Our story is short and fast. But boy did so much happen that left our heads spinning. So please stay tuned and read our crazy, emotional, and ultimately successful story.
My husband Peter and I got married in 2010. We knew eventually that we both wanted kid(s), but probably just singular. We weighed all the options but most were too expensive and others were too risky. Obviously stealing a baby was TOO RISKY! (e: not advised). Ok back to the story.
We enjoyed our seven years together and made a lot out of that time. We traveled, we wined, dined, slept, ate hot meals, … slept… and we argued as well. Fast forward to last summer (2016) and we decided that we’d enjoy one last summer break together. We are both teachers and while the job doesn’t pay as much as we’d like, we get our summers off. So there’s at least one perk to the job (never mind shaping the future etc..).
Earlier that fall (2015) I had met on Facebook, via a photography warp of some kind, Kevin and Robbin who had together adopted a GORGEOUS baby boy. I was kind of obsessed and was living parenthood vicariously through their posts. It was amazing to watch two new daddies navigate the innumerable gifts that parenthood had to bring. Of course social media doesn’t always play out the sleep deprivation, stress, gray hairs, and the sometimes guilt ridden want to put the baby on the back lawn and go back to bed. You laugh, but it’s real. Every new parent knows the feeling.
In my getting to know them we shared a lot of interests and philosophies, and I learned that they had adopted with the help of AIS in Atlanta! Easily the coolest bunch of gals on earth. Their whole goal is happy, healthy, and forever families. What’s better than that?
August 1st, 2016 we decided would be our “start the process” date. We frantically put together a book of photos that would prove to some beautiful mother that her baby would be loved, and cared for in our home. We knew we would be ready for a little monkey of our own in a few months, and we did a lot of back and forth with that book to get it just right!!
It takes a minute to get new clients/prospective parents into the system and ready to go. We weren’t expecting any kind of movement until February at the earliest. Home study, background checks, the book/printing/delivery etc… After that we expected the advertised 3-12 month waiting time. Who knows when babies will be born, when that mom will choose you, how long the process will take, and what kinds of complications will be involved? You can’t predict that kind of stuff. AIS gives you SO much wonderful insight and information to help give you realistic expectations. They surely give you every connection and bit of knowledge they have to help set you above the rest. So… here we go…
Wednesday September 14th, 2016 3:30 pm was a Wednesday that changed our lives forever. I was in a professional development meeting when a call came in from Georgia. I knew it was AIS, but couldn’t imagine what they’d be calling about.
Whoa Nelly – Back it up…
September 12th, 2016 a baby was born in Florida waiting for a home.
Back to Wednesday. Now at this point we had literally minutes to decide what to do. We knew that this kind of call would happen eventually, but not that it’d be happening before our home study even started, before our book was even printed, and before we could even take a stinking breath.
I frantically called Peter, and even though it was happening way earlier than we’d expected, we knew that this baby was ours instantly. There was just a feeling we had – hesitant of course because we aren’t hasty people, but very very real. In Theodore’s case birth mom was very detached from the situation, birth father was not in the picture, and as of his second day in the hospital he was alone in the universe waiting for someone to bring him home and be his family.
Interstate adoption can get tricky. Know what else gets tricky? When someone quits at the state paperwork.. place… and you are in the car on your way to meet your beautiful baby. The baby is yours, but he’s not. The emotions are yours, but not. The power is yours, but. it’s. not. We were literally on the highway to Georgia when we got a call that the paperwork could take another NINE days because of how far behind our state was. I didn’t have nine extra days. I barely had what I had. Peter had time however, which then set our minds rolling on all the possibilities. Flights here, there, Nana coming down to drive back with Peter and new baby, and on and on. We were upset. We were exhausted. And we were hungry. 13.5 hours in a car meant a few brews and a pizza in a hotel. We had to to stay sane.
Teddy’s foster family was/is such an incredible couple. With kids of their own, foster mom homeschools her kids as well as fosters babies in need. Foster dad is a pediatrician with many years of experience. As soon as we knew things were rolling we were in contact and seeing pictures of our son. Videos made us laugh, and made our hearts melt right away. We could not have gotten any luckier with the family he was placed with during those first critical days before we could get down there.
September 15th, 2016 Was the most emotionally dynamic day of my life. When we realized our homestudy would completely, and I mean completely, shut this whole thing down, I refused to take no for an answer. It wasn’t the gal’s fault. It was company policy not to rush things in a mere 24 hours, and I couldn’t fault her for that. However, I knew there had to be other options. She heard the desperation in my voice gave me crucial advice. Finally after several disheartening phone calls to private adoption investigators we finally got a hold of Anne.
Friday September 16th, 2016 Anne got the ball rolling at 3:30 pm. She was at our place an hour from her home ready to roll. She was inspiring, motivating, and just absolutely real for us. She was confident and poised and knew how to get this done!
Tuesday September 20th, 2016 We had our second meeting (homestudy)
Thursday September 22nd, 2016 We left for Florida with hardly more than a car seat for Teddy. While we were gone my mom and sister decked out our house with baby stuff and set it all up for us so when we got home, we could just be a family.
Friday September 23rd, 2016 The second day that changed our lives for always. Driving down the final stretch, we still were in a potential month long limbo stay in Florida because of the paperwork tie up in our state. I happen to teach with the husband of a state representative whose former student is the chief of staff for the governor. My teaching family is AHMAZING! (Go Mavericks!) They wrote over 30 emails to the governors page pleading for them to rush the paper work that “…will only be completed in the order in which it was received…” Well before you know it our paperwork was rushed to the top of the pile, faxed, and we received a personal phone call from the department apologizing for the delay, congratulating us on being new parents and wishing us well. [ cut to us happy ugly crying driving 70mph down the highway ]
We pulled into the town in Florida, entered the building where foster mom had our baby boy, and it was almost too much to handle. Our hearts pounded and we felt overwhelmed that this little life was ours.
There’s a reason why they say “it takes a village.” It truly does. Theodore will forever be a reminder to me that where there is a will there is a way. Where there is love there is a way. When you find your tribe, and you surround yourself with love, literally anything is possible.
→ None ← of this would have even been possible without AIS and their tireless work to be the best at what they do. Their tribe is strong. Their love is strong, and they have some bangarang connections that help set you up for success. Our adoption took only 6 weeks from “Hi we’re David and Peter, we want a baby” to “coochy coochy coo.” But with your persistence, willingness to get ‘stuff’ done, and positivity, it’ll eventually happen for you too.
Teddy at only 9 months is a rockstar. He loves food. He loves swimming. He loves for us to hold him, tickle him and play the piano with him. While we definitely have moments where the backyard sounds like a great place for him to hang out whilst we sleep, Peter and I have learned the capacity of our love. We have learned the capacity of our support for one another when the other one is about to crack. That sounds really dramatic, but it’s just true. And in the midst of all the “stuff” we call parenthood, there’s just love. Teddy Bear has this uncanny ability to make us laugh at every turn, and every time we see a picture of him, we fall in love over and over again.
Thanks for reading,
David, Peter, and Theodore