Jonah: An Adoption Story
Swell Adoption Stories
All About Jonah
The journey to grow our family began in November 2013. Our son Zachary was 2 years old and a constant daily reminder of how we were blessed by God to have him in our lives. We began our adoption feat by completing our home study by a local agency. Wow... we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into. Paperwork, after medical file, after FBI fingerprinting, etc., the legwork was so extensive.
In January 2014 we received our shiny completed home study in the mail with electronic copies. We were ecstatic. Now is the time you sit back and wonder what direction do I want to go... private adoption, consulting agency, national adoption agency, adoption lawyer... it gets extremely overwhelming. We just decided to sign on to our local agency and hope for a local adoption. God had other plans.
During this wait we also joined a website called parentprofiles.com. This is a website where home study ready families can place their profiles online for potential birth mothers to come across. The birth mothers don't go through an agency and they aren't screened. Did I mention they call you directly at all hours of the night? This is where our adoption journey took a turn. Not for the worse. For the... interesting.
The first call that came was from a well known adoption scammer. Her name is April Lusk and she should win an academy award for her dramatic and convincing acting skills. She had me hooked... baby already born and needing a good home. But there was one problem... there was no baby. This happened to us several times. Never in my life would I have imagined there are people out there... sick people... who would pray on the emotional heart strings of a couple who would do anything to grow their family. But there are. They are called emotional scammers.
Casting a Wide Net
Moving on, we decided to keep our profile on parentprofiles.com, but put our profile out as many places as we could to be seen. It was October and we had ridden the emotional adoption wave of ups and downs for 9 months now. Our home study was approaching the point of needing to be renewed come January 2015, so we needed to really get serious and say our prayers. I spent countless hours researching this agency after this agency.
Luckily for me, I would up on several secret adoption groups on Facebook that saved my sanity and our emotions. These women became by lifeline for any question or concern I had. I 'met' several people who had a good experience with an agency called Building Arizona Families.
Unlike some other agencies, Building Arizona Families had a flat adoption cost for EVERY birth mother situation. This really appealed to me after experiencing the black and white world of adoption... buying babies based on their race. I NEVER wanted to support any agency that would charge up to $60k for a Caucasian newborn baby girl and $20k for an African American baby of any race. It astounded me and I cannot believe that these agencies are still in business.
Ahead of Schedule
We decided to sign on to Building Arizona Families. Within 2 weeks we received 6 online birth mother profiles from the agency. I read through each one in detail and one stood out to me. We decided to apply.
Out of several profiles, our birth mother chose us. We had a Skype session set up the next day and we both decided to move forward (all of us a complete ball of nerves)! This was the beginning of October and we were told 'L' was due mid December. A week went by and 'L' had a doctors appointment. We got a call that she wasn't actually due in December, but she was due mid-November... almost a whole month off.
Excited and nervous, we realized this was really happening! 'L' had her next appointment on Nov. 3rd and we waiting anxiously to hear how it went. The evening came and the phone rang... we were excited to hear about her ultrasound. All I heard on the other end was, "it's time to come out to Arizona," our birth mother was in premature labor.
That about took our breath away completely. It was 9pm at night, we had a fire going and were watching Grey's Anatomy... just relaxing... and our world just got turned upside down. I frantically called the airlines while my husband ran upstairs to pack our suitcases. He packed for all of us. Our flights were booked for 6:30am the next morning. We slept 2 hours.
We got to Arizona at 10:30am and drove straight to drop off our sweet Zachary to a daycare he had never been. We pushed through and rushed to the hospital. 'L' wasn't advancing. We got to spend a lot of time with her and the birth father, which we will forever cherish. Our birth father's entire family came to the hospital to try and change his mind... his brother tried to convince him that he would raise the baby... our baby. It was everything we were afraid of, yet prepared for at the same time.
The agency was amazing and never left our sides. Jonah was born at 8pm on the night of November 4th, 2015 weighing 6 lbs. He was born at 35 weeks gestation. Jonah came straight to us after our birth mother had a c-section... she didn't even want to hold him. He spent the night with me in our hospital room.
Due to feeding issues, Jonah went to the NICU for 4 days and then was released and we brought him 'home' to our condo out in Arizona. We knew we would have to camp out for 3 weeks, due to ICWA hearings and other legal proceedings.
It was a VERY long and trying 3 weeks as my husband couldn't stay with us the entire time. After a week and a half, he flew home for work. I was in a new city, in a new place, with my 2 year old sweet boy and newborn. We got no sleep.
The Friday night before Thanksgiving I received a call that we could come home. After being in Arizona for a week on my own, all I could think about was how fast I could get on that plane! I made the decision to fly across country with our 2 boys by myself.... with no help. I think at that point I could have classified myself as insane, but I packed up the entire condo, donated our groceries and toys, and made the trek to the airport.
This was the absolute longest day of my entire life. I won't go into detail, but we hit 2 weather systems and I am just grateful that my 2 year old son thought it was so much fun to get tossed around like a ball on a string. I, on the other hand, am just surprised I kept down my lunch.
After the longest day, I was greeted by my husband and friends at the airport. We were home. We survived. Our worlds had changed. And we could breathe a HUGE sigh of relief.
The next morning felt like Christmas and it hasn't stopped. Jonah is so sweet and Zachary loves being a big brother. We are loving our new family of 4. Adoption is quite the journey and extremely unexpected. But it's an amazing part of life and part of loss. There cannot be one without the other.