It’s official!! On June 1st, 2016, Kendric Scott became a legal part of our family. We had a wonderful “Gotcha Day” celebration last weekend with lots of friends and food. It’s still sort of surreal to be honest. It’s hard to believe that all of the time and work has finally come to fruition. I think now it’s time for me to finish our adoption story. Not that the story is really ever complete. We’ll be working through adoption related issues and celebrating adoption related victories for the rest of our lives, but here is a good place to pause and reflect on the beautiful journey that has brought Kendric into our family.
In the last post, I offered an apology. I apologized for my ignorance and judgmental attitude towards those who’ve adopted privately. I want to make this apology public for the purpose of encouraging others to expand their view of private adoption. I think there is a lot of judgment surrounding adoption and which route couples choose to take. It’s nuanced. It’s out there. I want you to know that private adoption is not “easy.” It was heart breaking at times. No matter which route you take, adoption is not for the faint of heart. There is always some level of sadness around how a child came to be in need of a family. Always. Even in the best case scenario, there is a sense of loss.
This is no different for our situation. The birth mother we were matched with, I’ll call her Ms. L, is an amazing, strong woman of God. She wants the best for Kendric and wishes she could give that to him. Her situation is complicated and I don’t feel right sharing the circumstances here. Maybe without knowing the details you can trust me when I tell you that she is kind, strong, responsible, and has demonstrated a love that I had never witnessed before. I am forever indebted to this woman for bringing Kendric into our lives and for that, I will always have a special place for her in my heart. I am so grateful that she found us.
Now let me tell you how this happened. In my last post, I left off in September of 2014. We didn’t get matched to either of those kids mentioned, as I’m sure you concluded. You’re so smart, smarty pants. In fact, we actually ended up putting the whole process on hold because Caleb got a job in Austin, Texas. We had been trying to move either up to Northern California to be closer to my family or to Texas to be closer to Caleb’s family. Texas was the call so we moved and chose an area close to the church we felt called to be a part of.
Spring 2015: We attended an adoption conference in Austin called “A Future and a Hope.” At the conference we learned of an adoption agency that seemed pretty cool called “Loving Hearts Christian Adoptions.” We jumped on board with them and took all the steps necessary to update our home study. Unfortunately for us, a LOT of couples heard about this agency and jumped on board. We soon discovered that we’d be waiting a LONG time to get matched so we kept our ears open for other options.
June 2015: In one of the Facebook adoption groups I was in, I heard about an agency looking for couples to join their “Agency Assisted Program” which is for couples who are open to adoption African-American children. (We’ll get into the absurdity of this another time.) I spoke with a couple of different people who had experience with this agency and we decided it would be a good fit. Now, Loving Hearts would do our home study and American Adoptions would do the match.
July 2015: American Adoptions doesn’t mess around. They sent us professional video equipment to capture moments of our daily lives and interviews with ourselves plus family members. Not at all awkward. Zero awkwardness. There may have been one or two staged dog walks. “Pretend not to see the camera Luca!” “Don’t look at the camera!” “Ok, everyone smile normally!” We filled out a billion questionnaires and sent in our best photos. Even though it was a pain, I will say that their method is a great one for making a solid match.
Early October 2015: Luca, my stepmom Sharon, and I are at Disneyland when I get the call that there is a birth mother who may be a good fit for us. Before they show her our profile, they send us information about her to make sure that we are a “go” if she were to choose us. American Adoptions sends over the info and I was amazed. I could tell that this birth mom was special and I truly hoped she would choose us. She wanted a very open relationship and that is something we prayed for. Not only did it seem like a great fit, but the baby would be born in NOVEMBER!! So soon!! Caleb agreed that it seemed like a good fit and we approved the presentation. I was so excited but tried not to get my hopes up.
October 2015: A week or so later (I hope I’m remembering this right!) We get the call that Ms. L has chosen us! We are ecstatic!! Still nervous though. She wants to meet us soon and her due date was only 3 weeks away! So we hopped in our minivan that weekend and drove up to meet her. I have NEVER been so nervous, EVER. It was a great meeting though. We decided that I would fly up the next week for her last scheduled doctor’s appointment where they would discuss the possibility of a c-section.
