Thursday, September 2, 2004: The next morning, at about 6am, after our first night of sleep after eight days and our first time sleeping with our babe between us, we headed out to Chad's parents, who live about 1.5 hours out of town. When we arrived at there home, they were still sleeping. While Chad held Sara, I was banging banging banging on the door, until Chad's mom finally came to the door. As we walk inside she asked us repeatedly "Whose baby is this?", "Chad, whose baby is this?" and each time Chad replied "Ours mom, she is our baby."
Sunday, February 01, 2009
The Sara Surprise.
I've been wanting to write this post for awhile now, but I knew it would be a long one. However, after my mom's story, it seemed fitting to share my experience of the days leading up to Sara coming home. Plus, it is an absolute comforting distraction from our current wait and will keep me smiling for days.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004: My phone rang at approximately 1:00pm in my office (as it does all day long). "Hello, Laura?" - "Yes?" - "Are you somewhere you can talk?" At that point I really don't remember much about the next 20 minutes. Thank goodness I was madly writing everything down. I cried twice during that phone call - once when she said that there was a birthmom who wanted to meet us and again when she told me that it was a girl!
Of course, there was no work being done for the rest of the afternoon. So, I walked down to The Bay and wandered through the baby section. I picked out the pinkest booties and most girly baby card I could find. Back at my office I printed out the following words on separate pieces of paper - "If you could have one wish what would it be?" I rushed from work to beat Chad home. I set the words at the front door, up the stairs, down the hall, and into our spare room...and waited. What was only about 10 minutes seemed like FOREVER before Chad arrived. I stayed in the spare room with the door closed. I have never heard Chad move that fast in his life - did he even have time to read the words? He burst into the spare room and in front of him was the pink booties on the floor.
I came around the corner and handed him the card. It read "It's a girl...and her name is Sara." We both just held each other and cried. At first Chad was a bit confused about the whole "baby girl Sara" thing, because most of the adoptions that occur at our agency begin when the birthmom is still pregnant, not after the baby is born. So after I explained that, yes indeed, we have a baby girl who is two months old, we began crying again.
We decided that since we only had a week or so before she would be home that we would not tell a soul about our big news. The best word to describe the days building up to her coming home is "numb".
We did not sleep AT ALL that night. We would be lying in bed at night and one of us would say "You awake?" and the other would reply "Yup, wide awake." This continued each night for a week.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004: Back to work, but not much getting accomplished. We called each other back and forth all day long. No sleep that evening either.
Thursday, August 26, 2004: "Match meeting" with birthmom. During this meeting we saw pictures of Sara for the first time - that moment is indescribable. We posted her picture everywhere around the house. No sleep again that night.
The Weekend, August 27-29, 2004: The BUSIEST weekend of that summer - Friday, we drove to Chad's parents for the night (preplanned, or we probably never would have gone) and left late the next morning. Saturday, our friends wedding. Sunday, my parents 35th wedding anniversary celebration. All I wanted to do is sit at home, stare at her picture and scream in delight. People would talk to us, but we could not hear them. People would ask us questions, but we did not answer. We walked around like zombies that whole weekend. And STILL no sleep, that is six straight nights now.
Monday, August 30, 2004: "Details meeting", where we discussed with birthmom about Sara's name and details of the placement. And we found out that we would be meeting Sara the next day at her temporary placement home. Because Sara was an older infant, we were required to spend time with her before she could come home. Do you think we slept that night?
Tuesday, August 31, 2004: We had to drive an hour outside the city to where she was staying. We walked in the house and her care worker said "She is still sleeping, she should be up shortly." - So I'm thinking "Are you kidding me? I am not waiting another second" and slowly started moving my way to the room where she was sleeping. Chad and I both walked in the room and Chad began to cry uncontrollably (funny thing is that Chad does not cry easily, so when he does, I seem to go into protective mode and did not cry much in that moment). Chad picked Sara up and held his precious daughter for the first time...that is when I started crying too. We spend about 2 hours with her that day holding, feeding, changing, starring, etc.
That evening we went shopping for baby supplies and because we wanted to keep her arrival top secret, we drove all the way across the city to shop, so we would not bump into anyone we knew. Even still, as I placed everything into the cart, Chad was the lookout.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004: Gotcha Day. We spent the whole day with her at her temporary home, just being a family. That evening our case worker, birthmom, and Sara came to place her with us in our home. It was surreal; like an out of body experience. After everyone had left and we were finally left alone with our sweet precious baby girl we had our first traditional "Cuddle Time", where one of us yells "Cuddle Time" and we all go running into our bed for a cuddle - it was one of the best moments of my life as a family.
We hopped in the car and headed straight to my parents - they were expecting us, as we had told them the day before that we might drop by that evening to say hello. We walked into their house unnoticed. We could hear my dad on the phone and could hear my mom watching TV. We stood in their front room for a few minutes, waiting for my dad to get off the phone. But when it became apparent that he would be awhile, we decided to walk straight in. Bundled in a bright pink blanket (so there was no mistaking that it was a girl) my dad started babbling to the stranger (his insurance broker) on the phone saying something like "daughter... baby... adopting... here with baby... got to call you back..." and my mom simply took her from my arms and said "We have been waiting for you my sweet girl" and kissed her gently on the cheek. It's almost like she knew, like she could sense Sara's arrival. She is so perceptive and intuitive with her daughters and I often say to her "Mom, you are no fun" because she always just knows.
Next, we headed to my younger sister's. Her and her husband were painting the outside of their house. We parked the car a bit down the street (by the way, in all the excitement we forgot to strap Sara into her car seat on that ride - we started off as such great parents :)). Now, if you know my younger sister, you would know that she is wild, emotional, and a bit unpredictable at times, so as we were walking up the street with Sara, my mom was trying to lure the paint brush from her hands. Too late. She spotted us, carrying our pink bundle. And in the middle of her front lawn she fell to her knees and began crying hysterically. It was exactly what I expected from my younger sister...it was perfect. Her poor husband was in the backyard and (said afterwords) was scared to come to the front.
Next, over to my older sister's house. Her husband and son were home, but she was out. So we all (mom, dad, younger sister, husband, and nephews) just waiting for her to arrive home. You have to know that at that time my grandmother was 92-years-old and not doing very well, so my poor sister immediately thought, when she saw all our cars in the driveway, that grandma had passed away. But when she walked in the door I was standing in front of it with Sara. Ironically, my older sister is quite opposite then my younger sister, more laid back, strong, and steady. But she could not even control herself in that moment. And here is the picture my mom was referring to in her story.
September 21, 2004: In Manitoba, a birthmom has 21 days to change her mind after placement. Even though we felt quite confident of our birthmom's decision, on the evening the 21st day, our family and friends came to celebrate with us and we popped a bottle of Pink Champagne.
And we have been celebrating Sara's arrival ever since. To this day still (in fact, just this morning) one of us will say "I still can't believe it" and we always know exactly what the other is referring to. I don't think I will ever get over it - I never want to.