February 16th, 2010
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Sweet Baby Bella - February 2010I am slightly sleep deprived.

Wait, let me back up. I have a new baby–a beautiful little girl–and I’m slightly sleep deprived.

Sometimes life takes some unexpected turns. And sometimes the outcome of said unexpected turns is amazingly beautiful.

As some of the more regular readers might recall, we were in the process of adopting from Ethiopia. Long story short, before we even started on compiling our dossier, we had a change of heart and decided to pursue an adoption through the foster care system. In the middle of December, we met with our new social worker (did I mention we needed a completely new home study even though we just had a favorable one approved in July? More on that one later, believe me) and discussed our interest in adopting either a sibling set or a special needs child. But before we were able to adopt from foster care, our journey took a quintessentially unexpected turn.

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The day after we officially met our social worker, she called and asked if we were open to a special needs baby and an open adoption. She proceeded to offer us some information on the baby’s diagnosis and her medical history. After researching for hours on end, we called and said we’d be honored if baby girl’s birth mom would even consider us.

We wrote our “Dear Birthmother” letter; we took photos of our home. Baby girl, from this point on known as Bella, was still in the hospital, but would be released shortly before Christmas. We held our breath as we waited to hear Bella’s birth mom’s response to our letter and photographs. The news was good: she liked us.  And wanted to meet us. We were thrilled.

We met at a restaurant in Chicago prior to Bella’s release from the hospital; both of our social workers were present and birth mom came with her father. The meeting went really well; birth mom was (is) fantastic. We waited to hear of Bella’s release (which happened later that day) into foster care as well as birth mom’s opinion about the meeting, and more importantly, of us. It was good. Very, very good. She wanted to meet again in just under two weeks, this time at our house.

For reasons beyond anyone’s control (additional medical concerns about Bella at this time), the meeting was postponed for several weeks. When we finally saw birth mom again at our house, we were able to meet her mom and see her dad again as well (additionally, birth mom’s social worker was present). That meeting also went really, really well. Shortly thereafter, birth mom made her decision: we were the right family for her precious, beautiful baby girl.

On February 4, birth mom signed surrenders. We met at her mom’s house (birth mom’s) and met Bella for the first time. It was magical, beautiful, perfect. We spent some time with birth mom and her family, spoke at length with Bella’s foster mom, and returned to our home that evening–where Bear and Beauty were waiting with my mom–with Bella in tow. We were, and are, a family of five, completed completely. And we have an even bigger family now; we are so blessed to share a forever bond with birth mom and her family. It’s been an amazing journey;  it all happened so unexpectedly but couldn’t have been any more of a blessing.

Having a daughter with special needs will pose new challenges. In fact, we are very much still learning her (at less than two weeks in) as she is learning us. We feel privileged that we will be the ones at her side as she faces (and surmounts) said challenges. Our family–and our hearts–are now complete; sometimes the most unexpected turn of events leads to the greatest blessing.

Photo Credit: 2010. Courtney O.

3 Responses to “It’s a GIRL!”

  1. Reven says:

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, and I just wanted to say congrats on the new addition to your family :)

  2. Robyn C says:

    Congratulations! She’s beautiful!

  3. [...] international adoption, and now, parenting children with special needs. If you happened upon my most recent post in adoptive parenting, you probably already know that I’m now a mother of three, having just welcomed home our [...]

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