In exactly 1 week from today we will be celebrating Jaxson’s ‘Gotcha Day’. This day I think is even bigger for me than his birthday is. It’s the day that completely changed our lives forever as Jaxson made us parents and a family of 3.
Over the last year we’ve got many new followers on DownWithJax blog as well as on Insagram. I have his adoption story posted on the blog but maybe not everyone has had a chance to check it out. So here it is. Our seriously insane adoption story!
In Novemeber 2013, Alex and I decided to tackle adoption head first. We knew it would take years and years, and we figured that now was a good time to start. After all we aren’t getting any younger.
We decided that we would start the process the cheapest (and LONGEST might I add) way possible and go through CFS (Child family services/the government). So we filled out applications, did all the appropriate criminal and medical checks and then proceeded with the ‘oh so fun’ booklet of checkboxes and profiling. Then came the dreaded home study….. The part everyone is most nervous for. The house must look borderline not lived in, dogs must be on their best behaviour (good luck!). Our SW (Social Worker) was an acquaintance/friend which eased our nerves right off the bat. To my surprise we actually enjoyed the home study process and found it quite therapeutic! During our last home visit our SW gave us some discouraging news telling us that the province of Alberta has only adopted out 2 children with Ds in the last 7 years. 2 IN 7 YEARS!?!?! Well that was just fan-fugging-tastic news.
We knew that we wanted our child YESTERDAY so waiting for something that may never happen was just not something we wanted to do. So we did some googling and found a couple of private adoption agencies close to home. In February 2014 we met with our chosen agency and INSTANTLY fell in love with them! We walked away from our first meeting with them feeling that we were already taken care of, and had a renewed sense of optimism of finding that perfect child for us.
The next few months that followed we were pretty much sitting at a stand still. Our agency was waiting on the home study to be signed off on from CFS. This part was by far the most frustrating. We felt helpless and irritated that nothing was happening, and there was nothing we could do to speed things up.
Anxiously we signed up for the mandatory ‘pre-adoption’ workshop in May 2014. Alex and I really enjoyed this part. We met a bunch of different couples who were all in the same but very different boat (if that makes any sense) as us. We learned a ton about open adoptions, and had the opportunity to meet and talk with birth moms and adoptive families. We walked away from that workshop super pumped up, excited and even more anxious to get on that waiting list! In our minds we were going to get on that list mid summer of 2014, but there were other plans in store for us….. and here’s where things get a little crazy
June 2014: LET’S GO TO VEGAS! Vegas, the last holiday that we had planed on taking before we hunker down, work our asses off before we get a baby in a year or 2. Alex and I had a full 8 days planned of sun, relaxation, drinking, and gambling. 3 of our friends joined us for the first half of our holiday, and let’s just say things got crazy……
Tuesday, June 3, 2014: we are sitting in Denny’s still a little drunk with a little bit of hungover mixed in. I checked my phone and saw that we had an email from our agency alerting us of a ‘possible situation’ with a birth mom and a 6 week old baby boy with Ds. Alex instantly hopped up and gave them a call. We got a bit of info about what was happening and told the agency to keep us posted.
As the day went on we honestly forgot all about it. Not to get our hopes up. After all the agency doesn’t even have our home study. Why would we possibly get a baby without being on any sort of list, right? So we proceeded to carry on with our typical Vegas shenanigans of drinking and gambling.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014: First thing in the morning my phone started ringing. I didn’t even have the energy to roll over and silence it, so it got ignored. 30 seconds later Alex’s phone started ringing. Knowing that clearly someone was looking to get ahold of us Alex answered. It was a social worker from our adoption agency. Alex put her on speaker phone so we could both hear what was going on. Before we could even finish a cordial greeting she started rattling off information about a baby.
“Baby boy Jaxson, 6 weeks old, Down Syndrome, AVSD, heart surgery, hospital, feeding issues, birth mom, adoption plan, immediate placement, ready to be discharged to adoptive family, ARE YOU INTERESTED?”
I burst into tears, not believing a word that was just said. OH. MY. GOD! Is this for real? OF COURSE WE ARE INTERESTED! But wait….. we were still in Vegas. Our brains went into full panic mode, and I mean panic. The type of panic where you can’t even think, and all gross and fine motor skills have completely abandoned you. Immediately we had our phones and computers our frantically trying to cancel and re-book flights, figure things out. OH MY GOD ARE WE BECOMING PARENTS OVERNIGHT!?!?!
(May I just add here that our agency got a hold of our completed home study from CFS at this point, no rules were broken, and everything was legitimately done and followed. The process was just put into hyper speed!)
Thursday, June 5, 2014: After a VERY sleepless night, 4 days earlier than planned, we hopped on a plane to fly back to Great Falls Montana (where our vehicle was). We then made the 4 hour journey to Calgary to meet with birth mom. I swear that was the longest car ride of our entire lives! I remember feeling moments of sheer terror and panic, thinking that we may be becoming parents very soon. Our lives were potentially going to be turned upside down overnight. WE WEREN’T READY FOR THIS! or were we? I justified all of these feelings with the fact that I am sure all first time parents (no matter how that child came about) feel this way.
We finally rolled into Calgary and nervously pull up to the house of birth mom. Alex and I were both under the impression that we were meeting with birth mom so she could make an informed decision about which family she was placing her baby with. Boy were we wrong! Birthmom met us at the door with tears in her eyes, she immediately hugged us and thanked us for wanting to take her precious baby. WOW, this was for real!
We all sat down, and with the guidance of our social worker we got to know the birth mom and she got to know us. We showed her pictures of our life, since she did not have our family profile to look at. We got to know a bit about her and her situation. We laughed, we cried and then it was time. She brought out her camera and showed us pictures of Jaxson. I will NEVER forget that moment. I just started crying, he was SO beautiful and perfect! After an hour or so it was time to wrap up our meeting, the next day birth mom was taking us to the hospital to meet OUR SON.
Friday, June 6, 2014: Otherwise known as our “GOTCHA DAY”. After yet another sleepless night we got up bright and early. Our minds still not wrapped around what was happening to us. We went to Babies R Us and literally bought everything we thought you may need to bring a baby home. Let me tell you, I think that was the most overwhelming experience of my entire life. Having never been parents before we had NO clue what we needed for a baby. After a quick call to a friend with lots of kids we had a list of ‘essentials’ to buy for our baby. By the end of our shopping trip the bed of the truck was jammed packed! Clothes, diapers, washcloths, lotions, soaps, car seat, stroller, swing, bassinet, tummy time mat, soothers, bottles, butt creams, blankets, swaddlers, you name it we bought it!
At 1300hrs on June 6, 2014 we were meeting our son Jaxson. We met birth mom and our SW in the lobby of Alberta Children’s Hospital. This was she single most exciting experience of my entire life. We took the journey to his room, in what seemed like an eternity and this is what we walked into…..
WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY JAXSON!!!!! WE WERE IN LOVE WITH YOU BEFORE WE LAID EYES ON YOU