The waiting process for adoption is a grueling process. First you decide to adopt. Then you apply. Then you go through training. Then you sign what feels like a zillion forms, write a 22 page single-spaced story about your life, get background checked, get reference checked, finger-printed, and create a profile book–then you’re approved! And then the waiting begins.
People said waiting would be hard. For any of you who are familiar with adoption, no two adoption stories are the same which means no two waiting stories are the same, but all are arduous. In fact, all of them are so intricately crafted, you can only attribute each story to the hand of our Almighty God. And he crafted our story so perfectly, it can only be of Him. Praise be to our God and Savior Jesus Christ!
But, as we know, life, especially for those following Christ, is such a challenge. There was a lot of persecution and spiritual warfare along the way. But we got here, now, to our sweet daughter; our first born! I would like to share with you the pain associated with waiting before my bliss takes holds of me and I put all of the loss and hardship behind me. I am doing so to inform and to encourage because adoption is so hard. If anyone who is considering adoption wants to chat or is adopting and is waiting and wants a listening ear; please know that I am here for you.
When we were approved for our home study on July 31st it felt so good to finally be done with paperwork. We felt relieved and excited, but reality had yet to sink in. A few weeks later we were presented with two situations in one day, just like that. They came in an email; one a February birth and one a December birth. We could barely contain ourselves! Our social worker asked if we would like to be shown *this means that the birthmother would see 3-6 profile books of prospective adoptive parents and then choose the person(s) she would like to parent her child* and we said yes to both situations. What seemed like seconds later (it was probably an hour or so later) we got a call that a birthmother was very interested in us and wanted to speak with us over the phone. Brian and I raced home from work to prepare for the call. We chatted with the birthmother; and for those of you who read my blog or know our whole story, that situation didn’t pan out. We didn’t feel like this was our child and we still cannot explain why.
We didn’t get picked for the other situation and we were really sad about that. It was the strangest thing–two losses in one week for completely different reasons. This is the first time we experienced the true roller coaster of loss associated with adoption. Most people will tell you that adoption is a roller coaster and that is so true. Anyone who has been around me or Brian for the past few months can vouch for that! For a couple of months it was “hurry up and wait.” Fill out this extra form, send us more profile books because we have other agencies we are working with, there’s nothing more you can do–your profile books show so well and your baby will find you! This is what you hear constantly from your agency and it’s a super helpless feeling. Of course this is not the agency’s fault, but it is so difficult to be in the position of not knowing when you will receive your child and you take not getting picked time and time again very personally.
Thankfully we were very specific and faithful in our prayers and intentional in reading God’s word. God eventually led us to an adoption support group at our church. What an incredible ministry these adoptive families/adoptive families-to-be are in our lives! This is a safe space where we come to tell why we are adopting and to struggle in community together. Struggle with the pain of being told “no, you didn’t match” from your agency for the third week in a row. Hearing two weeks in a row that you did not receive a match because the birthmother decided to parent on her own. Yeah, okay, we are “showing well” but we are hurting from all of this loss!
You see, every time you receive a possible situation via email from an adoption agency, you tell yourself not to get excited, but you start picturing yourself as the parent of that child. You know what’s reported and they can be very intimate things like medical records, drug usage, race/ethnicity, age of the birthparents, hobbies of their children (if they have them), their reason for placing their child for adoption. You tear up each time you see a situation and think “maybe this is the one!”
We thought this quite a few times, especially since we’ve been getting shown what seems like multiple times a week for the past month. When people who haven’t adopted ask you where you are in the process, there’s a sort of sting. You want to say “leave me alone, I’m in a pretty horrible place, and I’d rather not face the world today.” Instead you smile and say “just waiting!” Or at least that was the case for us. And every week was so different for Brian and me. One week I would be depressed and he would be joyful, the next week it would be the other way around. And the things Satan will make you think–wow! I second guessed our decision many times thinking that we were stupid for adopting first; why can’t we just try biologically? Does adoption really have to be our first choice? Are we misinterpreting God’s will for us? How are we going to be able to afford this and why are we doing this at such a young age?
