We're Adopting!

We're Adopting!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hearing from Carter's birth mom

It's been difficult getting in touch with Carter's birth mom. Cory and I mailed a lot of photos and a letter about five days after we returned to our home in KY. 
I misread the paper and mailed the items to the part of the agency that we mailed the other things to, when I was supposed to mail them to the post placement address. We spent a couple weeks thinking she may have changed her mind or we thought she was going through the grieving process which was totally understandable. We missed her. 

She doesn't know our last name, the agency works to keep privacy the best they can. Therefore we do not send direct letters to one another... We send them to the agency and they forward them so we do not know addresses either... It takes longer for things to arrive but it's worth our safety. 

Tonight 12/29 after resending a package and asking the agency to give her a couple things, we heard from her! It was amazing to hear how much she loved us and she was beyond excited to get all the photos and the letters. She gave Carter her love, and I know one day he will appreciate it. The most touching part was her telling us to tell Carter she loves him and he had her heart. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

21 days

 I am behind on all of my updates so I thought it was time to get caught up! 

When Carter turned three weeks old, we took a deep breath. Why? Because the birth father had 21 days to appeal the adoption and gain custody of him. Obviously whatever God had planned needed to happen but we prayed Gods plan was to allow us to keep our son.... An he did. And Carter is almost officially ours! 

We had a one month follow up, we will soon have a three month then a six month then he is legally ours for good!!!

As long as we are suitable parents Carter is ours forever but will not legally become a Hamby until 6 months of age. We don't mind, he has been ours since the day we were chosen. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

An emotional morning... Christmas EVE

Well.. I was having an emotional morning and my heart was begging to spill on my blog.

It's been a while since I have posted, I CANNOT believe I let myself go this long without a single post, boy have we been busy!

I am sitting here at 6:30 AM on Christmas eve feeding this beautiful, innocent, sweet baby boy... Could he be anymore perfect? I do not think so! I have been crying because I do not understand what I have ever done to deserve such a wonderful baby, a wonderful life, a wonderful group of friends, and a wonderful family. Carter has changed my world. I was a work aholic but he has made me realize that my life needs to change. I need to focus on God, family, and the rest can fall in place. Instead of focusing on work and letting everything else fall in place.

He is sitting here smiling at me now. He is perfect. I can remember crying last November because we still were not pregnant and that's what I wanted to give my family for Christmas... a grand baby. I had all kinds of Christmas idea pregnancy announcements saved and didn't get to use a single one..

Now, I realize that Carter is why I did not get pregnant. HE was picked to be in our life and HE was meant to be our son. God made us wait, and made us wait and fortunately, we did because I would not have it any other way.

I used to dream of being pregnant and wanted to experience the beautiful miracle... but I have. No I did not go through nine months of what ends up being miserable haha. But I received the greatest miracle of all, and after having the opportunity to be a mother to Carter.. adoption is AMAZING and the bond is unexplainable. I could not have a biological child and love him/her any more than I love this little boy on my chest right now. He is my world, he has completed my life... he has filled my heart.. he is MY son.

Merry Christmas and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Damages of being a NICU nurse before being a mother

Now, I must start by saying... I know every new mother has fears... fears that their baby could stop breathing or fears that something is wrong. And yes, I have these... though I try to put SIDS in the back of my mind and so what I can to prevent it and pray every night before I lay him down that God will protect him throughout the night.

What my problem is... is being a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nurse haha!
You see, in my job I take care of babies... lots of babies 40+ hours a week, and most are sick or very premature. I feel comfortable with things about Carter such as when he is a poor feeder, or when his bili was borderline, etc. What I am not comfortable with is the lack of things he has. Such as, he did not have a CBC, RFP, CHEST XRAY, BLOOD CULTURE, ETC. Ya know, the full work up! He is not always on a monitor and he does not have a nurse laying eyes on him 24/7.

In my job, its hard to get too nervous. The babies have a full work up, are assessed frequently, are on monitors so if they brady down or have desat episodes, or quit breathing... I know! And there is a Nurse Practitioner across the hall 24/7. At home, I have none of that..

So yes,  I have already text a co-worker asking how to suction his nose because I do not have a normal saline flush and wall suction (I needed more than just a bulb syringe)

I have texted her asking if there was anything related to stoma adhesive or calmoseptine... because that's the good butt paste we use at work, I am not a fan of the OTC stuff.

I have texted her ... and sent a couple a video of him breathing fast (because yes, I do an assessment and count his respirations :/) and made sure that they thought he was okay.

