Well, if you follow me on social media, you already have the #SpoilerAlert, but for the rest of you – WE ARE NOW A FAMILY OF THREE!
It has been a whirlwind of activity the past three weeks as we found out we had been selected, drove to pick him up, and adjusted to life with a newborn.
It has been quite the wait for this all to happen. I originally announced to all of you back in the spring of 2015 that we were headed down this journey. That summer, we entered the pool, and we were sure that it was bound to happen within that first year.
Since we were so sure that being chosen was always imminent, many aspects of our life were put on hold. All vacation plans were made with the caviat of knowing I might need to cancel, and we held off looking at moving because it would require homestudy changes.
As the years dragged on, we started to look into other options. The homestudy needs to be updated every two years, and a few months ago we had made the decision that we were not going to update ours a second time; rather we were going to change approach and look into adopting through foster care. With this change, we were set to expire on July 1st with our current agency.
I got the official phone call on Thursday, June 27th (yes, just 4 days before we expired), while I was in a computer lab doing some work. The call came through as “restricted”, which I would have normally ignored, but I was waiting for somebody to come back with a computer part so I decided to answer. I thought it might be our agency calling since I knew that their numbers came through as restricted, but figured it was regarding the fact that we were soon expiring.
This phone call kicked off the whirlwind of getting ahold of Brad, a quick homestudy update for the new house, and making plans to head down to Oregon for an unknown amount of time.
After getting off the phone, at first, I thought that this was more of a “screening” phone call where the agency was wondering if we wanted to be presented to the family. It wasn’t until a couple phone calls later that I realized that they had already picked us and that it was actually happening.
The drive home was filled with phone calls to our references telling them to answer restricted numbers, our parents to let them know (and also asking if they could come over and help with a few things), and rearranging a few schedules to be gone for a few days.
After our homestudy update, we started getting packed up to head to Portland. At first, the counselor was hoping we would make it down that evening; however, when we wouldn’t be able to reach the hospital until after 8pm, she told us we’d meet the following morning. That gave us a couple more hours to prep the house for a contractor the next day, and actually think through what we were packing.
We packed up the car and headed south about 8pm on the 27th and arrived at our hotel around 11:30. There is a hotel that I usually stay at when visiting Portland, and it was originally available when I was checking; however, when I went to actually book it during the drive south, it was sold out. This actually turned out to be a good thing, because the Embassy Suites that we stayed at was amazing (more on this later).
I remember thinking that this Thursday night was going to be my “last night of good sleep” for a while, except that I couldn’t sleep well, because everything was going through my head. Around 6am I finally gave up and just got up and ready for the day. We weren’t meeting at the hospital until 10am, so there was plenty of time for breakfast, a last minute Target run, and carseat installation.
When we arrived at the hospital, our counselor met us in the lobby and walked us through how the day would go. Since this was a last minute placement, we essentially did a month’s worth of activities in a day.
The first visit was with just the birth parents where we got to know a bit more about each other. We talked about our favorite activities, current family, and what brought us to this point. After an hour or so of getting to know each other, Brad and I headed back down to the lobby so the counselor could talk with each couple and make sure that all parties still wanted to move forward.
Next up was MEETING THE BABY! Brad and I headed back up to the hospital room where we met our new child. He was absolutely precious, and had quite the head of hair! The next couple hours were spent giving baby snuggles, and discussing things like names and our open adoption agreement.
As discharge got closer, Brad and I got a crash course in newborn care from one of the nurses, before packing up his things to head “home” (aka our beloved Embassy Suites).
Around 4:30, it was time for discharge. All 6 of us (Brad, me, baby, birth parents, and adoption counselor) walked out of the hospital together as we made our escape from the hospital room.
Our first stop was the hotel to do an initial offload of stuff, and to make a list of what we needed immediately from BuyBuy BABY (fortunately one had opened juat a few months ago). For his first outing, we picked up a few necessities to get us through the night then headed back to our hotel.