Last week Saturday we had our baby shower. This spurred a large part of my doubt in our process. I kept thinking that people must think we are so ridiculous for having a baby shower for a child when we don’t even know when he or she is due. It’s strange in retrospect, but we wanted to be prepared so we chose November 2nd thinking that would give us plenty of time to prepare before the baby came. Leading up to that point I thought it would be super hard to have the shower and was sort of regretting our decision about holding one. The Friday before Brian was having a really hard day and I remember looking at him and bursting into tears asking him to be strong because I’m supposed to put on a happy face while I open gifts for the baby we don’t have tomorrow. It was a sobering moment for us. Then our friends came in, we saw my mom, all our MN loved ones the next day, and everything just seemed right. Since last Saturday I have had a real peace beyond my understanding.
My sister is an angel and always checks on me. On Tuesday/Wednesday of this past week we found out we were being shown in three different situations. She kept asking me how I am feeling and I told her that I felt oddly calm. I could feel God’s joy and presence washing over me–I should’ve known that something huge was going to happen this week. My prayer over and over again was “please Lord, let this little girl be ours, let us be parents soon, please bless us with the funds to bring our baby home.” I prayed this over and over and over again. One thing I learned is: be careful what you pray for.
Thursday morning started out just like any Thursday morning. It’s my one late day of the work week so I slept for 10 and 1/2 to 11 hours. Little did I know it would be the last day of my life that I will ever sleep in–of course God knew, but he didn’t want to ruin the surprise 🙂 I went to work and the first thing I did before my office hours was have lunch with a co-worker and one of my friends who used to work at the university I currently work at. She had brought me a sweet gift since she couldn’t make it to the baby shower and we caught up. Since we were still waiting, I did the usual and asked how they all were doing first since I did not want the conversation to inevitably turn to my adoption, which it usually did. When she finally asked I was glowing, which was very unusual and told her that there was a lot of current activity, but nothing yet and that we were praying for God to bring us a little one soon. Around 12:45pm my husband called me to ask if I checked my email. I said no and he told me that the situation we had turned down a few weeks ago had a happy ending. You see, we were not comfortable with this situation before, so we turned it down *I will not give details since this relates to the history of Ruth’s birthmother and that is her story alone to tell if or when she is ready.* We came to find out later that all of the other couples that the agency had asked to be shown had turned the situation down, too so they decided to wait until the baby was born to place her for adoption. The baby was super healthy, 24 hours old–the agency even sent a picture of her, which I thought was torture! I couldn’t resist and told my husband to put our names in the running. He emailed the agency back right away–they emailed him right away and asked when we could get there.
And that was it–we were matched. All because we answered an email first. We could not believe it. We did not have to go through the painful process of waiting to be picked. Our birthmother was fine with our agency picking, so she left it up to them and they said that they picked us because we answered first. I personally think they also liked us, too, but that’s neither here nor there 🙂 We went to an adoption panel at our agency a few weeks back and one of the women told us that if the agencies like you, they will work harder for you. I’m so glad that stuck with me because we made extra efforts to be super communicative and responsive; which I think really paid off.
We then had to get all of our affairs in order. I had to tell everyone at my university I was leaving and put my affairs in order for maternity leave and insurance and Brian was incredible in booking our flight, hotel, rental car, and attaining a lawyer. This all happened in a matter of a few hours. I came home briefly to my in-laws helping clean clothes, put together crib/pack n’ play, washing dishes, bringing us dinner–it was incredible. I then had my last staff meeting of the semester with my RAs and they were all so incredibly supportive–it was pure bliss.
It was still hard though. We knew that we could not tell everyone about Ruthie yet because the birthmother still had until Saturday morning at 9:00am to sign over the paperwork. Without her signature, rightfully so, we would not be the legal custodians of our beautiful daughter. Brian and I slept a collective hour–that’s probably being generous–and then headed to the airport courtesy of our sweet brother-in-law at 5:30am Friday morning. I could barely eat and wouldn’t really eat a meal (Lunchables for lunch and Digiorno pizza for dinner) until the next day.
We arrived in the state we were to retrieve our daughter and immediately called our social worker at this particular state’s agency. We got to our rental car and drove straight to the hospital. Once we found the hospital we spent what felt like an eternity looking for parking and met our caseworker in front of the building. She is super cool and everything you would want for your adoption placement. If anybody is interested in working with this state’s agency, please message me. I cannot say enough good things about our experience thus far.
