Wednesday, August 30, 2006

BN Vol.1 Issue 3: Baby Layaway or House Arrest

Can't sleep, so might as well blog.

This day has theoretically been just as long as the last few, but today seemed to move at lightning speed. Maybe that's a preview of how our perception of reality may be changing.

We picked up a rental car, made a mandatory Target trip (for other "essentials" as well as to provide me with some necessary toiletries), then we headed to a local fire station for baby seat installation training. After that we headed to the hospital.

If you're a prospective adoptive parent and have a friend who is a certified nurse midwfe, it probably helps you immensely if the baby you wish to adopt is at the hospital where your friend usually practices. Everybody in the birthing center was absolutely in our corner and laid out the red carpet for us. We met with the social worker, who copied our IDs and placed them in the baby's chart so that we could more easily gain access to the nursery. Then we waited. We were on hospital time.

The nurses in the nursery wheeled the baby's cart over to where we were standing on the outside looking in. He's a beautiful boy, born Sunday night, with lots of black hair. After what seemed like an eternity, we were escorted into an isolation room in the nursery and they brought the baby in to us. We held and cuddled him and fed him, then we had to leave to visit the in-state adoption lawyer.

Meanwhile, phone calls continued to intersperse the day. Our friend had been contacted by the baby's mother and the mother wanted us to call. We spoke with the pediatrician as well. We tried several times to contact the baby's mother but were unable to reach her.

We got the lowdown from the attorney: The baby's mother could terminate her parental rights as soon as the baby was 10 days old, then she had another 15 days to change her mind. So right there, it's a mimimum of 25 days before her rights could be completely terminated. There are interstate issues as well, so the baby can't leave his home state with us until the interstate issues are resolved. The baby needed an attorney. The mother needed an attorney. The father needed an attorney. There had to be a face-to-face meeting between us and the mother. A lot of things had to be done in court. There were genetic tests to be done as well. It all takes time, money, and patience. I think we can handle the first two items, but the patience thing, well, you know...

Anyway, we headed back to the hospital for more baby bonding time, and to stake our claim, if you will. We fed him again, then met with the pediatrician, who planned to release the baby that evening. The mother had already signed forms allowing the hospital to release the baby into our custody. So we had a brief overview of Baby 101, learning how to bathe and care for him. The Rev. will leave the umbilical stump to me, since she has belly button issues.

One more thing before leaving the hospital - circumcision. Our PTBNL (Player To Be Named Later) performed admirably. The pediatrician came in and said I would probably be upset seeing how the baby's "package" looked, but I informed her of my TC history and said I had seen and had a lot worse done to me in that area. The Rev. was wheeled out in a chair with the baby strapped in to his seat, and we were gone.

So, here we are back at base camp. "Mini Vinny", as we've taken to calling him, has basically been asleep since we put him in the car seat around 10 PM last night. So at this point he's been sleeping for 7 1/2 hours. For the last three hours I've been tossing and turning, wondering when he would wake up and request to be serviced. He stirs and makes a few gurgles and gasps every once in a while, but hasn't really fully awoken yet. We have formula and diapers at the ready when he does.

I'm glad someone's getting some sleep. I'm currently trying to figure out the logistics of the next month - getting back to Missouri, getting one of our cars out to Baby Central so we can return the rental, getting the adoption done, figuring out my work schedule, planning visits from grandparents while we're under "house arrest" in the state, etc.

I haven't quite come up with an appropriate analogy for our current status. At first I was thinking Baby Layaway, but since we already have him in our "posession" that doesn't quite fit - it's more of a "No Money Down" baby, although considering the lawyer costs so far, that's not a very accurate descriptor either.

We'll have a follow-up visit with the pediatrician on Friday, but at this point we're basically under unsupervised probation. What were these people thinking, letting us take home a baby that isn't ours yet?

Actually, that's not quite right. The baby may not yet be legally ours, but he sure is emotionally and spiritually ours. The Rev. and I have attached ourselves to what we believe is in our son's best interest and we will fight like hell (if necessary) to preserve his place in our family. If this adoption should fall through, we'll pick up the emotional pieces and move on. We are cracked pots, after all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Baby News, Vol.1 Issue 2: The Trip

Monday was a helter-skelter kind of day. We decided we needed to travel to meet this baby and see if we could put the adoption wheels in motion. We'd been preparing for this day, which would require tying up loose ends at home and work then leaving for an indeterminate length of time, possibly a month or more. It was time.

It would take 16 hours of driving by Google's reckoning vs. five hours (plus stopping time to refuel) to fly ourselves. You can guess which option we chose. By early afternoon the Rev. had her job duties taken care of and officially started her maternity leave. She picked me up from work and we drove to meet with our attorney and spent an hour or so discussing the plan of action with him. The day was interspersed with numerous phone calls to our friend the midwife, the baby's mother, the social worker at the hospital, an attorney in the state where the baby was born, etc. No wonder that we weren't ready to leav the house until almost 4 PM.

We packed for oursleves plus some essential baby stuff: car seat, couple of bottles with nipples, couple of changes of clothes, two baby quilts, some toys, and cameras (still and video). Did I say essentials? Anyway, we made sure that everything would fit in the plane, including a baby seat with a baby occupying it.

