The story first begins when Brad and I are driving up to Utah for a 10 day trip in Provo for Christmas vacation. I love that we can call it a vacation rather than a break between semesters. Even though we are looking forward to Brad entering the nursing program in the spring of 2011. He is excited to leave his job now at Sonora Quest and move up the next level. Anyways, back to the story. I received an email forwarded through FSA- (Families Supporting Adoption). There was an agency called Adoption Center of Choice that had 8+ babies available for adoption. This agency is not affiliated with LDS; it is in Utah but is one of the most expensive agencies in the country. (I learned this after we had committed to a baby with them). The LDS church is able to cover a majority of expenses that is incurred from adoption situations. Most agencies pass the excess expense on to the adoption couples. Expenses like advertising, living expenses, agencies travel fees etc. Well having spent a good amount of time looking over the 8 cases I found myself interested in 2 cases. One of them was a set of twin girls that were African American; the other was a Caucasian little boy. I called Dave and told him we would like to visit with him while in Utah. I was overwhelmed and excited to gain more information on these special women and the babies. While driving through Nephi UT, I called Dave and scheduled an apt for a week later. 2 days before we were planning on leaving UT. I don’t know why I waited so long considering the excitement of maybe getting a baby. We are having a great time in Utah, we spent time shopping after Christmas deals, and got a ton of amazing stuff. We also went snow skiing, and had a night with all the groupies from the singles ward. Michelle was more than a generous host.
We finally got ready and drove out to Orem to the ACC. I was not impressed with Dave at all. He took us late, and then was on the phone with a second client for at least 10 minutes while we sat and stared at him. Finally he was able to meet with Brad and I. Being new at the adoption agency agenda we were kind of lost on what to ask and the questions that were important to know. We soon learned that both of our hopeful moms were MIA and that we would not be considered for them anyways. I was so bummed! Dave then continued to tell the exciting new update of a new birth mom that had just called 3 days before we met with Dave saying that she just delivered a beautiful baby boy and that she felt he wasn’t meant to go to her family. She felt it was important to adopt her 6th pregnancy to a family that would take better care of her son. Dave continued to tell us the whole long story and process of adoption through ACC, probably to help us understand that he was in the role of deciding what family can get what baby and when they can get one. Really, I didn’t like this at all, why is it fair to charge so much and then try to play the role of a GOD with peoples lives! To conclude my feelings with Dave he then said that because this baby came last minute and was already delivered it was cheaper then most adoptions and the family who adopted the little boy would get “the most bang for their bucks”. I will be suing Dave and his agency just as soon as we go to court by the way! He is able to take advantage of people and charge whatever he deems based on families desperation for a baby. It is wrong that he charges as much as 50k for a Caucasian adoption. He also pointed out several times that there is more of a demand for white adoptions, but if I “wanted a cheaper case that I should consider a black baby because the demand isn’t as high in UT for a interracial adoption”. Now you know why I don’t like Dave!
As I sat in his office hearing all the details of Lindsey’s case I felt the excitement of knowing that he was our baby and that all the details of this case were more than perfect for Brad and I. I left reassured that the next time I heard from Dave it would be him calling me telling me that the baby was ours if we wanted him. I called Dave later that night explaining that we were planning on staying in Utah 3 extra days because of a HUGE snowstorm that had him P-town. I didn’t want to drive 30 MPH all the way to AZ. Just in case something would happen I wanted him to know that I was around.
Sure enough after leaving the office Thursday the 30th of December we got a call the next morning from Dave saying that the first two families had dropped out and that little Elijah Lyndell was available for adoption! I took the call, as I was lying on the bed alone in the bedroom. Brad, Michelle and Hayleigh were in the kitchen talking and eating breakfast. Michelle watching Brad hear the words, BOY, PA, FLIGHTS, ASAP saw the blood in Brad’s face leave as he came to realize that we just found out that our little boy was on the other side of the country. I jumped up saying that of coarse we would take the adoption and then spent the next hour crying and jumping, crying some more and being so nervous all at the same time. Michelle was in shock and was so grateful to have the phone call of news in her house! The first call I made was to my Dad who was too busy to take my call. I was shocked that I couldn’t tell him and then called mom. She was so excited and spent the day asking questions and telling everyone. Finally Dad answers and tells me he was in the middle of signing over funds from a Ranch sale that would be given to Brad and I for inheritance. Believe it or not it was no conscience that the check that we received was the exact amount of money that our adoption would cost us. My Dad was signing the paperwork when I called him and told him the situation! Brad spent the day looking for hotels, flights, rental cars and more! What was supposed to be a chill day was actually incredibly exciting and stressful.
