I went to court for the first time in my life yesterday. And it about did me in.
It was family court. Rich and I sat outside the court room for too long waiting for our new baby's case to be called. The waiting space, it can't be called a room because it was hardly more than an extra wide hall, was filled with people. Parents. Lawyers. Social Workers. Multiple times during that wait I had to swallow away tears due to the conversations I overheard. Because children's lives aren't meant to be decided on linoleum floored courthouse hallways or lived out in five inch rubber banded manila file folders.
I wiped a tear when the bio mom of some unknown child sat opposite me and let silent tears roll down her face because she finally just got it that she should have followed through on her court ordered visits this fall and now her children weren't coming home for Christmas.
And I wiped a tear when a grandparent of another unknown child explained to a social worker what it is really like to raise her son's child on her meager social security check and how she desperately wants custody of her grandson but fears if she can make ends meet monthly. Or will live to see him grown.
And I wiped a tear when we finally sat before the judge and our baby's guardian ad litem made a motion that his case move toward permanency and adoption in his current foster placement. Our placement. Our home. Permanency with us.
There is a strange dichotomy in family court. The bailiff presses on through the docket while grief and jubilation pass shoulder to shoulder through the courtroom door for back to back hearings.
My journey as an adoptive mother will always be seasoned by the fact that I was a biological mother first. So while it delights my heart to see those little outstretched arms lifted toward me and his smile of recognition that I am mommy, I am also aware of the heartache and sadness and loss that will forever be part of his story. There is a gravity that comes when realizing there are two sides of every adoption.
We are one step closer to helium balloons and cake and our photo opportunity with the judge on adoption day. And when I push back the deeper analysis of life that I am prone towards, that simply brings tears of joy.