Today Chris and I drove back up to New York to visit with our bio-parents. The drive took much longer than expected because of the winter weather that hit. Silly me... I took the word of our weather man that said the storm would pass and only leave us with rain - not the snow and sleet that actually came.
On the way up, Chris and I finalized the baby's name. We had the first name down, but ended up toying with middle names for about 5 hours and found one that we both agreed on. Thank God that's over with!!!
Once we arrive in their town, we called to let them know that we were down the road and they met us outside and we headed to Denny's (which, BTW, they have FANTASTIC new pancake puppies... like hush puppies, but battered and sprinkled with yummy goodness!)
When our birth monther got into the car, she had a pillow for Duncan... something our vet asked that they provide - a blanket, pillow, old shirt... something with Sara's scent on it so Duncan could get used to it and help him adjust to the baby. She also had a memory box that we'd talked about decorating together. She opened the box and took out a small rabbit. It was her childhood toy that her mother had made for her. She asked us if we could put it in the baby's nursery. The funny thing is, the theme of our nursery, How To Hug A Porcupine, has a similiar white rabbit in it.
We got to Denny's and she took out her journal and turned to her page that had two questions written in pencil... oh God, I think I know where this is going.
"So, what are your thoughts on a post-adoption agreement?" I choked on my pancake-puppie.
This was the question we'd been waiting on... but assumed that the lawyers were going to handle it - and the tried... they really did, but when they initiated the conversation, she wasn't ready for it, and we totally understood the time that she'd need.
Recent changes in New York law have brought about a lot of challenges for everyone affected by adoption. In a nutshell, one of the new laws states that in a New York agency adoption, if there is an agreement between the adoptive family and birth family to stay in contact after the placement of the baby, that is to be legally binding, and this agreement must be approved by the court.
Chris took the lead in the conversation and we came up with an agreement that benefited all 5 of us. The agency requires pictures once a year... the relationship that we've created clearly goes beyond what many couple go through, and we told them we'd do them quarterly for the first two years and then, we'd meet to discuss where we're all at emotionally and physically. The same with face-to-face visits... we'd agree on twice a year (and hope that her friends and sister would come as well) for the first two years - the first meeting being at Friends In Adoption annual family picnic - After two years, we'd discuss and agree on future visits and the frequency of them. In addition, if our bio-parents ever want an update, all they have to do is ask.
That... was the easy question. Next came:
"So, have you two thought of a name?"
Oh My God... do we tell them? What if they HATE it!??!? What if they have something in mind - that we HATE?!?!?
"If you haven't... it's okay. We can come up with something... but if you had something in mind, that's fine too." Chris and I look at each other. "Well, it's funny you bring that up. It's something that we've talked about since you two chose us. We couldn't agree on anything until really today. On the way up here. We'd really like to name her xxxxx xxxxx. The name, for us, means xxxxxxxxxxxxxx. Do you like? [beads of sweat start to trickle down my forehead]
"Oh... I do. That's one of the things we talked about - selecting a name with a meaning."
"Waitress... Check, please" before any other questions could come up :)
We headed to a small scrapbooking store close to her house to work on the memory box, but as we pulled up we saw the "For Rent" sign that hung on the front door.
So, we headed to Michaels about 20 minutes away. Once we got in, Chris talked to the manager and told him our situation... and he offered up his training room to the four of us. We wlaked up and down the aisles picking up papers and embellishments, ribbons and buttons, wood forms and stencils. We had a blast picking out items... not only did we buy supplies of the memory box and our scarbook pages today, but we made sure she had the supplies to do future pages for pictures that we send them. The employees at Micheals could not have been more helpful. We used their scissors and cutting boards, we went into their training box and took out the tools that we needs... and we able to have a fun experience and helped the four of us bond.
Below you'll see our layouts. The blue boxed will be replaced with pictures (they'r just a place holder).