Present Day 

Nine months have passed since our beautiful baby was born. What once resembled a tiny little Sasquatch is now a strikingly handsome blue-eyed butterball. We love him so! 

So much chubbaroo goodness.


CJ, or Cam, or Campbell, is the happiest of babies. People often ask us, “Doesn’t he ever cry? He’s just so joyful!” Well yes, the truth is he is one joyful little bugaboo. During the daytime he is all smiles and sunshine and truly a happy-go-lucky little dude. It’s the nighttime where he unleashes the full power of his lung capacity to make sure the hubs and I understand his great displeasure with bedtime. The kid hates to sleep. He’s a wee social butterfly who loves to interact and suffers from some serious FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you were wondering). But we think that’s pretty typical, and he gets a free pass for screaming at us every night since he’s practically perfect in every way all the rest of the time. 

Big brother Ezra loves being big brother Ezra. He adores CJ and he is never happier than when his silly antics cause CJ to go into a giggling fit. This usually involves a dance of some kind followed by calling CJ “poopy Campbell.” For some reason, being called poopy is CJ’s favorite thing and he can’t laugh hard enough when he hears it. Unfortunately, this has led the Eldest Son to believe that everyone he talks to must find poopy talk equally hysterical, and has taken to greeting everyone with poopy in front of their name. I fear this is my reality now. I am a mama of boys, and I expect I have many years of “poopy” talk and bathroom humor ahead of me. Lord, have mercy on my poor mama soul. 

This is just a quick update to share how we are today. We are a blessed family, poopy talk and all! We don’t take anything for granted when it comes to our boys. I have many tales and anecdotes I can’t wait to share with you, as well as a couple more chapters of our adoption story. Stay tuned!

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Our Adoption Story, Part Two: Living in a Moment

“Oh my gosh,” I babbled to the Hubs for the 136th time, as we drove north into oncoming gridlock, “can you believe today is one of the two greatest days of our lives? How weird is this? How did this happen? Is this happening? Is this real life?”

We spent the first hour of our drive giddily bantering back and forth about our mutual disbelief. The Hubs will be embarrassed to be described as giddy, but hey, if ever a man has a right to be giddy, it’s on the day his son is born, am I right? Plus, his giddiness was guarded. It would shine through here and there before quickly disappearing. The same could be said about me. We were used to our hopes crashing as rapidly as they had risen in this adoption world. But, this was different. We knew it was different. 

There were quite a few emotions keeping us company in that car. The first was elation, obviously. The second was terror, since by now our minds were set to Doom Mode: Code Red whenever it looked like something was going to go our way regarding family planning. The terror began to recede ever so slowly as we received texts periodically from our coordinator, updating us on the situation. 

The birth parents have signed the papers. 

They are eager to leave and want to make sure you are all in and aren’t going to change your mind. 

How much longer until you arrive? 

Finally, with about a half hour to go, we allowed ourselves to feel that this was it. We didn’t say what we both were thinking until days later; the reason we had experienced so much heartbreak in this process was because we were meant to be right where we were, on that very day, headed north on I5 to meet our son. 

What should have been a one hour and twenty minute drive turned into two and a half hours, thanks to our 5:00 pm departure. We had to sit in stopped traffic on two bridges for lengthy amounts of time. A quirky little thing about me: I hate bridges. I freaking hate bridges. And I was stuck in traffic on TWO of them! On the way to meet my son. And I needed to pee. More importantly, I was physically aching to get to my baby. When it clicked that this was a go, my heart immediately synced with his and all I could think was, “He needs me! He’s been on this earth for twelve hours and he needs to be in his mother’s arms. Now.” 

I was a real peach to be trapped in a car with until we finally cleared that last bridge, amen and hallelujah! From there it was only a couple miles to the hospital, a small brick facility in the center of town. As we drove, we passed the Applebee’s where we had met our first expectant mother after she “chose” us to adopt her baby. Yes, it’s true; fate had called us back to the very same small town and right by the same stupid Applebee’s where a duplicitous young lady had taken us on a wild, painful ride a few months earlier that taught us that adoption is, above all other things, an unpredictable industry where people are not always as they appear to be. As we drove by, we did what all mature, sophisticated parents would do on their way to meet their newborn son: we both flipped the bird at Applebee’s and laughed hysterically as we did it. I’d say it had been a good twenty years or so since I had partaken of any bird-flipping. Hey Applebee’s, it’s nothing personal. You guys make the best French Onion soup and I would never disrespect you with hand gestures unless I had a really solid reason. You understand.

