Sunday, July 19, 2009

Portrait Update: St. Louis Missouri

You published my story on Portraits of an Economy on Mother's Day. My husband and I were in the middle of what felt like a never ending adoption limbo, waiting to find out if we could keep our daughters and sacrificing everything we could to continue channeling money at our lawyers. We were waiting on consent from two of the three biological parents involved (while fighting the third) and honestly, even though we knew we were the best thing for those girls, we also knew the law doesn't really care when it comes to adoptions. The law cares more about whether or not you can prove the neglect that stipulates the disruption of parental rights.

Rereading my portrait, I can tell that I was angry. Or maybe just incredibly frustrated with the whole situation. I'm not entirely certain. I do know that the whole thing had worn me down to the point that I could actually see myself saying goodbye to my daughters. I would be folding laundry and wondering what we would send with them and what we would keep for those inevitable hours spent sobbing on the floor of my closet. I detached a little, not in any desire for freedom but more because I knew that this was going to hurt. I knew it was going to cut me to my soul and I would never recover from the loss of my children. Everyone told us to be patient, that obviously no judge would award an ex convict custody, that no judge would take them away from us. But some days it was really hard to believe those people. Most days it was impossible to see that this would ultimately be over, that we wouldn't live in limbo forever and we wouldn't always be letting go of everything else in pursuit of our family.

I had lost my ability to believe in miracles. I let go of a belief that I had always held close to my heart - that when things are meant to be, the Universe or God or fate or whatever would deliver the right conclusion and it would fit perfectly, even if it was a smidge uncomfortable at first.

Over the past several days, we have been gifted so many miracles I don't even know how to begin to describe the cloud of happy I am on. We received the consent papers from the two biological parents and they were filed without a hitch, meaning we are completely free to adopt one of our daughters. We finally, FINALLY, are paying off our lawyer in full tomorrow and should be finished paying him for good. But most importantly, the judge denied a request from the biological father who had been causing so many issues and requested that our lawyer and our children's lawyer (guardian ad litem) set up a court date so he could issue a final adoption decree. Remarkably enough, the court date is exactly 41 weeks from the day we recieved our daughters. I am shaking my head at the fact that we can't seem to make a pregnancy last longer that twelve weeks but we will 'birth' a family in a normal gestational period.

I don't know that this is in any way fitting with the theme of Portraits of an Economy and so I understand completely if you don't publish it, but I just...I have hope again. I have faith that everything will work out and that life will carry on. I'm not naive, I know that a whole host of things could happen between now and then and we might still walk out of the courtroom without being declared a family. But I can face it now with the knowledge that perhaps a pessimistic outlook is not going to carry us as well as being hopeful, blindingly hopeful, over the potential of our happily ever after. Mainly, I can hold my daughters and kiss them and love them and I'm not secretly wondering how many more times I'll get to do it. I get a lifetime of being their mom. I no longer fear the potential of waking up one morning and my house being empty because someone has taken my children away.

I know with the economy the way it is people are losing hope left and right. They are drowning in bills and facing unemployment and wondering how they are going to get everything handled and still feed their children. There is so much to be afraid of and worried about. But there is also still so much hope and potential for great change, for miracles, to surprise us. I am hoping for the best for all of us, hoping that everyone gets a chance to see a miracle happen in their life and feel unabashed joy again.