January 12 – The Hearing

We knew there was a hearing on January 12, but I never knew what to think about it . . . so really, I didn’t think about it.

When we entered into the adoption journey we learned early on to let go of our own timelines, expectations, and planning.  Once our paperwork was in, it was like we had been set out to sea, neither of us prepared to set a course, we have been riding the waves.

We were sent out into the unknown when we were chosen by a woman in her thirties, who was homeless and struggling.

We were tossed about by the circumstances of Darla’s pregnancy, the choices she made, the implications on the baby

We were both elated and buoyed up as we received word that Darla had given birth to Baby Ian and wanted us to raise him.

We felt as if we had been pushed under the surf when we were told that Ian would not be coming to us, but instead would be in state care.

And we allowed the waves to take us away from adoption in the months following this little boy’s birth.  We celebrated our sixth anniversary in Bar Harbor, Maine, went on a wonderful trip to Spain, sold our condo, bought a house, and lived fully in the days of inbetween.

When the call came that the Department of Children and Families was interested in us considering adopting the same baby boy we had once planned to raise, we were uncertain and recognized the this would not be an easy voyage. A little more seasoned, we set out again open to the possibilities

Navigating through the process of adoption has been tremendously aided by the cast of amazing people that have joined our adventure.  We are forever indebted to Nancy, Laurie, Debbie, and others who have cared deeply about this little boy and fought for him and for us, when we did not know what to do.

As January approached and the court hearing, we asked lots of questions: what would happen at the hearing?  Should we be present?  What are the steps following the hearing?

They were patient, clear and optimistic.  This hearing was simply to determine next steps.  Baby Ian’s lawyer would request that a trial date be set for the termination of parental rights.  Because Darla, the mother, had been out of touch for months, and had not had any visits since August, everyone seemed sure that all would move ahead.

We have thought a lot about Darla.  We have received word about her continued struggles and both have longed for nothing but good health and happiness for this woman that we grew to love.  It seemed strange to hope that a date would be set for the termination of her rights . . . so really we have not talked about January 12, not known what to think or what to want for this date.

We received a call from lawyer Nancy last night: no word from Darla, no one expected her to show up today, no worries. Nancy would be in touch after the hearing to let us know how it went, but all looked good.

I received a message from Andrew at work today: Darla made it to the hearing.

My heart was both joyous and disappointed at once.  My initial reaction was to be so grateful.  I am for this woman; I so want her to know how her baby boy is.  And that emotion was quickly followed by hesitation: what does this mean for our little boy?

The next news was so unexpected and such a gift I had to catch my breath: Darla showed up in court today because she wants to pursue an open adoption; she does not want to fight, she wants to find a healthy way forward.

I felt so proud of her, so amazed by her.  Here she is struggling in these cold and dreadful days to make it through, and she made it to court in order to do the very best she could for this precious boy that we now know so well.

The lawyer had called to ask us if we wanted to let Darla know who we are.  That Ian was placed with us has been confidential and would remain confidential unless we initiated letting her know.

Without hesitation we agreed.

Today Darla discovered what we have been learning all along.  That in the midst of the waves, that we are held.  There is a greater plan . . . for her, for us, for Baby Ian.  She was encouraged.  We are encouraged.  The trial date is set:  February 23.  We are trusting and amazed.