COME ON MARIAH!! Just relax! But it is sooo hard to. I don't want to miss anything and something happen and me not be able to forgive myself. But the neonatal knowledge I have does make things more scary and makes me notice... everything.

Word of advice... me a mom THEN a NICU nurse so you do not know so much!

Being Optimistic

Well, because I can change my flights for no charge(thanks to a friend of a friend)... I went ahead and booked our flights to come home, being optimistic and hoping KY releases us tomorrow. Our flights are booked and we are scheduled to land on KY soil in Paducah at 2:20 PM!
This little man is ready to be home with the rest of his family.

What are we waiting on. Yes, we signed the papers to make him ours and agreed to the financial aspects of our agency (which is a lot, but beyond worth it)
Yes, we went before the judge and signed papers accepting custody...
So what's next?

ICPC... Here is the definition:The ICPC is a contract among member states and U.S. territories authorizing them to work together to ensure that children who are placed across state lines for foster care or adoption receive adequate protection and support services.

So, Utah sent our hundreds of pages of documents and our case to the ICPC office in Frankfort in KY. This was overnighted and they should have received it Friday. Of course, its a weekend so my hopes are Monday.. tomorrow, we will be released!

Apparently ICPC offices are very particular and do not want to receive any phone calls from the adoptive families, or governors or senators if they have connections (haha, yes with Cory being a trooper and buddy working for the governor.. I thought about it). If you or anyone calls, they will intentionally delay your process... So I am behaving and being patient... which is hard.

*I wish the offices or I at least hope the offices have staff members who have adopted. I say this because.. I am sure they are busy but it would be SO nice to have the case reviewed the day they received it so adoptive families can get home quickly. We are paying daily for food, hotel, rental cars, etc. just to wait on a review. Without a doubt I have found positive things about being stuck in Utah... and that is the amount of bonding time we have been able to have.

It is so hard to put this little miracle down... To finally have the baby you have been praying and begging for is the most amazing feeling I have experienced. Cory and I thought having a baby was easy, people do it every day right? It's not for us.. it is possible but not easy. But I keep being reminded when I look at Carter how wonderful it was that Cory and I accepted the calling to adopt. This feeling is indescribable. Every breath he takes, every move he makes, every sound he makes brings a smile to my face... this little boy, is MINE!  And to be given the time to sit in this hotel room and do skin to skin VERY OFTEN, to talk to him, to have the chance for Cory and I to learn how to take care of him is one thing I am happy about being here in Utah. But we are ready... we are ready to hop on the plane and land on KY soil... we are ready to see our puppies, our family and our friends, and most of all ... we are ready for everyone to meet our son!

Carter getting his first bath outside of the hospital

We still have some of the umbilical cord on, so no tub bath just yet. But after peeing on himself three times... Once on his face and multiple poopy diapers, it was time for a sponge bath! 

So here is the video... He was not a fan of being washed lol 

God created the path

I can't help but sit here on a Sunday morning and since I cannot be in church, I am siting here thanking God from this hotel room... And reflecting on what has happened. 

July 31 we contacted agencies about adoption and what to do. We contacted the home study agency- all blessings international and our consultant through Christian Adoption Consultants-Tracie Loux. 
 August 1- we recieved the applications and officially started... 
We did our home study, applied to agencies, were matched,  and officially 3 months and 11 days later we had a baby boy born at 3 pm.

I cannot help but thank about how people got placed into my life and how knowing those people led me to my Carter. 
You see, Ethiopia was the route we planned to take (whole story in past posts) and when I was telling some girls at work, at this time had not even told family... A dear friend Autumn Hunt told me to look at her friends blog. 

Other people blogging is why I started. I would sit and read tons of blogs, most about international adoption and just sit and cry. Crying at videos and pictures of the parents getting matched, crying at the first time they met their child, crying over the arrival back home and the airport parties, and just crying over the blessing they were given. I wanted to document my journey so those wishing I adopt could read it and use it as a resource... I never imagined it would have had the impact it did the week Carter was born. 

So when Autumn told me about Sara, I checked it out right away! She was local, and I could ask her questions.. I was so excited!! She had adopted from Ethiopia and was currently in the domestic a adoption process. 

Sara agreed to do our home study and asked to meet at ETC. coffee shop to discuss what I was wanting to do before we began. This was in July. 

She did not want to alter my decision but she wanted to give me info on domestic adoption. I kept refusing, mainly because I thought every state had the same law as KY and there would be a chance my baby could be ripped away 44 days later. But this wasn't the case. 

