June 13, 2016- The day we met, FINALLY

“All along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me. I have loved you for thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.”

Today marks the day that we finally got to meet Gloria!! It’s hard to put into words the feelings of that day. It was 12 years of wanting and waiting, and heartache and loss, and excitement and joy.. and all the emotions that go along with all of that. My head was spinning. Is this actually happening? We finally get to meet our child?! We had a plan to meet with the social worker in the morning, at the hospital, at 10. We wanted to be there a little bit early AND in classic Liz and Sean fashion.. we didn’t park in the right parking lot, we got ourselves lost, and then we couldn’t find the front door. LOL. (this is quite fitting with the way we live our lives. Haha) We took the long way but managed to be on time, to meet our social worker. Here’s how hat went- we are sitting in the lobby of the hospital, which is, in the same space as the cafe. So many people in and out and walking around. We had no idea what our social worker looked like and she didn’t know what we looked like. So, we sat there just hoping that we looked lost enough and /or excited enough that she would assume it was us. Lol. It was about 10 or 15 minutes of sitting nervously and then standing nervously and then sitting again and looking around. Trying to make awkward eye contact with random people just hoping that one of them would be our social worker. (We are sooo not good at that) Finally, she came up to us. Funny enough, she wasn’t anyone that I’d made any eye contact with. So, she sits with us and gives us a packet of stuff from A. It included things about her that she wants Gloria to know and a sonogram! It was so awesome. You have to remember that we didn’t know anything about A. We had a scheduled meeting with her on June 14 but Gloria decided to come earlier that that. (We kept that appointment with her- that’s a story for tomorrow πŸ˜‰) So, it was really cool to learn a little about A. By the time we were able to head up to meet Gloria, the doctor was making his rounds and we had to wait. It’s a whole bunch of ‘hurry up and wait’. I’m not a good waiter. Patience is not a strong suit for me. I get so antsy. Finally, we found a ourselves walking to the NICU! (WOOHOO!!!) For those who don’t know, it is highly secure at hospitals where babies are and there are extra form(s) of security and precautions when it comes to getting into NICU’s. We knocked on the door to let us in. I was feeling so many emotions. I was so happy and excited and nervous and scared. And pretty much every other emotion in between. (Throwing up was not out of the realm of possibilities.) We had waited so long to have a child and here we were.. About to lay our eyes on our daughter, for the very first time! Oh, but then— one of the nurses, Sarah (who is awesome by the way) came out and said, “sorry, you can’t come in”. (Lol. Ugh) Sounded about right. Here we were- FINALLY- about to meet our daughter.. we were so close that I was able to see the corner of her isolette but not her. (I actually didn’t know that it was hers but I remember that one being the only one you could see from outside the door) It ended up that there was something private happening in the NICU and we had to go wait in the waiting room. She was super nice about it and answered all my questions about Gloria’s health before we went to the waiting room. After about an hour and a half we got a phone call saying that we could go in. Finally!! YAY!!! We knocked and they actually let us in! We scrubbed our hands and arms for 3 minutes and slowly walked into the room where Gloria was.. she took my breath away. I couldn’t say anything. All I could do was cry and smile. And shake a little bit. I was in awe of her. There she was.. my amazing daughter. My champ. Such a strong little fighter- all 2 lbs 12 oz of her. We couldn’t hold her because she was intubated. (Understandable but really, it’s all I wanted to do at that moment) We could put our hands through the holes in her isolette and touch her and that– was just an amazing feeling. The pictures tell a good story. ❀😊