Finding the hospital and parking was blessedly easy. Navigating to the seventh floor was not. It was one of those deals where you take the elevator to the third floor, (as high as that elevator goes) then walk a hundred miles to find the elevator that will take you to the fifth floor. The next one might get you to the top if you’re nice to it. All very complicated for a small hospital, but likely exacerbated by my at-capacity bladder. The Hubs and I were both wild-eyed, looking for maps or signs and wondering how to reach the seventh floor and our baby boy. 

A nurse saw us and came to help. That’s one of the benefits of smaller hospitals, I truly believe. She had nothing to do with the labor and delivery floor, but she came on over and gave us step by step directions how to get there. It was the first of many acts of kindness we were shown during our stay.

Upon reaching the hallowed seventh floor, we were greeted by our adoption coordinator. She needed to debrief us on additional information prior to taking us to our baby. Bathroom breaks had to occur first so that the Hubs and I could focus on the paperwork and not our bladders. Finally, we sat on a bench right outside the door of the nursery. We couldn’t see in but we could hear excited nurses and hushed voices. Our coordinator mentioned there were only two babies on the whole floor right now. It had been a slow day for births. She informed us that the nurses were bursting with joy that an adoptive family had come for the baby. Apparently, at this particular hospital many babies are born addicted to heroin and are taken by social services as soon as they are discharged. I imagine it must be heartbreaking as a nurse to see babies born every day that are headed directly to the foster care system. Granted, the mothers of addicted babies also have a right to make an adoption plan and place their baby with a family. However, almost all  choose to try to beat their addiction and reclaim custody of their babies, eventually. Sometimes they win and sometimes the addiction wins. This is the reality these amazing nurses deal with every day, working in a little hospital in a little town that was overthrown by heroin and other drugs during the recession. Once drugs get a hold of a town right off the freeway, it’s hard to get it back. 

And that is why when we finished our paperwork, we entered the nursery and were immediately greeted by EIGHT overjoyed and teary-eyed nurses. Two babies on the whole floor that night. Eight nurses. We learned the backstory later: at our son’s birth, neither birth parent chose to hold him or see him. It was too hard, knowing what came next. He was not born exposed or addicted, he was healthy as could be and desperately needed what all newborns need: to be held. So each of these nurses took shifts all day long, rocking our baby boy and doing kangaroo care nonstop, as he waited for his mama and dada to arrive. They did this for 15 hours, after their paid shifts were over and they could have gone home. When they learned we were close to arriving, they dressed him in an adorable preemie outfit they had to work hard to find, and wrapped him in the nicest blanket they had, knitted by a hospital volunteer. Then they stayed to greet us and witness the moment this little 5lb 5oz baby was placed in the arms of two parents who wanted him so very much. 

The nurse holding our son walked slowly towards us and gently transferred him over to me with the Hubs standing as close as possible, arm around me, without actually standing on top of me. I stared in awe at the little face peering up at me, his eyes wide open and strangely alert for a newborn. And that’s what I continued to do. I stared, taking in every detail of his face, his fuzzy duckling hair sticking up, the layer of light colored baby fur covering most of his body. I gazed into those precious blue eyes until my eyes swam and my vision blurred. The moment stood still, perfectly still, as I held this furry little creature that was always destined to be our son in my arms. I was aware of the presence of others in the room and the Hubs holding me as I held our son, but just barely. I could hear nurses sniffling and camera shutters clicking but nothing could truly break through the moment. 

Moments like this are rare, I’m told, and in my experience it is true. You know it when it happens to you, because it is like no other feeling on earth. It is something that is branded onto your heart and soul and is almost impossible to adequately put into words. Here are a few pictures that might show the magnitude of this moment better than I could hope to describe it! 

    

Continue boldly in the direction of your dreams. The quest to build a family can and will test you emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. All of it will seem so very worth it when you find yourself living in your own “moment.” I absolutely promise this, and I have the experience to back it up! 🤗

Chapter Three is on the way! Don’t forget to read Chapter One of you haven’t already. 

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Our Adoption Story: Ch. 1

Hello dear ones! When I said six weeks ago I would share the story of our adoption soon, I meant it. Then I quickly realized four years had dulled my memory of how rigorous it is to care for a newborn, and how any free time one might have would be devoted to sleep! Forgive my idiocy. I’m back on track and so excited to share the unusual circumstances of how baby CJ joined our family and changed our lives forever. ❤️

When the hubs and I awoke on Tuesday September 1st, we had no idea that it was to become one of the two greatest days of our lives. Life is funny like that. 

