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Adoption

And then three grew to FIVE!

September 10, 2016 10

In absolute perfect timing, our family has grown by two.

The past three weeks have been such a an exciting whirlwind, and the amazing story of how our two boys joined our family is still so unreal to me!

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Here’s a look at our adoption timeline:

5/26/16: Application for adoption submitted

8/2/16: Home study started

8/18/16: Babies born

8/19/16: Found out about babies through a Facebook post. We knew some of the medical issues, other concerns and basic information… but little else! We hadn’t yet seen photos and our home study wasn’t complete, but we knew we had to apply. The boys’ birth mom was working with a private attorney, so applying for their case was outside of the adoption agency we had been working with.

8/20/16: We quickly completed and overnighted a 24 page application and just three photos for the boys’ birth mom to consider. We had actually just completed our profile book (20 pages of photos and text for an in-depth look at our lives) a few days before. I was worried that the birth mom might not get a complete look at who we are as a family. But we waited, prayed and tried to not get our hopes up.

8/23/16: Eight couples ended up applying to adopt the boys. We were told the birth mom would be reviewing all applications that night and that we should find out that day. Each hour crawled by. When we had to go to bed without hearing anything from the attorney, were sure it meant we weren’t selected.

8/24/16: Mid-morning, we received a follow-up question with some concerns the birth mom had. We did our best to answer… and then waited more. A few (long) hours later, we received the call. She thought we were the perfect family to raise her boys!!! We could not believe it. Minutes later we arranged for friends to watch Clara and drove two hours to meet the attorney! Then we met our boys!! We also chose their names this night. After just a few hours, we headed home for the night to be with Clara. (Let’s be honest, I couldn’t sleep!)

8/25/16: Since we didn’t have a completed home study yet (totally bent every rule with this), our social worker moved mountains and completed our final visit the morning after we were selected and rushed writing it to be done the very next day (compared to the 6-8 weeks it was supposed to take). We finished the home study, packed all our things and headed to be with the boys in NICU after picking Clara up from school.

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We stayed with the boys for nearly two weeks in NICU. We’re so thankful for the Ronald McDonald House for not only taking us in, but for being a great support to Clara and our growing family! This charity is wonderful and we hope to help support them in the future.

Baby A (Henry Owen) was released from NICU before his brother. We stayed in our room at RMH a few days after Henry was released so we could continue to visit with Baby B, but it was challenging since the kids aren’t allowed in NICU. We switched off: one was with Baby B in NICU while the other held down the fort with an adjusting toddler and little preemie in a new city.

We had to head home to get settled… make places for TWO boys, get Clara in school, catch up on work and adjust to life with Henry. Of course it’s breaking our hearts to not be with Baby B every day. Our attorney is wonderful and visiting him for snuggle time, and we are making individual day trips just to hold him and talk with the nurses. It will definitely feel unsettled until Baby B can join us.

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We learned that the birth mom narrowed it down to two couples and ultimately chose us because we wanted an open adoption with regular communication and visits. We haven’t met our birth mom yet, but we hope that will take place once Baby B is out of the hospital.

Since we weren’t planning on twin boys— much less this soon in the process— we had so few things ready for them! Our friends and community were wonderful to get together so many boy clothes, a second carseat and other things for us to bring the boys home to.

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I can’t begin to express how much we love these boys. We loved them from the moment we heard that we were selected. I thought the bond might take longer to develop than it did with Clara (we had 42 weeks of getting to know her before she was born), but Richard and I haven’t felt that at all. I’m amazed at how immediate and strong the love we have for them developed… these are our sons!

Clara was unsettled the first few days of traveling and being without one of us all the time as we were in the NICU. She cried more and threw fits. Once we started taking intentional lunch breaks from the NICU and giving her totally undivided attention, she mellowed out. Now she loves her little brothers and is nothing but helpful and sweet.

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We know adoption will be a lifelong process for our boys. We are praying for the boys’ birth mom and can’t wait to meet her. We’ll be navigating race (the boys are biracial), the loss of their biological family and our relationship with their birth family for a long time. But for right now, we’re holding our boys close and making sure they know just how loved they are.

