Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rudy's Birth--Part 4

Breakfast with my family.  We sent this pic to R to tell her we were celebrating her.  

That night I couldn't sleep. This time because I was so excited and nervous.  The next morning I was up super early before anyone else (first time that's ever happened).  My brother suggested we go to breakfast as a family to celebrate.  While at breakfast, I talked to R's caseworker several times working out details of how the next 24 hours would go.  R wanted to do placement that night, only 24 hours after baby's birth.  We were uncomfortable with that plan because the caseworker was traveling home from a business trip that afternoon, so placement would be late and rushed.  Plus I thought R should take her time making her decision and holding her baby.  R wanted us to come to the hospital to see her baby that day, so we made plans to quickly get a Christmas tree, then drop our kids off at my parent's house so we could spend some time at the hospital.

We still hadn't done a single thing to get ready for the baby to come home, which for a planner like me, was weighing really, really heavy.  But because everything was still up in the air that week prior, we couldn't possibly put things like birthday parties and getting a Christmas tree on hold.  

Putting the tree ahead of the baby that day was a bad idea, however.  We got to to the tree lot and it was cold and pouring down rain.  The saw G brought wasn't strong enough to cut the tree down.  Eventually he borrowed a hack saw and after a lot of frustration, finally got it cut down and roped to the top of the car.  The clock was ticking.  We were supposed to be at the hospital in two hours and we still needed to do the following:  drive home and set up the tree, get dressed and be presentable, drop our kids off at my parents' house, drive one hour to the hospital.  On our way home R texted me that the hospital staff reserved us a room at the hospital so we could stay the night with the baby.  I was terribly uncomfortable taking her precious time with him.  Plus there wasn't enough minutes in the day to prepare for an overnight stay, which would include packing everything we would need for placement (gifts for birthmom, camera, etc) and everything we would need for baby (carseat, clothes, blankets, formula, bottles, diapers, etc), plus our overnight stuff, plus overnight clothes for our other two kids.  Earlier that day we had discovered our bottles -- an entire large tub full -- were missing.  The clothes were unwashed.  And our carseat was still in the box it arrived in.  We had no diapers.  We had nothing ready.

Within the next hour there was a lot of yelling and crying and absolute mayhem and panic.  We were going to arrive late to meet the baby we had prayed for for years!  The chaos seemed so inconsistent with how things should be.  And on top of everything else, the tree we just spent an hour cutting down was way too big for our tree stand.  We tried and tried to get it to work, each minute ticking by as we wrestled with it.  We considered putting it in the yard debris recycling bin and giving up on the tree that Christmas season.  Sometimes you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them.  The tree was not worth losing our baby or marriage over...  It all sounds so dramatic, and trust me, it was.  Finally we decided to put it in a bucket and lean it against the wall in our living room. We figured it could stay like that for a few days until we got everything else in our lives situated.  But in the meantime it fell over multiple times and lost most of it's needles all over our carpet.  We are still enjoying, a year later, looking at the sap stains on the wall from where it rested that weekend. 

The blasted tree.  The carnage actually was much, much worse than it looks.  

Eventually we were in the car and headed for grandma's house.  On route we decided we wouldn't stay the night.  It seemed like a selfish decision from every angle.  Plus logistics played a role in that decision.  

We don't have a lot of feelings or memories from that first visit.  We were nervous as we arrived.  And we thought he was so beautiful when we saw him.  He was fat (9 lbs, 1 oz) and looked like a 6-week old baby.  He had a full head of dark hair with a slight red tint.  His skin was perfect and his head was round like a much older baby.  He had enormous hands and feet and the most pronounced elf ears.  He was our first full-term baby, which made a big difference in his size and how developed he looked.

Each of our experiences meeting our baby's for the first time are all very different.  God gave me what I needed for each individual situation.  I just needed to cope in that moment.  I didn't have any amazing spiritual experiences.  I didn't feel bonded in that instant.  I felt "fine."  I felt like everything was as it should be and he was ours, but otherwise, I was keeping a safe emotional distance.
 G holding his boy for the first time. 

