While we were on vacation, we found out that at the end of June the judge granted the petition for TPR (termination of parental rights). In essence this means that Nolin’s biological parents were removed of all rights and responsibilities and allows Nolin to be adopted.
Thirty days seems to be the magic number. The petition for TPR was filed 30 days after Nolin was born, and then we can start the formal adoption process 30 days after the petition was granted. So this week, our lawyer will file the paperwork to finalize the adoption and then we will wait to have a court date set. When talking about it, it all seems kind of sterile and official, but we plan on making it a party. It will be the day that we have the chance to stand up in front of the court and say that we are honored to raise Nolin as our child.
We also found out the question that has been on our minds for the past few weeks…exactly how much has Nolin grown since we brought him home. I am proud to say that he is now 11 lbs 10 oz., which is almost double his birth weight in 2 months! It is also close to that magic number of 12 lbs. in which everyone says he will begin sleeping through the night. He has moved from the 5th percentile to the 50th percentile. We were very excited by this news….he’s quickly becoming my little man.
Finally we are continuing with our open adoption plans and will be meeting with Nolin’s birth mother tomorrow. This will be our second meeting with his birth mother since we brought him home. It is this part of our adoption journey that I think scares people the most.
I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about open adoption, the biggest being that our child will one day say I want to live with my birth parent(s). Right now, I think we are pretty safe on that front (on account that Nolin isn’t quite using his words yet), but as Nolin gets older, I always want him to have a strong sense of self and grow up to be a confident and respectable individual…we hope that he will have a better understanding of self if he knows where he came from and who he is. With adoption, children can sometimes feel as if they were not wanted or loved, and I have found that is quite the opposite and would never want to deny Nolin of understanding just how much he truly is loved.
Open adoption is something that will always be different for every adoptive family, but I think much in the same way that all parents figure out how to raise a child as they go along, we will continue to figure this out too. There are no set rules or guidelines we just plan on all working together to figure out the right balance for us. Luckily our counselor at Catholic Charities has been a huge help in keeping this process easy and comfortable.
I won’t lie and say that each time that we have met with Nolin’s birth mother that I don’t get a little nervous because I know it will be an emotional reunion, but just as quickly as those fears come up I am instantly brought back to those days back in the hospital.
Before there were 1000 pictures, a few sleepless nights and a laundry list of things to assemble there was just the four of us sitting in a hospital room getting to know each other and realizing how Nolin would change all of our lives. It was a great time in my life and one that I am happy to reconnect with from time to time.