Again, glad I got that instrument rating. We had to do a little bit of thunderstorm dodging the first half of the trip, then fog set in at our destination and I had to shoot a GPS approach to get in there. The Rev. did an admirable job, following some brief and intense on-the-job training, as my copilot on the approach, informing me of our position and looking for the runway.

Our friend's husband picked us up at the airport around 12:30 AM and we got to their house and settled into bed by 1:30. We were up by 6:30, as they have a 3-year old in the house who goes to school in the mornings. We showered and had breakfast, and arranged for a rental car that we would need for at least a few days, but for how long we didn't know.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Baby News, Vol.1 Issue 1: The Call

Well, we've had quite the full weekend. On Saturday we hosted a party in honor of my sister-in-law, who finished her Master's in Counseling Psychology and at the same time landed a job at a local high school. We had about 50 friends and relatives over and although the weather threatened all day long, the rain held off.

Sunday was busy also. We had a guest singer in the church service who was talented, but the service ran a bit long. Meanwhile, friends of my parents from New Orleans were in town on their way to Colorado, and we visited for a little while at the house. But not for long, as I had to go to a big airport and pickup two kids from church who were returning from their Grandmother's funeral. It's a 2 1/2 hour one-way drive to the airport vs. a one hour flight, so naturally I opted for the flying route (after clearing it with the kids' mom, of course). Good thing I got that instrument rating, because the weather around the big airport was atrocious. We got back into town around 6 PM and were pretty much worn out.

Later in the evening, we got a call from a friend of ours who we've known for at least 8 years (the Rev has known her longer). The Rev. had heard from an acquaintance that our friend had just had another child, so we asked if she had a new baby in the house. Her response was something to the effect of, "No, but I might if you two don't get the one I'm calling about." Did I mention that our friend is a certified nurse midwife? She had been caring for a young woman who was pregnant with her second child, but due to the status of her relationship with the baby's father, she was not interested in keeping the baby.

Whoa. We got the details and called our local adoption attorney, who advised us to follow our friend's lead. We then spoke briefly with the baby's mother, who affirmed that she was interested in placing the child with us through adoption.

Holy cow. The world just got a little more interesting.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


We're back! We had a marvelous time, but things got interesting on the return trip. The weather forecast called for steady rain the entire way from Chicago back to Missouri. Here I was thinking that I could get some actual cloud flying time on the way back. Once we got to Quincy, Illinois, things began to get interesting (see pictures at left). ATC steered us toward Kirksville at first, then down towards Knob Noster and Whiteman AFB. As we headed south another cell of storms started forming to the west, and we skated into Boonville just before those storms hit.

Our last day was a wild swing cuisine-wise. Thursday night we ate at Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, with some Chiapas-inspired dishes. Friday morning we stopped in trendy Wicker Park for breakfast at Earwax Cafe, where they serve things like Tofu Benedict and Vegetarian Hash. For lunch we grabbed sandwiches from a Corner Bakery around the corner from the hotel before heading for the Gary Chicago airport, via the South Shore line train. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Boonville. Back to normal!

Monday, August 07, 2006

For my next trick

Well, as of noon on Saturday, I'm officially an instrument-rated private pilot. What does that mean, you ask? I suppose it all depends on who you talk to. I can legally punch holes in the clouds now, and the ability to fly through less-than-perfect weather gives me a bit more flexibility when flying long trips. More cynical individuals would say I now have the ability to cause abject terror for my flying passengers in new and exciting ways.

So now what? The Rev. claims that at some point I told her to put the brakes on if I tried to go any further than an instrument rating, but I've been giving thought to a commercial certificate, just to keep learning (and maybe become a flight instructor on the side - I've been told I'm a good teacher).

In the imaginary (aka geek) world, I'm about to graduate from the virtual air traffic control academy and will hopefully be controlling and talking to REAL virtual pilots on the internet (as opposed to SIMULATED virtual pilots on the internet). (The Rev here: 1st, he really did say to remind him to stop after IFR and now he has "conveniently" forgotten; must be the chemo brain at work. 2nd, he never asked my opinion on the virtual geek world stuff. Do any of you have any idea of how far back into my head my eyes have rolled at this??? A hint: I have had the opportunity to count the wrinkles in my gray matter. It's all very X-files: in order to finish his training he is waiting to be "contacted"--I'm expecting to see a big X in the clouds, or duct taped to our driveway or bedroom window...) I have to say though, real piloting and virtual controlling are very complementary - I've learned a lot to help me in the real world. (<--with this have NO complaints.)

Next week I plan to put my new instrument rating to use and fly the Rev. to Chicago for a conference. I've been told that it seems like once you get your instrument rating, you'll never get to use it flying in the soup. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

We're Back!

We are back from the beach and had a great week with Frank's family.
7 adults, 5 children (3@ 3.5 months, 1@ 20 months, and 1 who starts kindergarten soon), 2 condos, a pool and the ocean. We also got to meet the 7.5 month old who lives about an hour north of where we were staying. Then we all caravanned back to Atlanta for the baptisms of the triplets on Sunday morning.
What an amazing family I get to be a part of and what a blessing to baptize the latest additions! (I used a black shell that Frank and I had found on the beach Friday morning to do the baptism)
I have now had my "baby Jones" fired up and am getting even more ready for when ours comes home.
Thanks to all who held down the fort while we were away.
The Rev.