Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of how we became "Instaparents".
I know, I know...how many parts could there be to a story, right? My sentiments too! But here we go...
So we had Little Man's doctors visits done until we got home, and his birthmother signed her rights away 72 hours after his birth. Our social worker went to her home to get this signature. She told us later that all of the adults in the home smoked. Our birthmother lived with her mother and father, her daughter, one or two of her siblings, and their children. The social worker had a hard time breathing while she was there.
I do not hate on smokers. In fact, I smoked a few cigarettes 'back in the day'. But I was glad to know that my baby was not going to grow up in a smoke filled home.
So now we had to go to court, and hope that the birthfather did not come forward after the ad was run in the newspaper. This was about the time that our contact, or better term, friend, had us over for dinner. That was so wonderful! We had a home cooked meal, 4 boys loving all over our baby, and even a family dog! It was such a welcome blessing after our cold hotel room living quarters!
Both of the social workers at the agency had gone above and beyond to help us. They had stayed with our birthmother from the time that she got to the hospital, until she was discharged. Their agency had a fundraiser at about this time, and they needed help. So Nick offered to help them valet people from their cars to the building. The agency also had a home on the campus where pregnant or new mothers could live and 'get back on their feet'. So there was a night that Little Man and I stayed at the hotel while Nick helped shuttle people back and forth to the event...in the rain, I might add.
We just wanted to thank them for all that they had done. And this came back to us tenfold. Months later, when we got a bill from them--they had clocked somewhere along the lines of 32 hours with our birthmother. But they only charged us for 8 because of Nicks help, and a sponsorship that we bought for their calendar fundraiser.
There was another night in there where we went to the 'house', and had dinner with a few of the mothers. One had a little girl that was the same skin tone as Little Man, and right about the same age. She was the Yin to his Yang. We decided that they would be the perfect match one day. She was then dubbed his girlfriend.
And then there was the short weekend trip that my sister, brother in law, and nephew made to come meet the newest member of our family. It was like having a small piece of home at the hotel. They braved traveling through the disaster area to come and see us. It was so awesome!
So the court day came, and coincidentally, the second social worker was going to be in the courtroom that day because her niece was adopting a child. She would be a welcome face there.
Nick and I got Little Man dressed, packed a bag, and headed to the courthouse.
We walked up a long wooden staircase into the courtroom. There were a few families adopting older children, and then us. We were the last ones to go. We walked up to a table with a microphone and sat down. Our lawyer asked me some questions, which I answered, and then it was Nicks turn. He was holding Little Man. The lawyer asked him her first question and paused for him to answer...and then there was a loud reverberating sound.
A toot--if you will.
A cutting of the cheese.
Everyone stopped and looked at Nick, who commented,'That wasn't me.' Everyone laughed. Little Man had spoken for himself. It was a very funny moment in a very emotional time. We finished our questions and vows and the judge gave us a sweet little teddy bear for our new son...and he was legally ours. We still had to make sure that the birthfather didn't come forward, and we would 'finalize' the adoption in 6 months...with paperwork via mail. We would not have to come back.
At this point we had been away from home for almost 2 weeks. We were simply waiting on all of the paperwork to be completed so that we could take our new little bundle home. It had to go from our lawyer and agency to the capital of his state, and then to the capital of our state. It was a Thursday, and we knew that no one would work on the weekend, so we started putting the press on. We COULD NOT be stuck there over the weekend!
So I started calling our agency at home to see what they could do, the agency paid extra to get paperwork overnighted to its home capital, then paid for it to be overnighted to our home state...and tracked it. So we were playing the waiting game. And believe me when I say that our bags were packed! I was done with giving baths in the hotel sink, bottles in the tiny refrigerator, continental breakfasts in the hotel. DONE!
I was very thankful for everything...but I have never been that homesick in.my.life. I also really missed my daughter!!!
We were pretty much on the phone all day trying to get the paperwork on the right track. Nick was threatening to leave on Friday regardless.
Of course we couldn't do that. If you leave the state before the paperwork is approved, you have to start the process all over again. No.thank.you.
The next morning I was on the phone again...where was the paperwork? It had left the capital of his state, and was on the way to our home state. Later that day, we got the notification that it had arrived at the capital of Sweet Home Alabama. I called our contact with our agency there and asked if he had it. Once they had it, it had to be pushed through and approved before we could leave. Nick had the car loaded...
It was a crazy few hours after that. They could not find the envelope. I was on the phone with the contact of our agency in Alabama, and he was walking the halls of the building looking in every mailbox for this package...and he could not find it! That was the most helpless feeling EVER! He finally asked,'It's in a manila envelope, right?'
I called the agency down the street and asked specifically what type of envelope it was in. She had sent it in a BOX!!! Help me, Jesus...
I called him back and asked him to look for a box. Twenty minutes later he called me and he had found it!!! Nick was pulling out of the hotel.
We did start driving at this point, knowing that we could not pass the state line until all was 'legal'. Our agency was putting our packet at the 'front of the line', and would call us. I was just praying that we would hear back before we got to the state line, because Nick had the taste of home in his mouth.
We were approaching the state line when we got the call that we were,'Good to go!'
We drove straight to Nick's parents' house, 6 hours away. We loved on my daughter, introduced little man to the rest of the family there, and headed home. Within 2 hours we were home with our 2nd child...and there was nothing like that feeling.
"There is no place like home." --Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz