How do I begin? These past seven weeks have been like living inside of a dream. I hold my baby and marvel that she is mine.
This one is growing. This one is healthy. I don't have to give this one back.
Preparing for Chloe
After receiving the call that changed our life forever, I went into supersonic speed mode and had to juggle wrapping up work projects, packing for our temporary move to Virginia, figuring out what we'd need for the baby and finding a lawyer and adoption agency. On top of this, I had a bunch of friends and family members to call with our happy news! We immediately begin receiving gifts — a delicious meal, a stroller and carseat, baby clothes, generous checks... so many kind gestures! We are even receiving breast milk from kind friends! (I tried to nurse the first few weeks — yes, it is possible — but I did not produce.)
Chloe's birthday (April 14)
I hope to write a blog post solely about this special day soon. I had planned to be in the operating room with J, but she had to go under general anesthesia and no one was allowed in surgery with her. We were able to meet Chloe shortly after she was born. It was MAGICAL! We had a private room that we spent the night in and our nurses took incredible care of our girl. We received a 24-hour discharge and I walked out of the hospital with a living baby in my arms! Thank you, Jesus.
The first few weeks
Chloe was the easiest newborn! She rarely ever cried, except to tell us when she was hungry. Even then, her cries were polite and short. I call them baby lamb bleats. She seemed to attach to us right away — especially to Andy. She would gaze into his eyes and stare at him until going cross-eyed with exhaustion. Everyone in the family (extended family included) fell in love with her right away. She fits into our family so perfectly! We all kept saying, "are you real? is this real?" (I still ask this!) My mom and I would run errands now and then and we'd take Chloe with us, and people would say, "you look great for just having had a baby!" I would simply reply, "thanks!" Haha. It felt good to get out of the house, especially because my time at home was often spent scanning documents and making phone calls. That leads me to...
Oh for heaven's sake. The amount of documents to scan, errands to run, phone calls to make... Chloe's adoption was a full time job! It was absolutely worth doing, and we had to get it done ASAP in order to have a timely consent hearing and move back to Frederick, but it was truly miserable. I desperately wanted to spend all day holding my baby and enjoying being a mother, and instead I was spending hours every day dealing with paperwork and fees. Thankfully, it's mostly over! We'll have a few follow-up home studies and we'll go back to court in one year. There is still SO much I don't know or understand about adoption. I'm hesitant to share much about our experience because it happened under such unusual circumstances (and I was in a new-momma daze the whole time). I know adoption is often a very long and hard process. Still, I'm happy to answer questions if anyone has any.
Andy quit his job with Kellogg's at the end of February and took a job selling solar energy with Vivint Solar. The timing was interesting, because his new job is 100% commission and has zero benefits. (Totally ideal situation for having a baby!) Then, in March, a friend called and offered me a job with her graphic design company. As if two new jobs wasn't enough of a change, we were offered a baby soon after! I've been teasing Andy that a new job and new baby is enough — he can't get a new wife! We are blessed to both love our jobs and our coworkers. I now work part-time as the administrative coordinator for Kalico Design, doing everything from website work, social media, client projects and making a million spreadsheets and google docs. I've been commuting from NOVA to Frederick twice a week since the end of April, and Andy has been commuting to his territory in Gaithersburg. Andy's hours allow him to be home with Chloe while I'm at work, which is yet another blessing. I will be cutting back on Laura Rennie Interiors, but I'll still take on projects here and there as my schedule (and sanity) allow.
Chloe is growing like a weed! She was 7 lbs 13 ounces at birth and was 9 lbs 8 ounces at her four week check-up. It breaks my heart that she no longer fits most of her newborn clothes!
A few of her favorite things are:
- Baths! You wouldn't know it from this video, but Chloe LOVES baths! We started giving her a bath in the sink, and that seemed to help. I have her sit with her little bottom over the drain and use one hand to hold her chest while using my other hand to bathe her. She doesn't make a single peep during the whole bath, even when water runs over her face!
- Being held against our stomachs. She likes to have her face planted in our side, with her body against our belly and her legs dangling over our other side.
- The word "oblivious." It makes her smile. It's the darnedest thing!
- Tummy time
- Being sung to
- Feeling a burp cloth being tucked around her neck. She immediately stops fussing and relaxes her body. She is so trusting of us!
- Her daddy, grandpa and uncles. She loves deep voices.
Chloe has been to Winchester to visit her Meemaw (Andy's mom), Grancy (Great Aunt Nancy) and Andy's brother's family. She's also been to the movies! My mom and I went to see "Love and Friendship" the other day. Chloe slept through the whole movie. We took her to a restaurant for the first time last night, and she did fabulously. We celebrated Chloe's adoption at my family's favorite restaurant — Carlyle, in Shirlington. Chloe gave it five stars.
Andy formed an instant connection with Chloe and is such a natural with her. He took on feedings and diaper changes as if he'd done them a million times! He has been an amazing parenting partner, selflessly serving me and our girl. Having help from my parents has given us the ability to get good sleep and have occasional just-the-two-of-us time together. For our anniversary we were able to leave Chloe with her Grandma and Grandpa and go out for dinner at Southside in Old Town and ice cream at The Dairy Godmother in Del Ray. It was so weird to us (but fun) that we had a baby to go home to! Living in Springfield with my parents has truly been a gift. If you know my parents, you know they're the ideal people to have to live with for 7 weeks! I've only cooked and done laundry a few times. :) We miss our friends and our home and will be glad to get back to Frederick, but we will miss the love and help my parents have given to us and our girl. Once we get the go-ahead to cross state lines we will head to my family's cabin in Pennsylvania for a short vacation with my parents, brother, sister and their spouses. We hope to get the call today!
Even more praises
- We hit our $3500 fundraising goal! We also received personal checks. I haven't done the math, but I would estimate that we've raised a little over $5,000 for Chloe's adoption! These funds are a HUGE blessing, as we have three attorney fees, plus the cost of home studies, random adoption related fees (fingerprinting, driving records, etc.) and medical bills. Huge thank you to all who have donated!
- Thanks to gift cards and the many presents Chloe has received, we have not had to use our own money to pay for any baby items! I actually haven't bought Chloe a single item yet, other than things for her nursery.
- My brother and sister-in-law, who live in Korea, had planned their May/June visit to the states long before we knew about Chloe. What great timing, right?
- We continue to have a great relationship with J (Chloe's birth mom). Adoption can be a heartbreaking experience for adoptive parents, but we have had full confidence in J. I love spending time with her, because it gives me a glimpse into Chloe's potential future personality and looks. Plus, I truly enjoy her company! She's funny and independent and driven and smart.
- Chloe is a healthy, happy baby who sleeps well and eats really well. Praise God!
The end! :)