Hubs went off to work and I settled into the morning routine with E. Grandma came over to play with the little man, so I had the opportunity to work on creating a brand new adoption portfolio. This was a bitter pill after the 50+ hours spent creating the first one. Our current book did not seem to be doing much for our cause, so the agency recommended creating a new one. Oh the sweet, sweet irony. I spent about four hours working on it, and I had many more ahead of me. After putting E down for his afternoon nap, I decided to indulge in one myself. 

At 3:45 pm I received a phone call, startling me awake. I glanced at my phone and saw it was the adoption agency, so I answered. 

“Hi! This is Cathy.* There’s an adoption situation I wanted to run by you if you have a minute.”

“Hey Cathy. Good to hear from you,” I responded flatly, sans enthusiasm. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk; I just wasn’t expecting, nor anticipating anything that we hadn’t heard before. I was weary of the let downs and protective of my heart, since it had been subjected to more aches and injuries than it deserved in such a short time. We had received plenty of calls about situations, but they always ended in disappointment, and I freely admit I had become duly jaded about the whole thing. 

“So,” she continued, “a baby boy was born at the hospital this morning. His birth parents have signed the termination of parental rights papers and want to leave the hospital as soon as possible. They have made their decision and this is an emotional time for them, obviously,  and they want to go.  They would like a closed adoption.  He’s a healthy, perfect baby boy.  Are you guys interested?”

Are we interested? My initial mild engagement in this phone call immediately changed to my heart dropping into my stomach and beating so loudly in my head I heard trains rushing between my ears. I was barely awake due to the interrupted nap, so this news hit me like a triple shot of adrenalin to the heart. (Think Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.)

 

Not actually how our baby was “delivered” to us, but it captures the overall spirit fairly accurately.

 
Perhaps you’ve heard of those moments in time where you experience something so unimaginable, you do not immediately process that what you heard was true. Perhaps you have even had a similar experience. The hubs and I had intentionally stepped away, at least symbolically, from our adoption dreams only two weeks before. Although we were still in the waiting pool, since climbing out would not magically make our money return to us, we were no longer really pursuing situations but the agency kept us on the list. We could best be described as agreeing to passively dip our toes in the pool. We had decided it was best for our family to move forward, away from “the wait” that was constantly hanging over us like the Sword of Democles. Away from the nonstop disappointments in that left us  reeling each time. Receiving this phone call was the surreal experience I couldn’t immediately grasp, and certainly couldn’t wrap my mind around.  

Me: “What? Like, he’s ours? Or are you just showing our profile? Or, like, can we leave now? When should we leave? Is now good?”

Our coordinator laughed. “Leave now! As soon as you can, in fact! No other couples are involved, he’s all yours. Get to the hospital as quickly as you can arrange it! The baby’s birth parents have chosen not to see or hold him; it is just too hard for them. The nurses have taken turns doing skin to skin and nurturing him all day, but he’s ready to meet his mommy and daddy.” 

The call ended with the promise we would be there as soon as humanly possible. It was now 4:00 pm. 

I immediately dialed the Hubs. I had nothing clever or witty planned to announce our new arrival, but I knew he needed to get home stat. My heart was banging like a drum and my head felt light, almost like I was inhaling pure oxygen. Some small part of my brain remained calm and focused on the steps I needed to take. We needed someone here to watch E on zero notice and we needed them immediately. We needed to pack because we could be gone up to 7 days since we were crossing state lines. And we needed to be gone in 30 minutes to avoid hitting one of the most gridlocked rush hours in the nation…

…but first, I needed the hubs to answer his freaking phone! I had called three times, and each time he was ALSO calling me, so both our phones were going to voicemail again and again. What are the odds at that exact moment we would both be calling each other repeatedly? Each time I reached his voicemail I hung up hollering at nothing, “Stop it!” Finally, I sent a text: Stop calling! We never discussed that text, but I imagine it was at the very least temporarily confusing for the hubs to see those words from his wife!

Finally he won the game of phone chicken. 

Hubs: “Hey sweetie. What day do you think would be best for me to take off this week to go to the fair?”

Me: “Stop stop STOP talking! You need to come home right now!”

Hubs: “Um. Huh. Okay. Everything okay?”

Me: “We have a baby! Come home because we need to leave!”

Hubs: “Huh? No. A baby? What? Seriously? What? Seriously? What kind?”

Me: “The kind with a winky waiting for us at the hospital. More later. Home now!”

And so it went until he accepted the details were forthcoming and to get home STAT. 

Next up was my mom. Remember how E was sleeping soundly in his train bed? In my first act as a mom of two, I called my mom to babysit. 

Me: “Mommy! I need you to come over now! We have a baby?”

Mom: “Huh? At your house?”

