Author's Note: Like the description says, this is a story about Charlotte, Cooper, and Mason building a family. It will follow them along the process of Charlotte adopting Mason. If you aren't a fan of reading stories that focus heavily on Mason's relationship with his parents, I suggest you skip this one. I am always very happy to get positive or negative feedback, as long as it is constructive.
Cooper brings up adoption for the first time after he watches his patient be dragged away from his stepfather and put into foster care.
Cooper comes home late that evening after hours of struggling with DCFS to find Mason already asleep and Charlotte curled up in bed with a book. Cooper kicks off his shoes and crawls into bed with Charlotte, who puts her book down and motions for Cooper to snuggle up against her. Cooper lays his head on Charlotte's shoulder, and she wraps her arms around him. "I'm sorry Coop," she whispers before leaning down to kiss him. She had received a series of increasingly upset texts from her husband as the night progressed.
Cooper is quiet for a few minutes, and Charlotte assumes that he doesn't want to talk about his patient. She rubs soothing patterns on his back and holds him tightly, until Cooper finally breaks the silence. "Char?"
"Can I ask you something?" Cooper says, and Charlotte is a little uneasy about a question that requires a preface.
" 'Course," she replies.
Cooper props himself up on his elbow so that he's looking at Charlotte. "What do you think about adopting Mason?" he asks.
It catches Charlotte completely off guard. Later she won't be sure why it surprises her so much or why she hadn't thought about it before. Charlotte is a woman who is always prepared and does things by the book, so she should have thought more about the legal issues of being Mason's momma. But she guesses she had been a little too occupied by thinking about the real ways that she's become his momma.
Charlotte sits there with her mouth agape a second too long because Cooper starts talking again. "If something happens to me, I want to make sure that Mason stays with you."
"Of course," Charlotte says, shaking off the surprise. "Of course I want to adopt him." The words feel a little odd rolling off her tongue, and Charlotte stops talking for a minute to take it in. She can't help the smile that spreads across her face.
Mason's her son. She's told Erica and Cooper this on numerous occasions, but still there's something about making it legal that feels different. It's a feeling not unlike the one she had about marrying Cooper. They had been committed, in the relationship forever. She knew that before they had said their vows, but still there was something different about making it official.
"You're right Coop," Charlotte says sitting up and turning to her husband. "If God forbid anything happens to you, we need to make sure that Mason stays with me. I should have thought about it sooner."
Cooper smiles at Charlotte, sitting up and leaning against the headboard next to her. "It's been a crazy few months, I think we can let ourselves off the hook on this one."
Cooper wraps his arm around Charlotte's shoulder, and they take a minute to breathe and let this settle over them. It's both not a change at all and also something huge. This doesn't change how much Charlotte loves Mason. The kid already calls her Momma, so he probably doesn't need the symbolic gesture. But still this feels bigger than simply a way to make sure that there isn't any trouble with Charlotte making medical decisions or signing permission slips.
"We should call our lawyer tomorrow and get this started," Charlotte says. Cooper has a silly grin on his face that Charlotte can't quite figure out. "What?" she asks.
Cooper shrugs. "You're a mom," he tells her grinning. "Looks good on you."
"I guess you won the argument about kids after all," Charlotte comments, as she tilts her head to lean against Cooper's shoulder.
"I did, and you seem pretty happy about it."
"Mmhmm," Charlotte mutters against Cooper's neck.
"I told you you'd be great," Cooper says giving Charlotte's arm a playful little squeeze. He doesn't want to think about the month he'd spent insisting that Charlotte wasn't Mason's mother; that he knew better than she did because he was really Mason's parent. Cooper had apologized, and Charlotte hadn't brought it up again. But he still feels a little guilty.
"You think that Mason'll be ok with this, right?" Charlotte asks.
Cooper looks at his wife; her brow is crinkled with concern. "Of course. He adores you. You're his momma."
"I think it'll be ok," Charlotte agrees, "as long as we make it really clear that I'm not trying to replace Erica."
"He's never thought that. You talk about her all the time," Cooper reminds Charlotte. She weaves their fingers together and nods. "I think Mason's going to be thrilled. I'm thrilled. Not about the legal stuff. Well sure, about the legal stuff too. I'm thrilled that we're parents."
Charlotte loves hearing him say that. She didn't give him his son, but nonetheless, Charlotte and Cooper became parents together. And they're going to be parenting their son together for the rest of their lives. "Me too. You really were right about this one."
"Of course I was. I'm always right," Cooper tells Charlotte, who makes a noise somewhere between a laugh and a snort. He may not be right about everything, but Charlotte is damn glad he was right about how great it would be to have a kid.