I started texting family and close friends daily updates and my mom typed them up and gave them to me. I’m going to share those in my posts.6/13/16 8:34amWe didn’t sleep much last night. We’re so excited. A little nervous. And we just can’t wait. πŸ™‚ It’s crazy to think that our daughter is in there. As of right now we are waiting to hear from the local agent down here to find out when we head to the hospital and all the things we need to do before we can finally meet Glory. I think they said 9:30/10. I think there’s going to be a lot of paperwork and talking/learning about what the next few weeks/months are going to look like. We’ll keep everyone posted. :)10:24amWaiting in the lobby. We’re so excited. Cried a little πŸ™‚ they gave us a sonogram! And a packet that A (birth mother) filled out about her and things that she wants Glory to know. 2:05pmHey all- an update on our day and how awesome Glory is!!! πŸ™‚ We went to meet our social worker at the hospital.. and got lost. Lol. There’s a pic of that. We met so,e really great people at the hospital and there a program that they’re trying to get us in call the the Senate House. It’s basically an apartment that we can stay in for free. That’ll. E great if it works out. We finally went up to meet Glory and we were right outside the door and they closed the floor and we had to go sit in the waiting room for about an hour and a half. Finally, we went in to meet our amazing daughter at 12:35 πŸ™‚ She had to be intubated yesterday to help with her breathing but it looks like she’ll be able to get her tube out today or tomorrow and go back to her C-PAP. She also has a feeding tube. She is strong and doing well. I’ll send some pics πŸ™‚ Also- it turns out that she was 10 weeks early not 9. Oh- and her bilirubin is high so she has her tanning lights on πŸ™‚ >

June 12, 2016- Camp Hill, Here We Come

We woke up in the morning and each got into our own cars to head down to Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. I had never even heard of this town but it was about to become our new home, for a while. We didn’t know for how long but it didn’t matter. Making it work was the name of the game. Whatever it took for our little champ to be ready. Sean left earlier than I did so he could stop at work and get a few things done before heading down. I remember realizing that there were so many people I wanted to tell about being picked by birth mother but hadn’t told yet. (We were waiting until we actually met A. We had an appointment to meet her on June 14th. Gloria was born before we even spoke to her birth mother.) And now we were going to tell these people that our daughter was already here. We had fun plans to tell certain people… Instead I was calling to cancel our lunch/dinner plans and “oh, by the way.. We have a daughter” The drive felt like a blink of an eye. I had an ear piece in and voice recognition so I called a few people on my way to share the news. I remember calling my friend Miranda to tell her. She and her family were the ones we had plans with. So, it started as a, “hey,Β  we can’t make it today.. but I have a really good reason!” type of conversation. LOL. We talked for hours! It was really wonderful! And it was so helpful! (Thanks, Miranda!) Sean and I got a hotel room across the way from the hospital where Gloria was at. We could see it from our window. We couldn’t go there yet because we needed the right legal papers and a social worker from the agency with us. The plan was that we would go in the morning (Monday) to meet with whoever we needed to meet with and sign whatever papers that we needed to sign and finally see our daughter. I remember feeling stir crazy and just staring out the window at the hospital. It was insane to think that our daughter was in there and we couldn’t go see her. We decided the best thing to do would be to get out of the hotel for a bit. We walked to the sports bar, Arooga’sΒ  (awesome wings, by the way) at the other side of the parking lot and watched the Red Sox game. And of course chatted the bar tenders ear off about why we were there. LOL. We ended up spending a lot of time there. Everyone knew us and all about Gloria by the time we left, in August. They treated us like family and it was really great to get to know people there, while we were so far from our support system, back home. πŸ˜ŠπŸ™‚ Pictured- our view of the hospital from our hotel room.

June 11, 2016- 15 Days After The Call

It’s amazing the difference 1 day can make.

Picture this- you get a phone call that a birth mother picked you and she’s due in 3 months. You think to yourself- WOW! 3 months to get ourselves ready. That’s not a lot of time but we can do it! Then, 2 weeks later, you get another phone call that the baby came 10 weeks early and it’s time for you to get to Pennsylvania and be her parents. Here’s the story of the day we got THAT call..

