Thursday, January 26, 2012

what the deal is (part 3)

This is Part 3 of a multi-part story: Go Here for Part 1 and Here for Part 2.

On Thursday, December 22, we headed back to Augusta for our meeting with Dr. X and Mr. D. We arrived in town super early, so we hung out at my parents' house for a few hours first. My mom was practically jumping out of her skin, she was so excited for our meeting. We, of course, were not nervous or excited at all. No way. Cool as cucumbers. Just another day, another meeting. HA!

The meeting itself went really well. Mostly Dr. X just explained how things usually happened: the chain of events that occur between him finding out about a 'situation' (mother in labor who wishes to place her child with adoptive parents but has not made any arrangements yet) and us getting a phone call, and then what to expect once we say YES to that call. There are a TON of variables, and that's what he spent most of the meeting explaining. 

We found out more than I ever really wanted to know about the effects of various drugs on fetal brain development. And the lifelong implications that can occur as a result...

 We heard some interesting tales about the lengths attorneys have had to go to to track down baby-daddies-- and learned about what happens when they can't.

He told us a lot of stories about a lot of families that he's helped. Honest stories. Some of them were happy-- some not so much. Gave us a lot to think about.

He needed to assess us, as well. He needs to know exactly what we a) want and b) are willing to accept, because when the time comes, he won't have a long time for us to hem and haw over whether this is a situation we can handle. Some of his questions we were prepared to answer (race, for example). Some of them we were not (how long of a NICU stay can you financially handle, since the baby will not be able to be added to your health insurance until the adoption is final?)

I really hate the inherent "choosiness" that comes with adoption. You know what I mean? If I were pregnant and found out that my unborn child had some kind of brain disorder, or Downs, or a birth defect, or anything-- then I'd deal with it. Track down the best specialist. Do what needs to be done. Gonna be in NICU for awhile when they're born? Then we're gonna be in NICU for awhile. It doesn't matter how much it costs. It doesn't matter if having a child with special needs isn't what I really 'wanted'. It's what I'd be getting, and we would love that baby no matter what, for as long as God let us hang onto him or her. I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard-- but it would be our child, and as the parents, we would do whatever needed to be done. It doesn't matter if you like it or if you think you're "prepared" for it or whatever. It wouldn't matter. 

But with adoption, you suddenly have a choice...and I don't really like it. I don't like thinking about these things. I don't like judging people or disorders or birth defects and saying "yeah, I'll take that one" and "no, that one sounds like a bit much." Doesn't it make you just feel sick to the stomach? Like a child with ___ is just...what? Not worth the trouble? Hey, they're not in my belly. Let someone else deal with it. I feel like that's what I'm saying, if I say "no, I would not consider a situation with _____ involved." Why? Because a child with ____ is less perfect? Doesn't fit in my personal schema about what the cute little American family looks like? Would inconvenience my adorable little life a little too much? Because my vision of having kids is more along the lines of playdates and walks in the park and not so much endless doctor's appointments and hospital stays?

Sorry for the tangent, but I need to keep it real here. This adoption story so far has been pretty God-breathed and chillbump-inducing, but it is still real. We are still regular old people who are now being asked to make some really tough decisions that I actually don't even want to make. I just want a baby. I want to be a family. I don't want to have to think about the laundry list of lifelong implications that come with whatever choices the birthmother was making during her pregnancy. I don't want to think about how there are some issues that no amount of good parenting and 'raising them right' can overcome. I don't want to think about that. But I'm having to. So this adoption thing isn't glamorous. You have to take a pretty brutal look at yourself...times two, because Matt and I are BOTH doing this thing. So...yeah.

These are the things we talked about at the meeting. Mr. D. answered some of the questions we had about process and procedure, and we were happy to find out that we do not have to have a pre-placement home study. This was great news, because I had been under the impression that would be required, which would mean at least 4 or 6 months or so until we could be available to get a baby. There was actually NOTHING really required of us that had to be done prior to placement-- other than select a pediatrician (and think about all of the things I digressed about above). 