We packed all of our Christmas up, said our goodbyes and left to drive half way to AZ before New Years hit. I did not want to drive in winter, on New Years night. In Mesquite I lay awake thinking all about the day and what would happen in the next couple days. I lay awake listening to people yell Happy New years thinking about names and what it would be like to have a new family member. I did not sleep but just starred into the dark all night long. We drove the rest of the trip to AZ only to get home stressed with having to repack clothes, unload the packed car, reload the car, get all the adoption paperwork printed and baby supplies ready. It was a busy New Years Day; we then attempted to fly the red eye Sunday AM to PA. With not being by any computer while traveling Dad was kind enough to get us flights which accidentally were booked for a PM flight rather than a AM red eye. We went to the airport twice in the night not able to get on the red eye but finally got on a flight for PA in the AM. I was so annoyed that we couldn’t get there fast enough! The poor caseworker had custody of the baby for the whole week before we were able to get there. She took care of Brayden until we arrived and also had to keep rescheduling appointments for paper signing while we kept getting delayed out of PHX.
I saw it as some kind of tender mercy but we ended up seeing the movie “ Life as we know it” with Katherine Heigle while flying to PA. The movie is all about a couple that gets thrown into adopting a little girl when her parents die unexpectedly. This new couple to kids had to learn how to parent with the shock of getting no sleep and dealing with all the baby surprises that come with having a child. I liked it a lot, plus it took up lots of flight time! We ended up hitting a layover in Detroit, which turned out to be a HUGE nightmare of an airport. We had to walk to the opposite end to get on the second flight to Harrisburg! Brad was stressed I was exhausted and I just wanted to get to that baby now! We still hadn’t found a name by then. Boston James stood out as well as David James. Mom and Dad hated the name Boston!
As we unloaded the plane we were hit with the most freezing weather ever! It was unreal how cold it was! We jumped into our rented Chevy Malibu and took off for the 90-minute drive to the small town of Milroy, which was about 70 miles away from capital city of Harrisburg. It was the most incredible drive ever! We followed the Susquehanna River at sunset all the way to the small Amish town in PA. There were few Amish horse and buggies that we saw and we felt like getting to the hotel was going slow motion!
Once to the hotel I grabbed the diaper bag, installed the rented car seat and wrapped the cute birthmothers gift that Raylene had taken care of for me. Raylene was so supportive and excited for us. She gave me all her boy clothes for Taylor, bought the gift and hooked us up with a tone of burp cloths and woobies. I will never forget walking into the hotel to see Suzanne the caseworker holding my perfect baby at the front desk. He was beautiful and asleep. The prettiest baby I have ever seen. We spent the next hour signing papers over into our custody and talking about the “maybe” black boyfriend being the real birthfather. Lindsey claims that the father was a one night stand from N. Carolina, but the baby was darker when born. The nurses at the hospital put down that he was at least 1/4th black if not ½, Either way, he was mine and I know that he was meant for me! My mother wanted to make sure that if I didn’t feel right about the little boy or the adoption to not be afraid to back out. I knew before we left that he was mine! We went to a house of PA inbreeds to get the documents notarized and then we were back to the Hotel to meet Lindsey. She was so excited to meet us and was in such a healthy mindset when we showed holding her little Elijah. She had it confirmed that it was for the best and then went on to tell us that she had originally liked our profile the best and wanted to pick us for the adoption but that she at the time didn’t have any pictures of us. We took pix of us together and then set off to hit the only restaurant that was still open in Milroy.
Dinner was way to fast. We got to know each other and what our life plans were for Brayden and she wanted to know some reassurances of what we wanted for Brayden. Lindsey ordered the Philly cheese steak with no tomatoes, some fries and water. No one really ate much. I wanted to know everything. PUT HERE from Lindsey It was really a chill night with no drama and little Brayden just slept the whole time! Lindsey wants letters and pix 4 times a year around holidays and was really okay with us changing his name. Lindsey Johnson named her 6th baby Elijiah Lyndell. As she was reading the bible in the hospital she came across the name Elijah and then wanted to name the middle name after her so she came up with Lyndell. She has so much love and respect for us adopting her baby. We arrived to the hotel so she could change him one last time. She taught me how to change her little boy and also filled me in on the dry skin and the circumcision details. She was staying next door to Suzanne with her boyfriend of 4 ½ year and her two little boys.
