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.)
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!