The road less traveled: full-term and adoption finalization

There is the parental pathway of having sex and getting spontaneously pregnant.

There is the pathway of years of fertility treatments and getting pregnant.

There is the pathway to parenthood through adoption…

And then there is me (and a few others) who get to experience the trifecta of all three.

Our Sweet P’s adoption finalized on January 5th in a five-minute ceremony where the county judge declared us her parents. I was an emotional wreck as I promised to love her, care for her, comfort her and protect her. In the midst of trying so hard to accomplish my dream of having a child, God guided me unknowingly down a path to parenthood that is not as well-traveled or known. I thank him every single day for unanswered prayers. Had any of my IVF’s worked out or previous pregnancies I would not have my daughter. To get to spend my days with her now makes every painful blistering moment of my journey worth it.

(Moments after the adoption was finalized. It’s also of me looking nice and plump at about 32 weeks pregnant.)

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Today I hit full-term at 37 weeks with our sweet baby boy. I have not come around to the fact that this pregnancy is actually going to produce a living, healthy, beautiful baby.  It feels too good to be true. Even with three weeks left I still worry every single day and every single hour about him. My one prayer and one wish is that he is healthy. (There has been nothing to indicate he won’t be). His baby shower has been thrown, his nursery is readied for his arrival, his car seat is loaded and I’ve stocked our freezer and pantry with enough food to last us a month without leaving the house. I’m physically as ready as I can be. Emotionally and mentally it feels a bit surreal to be welcoming my second baby within 6-month of the last. I am a bit awestruck by God’s grace and am having a bit of a “why me” moment. Not the “why me” of years prior, like “why do “I” have to be the one losing my baby or why do “I” have to go through these fertility treatments. It’s more of a how did I get so lucky to be handpicked by life to have an adopted daughter and biological boy this close in age???? People love using the word “epic” to describe pretty much anything these days, but for me personally the day I get to hold both of my children in my arms will be one of the most epic days of my life.

(Below: still getting after it at the gym with three weeks to go!)

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Is this your first baby?

“Is this your first baby?” and inquisitive cashier innocently asks while peering at my 8 1/2 month pregnant belly as she rings me up. I pause before I answer as my stomach does a quick somersault in to my throat.

When I smile politely and say yes to try to abruptly end the conversation I feel like a liar.

When I smile politely and say no it’s my second I have a daughter at home I feel like a liar.

When I smile politely and say no this is my second child and try to leave it at that I feel like a liar.

Sometimes it is life’s most simple questions that require us to produce the most difficult answers.

What I really would love to say is that I am currently pregnant for the fourth time and with my second son. The baby in my body will be my second biological child born and my third child in total. My answer really should be : “oh no this is my third child. I have a 5 month old daughter and a son in heaven”, but who has the time to explain that to complete strangers?

I also feel there is so much shock value in that statement that it is almost this “drops mic walks away” kind of moment.

I so desperately want to honor all of my babies, but don’t feel the need to be an open book with every well-intentioned stranger that crosses my path on the daily.

Every time the question gets broached (which is increasing more and more as i get further along) I get more uneasy with how I answer. It is a constant and consistent reminder of the loss of my first child. I also wonder how deeply to delve in to my daughter’s adoption as it will one day be her story to tell and not mine.

Deep breath. Sigh.

My Daughter’s Birthday

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Our Sweet P entered the world last Tuesday 8/26… one of the most surreal days of my life.

We arrived at the hospital two hours before the scheduled C-section. The plan was that once the baby was born, and all was ok, she would be wheeled out to us where we would then escort her to the nursery. We were banded by the hospital as her parents which meant we could come and go from the nursery as we pleased.

Anxiously, we sat in the waiting room staring at our phones while glancing for a nurse to round the corner to tell us our daughter was born. My husband, the most cool-as-cucumber person ever, looked stricken with anxiety. For the first time in our relationship I could tell that he was completely overwhelmed with what was about to happen.

At 2:15 pm a nurse appeared and said “she’s here, come with me”. Armed with my infertility PTSD I immediately started peppering her with questions. “Did she come out crying?” “What was her APGAR?” “How much does she weigh?”  As we power walked down the corridor towards our daughter the nurse happily answered that she was 7lbs 4 oz, her APGAR score was a 9 and she had a healthy set of lungs on her.

As I saw her being wheeled towards us I began to cry. I thought it was going to take weeks to feel attached, perhaps even months to feel like she was mine and part of me.

It. Took. Seconds.

I put my hand on the incubator and with tears running down my face I said “hi baby, I am your mommy. You are so beautiful”.

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(Pictured above: the nurse bringing her to us)

On an ordinary Tuesday, my life changed for the better. I was blown away at the emotional connection and bond I instantaneously had with her. It doesn’t take giving birth to bond you to a child, it takes wanting to take care for and give love to a child that creates a bond.

Once in the nursery, they poked, prodded and measured her. It’s the most upset I’ve heard her to-date and was already tough for me to watch and she was only minutes old! Once she was cleared we were allowed to hold her and then eventually feed her. We were fortunate the hospital gave us a nesting room which was a standard patient room but we were allowed to stay with her overnight at the hospital until she was released.

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(Pictured above: my husband keeping a very close eye on his just minutes old daughter.)

48 hours after her birth we were cleared to leave the hospital and take her home. I cried in the car all the way home. What a miracle she was and what a miracle she is for coming in to our life. After years of heartache and tears shed, the tears I got to cry that day were happy ones.

I can not advocate enough for adoption.  From the first day we started paperwork until the day we brought our daughter home it took 6 months. It  has truly been the year of the baby for us. It was our mantra when we started our last IVF cycle this past January. We did not know how a baby would come in to our life, but adoption brought us our daughter more quickly than my own pregnancy ever could have.

