Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adoption 440

So in case you haven't figured it out...the names of my posts are supposed to be like college courses. This is because I didn't realize that I would be receiving an education when I started this journey. I remember thinking when we started this whole thing that I wish there was a handbook to read. There was no one in my immediate circle of friends or family that had been through this that could give me some guidance. It would have been very helpful to have some  idea of what we were getting ourselves into. Even though every adoption journey is different, there are still things that you can be prepared for.
So this is my last lecture in this series, it is titled...
Getting Home
(I know this post is long, but keep reading, there is some good news at the end.)
In my mind I had decided that once we got the call that our baby was here then the drama would be over. This, however, was not the case. Clearly our situation is not normal, but there is still a whole lot that needs to happen before you can bring your baby home, especially if you are adopting outside of your state.
When we left our home we had hopes of being home in nine days, but once we got to South Carolina we were told it would take a miracle. It all depends on the state you are adopting from, SC happened to have some strict laws on interracial adoptions. The paper work was ridiculous and we were at the mercy of attorneys and judges. We, of course, were blessed to have the best people on our side of the law down in Charleston.
What is important to note is that when we first got to SC, we had no attorney. No one wanted to take us on because our case was so messy...no consent, adoptive parents already there, agency not doing their job, etc...etc...The attorney that ended up taking our case only did it because "God nudged him five times" to do it. Thank heavens he listened because he had every connection we needed to get out of Charleston in nine days. We later found out that what he did should have taken at least TWO WEEKS!
The nine days of waiting and wondering definitely took its toll on me. From the beginning I was the one that was having all the conversations with the people involved in our case, so Aric really couldn't do much, except take care of Camden and make sure that I ate.
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The stress was more than anything I had ever experienced. I was constantly on the phone or on the computer. What I learned later was that everything I was doing was what the agency should have been doing. Instead of enjoying every second of my brand new baby I was stressed and scared. There was constant drama, but with every wall we hit, there was someone who came in a rescued us.
Meet some of our rescuers...
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One of my best friends here in my neck of the woods is Kerry. And the picture above is of her brother Jarom and his wife Liina. Jarom just happened to be doing his residency at the same hospital where Camden was born. Because they are so kind and generous, they let us stay with them for six days. They were out of town when we got there, but as soon as they were home they welcomed us into their two bedroom apartment. We slept on the floor in their daughters nursery. It may not have been the most comfortable of arrangements, but we loved their company and the spirit of their home.
The best part of staying with them is that they had skype so we were able to talk to the girls and they were able to see Camden. My sister was able to capture the first time they saw a picture of their baby brother.
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A neat surprise that we had while we were in SC, is that Aric's parents came up from Florida to be with us. They drove six hours just to be with us for a day.
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They came at the perfect time. I was at my wits end. I am so grateful that they made such a huge effort to be there for us. It was exactly what we needed.
The day after they got there, everything came to a head. It was Friday, the afternoon before we were supposed to go home. We were waiting for some very important papers to be reviewed and signed. Those papers were going to allow us to leave the state. The problem was that we were dealing with two different states with a three hour time difference. We had to everything ready by 5pm Eastern time. Our papers had gotten lost in cyberspace. I had two different cell phone conversations happening at the same time. I just kept watching the minutes pass. Finally at 4:50pm I had given up. At 5:15pm we got a call from the head guy at ICPC in Olympia, Washington saying that our paperwork had just popped up on his screen and even though he didn't have time to review it all, he was going to let us come home anyway.
Once again my emotions are all over the place. I was so thrilled to be going home. I was so aware of God, and his help. I was so grateful for the people He put in our path who went above and beyond to get us home. I was angry that our agency was not there for us. I was over the moon happy to see my girls again. I was a mess! But mostly I was, once again, humbled and I was more than ready to get home and sleep in my own bed.
So the next morning we got on a plane and after 15 hours and four layovers...we were home. It was well after midnight when we got home. Amy picked us up from the airport, thanks Aims! My sister was at my house anxiously awaiting our arrival.
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After about fifteen minutes I heard a knock on my door, and there were four of my friends. They had been stalking my house waiting for us to get home.
One of the hardest things about this situation was that we were all alone in Charleston. Our friends and family who had been there for us from the beginning, were not there physically to experience our joy or buoy us up in the dark moments. This is when I really came to understand the power of prayer. The prayers that were given on our behalf, were the reason why we got through those nine days and the year that came after.
This past year has been R.I.D.I.C.U.L.O.U.S!  We have been dealing with paternity issues so we haven't been able to finalize. Our state has extremely liberal laws concerning paternity and we couldn't get passed them. South Carolina has their own set of laws that were keeping us from making any progress. On top of that we were dealing with the agency because they wanted us to pay the rest of that money even though we had to pay other people to do their job! Oh and Aric decided to pass three kidney stones... totally unrelated to the adoption, but still a source of serious drama.
The good news is this....are you ready...
Yesterday we got a call from our attorney telling us that the agency is going to accept our offer...the offer we gave them back in September. Just like that. We have been praying and fasting for them to soften their hearts for literally a YEAR! ...
...AND......oh yes, it gets better!
Last night at midnight EST and 9pm my time, our thirty days is over. What does that mean? You ask. Well that means that we have been publishing for the past two months. What does that mean? That means our attorney in SC has been running a notice in the paper down there, letting the birth father know that if he wanted to stop our adoption and claim Camden, he had to do it by November 30th. We still have to wait for the court down there to accept this termination, and we are still waiting to see if we are going to have to go down there to testify, but at least tonight I can sleep a little easier.
It looks like there is a good chance we might actually be able to finalize soon. I am not doing the happy dance quite yet, not until we actually have a court date. It feels like a dream, I feel like for the first time in a year I can look at my son and not be scared that he could be taken away. I can feel a little more secure with our finances, knowing that we aren't going to have to go to court with the agency.
For a moment I thought that life was finally going to be normal, but then it hit me...I don't know what normal is anymore. This experience has changed me. There were many days in the last twelve months that I wondered if this was ever going to end. I wondered if God had forgotten about us. I knew He was holding my hand while we were in Charleston, but once we got home I couldn't feel Him like I did before. Now I can see that He never left me, I was just too distracted to notice his influence all around me. Because of that, I am more prayerful, I try to be more in tune with the spirit. I am more aware of who God puts in my path. I want to be someone that He can count on when he needs extra hands to lighten another's burden.
To those of you who have stuck with me and read these four posts, consider yourself schooled. Thank you for hanging in there. I know these posts have been pretty heavy, but it was time for me to get it all out. My friends out there in blogland have been a huge source of love and support during this past year. Sharing something so personal with the world has been a little bit strange, even for me, but I hope that our story might benefit someone out there. Whether you know a birthmom who needs to know there is another option, or an adoptive hopeful who needs some encouragement. Maybe you yourself have considered adoption... whatever the case may be, I know my journey has been a whole lot a crazy...but it's been worth every single moment.
Thank you all for being on the ride with me.
xoxo