We left the meeting feeling good, but overwhelmed. Dr. X needed some of the information from us (things we couldn't answer at that time) before he could really start considering us for any cases he came across, so it was pretty much in our hands. Once we made some decisions and let him know, we'd be fair game to get a middle-of-the-night phonecall saying I think I have a baby for you. He asked another thing of us, as well-- and this was definitely the hardest part.

He asked that we start praying-- and earnestly mean it-- that God would either provide us with a child, or take away our desire to have one.

GULP. I mean, we did NOT want to pray that. Are you kidding me?? I want a child more than anything... and infertility has definitely been the hardest thing in the whole world, but I don't want to NOT want a child! So I'm not going to lie-- it took us a few weeks to be able to pray that.

He said that he asks all of the couples he works with to pray like that. Most of them go on to adopt. A few have actually gone the other way-- felt like God really did take away their desire to be parents, and they go on to spend their lives doing something else. Without regrets. Without feeling like they were forever missing out on something they wanted. I guess if you're going to be child-free, that's the only way I'd be able to do it. I couldn't just live like this forever: desperately desiring something I don't have.

Dr. X also needed a comprehensive list of Every Way He Could Ever Possibly Get in Touch With Us. Phone numbers, addresses, GPS coordinates...because when the time comes, he has to act fast. And he's had situations before where he really felt like this certain child was for a certain family-- and was not able to reach them-- and eventually had to move on to another family. YIKES. That isn't gonna be us. So he now has the phone number of basically everyone we've ever known, and you are all in charge of physically hunting us down in the event that you get called. We also sleep with our phone ringers on now, so please don't text or call me in the middle of the night unless it's REALLY IMPORTANT because I will hear it. Thanks so much. 

So that was the meeting. It lasted around two hours, and overall it went really well. It also opened up about a thousand cans of worms, as you can see...stuff we've been thinking and working and praying through in the month since. Last week we finally got back to Dr. X with some of the information he was waiting on. We are now in the process of trying to officially "hire" Mr. D as our attorney-- whatever that means. Currently we're waiting on him to return a phone call...I guess then we'll see what happens next.

Officially, though, I guess you could say we are just waiting for a match! In our case, though, a "match" will most likely not happen until the mother is in labor, meaning basically no time between finding out we're matched and needing to travel to get the baby. That's why we've decided to start decorating the nursery and such-- plus, it just feels like something positive and happy to focus our thoughts and energy on. That room has been so empty for so long-- it stands as a constant stark reminder of what we don't have. I'm ready for it to be pretty. To show some signs of life. To be ready for a child-- the way that Matt and I are. 

We don't really have a concept of how long it could be. Dr. X has no way of knowing, either. He has no control over when he will meet a birthmother looking for an adoptive family (although he said he typically does several adoptions each year). He did say that he doesn't just match the babies based on which couple is next in line-- he truly thinks and prays about each situation, taking into account each couple's wishes, abilities, and limitations. And leaving room for God to work. So in my mind, we could be called any day. We could also not be called for several years. There's no way to know. Dr. X encouraged us to continue pursuing any other adoption avenues we wanted to (agency, networking on our own, etc.). For now, we don't feel led to do that-- we're still feeling sorta 'high' from all of this craziness. Maybe in a few months, when we're back to being bored and frustrated of waiting, we'll start doing something more active again...but for now we're just going to wait. Kind of like for the past 3 years of infertility-- only now we have two miracles to wait on. A miracle pregnancy, or a miracle adoption. Either could happen. Both could happen! But whatever happens...we're going to have a family.

Thanks for sticking around for this really long and winding story. I wanted to write out all of the details so that I don't forget them one day. I like how all of these little things just "happened"...and it so obviously just points to God writing this story. One day, when we're telling our little one about how we became a family, I want to be sure to include all of this. The crying in the car, finally desperate to adopt. The 9am phone call from Mom. The wedding we just happened to be going to. The way Dr. X just ran into a friend who happened to be an attorney. Our baby is not just going to happen to end up in our arms, yall. This baby isn't going to be some consolation prize for failing to conquer infertility. Can't you see? This story just reeks of a higher purpose. Of things happening for a reason. Don't know what it is yet. But I bet it's gonna be good.


