Penelope's Adoption & Birth Story
The degree to which I am excited about FINALLY getting to write this post is ridiculous. Exactly 1,618 days before Penelope was born we were ready to become a family. We were that couple that was "trying, but not really trying". We didn't want to stress about it.
I'll spare you the nitty gritty details, but the basis is this. For those 1,618 we went through a roller coaster of emotions (from being bummed we weren't pregnant, to maybe not wanting kids at all, to sobbing in the shower that it wasn't happening). We tried vitamins, medicines, treatments, tests and more to get answers. None came.
Finally, in the fall of 2015 we decided to focus on adoption only. That December we had picked our agency and started getting all the paperwork filled out. By February / March we were accepted and officially waiting.
The next few months ended up being the most stressful months of my life. From March until August we got 6 different versions of "the call". Most of them were just the preliminary "hey, would you take this baby if you had to, but we don't think you'll need to" kind of thing. Some were mothers that were looking at our book, but ultimately went with someone else. Those still carry weight. I called those "maybe babies".
Also, in this time B got transferred to Kansas City for work. He got the job on a Thursday, we listed the house on the following Sunday, it sold two days later. He moved to Kansas City 2 weeks later to start work and I was left with the task of packing up our first home. That sucked.
I joined B in Kansas City at the very end of June. Just a short time later on July 18th we got the call (actually it was a text). "Looks like we have a placement! I will get in touch with you."
Queue the emotions.
We found out the same day that birth mom wanted to meet us. We had to wait on a letter from a tribe to let us know that we could proceed. Finally, on August 5th we got to set a date for lunch.
On August 14th we got to meet our birth mom (K) and "meet" our baby. It was the most surreal thing in the world. There's this general feeling of being "tentatively excited" in adoption and even more so whenever you get to meet the birth mom in person. What's the appropriate amount of excited that you can show when you're becoming a mother because another woman is releasing her privilege?
From there we mostly got text updates from our agency about K and our growing baby.
"The baby has good growth & healthy organs. K really liked you."
"Both K and the baby continue to do well."
"Baby is gaining weight, heartbeat is good and baby moves a lot."
"She is 100% committed. No red flags whatsoever."
"No labor pains. Hopefully the baby will stay put another week."
"All is set for tomorrow. Meet me at the hospital at 6:30 am."
The juxtaposition of healthy baby organ updates and reminders that our birth mom was committed to us was the strangest. The flutter of excitement whenever we would get an update only came after the dread of a text from our agency since it could've have been bad news.
It was hard walking around with this baby that was almost ours without anyone knowing. On one hand it was great, I didn't have to deal with strangers touching my belly at the grocery store. On another it felt like I was hiding this big secret and trying too hard if I were to bring it up with other expectant mamas.
But we made it through that. As weird and as hard as it was it was something that was unavoidable. Come January it was go time.
We drove down to Tulsa a couple of days early (we had another 2.5 hour drive to a smaller town after that). We were able to set up in my Aunt's guest house where we were able to stay before we got to go ahead to leave the state. This was a huge gift. We were able to stay in a sweet little apartment all to ourselves while we were figuring out the whole parenting thing.
We barely got any sleep the night before and ended up heading out around 4 am. We hit up Starbucks and headed to the hospital to figure out where to go. We got there early and absolutely didn't know what to do. How excited could we be? Did we have any rights to head back to our birth mom?
Prior to us showing up I had called the hospital and built a relationship with the Head Nurse. I explained the situation, asked if we could use donor breast milk (some hospitals don't allow this), asked her what our privileges were, etc. She was the kindest woman ever. In fact, she showed up early that day just to be able to meet us and set up our own room before our baby even came.
As we were pacing around the waiting area we heard that K wanted to see us (!!!). We headed back and got to sit and chat with her for about 45 minutes before the took her back for surgery. Holy moly that was the craziest.
Once they took her back it was the longest. Wait. Ever. It felt like hours before they called her sister back (who was going to be with her during surgery). But once they did....it was just minutes before they came out with a baby for us to meet.
We got to go into the nursery with just B and I and meet our baby. We were met with this squishy bundle loaded with thick black hair. The nursing staff was incredible and let us do skin to skin immediately. I was too stunned to do anything. I think I just held her and stared and was in total disbelief that any of it was even happening.
We had asked to keep the sex of the baby a surprise so I sent out B to go tell our parents who were waiting outside.
By the way, I'll say again how amazing the nursing staff was. They let our our parents, siblings, friends, etc all be buzzed back so they could come to our room. They addressed us as "mom and dad" and our parents as "grandparents". You don't know how valuable and strong that is until there's a chance it might not happen.
The next 28 hours before we were discharged were unbelievable on so many levels. But before we knew it we were all cleared to head home (well, to Tulsa, anyways). We spent over a month in Tulsa before we were able to head home and get resettled in our own space. Now we're creeping up on celebrating 4 whole months with Penelope and it's bananas.
Legally, we're still a few months out before everything is final, final. If you want to know more specifically about the adoption / legal process for your own family feel free to reach out.