Willful Coraline-Part 2
We left the Adoption agency with two adoptive couple presentations. Before we left the city, we stopped at big sister Ivy’s. Ivy was so relieved that Coralline chose to have her baby adopted that she clapped her hands together and gave Coraline a big hug. Ivy was about to graduate from college and be married. Producing a beloved grandchild was part of her vision. To Ivy, Corallines’ pregnancy was another stolen dream. Instead of joyfully cuddling a first grandchild with loving parents, Ivy envisioned an exhausted grandmother too overwhelmed to enjoy the child that she planned on having when she was ready to care for a baby. She had spent most of her life sharing her mother with children who needed more attention than her and when she heard of Coralines' pregnancy, she was outraged.
At home, Coraline placed a call to the candidate parents. She stood near me while placing the call. “I want you to adopt my baby;” she said without introducing herself. This was the message she left on their voice mail. I point out to her that she needed to call and leave another message which included her name and phone number. Later, Coraline came to me with the phone in her outstretched hand. “This man wants to talk to you” she said. “What man?” I replied. “The man who is going to adopt my baby.” She said in an exasperated whisper. I took the phone and said: “This is Anne speaking.” “Hello, I thought this was a crank call.” He said. “No, Coraline, the mother-to-be is only 15. I am Coraline’s mother and the call was genuine.” The prospective father said he wanted to talk to his partner and they would call us later, after they spoke to each other.
That evening, Coraline came to me and gestured as she was talking on the phone. She said: “Uh-huh, no, yes;” and then; “you want to talk to my mom?” I spoke with the other prospective dad. He was a warm, articulate man and he explained that he and his partner had just experienced the loss of another prospective child when the birth mother changed her mind at the last minute. I gave him the background story and shared my fears that my daughter was not ready to parent and that I was no longer able to be a good parent to a newborn, or a young child. They wanted to meet us and we made plans for the next weekend.
The rest of Coraline’s pregnancy was easy. She was a healthy 15 year old girl and the discomforts of pregnancy barely affected her. The adoptive parents came to town every couple of weeks, bringing Coraline small gifts, taking her shopping for new maternity clothes and then out to dinner. One night, they had dinner with our whole family. It was warm and natural, as if we had always known each other. As the due date arrived, the adoptive parents got a motel room in town and awaited the birth of their child. The day Coraline went into labor was the morning of Nina’s school award ceremony. I did not want to miss it. My other children had not had much attention from me because of Coraline’s needs. I called the adoptive parents and they were more than happy to take Coraline to the hospital.
Coraline gave birth to a healthy baby girl about 16 hours later. Not surprisingly, she was shocked and frightened at the pain of childbirth. Every effort was made to ease her pain. Hospital staff was very supportive and understanding because of her youth, and the baby’s adoptive parents were involved in the delivery. The adoptive parents stayed in town for one week after the birth as required by law and continued to be attentive to Coraline and include her in certain rituals involved with newborn babies. I did not want to leave her alone so she stayed with the adoptive parents and the baby one day while I had a meeting to attend.
The final day the adoptive parents were in the area, (they had actually relocated to a hotel in the city where Ivy lived) we all went to see them so Coraline could say goodbye. It was a tearful goodbye and I was touched by how comforting and understanding Ivy and her fiancé were to Coraline. We went out to dinner as a family, which meant; no new baby or adoptive parents. It was just our immediate family; me, my kids and Ivy’s fiancé. As I usually did, I put a price limit on what each person could order. Coraline wanted the most expensive item on the menu and everyone thought she should have what she wanted because she was so sad. I said; “No, it is a special treat for all of us to go to a nice restaurant together and we can all be happy with what I can afford.”
Physically, Coraline recovers quickly from the childbirth. The adoptive parents stayed and still do stay in contact and send pictures. Coraline passed her exams and completed the 9th grade. It was a summer of recovery. We swim, go to the lake, and spend time together. I began writing about my experiences as a foster/adoptive mother.
For the 10th grade, Coraline was issued a laptop. We went to a meeting which explained the rules and we were told there would be a filter so the students could not access social networking sites. Within days of beginning the 10th grade, Coraline had problems. She got into a fight with a female classmate. I could hear her screaming at her friends on the phone. One night, I went into her room and discovered her under the covers at 2am on Face book using the school issue laptop. Ivy reported that she found Coralines' profile on Face book saying alarming and inappropriate things. Soon, Coraline changed her name and of course, would not confirm Ivy as a friend. I spoke with the schools IT dept about the social networking and within a few days, Coraline was no longer screaming into her phone. The filter to prevent social networking was back in place and my daughter did not arrive at school sleep deprived with her fists clenched ready to fight. This was short-lived however and after a brief respite, I received a call from school security asking me to come and meet with the vice principal and take my daughter home because of an altercation with another female student.
In the security office, there were two uniform officers, another student and the vice-principal. Due to the officer intervention, Coraline was not able to strike another student and would not be suspended but they did want her to stay away from school another day. The security officer said to Coraline: “You need a beating, girl, acting this way with a baby to tend to and all.” I put my hand up and said: “Hold on a minute, Coraline does not have a baby at home. Her baby is in Atlanta with the parents who adopted her.” I had blown her cover. I told the vice-principal that I thought that Coraline was discussing these issues endlessly during the night on Face book and arriving at school so distressed that she fought. I asked them to confiscate her laptop, which they did. For a few days, she was agreeable and there was an uneasy peace.
A few days after the calm, Coraline did not come home after school. She was gone for five days, in spite of the fact that the police were looking for her, she was able to avoid discovery for five days before she was brought home in handcuffs.
As of this day, Coraline is in counseling and our relationship is less strained. Now that she is sleeping in her own bed every night, I can sleep.