From Razorback to Badger

11 Sep

You’ve all heard about the path that brought us to adoption (short version and long version) and how we chose the type of adoption to pursue, but very few people know about our specific journey to bringing home Wesley. Some of that goes back to the saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched” as approximately 25% of adoptions are disrupted. A disrupted adoption situation is basically when the adoption fails to reach finalization for any number of reasons. When we shared the good news, we wanted to be sure it was a done deal! However, in some cases it can be 6 months after the child’s birth before the adoption is legally finalized. Obviously it would be quite difficult to hide the fact that you are parenting an infant for 6 months, so we were fortunate in that the state Wesley was born allowed for the adoption to be completely and legally final 6 days after he was born. I’ll go into that in more detail some other time – for now, let’s go back to the beginning… The day we got THE call!!

February 29 – Leap Day – is not an ordinary day in the sense that it only occurs once every 4 years, but February 29, 2016 was a particularly extraordinary day for our family. It started out just like any other though and I remember pieces of that day VERY clearly. Mike and I were driving together to work and we were talking about what would happen if and when we finally got a call about a possible adoption situation. I told him no matter what he was doing, he had to be sure to answer any call from an unknown number (he was our primary contact person with the agency). He kind of chuckled and said, “of course” and that was that. Fast forward 8 or 9 hours later, we were wrapping up for the day and I get a phone call from an unknown number. I tried to answer it but there was no one on the other end. A few seconds later, I get another call but this time from Mike asking me to meet him in his office ASAP. It was at that point we were told about a woman in Arkansas who had chosen us as the couple she’d like to parent her unborn child and asked if we would be interested in adopting a baby due in early August. Um… ABSOLUTELY!! We couldn’t believe it! (Note: in the interest for her privacy, we will refer to Wesley’s other mom as B). A few weeks later, we received a package from her with ultrasound photos of our little boy! She also sent several adorable baby outfits for the little guy. It was so sweet!

Over the next several weeks, we exchanged e-mails with B so we could learn more about each other. The first e-mail we sent was so nerve-wracking! Thankfully they got a bit easier as time went on. Before you know it, we were planning a trip to meet. Now that was even more nerve-wracking than just writing an e-mail 🙂 During our visit, we were able to attend a prenatal appointment (we got to hear the heartbeat!).  B had decided to work with a midwife and was planning on an at-home water birth. So it was nice to have the opportunity to meet the midwife, learn about home births, and see the home that the birth would take place. We were asked to be present at the birth when the time came, so on our way home we “practiced” making the drive as speedily as possible. We also exchanged cell numbers and texted every few days the last few months of the pregnancy. One of the neatest things that came from the visit was the midwife’s idea that Mike and I should record our voices for B to play for the baby. That way he’d get to learn how we sounded! So we bought a few baby books and used Mike’s phone to record our voices reading them. We sent her belly buds and she played the clips for a little while each night! Isn’t that awesome?!

Following the visit, we shared the news with work so that we could figure out FMLA plans and discuss my plans to cut back to 0.6 FTE following my leave. Since the due date was August 8 (and she went 3 weeks early with her first pregnancy), we decided to start my leave August 5 so work could plan accordingly. However, if labor started earlier work was prepared for us both to leave at a moment’s notice.

When August 5 came, everyone was shocked we were still waiting for this baby! Because of the 10+ drive weighing down on us and the ever approaching due date, we made last minute plans to head down and “wait it out.” The midwife was kind enough to offer up her extra bedroom to use and we happily took her up on that. Her due date came and went, but we kept the faith knowing that MOST babies are born by 41 weeks. We also took comfort in the fact that Mike was given clearance to work remotely. Phew! As 42 weeks approached, we all started getting anxious. Particularly B who brought up going to the hospital to see about induction. After a lot of miscommunication with the local hospital and a not so quick visit to the L&D unit, we were told she would need to get established with an OB if she wanted to pursue an induction seriously. Fortunately, we were able to find a fabulous OB who was wiling to see a 42 weeks + 2 day pregnant woman the same day. She ordered an in depth ultrasound (again, amazingly completed that same day – at 7pm!!) to check on the baby and when everything looked good we were told by the ultrasound tech that the doctor would call us in the morning to discuss “a plan.”

