With Sweet Pea now technically “free” for adoption, we went into the holiday season full-throttle, knowing that it would be the first of many with our girl. Unless something crazy happened, it was just a matter of having the court date set. Which, we were told, could take up to six months.
We actually spent Thanksgiving with the biological family, and had a great time.
For Christmas, we went to California. I reveled in the togetherness that my spread-out family got to enjoy this time of year, and was so grateful to again see how they all embraced Sweet Pea with open hearts.
When the holidays were over, the waiting got harder. We still hadn’t heard anything about our finalization date.
Sweet Pea’s first birthday was right around the corner though, and I enjoyed planning a little party for her. The guest list was small, but special: all three grandmas.
Shortly after, Sweet Pea and I were walking to the mailbox, wishing and praying as usual that there would be a special announcement. Finally, there was.
The official notice had arrived, saying that our adoption finalization date would be May 12. Just a few months away!
I quickly went back inside and checked the calendar, wanting to have a visual of just how close this special day would be. And then I realized, May 12 was the day after Mother’s Day. It would also be exactly one year, one month, and one day after the day that we first met her. It all seemed so perfect.
We spoke with my mom on Skype later that afternoon, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. Obviously, she and my dad were waiting to hear when the date would be so they could plan their trip out here. I knew if I’d been pregnant, they wouldn’t have missed the birth of their grandchild, if they could help it. And I also knew that this to them (and us), was a birth into our family.
The day after Mother’s Day.
The timing was perfect. Every mother’s day for the past 6 years had held some level of sadness to it. In part because I never got to spend it with my own mother, but mostly because all those years I so longed to be one.
This would be the first mother’s day ever that I got to spend it with my mom AND my daughter.
A few days later, our attorney called us.
“So, I just got the court notice, I’m sure you’ve already got it. Here’s the thing… I’m going to be out of town the week of May 12th. So I’m going to see if they can reschedule it for us.”
Don’t push it back, we thought.
“I don’t want to make you wait on account of me, so I’m going to see if they can move it forward a week. If they can’t, I can get a fellow attorney to cover for me so you won’t have to wait.”
A week sooner? Go for it!
We waited to hear, and she called us a few days later. My husband answered and I could hear his half of the conversation.
“Yes… Oh hi, Ella Mae!… right…. Okay… wow… uh-huh… well…” he came out of the bedroom and started towards me, “well, let me ask my wife if that new date is okay…”
He got near enough to put his hand on my shoulder and make sure he had my full attention. He knew my emotions were on the line.
“Will April 21st work for you?”
WHAT?! April 21st? She had said she’d get it bumped up a week… and here she was telling us that she got it moved forward almost a whole MONTH?” That was only about 5 weeks away. I basically fell out of my chair and began dancing around.
“Well, she’s doing her happy dance, so I guess that mean’s it’ll be okay,” he continued on with the attorney.
April 21st. Again, I ran to the calendar to get a visual. And it was then that I realized April 21st is the day after Easter.
Earlier in the week, my mom and I had been talking about Easter, and I was expressing my disappointment over not having found the “perfect” Easter basket for Sweet Pea. Silly, I know. But that’s how I am. All the ones I’d seen seemed cheaply made and didn’t seem like they could hold up several years usage, much less a whole childhood, like mine had.
Every Easter, my mom would fill our baskets then hide them in the house. I so looked forward to the hunt and the reward.
I longed to begin that tradition with Sweet Pea. I knew she was only one and wouldn’t remember this Easter, but I so wanted her picture next to an Easter Basket as big as she was, knowing it’d be the one she would grow with as years go by.
Eventually, I came to the realization that the Easter Basket I was looking for, was my childhood Easter Basket. It was sturdy, cute, and still in great shape from what I remembered.
At the risk of sounding high maintenance, I requested my mom mail it to me so that I’d have it in time for Sweet Pea’s first Easter with us. She, knowing my sentimentality, kindly agreed.
So now, after having received word of our new finalization date, I sent my mom an urgent text: SKYPE PLEASE!!!
We were on together a few minutes later, and she knew that something was up.
“So, you know how you were going to mail me the Easter Basket?”
“I was kind of thinking maybe you could just bring it to me yourself, instead.”
I waited for the implication to sink in.
When it did, she joined in my excitement and we celebrated together, from 700 miles apart.
The date was set.
(To continue the story, click here)