First off, wow! I am completely humbled by the positive responses and supportive words regarding Part 1 (which you can read HERE) of our Domestic Adoption Journey. Sharing our story is always one that you hope will be welcomed with open arms and you guys definitely didn’t disappoint. For that I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
So where were we? When I left you at Part 1, we were just matched with our son’s birthmother 6 short weeks after becoming active with our Adoption Agency. We were on the fast-track to preparing our home and hearts for this sweet little addition to our family in a matter of weeks. Where is one to even begin! Luckily, I had a good start on the necessary things. We had received many presents from friends and family since we had announced we were going to adopt, and while we didn’t necessarily have a “nursery” set up, we had many of the items that were at least going to get us through the first few weeks, including car seats! We worked overtime setting up our nursery with the crib and bedding that we had in boxes and I already had a good stash of clothes that I had slowly been adding to over the last few months. Just for when it finally happened!
In the meantime, our Adoption Specialist had been walking us through the process for the next few weeks, along with what was going to happen once the baby was born. The birthmother was working on her birth plan and we would be at her mercy as to when we’d actually get to meet the baby after he was born and how much involvement we would be able to have while they were in the hospital. I should note that since we were adopting from Texas, the state laws stated that the birthmother would be able to sign over her parental rights 48 hours after birth. Therefore, she legally would be able to decide how those first 48 hours were going to be spent.
I can’t even begin to tell you how anxious that made my husband and I. Would she want us to be around? Would she want the baby strictly with her those first 48 hours? If she did, would she change her mind after spending some time with him? There were so many unanswered questions, but we knew it was completely in God’s hands. While it was nerve-wracking, we trusted the advice and support that we received from our Adoption Specialist and believed that God’s Will was already determined in bringing us together with this particular situation.
Most of our friends and family were so supportive during this time. They let me open up about things I was comfortable with sharing and knew when to change the conversation to help keep my sanity in tact! Nobody pushed for information or would put “what-if” scenarios in our heads, which was exactly what we needed.
A majority of these worries and fears were eased as soon as we started communicating with the birthmother. In a perfect world, she wanted to meet us before the birth, but she also was supportive in us not making a special trip beforehand, since the birth was only a few weeks away and she was in Texas. So, the Adoption Specialists gave us each other’s contact information and before you knew it, we were communicating with each other on an almost daily basis. This was such a wonderful time in getting to know her, hearing things from her on why she chose us, learning more about her situation and day-to-day life, and also just being able to give her whatever kind of support she needed during these last few weeks, as well. We clicked right away and I began to look forward to our interactions and emails. I loved hearing about her pregnancy and how things were going, as well as learning things about each other that solidified things on both sides. It was comforting for her to say that she 100% felt like she made the right decision and was so happy that we were able to get to know each other better before the baby was born.
I want to take a second to talk about the amount of openness that was going to take place in our adoption. The Adoption Agency that we went through requires all adoptive parents to be open to Semi-Open adoptions. Basically, this means that while specific identifying information isn’t necessarily shared and we weren’t agreeing to any face-to-face interactions after the adoption was finalized, we were agreeing to share updates about the baby with the birthmother as often as she wanted. Her specialist worked on a plan with her for what she wanted and it was decided that once the adoption was finalized, we would be sharing letters and pictures with the birthmom twice a year until our son was 5, at which point it would go down to once a year. It would be up to everyone together if there would be more contact than that, but at the very least, this is what was agreed upon as a minimum. All information would be done and exchanged through the Adoption Agency, so specific identifying information like last names and addresses weren’t going to be shared.
Before we knew it, she was interested in scheduling an induction date to make sure we would be able to be in Texas for the birth! I was absolutely ecstatic, as one of my main worries was her having the baby and us not being able to get there for a day (we had already decided we were going to drive down since we were going to have to stay in Texas for an undetermined amount of time after the birth. More on that later…). At this point, we were about 2 weeks out from the birth and her and her doctor were working on a plan to make sure the induction was going to work for everyone. Therefore, it was decided that May 14th was going to be Induction Day! We had a birthday! OMG, THIS WAS HAPPENING!!! She also was very adamant about wanting us to be involved with everything as much as we could be from Day 1. She wanted to make sure that we would be able to stay in the hospital with the baby and make any decisions that needed to be made and care for him right away. She was truly our angel. She expressed how important it was to her to have us experience everything from the second he was born and to truly be a part of the hospital experience. I was beyond thrilled!
