Friday, September 2, 2011

Placement Day--Noah's Adoption Story Part 4

Adoption terminology has changed in the past few decades.  Instead of saying that a birth mom is "giving up" her baby for adoption, it is better to say she is "placing" her baby for adoption.  Thus, "placement" is the day when the birth parents sign the legal paperwork relinquishing their parental rights and the adoptive parents take custody of the baby.

This is an exciting, nerve-wracking, heartbreaking, and emotional day for everyone involved.  I think sometimes the birth parents sign the paperwork in front of the adoptive parents; other times, they sign the paperwork in a different room.  Sometimes the birth parents sign the papers and immediately place the baby in the adoptive parents' arms, almost like a formal moment of transition; other times it's much less formal.  It all depends on what the birth parents feel comfortable with.  Different states have different laws about how soon the birth parents can sign the papers and how much time they have to change their minds after signing.

In Utah, Katie could sign as soon as 24 hours after he was born, as long as she wasn't taking any pain killers, and once she signed the papers, she could not change her mind.  She had to be totally sure of her decision when she signed the relinquishment.

Katie had been thinking about this decision for months, and she knew she wanted to proceed the day after Noah was born.  She and Drew chose to sign the paperwork on the morning of August 2nd, in their own room with just their case worker and Katie's dad present.  We were in our room with Noah, feeling excited and nervous.  After about thirty minutes, Katie's case worker came to our room.  She poked her head in the door, smiled at us, and said, "They signed the papers."

And just like that, we had a son.

I wasn't sure if I would cry in that moment.  I am generally not a big crier (hard to believe, I know, with how much I've cried about this adoption!), and I thought this moment might feel more like a legal formality than a sentimental milestone--but I should've known...tears immediately sprang into my eyes when I heard her words.  Ryan grabbed my hand, and when I turned to look at him, his eyes were full of tears as well.  The long road of infertility and adoption was over--we really and truly had a son--we couldn't believe it.

We signed our portion of the paperwork, and then the caseworker left, and we sat side-by-side and held Noah, looking down at him in awe.  Our perfect, precious little boy.

About an hour later, Katie and Drew came to our hospital room.  We hugged them and thanked them and told them that we loved them and Noah.  It is humbling to be so unable to express the depth of what you're feeling--and words seemed so inadequate.  We gave them some special gifts we had chosen for them, hoping the gifts would be a small but tangible reminder of our feelings for them.

We had asked Ryan's mom to make Katie and Noah matching quilts.  She used the same quilt pattern but different fabrics.  She asked me to pick a quote or a scripture that I wanted as an inscription in the corner of both quilts.  I chose Philippians 1:3: "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."  For the rest of my life, I will be inexpressibly grateful for Katie and for Noah.

A gift for Drew had been harder to come up with.  We didn't think he would want a cutesy quilt, but we also wanted him to have something meaningful to "match" Noah in some way.  One day, when I was thinking about Drew and his interests, I thought about his distinctive sense of style--and it came to me!...  Drew and Noah needed matching Vans shoes!  Every time we had seen Drew, he was wearing Vans, and I knew he would definitely approve of Baby Noah having his own pair. :)

The five of us spent some time together, and then Katie and Drew took Noah back to their hospital room and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with him.  Katie was being discharged that night, and we would leave just before her with Noah, so many of their family members came to say goodbye to the baby.  It was a sweet, emotional time for everyone.  We shared a special family prayer with both of their families, and then everyone left so Katie and Drew could have some final quiet time with Noah before we took him home.

They brought him to our hospital room about an hour later, and with tears streaming down their faces, they hugged us and placed Noah in our arms and kissed him.  Katie later told me that this, more so than the signing of the papers or any other moment to that point, was the hardest thing she'd ever done.

With our hearts full of gratitude and prayers for Katie and Drew, we bundled up Noah in his car seat and left the hospital as a family of three.

 This is what heaven feels like!

Still to come...
     Part 5--So Many Visitors!
     Part 6--The Road Trip Home

...and then I will stop, I promise! :)


  1. I read an Ensign article once about a woman who placed her child for adoption and how difficult it was for her to do it, even though she knew it was right. I have a friend who placed a child her senior year in high school and I wrote her an e-mail almost immediately to express my admiration for her bravery to do the best and right thing, despite how hard it was to do. What a sweet, brave, selfless girl. I hope she is strengthened in her decision for eternity.

  2. Words fail me right now, but trust my tears at your beautiful words and thoughtfulness express more than words can.

  3. Such a beautiful and amazing story. I cry every time I read your blog. The selflessness of Katie and Drew is beyond words. I admire them and pray for them, and I don't even know them. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Rachel,
    It has been wonderful to read along with your whole process. I'm glad you're having such a wonderful experience. What a wonderful blessing for all of you.
    I'm going to echo others' sentiments, though, and say don't stop. Things just get more fun!

  5. Your gifts to Katie and Drew were so thoughtful. I love that scripture! It's perfect.

    Also, you don't have to stop. :D

  6. I love hearing your story. Every single post I read makes me tear up. Thank you so much for sharing Rachel!

  7. Don't stop, don't stop!! I love reading your blog...although lately I cry almost every time I do:) What an amazing journey! Can't wait to meet this little mister in a couple days when you come to visit ABQ!!

  8. THanks for sharing your experiences. I felt some intense emotion as I read your words and have thought about the miracle of little Noah. So happy for you both to have such a long sought for blessing- for I know how amazing both you and Ryan are and how lucky Noah is to have you as parents. I also am amazed and touched by Katie and incredibly selfless they are. Praying for them and all of you! Love you guys!

  9. Ok, all I can think about is one thing: NO PAINKILLERS 24 HOURS AFTER THE BIRTH?!?!?! You MUST mean no narcotics, because NO PAINKILLERS?!?! Even if you didn't have any stitches or a C-Section scar that would require perkoset, one of the most painful things about it is that your uterus is trying to expel all the extra blood it's been building up to pad the baby so it's like the worst menstrual cramps imaginable. NO PAINKILLERS?!?!

  10. I am just getting caught up! I cried at the sight of the blankets and the incredibly beautiful inscription. And the sneaks could NOT be any more perfect. You are the best!!!

  11. Along with everyone else, I too hope you don't stop posting! This has been such a great and inspirational journey you've been sharing with us.


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