I felt regret that week that when he gets older and we tell him his story, we won't be telling a story of excitement and bliss leading up to his birth.  But as I've thought about it, we were clueless about R's pregnancy, and once we learned of him, we were busy and scared.  We were worried and terrified of not getting him more than anything.

I thought I wanted any baby, but as soon as I got to know him, I realized I wanted him.  So while this baby didn't get a nursery and his parents weren't full of joy and anticipation on the day of his birth, he will grow up knowing we wanted him so badly it physically hurt.  And he will grow up knowing he healed that pain.  It wasn't the anticipation of his arrival that was exciting.  But it was the reality of what he brought to our family that was exciting. 

Rudy's birthfather didn't go to the hospital as feared and his birthmom was still very resolved and unemotional about everything.  This was both a relief and a serious worry.  She was very generous and was willing to let us hold him as much as we wanted.  She was still open to us staying the night with him.  She said he was our baby.  All the details were coming together as we hoped, but it was unusual that she was so detached from the situation.  All birthmoms are different, but we hoped she was OK and was giving herself permission to feel the joys of having a baby, and the deepest lows a person can experience.  She was very stoic during that first visit.

She had amazing friends from church there in the hospital with her.  We were so impressed by their love and friendship.  They all had children at home and here it was a week before Christmas, but they were there with her around the clock.  The staff at the hospital was warm and supportive of her and us.  It was a little awkward feeling like we were intruding on such sacred space, but the staff seemed to go with the flow, which was so nice.

We loved watching R nurture her baby.  She was so soft with him.  Rudy was her second baby, so nursing and changing diapers came naturally to her.  She was very at ease caring for him.

We didn't spend a lot of time there that afternoon.  Nobody really had much to say. And we wanted to give her as much time as possible to be his mommy.

Does he look like a baby that is less than 24-hours old?  His hair was amazing and still is.  I could tell already he would be a sweetheart.  

We spent the drive back texting with our caseworker and hers, working out details for placement the next day.  We planned to arrive at the hospital around 10:00.  There was a lot to do in the meantime.  The caseworkers needed to prepare the mountains of paperwork to be signed by her and us.  And in order to do that, they needed his name.  They had been asking us for a few days, as had R.  We had been casually considering names and had a short list, but nothing felt right.  Mostly because I just couldn't bring myself to choose a name for a hypothetical baby.  Now that we had seen him and held him and now that we were 14 hours away from placement, it was time to make a commitment.

The weight of that decision seemed overwhelming.  The task was impossible.   We decided to discuss it over dinner.  As we walked into the restaurant, we saw two of my good friends from highschool, and conveniently, they were also fellow adoptive parents.  It was another huge comfort to have their support, understanding, and listening ear.

We talked and talked and talked about possible names.  R had chosen his middle name a few hours before he was born.  It was a unique Hawaiian name meaning "a cool breeze blowing over a mountain."  She loved it because she wanted him to be a strong person who gave people peace during their difficult times.  It was also a fitting name, considering he was born on a day of tragedy and was such a source of peace for her and for our family.

We considered Edward as a first name, a family name on both sides.  We both loved it and that was R's top choice for him.  (That name would have suited him perfectly, now that we know him.  Darn!)  But it just didn't feel right.  We had a few other options and they didn't seem right either.  G liked one name in particular, but although I liked it, it didn't have any significance to me.  It was just a random nice name.  I needed to feel a connection, enough to trump the family name we were considering. We agonized over this.  Our phones were blowing up with friends and family and caseworkers begging for more details... and a name.

I thought hard about why I cared about his name.  I had cared so deeply for Sambo's name that I traded naming rights for lasik eye surgery.  I got to pick his name, G got surgery to fix his eyes.  Seemed like a fair trade and I am still so happy with that negotiation six years later.  Anyway, as I soul-searched while eating chips and salsa, I realized I didn't care what Rudy's name was.  I just wanted HIM.  For years I hadn't cared which baby I got.  I was even willing to do foster care and share parenting someone else's baby, as long as I got to have a baby.  I sat there in the restaurant and realized I didn't need a powerful connection right away with him when I first saw him.  I knew I'd love him no matter who he was or what his name was.  It's an interesting thing.  When so much is at stake, a baby or not a baby, names just don't matter.  So I let G choose.

