In adoptions from Guatemala, the birth mom signs off 4 times during the adoption process. First, at relinquishment, then again in Family Court, at DNA testing and lastly at the very end, finalizing the adoption. We were told that if we wanted to visit our baby, before she was legally ours, it was best to wait until after Family Court and DNA testing was complete. If a birthmom were going to change her mind, it would most likely be at one of those 2 events, since at those events, she sees the baby again.
The first time I held Marielle, she was 7 weeks old. Oh my God, here was my baby. I loved her with all my heart already. I wish I could tell you it was sunshine and roses, but honestly, I was scared, very scared! I mean, I wanted to be a mom and went through hell to become one and then I had this little life that was 100% dependent on me! What was I thinking?!
We met Marielle for the first time in a hotel in Guatemala. Her foster family brought her to us. I liked her foster mom from the moment we met. I could tell how much she loved her girls and Marielle. I was nervous, she was reassuring. We bonded. We still write and exchange pictures with them. She is a far away sister, a sister of my heart. She loved and cared for my child when I could not. She later said that of all the babies she fostered, she really wanted to adopt Marielle. I could understand why....Marielle was the sweetest, easiest baby you'd ever meet. She didn't cry unless she was hungry. Keep her bottles on schedule and you'd never hear a peep out of her.
Oh and she was the biggest cuddle bug (and still is). She loved to be held and those big brown eyes would just look up at me and my heart would melt.
And so Carmen dropped off Marielle and she was all ours for 4 days....all ours. Oh crap! I'd never been 100% responsible for a baby before and I was so scared, that first day, that I'd do something wrong somehow and mess her up for life. But at the end of that first day, I remember looking at her lying in her crib and then getting undressed and smelling my shirt and saying to Ralph, through tears, "Oh my God, I smell like baby....I smell like my baby".
Only she wasn't my baby yet. Three of the four steps had been done....relinquishment, DNA, Family Court, but the final sign off hadn't happened yet.
The day we returned from Guatemala, visiting Marielle, we got a phone call from the agency telling us that the fourth step, the final signature had happened, while we were visiting Marielle in Guatemala! She was ours. SHE WAS OURS!!
(We weren't able to bring her home yet. We still had to get a new birth certificate issued, showing us as the parents, clear Guatemalan Immigration and get a U.S. visa for Marielle to enter the country. But still, she was ours.)
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