We weren’t sure how long we would be in Oregon because we had to get ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) clearance from both Oregon and Washington to cross state lines. Since we were discharged late on Friday, we knew it would be at least Monday so we settled in and made our own little home at the hotel.
This is when we began to realize how nice the Embassy Suites was going to be for our stay. We had his area set up in the living room, which allowed for one of us to get solid sleep in the bedroom while the other got up with him. Partway through the night we swapped so each of us got some uninterrupted sleep.
Saturday morning came and we had survived our first night with a newborn! It was a bit of an adventure navigating diapers, swaddles, and microwave sterilizing bottles but we did it. We then started thinking what our plans were going to be for the weekend.
I don’t exactly sit still well, so even with a newborn we were out and about around the area. After a run to Starbucks and some delicious breakfast at the hotel, we ventured to one of the best places on earth – Costco!
One of the things on our to do list since we had moved in was to replace all the smoke detectors in the house. Many of them looked like they were original to the timeframe of the last remodel and we wanted to update them to be combination Carbon Monoxide/Smoke detectors. Costco currently had 2 packs on sale so we headed over to pick them up.
At this point, we still had yet to tell the world about him (and the name was still TBD). So after ensuring that the majority of our extended family knew, it was time to make it Facebook official.
And the (Facebook) crowd goes wild.
By Friday evening, we had basically settled on his first name, but he went through a few middle name options before we finally picked our final final answer.
Emmett James was a name that we had somewhat decided on years ago when we first started the process and thought that it was imminent. When the time actually came, we had to “try out” other names to see if we still loved our original pick.
One of the things I really wanted was to get newborn photos taken. He was 4 days old at discharge, and I had read that it was best to get them done in the first week of life so that they’re extra sleepy and snuggly. I found a local photographer and we headed over Sunday morning for photos.
It was such a great experience, and I can’t wait to see the photos! Once I get them, they will definitely be shown off all over Instagram!
During our time in Oregon, Emmett was a trooper as we carted him around to different stores and restaurants. Brad got to try out the Tula carrier when we went to Buybuy Baby to register, and Emmett slept through his first trip to Target and Home Depot.
Sunday night, we were discussing our thoughts around the chance we’d actually get clearance to leave on Monday. We figured the odds of all the paperwork finishing before we had to check out of the hotel was low, so we made the executive decision that we’d go ahead and book the hotel for another night so we weren’t trying to check out and possibly check back into the hotel.
It was a good thing we did, because Monday came and went without ICPC clearance. Throughout Monday afternoon, we were checking with the front desk to see how many rooms were still available for Tuesday night. We didn’t want to stay another night if we didn’t have to, but we also wanted an assurance that we had a room if needed.
Tuesday morning, we were able to get our checkout pushed til 12:30, and the front desk put a room on hold for us in case we needed it. We decided that we would stay Tuesday night if we hadn’t heard by noon. Around 11:15, we got the text that we were free to go! So we started to pack up the car (and realize how much more stuff we had added since the drive down).
By the end of our stay, Emmett had become known to a good portion of the hotel staff. Each evening, we would attend the hotel cocktail hour for dinner. There were snacks such as chips & salsa, fruit, and veggies each evening, plus we could order an easy dinner off the restaurant menu.
We even had a few visitors during the weekend. My cousin Ana was his first visitor, and one of my previous coworkers also came to meet him one evening. We know that we’ll be visiting Portland a lot more often in the coming years, so it will be great to visit with friends as well whenever we head down.
The drive home took a bit longer than usual with a couple stops along the way for diaper changes and feedings. I also got to experience my first huge spit up that got all over my jacket (fortunately it wasn’t whole driving, but during one of the stops).
Since we’ve been home, we’ve been settling into life with a newborn. Brad and I still alternate night feedings like we did at the hotel, so we aren’t completely zombies the next morning. He’s become a champ at eating, and the doctor has been impressed with his weight gain.
Emmett has had lots of visitors since we’ve been home, and gets oohs and ahhs everywhere we go.
We’re so in love with him and looking forward to everything that this adventure holds.