Although we got to take Cassie “home” (back to the hotel) when she was just over one day old, we had to wait five days for her (birth)mother to sign the termination of parental rights (TPR).
Every state has different laws about how long a woman can wait to sign the TPR. In Louisiana, in an agency adoption, a woman can sign three days after birth. In an independent adoption (with an attorney), she has to wait five days. Why the difference? Who knows? Anyway, we had Cassie on Wednesday, but she wasn’t going to be legally ours until Sunday. This was very different with Jackson. He was kept in the hospital for four days. The fourth day was our court date, and he was released to our custody. He was ours.
Because Cassie wasn’t ours yet, I had this kind of barrier inside. I couldn’t immediately call myself Mommy. It was hard to say that her name was Cassie. Her birthmother gave her a different name (but that’s another post), so her name wasn’t Cassie yet. I wrote to my friend Joanne, “it’s not like she’s mine yet. My heart is guarded, and I feel bad about that, because it doesn’t matter – my heart is going to be broken if this fails no matter how much I try to build up that wall.”
Right after we brought her back to the hotel, we got on Skype with Max’s mom and Jackson. He was very excited to see his baby sister. Of course, we had to remind him that his baby sister wasn’t ours ’til Sunday. Still, he was totally smitten. He was wearing a bright yellow shirt, so Cassie kept staring at him. It was adorable. Jackson kept saying, “She likes me!”
We brought her out to the front desk next, where everyone fawned over her. She was a big hit at breakfast the next morning (Thursday). I tried to put her in the ring sling to take her across the street to Babies R Us, but I couldn’t remember how to do it, so I carried her. Even 8 pounds gets heavy if you have to carry it a ways. Anyway, we bought a couple of things and came home. I watched some YouTube videos on ring slings, which helped immensely.
On Friday, we went to the pediatrician with Laine. I was not impressed by the doctor. Let’s just leave it at that. We got the release to fly with her, which you need if you intend to fly with an infant under 14 – 30 days old (depends on the airline). I had wanted to take Laine out for coffee, but Max had spent all night up with Cassie, so we just took her home and went back to the hotel. (We had to pick Laine up too, and Google Maps didn’t realize there was a house where it wanted me to go straight. We got a little lost.) After we got back to the hotel, Cassie and I went to Target again. Then, I spent most of the afternoon on the phone.
Cassie had her first crying jag when I was on the phone with our pediatrician’s answering service. Our ped. is the best! I was calling to tell him about the adoption, but it was lunch time, so I had to deal with the service. Cassie started wailing the minute I got on the phone. I wondered if she had been talking to her big brother.
I had to call the pediatrician, the insurance company (yet another post), the lawyer, the pharmacy where one of my meds is filled, the pharmacy where the other one of my meds is filled, and my friend Joanne. I also spent a lot of time staring at the baby. She was starting to become Cassie.
On Saturday, I took Cassie to the Farmers’ Market in downtown Baton Rouge. My dad and Jackson both wanted honey. I had Cassie in the sling. A number of people commented on how cute and small she is. They also commented on how good I looked to be out when she was only 4 days old. The first four people who said this got the “We’re adopting” answer. But as the morning wore on, I just said, “Yup” and moved on. I really didn’t feel like being an adoption ambassador, so I decided to let people think I was supermom, or something.
By Saturday night, Cassie was starting to feel more like mine, and I was just hoping that would really happen.
Laine had an appointment to sign the papers at 10:30 am Sunday. The lawyer was going to call us as soon as she signed. By 12:30, he still hadn’t called. I ended up kind of sleeping with Cassie on my chest on the couch. “Kind of” because I was thinking of all the things that could go wrong. Finally, the lawyer called, the papers were signed, and he would be over after lunch.
Cassie was officially ours!
Max and I watched Storage Wars a lot. What reprehensible people! OK, mostly one reprehensible person, Dave.