Monday, June 23, 2008

1 Year Ago......

The day Emily came home to us.

Emily helping Mommy with dishes.

I can't believe a year has passed since Emily became a part of our family. This year has just flown by. At times it still doesn't feel real. Let me tell you a little about our journey to getting our sunshine name Emily.

Chris and I always knew we would adopt. I remember talking about it on our honeymoon. We figured we would have four kids and then when they were grown we would adopt. Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan. I had 2 boys--CJ and Zachary 51/2 years apart. In between them I had an ectopic pregnancy. The spring when Zachary was 4 I had another ectopic. It didn't seem like we were going to get to 4 children. That summer I had 2 unexpected surgeries 7 weeks apart. It was during the time of recovery that I came to the realization of "what are we waiting for? We always said we were going to adopt." That is when we set out on our first adoption. We initially went into it to just adopt 1 girl. After going through our mandatory classes we found out that there are many sibling groups out there. They are harder to place. At that point we figured "3 kids--4 kids---what's the difference". We told the social worker we would be open to a sibling group. 2 weeks after we finished our classes we got our call for Jessica and Alex. They were 3 and 2.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago. I started mentioning to Chris about having another child through adoption. Chris at that time was closed to it. He was happy with 4. I just kept praying and would mention it to him every once in a while. In January 2007 I got a call from our social worker, Ana. I was very surprised to hear from her. After some small talk she asked me if we would ever adopt again. I told her "I would, but Chris isn't ready." To my surprise she said "Oh really. (she giggled at this point) HE is the one who called me and told me I should set up an appointment to come out." I was floored. Chris wanted to surprise me with his decision to go ahead and adopt again. I told her I was going to talk to Chris when he got home and I would call her. Now it was on me. You know what happened? I got cold feet!!! I was the one now scared to change things.

Finally at the end of March I called Ana back. She came out and updated our info.. There was only a few slight wrinkle in our plan. Ana had concerns about it being number 5 for us and how Jessie would react. She would no longer be the only princess in the castle. We told her that one child does not dictate to us adding to our family. I also told her that Jessie would have no choice if I had gotten pregnant. Ana was also concern about the fact that I have fibromyalgia. She had known someone she had worked with that had it and they had to stop working. I told her "Yes I do have it. But that doesn't stop me from being a mother to the children I already have.". My Nurse Practitioner also backed me up. She wrote to Ana letting her know that even though I do have fibromyalgia I manage it very doesn't manage me. We ended up getting approved at the end of April. This time we asked for a girl under 1 1/2.

On Tuesday, June 21, 2008 I was in my prayer/devotion time. While praying I felt God tell me "Today is going to change the rest of your life". My first thought was Chris and I immediately started praying for him. He is law enforcement and I was afraid something had happened to him. But during my prayers a calmness came over me. I honestly went on with the rest of the day without another thought. That afternoon I left my house to go to a meeting. CJ was babysitting the boys and I was going to drop my mom off on the way. About 5 minutes after I left the house CJ called me on my cell to tell me that Ana called and wanted to know when were going to be home. I knew this had to be the call. I turned right around and called her back.

"I want to tell you about a 6 month old baby girl. Are you interested?" Ana asked. WAS I INTERESTED!!! ARE YOU KIDDING!!! She gave us the ins and outs of why and how she came into the foster care system, her bio parents and her health. I got off the phone ecstatic. I called Chris up and said "Hello Daddy of 5". He said "Hello. (pause) 5? What do you mean 5?" I told him we got our call. He was overjoyed!!

The social workers, Ana and now Emily's worker Lisa (who we had for the other 2) came out on the Thursday for the discloser meeting. We went up to met Emily on the Friday and we picked her up on Sunday, June 24, 2008. We had only 5 days to prepare for Emily. 5 DAYS!!! We did in those 5 days what people spend month doing when they are pregnant. Talk about nesting!!! We didn't have anything because we didn't know how long it was going to take or the age of the child. But God was good. And believe it or not, it all went pretty smooth.

When we initially met Emily on the Friday it was for an hour. Out of that hour she cried for about 50 of those minutes. Every time Chris even looked at her she would bust out in tears. The day came to go and get her. The kids, my mom and I met Chris at his work. My mom then drove Chris' care home while the rest of us went to get her. The wonderful foster family that had her had her all ready to go. I must tell you, this family was a God sent. They had been foster parents for 40 years and they had 600 (yes 600 that is not a typo) children come through there house. They adopted 8 children themselves. Emily was the last child they we doing and they were now closing their home to foster care. While getting Emily in her carseat the foster mom mentioned a couple of times how Emily did such a great job at church. Finally I asked her what kind of church. Come to find out they were Christians. Emily right out of the hospital went into this Christian home. I was so thankful to God that He had taken our little baby girl and place her in such a home that would surround her with His love right from the beginning. We got in the car and off we went.

To our amazement Emily cried literally for about 1 to 2 minutes after we left the foster family's house. The kids then started entertaining her and she stopped. Believe it or not, that was the extent of the transition time. I can honestly say, from that moment on there was no crying or anxiety. It was like she always was part of our family. I couldn't asked for a better transition. God is so good. Due to the testing that we have been getting for Emily we haven't finalized yet. We should be by the fall. At this point it really is just a formality.

People have all kinds of reactions to our family. Some stare trying to figure out why they don't all look alike and why we have a "dark" baby. Others come out and ask if they are all mine (which I do answer yes and please don't ask me which ones are real...I don't have fake children). I have had some ask if they all have the same father (which I do think is totally inappropriate and rude...especially when they do it in front of the kids). I will have the occasional puzzled look of why would I want to adopt another when I already had 4. But all in all it is usually a positive reaction.

One thing people do say to us when they find out we adopted 3 children is "Those children are so lucky to have you." I correct them and let them know "No, I am the one that has been blessed to have these children picked out for me."

Happy Gotcha Day Emily Grace!!!!

If you have ever considered adoption I would urge you to consider your state social service department. I read a couple of years ago that over 700 children in Massachusetts alone had been adopted that year. Every child deserves a Forever Family.


asnipofgoodness said...

what a sweet story, thanks for sharing! You are all blessed to have each other!!! Adoption has always been on my mind, but never took the plunge. Thanks for sharing your story!

Kate said...

Judy, this is such an amazingly beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart with us.

As an adopted child myself, I truly appreciate your views and the way you mother your children. Specifically, I love the line: "I have no fake children!"

You and your husband truly are blessed. And yes, your children are blessed to - blessed that they were born to a biological mother who chose to give birth, and blessed that God already had a forever family picked out for them!