I feel the need to briefly pick up where I left off yesterday, the stress of my illness definitely took a toll on my marriage and almost immediately following my remission, Nick’s father and I divorced……for reasons I will never explain here, they are private. We continue to live in close proximity and remain very amicable…we have an arrangement that works and Nick gets to spend time with both of us.
Nick and I were living on our own and my life seemed to be good, I was healthy and had an amazing son. About 2 years later is when I met my husband Pat. We fell in love quickly and knew that there would be marriage in our future.
As we got to know each other, the topic of children came up and this was one of my greatest fears going into a new relationship….Although Pat was 7 years older than I was, he had never been married and didn’t have any children…he was raised in a large Irish Catholic family and is one of six siblings….I knew how important family was to him. I laid everything out on the table about my illness and inability to have children and his response….”I am open to other ways of expanding our family, we will figure it out…….when the time is right we will explore all of our options together” Did I ever mention what a wonderful man I married?
Pat and I married about 2 years after we met……soon after our wedding, we bought our first home…..it was a perfect starter home for a small family. As our first anniversary approached we were ready to expand our family….we decided to explore adoption.
I did a ton of research and we were pretty much headed in the direction of International Adoption…..Domestic Adoption seemed a little scary given our state laws and we had decided that Open Adoption was something we were not prepared to handle, so we landed on China.
Very soon after we decided on China, I started interviewing different agencies……..after a few phone calls and in person interviews we had made our decision. I usually go with my guy instinct and I felt very comfortable with the agency we chose.
We started our Paperchase in January of 2006 and we were officially logged into China’s system on May 12, 2006…..this is when the real wait began!!
It seemed my life was consumed with what was going on in China……the referrals came out each month and the wait grew longer and longer. We wanted to do a lot of things, like plan summer vacations, and possibly move into a larger home, but we always said….What if our referral comes? It seemed like our lives were on hold…..after some back and forth we decided to build a small addition on our home to help accommodate a new child without having to move!
At the last minute, we got scared and felt this wasn’t he right thing to do…..at this point it looked as though the wait was going to continue to climb…..Pat and I decided we were going to build a new home…..we would definitely have time to get in and settled before we would have to go to China.
We were thrilled to be building our new home and I was happy to have something to take my mind off the wait! They broke ground in mid August and we were scheduled to move in the January of 2007! Everything looked to be on schedule…..we listed our home in October and it sold in 5 days! Our buyers were willing to wait until our home was ready….how perfect…I had visions of living with my parents until we could move in!
As we approached November our focus was on our house…..endless meetings with contractors to go over last minute changes and tons of shopping to furnish the inside of our home.
I remember this particular day like it was yesterday, I had picked Nick up from school and we were heading over to walk through our new house and I promised him ice cream afterwards! When we came out of the ice cream shop, I checked my phone….I had a voicemail….now this is where the story of Sarah begins.
The message I got was very matter of fact, I returned the call to hear about a domestic adoption opportunity…..I was in a state of complete shock and excitement!
Here there was a baby that was going to be born in the next couple of weeks that did not have a home and we were asked if we would consider adopting this baby.
I could not drive my car fast enough…..and as I was driving I kept calling Pat….he was at work and not answering his phone. I finally reached him once we got home…..I don’t even remember what I said, but I must have been rambling….his response was not what I expected to hear. “Honey, our child is in China, we discussed this and we both agreed, open adoption is not for us”
I explained that I didn’t have all of the info, but I was positive they were looking for a closed adoption…..they didn’t want to know us, and they didn’t want us to know them!
He came home from work and we decided that we would at least get more information before we made our decision……we had a meeting that Sunday and I was convinced that this was a sign and this child was meant to be ours. Pat was not so sure…..keep in mind he is a very cautious person…the call that we got was not expected and took us by complete surprise…I think he was a little scared!
It was a rough week of back and forth…..why we should or should not do this, after all there were a lot of risks involved…..We were both very concerned for Nick….to bring this baby home and make her a part of our family and not know if the birth parents were going to change their minds would have been devastating to us all.
I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not function until I knew that we were both in agreement that this child was coming home to us……after many tears and conversations with everyone in our family and our parish priest, we decided we needed to put our fears aside and take this little girl.
We got the best adoption attorney we could find and got schooled very quickly about the laws of adoption in our state. Now it was time to wait…..we decided only to tell our immediate family incase anything happened. Everyone was excited and scared at the same time. According to the information, we had about 6 weeks before she was due to arrive. I could not bring myself to buy anything….I was so scared I would jinx myself. I would drive to baby stores all over town and just look at all the beautiful things I wanted to buy for my new baby girl.
The next week I was at work and telling my boss what was going on…..also gently telling him I was going to need 8 weeks off. As I started to tell him, my cell phone rang…….Sarah was on her way!!! I couldn’t believe it……we were in his office screaming. Sarah was going to be born in a few short hours and I had nothing….not a diaper, not a bottle, nothing!!!
I immediately called Pat and the rest of our family……I drove home in record time…..went straight to the baby store and starting throwing things in my cart…..I had no idea what I was buying…..anything I could find…..I must have bought every pink outfit in the store….I think it was my favorite and best shopping trip ever!
Both Pat and I got home from work and although we could not see her, we were sent her very first picture…..isn’t technology grand!!! We both fell in love the minute we saw her face…she was gorgeous and perfect in every way!
They thought that Sarah would be released the very next morning and she would be brought to us less than 24 hours old……the doctors did not let her go right away, so we got her the following morning….36 hours old and she was on her way to meet her Mommy, Daddy, and Big Brother for the first time!
What a glorious day….we were all dressed in pink waiting for her to come to our door…..I will never forget the small face that looked lost in that big baby carrier….she was so tiny and so beautiful……what a miracle she was…..the greatest gift anyone could ever ask for!
Our house was filled with a lot of excitement and visitors over the next few weeks….everyone coming to catch a glimpse of our new addition. I felt like I was on such a high….I barely slept or ate….I spent every waking second staring at the gorgeous child we were given…..I had to pinch myself often because I just could not believe she was ours!
The next 4 weeks were painstaking long as we crossed off each day on the calendar hoping to get to the 30 day mark when her birth parents could no longer legally contest the adoption.
We made it and boy did we celebrate when we reached this milestone……she was ours, we just needed to await our court date so we could get the official certificate!
Sarah was 8 weeks old and when we packed up our entire house…..she was such a great baby….she slept a lot and ate right on schedule. We would carry her room to room in her little seat so we could watch her sleep as we unpacked all of our things.
We were thrilled not to have an empty room waiting to become a nursery…..it was the only room we had not decorated, but when Sarah became part of our family that quickly changed…..her room was painted pink and green and awaited the beautiful furniture I had eyed up on one of my early shopping trips!
No one could have imagined as we looked to China for our child that we would have an opportunity like this…..we consider ourselves extremely blessed to have 2 beautiful and healthy children.
We talked with our agency at great length and we kept our dossier logged in for what will now be our third child!
Sarah’s life has changed us and the dynamics of our family…..we are forever indebted to her birthparents….I think of them often….they have given us the greatest gift of all….the miracle of this beautiful child!
Here are some of my favorite photos of Sarah’s first year!