This guest post is by Mallory Rivas, an adoptive mother.
Everyone wants to adopt quickly. No one likes to wait.
Us, we got super lucky. We adopted our baby in mere hours. Six, to be precise.
And the most incredible thing is, we weren’t even planning on adopting. A situation just fell into our lap and we ran with it.
It was a crazy ride, but crazy in an awesome way.
Our adoption story begins at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning in February. At the time, my husband and I am the parents of two amazing girls and I am a member of the Seneca Native Americans belonging to the Wolf Clan.
Life is good. Then, suddenly I get the phone call that will turn our family upside down in the most beautifully scary, but exciting way: A member of my family has just had a baby boy and wants to put him up for adoption.
He was born that Friday and his mother checked out on Sunday without ever seeing or holding him. My first thought is “This baby has been at the hospital for three days with no one loving him?!”
The woman on the phone tells me that because of the Indian Child Welfare Act, he needs to be placed with family. This is to ensure that he stays within the tribe, learns the culture, and knows who he is.
As I said, we’re not looking into adopting at all. The only reason we get the call is because we’re related.
They literally have our family tree on the table and are trying to find a stable couple to place this baby with.
I am in tears. I can’t really even describe the emotions I am feeling.
“Can we do this?” I ask myself. I figured that with our oldest being 8 and my husband, Juan, and I being 30 and 37, our time for more babies had passed.
Juan works nights so I wake him up and tell him I have something important to discuss. The more I say, the bigger his eyes get. The conversation lasts only a few minutes.
At one point, he sits straight up and says “She left him at the hospital? Well, let’s go get him.”
We meet with our case worker at 11am. By 2 pm we have the court papers. Juan has to go to a mandatory work training that day so my mom and I meet our adoption worker at the store to get some baby supplies.
We pick up the girls from school and tell them right there in the store what is going on.
“There’s a baby boy at the hospital who doesn’t have a home,” I say. “So we are going to go pick him up and bring him home with us and give him all the love he deserves.”
Alayna, my oldest, is so upset. For years I told her that having a brother is terrible, that she should appreciate her baby sister. Oops!
She thinks that God is punishing her. I tell her God would never punish anyone like this, and that this baby is a precious and innocent soul who deserves to have a loving family.
When we arrive at the hospital I go inside the nursery to meet and hold the newborn baby while the girls and my mom watch through the glass.
I look over and Alayna is crying her eyes out–full of love and acceptance of this new baby. She is a smitten kitten from the first moment.
When I leave the hospital with the baby I ask my caseworker, “So, that’s it?? I just take him home? What if I’m a psycho murderer??”
It all happens so fast I am dumbfounded.
Our case worker tells us this is a unique situation. It’s only the second time in 10 years that it’s happened. I think, lucky us!
Juan is able to get off of work and meets us at the house. Soon his family is calling his phone with so much confusion, but excitement.
I can still hear his sister screaming, “We have a Rivas boy! I have a nephew!!!”
At this point, Juan and I haven’t “claimed” the baby as our son yet. I think we are just too afraid to. The thought of losing him is unbearable.
We are told his birth mother has 30 days to change her mind and that at any point she could come back and claim her baby.
That weighs heavily on our minds. I can’t begin to tell you how many nights I cry myself to sleep, how many panic attacks I have at the thought of him the baby taken away, of not seeing him grow up. It is all too much to bear.
At this point we find out that the birth mother is a cousin who, according to the rest of the family, doesn’t have her act together.
This helps in a way because we know that she will have to go through extraordinary measures to get him back.
But there’s also a “wild card”—the baby’s father. She has refused to name him, but he also has 30 days to change his mind.
In the meantime our family steps up to the plate and comes through in spades.
Juan’s sister overnights us a baby swing and Diaper Genie. My dad and step-mom send us a brand new car seat and stroller, (the one from the hospital was PINK!), and Juan’s parents and brother send us hundreds of dollars to cover the rest.
Every day my mom is over for hours helping us adjust. It is incredible. They instantly accept him.
Those 30 days feel like 30 years. Two weeks after the baby comes home, we do a home study and background checks.
Before we know it, our court date arrives. We are all dressed in our Easter best and within a few minutes I will hear the sweetest words to my ears: “From here on out, from this day forward, this boy will be known as Anikyn Neymar Rivas. This court will be adjourned. Congratulations.”
And just like that our wolf pack is complete.
We officially start planning Anikyn’s baby shower. I am friends with his biological grandmother and aunt on Facebook so things are starting to get awkward.
I’m not sure if they know that I know he came from their family. When I don’t invite them to the baby shower, it becomes quite evident that they know.
A mutual friend messages me that they are hurt they aren’t invited.
I find out later that the birth mother’s sister didn’t even know she was pregnant until days before she delivered. She had kept the baby a secret from everyone.
Most birth mothers give up their babies because it’s in the best interest of the child. In her case, however, I think it was what was best for her. She wants to forget her bby ever existed.
It is not the biological grandmother’s or aunt’s fault any of this happened and I don’t want to avoid them his whole life. This town is so small and we are family.
It’s inevitable we’ll run into each other. So instead of crawling into a hole, I message them both on Facebook that they are welcome to come to his baby shower and meet him.
They are both so happy to hear this. They tell me that they are at peace with Anikyn’s placement and that he is exactly where he belongs. They also tell me they would be happy to be in his life as extended family.
I feel like this huge rock on my shoulders has been lifted. They don’t want to take him from us. They aren’t demanding visitation. They are being understanding and even happy.
Anikyn can be loved by them too and it’s okay with me. I’m not sure I would have accepted this but I do so, with joy.
I can’t wait to share Anikyn with the world. He is the best surprise of our lives. I am so glad I answered the call. Our lives will be better because he is in it.
Anikyn came into our lives in 6 short hours and he has changed our world for the better for the rest of our lives. Our adoption story is unique and I plan to share it with him some day.
People tell us that Anikyn is so lucky to have us. I tell them: No, we are the lucky ones. We are so lucky to have him.
Mallory Rivas is the mother to two amazing girls and a son who joined their family through adoption. She and her husband will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary this year.
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