So this is my last lecture in this series, it is titled...
(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.
Meet some of our rescuers...
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.
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.
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.
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.