I finally listened.. And then fell in love. If it wasn't for Autumn and if it wasn't for Sara I would have never started the domestic adoption journey. 

Then comes Tracie, Sara led me to CAC where they soon connected me to Tracie. Because of her I was given the resources and the username and password to check Guardian Angel's available situations...
Which is where I found out about a Haitian baby boy Due Nov 11 and needed a family...

God truly mapped out this road, thankfully! And besides giving God credit, I also have to credit these three ladies for leading me to my son. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Standing before the judge

Today, 11/15/2013 we stood before the judge and obtained custody of our baby boy. 
In the car seat ready to leave for court 

Outside of the chambers 

Daddy and his boy! 

He is not even four days old yet and he has put love in our heart that we never knew existed. For some reason, it doesn't bother me to only sleep two and a half hours and wake up to feed and change him. 

At work, I cannot STAND boogers, so it's not uncommon for me to ask someone to get boogers out of my baby's nose for me... But with Carter, none of that bothers me... Ill pick any booger out of his nose that needs to be picked ;) 

Things are going great and were getting lots of bonding time... It's hard to put him down! He was not been in my belly the past nine months, he doesn't recognize my scent, nor does he recognize our voice. I'm sure he keeps waiting to hear his birth mothers voice because that's what he's heard for nine months. Because of this, it's been nice to be the only two to hold and talk to him.. We've each been doing kangaroo care (skin to skin) with him and talking to him... 

I'm reading to him every night and we spend our days on the hotel just laughing at the facial expressions he is making and talking to him. 

We're gonna enjoy the weekend in Utah and try to do some things while we're here! We have a follow up pediatrician appointment today and other than that were done until ICPC in KY clears! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

We are FAMILY!

So, I thought I would post some fun moments since literally every post has been a tear jerker for me! I do not think I made it through a single post without crying.. and I do not mean just teary eyed, I mean crying.. sometimes HARD!

Marrying Cory, finding Cory, loving Cory has been the most amazing decision I have ever made... He completes me and makes me whole. We are very opposite. I talk, too much.. and he rarely talks.. I love people, he kind of loves people.. Im loud, he's quiet... But we both love... and we both love one another.

I felt most of my life was complete on May 26, 2012. I married my best friend, I have the best family and friends... I was almost done with nursing school... seriously, was there anything else a person could want? Yes, puppies and a baby!

So first, we got a puppy... his name is Krew

Krew took a lot of begging to get... but I finally just got him, and Cory wasn't happy at first... but he quickly fell in love....
Then came Milly...

Milly was a lot of work. I BEGGED, BEGGED, BEGGED, AND BEGGED for her. My friend Ashley Jones' mom owned an animal shelter and she was for adoption.. I wanted Krew to have a friend, but Cory did not like dogs, he only liked Krew....

Finally after WEEKS of begging he got so mad he just said FINE! DO IT!

Well, he now loves these pups more than life itself. I crack up knowing how hard it was to give them, but now Cory wouldn't sell them for one million dollars.

Together, we made a family.

Something was still missing... and that was a baby. I still had an open piece of my heart ready for a child. As you can read from my first post in my blog it was a long but short ride and we decided to adopt... difficult or easy, fertile or non fertile.. we knew we would adopt, the question was WHEN? Now, is what God said... so on August 1 we applied...

we FLEW through the process, were done with the homestudy, matched, and flew to Utah... and this weekend was when my heart and my life was complete. I wish my memaw was here to see him, but shes not.. I know she is looking down from heaven LOVING him and loving our experience this weekend! (I learned some Creole language, which is what she loved and what Haitians speak)

Here is my family (minus Krew and Milly, we'll add them to the photo when we get home)
I cannot be anymore blessed.... Together we make a family and my life is now complete!
Daddy is doing amazing! He didn't have to be told how to feed, and I just showed him one time how to change a diaper and burp.. then he took off! He helps me with nearly every feeding, alternated feedings throughout the night and changes diapers.... yes, even dirty ones ;)
Go daddy!! His poop has already transitioned so it is much easier to clean, and no one has gotten peed on... yet!

Saying goodbye

Words will never describe the bittersweet emotions I experienced this morning.

Carter's birthmom called and asked to spend the last couple of hours with him, which we were more than happy to let her do. I teared up when I left the room telling Cory how I cannot imagine how hard this is about to be. "God please give us the strength, please give her the confidence that we will be what she wants us to be for him... God please just be with us"

Previously, it was easy to think about the baby and know  that even though this could be very hard on the mother... it was in the best interest of the baby. She wanted him to have a good life, love God, and  be respectful... and we could do that. I had always prayed for her strength and admired her selfless decision... but the reality of it did not hit until this morning. 

