Monday, January 11, 2010

Almost a Forever Family!

I CANNOT believe that Lyla is already 4 1/2 months old; or that I haven't blogged at all in three months; or that we are finally almost done with Lyla's adoption process.

Lyla is a happy, charming, adorable baby - she has brought so much joy to my life, and the lives of everyone around us. I can barely remember life before her, and even on those sleepless nights when I can barely get out of bed, I am still so, so thankful that she is in my life!!

We have a pretty good relationship with Lyla's birthmother - we text on holidays, email pictures, and chat on Facebook - in addition to the monthly letters and pictures we send through the agency.

We have done three of four home visits for post placement and two of three phone interviews with our social worker in Texas. The exciting news is that we have our court date! March 4th will be Lyla's forever family day. Frank and I have made a pact to celebrate this day (and the forever family day of any other children we adopt) as a true holiday - we will take off from work, and Lyla gets to make all the decisions for her day. If she wants chicken fingers for breakfast - it's ok by me! (hey, it's one day a year!) I'm really looking forward to our first forever family day, and the tons and tons that will follow.

In the mean time, we have we have enjoyed a lot of firsts with Lyla so far, and have had some great times. Here's a few snapshots of some highlights...

Lyla's Christening

Lyla's first family Jets day (even though Mommy & Daddy are really Colts fans)

And Lyla's first Christmas

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our First Post-Placement Visit

WOW - I can't believe it's Sept 22nd already! Lyla is already a month old - she's gaining weight and growing like crazy - she gained 1 lb 9 oz, putting her up to 9 lb 6 oz, and she grew an inch, so she's 20.5" already. INSANE!

Our NJ social worker came to the house today for our first post-placement follow up visit. I was a little nervous - with baby stuff everywhere, piles of pictures, receipts and adoption paperwork on the dining room table, I wasn't quite sure what I was being graded on. No need to worry though. It was just a nice visit with our social worker (she did our home study too, so we have gotten to know her pretty well). She was here for about 2 hours, but it was mostly conversational. Lyla slept through the whole visit of course...but she did peak out at the very end so the social worker could tell that her eyes are indeed brown.

We will have 3 more visits in the coming months, and soon we'll be scheduling our court date in Texas (some time at the end of February/early March) and then it will all be final. Such a process!

We used a different agency for the home study/follow ups that we used for the actual placement. I learned some interesting things about this agency though (American Adoptions). They have a high risk adoption plan, so if a case falls through (a disruption in your journey), you won't be out any money. I LOVE this. While hubby and I went through two disruptions, and lost some money (quite a bit, actually, but not as bad as it could've been), I wondered how couples who weren't in our situation might have been able to continue down this path. Since we've always known we would adopt, we had money set aside for it. But if life unexpectedly takes a couple/person into this journey, it's nice to know that there are agencies out there working to protect them. YEAH RIGHTS FOR ADOPTIVE PARENTS!!

1. Yesterday she started reaching for things, and accidentally grabbed the pacifier out of her mouth - then screamed because it was gone
2. They say it's just gas still, but I like to think those little smiles are meant for me
3. When she sees a bottle/pacifier coming towards her mouth, she gets so excited that she starts shaking her head, and I have to really aim to get it in her mouth.

She's adorable and one month after placement I am still on cloud 9!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Welcome Home Lyla Grace!!!!

Sorry for the belated blog's been quite a few weeks! I'll start with the spoiler alert - This post is to introduce and welcome home our daughter Lyla Grace!

So we got the call that our birthmother had gone in to labor and we changed our flights to get there early. As we landed in El Paso, TX, we got word that it was a false alarm and they had released her. We then spent the week waiting and waiting for miss Lyla's arrival. We got to spend a lot of time with our birthmother and her sister's family.

Then the big day came - they started inducing her on Thursday August 20th. I stayed overnight in the hospital with our birthmother, and at 12:51 on Friday August 21st, I got to see our daughter be born. It was amazing to be there right from the beginning and I feel soooo lucky to have been a part of it.

I stayed overnight again with the birthmother and Lyla, and Saturday they released us all at the same time, so we took Lyla back to our hotel with us. Sunday afternoon our social worker came over to sign the paperwork, and an hour later she called with the amazing news that the birthmother had signed and it was a go - SHE WAS OUR DAUGHTER!

