A few months after we received Connor's diagnosis we decided to go ahead with the adoption process. We knew how long it could take and we started classes for the Foster Care/ adoption program in Late January of 2009. We went to 36 hours of training and started our homestudy. We made sure everyone involved was fully aware of our life, Emma's and Connor's. Our assessor was so wonderful and she made everything as comfortable as a Home study could be! We took a few months off around Connor's birth in April and then received our paperwork that we had been approved in mid June of 2009.
A few weeks after that we met our adoption worker for the first time and I immediately felt great about her. I knew she would be a huge help and that I could trust her, which was a great feeling to have in a situation where you have no idea what is really ahead of you! That day our assessor told us of a baby boy in the NICU in Columbus in need of a foster care/ legal risk placement. Legal risk is the term they use when the State plans on fighting for permanent custody of a child, but it hasn't happened yet. So the intent of this is for the foster family to care for the child with the intentions of adopting them. I was immediately ready for this!! Our adoption worker sent us the baby's information and history. He was in the NICU since birth, born with PUV (Posterior Uretheral Valves) which had been fixed with surgery. His prognosis was wonderful, antibiotics to prevent infections and a few other preventative medications. We were told (by the hospital, not the county) that he would need yearly follow up care with a nephrologist and a urologist and was otherwise doing great.
T.J. Wasn't sure about it from the beginning. It was only a few months since we had lost Connor and to be honest I don't know that he ever thought he could love another person's child. After listening to me beg and plead for what seemed like hours I am sure....he said okay. On July 17, 2009 we went to Columbus Children's hospital to meet our baby boy. We decided to name him Dillon. He was so cute and small, but huge for the NICU! He was doing great as well. We spent the next 2 days traveling back and forth to Columbus and brought him home on July 19.
The next few weeks were spent bonding with him, cuddling and getting used to a newborn again. Anna loved him right away. She called him Dilly, as soon did the rest of us. She was such an amazing big sister caring for him and showing him his toys and such. He fit in well with our little family and we were beginning to see what the rest of our lives could be like with him. T.J. Fell for him fast too. After 3 weeks of this new little family I took him for a full day of follow up tests at Cincinnati Children's. Dillon was so good, I even bought him a lamb chop puppet at the gift shop. The next weeks we were scheduled to get the results with his doctor's. We stood in the office with Dillon's foster care worker and discussed how great he had been doing and how well things were going. She told us about his case and his bio mother. Then the doctor's and nurse came in. They begin to paint a picture that we were completely floored by. Dillon had major kidney damage. The severe reflux caused by the PUV had taken his Kidney's down to 34%. He would need to be cathed every 3 hours for the rest of his life and there was a large chance he would need a kidney transplant in his childhood. When I ask for a life expectancy they said it was too soon to be able to give me one. T.J. And I stood in the office stunned. How could there be such a difference in these two hospitals? What were we going to do?
We went home and talked and cried. How could this be happening? We spoke with his workers, the head of the urology department, the home health care nurses and our families. We had come to love this helpless little child, Anna had come to love him as well. But, in our minds we knew we couldn't put ourselves in a situation like this. Not this soon after Connor. We made the agonizing decision to find him another placement.
It didn't take too long until we received the call that they had found a family. I was so scared that this family wouldn't be “good enough” for him. But, the first time I called his new Mom I knew that this was his family. They were young, energetic and had 1 adopted son and a soon to be adopted daughter. They came to meet Dillon and I saw the love in his mom's eyes. The same love I felt the first time I saw him, and I knew everything would be okay for him. The next week they came and took him home. I sent all of the clothes, gifts, equipment and toys that were his. We kissed him goodbye and that could have been forever. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. I have become very close with his Mom and Anna with his sister. His name is now Aidric and they ware awaiting his courtdate to make that official. He has since had a surgery and a Urostimy bag put in and he is thriving! He babbles, he walks and he loves to climb stairs. Most importantly Anna and I see him once a week for play dates, she still calls him Dilly.
After Dillon left we knew we needed some time to heal. We weren't sure if we could ever take another foster placement. In early September we received a call from our worker about a newborn baby boy. He was still in the hospital and ready to come home the next day. Everything told me no in my head, but in my heart could I turn down a newborn? We said we could take him, but then within the hour we had to call our worker back and I told her we weren't ready. I wasn't ready. After losing Connor and then everything with Dillon I just couldn't do it. We decided to ask our worker to take our names off of the placement list. We would let her know when we were ready and at the time we weren't sure if we would ever call her back. Then I happened to be on the website for our county one day. Looking at pictures of waiting children (those in permanent custody awaiting adoption). Most of these children are over the age of 7, or they have been placed in a forever family already. There was one picture that was different. I was immediately drawn to these big brown eyes. I read the description and saw he didn't have a placement yet. I called our worker and asked her about him. She said they were no longer accepting home studies, but she would call his worker. The next news was that she had our home study added to the other 40 families who wanted him as well. This was the only way I got T.J. To agree to put it in. He thought we had no chance, I however thought the opposite. In early October they had the first meeting with all of his advocates to narrow down the families. We received a phone call that we were a part of the 11 to be taken to Match committee. The next few weeks I tried not to think about it, but how can you not? The day of match committee we went to Sams on North Bend with my sister and the kids. I remember having a happy anxious feeling all morning. It was like I was waiting for good news. My phone rang as I walked into the the entrance of Sams. I was showing the lady my membership card and our worker gave us the news, he was ours! I was so excited I started crying and jumping up and down. I hugged the Sams employee and told her the great news. I told everyone who was looking at me as I created a scene. We are having a boy...he is ours! I called T.J. And I am sure the shock got him, here he had agreed to this thinking it would never happen and it has. We were so over the moon happy, and had a lot to get ready. We decided to name him Wyatt and we counted the days until we could meet him.
On November 19, 2009 we met our new son. He ran up to T.J. And grabbed his leg. As if he knew that Daddy needed a little reassurance. From that moment, he was a Daddy's boy. We played and talked to his foster Mom. We went back on Friday with Anna and her first time meeting him was amazing. He loved her as much as she loved him. We had two more visits, then a weekend visit. The Monday before Thanksgiving Wyatt came home forever!! we signed our paperwork on December 4th and that marked our 6 month waiting period to finalize. I have to admit that everything went much better than I could have ever expected. Wyatt was great, Anna was amazing and everything kind of just fell into place. It didn't take long until none of us could even remember life without Wyatt. Every time we had a visit from a worker or GAL they would tell us this is the smoothest, easiest transition they have ever had. I kept knocking on wood when they said it!
The months went pretty quickly with so many reasons to celebrate and life in general getting used to having a 1 ½ year old little boy around! We received our court date in June. On June 25th Wyatt became an official part of our family. I can't explain the feeling of relief, knowing he is our family forever! Anna has asked me so many times, now Mommy since Wyatt is our brother he doesn't have to go back to him's house ever again? Never again Annie, this is him's house.
So that is where we are. In a little over a year from losing Connor our life has been happily hectic. We wouldn't have it any other way though! We have been so blessed and our life is probably not near what we thought it would be 6 years ago when we got married. But, we are happy, we are in love and we have an amazing family. What more could you possibly ask for?