I had been up, sick, all night. I needed to go work a fair but there was just no way I could do it. So, instead of a no show for my business, Sean went. He’s such an awesome husband. I’m a very lucky person in so many ways- on the top of that list, is that I get to share my life with him.I really can go on and on about how awesome he is but that is not what this story is about… So, I heard my phone ring around 10:30 but couldn’t get to it in time. I saw on the caller ID that it was our adoption agency. The voicemail said something like this- “Hi Liz. It’s S (our social worker). Something has happened and I need you to call me as soon as you can. I’ll call Sean’s phone, too.” Her tone of voice was quiet and almost somber. My heart sank. I instantly thought that she was calling because the birth mother had changed her mind. It wouldn’t have been the first time we got that call. My phone rang again. It was Sean. I took a couple deep breaths, braced for impact and answered the phone. He asked how I was feeling and said that Susan had tried to call me. Then he said- “The baby was born last night” My head was spinning. I started crying because I thought that with that somber voicemail in combination with how very early she was, she didn’t make it. When, in a situation like that, always start the sentence with- “everything is ok!” That would have been very helpful. LOL Then Sean said. “No, no, no. The baby is ok. We have a daughter!” The waterworks had already started and there was just no way to stop it. Through the tears we had a crazy conversation. “The birth mother thinks that we might not want her because she was born so early” My brain was swimming but all I could think was- are there actually adoptive parents who change their mind?! How is that possible? That is my child!Β  It didn’t matter how early she was or how much care she would need or that we were moving to another state for an indefinite amount of time. We told our social worker that we absolutely wanted her and that we’ll be on our way as soon as we can. Then we were told that they wanted a name for her right away. We had discussed several names, previously, so I told Sean to pick 2. He chose Gloria Kay- for my grandmother and his mother. 2 of the strongest women we ever knew. Then we got a phone call saying that the birth mother asked if we would use the name Ciara as her middle name. And that’s when we decided that we would hyphenate her first name as Gloria-Kay. Both women were equally important and inspiring.. it made more sense to have both of them, as her first name. I was so happy! I don’t know if I had ever been that happy before. I called my mom- crying my eyes out. Of course, she thought the same thing I did- that something went wrong. Through the tears, I’m trying to tell her that everything was ok. I needed to take a lesson from my book of things to do. ALWAYS START WITH, EVERYTHING IS OK! LOL.

So.. now, we had to figure out the next step(s).

Step 1- Sean packed up at the fair and came back to Guilford. Doing all of that on the phone and not being together, was very tough. I couldn’t wait to just hug him!

Step 2- Champagne at Ballou’s- because, why not?

Step 3- Call the rest of our immediateΒ  family and closest friends to let them know what was going on. It was only 2 weeks since we found out that we were going to be parents. We hadn’t even met her birth mother yet and we certainly didn’t tell many people. It was fun to call people up and tell them that our daughter was born the night before.

Step 4- Pack up. We were headed to Pennsylvania and we had no idea for how long… we had to figure out when we were leaving, where we were going to stay, what we were going to do about our pups and what we were going to do about work. We had no idea how long we were going to be down there so it was a lot of just guessing and speculation.

We had a couple people over for a fire pit and cigars and wine and celebration. We went out to dinner and out to see a band at our local spot. We laughed and cried and shared the amazing news with so many people. After 12 years of disappointment and heartache of trying to start a family (in one form or another)– we were finally parents. It was such an amazing day! I’ll never forget it!
Pictured- after 3 hours, finally getting to see each other after hearing the news 😊❀

June 1, 2016- 5 days after the call

As you might imagine, we were on cloud 9 for the rest of our trip. It may have even been the best trip ever! LOL. I suppose we talked about what all excited expecting parents talk about- how amazing our child will be, how she’ll change the world, what life will be like when she comes, the first time she needs an emergency hospital visit, the first time she needs a non emergency hospital visit, the things she will change in our world, and all the amazing and scary things that having a child brings into your head. The person I was most excited to tell was my twin brother, Jeffrey. I knew that I wanted to do something fun to share the news with him. He (and his now wife) were the last people we were going to tell until we met A and maybe even until the baby was born and papers were signed. I bought a nice Red Sox hat and wrote a note on the inside of the brim. Then we invited them out to dinner. I was going to wait until we sat down dinner to give him the hat but it was really busy and I just couldn’t wait. LOL. I was bursting at the seams to tell him our awesome news. So when we were waiting in the bar for a table to be ready I gave it to him. He didn’t really quite get it at first. He had to read it a couple times. And we had to talk him though it a little. LOL. He thought the uncle Jeffrey was referring to something else. You could see the wheels turning and the expression on his face slowly changed as he started to realize what it meant. His many tears (he loves to cry) and the look of surprise and excitement and joy on his face is something that I will never forget. Being able to share the happiest news of my life with my best bud was such an indescribable feeling. We hadn’t picked a name yet. We had a short list of names we liked but we had 3 months (or so we thought) to pick one which is why it is signed, baby girl Curtin. That was such a fun night!
Hat reads-