We now were able to figure out when we were going to leave Wisconsin and make a travel plan that wouldn’t involve driving at Mach-Speed to make sure we made it down there soon after the birth. That took such a huge weight off of our shoulders and made things so much easier. And, as luck would have it, we have family down in Texas about two hours away from where we would be, who were a HUGE help in finding the perfect location for us to stay when we were down there. Everything was falling into place!
Not everything was super smooth sailing, however. That final week before we were set to leave, we didn’t hear much from the birthmother. We didn’t hear barely anything at all, actually. And of course, on my end, it sent me into a bit of a tailspin. Where was she? Why wasn’t she responding to emails? Was everything still OK and on track? We talked to our adoption specialist multiple times, who shared that they hadn’t heard much from her, either. OK, now I was really starting to panic. I was positive she was changing her mind and things were falling through. This was another point in time I was so thankful for our Adoption Agency. They talked me off the ledge and said that there are many times they see similar things happening and it could be happening for a number of reasons. They continued to try to get ahold of her and encouraged us to stay positive, keep our travel plans in check, and go on, business as usual. That was really hard to do! Finally, about 2 days before we were set to leave, we did hear from her. She assured us things were fine and she was having some problems with internet and phone usage, but everything was still A.O.K. Phew…
We left for Texas on May 12th and drove about halfway before stopping for the night. May 13th we drove the rest of the way to our location and arrived at our new home away from home in the early evening. It was such a relief to have family direct us to a great location. We had a great two-bedroom suite with a kitchen included and a beautiful view off of our balcony. It was absolutely perfect for our purposes and it was large enough to make us not feel too cramped in a strange city for an undetermined amount of time.
The agency, nor us, had heard from the birthmother again over the last couple of days while we were traveling, but the agency assured us to just sit tight and try to relax. The birthmother was going to go in for her induction early the following morning and they would be keeping us in the loop on how things were progressing. It was decided on by the birthmother that she would prefer to have us just stay in the hotel (we were literally about 5 minutes from the hospital) while she was in labor. She asked to have about a half hour on her own with the baby once he was born, and than we would be welcomed to come over. I’ll admit, I was a little bummed about this. The plan changed a bit from being able to be there the entire time, but the agency assured me that it was completely normal and wasn’t any cause for alarm. Some birthmothers want a little alone time after the birth to say their good-byes and spend a little time with the baby before everyone’s life changes forever. On the other hand, some want to be uninvolved right away. It all depends on the specific situation and it is imperative to be able to roll with the punches as things are happening during the adoption process!
So, we sat. And waited. And waited. And waited. Our poor adoption specialist must have been SO sick of hearing from me, as I started calling her about once every hour after I knew the birth mom was checked in and starting the induction process on May 14th. We are well aware of how long things can take in an induction and knew that it wasn’t going to happen in a matter of minutes, but oh man… talk about wearing a hole in the carpet from pacing! We ended up going out for a bit and grabbing some breakfast and taking a small tour of the town we were staying in. It was actually a beautiful little Texas town that we immediately fell in love with. We walked around the square and window-shopped and tried to pass the time, while I really just wanted to run and sit in the parking lot of the hospital until we heard anything!
Finally, around 4:15pm we got the call I had been DYING for all day! Well, actually for the past few years. There was a bouncing little baby boy that was just born at 4:06pm who weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 20 inches long. He was here and he was perfect! And, most important, the birth mom gave the OK for us to head over. Through our tears and hugs, we RACED OVER to the hospital! I think back on that moment and realize I didn’t really hear what she was telling us through the phone. Yes, I faintly remember the details and her telling us that he was healthy and everything went perfectly and we could head over, but I was in such a delirious state of multiple emotions that it truly was a complete blur. Do I remember actually leaving our hotel and driving over to the hospital? Nope. Not even a little bit!
Talk about one of the most surreal moments of my life. Rushing through hallways of a strange hospital and having no idea what we were walking into. Heading into a hospital room, finally meeting this angel of a woman who was granting me my wish of becoming a mom, and laying eyes for the first time on my son, who was absolute perfection. All I could do was…
Stay Tuned for Part 3 in May!