As I wheeled Carter down to her room, my stomach was in knots and I kept fighting back tears. Though she will get pictures, letters, and updates... this could possibly be the last time she ever saw him... possibly the last time to ever hold him.

Those first moments in her room... I cannot put them into words. I asked if she wanted me to step out so she could spend time with him and she said no she wanted me to stay. I pulled a chair up beside her and handed Carter to her for the last time. 

My heart ached, everything inside of me was tearing apart but I was trying to stay strong.  She smiled and kept looking at him. Then she started crying and I could no longer hold back my emotions. You could see the love in her eyes, the love for him and it broke my heart thinking about what she was dealing with. She could love this child like he needed to be loved, but she knew she could not provide and give him the things she wanted him to have. 

After a few moments things got easier and we talked and laughed and shared about thirty more minutes together... Then the nurse did her discharge teaching and the case manager got her prescriptions and in ten minutes it would be time to leave. Cory came in to say goodbye and that's when things got so emotional. 

She told us congratulations and gave Carter back to us for the final time

 There was no holding tears back anymore, all the pain I felt for her just poured out. I told her thank u and couldn't do anything but hug her and we both cried... Hard. 

I thanked her for letting us into her life and into her heart. I thanked her for being so kind, and told her how much I admired her strength. Then I promised her that we would fulfill every wish she had for this sweet child... Then the answered prayer happened and she told us how much she loved us. She told us that she is leaving feeling okay because she knows he's in our hands. I prayed so hard the month that we were match that when she met us she would like us... That she would think we were good enough to parent and love. And she did... 

As I write the post through misty eyes because tears are flowing and my heart hurts i cannot help but just Praise God for putting together this plan for our lives. She is such an inspiration and her strength will never be forgotten. We now have a baby boy. One that I have prayed for since I was old enough to know what kids were. My life ambition was to be a Christian wife, mother and nurse and I am now all three. 

God thank you... For this whole experience. For placing us with the most amazing birth mom a couple could hope for and for putting the most beautiful child in our lives. God, thank you!

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in The Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths."

My family... My life.. And my heart is now complete. 

*We were discharged at 11:30 this morning on 11/13/13. Well know stay in our hotel until KY releases us! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

He is ours!

We found out that our birth mom after multiple decisions decided to adopt her baby out. She saw a logo for A Guardian Angel on Facebook... clicked on it.. and that is what brought her here.

I think that God always knew this baby was meant for us. I think he is why I went through 15 months of negative pregnancy tests and I think that is why when I found out it was going to be even longer, more doctors appointments, more medications for BOTH of us... I think God knew what was going on all along (This is an emotional post..FYI)

What have I done to deserve this? He is perfect, he is beautiful, he is OURS.

People don't go through the adoption process this quickly. People don't just decide to adopt, pray, get matched, and bring a baby home in three months... but we did.. why?

I'll never know why God put him in our lives but he did. And I am forever thankful. It takes courage to bring in another race. I know some people had trouble accepting it, but with a child.. I do not see color. We requested another race, we wanted the most needed child, which was an African American male.

Everytime I look at him I praise God. I am now a mother and Cory is a father. Together we will raise a child, love a child, and teach a child. After this experience I have realized how many loved ones we have around us... The hundreds of people who "liked", messaged, called, commented on things, and most importantly, the number of people that prayed is overwhelming.

Every few hours I cried... afriad he wasn't ours... afriad of what the outcome would be. But then I would check my phone and cry harder because I do not feel that I deserve to be loved this much. And it was amazing to know that if this was going to be a failed adoption, there were hundreds of people praying to lift us up so we could try again.

So, I want to thank you. Carter is the outcome of our faith and your prayers.

On 11/12/13 at 3:45 PM we were given rights to this baby boy. He is now a Hamby... he is now our son.

Mr. Carter's First bath

Silly me decided to open my mouth and tell them I was a NICU nurse, so they let me do the bath. Which would have been awesome but they don't do them under the warmers... and he has a TON of hair and was very "cheesy" so it was going to take alot of work. The nurse was nice, but boy was she pushy... so nervous he was going to get cold. Now, that's one positive thing about our unit at home, we bathe under the warmers so that is not an issue! 

                                                                         Scrub a dub dub!

  Lots and Lots of curly hair! 

Loving every minute of it!

Our sweet boy all cleaned up!!