May 27th, 2016- The Day We Got The Call

A little bit of a backstory before we get into the year of Glory. Sean and I have been married for just about 13 years. We had planned to start our family right away but life had other plans for us. After about 6 years of “trying”, we decided to find an adoption agency. Once we started, it took us 5 years to be placed with a baby. We ended up with a bad agency, at first. Once we got into our second agency (Adoptions From The Heart) things moved along pretty quickly. More on all that, in the future.

So, onto the day we got the call..

Every year, for Sean’s birthday, I get him tickets and plan a trip, to see the Red Sox play, away games. We’re trying to eventually hit all of the major league parks. We’re big fans. πŸ™‚ Anyways, this particular trip was to Toronto. Great city, by the way. When we landed and we were waiting for the train, I told Sean that when we got back, we needed to talk about where we were in the adoption process and that maybe it was time to look into other options for our life. Things had so tough over the past 5 years, that I was really close to giving up. I felt like we were getting nowhere and that we were just spending a large amount of money in the adoption process and it didn’t feel like an adoption actually was going to come out of it. About 2 hours later, we were sitting at a bar called Jack Asters and my phone rings. It was a number that we didn’t recognize however, it said that it was possibly our social worker. We were in a program that also had emergency placements so all I could think was that we were going to be getting right back on a plane and heading back to the states. I had Sean answer because I was nervous– aaaand I was already 2 tall boys in. (Hey, it was vacation and we were going to a ballgame. LOL) Hearing one side of a very important conversation is quite odd. I knew, at least, that it wasn’t bad news because of the look on Seans face. So, he finally starts telling me what she’s telling him– “a birth mother picked us” (instant tears), “she lives in Pennsylvania”, “she’s due in late august” ,”baby girl!” ,”don’t tell anyone until after you meet her in case it doesn’t go well” (I called my parents immediately- I’m such a rebel). We had a million thank you’s for the amazing news and hung up with her. We wanted to shout it from every corner of the earth. It had been 12 years of wanting a baby and it was finally happening. I called my mom and my dad and told them not to tell anyone- except, of course, my step parents. πŸ™‚ Sean and I took a picture and posted it on the book of face with a caption reading, “ask me about this someday..”Β  We were so excited! We went to the game (red sox lost 7-5, if anyone is interested) and talked about who we wanted to tell. The truth is, our social worker was right. If there was what they call a disruption and we didn’t get the baby, we’d have to tell all those people and it would be incredibly painful. (Unfortunately, that had happened to us before) We came up with a very small list. When we got back to the place we were staying, we opened a bottle of champagne and called/facetimed with Sean’s 2 sisters and my best friend.. and shared the awesome news. So many happy tears! Ok.. so, now we had 3 months to get ready.. buy baby things, tell our family and friends, meet the birth mother (for her privacy, I will be calling her A throughout my posts), and to figure out a plan for staying in Pennsylvania after the baby was born. With all of the legal things that need to happen.. when it comes to out of state adoptions, it was possible that it would take up to 2 weeks before we would be able to leave Pennsylvania and go home to Connecticut. There were so many thoughts going through my mind. 3 months felt like such a small amount of time to get ready. Little did we know, our baby girl would be making her grand entrance much sooner than that..

The picture we posted when we found out πŸ™‚