Heartbroken

The social worker called us Wednesday afternoon to let us know that the mother had decided not to place the baby for adoption. Because her mother is incarcerated, the baby will be placed in foster care when she is discharged from the hospital and when mom is released she will go through rehab and then work towards reunification. We are obviously heartbroken. We are home now and trying to figure out how to go on with our life.

Learning to expect the unexpected

We had been told the baby was going to be born between the 21st and the 24th and that we would probably not get to see her or even know she was born until she was ready to go home 48-72 hours after being born – so we thought the earliest we would get to see our baby would be the Friday – but “just in case”, we wanted to come up on the 21st so that when we got the call that we could see her, we could do so ASAP!!

Our plan was to leave the house around 8:45am on Tuesday. Well around 8am the social worker called and said “Did you get my email?” (I hadn’t checked my email yet) – turns out the baby was born Monday night and the birth mother was insistent that we get to bond with the baby! So when we got to Louisville at 5pm, the social worker met us at the hospital and we got to spend almost an hour with our precious daughter (I’m told I was a blubbering mess during that time). The nurses told us that they had a room for us to stay in and that the baby could stay with us in the room – but they were quickly corrected by the hospital social worker who reminded them that until papers are signed the birth mother gets to keep the baby with her. They talked to the birth mother (we weren’t allowed to see her or talk with her which was tough for me to deal with) and she said we could have her during the night. So we settled into the room for about five hours of boredom and waiting LOL

Around midnight, my mom went to the nurses station to ask if the plan was still the same (because while the hospital was very generous in letting us stay there – there was no bed … and I was having a difficult time being that physically close but unable to see my baby – even though I truly want the birth mother to get to spend as much time as possible with her – it was a tug of war going on in my heart and mind) and it turns out the birth mother had apparently decided to keep the baby with her. She did let us have another blissful hour with the baby and I am so grateful for that!!! I can’t imagine what she is going through.

So around 1am we came to the condo we are renting and got some sleep. Today we are going to go back up to the hospital just in case the birth mother is willing to let us see the baby for a little bit.

Apparently the baby will be able to be discharged tonight but the birthmother won’t be ready for discharge until tomorrow night – and if she wants to keep the baby with her that extra day she is allowed to. So probably the earliest we will be able to leave the hospital with our daughter will be Thursday evening, which means papers will be probably be signed on Friday which begins the 7-10 day waiting period for ICPC.

Right now we are just thrilled and thankful that we have gotten to meet our baby girl when she was less than 24 hours old and spend two precious hours more than we were expecting to get to spend with her!!

Is this real life?

We had been told that we would not be able to see the baby in the hospital and so we could expect to get her at least 48 hours after she was born (since she was a c section). Since the c section was planned for the 21-24th, our plan was to travel to Kentucky on the 21st, leaving around 9am (which would get us to Louisville around 4pm). 

This morning, while we were getting ready, the social worker called around 8am to tell us our daughter was born last night!! And that her birth mother was insistent that we get to see her as soon as possible!! So we left as soon as my mom got to the house (around 8:20) and are supposed to meet the social worker and then OUR DAUGHTER at 6pm today!!! 

The social worker called a little bit ago to give more details: she is 20inches long and weighs 6 pounds 6 ounces, and her apgar scores were 8 and 9. They say she is healthy and beautiful. 

I drove the first two hours and started nodding off (didn’t sleep much last night) so now Chris is driving. Kentucky has never seemed so far away!!  

 

I’m going to try to go to sleep now so the time goes by faster. 

Timeline – aka “buckle up and hold on tight! Things are about to get real!”

Around Christmastime in 2014 Chris and I decided to pursue adoption again. We didn’t want to go through one agency this time, so we looked into Adoption Information Services, a consulting company. We sent in the questionnaire/application on December 28th and registered for the seminar that they were having on Janary 24. Unfortunately I put the seminar time in my calendar for 11:00 – turns out it was at 10:00 (oops)! The morning of the 24th I was looking at their website for directions to the seminar – noticed my mistake and realized there was no way we could get there in time. January 27th I called, had them send us a DVD of the seminar and made an appointment with AIS. February 4th we sent in our fee agreement and deposit.

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us, at our first meeting with Leigh at AIS

February 13th was our first meeting with AIS – after the meeting, we went home with our “homework” and started planning out a hopeful timeline. Our second meeting was scheduled for March 6th – I printed out calendars and marked them all up, thinking we could probably get our home study finished by the middle of April and start sending out profiles. The average wait time for AIS clients is 3-6 months so my best case scenario was that hopefully we’d get matched by mid July and have a baby around November. Well … God had a different plan!

