Saturday, February 19, 2011

Before Hospital World

In the past 2 1/2 years our lives has been dominated by "hospital world."  It's hard to remember what our life was like before Russell came on the scene.  When Susan found out that she was pregnant with Russell, we were still new parents as Nicole was only a year and a half old.  Many things had already changed in our lives with the arrival of our little girl.

Many people think that Russell is a miracle baby but in reality he is our second miracle, Nicole was definitely the first.  The chances of us having kids was very unlikely and we had opted to look at adoption as a possible option.  In February of 2006, my Dad was dying of cancer and Susan's Mom was waging her own battle with cancer.  We discussed with our social worker at that time, the possiblity of coming off of the adoption list temporarily to let our lives settle down a bit.  We talked about it and decided not to de-list.  If an opportunity came up we would seize that opportunity.  Besides, we had no real control over the situation, the opportunity to adopt could happen in a week, a year, or never.  We are so happy we made that decision as Nicole was already on the way.  I remember so vividly the day we got "the call."  It was the Tuesday following Easter.  I got the call from our social worker that there was a potential baby available and were we interested??  It seems a little bizarre when we think back...that someone was phoning us to offer us a human being. 

When we got the call...we know this was far from being a "done deal." In fact we thought chances were that this wouldn't happen at all.  After all it was the birth mom's choice as to where her baby would go and we knew she was looking at a couple of other potential families.  Having never been through this before, it seemed a little unbelievable and that it may never happen.  I don't remember the exact order of events but that evening when Susan and I both had a chance to absorb the situation and read the adoption profile we had a follow-up discussion with our social worker and asked her a few more details.  We found out that the baby was due in about a week and that the birth-mom wanted to meet us.  A meeting was setup for that Friday.  I think we were remarkably calm during this I think we really didn't understand the gravity of the was just too unreal. 

Friday morning came (the day of the meeting).  On the way to the appointment, I commented to Susan that we are going to meet, have a nice chat, and in all likelihood this wouldn't happen.  The birth-mom will likely choose someone else...but this was a good experience to go through, so we would be better mentally prepared for the future.  I laugh when I think about how unprepared we were for that meeting.  We really didn't have a clue.  One of the reasons I love our Social Workers from CFS is that they would never put a family through this process unless they were pretty sure it was going to work.  They look carefully at the birth-mom and the family and put all of their eggs in one basket.  They want this to work.  We didn't realize it at the time but they were pretty much sure this was going to happen before we met.  Again, there are no guarantees, but they definitely had a game plan.  After a 45 minute, somewhat awkward visit.  We found ourselves making appointments with lawyers and making arrangements for temporary guardianship in the event the baby were born over the weekend.  Papers had to be filed that day if we wanted to take the baby home, as this was a Friday.  Susan and I were absolutely stunned!!  We had to take our social worker aside and we very sheepishly ask "is this happenning"??????  She must have been laughing on the inside, but she very calmly said..." is!"

We were dazed!  In a few minutes we were driving on our way to our lawyer's office to begin the legal process of adopting our, yet to be born, baby. 

We made a few phone calls to family to let them know what was happenning and then we began thinking about all of the things we needed.  We didn't have a clue.  The first thing that was mentioned to us was that we needed a car seat to take our new baby home.  There is a baby store a block from where Susan works so we thought...hey why don't we take care of this right now.  We wandered into the store, and began looking around.  We didn't have a clue what we were doing or what we were looking for.  After some time a store clerk offered some assistance.  We must have seemed like total morons as we didn't know what to ask and had no idea of what we were looking for.  I remember the clerk asking..."So when is the baby due?" and we said "next week" to which the clerk responded with a bit of a puzzled look as she glanced at Susan's not pregnant belly.  We were so overwhelmed by all of what had happenned that morning we were in no frame of mind to be buying a car seat, so we graciously thanked the clerk for their help and exited the store.  The car seat purchase would happen another day.

The weekend passed with no news.  We exchanged a few e-mails with our lawyer and our social worker as we had several questions about the process.  We had several hurdles to overcome before this adoption would happen.  Yes, we had a verbal committment, but we still had legal hurdles and the dreaded 21 day waiting period.  By the time Monday rolled around, we were already well into the process of getting..."baby supplies."  We went back to work and attempted to put all of this out of our minds as we "waited."  Monday, Tuesday,  then Wednesday.  No word and no news.  The pandemonium of the previous Friday had now transformed into boredom.  When is this baby going to be born, would it be healthy, would it be a boy or a girl?  Imagine all of the questions, fear, joy etc of 9 months of pregnancy packed into a week. 

On Thursday afternoon,  while picking up some drawings for work, I stopped for gas.  While I was filling cell phone rang.  It was our social worker, and the news we were waiting for was finally here.  "You have a perfectly healthy little girl."  Wow!  Never in a million years did I imagine that I would find out I was a father at a Coop gas station and that I would have to phone the baby's new mother to let her know.  I quickly detoured on my way back to work and stopped by to see Susan.  Susan met me outside...we got in my truck and had a "moment."  We cried (I NEVER cry) and I don't remember who said it but I know we were both thinking it..."What did we just get ourselves into?"   

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