  1. I get to be the first one to comment on this post, ha! I can totally understand the grappling back and forth with what you "want" and how difficult and "selfish" you feel for it. I think if I were in your situation, it would be the same for me. Anna is the best thing that's ever happened to me, despite her being disabled, but it certainly makes things difficult. And the not KNOWING was the hardest. I would think that's what's it's like with adoption- lots of prayer, trusting, and not knowing exactly what's going on with the chillun. But wow God is so good! I'm so happy for you and NEED to see you next time you are in town! Ben is loving the story as well :)

  2. Praying with you as you wait for BOTH miracles!

  3. I totally just started sobbing at that last paragraph. Crying is nothing new for me, but sobbing on the other hand, is not an every day occurrence. I'm praying ya'll through to the end of this story and the beginning of another. love ya'll.

  4. Since I don't like to cry too hard at work, I'm working to keep it in check. :) I agree, this is SUCH a higher purpose story that I don't think God would overwhelm you with the feeling of needing to adopt and then take away your desire for children. But coming to place where you really sincerely mean that in prayer is still a hard, hard thing. I will continue to pray for you guys. I really hope you have this baby by Christmas at the absolute latest! That's the way to end the year, right? Celebrating!

  5. Erika, I've been reading your blog for a long time now, and this is the BEST post you've ever written. Not only is your story absolutely beautiful and perfect so far, but your heart in this post is just so raw and real. You had me REALLY thinking as I read.

    I, too, am going to be praying for your miracle(s). However things turn out, it is OBVIOUS that God is at work.

    Can't wait to hear "Part 4: The Phone Call."


  6. I've read all your installments of this story and I gotta say . . . it just gave me goosebumps. There is totally something big and beautiful in the works for you and your family!

  7. You sucked me in with your story (well played, 3 part series!). Several of my family members have been through the adoption process and I know that it can be equally exhilarating and excruciating. I wish for you more moments of exhilaration than pain, more triumphs than let downs. Best of luck - I look forward to following your journey!

  8. LOVING this story and looking forward to Part 4!!

  9. We totally grappled with the tough decision of "what" to be open too. Brandon and I prayed hard, and decided to leave everything completely open. We didn't want to choose. Being matched with a baby that was drug exposed isn't anyones ideal. But it was the best decision of our LIFE and I can honestly say that as I fight tooth and nail for him in the hospital for unrelated reasons. Also recheck with your insurance. Xander was covered when he was PLACED with us (which for us was when he was 3 weeks old.. before that his birthmother's medicaid covered him), which is very different than adoption finalization. But that varies by employer. I do believe there is a federal law that says an adopted child has to be treated just as a biological child but can't think of the title off the top of my head.

  10. Loving this story...what a beautiful illustration of God's involvement in the every day!! I feel like no words are enough to share as a comment to your story, but am faithfully praying and thinking of y'all and Baby Bates!

  11. such a beautiful story, Erika! I just love reading about God's goodness and His hand in this!

  12. erika, this story has me in tears! how amazing our God is, and how faithful! i am so happy for y'all and cannot wait to hear how this story unfolds. will keep you in my prayers.

  13. I am so happy for you right now. As everyone else said...I can't wait to see Part 4: Bringing Baby Bates home. :)

  14. I just stumbled upon your blog and read this post...
    It makes me cry happy tears for you.
    I was adopted when I was 13 months old. My mother was a druggie and I had a 7 year old sister. Dad left. Mom couldn't afford to feed me because of her drug habit and needed 7 year old sister to take care of her.
    My parents desperately wanted another child. They had been through 3 fallen through adoptions already... And saw the ad in the newspaper about me.
    And here I am today. So thankful. So blessed. So aware of Gods hand in my life.
    Adoption is such an amazing thing to me. It's so not random. It's so perfect in the way that God already knows whose family we belong in.
    Praying for you guys. I have a feeling God knows exactly what child needs to be apart of your family. Trust in Him.

  15. I'm in tears because I am just SO incredibly happy for you both! God is so good--and he shall provide the most perfect little baby for you in some way or another. You are meant to be a mother, and I am so thankful that now you will be!
    I love you!


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