Lindsey wanted Brayden to be presented in a new cute outfit before we came so she went next door to the dollar tree and bought a new outfit for him. She left him with all she had which was a diaper bag, 4 outfits, 5 blankets, some bottles and 3 cans of formula.
As we were walking out the hotel receptionists pulled us aside and told us she was so relieved to see us adopting such a great baby in such a poor situation. She spent all day hearing the little boys getting yelled at and swear words being said. She wished us the best and we left the hotel a family of 3.
That night Brad and I just sat and watched our little boy sleep. We took turns pacing the room and changing bottles and diapers. Brayden has been able to hold his head up since the first week he was born it amazes me how babies are so strong!
While we were waiting for our paperwork to process in PA we had such a great in Hershey PA we went to the Chocolate factory and it was free and I just love to see the factories and how they work. The air smells like chocolate. We even got a custom made chocolate bottle with the 3 of us on it. Pretty sweet! We also went to Amish country for a day. I wanted an Amish quilt that I could wrap the baby in and maybe hang in the nursery. A piece of history that he could have to remember where he was born and what his adoption story is.
First, I would like to note all the great things that have happened since we left PA. With many long nights of stressing we have come to rename Elijah as Brayden James. We have such great love and memories of Brads Father James who was adopted and we wanted to name the first Grandson after such a great man who tragically died at 49 from Cancer. Brayden is amazing. His skin has started to calm down it doesn’t peel as much. He sleeps through the night and eats 16 oz everyday and 12oz at night. He never barfs either! I have been peeped on a couple times! I just took him to the Pediatrician who announced that he is a beautiful and PERFCECT baby. As I lifted him on the scale at the doc’s office his belly umbilical cord popped off exactly 2 week after birth. It has a slight hernia that will last till 3 yrs old or so. The doc said it is normal. So no worries it doesn’t hurt him! He now weighs 8.4 oz and is 20 ½ inches long as of January 6th 2011. He never cries, even when I bathe him. He loves to look around and holds his head up, amazing! We got his follow up PKU done and the nurse was more upset at hurting Brayden then he was of getting blood drawn. Brayden LOVES to sleep on our shoulder and he loves the warmth and the sound of our heart beating. He would prefer to be on his belly for anything! SIDS doesn’t allow him to sleep that way though.
My family has been so supportive and excited for us. We got off the plane only to get picked up by my father who while on his way to the airport had to stop and buy a car seat because he forgot we needed one! Imagine us on the curb at the airport unloading a seat from the box and having to install it right on the spot. As we drove home my mom and sisters had a HUGE banner on the front of the house with a dozen balloons all saying welcome home Baby Brayden. All the neighbors have stopped by to say congrats and to give such great gifts for the babes. We have had meals brought in to us just because new moms need to be taken care of. Brad doesn’t mind one bit! The family also set up my nursery and stocked it full of diapers, more blankets and teddy. It looks so great! As of today I have 3 planned showers for Brayden. He is so spoiled already Grandma Killian bought him a beautiful Chicco travel set! He now rides around in style! This Thursday my mom is throwing the first shower at her home. She wants to do a crepe bar with a ton of fresh fruit, creams and mousses. I look forward to seeing all my great friends and family! Brad also showed up to work and had a party thrown for him. We got a very generous gift card to target of $150.00, they had a cake shaped like a bib and a really cute giraffe outfit for him when he is 6 months old. I find myself dressing him at least twice a day just trying to get all the newborn clothes worn before he gets to big!
Yesterday we had a photo shoot done at the house for his newborn pictures. He was awake the WHOLE time. He just was in heaven seeing all the fun things happening around him. So I didn’t get any cute sleeping poses. But his head is up and his eyes are bright which is amazing for a 2-week-old baby! My photographer was just amazed by him. Oh yeah, Brad also was peeped on while posing for a father/Son picture.
Brad’s mom in Utah is loosing her mind! She walks up to strangers and tells them that she is a grandma and asks if they want to see her grandson. People look at her strange and then walk away. She is so excited to finally get a baby to spoil! I am also working on singing to him. Babies need to be sung to before they turn two, it is important for their development.
We plan on celebrating Brayden’s birthday on the 23rd of coarse, but also a separate celebration day of the day we GOT Brayden. It’s a holiday called GOTCHA day, which we will celebrate on the 2nd of January.
We are both on cloud 9, and no matter how little sleep I get I spend my days in a surreal daze just thinking that I can’t believe that we are parents. It is a perfect world. Brad calls a lot just to hear Brayden talking to me though the phone. He loves his little family!
Brayden’s first smile was at Mary. He was just over 2 weeks old. He has amazing dimples and we love him so much.