I was devastated as I left the attorney’s office with my husband.
“I guess that settles that,” I said as Vince opened the car door for me, and I slipped inside. He climbed into the driver’s side but kept the keys in his hand.
“Settles what? We can still do this,” he said.
“There’s no way I’m going to ask Bonnie for that. It’s not worth me legally adopting her if we have to order a new birth certificate with my name on it. She remembers her mother. Having a new birth certificate is like asking her to pretend her mother never existed. I won’t ask her to do that.” I couldn’t stop the tears from welling in my eyes.
I had been married to my husband for two years. We had long since been talking about me adopting his teenage daughter. Her mother had been killed in an accident several years before, when Bonnie was ten years old. I had been so excited heading into the attorney’s office to start the proceedings. Now my heart plummeted, all because of a piece of paper that would have my name on it.
“I know it makes sense when you adopt a baby,” I told my husband as he started the car.”It just never occurred to me that Bonnie would need a new birth certificate at her age. I won’t do that to her. I won’t make her choose between mothers!’
“Babe, just let me talk to her, okay? I’ll tell her what’s going on. She’s been supportive up to this point.”
“I know. But I think this is too much to ask.”
“Let me talk to her. Trust me.”
My husband squeezed my hand affectionately, and for his sake, I smiled through my tears. But in my heart, I knew my dream was finished.
I consoled myself by knowing this wouldn’t change my feelings for Bonnie, and maybe we didn’t need this adoption after all. I loved her, and she was the daughter of my heart. That would have to be enough.
Several days later, my husband sat me down.
“I talked with Bonnie,” he began.
I looked at him, not understanding what he was talking about. My dream of adoption died the day we left the attorney’s office the week before.
“About what?” I questioned.
“About the adoption. You’ll never believe what she said.”
I didn’t reply, waiting for my husband to continue.
“I told her the situation about the birth certificate and how you felt about that. Her reply was, ‘Why do I care what a piece of paper says? Mom wouldn’t care what a piece of paper says. I want this to happen. I want Becky.”
Tears poured from my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Bonnie was choosing me. I knew I could never replace her mother, but I also knew that with the love I shared with her father, I was taking my place in their lives. And now I understood how much it meant to me to have this little girl call me “Mom.”
The joy I felt as the adoption day approached was boundless. The day we went to court finally arrived. I looked at my daughter and asked, “Are you ready to see the judge?”
She looked at me, her blue eyes shining, and said, “Yes, I’m ready, because today, I’m adopting you Mom!”
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