Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week Two

Well… week two has come and gone. Time truly is flying by since baby K arrived. As I mentioned in my last post, our second week as a family of three was much less busy than week one. It’s been nice to start getting into the swing of things and really focus on taking care of Miss K (who happens to be snoozing away right now).

On Monday we had our first of six home visits with the agency. I know a lot of prospective adoptive couples get anxious about home visits – we used to be one of those couples – but they really aren’t stressful at all. We still meet with the same social worker who did our home study, and we’ve seen and talked with her at several agency events since then. It’s nice to have a familiar face for these visits, and that she recalls details that Nate and I can’t even remember sharing with her. I know she is at work when she comes for home visits, but I feel like she really cares about us as a family, too. We even showed her a bunch of new photos we’ve taken, and she seemed to enjoy getting to know who everyone was.

For those of you who may not know – in Ohio a birth mother (and/or father) must wait at least 72 hours after the birth of her child to sign the release of parental rights form. When she signs this form, she releases custody of her child to the agency, who then places the child with adoptive or foster parents. From that time there must be at least six monthly home visits with a social worker before an adoptive family can legally finalize their adoption in court. There are a few more steps involved in this process for us, which revolve around Ohio’s laws regarding a legal father and a “putative” (birth or biological) father, but right now we are in the “waiting period” between placement and finalization. Home visits are really just meetings to make sure the child is happy and healthy and to make sure that everyone is adjusting well to the new family structure. Just remember – this process varies from state to state and also depends on the type of adoption being pursued. The Adoption Guide is a good place to start if you’d like more info on this.

Speaking of legal issues – we went to the attorney’s office on Wednesday to start our official paperwork. For some reason I was nervous for this visit – probably because 1) It was K’s first public appearance (aside from her agency visit, which she slept through) and 2) I’ve never been involved with a lawyer or attorney before. Again, this visit was very low key and stress free. We really just signed an agreement for the attorney’s services and started the paperwork to file with the Ohio Putative Father Registry. K slept the whole time, yet again!

I know I haven’t shared a lot about K’s birth family’s situation, but here’s where the extra steps I mentioned above come in. Per the Ohio Department of Job and Family services Website, “a putative father is a male who may be a child's father, but who is not married to the child's mother on or before the date that the child is born; or has not established paternity of the child in a court or administrative agency proceeding in this or another state before the date the child is to be adopted; or has not completed an acknowledgement of paternity affidavit before the filing of an adoption petition for the child. If the mother of a child wants to place the child for adoption, the putative father must take steps to show that he is the legal father of that child in order to have the right to be notified of the adoption proceedings.”

Because there are more people involved, we are taking the steps to make sure the adoption goes through without a hitch. Her birth mother and legal father both signed their parental rights release 72 hours after K’s birth. Since we started the paperwork already, K’s birth father has 30 days from her birth to come forward, should he choose to do so. If we missed this step, the 30 days could be extended. I really don’t see this being an issue, considering that K’s birth father was at the hospital with us the entire time – but we want to make sure our bases are covered. Job and Family Services has in depth information regarding the Ohio Putative Father Registry.

After we left the attorney’s office, we made our first stop in the real world as a family of three. We decided to exchange some (unused, of course) bottles at Babies R Us, so that we could try something that would be better for K’s stomach. Even though she wasn’t really interested in eating while we were at the hospital, she was still an excellent burper and didn’t spit up at all. Since coming home, her appetite has definitely kicked in, but she tends to get pretty gassy and takes up to 40 minutes to burp. We did try gas drops, but I don’t like the idea of adding them to her formula at every feeding if there is another solution. We’ve had the new Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Added Comfort bottles for a few days now, and they do seem to help. Since she’s having a few other tummy issues, I’m thinking she might not be tolerating her formula very well. I talked to the pediatrician today, and we’re going to try something new. So… stay tuned!

Thursday was a pretty relaxed day from what I remember. Nate and I cherish the days we’ve had where we can just be together and get our daughter into some sort of routine. We were really thankful too, when our sister-in-law brought us dinner! She made an excellent chicken pot pie and some really great cookies (for which I need to remember to get the recipe!), and she didn’t even complain about holding the baby while we stuffed our faces!

On Saturday we were so excited for a visit from our close friends from Michigan. It was a little more low key than our visits normally are, with lots of baby cuddling and relaxing while it snowed and snowed outside. Of course it wouldn’t be a complete visit without some sort of home improvement project, so we took them up on their offer to recaulk the tub for us – our caulking skills are well below average! I’m glad our friends were able to make it here and safely home again, in spite of the weather!

And yesterday was my first day home alone with Miss K, as Nate headed back to work. She had a rough night on Sunday (which is prompting the formula research), so aside from my being a little over tired, the day went just fine. She is still in her sleep-most-of-the-day stage, so I was able to make the bed, get caught up on the laundry and dishes, start her baby book and try to get a few things figured out with my leave from work. I’ve haven’t even had a problem getting a shower (and shaving my legs, a luxury!) the past two days… I’m sure this will all change when she starts being awake more often and wanting to play!

We even sent our first care package to J. This is mainly because she has been having issues signing on to the photo sharing site we created, and because I promised to make a shirt for her daughter to wear for her upcoming 3rd birthday party! I ordered copies of all the photos we have of K so far and sent them along with a card and the shirt. We have still been texting regularly, so she said she plans to look at the pictures on Thursday when she meets with her birth mother counselor.

We also started using the babybix app to track K’s eat, sleep and potty schedule. We started out using the sheet from the hospital, but tended to misplace the paper or forget to write things down. The sheet evolved to a binder, which helped us keep things in order but didn’t help us remember to write things down. I tried about three other baby tracker phone apps, but babybix seems to be the most simple and straight forward.  While it's interface might not be as attractive, it does get the job done for us.  With the app I can keep my iPhone (which I currently just use for apps) on the table next to where we feed K. Much more convenient!

There have been a few things we are starting to question, though. I think her umbilical cord came off Sunday evening while I was changing her diaper, but it looks like part of it is still there. That and a few other things got me doing my research, and here are a few links I found helpful:

Parents.com - Newborn Body Basics
Babycenter - Caring For Your Newborns Umbilical Cord

I think that about sums up our second week home with baby K. I’m hoping to do a few more weekly updates and then they may turn into monthly baby updates. I still want to write posts about the adoption community in general – not just ours… even though I could go on and on!

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