Me: “What? No! There is no baby at my house presently. An actual stork did not arrive at my porch carrying a baby in a bundle in its beak. Our baby was born this morning at a hospital and we need to go get him immediately. He’s ours. Come over!”

Mom: “Wow! So is this a for sure thing or…”

Me: “Mom! Mommy! Mom. This is happening. Details later. Hurry.”

As it turned out, my daddy was able to get here quicker than her, so he came to our rescue, arriving ten minutes later. 

The hubs and my dad showed up at about the same time. I told hubs to go get the infant car seat out of the attic and install it, please. I raced around throwing things in a bag without really thinking about it. I remembered how I seriously overpacked for our first baby, and how the hospital provides absolutely everything for a baby during your stay.  In the end I tossed in my cellphone charger and toothbrush and a couple comfy outfits. I didn’t know if we would be there for two days or a week, but since it was just an hour and ten minutes away I decided to call it good. 

Meanwhile, the hubs was done with the car seat and also stuffing essentials in his overnight bag. His eyes were huge like a Margaret Keane painting and he was moving a little on the slow side. It was clear he was in disbelief. I gently and lovingly addressed him about our time frame. 

Me: “Pack it up! We need to get out of here! Make it happen, Cap’n!”

Hubs: (Lengthy pause).  “We really have a baby? I mean, really?”

Me: “Really? Okay, yes, you got me. It is all an elaborate ruse with no explicable objective or motive behind why I would do such a thing. Come on sweetie! Our SON, our real, actually existing son, is waiting for us. And it’s paining me to be here while he’s there. Show some hustle!”

This marked the first time in our ten years together that I was the first one ready to leave the house. 

There was one final thing to do before hitting the road, and that was fill our little boy E in on what was going on. It seemed like the mother of bad ideas for both mama and dada to just disappear without explanation during his nap, only to reappear at a later date in possession of a newborn. He’s just a little guy, just shy of four years old, but he is perceptive and smart; therefore we try to keep him in the loop when it’s possible to do so. 

We woke up our sleepy little boy and nervously/excitedly told him that mama and dada had just learned that his new baby brother was waiting for us to go pick him up. Having been educated about adoption as much as developmentally possible over the past year, he accepted what were we doing and where we were going. We told him he was going to get to spend some special time with Grandma and Papi until we returned, and then he would meet his baby brother for the first time. He could not have been more relaxed about this. He was neither excited nor apathetic, just weirdly understanding. At the time I was in awe of the maturity he demonstrated, which appeared to be that of a much older child. I realize now of course, that he simply knew the sooner he got rid of us, the sooner he would be watching Little Einstein on the big TV at Papi’s house and getting nonstop attention from his doting grandparents. 

With promises to my dad that we would be in touch with details as they became available, and hugs and kisses showered upon E like we were leaving for a year, we finally hopped in the car and headed north, fully aware that what had began as an ordinary day had manifested itself into the most extraordinary adventure…and it was just beginning. 

Chapter Two is coming very soon! Scout’s honor! To read about our journey from the very beginning, visit www.borrowedgenes.com and follow along on Facebook as well!

What a Wonderful World

Good morning friends!

I said I wouldn’t write another post until we had adopted. 

It was just too hard on my heart. 

But today, I’m bursting at the seams with joy, love, and gratitude as I share with you that The Hubs and I (and big brother E!) welcomed our sweet baby boy, our second son, into our lives, our hearts, and our family two days ago! His adoption was a “stork drop” and we met our son only four hours after hearing of his existence…such a magical, whirlwind experience. More details to follow very soon, including his remarkable story and his journey to our arms. We are richly blessed, indeed.  

About five minutes after the tearfest of first meeting our son. After drying our eyes, we began to realize it was for real! We haven’t stopped smiling yet. 😊

Are You Kidding Me?

I wish I could have ended on a high note with that last post! I wish that for all of us. 

It would be hard to forget our first adoption situation. It was the one where we were chosen by the birth parents, had a three hour long “get to know you meeting,” and then got dragged along ever so agonizingly slowly by both our agency and the couple for five weeks. 

This is the one where I found the baby registries online. And where the infamous paternity test became its own character in the Adoption Shell Game that the hubs and I suffered through as helpless spectators. The one where the social worker told the agency the couple did not intend to place their baby for adoption, so our agency told us it was over. The whole sordid, yucky, so-not-okay situation that threw me for a loop and made me wonder if I could stick with this if this was how the process actually worked. 

Guess what?  It wasn’t over!  Because that couple indeed placed their baby, through our adoption agency, with a family that was not us this week.  I found this out not through the agency in an aboveboard, professional manner, but through my adoption network support group as well as social media sources. 

