August 9, 2014

Our Adoption Story, Part 6: It is Finished!

It's been a while since Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5, so you might want to go back and refresh your memory.
I can't believe it's been almost 7 months since I wrote Part 5! Milly has grown sooooo much! She is still incredibly cute, and now she is sillier than ever before. She has 3 teeth, the beginnings of a 'fro, and a huge grin that makes her nose crinkle. She crawls, pulls up to her knees, and says "dada", "mama", and "hi". Most importantly: She is OURS FOREVER.
I always explain to people that the legal side of a typical domestic adoption has three parts: birth mother's consent (easy cheese… Amanda was on board, obviously), birth father's termination (either by choice or lack of effort), and the home study review (should be breezy because you would know if your home study had any problems). Amanda consented to the adoption within a few days of Milly's birth. On June 2nd, the birth father's rights were terminated because he didn't bother to show up to fight for them. That day the judge also set a date for the adoption to be finalized… July 22nd. At that point, the only thing that could happen was a delay, like if the judge got behind on his paperwork or something. Milly was definitely going to be ours… it had finally changed from an IF to a WHEN.
By the time July 22nd arrived, we were raring to go! Milly had a new dress, we had invited our closest family members to the courthouse, and we had planned an after-party, too!
The courthouse visit went rather smoothly. We went into the judge's chambers a potential adoptive family...
…answered some basic questions from our awesome attorney…
...and came out as the Fisher Family of THREE!
Milly has a huge fan base, so we took lots of pics outside of the courthouse.
Then we caravanned to our house for the party. It was just for our most immediate family members, it was in the middle of the business day, and we still had more than 20 people! Milly has a BIG family!!
So, now what? Well… we go on living life. It's not really much different than before. Fewer attorney bills, I guess. :) And we get to change her name at the doctor and at the church nursery. And, well… she's ours. Forever.
And that is the way it should be.

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May 14, 2014

This Moment

I don't want to forget this moment, with your face covered in avocado and your mouth open for more.
I don't want to forget this moment, as you fall asleep in my arms no matter what's going on around us.
I don't want to forget this moment, when you squeal at me and kick your feet when I'm trying to get your pants on your wiggly little legs.
I don't want to forget this moment, you figuring out you can shout and get my attention without having to actually cry.
I don't want to forget this moment, as you give me open-mouthed, slimy kisses on my cheek.
I don't want to forget this moment, you on your belly, arms and legs moving, but you just can't get your torso off the floor.
I don't want to forget this moment, the way you giggle when your daddy plays with you.
I don't want to forget this moment, every moment of every single day.
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February 25, 2014