Frank had to fly home to go back to work, so my mom, the best grandma ever, hopped on a few planes and took his place to help me tag team my newborn. It was great to have her there with us, and she of course was thrilled to get some quality time with her newest grandaughter.

We flew home on Saturday - an all day ordeal - and Lyla did amazingly well on the planes. We were all exhausted and slept in Sunday morning. Then the revolving door started Sunday afternoon with brothers, sisters-in-law, grandmas, great grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins all coming by to meet our newest family member. It was so great to see everyone so excited and just gobbling her up.

So far so good, Lyla is a wonderful baby and mommy here is enjoying every single minute of it. I even love when she wakes up for a bottle at 3 am - special quality time for mommy and Lyla where I just get to soak it all in. I AM IN LOVE!

Thank you to everyone who has offered your prayers, crossed your fingers, kept us in your thoughts, and pulled for us. We are so lucky to have had such a wonderful adoption story, and to be surrounded by so much support - on and off line.

OK enough typing - I have a daughter to bond with!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Still Waiting...

So we got to Texas Saturday afternoon, just in time for our birthmom to be released from the hospital. Which is actually great news because we were able to hang out with her, her sister and her sister's family for a long time Saturday night, and then went out to breakfast with them Sunday morning. We got to see the photo album of her family she is putting together for the baby, and really get to know a lot more about her.

We went back to the hospital Sunday night so they could induce, but it turns out someone is VERY comfortable in there and just not ready to come out yet. So after a few hours they let us go - though we didn't get to see an ultrasound which was really cool!

Our birthmom was told to do as much walking as she can, though in this heat that really isn't much unless she's just walking around the house. We head back to the doctor at 8 am Tuesday morning for another check up and they will decide if they are going to induce or perform a c-section. For the sake of our birthmom I hope the baby is ready to come out!

Fingers still crossed, but I think this is going to be such a strong adoption, with a great relationship with the birthmom. I know I said I wasn't going to say things like that until it was official, but I can't help it - this has been such a wonderful experience so far, and I know that our birthmom is happy with her decision to choose us as her adoptive parents! I feel so lucky! (aye-yay-yay why do I do this to myself?!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

And We're Off!

My birthmother had contractions start today, but they were able to stop them at the hospital - both mom and baby are in good health. We will arrive tomorrow afternoon around 2:30 pm, and as soon as we get to the hospital and make our introductions, they will induce her.

This is incredibly exciting. As long as baby doesn't decide tonight's the night, we will get to see her birth. SO COOL. And so cool that the birthmother and doctor are sensitive to our excitement and completely planning around us getting there. This couldn't get any better.

Everything is crossed, and I can't wait to get to Texas. The bags are packed (and yes, the unborn baby definitely has more than we do already!), and I am off to I could sleep!

P.S. Nephew is still in the hospital but being released tomorrow, so all is well with the world :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Last Day?

Since my company found out that I was adopting, they instituted an adoption maternity leave that 100% matches the "regular" maternity leave policy, which means I will get to spend three months at home with my baby. Obviously I am THRILLED with this since most companies don't even have an adoption policy, and certainly not one that matches maternity leave since it isn't mandatory or covered by disability.

Today is my last day at work (KNOCK ON WOOD). We are headed to Texas in just a few days, which leaves me with tomorrow to get everything together and fully prepare. The excitement is tangible and I can't wait to get down to Texas and meet my birthmother and soon-to-be-daughter.

Thank you all for your support and please keep your fingers crossed. I will let you know AS SOON AS it's official!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What a Week

11 hours of sleep since Sunday morning...and we don't even have a baby yet!

Our newphew came to visit on Sunday, and Monday we ended up admitting him into the hospital for an eye infection. He had a procedure done last night (at 1:30 am) to drain the infection that has swelled his eye shut, but there was nothing in there so it's all just inflammation and they don't know why. They did a biopsy, but we won't have answers for a few days so he just has to sit in the hospital. So frustrating and I feel awful for him.

On a brighter note, we are getting close to our due date! It's actually tomorrow, but our birthmother had a doc appointment today and she's not dialating yet. She is going back to the doc on Friday, and if all goes well they can induce on Monday - so we are flying down this weekend to spend some time with her before she goes into labor. WOO HOO! We also talked about hair care products since the baby is African American and I am not quite the expert in that area yet (though I will be!). She gave me some good tips, and her sister told me what she does for her 6 month old daughter, so I am feeling pretty well prepared, and really lucky that we are having these kinds of conversations.