Over the Christmas holiday my partner, our daughter Harper, and I spent two weeks in a Michigan hotel room. We were there as we waited for the courts go-ahead to leave the state with of our new daughter, Violet. We had a few weeks notice before her birth that Violet would be coming to us; she is the biological sister of our 1-year-old, Harper. She was originally supposed to be born in Ohio, our home state, but decided to arrive early, so we quickly packed our things and drove to Michigan. We arrived at the hospital a couple of hours after her birth. The next day, she was discharged into our care.
You’re thinking that’s fast? And you wouldn’t be alone. Especially since she was born with some medical issues – nothing major – but nonetheless, something you’d think wouldn’t put her on the fast track. But there we were, a family of four now, waiting for the okay to head home.
Ohio law allows three days for the birth mother to decide whether she would like her baby back; Michigan law allows for a much longer period. We found this out on Christmas Eve, when we had been taking care of Violet for two weeks already.
We got the call that her mother did, indeed, want her back. And with one phone call, she was transferred to a lawyer in a Panera parking lot, and within a few minutes, back to her birth mother. Why did she want her back? She said she didn’t want to be alone during the holidays.
Currently, with an already open Child Protective Services case against our birth mother concerning her first child (she now has three children), she is in hiding with Violet. Avoiding the authorities is never a good idea; especially with a baby that has one kidney and was born high on marijuana. At the transfer, three calls were made immediately to CPS. And they are on her trail.
Will we ever see Violet again? We’re firm believers in what is meant to be, will be. While this is a sad story, it’s one that doesn’t have an ending yet. Anything is possible.
I write this as a cautionary tale. Make sure you know the laws of the state where you’re adopting. Think of all possible contingencies. It certainly wasn’t our plan to return a newborn on Christmas Eve to her birth mother. We hope that she has turned her life around and that Violet is healthy and thriving. If not, we'd be happy to welcome Violet back into our lives. Her birth mother, however, may be a different story.