I did, however, want to make sure the name he chose was associated with good strong men.  Interestingly enough, the two people we could think of right then with that name were amazingly strong men that we admired from church.  One of the men had lost an infant daughter to a heart defect only three months prior.  We had watched him and his wife handle the experience and their grief with so much faith and grace.  It seemed like a honor to give a son a name that reminded us of somebody so strong and courageous.  The decision was made.  The name was formal for a baby, so G texted our friend and asked him what nicknames he had a kid.  He replied right away with some good ones, including Roo-Roo.  As soon as I heard the name Roo-Roo, my heart was full.  I knew that Roo-Roo was my baby.  Quickly, we thought of the nickname Rudy and then Rooster.  And all three names have stuck.  Now a year later, I don't even think Rudy knows what his real name is. 

We left the restaurant, returned to my parent's house to tuck our kids into bed there.  We then made an 11:00pm stop at Target to buy a bouncy seat (I sleep train from day one and needed one for that purpose), some diapers, formula, and a bottle since we weren't sure where our stash was.  We came home and while G spent an hour (literally) vacuuming up needles that had fallen all over the carpet, I started washing baby clothes.  We eventually found the bottles, thank goodness, hidden in a strange spot in a garage cupboard.  G put together the carseat and we straightened the house.  We organized our gifts for R, charged our camera, chose some outfits for him to come home in -- all hand-me-downs from his brothers.  But we had some darling Christmas outfit options at least!  Eventually we went to bed at dawn.  The stress of the week was over.  We were exhausted but energized yet also very serene.  We had chosen a name.  Our bottles were washed.  We had clothes and all the necessities.  We were beyond ready and it was happening.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story -- Part 3

Considering our baby is turning ONE in two days, I think it's time to wrap up his birth story.  It is important for me to write all this out so he will know about the circumstances of his birth.  But it was a painful part of our lives and so it's been really hard for me to face the trauma of that month.  Everyone has times in their life that are really hard.  And for whatever reason, several "hard" situations came to a head between October and January of last year.  We have had a peaceful year as a result, but we've remained tender for many months.  Still, Rudy's life and birth were a miracle and clearly show God's love for each one of us.  So I want to tell more of the story...

See Part 1 and Part 2

I could hardly function when I woke up the next morning -- the day Rudy would be born.  Even without the adoption and new baby on the way, I still would have been overwhelmed.  It was an intense week even without all that going on.

As I was getting Buddy ready for school I knew R was already being induced.  So I sent her a "Good luck!  I hope your day is good!" text.

I asked G for a blessing that morning.  My mother -- who obviously listens to the spirit -- called and said she was coming over to help me clean my house to get ready for Sambo's birthday celebration with his birth family.  It was going to be a very full house with lots of people later that night.  This was the first time some of them had been to our house.  I always feel like I need to have a clean house and have things "all together" when they come, although I really need to get over that.  If there was a time I should have practiced letting things go, that would have been the time, but my anxiety was driving my cleaning spree.  The house would be spotless by that evening. 

I turned on the news right after taking Buddy to school.  I had never once done that so early in the morning.  I was looking for a distraction from the pit in my stomach and thought watching a little news would help.  A massive shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut was all over the news.  Many children were dead.  I turned off the TV instantly.  My stomach was already in knots, and hearing that news, it wound so tightly I seriously could hardly breath.  This news was so upsetting to me I didn't even mention it to my mom when she got here.  I wanted to pretend like it wasn't true.  I was trying so hard to be excited about this precious baby being born into the world.  It seemed like he was coming into such unfortunate circumstances.  It seemed so unfair.  He was coming to a world that was unsafe for children.  He was going to be placed for adoption into a family that was too busy and fearful to prepare for his arrival, get excited about his birth, or even choose a name for him.

I kept thinking:  We all need peace.  We all need some hope.  If I had peace and hope, I could do this.  

I also had been thinking for the past three days that someone really needed to invent an epidural for adoption.  Unfortunately, it doesn't exist!  The only thing that relieves the pressure is prayer.  So I prayed a lot.

Sambo with his birthmom.  

