Monday, September 9, 2013

Blue or Pink and Sprinkles on Top

Nate and I reached another adoption milestone at the end of last week.  We attended "the big" ultrasound appointment with J!  We are so grateful that J has invited us to attend her prenatal appointments with her, and realize what a blessing it is. 

Our alarm went off at 5:00 AM on Friday so that we I could get ready and hit the road with enough time to spare in case of traffic.  Luckily we hit no delays, so we were able to get a delicious breakfast at a super cute diner.  Nate was really impressed with his corned beef hash and I had the most delicious cinnamon swirl french toast I've ever had.  With full bellies, we headed over to the hospital to meet J. 

After getting lost and needing an escort through the hospital to figure out where we were supposed to be (this place is huge, people), J got all checked in and we were taken into the ultrasound room.  It was so amazing and a little overwhelming to actually see the baby on a screen.  We could see each movement and each body part from fingers and toes to spine, brain, heart and everything in between.  We could even see blood flowing to different organs!

The doctor was able to call over to J's primary care provider and get the results of the blood work that was done at her last appointment, and we learned the gender of the baby too... We're thrilled to announce that a HEALTHY BABY GIRL is on her way!  Prayers for her to continue healthy development, and prayers for J would be greatly appreciated right now.

After the appointment we were able to have lunch with J again.  We had the chance to talk with her a little more about her family and about baby names.  I think we've narrowed it down and just need to decide on the spelling.  Exciting things!

We were also able to attend an event held by our agency on Sunday.  They had an ice cream social for anyone considering adoption and/or foster care, adoptive families, waiting families and everyone in between.  It was really great!  We started by speaking with the birth mother counselor we've been working with and the director of domestic adoptions at our agency.  That face to face contact is invaluable to me!  A little later we sat in on a breakout session about private infant adoption, and we were actually asked to stand up and speak about how the process has gone for us so far.  I was thrilled!  After we had our sundaes Nate and I ran into the social worker we've been working with on our home study, which was great!  We also had a long conversation with another waiting family and found out that they used to be our neighbors.  Small world!  We traded contact information and hope to keep in touch. 

Even though it was a long weekend and we were both worn out, I'm really glad that we attended this event.  It's just great to spend time with other families involved in adoption.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Call and The Meeting

I wanted to make sure and post what was going on "in the moment" during our match process, so I made sure to write while it was happening.  I wasn't ready to post them until now, but I've dated each post to help provide some order to these exciting events!

Written 8/9/13

Wow!  I just had the craziest half hour of my life to date.  If you keep up with us on the timeline at all, you'll have noticed that we received two potential match opportunities recently - one on 7/26 and one on 7/30.  We heard back from the birth parent counselors on both cases today.  Birth mom "E" did choose another family, but she really liked our profile.  Bummer, we thought.

Birth mom "J" however... wants to meet us and only us!!

I was in the basement all night tonight, working on laundry and yet another draft of our profile book.  I'd already had Nate look it over and was hoping to order a draft copy tonight.  About a half an hour ago, Nate came downstairs, on the phone, while I was folding a load of laundry.  His eyes were huge and he looked excited and scared... He mouthed the birth parent counselor's name to me, and I stopped what I was doing while trying to hear what was going on on the other end of the phone.  She asked us when we would be available to meet "J" and we told her any time!  We'll take the day off work if we need to, just tell us when and where!  She said she would check with "J" and get back to us tomorrow.  Nate and I are pretty sure we're not getting any sleep tonight at this point.

Luckily, the birth parent counselor called us right back and said "J" wants to meet on Sunday morning!!  She gave us a little bit more background, told us what to expect and where to meet.

I don't even know how to describe how I am feeling right now.  We've been praying for this to happen since we decide to adopt in October, and now it's here!  I'm excited and nervous to say the least - my stomach is in knots and I feel like I could cry or jump for joy...  Nate had goosebumps when he got off the phone and he was jogging in place during the call - adrenaline I think!

Of course, there is one possible down side to this entire thing (and I'm paranoid even saying that)... Last night Nate and I booked our first ever big vacation/honeymoon (finally)/5 year anniversary trip.  We are scheduled to spend 7 nights in Cancun at an adults only, all-inclusive resort this Fall.  "J" is due in January and would like us to attend upcoming doctors appointments with her.  She's about an hour and a half away from us, so we'd need time off work to go with her.  We're not sure if we should risk taking our trip, and not having the vacation time should she deliver early... so we have a decision to make.  Thank goodness for vacation insurance and honestly this is the LEAST of our worries!

