Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Trip Down Adoption Lane - The End of a Long Journey

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving! We sure did! Well back to our story. On May 9th we had to be at the courthouse for a conference call for the finalization around 1:15 for the call to begin at 1:30. My niece Lane was there to capture the event on video. Bryant (Chris' brother) came by to witness the event and my aunt Kay who works at the Probate Judge's office was our go through person because she is a notary. We were nervous because a new judge had taken over the adoption cases in that district. Jerry the director of C.F.S. didn't know much about him but at least he pardoned us from having to come back down there for court since it was only going to take about 15 minutes. Finally the call came from our Lawyer who was in Orlando. He was trying to get the judge on the phone. As soon as everyone was on the phone, the judge asked Kay to swear us in. So we had to raise our right hand and etc. Pretty weird feeling because you were not actually in a court room. The judge asked Chris some questions first and then he asked me some questions. Then he declared us the legal parents of Lillian. He then congratulated us on our adoption of Lillian. The lawyer then told the judge that we were big Alabama fans and then the judge jokingly said that he should of asked before hand if we were Florida fans. That was it! Lillian was officially ours!!! We would receive her birth certificate in the mail about a week to two weeks from then. We took some pictures of the occasion and we shared some tears of joy. Our dream finally came true of having a family and we owe it all to God. He had his hand in all of it! We did all that we could and left the rest up to him. That night which was a Wednesday night we had a party after church for family and close friends that helped along the way.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Trip Down Adoption Lane - Part 5

Well we headed for home around 2:00 the 31st of December. Chan and Marla followed us all the way home. We arrived home around 11:00 that night so Lillian spent an hour in the year 2006 in her new home. My sister Mia and her family greeted us around 11:30 that night to ring in the new year with us. They left around 1:00 and we were so exhausted! We still had not caught up on our sleep from being up for 24 hours. After about two weeks we had to have another visit from the social worker. Actually she had to do two visits which is called the post home visits. This is done to see whether or not everything is going smoothly into parenthood. After we got settled down, my workplace, Chris' workplace, and the ladies from church gave us a shower. I will show some pictures from that as well.

Well, in February we got a letter from our lawyer saying that our finalization on the adoption would be May 9th. We still had to fill out more paperwork. I will post some pics of Lillian up until our finalization. The first picture is of Lillian's first Easter. The next one is so precious of her sucking her thumb. But I am so glad she didn't keep that habit!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Trip Down Adoption Lane - Part 4

We were able to leave the hospital with her on the 26th of December. Before we left, Jerry the director of CFS wanted to get his picture made with us. The nurse loaded us up with tons and tons of formula which we were greatful since it would be hard to make a four hour trip to our waiting place. With adoption between two different states you have to wait in the state where the baby was born until you get clearance from the interstate compact. The interstate compact is where both states have to complete paperwork before you are able to leave to come home. They tell you to be prepared to stay a week to two weeks before you get to go home. You can stay anywhere in the state so we headed off to Panama City where some friends of Chris's boss at work had a condo on the bay. It was so beautiful! Here is a picture with Chris feeding her at the condo. We arrived at the condo on Tuesday the 26th around 8:00. We met the people who owned it to follow them to it. They were so nice and they even had us some gifts. Well, we spent the first night by ourselves in this huge condo and Lillian did not like her Moses basket. So we let her sleep in her car seat. She slept for 4 hours before she woke up wanting to eat. The next day our best friends Chan and Marla and Chris's brother Bryant and his family came to stay. On Thursday my dad, mom and my sister Tammy and her family came to stay. On Friday Bryant and his family were leaving so that there would be room for my sister Robin and her family. My sister Mia and her family were going to come but we got the call that we could go home. Yeah! We only had to stay three days after we left the hospital. But since we had a lot of washing and we needed to leave the condo like we found it we left there Sunday afternoon. The rest of my family left out on Saturday but Chan and Marla stayed behind to help us with the cleaning of the condo. We had so much fun! On Friday night Momma cooked all of us a home cooked meal. We ate so good and then we all played games like Family Feud DVD and Taboo while others were getting to hold Lillian. I will let you know about our trip home later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Trip Down Adoption Lane - Part 3

The staff at the hospital was so nice. They gave us a room at no charge as long as they didn't need the room for another expecting mother. So we got to care for her just as if I actually gave birth to her. Our birthmother checked out of the hospital that day (Sunday the 24th) to get back to her other children who were 3 years old and 1 year old at the time. It was an emotional time for her to say good-bye. We had her a heart locket and we also got the other two children a gift for Christmas. She was appreciative of the gifts and held Lillian for one last time. As she was giving Lillian a kiss she was handing her to me and saying take good care of my baby. She also told Lillian that she was handed her to her mommy. That took a very strong person in that she was putting her baby's needs before her own. She knew that she couldn't take care of another child and was glad that she could make another couple parents that couldn't become parents naturally. We will always be thankful for our birthmother allowing us to give Lillian our love and direction. After our birthmother left Robin, Mark, Will, and Anna spent time in our room holding Lillian. When it came time for bed we took her back to the nursery since we were running on fumes. I cannot believe that I was even able to hold my head up. Chris and I by that time had been up for 24 hours straight. I don't think I remember anything else that night. I went back to get Lillian every morning around 6:30 and we kept her with us until about 10:00 at night. I am going to try and post some pictures now. The first picture is when we were able to fit her into a Christmas stocking because she was our best Christmas gift ever! The next picture is of me feeding her for the first time. The last picture is a close up of her face. She was perfect!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Trip Down Adoption Lane - Part Two

