This was our second adoption through IPAS. Our older son, Bryce, is almost four-years-old. We felt at home with the IPAS staff from the very first orientation meeting for the first adoption, which is important when you are going to commit to the lengthy and emotional process of getting certified for adoption. IPAS staff helped us get through the certification steps and made the process easier overall with their expertise and kindness. Also, I liked the fact that about half of the pregnant women that come through the IPAS doors go on to parent their babies. As a mother, I am glad that these women are assisted with all of their options, and it shows that those that go on to make a plan of adoption for their child are very sure about their decision. IPAS staff felt like family after the first adoption, so choosing IPAS for this second adoption was automatic for us.
What was your wait like?
Our wait was quick. We got a call from our social worker that a birth mom wanted to meet us about five weeks after we completed our certification and submitted our album. We met Joel's birth mom the next week and found out a few days later that she wanted us to be his parents! Then, it was about another six weeks until he was born. The last few days of waiting for the call that his birth mom was in labor felt like forever!
What was it like to get "the call?" What happened?
Joel's due date was right before Christmas, and we were on pins and needles waiting to hear that his birth mom was in labor. It reminded us of how a small child feels as Christmas is approaching (like it's never going to get here!), so the timing was appropriate. We finally heard that labor had started on the evening of December 26. We were supposed to be at the hospital in the waiting room when Joel was born, but labor moved so fast at the end that we got a text from his birth cousin that he had arrived when we were still about 15 minutes away from the hospital.
How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time?
It was surreal in the best possible way. We were expecting to be taken somewhere in the hospital to wait a while till we would get to meet Joel, but we were taken straight to him instead. We were excited about the change, but we had to adjust our expectations. Once I saw Joel, I was overwhelmed with the love I felt for him and the gratitude I felt for his birth mom's selflessness and bravery. I was able to help with his first bath and bottle, and we were given a room at the hospital and allowed to stay with him until he got to come home. We didn't know we were staying overnight, so we had nothing with us. This was fine though, since we really didn't sleep. Instead we spent the night holding Joel and feeling the wonder and amazement that this little person was our new son.
How was the finalization process?
The finalization process was very smooth. We were able to sign the final paperwork at IPAS right after Joel was six months old, and we were got our court appointment for our finalization about six weeks later. The court room experience during finalizations is very relaxed and joyful. The judge this time was great with Bryce and included him in the proceedings. We had close family and friends with us in court to help us celebrate.
Are you enjoying parenthood?
Yes! Our path to parenthood was filled with so many difficulties prior to our decision to turn to adoption as a way to build our family. Now I wake up every day amazed that I am the mother of these wonderful little boys, and I almost can't believe how blessed we are. Joel is a happy baby, and he is already trying to walk at eight-months-old! Bryce is a smart and fun little boy, who adores his baby brother and loves playing with him. Parenthood offers a new adventure each day as we reach many new milestones, both small and big, with each of our sons.
Other thoughts you might like to share?
We are very fortunate that we have stayed connected to Joel's birth family. He has cousins here in Fresno, and we have gotten together with them a few times. They are like family to us now, which is a great bonus of open adoption. I think we will see his birth mom too in the near future. Also, I feel like it's very important for our family to stay connected to IPAS and other adoptive families. I helped form the IPAS Adoptive Family Network with this mind. All IPAS families are welcome to join our group. We do family activities about once a month and the parents get together about every other month. Parents can email me at 411AFG@gmail.com if they are interested.