Childrearing

I Went From A Single Career Woman To An Adoptive Mother

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In May, my mom and I drove all night to southern Oregon to attend a hearing before the judge. The foster family was attempting to take Hope to Alaska with them based on a self-reported job opportunity for the foster father. I was told by all the social workers at Oregon’s DCFS that this was impossible. They said judges do not let foster children cross state lines. We got to court and the judge would not let me speak or defend myself as the CASA leveled libelous complaints against me without any evidence or support. The baby was allowed to go to Alaska and we were ordered to stay in Oregon for the next four days to spend time with Hope, in the event that I was licensed in the next month and able to get custody.

The next four days, I was allowed to spend two to five hours each day with Hope. During that time, I learned that the foster family had gotten the court to order her a strict formula diet of four oz of soy formula every four hours because they reported she had reflux. This child was hungry and agitated. At no time did I observe the child to spit up or vomit. I chose to feed her more than the court order and soothed her to sleep on the second day. I reported my decision to the foster mom and she reported me to the court and I was cited for a violation by 8am on the third day.

We were sent home on Friday and the family left for Alaska the very next day.

I got licensed. On June 11th, the judge on the case signed the order for transfer of placement to me. The foster family claimed they did not have the funds to return the baby to Oregon or Washington. Oregon then paid for their airline tickets and hotel to Seattle and sent a social worker up to supervise the transition. [tagbox tag=”adoption”]

They arrived in Seattle on Saturday the 13th. I held my child as a mother for the first time at approximately 11am. I had held her prior to that, but the conditions were so stressful that it was hard to imagine her as my daughter, much less allow myself to melt and accept the role as Mother in all that the word means.

Over the next few days, we proceeded with the transition. Upon leaving Seattle, the foster mom reported that she was sorry for her collusion with the CASA on the case and that she supported this placement. She stated that she knew in her heart that this was the right thing to do.

I took six weeks off for maternity leave. We attended mommy and me classes with a nurse and she helped advise me about feeding. This baby was quickly adjusting to her new lifestyle. Sadly, when she came to me, the only way she could be soothed is by swinging her carseat. The foster family reported that she had been sleeping in her carseat since moving to Alaska. I took her out of the carseat and into my Ergo and we fell in love.

Nearly a year later, the next May, I quit my job to stay home with my daughter and work part time doing shift work. Grandma and grandpa lovingly provide babysitting while I work now.

The adoption became final in June. Opening an official letter while standing at my mailbox felt a little anti-climactic, but I wept with joy.

As I write this, I have a gorgeous little girl cuddled beside me reading Curious George. She will turn three years old this January.

(photo: Shutterstock)

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