our adoption story #5: being matched with a baby

So, here I am on a regular Friday afternoon in our dinky apartment kitchen making a lunch of cheesy grits and fried eggs for me and Justin when the phone rang. I checked the caller id to see if it was worth answering and hope that it isn’t since this is a time sensitive meal where the grits will turn to glue and the eggs overcook in an instant. To my surprise and shock, it was our case worker.

DEFINITELY WORTH ANSWERING!

She would never called us out of the blue. She knew that we were both busy with working from home and that emailing us was usually the best way to reach us. However, that day she wanted to present a situation to us and know if we wanted to be profiled. (Profiling is when a hopeful adoptive family’s information is given to a birth family for consideration.) I quickly grabbed Justin from his office and put her on speaker phone.

Now, I won’t go into the specifics here of what she told us because that’s our little guy’s story. What I will say is that about 15 minutes into the call, I put our caseworker on mute and exclaimed, “I think this baby has already been born!” I guess she could have led with that… If you’ve been following our story, you know that Sumner was born 13 weeks early. Once she was done, she told us that we had until Monday to make a decision.

Needless to say, lunch was ruined.

We spent the rest of the day and a good portion of the next talking about it. But, to be honest, we both knew during the call that Sumner was our son. We emailed our caseworker with our decision and also let her know that we had until the following Friday to cancel our trip to South Africa if we were chosen to be his parents. Oh yeah… this all went down about a week before we were supposed to leave for a two week long international adventure. Our caseworker said that we could still go on the trip if we were chosen, but could you have a good time on a trip knowing that your baby was in the hospital? I couldn’t.

From there I was a mess. I tend to spin out when big things happen. My mind races at a million miles per hour and I’m unable to get anything done. Nothing really helps. All I can do is ride the waves. Thankfully, Justin is used to it. I spent much of that weekend waiting by ordering things for the baby. I got him a bassinet and some preemie clothes. At that point, we knew he wouldn’t be coming home until we were moved into the new house so I resisted buying things we would just have to move in a couple of weeks. (Side note: Try not to have TWO major life events, like having a baby and buying a house, in the same month.)

The following Wednesday she called me. Justin was working out at the gym and had left his phone at home. So, I found out that we had been chosen on my own. I remember saying, “Holy shit! I think I’m going to puke” a few times, much to our caseworker’s amusement. We decided to go in for the formal presentation of the case later that afternoon. Formal presentation is where your caseworker and the birth parent’s caseworker tell you everything that they know about the situation. Where the initial call is the cliff notes version, this is absolutely everything. We had a number of questions related to Sumner’s medical stuff, but our biggest question was: When can we meet him?!

celebrating becoming parents with a 21-year-old rum

The following morning I was a bundle of nerves as we made the 1.5 hour drive to Colorado Springs. But, after a bunch of paperwork, we were officially matched with our son. I’ve never been so happy or so overwhelmed. It was a lot to take in all at once. We canceled our trip to South Africa. It’ll still be there when Sumner is older. Plus, now we have a cool story for him!

Since we weren’t his legal guardians for the entire time he was in the NICU, we were allowed to have all of the information about his medical stuff, but weren’t allowed to make any major decisions. It was an awkward limbo. We were his parents… mostly. But all of that is a story for another time…

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