The Pain and Peace of Placement

The roller coaster of emotions during 48 hours before placing my infant son.

Sterling Lloyd December 24, 2014
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David Allen H. was born at 5:31 pm on February 20, 2010. He weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz and looked like an alien.  He was the most beautiful and perfect alien I’ve ever seen, though. The cord was around his neck, so he also had a cone-shaped head because the vacuum was used. Thank goodness for hospital hats.

David was taken directly to the warming table to make sure he was okay after having the cord around his neck. I couldn’t see him for the first five minutes of his life which, coupled with being in shock after giving birth, had me in a semi-panic. His birth father, we’ll call him Sam, and his mom had both been in the room and were with him while my mom tried to calm me and get me to focus.

Finally, Sam brought our little David over to me and I got to hold him for a few minutes before he went to the nursery. I sobbed. Partly from being in shock, but mostly because I knew my countdown to placement had started. I only had 48 hours with him, and I suddenly felt that it would not be enough. Just staring at and touching his face for those few moments after delivery filled me with an emotion I’ll never be able to explain. My heart nearly burst.

The first night with David was like a dream. I felt like my world could not have been more perfect. I nursed him, held him, kissed him, and sang to him. A change came over both Sam and myself, and we both realized that all the fighting we had done during the past nine months had been so useless. It was so beautiful to watch Sam snuggle David, kiss him, and stare at him. He talked to him, told him stories, and gave him advice. That first night, while I tried to take a nap, I heard Sam cry for the first time. Somehow, that gave me comfort, knowing that I wasn’t alone in this struggle.

The next day, Sunday, was busy. Too busy. It felt like we had a constant stream of people coming to see us. All we wanted was to pretend to be a family for a little while. The best visitors we had were Dave and Amy. I knew I wanted to see them, but Sam didn’t initially want to see them at all. It turned out to be a wonderful thing for Dave and Amy to come, because it reaffirmed our decision to place David. We didn’t offer to let them hold him, although now we wish we would have. They told us then that his name was definitely David. It was obvious, even then, that they loved him, he was meant to be their son.

We spent another night together quietly, and I sang to David just as I had while he was in my womb. It was hard to hold myself together because I knew my time was getting shorter and shorter. I began to second guess myself, wondering if I would be strong enough to carry through with my plan. I reread my journal, I read my letters to Dave, Amy, and little David, and I prayed. I prayed harder than I had my entire pregnancy. I prayed for strength to do what was best for David. I know those prayers were heard.

Monday was difficult. I woke up to a bull-headed doctor, and unkind nurse, and the knowledge that I was losing time. I wanted nothing more than to snuggle up with David and spend my last hours with him whispering to him and praying he would be able to feel my love. Thankfully, I had an amazing and fiercely protective caseworker who swooped in and played mama bear for me.

We drove straight from the hospital to the local LDS Family Services. Sam’s parents and my mom spent some time saying goodbye, then Sam and I got more alone time with David. We told him how perfect the time with him had been, how much we loved him, and sat quietly. I couldn’t stop my tears.

My caseworker, the notary and my mom came in to have me sign the relinquishment papers. I think the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through in my life was signing those papers. Sam held David while my mom held me. I couldn’t breathe – I didn’t want to. As soon as I signed the papers there was no going back. I closed my eyes. With tears streaming down my face I signed, silently begging forgiveness from God, from little David, and from myself. I had been a mother for two days, breastfed my sweet little boy, then signed away all parental rights. I felt hollow as Sam placed David in my arms again, as if my whole world was going to shatter.

Dave and Amy walked in the room, and as Amy hugged me I felt a sudden peace come over me. I felt calm, and knew that there were others in the room that none of us could see. The strength I found inside myself could only have come from my Heavenly Father and surrounding angels. At that moment, I knew the Lord was holding me, and would continue to carry me. David began to fuss, and I asked to go into another room to feed him. Sam and I said goodbye to David once more in private, and we finally felt we were ready.

My caseworker told me I would know when the time was right for placement. I knew, and it came too quickly.

I looked at Sam, and he nodded. I kissed my little boy’s forehead, held him close to my chest, and breathed him in. I held him to Sam, and he did the same. Dave and Amy stood, and as I placed David in Amy’s arms, she hugged me.

We held our son between us… and I wanted the moment to last forever.

It was perfect.

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Sterling Lloyd

Sterling Bo Lloyd placed her son for adoption in February 2010 and has since been a strong advocate in the adoption community. She is married to her partner in crime, who is convinced that she knows way too many people. They have two children who keep them in a near-constant state of blissful exhaustion. She enjoys dark chocolate, crocheting, Broadway musicals, and barely making deadlines. She can be reached through her blog or email.


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