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before our photo shoot to get a few professional pics for the cover of our profile book

We finished our profile book the weekend after our first meeting with AIS, it was approved on the 20th and we ordered one copy to proof in real life before ordering 15 copies to send to agencies. On Feb 21st we mailed out home study application packet to Options 4 Adoption (since AIS is just a consulting company, not an agency, they don’t do home studies – O4A only does home studies). We started working on the paperwork that we knew would be required for the home study also (thankfully they had a checklist on their website).

February 24th we got an email from AIS about a birthmother opportunity in Kentucky. I assumed the email was sent to active (home study ready) AIS clients and our name got put on the list accidentally. I actually forwarded the email to Chris and said “Too bad we don’t have a profile book and home study yet!” because I didn’t think that we were allowed to act on the opportunity (the instructions were that if you were interested in being considered by the birthmother to send your profile and home study – we had neither). The next day, AIS sent a follow up email asking if we had decided whether or not to send our information to KY – and after a few emails and phone calls the lovely ladies at AIS had sent some information and a digital version of our profile to the agency. Our proof version of the profile book came in and I immediately FedExed it to the agency *just in case*.

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the 20 copies of our profile book that arrived the day after we found out we’d been matched LOL

Two days later (February 26th), before they even received the hard copy of our profile book, the agency called and said we were one of two being considered to parent the baby due in Kentucky. A couple of hours later she called me back and said she had gotten our book and they were ready to consider us “officially matched”. Oh and by the way, the baby that was listed on all the information as due May 1st was actually scheduled to be delivered via C-section the week of April 21st.

And that’s how our dream of being parents maybe, hopefully, possibly by November became the reality of OHMYGOSH we’re gonna be parents in less than TWO MONTHS!! And thus began the frenzied nesting as well as the hurried attempts at getting all of my students’ IEP annual reviews done as well as substitute lesson plans written before my maternity leave. As far as my job goes, the timing couldn’t be more perfect – my last day would be April 10th because the 13th-18th was Spring Break, then the 21st we leave for Kentucky. And there are only 24 school days that I will be out before summer break! Which is nice because I’m a bit of a control freak at work too (yeah – I left 50 pages of “information” for the substitute in addition to the class schedule and lesson plans).

Nursery decor and organization

Nesting – adoption version

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“Nest” by Ro Irving on flickr

So I wondered, when we began the adoption process, if nesting was a hormonal thing or not – would I have that urge? According to wikipedia

Maternal nest-building is regulated by the hormonal actions of estradiol, progesterone, and prolactin. Given the importance of shelter to offspring survival and reproductive success, it is no wonder that a set of common hormonal signals has evolved. However, the exact timing and features of nest building vary among species, depending on endocrine and external factors. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nesting_instinct)

So maybe it’s my obsessive nature, or my tendency to be (as my husband so kindly calls it) an anal nutbag, but I certainly have been nesting! And I’ve realized that adoptive nesting adds another layer to it all. We are set to travel later this week to Kentucky to meet and pick up our soon-to-be-daughter and I’ve been nesting to the extreme LOL. In the 50 days since we found out we were matched we have done the following to prepare our home to house a family of three (or eight if you count the pets – which we do!):

  • cleaned out the old “office”
  • organized every drawer, corner, cabinet and closet in the house (seriously – come over and open ANY door or drawer you want to!! Please!)
  • cleaned the carpets – twice
  • painted the foyer, accent wall in the living room, and the baby’s room
  • had the house “deep cleaned”
  • replaced back door and installed new doggy door
  • purchased, cut and hemmed new curtains for the living room
  • and Gary from HOME WORX (if you’re in the Gwinnett/Walton County area of Georgia – call them! You won’t regret it! Seriously, they’re awesome) is going to finish the outdoor stuff while we’re gone (sodding the yard where the plumbers tore it up – more on that later, pressure washing the exterior of the house and porch, painting the shutters and trim, fixing the deck)
  • can’t forget decorating the nursery!!

So I’d say the house is pretty much ready. But that’s all faced by every parent. Now for the adoption specific part – homestudy paperwork!

