Jayson, Amanda, and Lysandra with the
judge on Finalization Day.
Why did you choose IPAS?
When we found out Jayson could not have children we were of course devastated but we knew we did not want that to be the end of our journey as parents. We started to look into adoption because we both felt it was a better fit for us than invasive and unreliable fertility treatments. We knew we wanted to adopt an infant domestically. A friend from the Fresno area asked if we had ever heard of Infant of Prague. We were relieved to finally find an agency with a solid track record of being there for all members of the adoption triad and thankfully they were willing to make the long drive out to see us on the other side of the mountains.
What was your wait like?
We did not have to wait long. The day we finished our classes our social worker Ashley called us to let us know of a birth mom that lived near us. She told us to get our book done fast if we wanted it to be shown with other albums, and she and Stephanie would be out in two weeks to pick that up and finish our home study. I was immediately excited, believing this to be our long awaited child, but Jayson was much more level headed. Together we were able to get everything done at breakneck speed. Ashley and Stephanie came out and were going to see our birth mom the next day to show her our book (and the others). I don't believe my head even hit the pillow that night. I paced and prayed most of the night for the strength to handle whatever news the morning might bring.
What was it like to get "the call?" What happened?
Ashley promised to call us either way, so we were expecting the call. She called me, "Mom" on the phone - it was the first time I had ever been called that. She invited us to lunch to meet our new family. When I got off the phone, Jayson and I just held one another and cried for joy. Our quest to become parents was finally coming to an end. When we met up with our new family, the shock and excitement was still all over our faces. We found our new family to be warm, funny, and full of personality. I got to feel my daughter kick and I discovered an amazing bond with a woman I had never met before, but who was answering all my prayers.
How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time?
It was about 4 AM when we got to the hospital. Lysandra was less than an hour old, laying on the heating table and she was perfect. It was hard to believe she was real, and that not only was I allowed to hold such a perfect little miracle, but that I was going to take her home and care for her for the rest of my life. All the pain of the past few years melted away in an instant and I was filled with such happiness that I felt like my skin could not hold it all in. We were in the hospital for less than two days, during which time we could not bring ourselves to put her down or even look away from her for more than an instant. It was love at first sight.
How was the finalization process?
Returning to IPAS to fill out finalization paperwork was great. We got to see the staff, for whom we have come to care about very much. We also had the opportunity to meet Lysandra's half brother, who was placed a few years earlier through IPAS with a wonderful family in Fresno. When we returned home we set up our court date, dressed up nice, and met with the judge for the finalization ceremony. The courtroom was filled with love that day. The judge gave Lysandra a teddy bear and one of the clerks took photos. When we were declared her legal parents, the whole courtroom burst into applause. We returned home and had a luncheon party to celebrate our "Gotcha Day" with friends.
Are you enjoying parenthood?
We LOVE being parents. It has been everything we hoped for and more. We have been able to maintain a good relationship with our birth mom and her family. Lysandra is growing fast, and every new milestone fills us with pride and joy. She is a charming and easy to love child who has worked her magic on our little town, and she has us all wrapped around her little fingers. We look forward to every new day with her. We stay up long after she has gone to bed talking about how wonderful she is and how great our lives have become since she came along.
Other thoughts you might like to share?
A friend of mine told me back when we were still trying to conceive that my husband and I were very special souls, and for a child to be raised by us, they would have to be special too. "People like that are not born every day," she said. "So, be patient and trust that the right soul is on its way...but this might take time." I held onto this little nugget of wisdom all through the failed pregnancy tests and the long days at work trying to save up for our adoption. When I finally held Lysandra for the first time and looked into her eyes, I knew she had been right. I am now the proud mother of a very special soul.
Many of us have walked a long road trying to find our way to parenthood. All those trials and bumps along the way have prepared us to be the caregivers of these amazing children. To those of you who have been placed, thank you for all the hard work you have done and all the love you have given. Open adoption might not be "easy," but the best things in life rarely are. To those of you still waiting, stay strong and know your little one is trying to find you just as you are trying to find them. Talk to them often in your mind and call to them with your heart. That way when you meet for the first time, you will know one another and it will help the distance between you not to seem so vast.
Our adoption experience was truly magical and we would like to thank Infant of Prague for helping to make this happen for us. Thank you to all the classmates, guest speakers, fellow adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth families who have taken time out of their day to share a bit of their stories with us. Your support and love have been invaluable throughout this whole experience.
Have a wonderful summer everybody!