Posts tagged ‘fast adoption’

January 25 – Babysitting My Future Kid | Mae’s Adoption Journey

There’s nothing quite like babysitting your future kid. Because Uncle Nick had to work and my job was flexible (and I’d already planned to be off the week with the unknown court date), I camped out as his house and took care of our baby girl until our court date. It was the perfect chance for me to “ease” into the mom thing since I’d never really cared for a baby before. I got to learn her schedule and her cries. I figured out how to measure formula and make a bottle. I conquered diaper changing. I read books. I practiced swaddling.

What was best of all was that she got to know me, too. So by the end of the day on Tuesday, we were buddies and she was smiling big.

January 25, 2012 at 10:17 am 3 comments

January 21 – Court Date Scheduled | Mae’s Adoption Journey

A whole work week had gone by. On Monday, we thought we’d be in court by Friday. Friday morning had arrived and we still didn’t know if we had court that day. We were ready to leave at any second in case lawyer Mike could get us in front of a judge ASAP.

An email finally came through from the adoption agency that morning letting us know about a small ‘hangup’ in the process. My stomach dropped. Ut oh- birth mom change her mind? Birth father appeared out of nowhere? Something was wrong with the baby?

Luckily – just a few meetings had been postponed and so court wouldn’t be happening in just a few hours. I exhaled and was relieved – this I could handle.

Setting the Court Date

I notified Mike who was on standby at work that we wouldn’t be in court before the weekend. We’d held off making any plans with the hope that we’d have a little girl living with us. Luckily, our lawyer called quickly to give us the details on our court date and what to plan on.

We’d been assigned a judge. The judge happened to be out-of-town the following week. And he couldn’t get our case transferred – so we had to wait. So now our court date was set for a little over a week away – January 31st.

We knew of several friends who’d adopted internationally so I quickly had my disappointment put into perspective. Waiting another week – since only two weeks had gone by since we’d begun this process – was nothing. Plus, we could visit the baby as much as we wanted – she just couldn’t come live with us yet. So we put our chins up and decided that this was probably a good thing – we’d have another week to get ready for baby.

January 21, 2012 at 8:45 am 2 comments

January 20 – Meeting Lawyer Mike | Mae’s Adoption Journey

In the midst of long days of waiting, we had a crazy bout of snow & ice. School was cancelled every other day. Mike certainly didn’t mind. So on a snowy morning we headed over to see our baby once again. She was still staying with the neighbor, but between drop-by visits and calls, the neighbor seemed like an old-time friend.

We headed out to see our gorgeous girl and on the way received a long-awaited phone call from our lawyer. This was the first time we’d spoken and he wanted us at his office that afternoon. He had papers ready and was still going to try to get us in court the next day.

So, our long visit to the baby was cut short as we gave her a few hugs and kisses and then headed for downtown Kansas City.

Meeting With Our Adoption Attorney

I’d never met with an attorney before so I had no idea to expect. The tall building and long elevator ride seemed right but as soon as our lawyer Mike greeted us from his waiting room, my perspective shifted from there. He was funny and told jokes. He told us stories about his kids and laughed a lot. It was refreshing – it made the process even so much more … fun. Even the legal side of it. Mike walked us through each paper and the process that awaited us. He’d go file a petition and wait to hear of our date. Then for six months we’d have temporary custody. He’d need to place a few notices and check a paternity registry since the birth father had never been in the picture. (although he was sure he wouldn’t be resurfacing, it was protocol.) And then after court, we’d head home with the baby, meet with our social worker for six months and then return to court to make it final later in the year. That seemed simple enough.

One of our First “Just the Two Of Us” Meals

We were beaming once again after leaving the lawyer’s office. The ball was rolling. It’s amazing how much hope and excitement flooded back in after a long week of waiting. We headed down to Power & Light for a nice dinner. As far as we knew, this could be the last night it would be just the two of us…. forever. So, we ordered a few drinks and had a great meal. We couldn’t wait to hear if we’d be in court the next morning.

January 20, 2012 at 9:44 am 2 comments

January 19 – Getting Ready for Baby | Mae’s Adoption Journey

We kept eagerly awaiting a phone call from the agency for our court date. We’d heard it could be as soon as Friday, just two days away. Yet without any formal plans and not yet having heard from a lawyer, we sat tight and got ready for a baby the best we knew how.