I texted R all throughout the day.  She was happy and calm all day.  That evening we had Sambo's party.  It was wonderful to be with his birth family that night for a lot of reasons.  It was comforting to be with people that understand the trauma and heartbreak and also indescribable joy of adoption.  And it was good for them to experience the angst and worry about what was happening to R in the hospital.  We grew closer that night as a result of that shared experience.    

That evening around 8:30 I got the text that our sweet baby had been born.  R was open with details and asked us if we wanted him immunized.  She said she was feeling great and he was perfectly healthy. 
This was the picture we got saying he was here. 

As soon as I heard he was here, I had a flood of peace and hope.  I needed hope and here it was.  I needed peace and it was here too.  

To put it simply, he was born a day after G's supposed "deadline."  He was born on a day when the world needed a sign that God holds children in the palm of his hand.  If he had been born a week earlier, we wouldn't have had him.  His birthfather would be his father.  If he had been born much later, we wouldn't have gotten him either.  He came on the perfect day. 

P.S.  You won't have to wait 7 months this time.  More of the story to come within a day or so. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beautiful Children

It's not my fault my children are the best looking in kids in the entire world.
One perk to adopting is I can brag about my kids' looks all I want.  I can't help but have a soft heart toward their shenanigans when looking at their sweet faces.  We thought we were due for an average-looking, if not homely, child after the first two.  Nope.  He is so cute we can hardly stand it. 

Monday, September 30, 2013


Is it just me, or does my youngest boy look EXACTLY like his older brother?

 Rudy 9 months

 Buddy 11 months

 Rudy 9 months

Buddy 11 months

You might not be able to tell in these pictures, but they have the exact same color of red suuuuper thick crazy hair.  They both have round faces and bright blue eyes.  Rudy's are a lot brighter than they appear here.  They both have translucent skin and smile with huge open-mouth smiles.  They are both happy, friendly, and extremely busy.  There are very few differences between the two!  ...Except at 9 months Buddy was 4 pounds more than Rudy is (20 pounds). And they don't share any common genes.  Amazing, if you asked me. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our Newest Addition

Congratulations on your new addition!

My sister threw me a baby shower when Buddy was born over 9 years ago.  Buddy was the first grandchild, so everyone was pretty excited about his arrival.  Right away everyone begin assuming and mocking me about being the first family member to own a minivan.  My parents didn't own one growing up and none of our relatives did either.  I'm not sure why having the first grandbaby made me the "minivan" type. Or why everyone assumed I'd buy one at the first sign of parenthood. 

To prove her point, my sister gave me the card pictured above at my baby shower.

Well low and behold, she was right.  We were the first to get one.  It just took us 9 1/2 years.  We lasted six whole months cramming all three kids in the back of our Subaru once Rudy arrived.  It worked for the most part, but having all three of those boys yelling in my ear was a serious hazard to my mental health.  Plus it would have been nice to be able to carpool with friends these past few months with a newborn.

Alas, the minivan because a near-necessity.  After driving to central Oregon a couple weeks ago as a family -- with the kids yelling and laughing like the savages that they are -- G ordered the minivan the next day.

He picked it up Thursday night.  I drove Buddy to school on Friday.  We left it home Saturday so we could go to the beach.  (I refused for the maiden voyage to be somewhere dirty.)  Sunday G drove it to church.  And by Monday morning it wouldn't start.  We had literally driven it six miles total.  By some grand miracle, G was working from home so I could go to an early morning meeting so I was able to take his car.  He got it started while I was gone and took it to work the rest of the day.  Tuesday it started fine and I took Buddy to school.  But when I tried to leave to pick him up from school it wouldn't start again.

To say I was irritated would be a huge understatement. I had Sambo's friend in the car and I was trying to drop off at home.  Buddy was stranded at the school.  And I was stuck in the garage in a brand new minivan with no battery power.  Luckily I got a hold of a friend who was also at the school getting her kids and she brought Buddy home.

Sambo's friend's mom came to get him and in the meantime a garage door repairman showed up (2 hours late mind you) to work on installing a garage door opener.  Since he was so late I had assumed he wasn't coming.  While my friend was trying to collect her son, the garage door guy was trying to tell me that I would be happier with a different type of door and he would have to re-schedule the appointment since he didn't have the right parts... the front door was open and a mama barn swallow that was nesting above the column on our porch flew into my house.  Her chicks had hatched that day so she was a little stressed to be away from them, to say the least.  Right away she started pooping all over the place. 

