And just like that, we wind down the last 3 weeks before our baby girl turns 1. Where did the year go?
I’ve started writing posts a number of times in the last year and just never finished one. Not one. I always feel compelled to go back and fill in all the details. (I’m super detail-oriented, for those who don’t know me.)
Tonight I asked my husband, “How do I even begin to catch up my blog?” His response: “You start where you are. You do not need to tell a linear story.” This from a man for whom storytelling is his life. He’s basically forbidden me from telling a linear story. “Just write.”
So where are we?
Right now, we are awaiting a date for the finalization hearing to make the adoption of our daughter official, legal, and recognized in the eyes of the law, the IRS, airlines, the TSA… you get the picture.
At this point, we still don’t have a birth certificate or social security number or anything more than the Adoption Request stamped by the Superior Court of the County of Los Angeles to prove that she is ours. Even though no one can take her away from us at this point, there are still a lot of legalities, paperwork, and hoops to jump through to make it all official.
For example, we weren’t able to claim her as a dependent on our 2018 tax return. Yes, she was born late in the year, but she was ours and we provided for her those last 6 weeks of the year. But without a social security number, we couldn’t take advantage of the Child Tax Credit. Just one of the glitches parents in the process of adopting deal with that biological parents don’t.
But finally… Every last interview has been completed, every form filled out, every document signed, every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed, and it’s all into our attorney. Right now we wait on the courts to assign us a hearing date.
In addition to the typical things that come with having a new baby (round the clock care, months of sleepless nights, adjusting to new household and family dynamics), the last year has also been filled with learning how extremely different two babies/children can be.
By all appearances, Noa is our lone extrovert in a family of introverts. She’s got a screech that is so piercingly loud it could break glass, and it’s not just reserved for when she’s upset. In fact, most of the time it comes out for no reason. She’s got serious baby FOMO and *will not* sleep if we are out, whereas her brother has always just crashed whenever and wherever we are; when he hits his wall, he’s out. Thank God baby gives us good stretches at night!
She had two hospital stays in her first 3 months of life due to Influenza A and RSV. We have battled eczema with her due to what looks like a dairy sensitivity. Which means I couldn’t give her the milk-based homemade formula that her brother thrived on as a baby.
Noa seems more emotionally volatile than Levi ever did. We’ve already been told she is musically advanced for her age. Maybe she’ll be our sensitive one, more in-tune with what she’s feeling, contrasted with Levi who is more prone to expressing everything physically.
We will have to navigate very different adoption stories with each of our kids as they grow and learn and come into their own.
We have an open, ongoing, healthy relationship with Levi’s birth parents, who love him very much and aren’t afraid to say so, nor are we afraid to pass along those sentiments.
On the other hand, Noa’s birth mother requested (much to our shock and dismay) a closed adoption. She did not even want to meet us. And we know absolutely nothing about Noa’s birth father—what he looks like, medical history, racial makeup, nothing. And we will have to help her navigate all that. Which in many ways breaks my heart.
The thing we do have working for us—and probably the biggest benefit of going the private adoption route that we did—is that in the case of both our kids, their birth families chose us to raise them. For whatever reason, their parents felt they couldn’t give these kids the lives they wanted for them, and they felt we were up to the task. So they entrusted these children to us.
Thankfully, that is a story we will be able to pass on to both our kids… a story for which I am eternally grateful.