Thank the Lord for Mom Friends

Step one  – an email to my friend Leah. She was my first friend to become a mom, and three kids later I knew she was veteran. Plus, she was always much more tech-savvy than me, so I knew she was my go-to person. Once we agreed to take in this little baby, questions flooded my mind. How much should she eat? How often should she sleep? When she start baby food? Does she drink water? How do you make a baby’s routine and schedule? How do we buy a car seat? The logistics of raising a child hit me – I had no clue what to do. So I called Leah.

She gathered several links and sent me an email with link after link of nutrition and development guidelines, car seat safety (even telling me which one worked for my car!), diaper deals and more (My fave was a link for weekly emails telling me what the baby should be doing each week of her life!) I finally had more peace. Okay, I could do this.

Around that same time, my friend Kelley emailed me encouragement and reminded me of how cool it was that our baby girl was born in September, just like her daughter. I’d gone through Kelley’s pregnancy with her and even watched her in the delivery room. This baby girl’s birthday landed just one day earlier than Kelley’s daughter’s. Kelley reminded me of how cool it was that going through the experience with her gave me an idea of what things were like for our birth mom’s pregnancy – at least the timing of things. I was once again reminded that God was all over this, and that these “coincidences” were all part of his plan.

Name Game Guessing

Meanwhile, my brother and sister-in-law sent in name guesses. Andy was never one for surprises and so not knowing the baby’s name was absolutely killing him. I’d given him a hint after multiple requests that her name would start with an “M.” At least that distracted him enough to start searching for names. He sent me his top guesses:

Andy & Ashley’s Top Baby Name Guesses:

1.)     MONROE (HA HA HA)

2.)     MAVERICK (that’s for mike)

3.)     Maria

4.)     Mariah

5.)     McKinley

6.)     Morgan

7.)     Maleah

8.)     Maya

9.)     Moira

Wiring Money & Buying Diapers

Last items on the agenda of the day: wiring money and buying diapers. I bought my first set of diapers and wipes…. in bulk. And then it was time for the bank.

Money transfers were nothing I was familiar with, but thankfully our agency gave great instructions and Bank of America was extremely helpful. We’d opened up a separate account just for adoption expenses and were very blessed by the generosity of family, friends and extra work to have just what we needed when the unexpected call came. And my was it unexpected.

Scott & Patti were fellow adoptive parents and had encouraged us years earlier to not worry about the money piece of adoption. Their experience was that God provides, and especially when He calls you to adopt.  So as I signed the papers and watched the clerk process the money transfer, I realized how futile money is when it comes to adoption. Sure, it was needed (like it or not.) And we’d absolutely been blessed. But there was no dollar amount that could be put on what was happening in the adoption of a child. Nor becoming a family of three. I was glad I hadn’t let the scary numbers and worry about funds stop us from applying. God had absolutely provided for what he’d called us to do.

January 19, 2012 at 8:19 pm 1 comment

January 12 – Meeting Uncle Nick | Mae’s Adoption Journey

I have to admit that having a slow day that wasn’t full of texts, secret meetings, and big decisions was kind of nice. But after what seemed like a slight pause in a crazy fast race, we were back on the path. A baby was up for adoption. We were first in line to be her parents. And a meeting needed to happen.

We had agreed to meet the uncle, Nick, a few days earlier when we got Scott’s call that adoption was underway. What we couldn’t decide was if we were comfortable meeting the baby yet.

Part of us wanted him to bring her. Something about meeting her in person would make everything feel real.
Yet at the same time, we weren’t ready for that and wanted to wait.
What if this still fell through?
What if we didn’t “hit it off” when we met the uncle?
What if he didn’t like us?

So, fitting our typical pattern – we initially said no, we didn’t want the baby to be at the meeting.
And then we changed our minds, and said OK.
We wanted to meet her.

Trying to Make it Through the Workday

There’s nothing like trying to stay focused with a big meeting planned for the afternoon. And this wasn’t just any meeting. I mean I’d worked in advertising and was used to anticipated afternoon pitches. But this was in a whole new league. This wasn’t a potential client at hand. It was the possibility of a new family. And my opportunity to be a mother.

I had transitioned jobs a few years earlier and worked for our church which allowed me the freedom to process everything happening while “on the clock.” I dabbled in getting a few tasks done but most of the morning was spent talking to my coworkers Jeff and Orion, and getting them caught up with what all had happened the previous three days. It was the first time out of many I would see eyes open wide and jaws drop at the timing and craziness of the story.