Here's to hoping and praying!

Written 8/11/13

Our entire adoption journey to date now boils down to an hour and a half spent at Bob Evans this morning. We made the almost 2 hour drive to meet with J and her birth parent counselor to see if we will become parents sooner rather than later.

We set our alarm and work up early so that we would have plenty of time to get ready and hit the road in case of traffic. We made it to our destination and found the address with about 15 minutes to spare. I didn’t want to sit in the parking lot like a creeper, and was hoping that J would arrive before us, so we went to Kohl’s and walked around for a bit. Of course, I browsed the baby section while thinking, “Is this real? Is it OK for me to do this?” I don’t want to jinx anything!

We still arrived at the restaurant first, which I was hoping not to do, and sat down at a table in a far corner. We ordered waters for all of us and waited. After about 10 minutes I texted the birth parent counselor to let her know that we were at the restaurant and where we were sitting. 5 minutes later my phone rang and my heart dropped. I told Nate, “They aren’t coming.”

Luckily, they were just at the wrong Bob Evans! I don’t know why there are so many locations in this city, but talk about giving me a heart attack!

Once we got that sorted out, J and the birth parent counselor headed over and our meeting began. My nerves must have gotten the best of me, because I really don’t remember anything specific about our meeting. We introduced ourselves with the birth parent counselor's help, we ordered our food and we just started talking. The birth parent counselor really guided the conversation, but we made it to each topic pretty naturally. I answered some questions and Nate answered some, we made sure to focus on J while speaking, we asked her some questions and she had a few for us. We also gave her a few new photos of the completed nursery and from our family photo sessions this spring. Overall we thought everything went pretty well considering how nervous we all were.

After about an hour and a half we wrapped things up. J and I hugged and we all got had a photo taken together. We also exchanged phone numbers and planned to keep in touch. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I figured this was a good sign. Before the meeting we were told that it would be surprising if this wasn’t our match, since J only wanted to meet us. But still…

We got in the car and went our separate ways, unsure of what to expect next. Nate and I asked each other, “how do you think it went?” and “what’s next?” and we just drove.

About 15 minutes later the phone rang. It was the birth parent counselor telling us what we’ve been waiting to hear for what seems like forever…

“Congratulations! You’re officially matched!”

We are so, so, so thrilled!

A few minutes after getting of the phone with the birth parent counselor my phone went off again. A text from J containing the first photo of our baby – her 13 week ultrasound. It brought tears to my eyes.

Feeling so blessed.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Action!

Wow!  The power of prayer continues to amaze me, and my mood has improved drastically with some progress we've made over the past two days!

From the big announcement we recently made here on the blog, you know that we've been officially matched since 8/11 and were scheduled to attend a doctors appointment with J on 8/30.  Since that time we had very little contact with the birth parent counselor in our case, and no contact from our agency.  I wasn't comfortable having no communication or acknowledgement of our match, but I didn't want to be too pushy since our due date is still relatively far off.  I trust our agency, and know that everyone there is busy working hard for every family.

Thankfully we started getting some answers on Wednesday afternoon via text from our birth parent counselor.  We learned that we would be meeting J at the doctors office (it had been a possibility that we would pick her up, which was absolutely no problem for us).  We were also told that she would like to go to lunch with us after the appointment (we offered previously, if she was interested).  So we had a plan, thank goodness!

But there were still some questions that remained unanswered.  When I raised these questions to our birth parent counselor, she wasn't certain on some of the answers.  After she made a quick call to the agency, I immediately began getting my answers.

I spoke to the director of domestic adoptions at our agency, and she was able to tell me that even though we do need to amend our home study to include foster-to-adopt (due to a situation specific issue we have) we won't need to complete any more training (we've already met the requirements for fostering an infant).  We simply need to have one more home study visit, and submit a few additional items.  Those items include proof of income for a two month period and copies of all of our utility bills.  Simple compared to what we've already completed and submitted!

Alright!  So now we've got the information we need, and we are still planning to take our 5 year anniversary trip/honeymoon to Cancun!  We had considered rescheduling the trip so we could complete the training we thought we needed.  What a relief!

As for the appointment we had on Friday,  I thought everything went pretty excellent!  We arrived at the office just as J was checking in for her appointment.  Our birth parent counselor arrived just after we did, and the nurse called us back relatively quickly.  Unfortunately Nate was asked to wait in the waiting room, but I was able to go into the room with J.  The nurse started by asking routine questions and taking J's vitals.  When she asked J to undress and wait for the doctor, I left the room to give J her privacy.

