This guest post is by Annette Marietti, an adoptive mother and birth grandmother.
I met our son-to-be when a friend, who was a foster parent in Las Vegas, Nevada, came up to Lake Chelan, Washington to visit. He was a sweet quiet tiny guy with lots of straight black hair and big dark eyes. He was half Native American and Half Mexican.
His mother was a regular with DFS and had multiple children in foster homes. The State had taken custody of him at birth due to drugs and he had a rough couple of months ahead of him with detox. He was fortunate and was placed with my friend, who had a very stable foster home, when he was two months old.
I met him when he was four months. They named him Alec since he was never named. I babysat Alec for three days and fell in love. He was everything I dreamed about and when I had to give him back at the end of the three days I thought my heart would break.
That is when my friend suggested I try to adopt him. I already had the home study completed for Washington State, been approved by The Adoption Center to adopt, and both my husband and I had just got out of the Army. He was a Physician’s Assistant and I a Radiology technician.
Both of us had security clearances so were good to go. The State of Nevada didn’t know what hit them when I told them I wanted Alec. I flew down to Vegas, my entire family drove up from California and we stormed DFS.
I am Mexican as well and used everything I could to convince them I was the best mom he could ever have. Well, in less than two months I had an interstate adoption approved and Alec in my home.
Alec was always raised knowing he was adopted. I always said the word around him from the time he was a baby and anytime he wanted to talk about adoption we did and I always told him if he ever wanted to find his birthmother I would help him.
Well, fast-forward 18 years and I get a phone call from my son who was extremely upset.
His ex-girlfriend Ansley had concealed her pregnancy and was now six months along and had just told him. They chose to go through this together and asked for my help.
They both agreed they were not ready to be parents and could not keep the baby. We sat down and I found the same adoption center I used in 1992. We began talking about open adoption for their son and what they were looking for in a couple.
They had some pretty important specifications and located a family in the same state. They started this journey with my support. They picked the family on their own and did a great job. We met the future adoptive mother, Gina, that weekend since her husband was out of town.
But we all hit it off right away. Gina and Nick had just gone through a failed match and I told her about mine and that really seemed to create a bond.
Over the next three months we all got together a few times. Once we even met at a clothes store so the four of them could pick out clothes for the baby to wear home from the hospital.
I did my best to let Alec and Ansley control the situation yet be there for support. There were a few rough spots for all of us, both Alec and Ansley each wanted to change their minds and they asked me to keep the baby as well.
As hard as it was to say, “No, I am not physically able to,” I knew this baby deserved a family that was prepared to love, support and raise him. And yes there were many tears, rivers of them. My grandson was born during the shortest labor ever and Alec got to cut the cord.
Nick and Gina were on their way and I was there updating them on their son’s progress by text messages. He came into this world so quickly and during one of the worst storms of the year that it took his new parents a little longer to get to the hospital. But they got there 45 minutes after he was born.
There was a lot of joy, tears and nervousness in that room. The next three days were spent in the hospital. Being teenagers they wanted to show off the baby to all their friends even though they told everyone he was being adopted. It was a confusing time for me.
I knew they loved him and were proud to show him off but they were not being receptive to Nick and Gina.
I was having constant chats with both sides to make sure we were all on the same page. The one issue both sides were having was naming the baby.
I had tried to get the kids to understand that they could name him but once he was adopted his new parents rightfully would get to name him.
This became emotional for Alec and Ansley and I feared it would put a stop to the adoption. After lots of talks and tears they were able to agree on a middle name.
The baby would be Corbin Pierce, a good strong name loved by all. The social worker arrived on a Sunday to sign over the parental rights.
Nick, Gina, Alec, Ansley, me and Corbin all sat crowded in the hospital room. The lady began reading the legal paperwork to us, and the tears started to flow.
If you have never heard the legal jargon, there is no way to prepare yourself for it. The wording makes it sound as if you are abandoning your baby without a care.
Once Alec started crying, both Gina and I started, and then Ansley. We were a mess. And sadly the social worker was in a hurry and not very kind. Gina and Nick had to leave the room and then I had to. By law the kids had to do this by themselves.
Out in the hall I apologized to Nick and Gina for falling apart but to see your kids hurting breaks a mom’s heart.
Gina gave me a hug and Nick said the wording broke his heart. And they were glad that they heard that part and wondered how anybody could ever sign their baby over after being treated that way.
It took me a few minutes to stop crying, and thinking if I was doing the right thing. Alec and Ansley walked out with the baby between them and had to take him back to the nursery.
Nick and Gina met with the social worker and did their part of the legal paperwork. They also had a private talk with Alec and Ansley and promised they would always be part of their family.
It was the most emotional day of my life and theirs as well, but they were so incredibly brave together.
They did the most unselfish act possible and I was so very proud of them. There were a lot of tears that day but we all walked out of the hospital together that afternoon.
Our families have merged together and we have spent time together every month.
My son and his girlfriend get to see their son grow and change and they have continued their lives, graduating high school and starting college this fall.
The adoptive family is so amazing that they have chosen to see us as an addition to their new son’s life and do not view us as a threat.
We all have a profound love for this little boy. His well-being is paramount to anyone’s individual needs. I am lucky as well I get to be a grandma to Corbin and the adoptive family’s little girl.
Over the last six months we have spent great moments together, and have shared so many pictures. This has been a heart wrenching, soul searching, full circle journey.
As I look back I know I am a lucky person. Without my adoption experience I couldn’t have been there to help my son.
Annette Marietti is an adoptive mother and birth grandmother living in North Carolina. She can be reached by email here.