16 comments:

Natalie said...

yea!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you Jessica! You can reserve the happy dance a little longer, i understand completely. However, i am going to do one for you guys right now! It will slightly resemble something choreographed by Ms. Mia herself. You would love it if you were here:)! Congratulations to you and aric and all 3 of YOUR kids! xoxoxoxo
p.s. first comment. just sayin...

Jenny Erazo said...

Oh Jess....I am so happy for you and your family! What exciting news:-) yea,yea,yea!!!

Jenny Erazo said...

Oh Jess....I am so happy for you and your family! What exciting news:-) yea,yea,yea!!!

Lindsey said...

I consider myself a graduate. Thank you for sharing. I hope to be able to do a post like that some day with our stores... Like, YAY! We finally got all of our money back! But, it doesn't look like I am going to be able to do that quite as soon as you. :(. OH well. I am soooooooo happy for you. And so glad you are sleeping better.

Jessica said...

Best news of the month!! I was just a little more happy all day on Monday, and I kept thinking "why am I a little bit giddy?" and then I would think "Oh, yeah, it's the Camden thing."

And seriously, despite my miserable pregnancy and ridiculously long weight loss fight...it doesn't compare to what it took you to get that baby. CANNOT wait for the sealing, etc. Love you!

Kara said...

Wonderful news! I am so happy for you all!

calibosmom said...

The best news for sure! I'll be doing the happy dance on the East Coast when everything is final. Thank you for sharing this personal experience. I think about sharing my experiences about Jared but I'm not quite there yet. You inspire me! Love you.

♥Shally said...

I have no idea how you have come out of this all without a nervous breakdown! Seriously.

So happy for you though. HUGE sigh of relief, no?

The sealing is the most wonderful thing EVER. So powerful. For you, I bet it will be even more so, considering what you have been through...

the wrath of khandrea said...

is liina's maiden name hunenen? or something like that? i'm pretty sure she used to be in my ward in boston.

Jean McKendrick said...

I was laying in bed the other night thinking, one you should become an adoption counselor or an adoption attorney some day when your kids are grown!
Good news for you on the adoption!!!!

Lauren in GA said...

AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING!!

You have been through so, so much. I cannot imagine the stress of wondering if Camden would be taken away! I am so happy for you that it looks like things are going to work out and Camden will be yours legally!!

I got chills when I read how the Attorney was, "nudged 5 times" by Heavenly Father. Amazing.☺

just the five of us said...

Jessica I am so happy for you and your family. What a relief to have everything finally behind you.

Now you can write your next book. These experiences should be shared in a book, I bet you are not the only one out there, going through adoption problems.

D and G said...

Jessica,

You are an amazing person! I love you so much and I'm so happy for your sweet family. Let me know when it's time to commence happy dancing. =)

Gretchen

Kevin and Steph said...

It was good to see you last night. :) We leave December 16th- thanks in advance jessica!

the Aymster said...

You are so awesome. I always know I can find a good post on your blog. I am so happy for you guys. I just read all three of your adoption posts and had tears rolling down my cheeks. Love Ya!

Ilene said...

yay, yay, yay!

I hope that court date is set soon!