January 31, 2013

While We've Been Out...

Well this post has been a long time coming! Ok, maybe a week but what's a busy mom of two to do?!

That's right. I said TWO!

Introducing our son and Noah's baby brother, Aaron Joseph!

Aaron's Story

A little over five weeks ago, on Noah's birthday to be exact, we received a call from our adoption agency (The Gladney Center for Adoption) with news that Noah's birth mom was expecting. She had called that morning to indicate she wanted to create an adoption plan for her baby and was asking if we had any interest in adopting this child. Did we ever?!

It took us less than a breathe to say "yes"!

The shocker was that our birth mom gave us a three week time frame until she was due. If you do the math that meant big brother Noah would be barely 13 months old by the time this new baby came. What it also meant was that we would have our second consecutive year to surprise our families at Christmas time with some amazing news.

If you don't know the story, we learned of Noah on Christmas Eve 2011 and surprised our families that evening while opening presents. Six days later, we were parents! No one would suspect we'd be doing it again!

This year, we kept the secret to ourselves until Christmas Eve when Noah opened a "present" from the husband and I - a shirt that says "World's Best Brother". I wish we had filmed the reactions! We did the same with my own family on Christmas Day however left it to chance for someone to notice Noah actually wearing the shirt. My mom got a good look at it while sitting around the table and was the first to voice the question as to why Noah was wearing a "brother" shirt. Haha! Same reactions all across. No one saw this coming!

We waited through the holidays to hear news of our birth mom and her actual due date since she was scheduled for a doctor's visit soon. Meanwhile we vehemently worked to complete a new application for Gladney and recompile some of our current paperwork such as doctor's visits, updated taxes and continuing education. Although we were approved for this adoption there was still some red tape to get through and hopefully we would finish in time before the birth.

During this time, we made sure that our family and close friends that knew of the adoption knew the difference between how Noah came into our family versus the possibility of this new baby. When we learned of Noah, he was already a few days old and the birth parents had signed all the required paperwork. He was already ours from that first phone call. This time, we would be waiting for the birth and waiting for papers to be signed. Texas law states that a birth mother may not sign her rights to a newborn away until the baby is 48 hours old. The agency likes to use the term "creating a sense of false hope", which is what we shared with everyone. Although Noah's birth mom said she had every intention of following through on her adoption plan, she could still legally change her mind and we needed to be aware and reminded of that fact.

The second difference, and a huge one at that, our birth mom wanted us to take placement of the baby from the hospital. We made preparations like I would imagine any couple would when planning for a baby's delivery day - Noah would stay with his grandparents and the husband and I would plan to be in town at hour 48 after the baby was born.

This whole time, we did know know the sex of the baby and being the OCD person that I am, it was driving me insane! I felt like I had no rights to hope for either, or pretend to be choosing a name for that matter, but still I felt ill-prepared. If it was a boy we would be set since we still had all of Noah's baby stuff. But a girl would change things regarding what stock we had in pinks and frills.

The call came the morning after my birthday - baby BOY was here and healthy and birth mom doing well! He and I were so close in sharing a birthday! 30 something hours later we were mere miles away from the hospital. The night before placement, we visited with our birth mom's caseworker who would be spending the night at the hospital with the baby. We didn't see him and I would have declined to had we been offered. It would only be one more night because the papers were scheduled to be signed first thing in the morning.

Last Thursday morning, we woke up and got ready for the day. We were to wait until we heard from the caseworker to make our way to the hospital. The text came - "Congrats! You can head this way" - and we knew everything had gone as planned. I asked the caseworker to give our birth mom and huge hug from me. We would not be meeting the birth parents in person.

Once at the hospital, we met the caseworker (who had been given a good intro to newborns by staying the night with our little guy) and we signed our own paperwork, almost mindlessly as we had with Noah, knowing he was rooms away.

Once ready, a parade of nurses joined us the little hospital room as we met our son. I'm pretty sure it was the first adoption they had seen but since we'd been through it before we didn't mind one bit. Plus, these ladies all helped take care of our little guy while he waited for us.

We named him Aaron Joseph.
5 lbs 13 oz (teeny tiny!)

Aaron - meaning "Enlightened"
Joseph - meaning "God will add/increase"

Joseph was the middle name given by Aaron's birth mother. But it also holds a special place in our heart as we had been considering the name beforehand in honor of my grandfather and in honor of our friend Joey. Pretty sure God was smiling down on us with our new "addition" when his name was chosen.

What we also found out was that our birth mom was hoping we would use her chosen middle name as we had done with Noah, so she purposely picked a "J" name. We couldn't have been more thrilled!

So here we are - a week under our belt with two beautiful boys to care for at home. I'm saving up for another post regarding how our time has been adjusting to having a newborn once more. But before any of that is said, what I want to remind myself of no matter how stressed or tired we may feel in the coming months, nothing could ever take away the fact that my eldest son has a biological sibling to call as his brother. It's something we could never have dreamed would have been possible, but the Lord works wonders and we know what we have is beyond priceless.

(Brother pictures to come if I can ever get Noah to sit still. He is 13 months old after all.)

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