Well, on November 14th of 2006 we got a call from Jerry who is the director of C.F.S. We had been chosen by a birthmother. She was looking at about 5 books and when she got to ours she said that she knew we were the ones. Jerry told us a little about the birthmother and how the pregnancy was progressing. He told us that she was due around December 20th. Jerry also told us that she wanted to meet us and it needed to be soon because of the due date. So we waited until Jerry got back with the birthmother to see when would be a good time for her to meet. We all decided that it would be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Chris and I had never been to Gainesville, FL but on Tuesday of the week of Thanksgiving we took off down there. It took us 9 hours to get there. The next morning Jerry was going to meet with us before we met with our birthmother. We had never seen Jerry before so we didn't know what to expect. We were so nervous but after we met Jerry we felt a little better. We then left for the agency to meet our birthmother. She was running late so that made us even more nervous. We were waiting in a room for her and when we heard her voice I started shaking. I was thinking what if she doesn't like us or what if I don't know what to say. When she walked into the room Chris literally look white as a ghost. I thought he was going to pass out. Well, I didn't have any trouble talking to her. We carried on a conversation like we knew each other all along. After talking for about 2 hours, we finally left and headed back home. Our birthmother wanted me present at the birth if there was any way that I could be there. I was so excited but we knew that she could still change her mind until she signed the consent form. Jerry told us to keep our cell phones on at all times just in case she goes into labor. Well, we went to A.B.S. homecoming and we got a call from Jerry. This was on Friday night December 17th @7:00 that night. She was having contractions that were 9 minutes apart. We loaded up and headed to Gainesville that night. We arrived down there around six our time. We were so exhausted because both of us had worked all day and then drove all night. I don't how we made it. It seems like a blur. Well, it was false labor pains but we had decided we were going to stay for the long haul because I didn't want to miss the delivery. After being there a week, we got to at least go and see Daytona and tour the track and made many trip to the University of Florida campus. On that Friday our birthmother finally saw the doctor and he was not going to induce labor until the 26th. Our birthmother did not like that answer so she checked herself into the hospital and they checked her and said that she had two more weeks to go. Well, Jerry told us to go on back home and enjoy Christmas with our family. So on Saturday the 23rd we load up at 5:00a.m. and head back home. We arrived home about 4:00p.m. We both crashed! Well, around 6:30 our phone rang. Chris was up but I was still asleep but could hear Chris talking. All I heard was your joking and your kidding me. Our birthmother was in labor for real this time. Chris talked to Jerry as Lillian was being born! After the doctors checked her out good, I spoke with our birthmother to see how she was doing and how Lillian was doing. I was beside myself. Chris and I just cried because all of our pain of infertility was gone. We were finally going to be parents! I just couldn't stand it. I wanted to be there holding her. There was no way that we could drive back after just coming home. Luckily Mark and Robin (my sister and brother-in-law) had slept all day and could drive us. So about 10:30p.m. Mark was driving our car and Robin was driving their car. Our car was stilled pack from the trip before and so I didn't have to do much as far as packing. We drove all night and got there the next morning around 7:00a.m. our time. We met with Jerry first and then went and saw our birthmother. She went to get Lillian from the nursery. The second I laid eyes on her I knew she was mine. I might not have given birth to her but I should did have a lot of labor for her. I was shaking when our birthmother asked me if I wanted to hold her. Lillian was so beautiful and tiny. She weighed 6lbs. 10oz. and was 19 inches long. Her skin was so soft. Well, Chris needs the computer so I will continue later.

A Trip Down Adoption Lane

I would like to share how we adopted our precious little girl Lillian Adare. Chris and I had six horrible years of infertility. Precious time that I cannot get back. After our IVF (invitro) falled and after spending thousands and thousands of dollars, we decided that we needed to look into another way of having the family that we always had dreamed about for years. In October of 2005, I search the internet about adoption. At first we were a little scared but we knew this was the only way to have a family. I started asking people that had adopted what we need to do. Mellanie Barksdale and Dana Pressnell helped us a whole bunch. Dana put me in touch with a woman in California that she knew that was a member of the church that dealt with birthmothers. Then Mellanie told us of an adoption agency that she had gone with for her first child that was located in Gainesville, FL. We first thought that we would go to Russia and adopt but we didn't like the thought of traveling outside the U.S. and plus it would cost a tremendous amount of money. So after much discussion and talking with the director of C.F.S. (Christian Family Services) in Gainesville, FL, we decided to go with them. We started paperwork in March of 2006. We had to be fingerprinted and have a homestudy where a social worker comes in to visit and also learns about your past. Then we started filling out all of the agency's paperwork. I have never seen so much paperwork in my life. They really get up close and personal with you. Then on August 28th of 2006, we were active on the waiting list with the agency. Oh, also we had to have a scrapbook in which I had never done anything like that before in my life. If it wasn't for my two coworkers I don't know what I would have done. It took me two full weeks of my dining room table being covered with pictures, papers, and stickers. Once we were active that meant that if the agency had a birthmother that matched our profile (meaning our comfort level and her comfort level with semi-open adoption) they could show our scrapbook to her along with several other ones that matched too. We didn't know how long it would take for a match. It really depends on how many birthmothers they are working with or if that birthmother really like your scrapbook. I let you know more later.

I have finally created a blog!

I am new to this so it may take me a while but I love looking at all the blogs especially people that I went to school with every day. I hope to have more posts later!