To everyone who has sent messages of support or congratulations, thank you! We feel so loved and are thankful that so many can experience this wonderful time with us!

 

 

There are 10 comments

  • A says:

    Just wondering why you’re still calling your son in the NICU Baby B? Seems funny not to use his given name even though he’s not at home, or is there a specific reason for that?

    • Healthy Ashley says:

      Although the birth mom chose us and signed off on her rights, the babies can’t legally be “placed” with us from the lawyers until they leave the hospital. I was trying to keep the babies at least a little private before they were actually ours… and a name and close up photos were part of that 🙂

  • Kristi says:

    Congratulations! Such a beautiful story. It can be so hard when your baby (or babies!) are in th NICU, and you also have an older one. It sounds like you guys are just doing wonderfully!

  • Meghan says:

    Congratulations. What an amazing story, and what a beautiful family.

    As an adoptive mom of a biracial baby, I’ve found I had no idea how much I didn’t know. I’d recommend the Facebook groups: Transracial Adoption Perspectives and Transracial Adoption for help. They both have “101” courses that you have to go through before being admitted into the larger group, and they both require some adjustment. The latter one, especially can be intense, and honestly, I found pretty off-putting initially since they’re a little combative and quick to call out white privilege and instances of racism I hadn’t seen. However, all the moderators/admin are adult transracial adoptees- they privilege adult adoptee voices, and they also have a lot of contributions from birth parents (where you’ll find things like referring to a birthmother as “our birthmother” while coming from a place of love, is often offensive to birthparents) and there’s no place I’ve learned more.

    I’d recommend joining, even if all you do is read, take what’s helpful and disregard what’s not.

    Congrats again on your wonderful family.

    • Healthy Ashley says:

      I’m in Transracial Adoption 101. I love how much I learn and change my perspective in it… but your criticisms of it are spot. on. Thank you!!

  • Kristi says:

    Congratulations! What a beautiful story. It was so hard when our baby was in the NICU and our toddler was home. You guys are doing a great job!

  • Jen says:

    After reading the comments here, I would LOVE to see a post about transracial adoption (and the “our birth mother” comment above). Thank you for sharing your story and all the best to your growing family!!

  • Shantel says:

    I’m a birthmother, and I chose my daughter’s parents very quickly (they had 4 weeks) and it breaks my heart that you address your community, and Ronald McDonald House as wonderful, but you don’t talk about how wonderful that mother is! You have no idea what it feels like to let go of the possibilities of being a mother with all the smothering baby with kisses, sharing in the joy of your new baby with family, walking your child to school the first time, kissing booboos, and all of the things you dreamt about while pregnant with the baby you had all of those possibilities with. Please be sensitive of that while you’re navigating this new relationship. It’s hard to be the birth mother. It took me 8 years to figure out that it was absolutely ok that I was sad to miss out on those experiences with a baby that could have been “mine”, and that even though I had zero regrets with my choice it was still ok to feel a loss. You are now a major part of her life, and she is thankful to you, but she will be grieving in her own way, and while everyone is different, it helped me so much to know that I was seen and recognized in my babies parents blog and eventually Instagram (my daughter was born 10 years ago before insta). There was a moment when I felt like they glossed over my existence and it was incredibly painful to not feel validated. It felt like I was just the baby maker and that my feelings didn’t matter and it was confusing.

    I just had to leave this comment, because this is an issue I feel strongly about. Your birthmother deserves recognition. Choosing to say goodbye to those babies and all the possibilities that would have come with raising them wasn’t easy for her. You may have already thought about that, but you didn’t portray it in this post or your Instagram, and your birthmother might be reading. She deserves the same love those babies, your community, and Ronald McDonald House are getting.

    • Healthy Ashley says:

      Hi Shantel,

      Thank you for sharing your experience as a birth mom and what my post brought up for you. We speak highly of the boys’ birth mom in our daily lives, but I should have mentioned her more here. My feelings toward her are complex and constantly changing— because we have an open adoption but haven’t met her yet, among other things— but she certainly is wonderful! She gave our boys life, and she chose us to be their parents. We are eternally grateful.

      Thanks again for writing.

      Ashley

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