The next part of this story is so amazing to me, even looking back now I can’t believe how things turned out. I have been blessed with so many miracles in my life!
Ava’s birth father called me as promised two days later…. I still remember how nervous I was to talk to him; I kept pacing around my living room while I tried to talk on the phone. I was surprised at how well he and I were able to talk about the situation at hand. He was very open about what he wanted for Ava and what his expectations were. I think we talked for almost an hour (I was sweating profusely the whole time) but by the end of the phone call he said that he would consent to allow us to adopt Ava! My heart literally felt like it would burst with joy at the news. I had grown so immensely attached to my little curly-headed girl… I couldn’t imagine her leaving our family; I didn’t even want to imagine it, even though the thought of it haunted me daily.
The next part was getting the paperwork prepared, then arrange a time for us to meet to get the documents signed. The way I understood the law in my state was that a birth father could relinquish his rights in front of a Notary Public ~ but when I contacted my attorney he said that he would have to go in front of a District Court Judge to relinquish. My heart sank with the news! I had told Ava’s birth father (in the letter I had written to him) that he would only have to appear in front of a Notary (he didn’t want to go to court). I didn’t know how I was going to break the news to him, so I did a little research on my own.
I studied the adoption law for my state and the way I understood it the law read that the birth father could relinquish in front of a Notary. I copied and sent that section of law in an e-mail to my attorney. A few days later he wrote back to tell me that I was right; Ava’s birth father was only required to go in front of a Notary! One huge hurdle avoided!
It took a few weeks for my attorney to prepare the paperwork and then he sent me the documents via e-mail. I printed them out and called Ava’s birth father back. When I called him to set up a time to meet he said that he wasn’t sure if he still wanted us to adopt Ava. My heart sank. He said he wanted to talk to someone and then he would call me back in a few hours…. Those few hours drug on for an entire day. I think I fell asleep with the phone in my hand so I wouldn’t miss his call. He finally called me back and said he would meet me to sign the relinquishment! I can't begin to describe how nervous I was waiting for his call and then how ecstatic I was with the news!
We decided to meet in a public place that we were both familiar with (I had no idea what to expect). We arranged to meet at the food court of a local mall. I remember on the way to meet him I was on the phone with my attorney (yes, I was talking and driving….), he said “Camille, you are either insane or a saint, I am not sure which one!" It was such a funny comment coming from my attorney that I still remember exactly where I was on the freeway when he said that to me….weird how those kind of memories stick with you.
Meeting at the food court was another surreal experience. I sat there with four copies of the necessary paperwork waiting for Ava’s birth father to show up (praying he would show). He brought his lunch over and we sat and talked for about a half hour while he ate (again I was so nervous I was sweating clear to my waist… I should seriously do something about my sweating problem!)
There was a bank at the mall so after he ate lunch we went to the bank to get the paperwork signed. Once the paperwork is signed (according to the laws of our state), relinquishment is irrevocable. There was only one Notary at the bank so we had to sit and wait our turn. There was a young boy and his mother ahead of us opening up a new bank account, they were taking forever (more like 45 minutes) and the longer I sat there the more the sweat kept dripping off my elbows, at this point I couldn’t even lift up my arms, it was too embarrassing ~ and I was running out of things to say.
Finally it was our turn. I put the paperwork on the desk and the Notary asked what we were there for… such an odd situation to try and explain. Picture me and my daughter’s birth father together at the bank signing such a life-changing document... unfathomable. The Notary kept fumbling for words - he really couldn’t understand the situation either... he just kept looking at the two of us across the desk from him, sitting their chatting back and forth like old friends.
Ava’s birth father signed the documents (he had read them and was given a copy previously) and I gave him his copy and I took the other three, one for court, one original and one for me. We waved goodbye to each other and he went up the escalator and left. I am still amazed at how much life can change with the signing of a piece of paper, something so small yet so significant.
I practically floated on air to my car. I instantly called my husband to tell him the good news, then I called my attorney… he couldn’t believe how smoothly it all went; he was actually at a loss for words. I called Ruth last, I knew she was waiting for me to call her, but I knew that our conversation would take the longest. She was so relieved that he signed the paperwork.
I couldn’t wait to get home ~ hug and tell the boys the good news, hug Ava and then celebrate! I got in my car to drive home… I stuck my arms out the window and dried off all the sweat (don’t worry, I only put one arm out at a time). I was on cloud nine!