Robbed

Last night I burst into tears at bedtime. As Jarad asked me what was wrong, I blubbered, "I just remembered I didn't ever get to wear the bracelet I got with Milly's name on it. I was waiting for short sleeve weather."
I left my house on February 5 to run a couple of quick errands. Jarad was at his mom's house just down from ours. We'd both been spending as much time as possible there lately, but because of the flexible nature of his work, Jarad was there all the time. I dropped Milly off with him and took Madelyn with me.
We went to Walgreens to return an item for my mother-in-law, and we went to Walmart to get a few last minute items for a dinner we were having that night. In all, I was gone for about 90 minutes.
When I got home, the front door was open, just a crack.
I wasn't worried though. It has a tendency to blow open in the wind if you don't purposefully push it shut. It was very likely it didn't get closed properly when Madelyn was dropped off that morning. No big deal. I closed the door and locked the deadbolt, another way to ensure it stays closed.
Madelyn and I came into the house and after putting the groceries away I immediately started feeding her lunch.
Jarad texted me to call him about something, and our cell phones don't work super great out here in the sticks so I went to the bedroom to grab a house phone.
That's when I saw it.
My dresser was bare. It still had the flower vase and the framed family photo, but my two jewelry boxes were gone. All that was left was a ring of dust around where they should have been. (Note to self: Dust more thoroughly.)
My first reaction was to assume that Jarad was playing some kind of trick on me because he had noticed the door wasn't shut all the way. I mean, everything else of value was left behind. His brand new golf clubs, our TV and related electronics, even the very Macbook I am currently using, all left untouched. I texted Jarad to come home for a few minutes.
When he arrived, I said, "Very funny Friend. Trying to make me think we've been robbed. I'm not falling for it. You didn't even hide my laptop and it was sitting right out on the counter." Jarad was confused, and denied everything. I tried to call his bluff by saying I was calling the police right then. Time for him to come clean with his little joke.
He let me dial the number.
Oh.
Jarad double-checked the whole house. All the closets and under the bed. I made him look behind the shower curtain in the guest bathroom. No one was there. And nothing else was missing. But, the deadbolt on our back door was broken. And of course, the front door was open when I had arrived.
Did they break the lock and come in through the back? Did they fail to properly close the front door and that's why it was blown open? Or did the wind blow it open and they just took the golden opportunity?
Jarad went back to his mom's house and I waited for the sheriff (or rather, his deputy) to arrive. We filed a report, but nothing would happen, and we knew it. We intended to check out some local pawn shops, but more important things were happening in our family.
The jewelry is just material possessions, I told myself.
And that's totally true. I could absolutely never think about it again if it was just all the silly earrings and necklaces I've bought at Target and Old Navy over the years.
But it's not just that.
It's the diamond necklace Jarad gave me before my junior prom. That was my first piece of jewelry from him, ever. Certainly not the last.
It's the delicate heart bracelet he gave me that broke a million times. We always had it repaired.
It's the anniversary band he gave me… five diamonds for five years.
It's my college and high school class rings. (I've now lost my mom's, my sister's, and my own. I should have seen that coming.)
It's the Swarovski earrings and bracelets he got me in London. I wore them in Milly's newborn pics. Now they're gone.
It's the necklace Milly's birthmom gave me at the baby shower.
It's 15 years of gifts from my husband.
And last night I remembered about the never-worn bracelet.
I'm crying again as I type this. They're not just material possessions. They have a huge sentimental signifigance in my life. And heaven knows how I freak out about lost sentimental jewelry.
I suppose I'm still upset about it now because at the time I didn't have any more emotional availability. My emotions were already stretched like a rubber band due to other, much-more-important problems.
I was a bit fearful for a few days, but then told myself to get over that. I'm still more vigilant about double-checking the doors are locked and the alarm is set. And I can't shake the feeling that the house might have been watched. That is CREEPY.
But, people get robbed (burglarized? I don't know which is which...) every day. Life goes on.
The good news is that most of the sentimental jewelry comes from Moody's, and they have a lady there who helps you with insurance claims and discounts on replacement pieces. It won't be the same, but it will be close.
And it could have been much, much worse.
We could have been home.
They could have taken my laptop full of digital memories. (MUST BACK THOSE UP!)
They could have ransacked the house.
They didn't get my wedding ring.
We could have caught them in the act when we arrived back home, forcing them to commit a more heinous crime.
It just sucks, though.
Ask my friends, I'm always spouting off about being more trusting of people and how you should just relax and not assume that everyone everywhere is out to get you.
Next time the topic comes up, I'll probably still argue that point. But, with a little less fervor. Thanks to this fallen world, I'm now a little more jaded.
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January 15, 2014

