OUR ADOPTION STORY - CARLY #writeyourheartout
We wait as our babies grow in our hearts instead of our bellies. Our hearts grow and grow, much like in pregnancy, until we are stretched out, uncomfortable, with a bit of heartburn, and feel like we could burst. I hold strong to the notion that adoption hormones are a real thing. While I'm binge watching The OC, crying about Ryan being taken in by Sandy, eating a whole pint of salted caramel gelato, you better not try to say otherwise.
Last August, Hubs and I agreed we were ready for our hearts to grow for a second time through adoption. We discussed all the many ways to adopt and after an amazing orientation by Gladney Center for Adoption, we signed a commitment to start the journey of domestic infant adoption.
We started down a path. A typical domestic infant adoption. Any adoptive family reads that sentence and laughs at the irony.
There is this point in adoption where you have to check yourself. You gots to get reals with yourself. You check boxes on sensitive issues and make decisions on this hypothetical baby you could bring home to your family.
Race. Prenatal drugs. Health issues. Open/Closed. All of it. It is gut wrenching.
Time and time again, I was counseled: it's okay to want a typical, healthy infant for this adoption. It's okay for us to desire only a newborn. Due to infertility, adoption is how our family grows. We did not go into our first adoption with the idea of adopting a child with down syndrome. Yet, at the same time, I looked at my amazing son with his extra chromosomes, and I could not place any limits on the child that could bring value to our home. My mind had been forever shifted on value and worth.
Here's the deal: I could not NOT check boxes. I stared down at the paper in front of me and as the pen pressed on to paper my heart began to expand a little more. Boxes all got checked. This may not be right for everyone, but this is how it had to be to for us. We believed the birth mom who chose our family was going to be unique and right. No matter what. Even if it didn't turn out the way we imagined.
Two days after we became an official "waiting family," I received a call from our social worker. "No pressure," she began, "no obligation. We respect your decision and desires to pursue a private adoption. However, can I share with you about a child CPS is trying to place? Your family came to my mind."
Anything but typical.
We did new, different training. Got new certifications. Started down a different path. Different then we asked or imagined. Scarier.
While bureaucracy did its thing, we drove three hours, there and back, to visit this sweet child every weekend for two months. We read 1200 pages of CPS/medical records, held medical conference calls and CPS staffing calls, set up home health nursing, interviewed cardiologists, found feeding specialists. Meanwhile, our hearts got stretch marks as they swelled beneath our chest. I drank more Starbucks and binge listened millions of podcasts.
Four months later we finally drove home with our amazing, chromosomally-enhanced, heart warrior, sweet toddler girl in her car seat and our mini-van trunk full of boxes of Pediasure, gastronomy tube supplies and an oxygen tank. We began a new adventure as a family of four.
Our hearts went pop. Anything but typical. An EXTRAordinary adoption story.