Monday, April 7, 2014

Adoption week memories

It's been a year now since we first found out about Luke and met him.  This week a year ago was our crazy one of getting home from New York, meeting Luke, telling everyone (those hours are in the favorite of my life), signing paperwork, getting ready for Luke, hours in the NICU, and finally bringing him home.  It was a very emotional week, a lot happened, a lot changed for us.  Been thinking about those days a lot lately as we celebrated Luke's 1st birthday and remember what these days were like for us one year ago....

hotel bed where we first found out about Luke
April 4th - the day we found out Luke existed.  We had dreamed and talked about that moment for so long, when we'd get our call.  What it would be like.  It was really what I expected.  I think a lot had to do with his unknown health issues and the possible medical bills from that.  It wasn't immediate acceptance, there were a lot of unknowns at the time.  But then walking around New York the rest of the day and just thinking that our son might be out there, waiting for us, waiting for a family.  It's about all we thought about all day even though we barely talked about it. 

April 5th - the day we found out that we had been picked from the possible family presented to his birth mother.  Spent most of the day wondering when we'd hear something.  I think I held onto my phone all day until I saw the call.  Then finding out it was us.  We were being given the chance to become a family, all my texts with our social worker after that.  Thinking about all the people who had to make the decisions they did for Luke to end up with us...that still gives me chills thinking about it - his birth mother for choosing to give him up, the attorney, our social worker, the first family that was lined up and backed away after being scared of his medical issues.  So many people we had never met, other than our social worker, making choices that would affect us for the rest of our lives.  It's mind blowing.  Definitely God at work. 

April 6th - actually nothing happened this day.  Just a lot of nerves.

April 7th - getting home from New York, eventually meeting his birth family and then him.  Making those exciting phone calls in the hospital parking lot.  We had talked and dreamed about finally making those calls for so long.  Knowing within days we would be a family.  Seems crazy that all that was just a year ago, feels like Luke has been a part of our lives for a long time.

Yesterday, exactly 52 weeks after we went to the hospital to first meet Luke's birth mother and eventually him, we went back to the same hospital to meet our new niece.  It was almost to the hour (5:30 vs. 5:00) the exact time that we were there last year to meet Luke.  I took this picture of my boys outside the hospital, thinking about how different it was this time.  Last time we were pretty darn nervous headed into the hospital.  The most important job interview of our lives.  Not really something you can prepare for.  Luke was up in the NICU, wasn't even Luke yet (his birth family didn't officially name him but did refer to him by a different name before us).  We had just gotten off the train from New York about 10 that morning, had a crazy day of unpacking from one adventure and mentally prepping for the next. 

April 8th - frantically tying up loose ends at work for me, assembling a pack n play, getting the travel system out of the attic, calling insurance, visiting Luke.  Lots and lots to do to prepare for him.  I probably cried about half the day.  No, less but a lot of times.  It was incredibly emotional.  We thought we were pretty much ready but actually being ready was an entirely different thing.  Spent part of the day freaking out because we didn't get a signing time for the next day until late in the day.  Kept trying to "Let go, Let God" but also worrying that his birth mother was changing her mind.

April 9th - the day we signed.  There had been talk about Luke being released from the hospital that day but we didn't know for sure since we weren't able to talk to the doctors ourselves.  We left home not knowing if we'd be coming back with a baby.  We had our car seat installed and diaper bag in the back seat.  We sat in the hospital lobby more than 90 minutes watching whatever random tv was on, waiting to sign the paperwork.  A little bit freaking out.  Noticed at the hospital yesterday that they had either gotten new furniture or rearranged since we waited to sign.  Saw his birth mother after she signed and before we did.  There were a lot of tears.  Signed our names a few times and that was it.  We were parents.  Went to visit Luke for the first time as his parents and got our mother and father name tags.

Were able to talk to doctors, be with him on our own.  We stayed at the hospital a long time that afternoon to evening.  Ate supper in the cafeteria and then back to hang out with Luke.  Couldn't believe we had a baby just 5 days after hearing about him.

April 10th and 11th - I wasn't working, spent afternoons at the hospital hanging out with Luke and then again in evenings when Matt could go too.  Matt even ran over on his lunch breaks to see him.  I One of those days I had a book and Luke was sleeping when I got there.  I remember just sitting in his room, watching him sleep and reading for almost 2 hours.  It was wonderful.  We were finishing things up at home, getting his room ready.  Tried to keep up on e-mails, texts, phone calls, and Facebook notifications (this was after 2 hours in the NICU visiting Luke).  It was pretty much impossible.
We got our parents up to see him (literally flipped a coin to see which set of grandparents would be first).  Watched the required videos to take him home from the NICU.  The last night before he came home we watched the Lost finale.  We had been rewatching the whole series and finished just before bringing Luke home.  One last childless night.

April 12th - we brought Luke home.  Had a meeting at the hospital to learn about his apnea monitor (ohhhh it sucked having that!), signed final paperwork and out of there in about 2 hours.  I think the feeling of leaving the hospital with your first kid is about the same for any parents - excited and scared.  We had a baby.  We were a family of 3.  Hard to believe but somehow, after years and years it all happened in 9 days. 

I still get emotional thinking back to those days.  All the uncertainty, all the joy.  All the love we felt from our family and friends over this little guy.  It was a really incredible time.  We and many others had been praying so long for our baby and when we got him and he was perfect (even if it took the doctors longer to come to that conclusion than us).  I've never had more trust in God's plan for our lives than I did at that time (not that I don't now), could actually see the physical answer to our prayers.  It was just incredible all the emotions, joy, anxiety, happiness over this.  Luke is such a blessing. 

A few other adoption updates
We've been asked often if we're going to celebrate his adoption day with him.  While I certainly remember all these dates it's hard to pick which one to celebrate.  The day we signed isn't the day he came home, if those were the same day maybe we would.  Plus, we just celebrated his birthday.  If we adopt more children (as we hope) we can't celebrate every single special day.  We decided we'll celebrate his adoption on the court date anniversary since it's further out and concrete instead of throwing another celebration around his birthday.  (Although, we have so much leftover birthday cake and cupcakes a day this week might be easier...)  So we'll celebrate his birth in March and adoption in July.

We've also been asked recently about contact with his birth mother.  We haven't heard anything from her since the day we signed almost a year ago.  We really wonder how she is doing and hope things are going really well for her.  On Friday we sent off our one year letter with many pictures.  It went to the attorney who should forward onto his birth mother.  The last we knew she just wanted a letter and pictures once a year.  We are open to more contact and offered that to her in our letter. 


Lauren said...

I again choked up several times just re-reading about how Luke entered your lives!!! Such an awesome (the true meaning of awesome) story. I am soooooo glad he is your little boy and is healthy and happy!!!! <3

diana said...

It chokes me up anytime I think about it a lot. Thank you, we are so happy he is ours too. =)