Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Long Road Home

After the hospital, all we had to do was stay at my aunt and uncle's house until we were given the okay to leave Minnesota. This took a week last time. And what a wonderful week it was! My aunt and uncle took such good care of us. I couldn't imagine spending the first days of my children's life any where else!

Well... God likes to teach me that I am not in control. He likes for me to know that I am foolish for making plans because they almost always do not match up with what he has in store for me. (Funny Guy that way!)

So it turns out that this stay in Minnesota was going to have lots of twists and turns through incompetent people and a process that only God seemed to understand because it took us almost a month to get home. (Future adoptive parents, don't let this story scare you!)

When we left the hospital with Katelynn, it was also a day to remember. All of the nurses in Minnesota decided to go on strike. Security was like Fort Knox and it was near impossible trying to leave with a child that was not legally ours yet. They call it a legal risk placement for a reason.

When we left the hospital with Kennedy, the nurses were all there. We said our good-byes and we were on our way with our two babies under a year in our back seat! My husband and Kate stayed the weekend in Minnesota with us and then headed back home to Wisconsin because, hey, it should take that long for things to get approved....WRONG!

My heart broke in half as I watched my husband and first baby leave for home but it gave me time to get into a routine with my new baby. Wednesday rolled around and I still hadn't heard anything from the birthparent counselor or our social worker. Around 3 in the afternoon I received a call from our birthmother stating that she wanted to go in to sign papers to give up her rights so we could go home but they advised her not to. If she signed off her rights then the birthfather would be able to take custody of the baby. She was told we would still be able to go home soon even if she didn't sign...fine by me as long as she would eventually sign and we could go home soon.

I called our social worker to tell her (which is the wrong, I am not supposed to be doing any of the calling) she thought it was strange that they didn't tell us this in our last adoption which happened 11 months earlier.

An hour later our birthmother called back again and said she just found out that if she doesn't sign papers now, Kennedy and I would have to stay in Minnesota for 30 days until birthfather's rights are naturally terminated. 30 DAYS!!!! I freaked. I called my social worker to inform her (again, wrong). She tried to call the office in Minnesota to find out what was going on and they were ... closed. You see, getting my child and me home was not a priority to them because they weren't the ones that had to be separated from their child and spouse.

I, not so patiently, waited until the next day. I tried to call the birthparent counselor, the office, the lawyer, everyone I could think of that could give me an explanation. Then I was scolded by the director of the adoption agency in Minnesota and the director of the adoption agency in Wisconsin for meddling with things. I needed to let people do their jobs. So I waited through another weekend.

Monday morning I was informed that if we could get birthfather to sign the papers first and then birthmother could sign them and then we could go home. So I wasn't supposed to meddle but I did need to call birthfather and ask him to sign papers giving up his rights to his daughter. Super easy conversation, right?

So birthfather agreed to sign papers but I couldn't tell the birthparent counselor that because she had gone home for the night. On Tuesday she tried to set up an appointment with birthfather but he had no means of getting to the office. On Wednesday the counselor told him she could bring him the papers. On Thursday birthfather decided that this wasn't a good week for signing papers. We are back to the weekend -- Labor Day weekend. I was not good company.

On Tuesday birthfather signed papers. I had to pick up birthmother to bring her to sign papers because she didn't have a ride either. Tuesday night our papers were not faxed to the appropriate places. They sat on someones desk. Wednesday morning our papers were lost. Yup, lost. No one knew where they were and the counselor was on vacation and the director who scolded me suddenly knew nothing of our case. My social worker tried to call her. She avoided her. The Wisconsin director tried to call her. She avoided her too.

Our papers miraculously appeared on Thursday and were sent out for approval. Didn't think I would be going home again that week and we were cutting it really close to Katelynn's first birthday. I also had to miss my baby brother's graduation from high school.

Friday morning I received a call from our social worker tell me I could go home. I cried, fed my baby, and made the great exodus from the state of Minnesota without looking back.

Shame on those workers for keeping a family separated for so long. 

God Bless our social worker and the office in Wisconsin for working overtime to try to get us home quickly. 

We were home at last!

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