Our Adoption Story, Part 5: Worth the Wait

Required reading: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
Milly was due on November 12th, so as part of my nesting insanity (Nesting: It's Not Always Hormonal) I insisted we ditch our carpet and install wood (laminate) flooring. It was late October, but Jarad is handy and has some helpful friends, so we had plenty of time.
Over the course of a week or so, Jarad and his various friends worked evenings and weekends to get the carpet pulled out and the wood put in. They did Milly's room, Jarad's office, the hallway, and the dining room.
On October 30th, around 7pm, Jarad and Kent were working on our living room, the final room. Our house was ridiculous. The kitchen and hallways were full to the brim with our dining room table and chairs, couches, TV, coffee table, trim pieces, wood scraps, tools, and more. I had fallen once, and knocked trim pieces into the counters multiple times. Everything was covered in that thick layer of dust that always comes with renovation. They were getting so close to being finished. I was excited to help soon with putting the furniture back in place and super-duper-cleaning everything so it would sparkle. We still had 2 weeks until Milly's due date.
Just then, a text message. Amanda was having strong contractions, and her doula (a lovely gift provided by CPO) told her to time them for an hour and call her back. An hour later, Amanda texted (or called? I can't remember) to say she was headed to the hospital on the advice of the doula. Contractions were getting closer and closer together.
Aaaaaack! Yaaaaaaay! Our house is a disaster! Who cares! We're having a baby! Yikes!!!!
We gathered up our bags (I had JUST packed them THAT NIGHT) and with one last look at the shambles our house was in, we rushed off to the hospital. I kept thinking how crazy it would be to bring a baby home to that, and then thinking, "Oh well! It could be worse. What a fun story we'll have to tell Milly when she gets older."
We arrived at the hospital and waited 30 minutes for Amanda and her mother to arrive. When they arrived, the fun began!
We rushed up to the labor and delivery floor, there was a water-breaking incident (it involved shouting and much awkwardness for all involved), we were ushered right into our room and then we… waited. We had arrived round 10pm or so, by 1am Amanda received her epidural, and we all settled in for a nap, including Amanda. I woke up a few times and felt SO GUILTY for sleeping. But everyone else was sleeping too, so I'd drift back off.
One time I woke up as a nurse entered the room. I thought, "Must. Stay. Awake. Might. Be. Important." and promptly drifted off again. Suddenly I was awakened by Amanda shouting, "WHAT??" It turned out, while we all slept, Amanda had dilated from a 4 to a 10. I don't know much about labor and delivery (not my area, obviously), but I do know that 10 = GO TIME! Woooo!
It was about 5am, and we waited for the doctor to be dragged out of bed and into the delivery room. When he arrived, there were several good pushes and suddenly, MILLY WAS HERE. It was 5:53am on October 31st. (Yes... Halloween. Oh well. Amanda says it's a reason to finally enjoy the holiday.)
I almost cut the cord too early because I didn't listen to the directions, but it's okay, everyone is still alive.
I cried as she was delivered. It was a very surreal experience.
I cried again when Amanda handed her to me.
I cried again when she was finished being picked at and I was able to sit and rock her. In that moment I prayed over her, for her little tiny life that was beginning, and I was completely overwhelmed with joy and fear and everything in between.
For much of the day, we stayed in the delivery room and passed Milly around. Amanda was doing great, and Milly was too.
Eventually, we each got our own separate rooms and although we spent most of our time in Amanda's room, we sometimes left her alone to nap or gave her solo time with Milly.
At one point during our stay, we received the following text message.
Here are the larger pics, showing everything finished and put in place and CLEAN!
It made me cry. What a relief. After having told our families to stay away from the hospital to protect the Amanda's limited time with Milly, I was dreading telling them that even after we were home with her they had to wait until our house was remotely presentable.
This amazing gift was such a huge relief, and a testament to what great things friends (who are family, too) can do to show they care.
Milly was born on a Thursday, and we went home from the hospital Saturday morning. During our stay we bonded with not only Milly, but Amanda and her whole family. There was laughter, tears, lots of fast food, and very little sleep. It was a beautiful experience, and I couldn't have imagined it being any better.
When we arrived home, we were greeted by everyone on The Compound. Tamara and Daniel and Madelyn came and brought coffee, cupcakes, cookies, and sign in activities for our visitors. My family came, Jarad's family came, Tamara's family came. Everyone had a great time loving on Milly.
It has now been more than two months, and I still can't believe that she is ours. She's so wonderful and perfect and silly and cute.
There will be a Part 6, but it will be a while. Between now and then, we have some hoops to jump through and several court dates. But believe me, when it's all said and done, I'll write about it.
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