Perfect Timing for Activation Papers

The morning actually seemed to go pretty fast and just a few hours before our scheduled meeting time I noticed an email come through from our adoption agency. I hadn’t heard from them in a few weeks and last I knew all of our papers were being processed and we were waiting to go “active.”

Well, as luck would have it, those activation papers arrived just a few hours before our meeting with the uncle. As I opened the email and realized what had just happened, I couldn’t help but laugh. “Good timing, God. Wouldn’t you know that we’d get these papers just hours before we would be meeting a baby who needed a home.” I still wasn’t sure if this was a sign that things would or wouldn’t work out, but I huffed at the irony.

A Memorable First Meeting

Scott & Patti offered up their house as a neutral meeting place. We wanted them there to introduce us to their friend. As I left work, I confirmed with Scott about the meeting and he informed me the baby wouldn’t be there. She had a cold and Nick didn’t want to drag her out into the snow. Slightly bummed initially, I soon became relieved. It was probably best. Emotions from seeing a little baby wouldn’t get in the way of getting some important facts.

Luckily for us, Uncle Nick also tended to run late. Even to life-changing meetings like this one. Mike was coming straight from work, so he arrived as soon as he could. I blamed my getting lost and missing the exit on my uneasiness, yet arrived in time to hug Mike and gather my thoughts before Nick got there.

I heard the rumbles of a big SUV pull up and soon Nick and his daughter were stomping off snow and standing in Scott & Patti’s entryway. His daughter ran off to play with the Simmons’ son, and we were left to begin the awkward introductions. We didn’t leave much time for small talk. Nick slid an ottoman to the middle of the living room and sat right in front of Mike and I who were seated on a love seat, trying to appear madly in love and desperate to be parents. As Scott & Patti tiptoed to the back of the room, we got down to business.

Nick began to tell us about the baby and that he’d been taking care of her for several weeks. He loved her with all of his heart but he knew adoption was going to be the best option for her. He assured us she had been well taken care of and loved since the day she was born.

Although it ran the risk of feeling like a sales pitch, the compassion in Nick’s eyes let us know that this was for real. Scott had already told Nick about us before the meeting so after Nick explained the situation, he asked if we had any questions. And finally I was able to ask about the birth mom.

Big Questions, Surprising Answers

I didn’t waste any time and immediately asked about guardianship and legal custody. Nick explained that his sister (the birth mom) was unable to care for the baby and wanted her to be with Nick. And while he loved this little girl, he knew it wasn’t ultimately best for her, nor for him. He was convinced that she needed an adoptive family. And while he needed to have a conversation with his sister to see if she agreed, he was confident that it would all work out.

Signal: Tires Screech Sound

Have a conversation with her?” That changed up the game a bit.

Up until this point, we didn’t realize that Nick really didn’t have any legal say-so in the baby’s adoption. Sure, he thought his sister would agree with him and be okay with it – but that didn’t guarantee anything. Suddenly this story had taken a twist.

Although relieved to understand the full picture, I began to dread that once again we’d headed down a road that would ultimately lead in disappointment, just like the other opportunities in the past. And part of me wondered if we should close it all down now and head home to sign the activation papers with our agency waiting for us in my inbox.

Staying Tuned…

As we slipped on our coats and scarves, Nick asked if we wanted to see more pictures of the baby. I was so torn, see more pictures of a kid that could or could not be mine? At this point I was so emotionally overwhelmed, I had no idea what I thought. But, not wanting to be rude, I leaned over to see a few more photos of a beautiful baby girl.

Mike and I weren’t sure what to think after this meeting. It hadn’t exactly gone as planned, yet not in a bad way. We realized that the final decision to put this baby up for adoption hadn’t yet been made. The decision maker hadn’t met us, she didn’t even really know about us. And although we were tempted to pass it up before we got too attached and keep things “safe,” we decided to hold out and wait to see what happened with an upcoming conversation Nick was about to have with his sister.

January 12, 2012 at 12:17 am 1 comment

January 9 – Pre-Church Meeting | Mae’s Adoption Journey

So although we hadn’t really dumped much expectation into the meeting at church, there were definitely some butterflies fluttering in my stomach as we got ready and headed that way. I didn’t want to care. I didn’t want to hope. Yet something in me was curious about this little gal. And don’t we all deep down wish that something crazy magical like this would happen to us?

