October 7, 2016–one day before our 5th wedding anniversary–our lives were forever changed as we welcomed this sweet face into our lives.
Wren was two months old when she came to live with us. If you do the math and had read my previous Adoption Update post, you might have figured out that she is, indeed, the same Little One with whom we were matched up before! Out of respect for the birth family’s privacy, I won’t go into details on why the change of heart, but suffice it to say they wanted us to be Wren’s forever family.
Wren was born 6 weeks early and while overall healthy, she spent a couple weeks in the NICU to grow. Then, she went home with her birth family. She was initially named Hope because her birth mother wanted her to be an adoptive family’s hope for starting their own family. Her birth family took excellent care of her for a month and a half before she came to live with us permanently. The love they have for her was palpable, not just from their words, but their actions, how they interacted with her and how they sent her off with us.
Let me backup a little…
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We got “the call” on a Tuesday. Our social worker said something along the lines of, “Sooooo, do you remember that baby we talked about before…?” We got some of the scoop and had to make the choice if we were still interested. It didn’t take long for us to reach the conclusion that yes, we’d risk another let down for the chance to be this Little One’s daddies.
The SW put everything into motion and we would have the baby placed with us on that same Friday. Those four days were the longest days of our lives! We didn’t want to buy anything or work on the nursery in case things fell through again. That first experience was so incredibly painful, we didn’t want to risk reliving it. We’d either be returning or donating things, which would be painful. Not only were we worried that things might fall through again, but we couldn’t tell anyone. If it fell through, we didn’t want to go through the pain of having to explain that it didn’t work out again. I finally told my coworkers and my boss on Thursday because I was off that Friday and I didn’t know if I was coming back to work that next week or if it would be 12 weeks later. We figured out a plan for who would take my duties if things were successful. I truly have some amazingly supportive colleagues!
Friday was even tougher…we were both scheduled to be off so we didn’t have any distractions. Instead, we cleaned the house top-to-bottom and prepped the nursery as best we could by organizing what we had. Our SW asked us to be near the pickup location around 4pm, which was when the birth mother was signing her termination of parental rights. In Ohio, once that is signed, the birth mother gives up all rights to the child and cannot legally rescind that signature. So once signed, it’s a done deal.
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Around 3pm we left for the pickup location, which was only about 35 minutes away, but we wanted to be sure we were on-time or early just in case anything got in the way, like traffic or a nervous breakdown. (I’m shaking just writing this and reliving that moment.) In the car, we had only the car seat and a blanket that was made by my sweet co-worker Patti. We didn’t even have diapers or formula because we had no idea how big the baby was or what formula she was taking. It was fascinating to see how much I felt unprepared in that moment. Me, a pediatric nurse, a man who is 2nd oldest of 26 grandkids just on mom’s side, older brother to 3, uncle to 20 and had been changing diapers and feeding babies since I was 6 or 7. How could I possibly be unprepared? (I’m told this is totally normal for parents right as the first baby is about to arrive.) On the way, we filmed a little message for the Little One and that really built up the excitement!
We drove past the pickup location and then stopped at a nearby park to wait. Our SW had texted us several times throughout the afternoon to keep up abreast of the positive progress. Then, came the final text…
I have never been more deliberate in my driving than ever before. I drove safely, but with definite purpose and quivering hands. We were going to pick up our daughter! I had been waiting for this moment since I was 12 years old. This was about to be my dream come true 24 years in the making!I held back tears as we approached the house.
I held back tears as we approached the house, trying to maintain some respectable level of composure while we did all the adult things we needed to do. The birth mother met us in the front yard, along with the birth father–who we had never met. It was such a great thing to be able to meet him, too! We took photos of them both so our daughter would have those pictures no matter what happens in the future. Then, we went inside where both sets of grandparents were waiting along with our SW and an attorney.
After two quick signatures, we got to meet this sweet Tiny which we now have the great fortune of calling our own. *tears, streaming tears*
The family was so sweet! The birth mother and both sets of grandparents showered us with information about Hope (her name at the time) as well as gifts for her. They sent us away with a case of formula, boxes of diapers, feeding/changing supplies, a sizable gift card, vitamins, clothing, blankets and all sorts of gifts that various extended family members had given her–as well as some incredibly sweet, personal gifts for Hope. We were overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity! To say that they wanted to give her the best possible start with us is an understatement.
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After some tearful goodbyes, hugs all around and many well wishes, we finally got in the car with our daughter. We started the drive home–Chad at the wheel since I wasn’t in any condition to drive–and me in the back with this sweet Little One. I spoke to her the whole way home, telling her how grateful we were that she was finally with us, that we had waited for just this right moment and that she was going to continue to be loved just as she had been all along. Chad asked me at one point on the way home if this seemed like it was actually happening. We agreed it was completely surreal! To top it off, she even smiled big smiles at me on the way home. *tears, streaming tears*
We called or texted the handful of people who knew about the situation just so they would know things DID go through and so that we could mobilize a few things logistically. My sister brought over a bassinet that we had let her borrow as well as so many things I can’t even remember. And there we were.
As a family.
Me, my husband and our daughter.
Life in the month since has been absolute bliss! I’m taking 12 weeks off of work to be home with Wren and give her the best start that we can. She’s a champion cooer, smiler, sleeper and eater. There’s so much more to tell, but all in time. Right now, I’ve got a baby to go cuddle with.
Just know that my answer when people ask, “So, how’s it going?” is honestly…
I’m on top of the world!