Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Vacation, dear APJ!
I hope everyone is enjoying a day off and having some relaxation at home. The holidays can be a stressful time of the year for many, including myself. I have vowed however to sit back and enjoy the day as it unfolds here in Rotterdam. We are together for the next two weeks and we will be enjoying quality family time and good food with festive cheer here and there.
Our Journey to Adoption Part II
A continuation of the story of our journey to adoption is fitting during the holidays. I left off telling you that we had started the grueling process of waiting. Let me also add that the Department of Child Services advised us to set the dream aside, out of our mind (just you try – it is quite impossible) and to not set up the baby room and certainly to not buy anything before receiving a phone call. Well, that is essentially what we did.
I was working for a large non-profit organization in the legal department. At that time it was a relatively young organization and I knew I had my work cut out for me. Our staff rules and regulations did not include maternity leave for adoption! As I had the advantage of working in the legal department, I started the process right away to try to get some recognition and maternity leave. It was a tough battle as the management, did not see me pregnant and therefore felt that they could procrastinate the decision to redraft and include rules and regulations for adoption. They assumed that the day would never come.
Struggling with the issue at work made the time fly by. However, this also proved to be a dark period of our lives and we had to endure the illness and passing of my mother-in-law in February 2009. To truly put us through the test, my father-in-law passed away two months later quite literally of a broken heart. It still saddens me to this day that they never had the opportunity to meet our son as they were so excited for us and always asked whether or not we had heard anything. You see, while they lived and worked in Kenya (where my husband was born), my mother-in-law together with her mother fostered many children until a home could be found for them. It was a time of their lives which they spoke of fondly.
After the second funeral up in Norway, we were scheduled to attend a conference for my husband which was held in Fort Lauderdale. I tagged along with him and soaked up the sunrays trying to work through all of my emotions over the events. We went back to Vienna and felt chewed up and spat out. In order to try to get some joy back into our lives, my husband decided to contact Child Services and they informed him that it was going to take years as few children were being given up for adoption. Devastated, he went to to the store where we were going to buy the car seat and furniture and he asked the staff to put everything back into stock as it did not seem that we would be becoming parents anytime soon.
We were resigned and so I stupidly went on a shopping binge and bought myself a ridiculously expensive and impractical handbag. (I still have this bag and will never get rid of it.)
As fate would have it, two weeks later, on a Monday at work, I answered my phone around lunchtime. I can remember being annoyed when I answered the phone and heard German being spoken on other end. The caller realized I had not recognized her name and repeated it telling me to sit down. Finally my slow foggy brain snapped into shape and I realized what was happening. She informed me that a baby boy had been born and she gave me all the details she could over the phone and then asked whether or not we would like to meet him. Seriously!? OF COURSE WE DID.
I quickly called my husband and managed to upset him because I asked him to sit down as well. He was in the middle of surgery and was thinking that I was going to tell him that somebody else had died. When I told him about the baby boy he almost crawled through the phone to ring my neck.
I went to my boss’ office and handed him all of my papers saying, “It is time. A baby has been born. Here are all the documents you need, please make sure that I get the necessary maternity leave. I will see you in 7 months.” The look of shock on his face was priceless but he quickly composed himself and told me to go. I ran out of the office and took a taxi home to pick up all of the necessary documents we needed. My husband met me downtown in his surgical scrubs in a taxi and we were off to Child Services.
Once we arrived our case worker explained that when a baby is born, all the case workers have a meeting about the parents they prospectively think would be a fit and then they discuss amongst each other where the baby should go, always keeping the baby’s best interest as the primary deciding factor. Apparently it was unanimous amongst all of the case workers that the baby boy should be with us. She had us sign many documents and only with those in hand would we be able to see him in the hospital.
Nervous, excited and thrilled we arrived at the hospital and went to the maternity ward where we were greeted by the amazing staff and guided to a private room. Shortly thereafter the door opened and a nurse handed us our son and a bottle of formula. Thankfully we were left alone and we were able to bond with him for a couple of hours.
We had one hour left until the store closed. We were blessed with having my parents in town and they met me at the store while my husband went back to finish his night shift. My parents and I took the pram, car seat and furniture home and we stayed up until 2 am setting things up. When my husband came home in the morning we went to the hospital to pick up our beloved son.
He was four days old when we got the life changing phone call nine years ago. The reason why it is so fitting to tell the story at Christmas is that the court finalized the adoption 6 months after his birth and he got our name. We call it Kept Ya Day instead of Gotcha Day. He is our cherished son bringing us love, joy, laughter, and smiles, every day. He is such a gem of a person, touching everyone’s life around him. We are proud and honoured to be his parents.
Thank you for coming along with me on this journey. We share it so that other children can be adopted into loving and caring homes.
Wishing you all a festive season and a wonderful start into 2019! What do you have planned for the holidays or the New Year? Did you receive any fragrant goodies?