My blood pressure was through the roof.  Especially because I hate critters of any type.  The kids were all running around saying "Yay!  We have a pet!" and trying to close the door so the bird would stay in.  I was trying to get them to stop yelling, usher the bird out the door, say goodbye to my friend, and figure out what garage door we needed/reschedule that appointment, and figure out why my car wasn't starting, and figure out how to get Buddy and his friend to track all at the same time.  Birds always seem to fly in my house when G is unavailable, so luckily our good friend Ben stopped by and got her to fly outside before she crapped all over my house and before she lost her mind trying to get to her babies.

Anyway back to the minivan.  The next day that thing was in the shop.  Turns out it had a bad battery is all.  Thank goodness.

Now to rate the minivan.  I'm still a little embarrassed to drive it around.  And I still feel like I'm in some sort of twilight zone (when did I become old enough to drive a minivan?).  But I LOOOOVE it.  It's so convenient.  And I can hardly hear Sambo's shrill voice way in the back which is a dream come true.  The only thing I hate is the cargo space.  My Subaru Outback's cargo area was large and fit everything I could even need including a gigantic stroller.  The van... not so much.  I was transporting 6 cases of strawberries this week and got my first taste of "minivan tetris" as I put a few boxes here, a few there, and some on the floor of the front seat.  That will get old, but it's a small price to pay for the convenience of not having my kids yelling right in my ear.

In the 7.5 years I had the Subaru, it started every single time I told it to.  It'll take awhile before the annoyance of that wears off, although I guess it's not the minivan's fault per se.

Here I am saying goodbye to my car for the last time.  We miss it so much!  And the saddest part, we learned it was sent to auction and wasn't even fixed up to be sold at the dealership.  Our cars always get the worst kisses of death.  Our first car was sold to a cousin who sold it to the "cash for clunkers" program.  Our second car was sold to my brother who got it stolen from his apartment complex a short time later.  And now this beloved car was traded in only to be sold at auction.  So unfortunate. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story-Part 2

It was the day were going to meet our baby's birthmother.  

First thing Thursday morning Buddy and I had parent-teacher conferences at school.  Right after that, we drove home and picked G and Sambo up and immediately left for our first meeting with Rudy's birthmom, R.  We had an hour-drive.  We stopped en route to get her flowers, and arrived right on time.  We were nervous but mostly calm.  We have met with enough potential birthmoms to know they are in fact more nervous than we are.  Which is a strange thing to experience, considering how nerve-wracking it is to try to impress someone enough that they would want you to be the parents of their beloved baby.

We arrived at her apartment. I left everyone in the car, and went to get her.  I gave her a hug and handed her the flowers.  She didn't say much, so I tried to engage her 2-year old -- who was one of the cutest little boys I'd ever seen.  I had brought him a Thomas the Train, hoping that would break the ice.  And it did. 

We got in the car, made small talk, and drove to a McDonalds nearby.  Once there, the kids played and we ate.  Even though we had begged our kids to behave themselves and have excellent manners, they acted like themselves (which means their manners were mediocre at best).  I didn't know if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  When we met with the other recent expectant mother, our kids were the best behaved they had EVER been. Every time we hung out with her they were charming and adorable and awesome.  I kept thinking, "Well at least R is getting to know the real us." 

Our meeting was tense.  Not because we didn't connect, but it was very apparent she was feeling a lot of stress and was very conflicted.  Delivery was right around the corner and although she had prayed mightily to know if adoption was right -- and had received confirmation that it was -- she had the large task of convincing the birth father that her new plan was right.  And that we were the right family to raise their baby.  She had decided that it was all a matter of good, better, and best.  She would be a good mom to her baby.  The birth father would be a better parent.  But she felt we would be best.  We talked a lot about what the birth father was thinking.  She shared some texts between the two of them.  He wasn't being unreasonable in protesting her change in plans.  After all, he had spent the last nine months planning to be his parent.  But he didn't understand her prayers, he didn't understand adoption, he didn't know us, and he didn't understand her heart.  The whole thing with him was complicated.  A few of the things he said to her were cruel, but she was unshaken. 