We got into the building and went up to the maternity wing. Our caseworker had us wait in the hallway and eventually brought us into the recovery room of Ruth’s birthmother. I do not want to relive the experience because we want to share it fully with Ruthie when we can, so for now I will just say it was emotional. I could not stop examining this woman who had just bore my child. I felt such a sense of gratitude. Now we get to pray for her and her family forever–what a gift! Praise God for her and her choosing to bring this baby to term. She made one family pretty stinkin’ elated 🙂
After Ruth’s birthmother went to say goodbye to her, the nurses in the “well nursery” where Ruthie was because she was healthy like a champ after delivery, took our driver’s licenses and made copies of them. After that we were able to walk in and look at our sweet, precious princess. I could not take my eyes off of her. I loved her in that instant. We finally had one of our own. My sweet little girl was here and there was nothing anyone could do to take her away from me–well, I mean, besides the whole signing of the papers thing, but we all know how that ended!
We spent a couple of hours with Ruth and the nurses. They taught us everything we needed to know in order to take care of her for the next couple of weeks until her two week appointment. I totally forgot about the umbilical cord. Brian didn’t even know that was a thing, so it took him a little while to get over the shock of the mass on her body, but it’s normal to us now 🙂
The nurses could tell we were sleep deprived and hungry and told us to come back around her 5 o’clock feeding. We headed out to our hotel to check in. This room is definitely bigger than our first apartment–which is not hard to do, but it’s great, perfect for waiting for ICPC to clear, especially with a holiday right around the corner. ICPC, for those who may not know or need a refresher, basically means that the state we are in and our home state have to talk in order for us to legally bring our child across state lines. Hooray for not supporting child trafficking!
We grabbed some In-N-Out Burger and came back to the hotel to eat, watch some Modern Family, and nap. After that we went to hang out with Ruth and the nurses again. We only stayed for about an hour due to shift change and went back to have some dinner and eventually sleep. As nervous as we both were, we both got about six and a half hours of sleep–it was awesome! We did, however, wake up around 4:30am so we had some time on our hands and we watched more Modern Family. We showered, got ready, and got a call from our caseworker saying she was heading out to Ruth’s birthmother’s place to have her sign the forms. They told us to get to the hospital around 9:00am. Us, being us, were at the hospital by 8:30am and we stopped to buy Ruthie some gifts for her big day! We then went up and held her for a bit until we went back downstairs to wait for our caseworker. She called Brian around 9:20am to tell her that Ruth’s birthmother had signed the papers and that she would be coming with a notary to have us sign the official documents and hand over the check. I was so glad when I saw the notary and found that she was the administrative assistant at the agency with whom we have corresponded via email. What a treat to meet the people who have helped connect you to your child! It really was so incredible.
After a lot of initialing, signing, and dating, we then became Ruth’s legal custodians. We will, Lord willing, become her forever parents officially 6 months from now when finalization takes place. And that was it. We went back up to meet with the pediatrician so he could release her. He said that she was super healthy and that her outlook is great. Hopefully we new parents won’t screw her up too much 🙂
We walked down with one of the nurses and the two professionals from our agency, Brian pulled the car around *which, I might add, he successfully figured out how to to strap in the car seat just that morning–father of the year material, folks!*, we put her in the car, and drove off to our hotel where we have begun mastering the art of diapering, feeding, and swaddling. We are so in love with her and are so grateful to our God and the people he has given us to support this process. Seriously, if you’re reading this right now THANK YOU! We could not have done any of this without you.
We will still be raising funds for our adoption since we still have yet to meet our goals and have taken out some hefty loans. Please visit https://www.adopttogether.org/watersfamilyadoption if you would like to donate to our expenses, which might add up to even more if Medicaid does not clear and will add up once we get legal and post placement fees (the fun never ends–but we get that it’s totally necessary!). We so appreciate all who have donated to our adoption and pray for God to continue blessing you in whatever part of life’s journey you may find yourself.
As grueling as waiting was, I cannot express to you all how awesome it is to have a daughter. She is my favorite person in the world–Brian, too of course, and I seriously cannot imagine life without her already. She is 100% ours in every way. Please continue to pray for her health. We will keep updating on this blog, so stay tuned for more Ruthie updates. I will leave you with a picture of her sweet face so you can lovingly gaze upon her incredible beauty 🙂