A little over a year ago, we received an answer to our prayers. We were placed with a beautiful baby boy, E. The search for loving birth parents for an open adoption went quicker than planned. People always say that the perfect birth parents will find you, and they did! Our sweet birth parents chose us August 7, 2014 to receive this wonderful blessing. Also, at the same family party they announced they chose us, there was a gender reveal. It was so fun and cute! It was a boy!!
For shortness sake and respect, let's call E's birth parents A & B. We hung out with A & B every couple of weeks trying to get to know them and build a relationship. Open adoption can be such a wonderful blessing in the lives of all the parents and the child. It can also be really tough to be super sensitive and open. The best advice I can give anyone is to be loving, respectful, and give a great effort. Don't promise anything you can't deliver. Sometimes we were asked for more, but we had to say no even when we feared that word. We also had to be flexible because we had to change some of our agreements to better suit the needs of A & B. I'm sure they did a lot of compromising on their part too to make us more comfortable also.
E developed a love of ice cream and fries from a very prenatal age, I think! It is some of his favorite foods. He also loves peas and green beans so don't think I'm total junk food! We had many ice cream double dates and times out just bonding as parents.
Sweet little E was brought into this world with LOTS of love and family! We were privileged to be at E's birth and hospital stay. We watched replays of Liverpool soccer as we giggled and smiled as he was born. I realize that it isn't always the norm. E was born with pneumonia. They say it just happens sometimes. He was whisked off to the nursery after a quick hold by A. My husband and I followed him to the nursery taking pictures and sending them to family and A & B. A did marvelously!! She was a champion!
The hospital was very accommodating and generous. Since they knew this was going to be an adoption, they gave us two of everything. We both received footprints, receiving blankets, and name cards (from the bassinets).
Since A was stuck in bed and E was stuck in the nursery because he had to have oxygen, IV, and antibiotics, I ran back and forth between them. I stayed with A the first night. I tried really hard to help her as best I could. She really wanted to see E. I went and took pictures and videos of him and texted them to her so she could see him. We would both just stare at the photos and take it all in.
B stayed with A the last night in the hospital. I went home with my husband to try to get one of the last full nights of uninterrupted sleep. Ha! I can't sleep when I'm excited and stressed. Adoption can bring on both of those. We hadn't been placed with E in our care yet. Dad had to go to work each day as the hospital bills mounted. He came after work to the hospital for his snuggles. I went to the hospital in the morning, came home for lunch and give Stella, our golden doodle and first child, love, and returned to the hospital in the afternoon. I was grateful the hospital was a quick drive although it became a little tiring going back and forth.
All the paperwork was signed, and we were officially placed with E at 48 hours when A was released from the hospital. E stayed in the hospital for a week to receive all of his doses of antibiotics. He stayed in the nursery for the first 5 days, and then he was moved upstairs to a Primary Children's Hospital level for the last 3 days. I remember leaving the hospital with E still there at 48 hours. We were emotionally and physically drained from our experience. You are so happy to have a child and be parents, but you feel for A & B in this time of their life. They are grieving for the same reason you are celebrating. I was happy they stayed at the hospital after we left to spend time with E.
Scott and I went to get a quick bite to eat. After a little food, we were revived. I couldn't stop smiling. I told our sweet waiter all about how we just became parents through adoption. I'm not sure how much he understood, but he smiled and congratulated us. I felt like screaming it from the top of the world.
It was a Tuesday that we were placed with E. I work with teenage girls in our church, and I knew they were having an activity. I had been dropping hints about a possible adoption, but most of them had no idea. We went to their activity and announced the birth of our E. They were all jumping for joy, asking for pictures, and smiling with tears in their eyes. We had kept our adoption news to our close friends and family because of our past experiences. There were no showers, no announcements, no gifts, until everything was signed. We would still have to go to court to finalize, but we had to have it this way. At home, we had all the basic needs. I had stocked up food. There were diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, some hand-me-downs from a sweet friend, pack-n-play, changing pad, and carseat (hand-me-down).
People were so excited for us. At the first announcements, people were overjoyed and very generous. It took many by shock how quiet we kept it at church and work, well my work! Scott had told a few fellow teachers at his school, and it spread like wildfire. I took 5 weeks of maternity leave. I only work for about 10 hours a week, and when I'm gone, E is well taken care of by loved ones and Dad. Speaking of excitement! Since E was on oxygen from the pneumonia for the first 4-5 weeks, we stayed inside a lot and away from people. It was January in Utah!! Our friends and family brought us meals for about the first 6 weeks of E's life. Precious friends were invited to see him and bring dinner while in the last few days of the hospital. We were so grateful not to have to leave E's side to get food.
We were able to get a few glimpses of newborn life when we had E in a room to ourselves. That was in the Primary Children's level. I spent the first and last night with E waking up, changing, and feeding him every three hours. I was deliriously happy! I'm a person who enjoys sleeping at night more than most. I'm not a napper. After waiting nearly 7 years to have a child, I was overjoyed to do it all! I remember once he tooted when I changed him at the hospital and shot poop 4 feet that hit me and the wall beside me. All I could do was laugh. A & B were there, but they didn't seem as amused.
The nurses were so wonderful in the nursery and Primary's. We brought them chocolates, more chocolate, and doughnuts. They really became like family since we saw them around the clock. Nurse Sandy was my favorite. She was there 4 of the 5 days in the nursery. You could tell how much she loved and cared for each precious child in there. E was by far the biggest baby at 8 pounds. People would look at him and be shocked he was hooked up to machines. He looked perfect and beautiful! The nurses at Primary's were excited to have such a little one be apart of their floor. They would come in the middle of the night and want to talk about E and his adoption. I was happy to share our loving story, but I was also an exhausted first time mom. Ha!
After E received his last dose of antibiotics late the last night, we were released with a small oxygen tank the next morning. We were grateful to leave the noisy hospital and go home. It was frightening to watch the baby CPR video and pray that I wouldn't need it. I am thankful that I haven't needed it yet, but that I have the knowledge if ever needed. The Social worker had to carry out E with his oxygen tank. A & B were there to spend a little time and say their goodbyes. We dressed him in his take home outfit that A & B gave him. He was so cute in his newborn outfit even if it only fit for a week. We loaded up E, took pictures, gave hugs, and said our goodbyes. I drove the most carefully I ever did home. Scott drove his car home too.
For a week, we prepared our sweet dog, Stella for E. Sandy had given us his blanket with his smell. I had brought home his soiled outfit for her to smell. She was overjoyed and interested in his smell. It made us happy and a little nervous at her energy, but we knew she would be a wonderful dog. We had her around children from the time she was 8 weeks old. For the last 3 days, Stella had stayed with a few of her favorite families in the neighborhood and grandma. We took E in the house, and Scott went to get Stella. She was so gentle and happy to meet him. It couldn't have gone better. Since that first day they are inseparable. She even sleeps in the hallway outside his room. Stella comes and gets me when she hears him start waking up. E rolls over her, pulls her hair, uses her to help steady his walk, and she just kisses him! Occasionally she leaves his side if he's being rough, but I don't blame her. She loves it best when he plays tug-of-war with her. It's the cutest big sister/little brother relationship!
Well, if you have made it to the end, there is plenty more of our story to be written another day. Nap time is coming to an end, and I need to shower before that happens! Little sacrifices of mothers everywhere! A, B, and E have brought so much happiness and joy to our lives that we couldn't have imagined. We will be eternally grateful!