“Carole showed me a picture from Paige’s birthday party. It’s the first time I’ve seen a picture of her,” said David.
What do I say to that?
“I can see she’s happy and loved.”
“She’s a wonderful little girl!” Shallow and inadequate words; he needs to meet her to appreciate how amazing she is.
“I know seeing Paige before our parental rights are dissolved may complicate things, especially for Ruth. She obviously has a bond with Paige. I don’t have that bond so it’s easier for me. I want this adoption to happen and I know it will but I don’t want Ruth’s emotions to confuse things before court.”
“I agree,” I confide. I’m surprised that I feel at ease speaking with this hardened man.
“What do you and Andrew want to happen with all of us?” He inhales deeply on his cigarette. In one large exhale he emphasizes, “We have no say in it. We gave that right up when Paige was born.”
“When you’re both ready, we’d love to have you and Ruth in our lives.”
“I’m glad you and Andrew want an open adoption, for the girls’ sake. I have a younger brother who was adopted. I don’t know what happened to him and that’s always bothered me.”
I hadn’t thought about the girls’ connection as sisters.
Suddenly there are people chattering behind his phone. “The meeting is starting up again so I need to get going. There’s something I want you to know, though. Ruth and I admire you and Andrew a lot. You have jobs, cars, a house and a good marriage. We look up to you, quite honestly. We truly want to get to know you both, and Eli and Paige. We’re family now.”
I know there’s a good chance he’s blowing smoke up my ass but I take compliment anyway. Andrew and I do have a right to be proud of ourselves. “Thank you,” I tell him sincerely.
“Ruth and I will be in touch,” he promises.
My heart pounding, I hang up the phone. Now that it’s all over, post-adrenaline jitters shimmy up and down my body. Sitting on the bed, I inhale deeply and try to stop shaking. Putting my head in my hands and closing my eyes, the past year flashes through my mind as disjointed movie scenes.