We dropped B off at home and headed back “home” (after nearly 3 weeks it definitely felt like home at this point!). We headed to bed looking forward to hearing from B the next morning on what “the plan” was going to be. Little did we know we’d receive that call at 3AM. She woke up at 2:30 with steady and worsening contractions (FINALLY!!!!) and was heading to the hospital. She asked us to meet her there, but told us not to rush. Fortunately our “hospital” bag was mostly packed so we left fairly quickly and got to the hospital around 3:30. The 10 minutes it took for a L&D nurse to come and pick up B from the ED felt like an eternity. Since the contractions were close together (1-2 minutes apart!) they quickly did an exam and found out she was already dilated 7-8 cm, which meant it was too late for pain meds. The OB (we had met just 12 hours previously) was quickly called and she made it just in time for B to start pushing. Wesley was born at 4:18 am – less than 1 hour after we got to the hospital! Once he decided he was ready for life outside the womb, there was no slowing him down! Needless to say we were in love instantly! Mike was able to “trim” the umbilical cord (it was wrapped tightly around his neck – twice! So the doc did the initial cut to free him) and we were able to do some skin to skin time fairly quickly after that.



We were eventually moved to our own room so we could bond with Wesley and so B could get some rest. About 8 hours later B stopped by to say good-bye as she was being discharged home.We hung out for a little while admiring this sweet boy and took a picture of the 4 of us before she left. After that, I sent Mike to get us cupcakes so we could celebrate Wesley’s 12 hour birthday! As you can see in the photo above, he was not all that impressed! The rest of the hospital stay was uneventful and we were discharged home the next day. When we got to the midwife’s, we were greeted with an amazing lasagna dinner, flowers, and cake! It was so sweet and thoughtful.

The next day we packed up and headed to a hotel for the last 4 days of our wait until finalization. We were dreading the wait, but it went amazingly fast. Something about caring for a newborn that makes the days blur by, right? What started as a nerve-wracking thing but became really amazing was the daily visits we had with B following Wesley’s birth. It was really important to her that she provide breastmilk for Wesley while we were there. So during these daily meet-ups she’d bring what she had pumped since her last visit. What a lucky guy! Sometimes she’d stay as little as 20 minutes and sometimes an hour, but it also gave us an opportunity to learn a little bit more about her and her family and Wesley’s birth father. She felt that the daily visits were really therapeutic for her, too. In the end, I feel really grateful for the wait to finalization since it allowed us to have these moments together.

We were also really fortunate that both of our parents made the 10+ hour drive so they could join us in court. It was amazing having them there on the day Wesley officially and legally became a part of our family! After a celebratory breakfast, we packed up and started the journey home. Finally carrying our son up the porch steps and into our home was the most surreal and amazing feeling. What an incredibly long journey it was, but I wouldn’t change one step of it.



6 Responses to “From Razorback to Badger”

  1. Aunt Deb September 11, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    Jess and Mike
    What a journey it has been! I can not wait to!meet Wesley

  2. stealingnectar September 13, 2016 at 4:00 am #

    What an amazing birth story! Wow, I am so impressed with B. She sounds so mature and thoughtful. And Wesley is absolutely adorable!!! I am so happy for you. This truly is a touching adoption journey. If only all babies could be so completely loved by everyone in the triad. Much love to your family!

    • Jess November 29, 2016 at 7:36 am #

      I thought I responded to this months ago!! Oops. As you can tell by my lack of blogging, life is a bit more hectic these days 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. B is wonderful! We are so fortunate to have both Wesley and B in our lives.

  3. My Perfect Breakdown November 8, 2016 at 8:42 am #

    What a beautiful story of your son and your family!! I am excited to follow along and watch your family from afar. 😊

    • Jess November 29, 2016 at 7:34 am #

      Thank you! 🙂


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