While I was waiting I learned that the doctor is actually an adoptive mom too!  She has an 8 month old daughter, and she understands adoption.  Bonus!

After the doctor was done, and J was clothed again Nate was able to come back and we did get to hear the baby's heartbeat, which was 150 bmp.  We were hoping to have an ultrasound today, and possibly find out the gender, but we have to wait for next week for that.  We set up J's next appointments, and then were moved to a new room where J had several vials of blood drawn.  Prayers for those tests to come back good would be much appreciated!

After the blood draw, we were free to go, and I think we were all relieved!  We headed to Roosters for lunch, and were able to talk to J for quite a while.  She was curious about what the holidays are like with our families, so we discussed that a little bit and just talked about how things were going for her in general.  I was thrilled when she brought up baby names first, because we wanted to talk about them but (again) didn't want to seem pushy.  We talked about using the name she likes for a girl as a middle name, and she likes the name we chose for a first name.  When she told us the name she's been thinking of for a boy, I couldn't believe that it was the same name that we've been talking about for years!  It gave me chills!!  I guess we won't have much work to do, if this little one turns out to be a boy.

After we ate, J had us drop her off at her grandparent's house and we parted ways.

I just want to mention, before wrapping this up, how grateful I am for all of the prayers and support we have received in our adoption process.  Some of those prayers have been answered, and I am in awe of how amazing it is.  We appreciate your continued support and prayers, and will continue to provide updates here!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What We Want...

If there's anything I've learned about adoption since beginning our process, it's that our eventual joy - the thing we want most - does not come without a significant sacrifice on behalf of someone who most likely will only know us through a letter, a 20 page picture book and maybe a few meetings and text messages if we're lucky.  I can not express how much this fact presses on my heart, and how much love and respect I already have for our future birth mother.

I also realize that the day we start our family will be one of the happiest of our lives, but while we celebrate many of those close to us will still be wishing for the same exact moment in their lives.  I've been there, and I know how it feels.  I also know that my acknowledging the fact that it basically sucks (for lack of a better term) doesn't make anyone feel better, but for what it's worth you are in my thoughts and prayers constantly.

And I have learned that in the adoption community, especially the virtual one, there are lots of opinions and feelings.  Sometimes those opinions come out in not such a nice way due to so many intense feelings and the ability to hide behind a keyboard.  I realize that everyone handles their adoption updates differently, and I hope that I am not hated for keeping a relatively open account of our adoption on this blog.  I am often intimidated by comments I read on certain message boards and by the eloquent writing of other adoption bloggers.  I know my posts are not very sophisticated, but I think they express my feelings OK and I hope that someone out there finds them helpful in their own adoption research.

Because of these reasons and so many more, this update is definitely a bittersweet (and a little scary) one for me to write...

Nate and I are overjoyed to announce that as of 8/11/13 we are officially matched!  The expectant mother who has lovingly and courageously chosen us is relatively local - about a 2 hour drive from us - and is due in January.  We are so thankful that she has invited us to attend her next doctor appointment with her, and we're hoping to learn the gender at that time.

I've not decided what other details to share.  After all, most of the details still belong to an expectant mother and her unborn child at this time.  They aren't really ours to share just yet.  And after everything is finalized (God willing) some of the details will still belong to our future child.  Obviously as an infant, the child won't mind be aware of my sharing his or her every accomplishment on the world wide web, but one day that child will be an adult with his or her own life and that adult may want to lead a more private life than that.  Long story short, we're still sorting out what to share and how to share it.

I did write some "in-the-moment" posts as we received "The Call," had "The Meeting," and started the process of being matched.  I've post dated them to reflect the date that they were actually written, and I'll be posting them here for you all.  I've also updated our timeline, which I'm glad to hear has become a useful tool for others considering adoption - that was my intent in creating it as I was looking for (and didn't find) something similar when we started our research.

To wrap this up, Nate and I are obviously ecstatic!  We know we have a long and emotional road ahead, but we hope that our friends and families can join in our excitement.  We also hope that everyone can understand that certain details are sensitive and need to be handled with respect.  If we don't answer your questions (especially online) it's not because we're trying to be rude - we're just trying to respect everyone's right to privacy and discretion.  We realize that our news impacts each of you differently, and we wish only the best for each and every one of you.