She said that since she had prayed about adoption and knew it was right, he could too and she had faith he would. 

Our hearts broke for her.  Her decisions were huge and her life was hard.  She had a lot of convincing to do to get him on board.  And she had no family to support her.  But our hearts were also soaring.  We were so proud of her already.  We could see immediately she was a great mom.  Her little boy was well behaved and although she was stressed, she was calm and good to him.  She didn't have many questions for us besides discussing openness.  We asked her a few things, but mostly we just sat together and told her she had our support no matter what.  We made it clear that if she adopted us, we'd be good to her.  

We left feeling "fine."  We were worried for her, we felt good about our visit.  We were mostly glad we had gotten all our Christmas shopping done early because no matter how this ended, we knew the next few days would be a ride.  

That afternoon G had his partner's meeting.  A coworker hit G's car in the parking lot.  It did significant enough damage that we started stressing about how it would work to get it fixed, be down a car, and have a newborn.  Luckily they gave him a loaner while it was getting fixed.  That evening we went out and celebrated Sambo's birthday.

 Celebrating Sambo's birthday.  This evening was really fun.  Just what we needed!

The next day, Friday, I had a million errands but it was mostly a regular day.  Saturday G woke up with the stomach flu.  Later that day Sambo got it.  And Sunday Buddy got it.  I was "this close" to losing it.  I had so much to do and sanitizing the house from top to bottom and doing mounds of extra laundry just about put me over the edge.  Plus our washing machine was on the fritz.  It would seize up and stop working for hours at a time.  I texted Rebecca back and forth over the weekend.  Thankfully, no baby yet.

Saturday night I ordered a carseat online.  It was really, really hard to do -- pure torture.  I didn't want to jinx anything by preparing for a baby that was only a vague possibility, but the carseat I wanted (and that would fit in our car) was only available online.  I figured I'd donate the carseat to someone who really needed it if things didn't work out.  This probably doesn't sound like a big deal, but purchasing that carseat stirred up a lot of anxiety and grief that I didn't even realize I had.  

Monday I volunteered at the school.  When I went back to the car to wait for school to end and Buddy to come, I had a text from R telling us she would love for us to be the parents of her baby.  I stared at my phone, my heart racing, for a few minutes.  I had no idea how to respond.  For one thing, it seemed surreal.  I didn't think it would NOT happen, but it didn't seem realistic, if that makes sense.

Eventually, I texted her back, telling her we were ecstatic and were honored.  I felt really unemotional still.  I think it was my only way to cope with all that we had already experienced in our 10+ years of pursuing adoption -- and what I knew lay ahead for us.  

That day we also learned there were a few more complications.  R has some tribal blood which threatened to really complicate matters.  A birthmom with tribal blood can't place a baby for adoption without the tribe's permission and they don't give permission easily or quickly.  We hired an attorney that day.  The agency had already consulted him about some of the complications, so he was already in the loop.  

We still hadn't talked any logistics with R.  We had no plan for the hospital, we had discussed openness, but not specifics of what she wanted and needed.

Our boys were overjoyed and very hopeful.  The smiles that spread across their face anytime they learned of any good news helped keep G and I going.  We were so glad we had involved them every step of the way.  They were a comfort to R -- a major factor in her considering us in the first place.  And they were a huge comfort to us when we had doubts or worries about what would happen.  They were so incredibly excited!

Tuesday was a rollercoaster.  Our caseworker informed us that the agency director "wasn't hopeful"  placement could or would happen because of the birth father, the tribal blood, and the fact that we had no plan for how placement would go if we even got to that point.  A few key people spoke with R that day and by the end of the day, she was more resolved and we were feeling better.  All along her communication with us was positive, but it became more so.  I was starting to feel really overwhelmed, though.  Overwhelmed by the stress of the ups and downs.  Overwhelmed by the fact that we were 2 weeks from Christmas and still had two birthdays to celebrate.  And Overwhelmed by the idea of a new baby.  Besides buying the carseat we hadn't done one single thing to prepare for a baby.  I started making a list of things that were required to bring a baby home.  And I made a list of things that would be nice to do before bringing a baby home.  The lists were really long. 