Okay then. Between the hubs and I, we aren’t even sure what to make of this. I think we can all agree that at the very least, it’s a head scratcher.  Maybe in our case, it’s fair to say this latest development is simply a par-for-the-course-yet-jaw-dropping turn of events, the very thing we should really be expecting on this strange journey through the looking glass.  

Adoption is agreeing to leap through the looking glass with no guarantee what you might find. This is why anyone who even considers adopting has at least a little spark of badass inside them.

 For Carrie, who reads my blog (thanks Google Analytics),
The truth of what really happened, what was fact and what was fiction, may never be known between us. I think communicating through the agency instead of directly to one another was likely a giant mistake. Know this: you made a selfless choice choosing to place your baby when you knew you just couldn’t give him the life you wanted for him now. That is admirable. I’m sorry you chose to seek another couple rather than us. It breaks my heart, but my feelings are not paramount in this situation. I know you have blessed the other family enormously and given them the greatest gift of their lives, and have also given the same gift to your son. I pray that it gives you some peace to remember that as you grieve in the days and weeks to come. The hubs and I only wish for you to experience calm and fortitude moving forward, and a life filled with good things. 


Get caught up with Borrowed Genes!  Please join me on my truth is stranger than fiction road trip straight down the rabbit hole by registering to receive email updates whenever I publish a new post. Just. Do. It. 

Thinking About Adoption? Here Are Two Women You Really Should Talk To

One act of kindness (or two acts, in this case) deserves another, so I wanted to elaborate on my conversation with Laura from Faithful Adoption Consultants and Shannon from Christian Adoption Consultants.

The reason I enjoyed my conversation with Laura is because she really wanted to hear about what wasn’t working in our adoption journey so far, for the purpose of making sure that if we worked with them they would go out of their way to make sure we never had those problems again. In reference to money and situations, she gave it to me straight: Continue reading

Movin’ On

Good afternoon, friends!

Not since I took John Travolta to task for being an icky, semi-closeted creeper who gropes women publicly in the hope of appearing straight, have I had so many views on my blog. Wow!  I look at my stats every now and again, ever since that one time I accidentally learned they were there. I figured it out because WordPress actually personally contacted me to see if I had a website breech, because my page views per day went from around 150 to almost 13,000. I assured them there must be a mistake of some kind. They walked me through how to see my stats and sure enough, they were popping. I guess a lot of people don’t like John Travolta and were interested in reading about my abject horror at his behavior. I personally never had a problem with the guy until his busy hands/close talker/deviant showmanship at the Oscars, but that was all that I needed to add him to…My List. 

Anyhoo, for the past couple of weeks there have been 500-600 people following the events of our bad soap opera-like life, and finding that out was a great way to start the day! It feels pretty amazing to know that many people care. Or, that it was like watching a huge train wreck in slow motion installments and you couldn’t turn away no matter how hard you tried. Either way, I totally get it, and I thank you.

I’ve heard from a lot of folks, many of them wondering why I’m not simmering with rage over Carrie and her husband and their less than honorable intentions. I will tell you that it was a very hard, very intentional decision to forgive them. 

My first instinct upon learning the whole story was not, “Aw shucks. Who among us hasn’t used our baby to emotionally torture and extort paternity tests and gifts from an innocent family and receive nine months of free swag from the government?

I was pissed. Then shocked. Then angry. Then feeling sorry for myself because I was sure the entire universe was conspiring against the hubs and I to make bad things happen to us over and over again until we gave up. Then, I took a deep breath, ditched the dreaded victim mentality, and made a decision.
The pursuit of adoption takes a lot of energy. A lot of energy, and time, and focus. It is a full time job at times. If I chose to harbor anger or frustration towards them, they were just receiving more of my resources. They already received five weeks worth, after all. So, I forgave them as I have been forgiven so many times (I’m talking ’bout you, JC!”), and put those two in my review mirror. Well, except for this post of course, but it doesn’t count. I’m trying to make a point here people!

http://mom.me/fun/3127-daily-dose/item/churchill_quote/
We are moving forward. It’s hard to keep the hubs and I down for long. That doesn’t mean we are sadness-free, just that we are keeping the faith. We have been ready for a baby in our arms for a long time and E sometimes asks me at bedtime where “his baby” is.  We will stay the course, with hearts full of hope that somewhere out there is a baby that needs a devoted and loving daddy, a goofy mommy, and a sweet big brother who is ready to share his cars!

Until next time!  One of these days I’m going to have actual good news to share!