We awoke on Thanksgiving Day and headed to the hospital late morning. Again, we did not want to trespass on the birth parents precious time with Ryker (following suit of what we learned through our first adoption with an agency). We had not yet heard when they would be discharged, but we thought it would likely be today.
When we arrived, Namo and Loriann were sleeping soundly. The nurses offered to bring baby to another room across the hall so we could spend time with him.
Our little baby burrito was brought to us and we were able to hold him in our arms for the first time.
Felt like heaven. . . Finally, we were able to snuggle him.
We fed and changed him and soaked him in.
After the birth parents awoke we learned that yes, discharge would happen that day.
None of us really knew how things were supposed to take place. No attorney present. No adoption coordinator present. There was literally no one there to guide us through this.
We had spoken with our attorney by phone earlier that morning and he told us that according to Oklahoma law since we did not have a written order for custody yet, the "transfer" of the baby could not take place within the hospital. He told us that typically the birth parents chose to send the baby with the adoptive parents anyway, even without them having legal custody rights and the "exchange" usually took place in the hospital parking lot (sounds cold and callous). However, the birth parents could choose to do it however they preferred and in actuality could keep the baby within their custody until the court proceedings took place (which happened to be scheduled 1 week away).
Namo and Loriann were unsure of how things were supposed to happen, and were and asking us for direction, so we told them what we little we knew from our conversation with the attorney earlier that morning.
This adoption was very different than Brody's adoption which took place through an agency. It felt like the blind leading the blind, and in that moment I wished (mostly for their sake) we had our caseworker from LDS Family Services there to guide us through the process. It seemed unfair to our birth parents to not have a support system in place, a caseworker there to provide encouragement and words of comfort.
We visited with them for a bit, gave them some gifts (which seemed so small and insignificant compared to the gift we would soon be given), and then told them we would leave so they could spend the remaining time with Ryker alone at the hospital, for which they seemed very grateful.
The nurses took our number so they could call us when it was time for discharge to happen.
We ran a few errands and picked up some last minute baby supplies.
Then we ventured out to find something open on Thanksgiving so we could grab a bite to eat.
The only place we could find was Dairy Queen.
Hardly a Thanksgiving feast, but we weren't all that hungry anyway!
A couple hours later the nurse called us and told us they were getting ready to go over discharge papers.
We headed back to the hospital, our hearts pounding as we made our way up to the labor and delivery floor. We were nervous.
When we arrived the nurses were just finishing up discharge instructions with Loriann.
We watched Loriann and Namo lovingly and carefully feed, and change Ryker as they snuggled, kissed, and talked to him. Once again, it was such a mix of emotions. It's never easy to watch someone say goodbye to their baby. And there is guilt knowing that your joy stems from the same place as their pain.
Yet they were so very brave, and so selfless and steadfast in their decision.
Our hearts ached for them, and swelled with love for them and for our baby boy.
When it was time to go we exited the hospital together, and as we walked through the front doors, Namo handed Ryker to Brent in his car seat. We made our way to our car together, placed Ryker inside, and exchanged hugs. As Namo walked away, I will never forget him turning around with a pained look on his face saying, "I can't look back."
Brent and I drove the 10 miles to our hotel in awe as we quietly, and humbly pondered the extreme act of love and strength we had just witnessed.
Half of our hearts were breaking, the other half was swelling with love and gratitude.
It felt like a dream. . .
We got back to the hotel and carefully took Ryker out of his car seat.
It was just the two of us with our baby boy.
Now we could let go of our hesitations, and completely and fall in love with him.
And we did.
Everything about him was perfect.
His perfect plump, but tiny lips. The wrinkles on the back of his soft neck. His beautiful brown skin. His soft, black, fluffy baby hair. (This was the thick, black hair I had dreamt about. Almost 1.5 years prior, as we were amidst the steps of becoming approved to adopt I had repeated dreams of a baby with lots of black hair. Little did I know at the time, that later on we would be led down a path to a Marshallese baby.)
We spent the next few days soaking him in, getting to know our sweet baby.
We feel so blessed and so lucky to welcome Ryker to our eternal family. We know that he was meant to come to us, and in this way. Our Heavenly Father chose him and sent him to our family for a reason.
We are so humbled to be his parents.
There were so many miracles that happened along the way.
Starting with the day back in late February 2013 when my friend Sherrie told me about her friend's daughter who had adopted a baby through this attorney in Arizona. I immediately wanted to know more and as I learned more, I felt pulled in that direction. Something in my heart told me this was the way we would find our baby, instead of through our agency.
Fast forward. Nine months after that initial conversation, we were holding Ryker in our arms.
I look at him daily
and at his awesome big brother, Brody, with gratitude to our Heavenly Father for blessing us with this both of these amazing little boys.
Ryker's Story Part 4
Ryker's Story Part 4