That night we fed the missionaries.  It turns out that one of the sisters was adopted and has an open adoption.  We had such a great talk with her and instantly felt a boost of confidence and hope.  I am so thankful for her encouragement that all the stress would be worth it.  And that all that stress and prayers were for a baby that would one day be a missionary too.  She really put things into proper perspective for us.  Plus Buddy participated in our conversation with her, offering his experience with his own adoption.  I think it really helped him to feel connected to another adoptee who was confident about her story, and I think it really helped him to be fully educated about the latest with R.

R texted me that evening and said she would be induced Friday morning if nothing happened before then.  

Wednesday was a hard day.  The reality of the situation really sunk in when we had to fill out some paperwork for placement -- which was tentatively planned for Sunday.  We also paid our adoption fee.  My stomach hurt all day and I was terribly stressed.  It was still surreal.  We were going through all the legal steps for placement but my head couldn't wrap itself around the idea.  I think I was just really afraid of letting myself go there.  Especially since we had not worked out any details about how things would go while R was in the hospital, or how our relationship would work after placement. 

That day the boys got tired of begging me to decorate for Christmas, so they took matters into their own hands.  Buddy pulled the Christmas bins in from the garage and started decorating himself. 

Nobody ate this cake.  We didn't even cut it.  We were all too nervous.  And I just wanted to get the kids to bed so I could collapse. 

Thursday was G's birthday.  I was really hoping the baby wouldn't come that day.  I have never in my life been so overwhelmed.  It was all I could do to face the day.  If I hadn't been so busy, I would have spent the day in the fetal position.  My stomach was in knots, but I did my best to try to make the day good for G.  Sambo and I took him treats at work.  I baked him a fancy cake.  That day I made time to shop for some gifts for R.  I got her a scrapbook and gift card to get some supplies to put together the scrapbook, a stuffed dinosaur for her and a matching one for the baby, a beautiful picture of two angels holding a newborn baby, and another train for her son.

Then that night we went out for dinner.  I was too sick to my stomach to eat.  That night I fell asleep super early in the fetal position on the couch.  The next day -- Dec 14 -- was going to be a doozy.  And I could hardly face it.  There was a baby coming in a few hours.  We had a dinner party to pull off that night to celebrate Sambo's birthday with his birth family.  My house was a mess.  A couple other things were happening that on top of everything else were terribly intense.  It was a lot. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Rudy's Birth Story-Part 1

After the concert

I guess since Rudy sprouted his first tooth today, it's high time I tackle his birth story.  I will include many details, but like any blog I will keep some of the more gruesome and even sacred details to myself.  Although I wish I could share all the details because this story is such a miracle, I think you will enjoy the basic story. 

Here goes...

At Christmas-time last year G announced we had a year to find our next baby otherwise we were done.  The family would have to be complete with the two boys we already had.  We had been waiting awhile already for a birthmom to choose us and we had no prospects in sight.  We had casually considered another agency, but the cost kept us from making any commitments.  But more than that, switching agencies never really felt right.

His deadline was his birthday, December 13th.  I was not OK with G's timeline.  But I thought if his deadline came near I would re-negotiate a new one.  In G's defense, our agency only had 2 adoption placements that year.  So our chances were not good.  Nobody's were.  But I wasn't willing to let him or anyone decide if and when we pulled our application.  After all, I knew we had another baby that would come. 

Throughout the year we actually had a few remote prospects which hadn't happened in a couple years.  A few friends told us about situations.  We had a few email contacts from potential birthmoms.  In September we began a brutally stressful situation with an unwed mother.  That is a story for another day.  But she delivered her baby in early October and decided to parent him.  The details and the lessons we learned from this situation are sad, confusing, overwhelming, and profound.  They were life changing for all four of us. 

After this situation, I started thinking maybe G's deadline wasn't so bad.  The emotional rollercoaster had gone on too long.  Not just with particular wait, but I realized we had been hoping to adopt, getting fingerprints, having home visits from caseworkers for 10 years and I was getting tired of it.  I started asking people how they know they are done having kids.  Nobody could give me a straight answer.  I thought after all these years, God owed me a clear answer. 

