Our Story Part Two-The Caboose to Our Train
If you read our part one about how adoption helped build our family, you know that I mentioned there wasn’t anything we would change about our stories. This is true, but if we are being honest, it would have been nice to have an easy button when we decided it was time to start having kids. There isn’t anything about our adoption journey that we would have changed, everything happened the way it was suppose to happen. Easy button or not, we are one lucky family.
When Presley was about a year and a half old we decided to try and adopt again. We were placed in the active family program when she was about two…if I remember correctly. We knew this time around wasn’t going to go as quickly as the first time. We were prepared to wait and knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Since Presley was born, the internet really changed how families find each other. Birth parents are finding adoptive parents online and they are getting to know each other through social media. This freaked us out. While we are very open about adoption with our girls and with those who are wanting to adopt, putting ourselves out there on the internet was really not what we wanted to do. But after waiting over a year or so we finally decided that maybe we needed to be more proactive, work harder at having another child. So we created a Facebook page and made our online profile book public. We used the Facebook page like a blog, updating about what we were up to, how Presley was doing and any other thoughts or feelings we might have had at the time. For me, it helped a lot. It felt like we were actually doing something, it kept us busy and focused. And in the end, it played a huge part in bringing Addie home.
On February 27th 2014, Jenny, a social worker from Adoptions of Wisconsin, called us and said she met with Jessica (our birth mother, name changed to respect her privacy) and met our future baby girl…enter-freaking out with happiness and becoming so overly guarded at the same. Jenny said that Jessica was going to look through our online profile and Facebook page some more, but even without meeting us, she felt sure our family was the perfect fit. The next day, Jenny called us again and said that Jessica had officially picked us to be parents to her newborn baby girl. Obviously, we wanted to jump into the car and drive to the hospital to meet our new baby girl and bring her home (and I know Jessica wanted this too) but we had a 4 1/2 year old at home and Jessica chose to have a closed adoption so we knew we weren’t going to be able to meet Jessica in person. This was a situation where the baby is born, a woman tells the hospital she wants to place the baby for adoption, hospital calls agency, agency calls us. And while all of that may seem black and white and how great that we didn’t have to wait through a pregnancy and then get through the birth and hospital stay, which can be stressful for all involved, it changes things when legally nothing has happened yet. So after talking through our options with Jenny, Patrick and I decided that we wanted to utilize bridge care (a licensed family home for newborns) and have Addie stay with James and Deniece (AOW’s bridge care providers) until we knew Addie’s placement with us would be legally permanent. Our decision was based solely on Presley. We couldn’t bare the thought of bringing home her new sibling then having something go terribly wrong.
This decision turned out to be the best decision we could have made. James and Deniece were amazing and opened up their home to us. We got to spend almost every day/night with Addie. I would take Presley to school and then go immediately to see Addie. Patrick would come home from work, eat dinner with Presley and me and then go to see Addie and put her to bed. The bonding and one-on-one time with Addie was something we will always be grateful for. We didn’t even have to miss out on her first doctor appointment. We shared the news of Addie’s birth with our family but we kept it a secret from our friends. This was not easy, but while our hears were filled with so much joy, we wanted to protect ourselves emotionally. We also kept this big secret from Presley. She didn’t know about Addie until the week before we brought her home. One night at dinner we asked if she remembered when the “adoption lady” called us and told us about a baby. At the time when Jenny called Presley did ask, “Mom, is there a baby for us?”. We told her maybe and being that she was just 4 1/2, she dropped it and didn’t bring the subject up again. We asked if she remembered this call, she said yes, so we explained to her that when Mommy and Daddy were “going to meetings” and when she spent the weekend at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house, we were getting to know her little sister. Her face lit up with so much excitement. We spent that week talking about Addie and nesting (yes, even parents who adopt nest before their baby comes home). We got out all of Presley’s baby things and put the crib together…goodbye guest bedroom, hello Addison’s room.
The night before we brought Addie home, I was at James’ and Deniece’s. I put Addie to bed and talked about how I was really going to miss seeing them and hanging out with them. I teared up because they felt like family to me. The next day we picked Presley up from school and went straight to get Addie. It was the most remarkable day. Presley had to wear a pink crown because “that’s what big sisters wear”. Everything about it was very surreal. We snapped a ton of pictures, Jenny was there to video everything, we packed up Addie in our car seat, hugged everyone, buckled both girls in the car and drove off as a family of four. Our first stop, Culver’s drive through for dinner. Waiting for our food, Patrick and I looked at each other, then looked in the back seat and just couldn’t stop smiling…there was a little bit of freaking out too.
Before we brought Addie home we did correspond with Jessica through email and got to know her a little that way. Someday we might meet in person. I know we are very open to this. We have continued to keep Jessica updated with pictures and emails about Addie and our family. We don’t know where things will go, but Jessica has expressed she is truly content with her decision and feels Addie is right where she is suppose to be.
While our path to Addie took longer and the wait was sometimes overwhelming, she came to us when she was suppose to…it was the right time. It wasn’t like we didn’t have any activity while we were waiting for her. Situations were presented to us but they just didn’t fit our family at the time. This is something to remember. As adoptive parents, you have a choice in your adoption too. It isn’t always about you being chosen by the birth parents, it’s about your child being chosen by you as well.
Addie completed our family. She is the caboose to our train. On her adoption day (or as one of her Grandpas said, “getting her new title”), it was so happy, our hearts were so happy. Like I said in the beginning, would an easy button have been nice when we started to build our family? Absolutely. Would we have changed anything about Addie’s or Presley’s adoption? Absolutely not. Both of them were born into this world to be our daughters and to be sisters. The bond they have formed and continue to form is growing right before our eyes. They are our everything and we are forever grateful for the choices made for them. Their birth stories are different, but their family is very much the same.