This is part 2 of our latest adoption tale…
Match, Placement, and ICPC
This is where things get really interesting and hectic so I’ll break it down by day.
December 20th – My wife was at a Christmas cookie exchange party when she got a call from the adoption agency saying that a woman was in labor. If we wanted the baby, it was ours as the expectant parents did not want to be part of the selection process. Well, this was a huge surprise, but pretty quickly we decided we wanted to do this. We knew absolutely nothing about the situation yet.
We learned in a later phone call that the woman had only begun having contractions and was not actually in labor at the hospital. Therefore, the agency told us to wait on booking travel so we didn’t get to AZ early and potentially waste money.
December 21st - Lots of waiting by the phone as the agency sent us more information about the expectant mother and situation. We kept an eye on flights, rental cars, etc.
December 22nd – Same as the previous day. We were really on edge and antsy. We decided to continue with our previous holiday plans to visit my family in NOLA. Therefore, we packed to drive to Louisiana with the knowledge that we would fly from NOLA once we received word from the agency. We did this rather than staying home because our hotel in NOLA had already been paid for and I only see my family a couple times a year.
December 23rd – We got on the road at 5:30 a.m. and drove 500+ miles to my parents’ house.
December 24th – More waiting while we spent time with family. We did our Christmas present exchange and traditional foods. We didn't know it at the time, but the baby’s mother had been admitted to the hospital and the doctors had started inducing her.
December 25th – We got the word that the mother had her child (a baby girl, but we wouldn’t find that out for a few more hours). We booked our flight for the following day and sorted through what we would take with us and what we’d leave behind at my parents.
December 26th – Of all the traveling for the trip, this was by far the worst day. It was our first time flying with young kids and we made a couple of rookie mistakes (especially as it relates to the car seats…had to bring 3 with us). Our flight got in around 8:00 in the evening. Once we finally got all our bags and the rental car taken care of, we went straight to the hospital.
We met our new baby and spent about an hour at the hospital. Leah stayed overnight with the baby while I took our other two kids to an older couple’s house. They graciously opened their home to us for a free place to stay. Finding the home, getting the kids dinner, and so on meant that the kids didn’t go to bed until around what would have been 1:30 a.m. if we were still in the eastern time zone.
All things considering, my two oldest did pretty well.
December 27th – Took the two oldest kids back to the hospital to have lunch with Mom who was going to stay there until our new baby was released.
Unfortunately, Daddy made a big mistake. My oldest daughter has a pretty bad egg allergy and we have to be on constant alert to make sure she doesn’t accidentally ingest something with eggs in it. Well, for lunch I decided to get Jack-in-the-Box because I love the food and they don’t have any in Georgia. Problem is they put mayo on their hamburgers. I didn’t even think about that being a possibility. We thought we caught our screw up fast enough after taking the burger from her after only two bites….however we were wrong….
After leaving the hospital, I decided to go to the store and pick up some groceries. She began throwing up in the store so I left my cart where it was and got out of there quickly. In the process, she threw up all over me and in the parking lot for over half an hour. Then she threw up twice in the minivan on the way to the house. Then she threw up off and on for another 2 hours until finally working it all out of her system.
Talk about a mess.
On the bright side, we were able to take our baby girl home that night.
December 28th – Tried to get somewhat settled into our temporary home with everyone out of the hospital.
December 29th – More of the same and got to go to church with our new family of five.
December 30th - We had to take our baby to the pediatrician for a newborn checkup. Some blood tests that should have been done on the birth mother in the hospital had not been done. So, we had to go all over Phoenix to find a lab to ensure that our baby did not have an infection that would have required a 10-day stay in the NICU. It was a frustrating and stressful day thanks to a screw up at the hospital.
December 31st - Blood test came back in a normal range which meant no infection.
My two oldest kids and my wife got hit with a REALLY bad stomach bug. They threw up all evening and all night (and all over the house). My son had it the worst. He was throwing up in his sleep. To make matters worse, this was after a New Year’s dinner of hot dogs. My wife doesn’t think she’ll ever eat any again.
On the plus side, I managed to dodge the bullet, as did our new baby. That meant Daddy was cleaning up throw up for three people. Fun!
