Well now. It’s been a hot second since I last blogged. I don’t know if having an infant basically arrive on your doorstop one day is an excuse, but I’m going to use it nonetheless. I’ll be honest – I was thinking about catching up on the months leading up to his arrival, but I’m quite sure that the most important story is what happened in December. So…I’m going to start there instead!
In the last few months leading up to December, I was getting a little down in the dumps. I will say that one of the most difficult parts of the waiting process in adoption is patience. It is SO hard to wait for something that does not have a solid end date (or in this case: arrival date). In July, one of my friends gifted us a “baby’s first Christmas” ornament. It was sitting in our nursery on a shelf, and I thought about it a lot. I prayed over it a lot. I was so sure that we would be using the ornament. It was such a strong feeling. I didn’t talk about it much with anyone else. In the summer, I was truly positive and hopeful that we would indeed have a baby in our home with us at Christmas. However, once it rolled into October, then into November…I was pretty much convinced my feeling must have been “off” in some way.
In the interim, Justin and I decided to start our training to become licensed foster parents. It has been on our hearts for quite some time, so we thought that perhaps our path was leading us there for the time being. So, we completed our training, our background checks, visited a day of court hearings, read up on a lot of materials, and set our house up with even more safety checks than we already had in place for our adoption home study (thankfully, a lot of the requirements are the same, so it wasn’t too difficult!). When that was complete, we started to wait for our license to be approved. More waiting. They were pushing for us to be approved before Christmas, and we prayed about it every day once December rolled around.
The first week went by as usual, with the exception that I was checking my email constantly to hear if our license was approved. Of course, as soon as we submitted all of our foster care paperwork, potential situations for adoptions started to roll in steadily! We hadn’t seen many show up for a long time, so I had to laugh at the timing. Justin and I decided it was best to keep responding as usual, to keep saying yes, because we were committed to our adoption process and didn’t want to miss out on any potential adoption situations. When the right thing was going to come along, it was going to be meant to be.
December 9. Sunday. Justin randomly had asked off from work that day. We went to church in the morning, and then I headed off to work in the afternoon to teach a couple of classes. Towards the end of the first class, I noticed my phone in the back of the room lighting up quite a few times. It was clear that someone was trying to call and/or text me more than once. As class was ending, I grabbed my phone and turned it over to see that I had missed calls and text messages from our adoption specialist. My heart rate immediately skyrocketed. I practically threw down my microphone and the remote to the ipod, and then quickly told my class that they’d have to wait a few minutes because I had to make a phone call. As the 3pm class filed out and the 4pm class started filing in, I was dialing our agency to see what was going on.
At this point, I was pretty sure that the call was going to be a match call. We were waiting to hear back about 4 different situations, and there was one expectant mother who had looked at our profile 2 days earlier on Friday. It seemed logical. That particular child wasn’t due to be born until almost April, so it would have been a wait, but my mind immediately thought that it would be a great Christmas present just to be matched…perhaps this was our news!
And then, you probably could have knocked me over with a feather. Our specialist asked if Justin was with me when she picked up the phone. I quickly told her no…I was at work…but I wanted her to tell me whatever it was because I wasn’t going to be home for more than an hour. I’d fill him in. He’d understand. There was NO way I could have taught a class 5 minutes later without knowing what the situation was. Then…she told me that she had an early Christmas present for us. A baby boy had been born the previous day. It was a “stork drop.” His first mother had looked at profile books (we didn’t know about it because it was such a quick situation – they showed her profiles of families they knew would be ok with a surprise like this) and had chosen ours. And – could we make it to the hospital tonight to go meet him???
I think time started to move incredibly fast and insanely slow all at once, if that is possible. My head started spinning. There’s a baby. Right now. Waiting for us. Of course I said YES yes yes into the phone to let them know we would be on our way immediately. What did we need to bring? Where were we going? I dropped everything and basically ran out of the studio (thank GOODNESS another lovely teacher was at the studio and was able to teach my class). On the way home I frantically called Justin and told him he needed to START PACKING because we needed to be on the road as soon as humanly possible once I got home.
Here’s the thing. We were “ready” for a baby in a lot of ways…but also NOT. We had the crib, the changing table, the stroller, the car seat, some bottles, and some formula samples. I had one small package of newborn size diapers. I only had one single outfit that would work for him – it was a Christmas footie pajama set that I picked up on a whim one day because it was on sale. We quickly threw that outfit along with a couple of muslin blankets into the wash with some Dreft so he could wear them. As the washer and dryer were running, Justin and I were sprinting around the house trying to pack up all of the things we needed. Justin had to install the car seat into the back of my car. My mom had to drive over to our house to pick up our dogs. All of these things happened in the course of about an hour or less, and then we threw everything into the car and got on the road to the hospital. I booked a hotel room for us for the night while we were en route. Dinner? Nope. Keep driving – we wanted to get to the hospital.
The drive to the hospital was about 2 hours long but I swear it was all of 20 minutes, because the next thing we knew, we were pulling into the hospital parking structure and walking into the front lobby to get our visitors’ badges. We knew he was up in the nursery with the nursing staff, and they were aware that we were on our way. I think the shock of the past few hours was still on me, because instead of being an emotional mess, I felt oddly like this was oh so normal. Yep. We’re walking into the hospital to meet our son and take him home. No biggie. HOW was I not a sobbing, emotional wreck? No clue.
So – we rode the elevator up to the nursery floor and walked to their desk. I’ll admit it was kind of an awkward/funny experience to ask the nurses where we go – we weren’t visiting a patient…the baby didn’t have a name…we kind of stumbled over our words for a second trying to get them to understand who we were. Of course, they immediately led us back to the nursery, where Everett was waiting for us!
There wasn’t space in the hospital for us to have an actual room and stay with him overnight, so the nurses set us up in the back of the nurse station in the lactation room. They rolled his bed in and set up two chairs so we could sit and hold him. I am sure every single mother thinks this when they lay eyes on their child for the first time, but I absolutely could not believe how perfect and beautiful he was. On the car ride over, Justin and I had realized we didn’t have the faintest idea of what he would look like since we had never met his first family (or even seen a picture). We were just blown away by how adorable he was from the get-go.
We spent about two hours at the hospital holding Everett that night. The visiting hours ended at 9pm, but the nurses let us stay longer (so nice!). When 10pm rolled around, Justin and I were so tired, we knew it was time to leave, check into our hotel, and eat some food. And maybe enjoy our last full night of sleep for a while!
Yeah. That totally didn’t happen, by the way. We picked up something to eat and got to our hotel room…but sleep? Nope. I am pretty sure I only slept for about 20 minutes at a time, at the most. My mind was WAY too busy processing what had happened, and what would happen the next day when we brought our newborn son home! We woke up the next morning, showered, ate a nice breakfast, and then headed straight back to the hospital to get some more snuggle time in! The pediatrician gave the ok for Everett to go home at around 11am, but we had to stay a little bit longer for his adoption paperwork to be completed by our agency. Then: it was time to go!
Funny story – hospital policy is that when babies are leaving the hospital, mama is rolled out in the wheelchair holding baby. Of course, I could have walked him out myself, but our lovely wheelchair and car seat valet insisted I take a seat. We all laughed as he brought us downstairs and towards the front doors, where he checked our car seat (going over all the details again on how to place Everett in it properly) and our car seat base in the car (in case we had installed it improperly, haha). Then – we rolled out and were headed HOME!