When we were matched, we had not even had our first meeting with our homestudy social worker. Our first homestudy had expired years ago so we had to do it all again:

  • 2 dogs, 2 cats and the parrot to the vet
  • we each had to get drug tests, bloodwork, physicals, etc.
  • septic tank inspection – which revealed the need to replace our septic tank (which involved, apparently, digging up the entire backyard)IMG_1380
  • financial paperwork, employment verification
  • procuring letters of reference (which are awesome to re-read when having a bad day! I’m not sure who these people were writing about but they certainly made me and Chris seem like amazing people!)
  • local background checks, GBI and FBI fingerprints (which of course cannot both be done at the same place – that would be too convenient), sex offender registry search, and all that fun stuff
  • meetings and trainings with social worker for adoption education
  • getting copies of our birth certificates and marriage certificate
  • copies of insurance cards, driver’s licenses, passports, etc.
  • I’m sure I’m forgetting some things because I don’t have my checklist in front of me – but once we got all the running around done, documents ordered, forms filled out, etc. – we had to make several copies of everything, send one to the social worker with our homestudy agency, one to the social worker for our expectant birthmother’s agency (since we didn’t go through an agency ourselves, we had to technically apply with that agency once we were matched).

And now there are three days before we leave for our trip. Due to the circumstances of the expectant birthmother and other things, we know that she is scheduled for a C-section between April 21 and 24 but will not know the exact date until the baby is born and ready for us to pick up (potentially 48+ hours after she is born), so our plan is to be there on the 21st so that when we are notified we can get her in our arms as soon as possible. So now we get to pack for the trip, which adds yet another layer to the nesting fun!! Since we don’t know how long we will be there (depends on how long Kentucky and Georgia ICPC paperwork takes to clear, we’ve been told to plan for 2 weeks and it will probably be 7-10 days) and we don’t know how big the baby will be, we are trying to balance “taking enough to be prepared” with “packing light and buying what we need there”.  I tend to be an overpacker anyway, so guess which end we’re leaning toward LOL.  And my reasoning for not buying more there – we have SO much stuff already (I mean, people were incredibly generous at my showers and I’ve been a little of an excited shopper) and I’d hate to buy something there that we already have 20 of at home – seems like a pointless waste of money! Especially since we probably have more than we’ll ever use to begin with. So … here’s what we’re taking (for the baby – this doesn’t include myself, my husband and my mom’s stuff):

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  • travel bassinet 
  • boppy and cover
  • wipe warmer
  • travel humidifier
  • brush, nail clippers, nose frida, emery boards
  • baby lotion
  • 2 (14 ct) boxes of disposable wash cloths
  • 2 hooded towels
  • 6 burpcloths
  • 5 blankets
  • 5 swaddling muslins
  • wipe-able changing pad
  • lots of socks, mittens, and infant hats (I didn’t count, just took all of them – they’re tiny and didn’t take up much space LOL)
  • 3 newborn size sleepers
  • 8 gowns
  • 6 newborn onesies and 8 0-3m onesies
  • 4 newborn “outfits” (just because I have four newborn sized and she may be big and only fit in them for a short while and I want to be sure she gets to wear them LOL)
  • all of the newborn and size 1 diapers and wipes that we got for shower gifts (we’re going the cloth route once we get home)
  • a few pacifiers

We packed all of her stuff in wetbags and diaper bags instead of a big suitcase so that we can creatively load the car – mama’s suitcase and our (me and Chris) suitcase take up pretty much the whole back of my little car, so the baby stuff we can kinda put into holes and spots around the suitcases and put under the seats, etc. I figure the diapers can all “ride” in the car seat on the way up because we won’t be bringing them home (and the baby will be in the car seat then LOL). If we can fit it in, I want to take the rock -n- play too – it folds up pretty thin so I hope we can slide it on top of the suitcases!

(Side note: I know that half of what I’m taking is unnecessary and I could definitely get by with much less and that I probably won’t use a lot of what I’m taking. However, I am big on “just in case”, and am decidedly NOT a minimalist, so I’m kindof proud of myself for not packing everything in the nursery!)

What we are going to buy when we get there (to avoid having to find room for it in the car!)

  • diapers and wipes (I know we don’t have enough)
  • disposable bottles (not washing bottles in a hotel!)
  • a little bottle of dreft (and maybe detergent for us too) because we know we’ll need to wash at least once LOL
  • food and drink for us
  • more newborn onesies if she is tiny (I’m taking ALL of the newborn stuff we have), a 0-3 “coming home” outfit if she’s too big for the nb one we’re packing

Now the pet sitter is scheduled to come three times a day, daddy is coming to play with the animals several times so they don’t get lonely and my friend is also coming by to love on them. Car seat is installed, bags are packed, and I think the nest is just about ready!