January 1st – My son was still throwing up, but eventually everyone’s stomachs settled. I did my best to keep the baby away from those infected while doing about eight loads of laundry and continuing to clean up after the chaos of the night before. Leah and my two oldest watched movies all day.
January 2nd – Everyone recuperated while I spent the day working remotely. (Year end close and I’m an accountant.)
January 3rd – I worked remotely again to take care of year end close duties. Leah took the kids out of the house for a bit so I could concentrate more. However, I ended up coming down with a partial bowel obstruction (very painful) thanks to a Crohn’s flare up. I had to go to the ER where I was pumped full of antibiotics, steroids, and painkillers. I was admitted for the night into the hospital.
January 4th - The attending GI doctor decided to keep me another night. Basically, this meant I wrote, read, and watched movies on demand and the NFL playoffs. Not too bad of a way to bide your time except I knew Leah had all three kids by herself.
January 5th – I made it out the hospital. Yay. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had anything to eat in nearly two days and for some reason the re-introduction of food into my system after a fast is always extremely painful.
January 6th – I continued to recover….very painfully. The kids’ behavior started to be awful. The strain of travel, a new baby, and being away from home really started taking a toll.
January 7th - We met up with some friends of my wife for dinner. We got word that the Indian Court approved our adoption (our daughter’s birth mother is a registered Navajo tribe member so she and her boyfriend had to go before a special Indian Court for it to get approved. This is not anywhere near as complicated a process as people think it is so long as you do things the right way.).
January 8th - We took the baby to her two-week check up. She grew all of an 1/8 inch, but she put on over half a pound! We got word that Arizona cleared us to leave the state and they sent our info to Georgia for them to approve us to enter.
Thursday, Jan. 9 – It was my wife’s birthday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything very special for her so we decided to just get out of the house and spend most of the day together as a family. We took the kids to a playground and then ate the worst Mexican food in my entire life. I actually couldn’t even finish it and it made me nauseous until dinner. We tried going out again for dinner and had Applebee’s (classy, I know). Better meal, but the kids are just behaving awfully so it was kind of a stressful meal.
We found out that somehow only a tiny fraction of the necessary paperwork made its way to Georgia. Leah had to scramble to find a FedEx location with a late enough pick up time to allow her to overnight copies of all the paperwork she had thankfully taken with us.
In the words of my wife, “the kids have become full on demon-spawn” at this point.
January 10th - After frantic calls to lawyers and caseworkers and after stalking the FedEx tracking page all morning, our paperwork arrived in Georgia. The ICPC coordinator couldn't get a hold of any of our agency's contacts, so they called us directly to say we were cleared! Frantically, we booked our airfare back to NOLA.
January 11th - We left early in the morning to catch our 10:30 flight. The kids did really well until we got to the gate and we realized that in our rush to leave, we had forgotten to give them any breakfast or snacks. Oops. We got to go through the easy security line. Our shoes remained on, our bags remained unopened. They didn't even have my wife take the baby out of the sling! All three kids did great on the flight. Travel couldn’t have been easier which we were very thankful for. My mom picked us up from the airport. We went to my parent’s house and within minutes my grandmother and aunt came over to see the new addition to the family.
January 12th - We headed home. It took 10 hours. Overall, the kids did great. We knew being away for so long was affecting their behavior but we didn’t realize how much they missed our house until we walked in and my son started touching everything excitedly exclaiming how happy he was to see it. “Look dad, it’s my very own wall! And my floor! And my chair!”
Leah started feeling a tickle in the back of her throat that later in the week became a full on cold (that she picked up from our host family).
The week following was hectic as we were catching up on not being home for over three weeks…we all caught Leah’s cold…and also having my mother in law with us while my father in law had to travel for work.
Unfortunately, I was back at work on the 22nd.
I promise you that’s not everything that happened and typing it out like this really isn’t doing the story justice. I jokingly told my wife that if the Simons were a Westeros family in GRRM’s series, our house motto would be “We do things the hard way.”
But, it was all worth it to have our new addition to the family.
And on a side note, despite all that we went through, I managed to write every single non-traveling day and totaled around 30K words.
Next week will be part 3 in which I’ll touch on what our plans are for the future (yes, we’re hoping for more!)