I am so thankful for the time that I got to have with Ms. L when I flew up for that day. I went with her to her appointment and met the doctor who had been in care of her through the pregnancy. The baby was still breech and not moving from that position. It was decided that she would go in for another ultrasound the next week and if he was still breech, the c-section would be scheduled for the following week. We went to lunch together and then went back to her home to hang-out until my flight departed that night. We watched Mike and Molly, ate pizza and chatted about our wishes for the baby. It was really so special.
November 2016: With a c-section scheduled we drove-up to St. Louis with Luca. My mom flew in from California to help us out. We stayed in a beautiful little house that we found on Air BnB (after staying in two hotels first, we wanted to be near the hospital during the birth but then we moved to a more comfortable place when we returned from the hospital, it was complicated!). We really had no idea how long we’d be in St. Louis because when you adopt out-of-state, you need approval by both states (Missouri and Texas) to transport the child across state lines. This could take a while.
The surgery was scheduled for Monday. On Saturday night, we had dinner with Ms. L and she asked if we would meet her parents. We said we’d love to! The next morning we went to her church with her and then met her parents at a park after. They thanked us profusely for coming into their lives to adopt Kendric. It was the strangest feeling because I was thinking, “Thank YOU!! We’re the ones receiving a gift!” But I understood their sentiment. They hadn’t known about the pregnancy or adoption until recently but chose to respect Ms. L’s decision. They were very kind to us.
Monday morning finally came. We picked-up Ms. L from her home. She had a teddy bear clutched in her hand and a duffle bag in the either. When we got to the hospital, time seemed to drag on. But finally we were approached with scrubs and invited into the OR. We sat by Ms. L’s head and she reached-up and I held her hand. A curtain hung between her head and her chest. It wasn’t long before we saw the doctor lift Kendric up. They quickly carried him over to lay him on her chest and she stroked his face. It was the sweetest moment. They then brought him to us and I held him and cried. Caleb had tears in his eyes too. The room was so full of emotion it was palpable.
After we had our moment, took him to the side of the room where they had prepped a table for him. The nurses invited us over. Caleb and I watched as they cleaned, weighed and measured. Then they let me cut the umbilical cord. We went back to Ms. L and they finished doing their thing. She had tears in her eyes and I held her hand some more. She asked if everything was ok with him and I said he’s perfect.
I don’t remember much after that except that eventually we were shown a room where we would be staying, just a few doors down from Ms. L. It was very kind of the hospital staff to allow us to stay there. The policy is that the baby can’t leave until the mother is discharged, even in an adoption situation. So we knew we’d be camped out for a few days while Ms. L recovered from surgery. The adoption papers couldn’t be signed until 48 hours after the birth but in this case, our adoption agency wanted to do it at discharge as that was their standard procedure. This would mean that we would wait longer than normal to have the papers signed and I’d be lying if I told you I was cool with that. I was a nervous wreck!! I just wanted it to be done so we didn’t have to wonder what was going to happen. Ms. L seemed very firm in her decision but this kid was so cute! It would be understandable if she changed her mind.
Well, she didn’t. On Friday, the papers were signed and we left the hospital. I’m leaving out some of the details of what went down that week because they don’t really matter now. All that matters is that Ms. L stayed committed to the decision the entire time.We did our best to help care for her and she was so sweet to us. Kendric stayed in her room with her a few nights and that was a special time that she wanted to have with him to say goodbye. Her dad picked her up that Friday and when we finally drove away, Caleb yelled a triumphant, “YES!! We’re finally out of that place!” See, we had hoped to leave on Wednesday, and while two days may not seem that long to you, let me tell you it felt like EONS.
We finally took our little boo back to our “home.” We had a court hearing that finalized the termination of Ms. L’s rights and swore us in as his legal guardians. We celebrated Thanksgiving in that sweet little house and then high tailed it back home the next day. I flew back with Kendric and Luca, Caleb drove the minivan back in one day!
Now, six months later, after our monthly home visits, we’ve proven ourselves and have been granted the honor of being his parents. We are so grateful and blessed beyond measure!
I want to thank you all for the wonderful support you have shown us. If any of you have any questions about adoption or our process please don’t hesitate to ask. I check my messages here about once a month and will get back to you as soon as I can.
Blessings to you!