do more for you.

Amber said...

What an incredibly sweet story. I have been thinking about you guys a lot. Tiffany is an amazing girl with a huge heart and a lot of courage! I am so glad baby Maya is well and hope Tiffany continues to recover and feel peace and comfort.

mrlyne@gmail.com said...

I had to take a few deep breaths while reading this to control my emotions... this is possibly one of the most heart-wrenching stories I've read in a long, long time.... and I'm glad it turned out positive for everybody.

Although I have never met you in person, Alli, you and your family seem to have one of the most solid foundations under you and are it's seriously amazing and inspirational reading this. *hugs*

Sandi said...

hugs and loves from all of us. I have been thinking about you both so much this last few weeks. Now I know why.

Tell Tiff Ty says "Hi."

kimsueellen said...

Alli, I wish I had more time to answer your sweet email, but I just simply want to say thank you for sharing this with me today. I am in awe and tears ran down my cheeks at the thought of all your sweet daughter has done to change the lives of so many. She is an angel. She will be in my prayers always. Much, much love.