Take a moment to think back to those first amazing days after your baby was born. You’d kissed her and cuddled her. You sang your first lullabies. Her smell had become locked into the deepest, most mysterious part of your memory. You’d experienced, for the first time, what it feels like to hold your heart in your hands.
Now imagine that you might be told that you don’t get to be her mom; that those first few days you’ve spent with her are all you’re going to get. For adoptive parents this is the frightening reality. Until the birth parents’ rescission period has passed and the adoption has been finalized, this newborn who feels like yours with every fiber of your being is not yours. In fact, legally you have no relationship at all.
For adoptive parents this period between your child’s birth and the finalization of the adoption is brutal. The length of time for this period varies widely from state to state. It happened to be exceedingly fortuitous that our birth parents live in Arkansas, which is one of, if not the most, adoptive family friendly states in the country. While in some states it can be months before an adoption is finalized we had our court date set for just eight days after our daughter was born.
After everything we’d been through, the last step took just a few minutes and a couple of signatures in a judge’s office. It was official! The adoption is final! Our daughter was our daughter – no longer just in our hearts, but legally. We were her parents! The feeling was surreal. As quickly as we were into the judge’s office we were out and into the car. It was our first family road trip and we were taking the road home.