We finally got to church. Mike had worship practice. And then we slipped away to meet Scott & Patti in the hotel lobby. Our church meets at the Hilton Garden Inn, so it’s never easy to find a super secret spot to meet, unless you want to rent a hotel room or something like that. So – we opted for the hotel lobby which was across the building from the conference room where we set up for church. This way we could meet privately. This was top-secret stuff.

As good friends, the four of us rolled up chairs to a round glass-top table and made it seem as though we were about to undergo a serious business transaction. I tried to control myself and not swing around in the chairs too much; I love a chair that rolls. But the conversation at hand called for seriousness and maturity. So, I tried to sit still as we opened up the somewhat awkward yet life-changing conversation.

Opening Conversations About a Baby

The conversation went smoothly as Scott & Patti explained to us the situation. Their friend was helping raise his niece. She was about 3-4 months old. He had come to the point that he was considering adoption for her. It was early in the process for him, and he still wasn’t completely sold – but definitely considering it. We immediately had come to their minds. And in the event he wanted to move forward with adoption for her, they were checking to see if we’d be interested.

Why This Fit the Burgesses

So much about this situation made them think of us. Mostly, we were already in the adoption process and desiring a domestic adoption. Our home study was complete. We were about ready to go active. Plus, the baby was biracial, and that was something we had requested in our adoption papers. They knew that she had been well cared for, and that she came from a good family. Plus, they knew her family would be looking for a good couple to raise her.

Why It Might Not Fit the Burgesses

While Scott & Patti felt like so many things fit, they made sure to present the situation carefully. They weren’t sure this was exactly what we were looking for, and we could tell the last thing they wanted to do was push it on us. But, also not wanting the opportunity to pass us by, they went ahead and mentioned it. Everything about it was awfully close to home – come to find out she was living only 10 minutes away from us. She wasn’t a brand new baby – she was already 3-4 months old. And, this would be more of an open adoption than we had planned for since we’d need to all work together to make this happen.

Um… Sure, We’d Go For It

After Scott & Patti explained the details, I looked to Mike to respond and lead the way. I’d felt like God had made it clear to me to let Mike guide this process all along, and so I wanted him to respond. I was all for pursuing it and seeing what God had up his sleeve. But I needed Mike to be, too. This was still such an up-in-the-air, hypothetical situation. She wasn’t definitely up for adoption yet. The big decision to find her a family hadn’t been made. But, the issue at hand was for us to decide to get involved, despite the lack of finality. What if … she was to be adopted … would we be interested? Not exactly the easiest decision – especially since we thought we had a plan for what our adoption was to look like. Did we really want to derail the process for a far-out opportunity? An opportunity like others that had already fallen through?

Despite the discomfort with the “what ifs,” and our desire to guard our hearts, we didn’t feel any red flags. Even as much as some of the scenarios didn’t match what we had in mind, something about it felt right. Sure, she lived in Lee’s Summit – but we knew our child would come from one of the 50 states – Missouri included. She wasn’t a “brand new” baby – yet months earlier I’d begun to feel like I wasn’t sure I was ready for an infant from the hospital. And while the open adoption scared us a bit, having friends like Scott & Patti vouch for everyone involved gave us much peace.

So, with that, we gave Scott the OK to mention us to his friend if he decided that adoption would be best for his niece. We weren’t really sure what to expect, nor if this would really all happen. A large part of us doubted it, yet there were small slivers of hope that this might actually be it.

“You want to see a picture?”

With the agreement to move forward, Scott offered one of the biggest carrots you can give someone that’s adopting – a photo. Mike quickly shook his head no, he didn’t want to see a picture yet. There was still too much uncertainty about the whole thing, he didn’t want to get any more emotionally attached to the situation. I quickly followed Mike in saying no, but only a second later changed my mind. For me, I needed this to be more real if it indeed was happening. So I agreed and leaned over to see my first sights of a sleeping beauty.

A cute little kiddo was softly sleeping in her pack-and-play. Not sure how I should feel, I looked over and told Mike she was cute. I didn’t exactly get all gushy, but seeing her face definitely made things more real. There was a baby, she might need a family. And we’re first in line if the gun went off.

And with that, we needed to go. Church was about to start.

We still weren’t really sure what to expect. But we figured why not check it out until God closed a door.

Except after only 12 hours, we realized that God wasn’t closing doors.

Instead, He was opening them.

January 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm 3 comments

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