But I really wanted a baby.  Any baby.  And I hadn't even received a vague answer this was it.  G kept reminding me the deadline was around the corner.  I could see his point.  The wait had taken a toll on all of us.  Our kids were fully immersed in the September/October situation.  The knew the girl too and had tried everything they could think of to persuade her and God (and us) that the baby should be ours.  They were devastated when she chose to parent and they grieved in their own ways over that situation. 

So the first weekend in December I approached G and said I thought we should fast that it would be clear what we should do next.  I suggested infant foster care.  I knew I was capable of loving someone else's baby.  Most infants return to their parents, and I knew that.  I knew it would be hard on me, but so was the situation I was in, so I needed to determine which path was right.  Torment myself with a temporary baby, or torment myself with no baby at all.  I knew foster care would be really hard on my kids.  But we had grown a lot as a family in our understanding of adoption and love, so I thought maybe they were getting prepared.

At any rate, G declined the fast.  He said he already knew that if we didn't have a baby by Dec 13th, we were done.  So I fasted.  I planned to make a phone call about foster care the next day unless I hit a major roadblock.  I prayed that a clear path would unfold as I took steps to figure things out.

The next morning, Dec 3, I called.  The training started the next day.  I told the lady that was too soon for us, but maybe in January.  She mailed me a bunch of information. 

Ten minutes later my caseworker, Joe, called and said his co-worker, Rachel, was meeting with a potential birthmom at that moment.  She had made a plan early in her pregnancy to place the baby with his birthfather and let him raise the baby.  She had considered this carefully.  The birthfather had even met with Rachel a few months prior to get all the details straight and to learn his rights.  But in the final days of her pregnancy, she had realized that wasn't what she really wanted.

She was due the following week.

My chest seized up right at that moment.  And quite frankly, that feeling of not being able to breath has only started to ease up. 

The birthmom didn't have Internet but wanted to talk to me on the phone later that afternoon.  I suggested she call and leave a message and I would call her back that night once the kids were in bed.  I have learned I can't put my life on hold every time a situation comes up, so I decided to finish out my day as planned:  pick Buddy up from school, straight to piano, home for a snack, off to the gym for my Pilates class, home for dinner, and kids to bed.  Mondays are really busy in the afternoon with no down time so as much as I was eager to talk to her, I knew I had to go about my day normally.

Sure enough, while we were out, she called, so around 8pm I called her back.  The conversation went well, but was strained.  I got the details on her heartbreaking situation.  She seemed strong and sure of her decision to place her baby for adoption.  I suggested she get to know other adoptive couples.  She told me she was considering another family but didn't really feel inclined to talk to them after talking to me.  I know them well.  They have waited for their third baby for around TEN years.

We hung up with plans to meet on Sunday.  She was going to work on the birthfather, who has rights and was expecting to parent the baby.  And who was not supportive of adoption.

I went about my week.  Luckily it was insanely busy.  Wednesday was Sambo's birthday.

That morning she texted me and said she was starting to thin and dilate and since her first son was born early, she could go into labor at any time.  I cautiously suggested we meet the next day (Thursday) instead of waiting until Sunday.  Unfortunately G was having his big annual partner's meeting -- which is required to attend --  Thursday and Friday and he had an important client meeting that day too.  We had planned to celebrate Sambo's birthday Thursday night as a family.  Really the only time we could meet was during his client meeting.   Fortunately, they understood the need to reschedule.

That night we went out on a date to the Killers concert and to a delicious meal.  It was Sambo's birthday and like terrible parents, we dropped him off at our friends' house to be babysat.  (He was thrilled by the way.)

We started to discuss baby boy names over dinner.  We couldn't agree on anything.  But I also couldn't commit to anything because I wasn't really certain anything would come of this.  I couldn't name a baby that was only a vague idea at that point.

But during the concert, I had a distinct and powerful thought come to my mind:  I was truly happy.  I had worked over the past couple of years to figure out how to have joy no matter what.  And I felt it surge through my body that night.  Now granted, I love the Killers and the concert was amazing.  But there was more to it than that.  I knew my soul and life were complete and fine and full of joy no matter what happened.  I really believed it. 

I would think back on that feeling over and over again in the coming hours, days, and months.