There are many roads to parenthood. I’m really blessed that mine led me to our Sweet P.

From Another Mother

I am going to jump straight to the good stuff. I HAVE NEWS! I’M EXPECTING!

Not a biological baby, but a baby nontheless. We are cautiously expecting a precious baby girl due from another mother on September 2nd We were matched with a birth mother in a record time of just two weeks.

Our adoption home study was approved June 6th and we received the news on June 20th that we had been matched (which also happened to be my husbands 35th birthday).

After meeting with the adoption agency we were told we would be placed on a 6-month wait list before we were even shown to prospective birth parents. We were told it would take roughly a year after that to be matched. I don’t do lines. I never stood in lines waiting to enter a club in my early 20’s and I certainly wasn’t about to wait in line for my future child. So I took matters in to my own hands.

We started a Facebook page at the end of May announcing our plans to adopt. We asked our friends and family to share our story with everyone they knew. In the first week our Facebook page was up we had over 1,000 fans following our journey. The outpouring of love and support was tremendous. Even overwhelming. We had people whom we had never met reaching out to us to offer advice, support and potential birth mom leads. A college friend of mine who saw our story and connected to the page connected us with her next-door neighbor (whom I now call my adoption angel).

She connected us with the adoption attorney she had recently worked for her baby. Within two weeks of our page being live we had already been presented with 8 potential birth moms.

The past several weeks have been the greatest mind-fuck in the history of my ever. Nothing I experienced with my infertility traumas have come close to this.

I am in the process of preparing my heart and my home to be a mother to a little girl in just over two months, while simultaneously guarding my heart and my mind because there is always a chance that the birth parents decide to parent. In the infertility world I equate this to having to set up a nursery before embryo transfer.

A match does not guarantee a child. It is only a very promising and strong step towards parenthood. The birth parents have until 72-hours after the birth to change their mind. While I’ve quickly changed my Googling habits from searching for the meaning of my ovulatory cycle and twinges to baby swaddling and the best PRAM to purchase, it’s very difficult to remain indifferent to my current circumstances.

There is a huge part of me that wants to immediately set up a baby registry, start decorating the nursery and pick out a name. I’m in love with the idea of my potential daughter and think about her and the birth mom all day everyday. I desperately want to go shopping for little girl clothes and post something on Facebook about expecting. The problem is, she isn’t mine to claim quite yet.

The flip-side of the emotional excitement is the reality. We’ve already shelled out thousands and thousands of dollars for our attorney’s fees, the birth parents attorney’s fees and birth mother living expenses with the knowledge that should they change their mind we are stuck with a bill and get no baby. We could plan and read and love and end up empty handed.

So I have decided to approach the situation like a marriage. When my husband and I got married we eloped in France. We wanted to focus on the marriage and not the wedding ceremony. For this, baby girl is the wedding ceremony and parenting is the marriage. So I am spending the next 64 days focused on the marriage. It looks like it IS going to be the year of the baby after all. 🙂

Buying A Baby

Adoption (noun):

1. The act or process of beginning to use something new or different

2. the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something

The origin of the word adopt is from the Latin word  adoptare, (ad- + optare) which means to choose.

My husband and I have chosen to pursue adoption. Adoption was and has always been part of our path for creating a family. We just always thought our adopted child or children would be brought in to our family after we had our biological children. I’ve never looked at it as an alternative or last resort option. We get to choose to adopt. We didn’t get to choose infertility.

With us moving forward with adoption, we will continue to try for biological children as well, but this is the path we are on at this current moment.

As much as we are choosing to adopt I can not shake the feeling that I am buying a baby. The amount of money we are shelling out to take over parental rights from another human being feels a bit unsettling. Maybe this is a standard feeling amongst those new to the process but it is where I am at mentally. I wish I could feel like I was doing something good or noble. That’s what the word adoption denotes to me. Instead, I feel like I am fortunate enough to have enough cash to go out to the baby market and select what age, ethnicity and background I want to bring in my home to love.

Harsh? Absolutely!

Perhaps it was just the lengthy list of home study paperwork and tasks which we just completed. 

They were:

A 7 page BIOGRAPHY on each of us. (It required us to write about our families, childhood, parenting philosophy, education, relationship history, etc. etc. etc.) LOCAL CRIMINAL RECORD CHECK 

HEALTH STATEMENTS FROM A PHYSICIAN (personal fave) we had to get a physical enclosed forms for additional household members as needed.

FIVE (5) REFERENCE LETTERS (only two could be from relatives the other three must be non-relatives)

STATE/FEDERAL FINGERPRINT CHECK

 CENTRAL ABUSE HOTLINE RECORD SEARCH* & RELEASE OF INFORMATION 

 AFFIDAVIT OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER (which required us to take to a notary).

 ADOPTION DISCLOSURE (more forms and signatures)

 AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF INFORMATION (more forms and signatures)

CONTACT & IDENTIFYING INFORMATION (copies of driver licenses, etc. etc.)

FIREARM SAFETY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (a had to say we had no firearms in the home)

 BIRTH CERTIFICATE(S) 

 DRIVER’S LICENSE(S) 

MARRIAGE LICENSE

INCOME TAX RETURN – provided a copy of the first two pages only of our latest income tax

INSURANCE VERIFICATION – provided a photo copy of the health insurance card (front and

back) that will begin covering your child at placement.

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION submitted paperwork to our tax accountant saying we can afford to buy the baby 😉

FAMILY MONTHLY BUDGET OUTLINED

I wish that all mother’s and father’s (adoptive and biological) had to get their backgrounds crawled through with a fine tooth comb in order to have a child. Regardless of paperwork we are thrilled and excited to be moving in this direction. Maybe, just maybe, it will still be the year of the baby for us. 🙂