Hello there. I’m here today to recap our adoption story … the most beautiful story of our lives!
Years ago, when Jeremy and I were newlyweds and we had just bought our first home together, we followed the adoption story of one of my blog friends, Ashley. It was life changing to us, because as we followed along and I was sharing updates with Jeremy every day he turned to me one day and said that he would be open to a special needs adoption. That was the first time we had really had a serious conversation about it (our previous conversations felt way in the future), so we started to look into it. At the time we weren’t both 30 yet (a requirement for China adoptions), but we bookmarked it for the future.
Fast forward five years. We are living in Nashville, finishing up a renovation of a family-sized home and wanting to start a family so badly. We tried to conceive for a while (you can read more about that here), but we set a time limit that if we didn’t conceive by our fifth wedding anniversary we would start an adoption. I began to realize that I was totally fine with not getting pregnant and looking forward to starting the adoption just as much (honestly, even more so!) after I realized that I had never cried in all the months I’d taken negative pregnancy tests. As someone who cries easily (Super Bowl commercials, a slightly harshly worded text message or anytime Forever and For Always comes on—haha), this realization was pretty shocking to me. From that moment on, I embraced adoption as our future plan and at the risk of sounding terribly cheesy, I knew it was our destiny.
After our anniversary, we started to seriously look into options for adoption. After a month of phone calls and emails and reading different stories, we chose to adopt from China. You can read more about the reasons here. After that, we spent the rest of our year doing what felt like a mountain of paperwork. I’m not the most organized person, so this was no small task to me. In the end, I was grateful for how all the paperwork forced me to get more organized and I had never felt “so adult” in all my life. It was pretty empowering!
After that, we waited … from the early winter of 2017 until late summer we were pretty much just waiting. It was the longest and most difficult season of my life. I was so anxious, excited and motivated to become a mom … so not knowing when it was going to happen was pretty frustrating. I surrounded myself with support, we traveled and I dove into completing my home renovation as well as our project house to keep myself busy. It was a very productive year for me professionally, but very brutal personally.
I wrote a few updates during the waiting period: Our Month 10 update, Month 12 and things that helped us cope with the wait to be matched.
But then, one day it happened! We found our daughter! I shared the whole story of our match here. After that, we knew it was just a matter of a few months before we would travel to meet her and become a family of three. It was the greatest feeling on earth!
During the three and a half months we waited to travel, we worked on getting more educated about albinism, finishing up a lot of projects in our careers and preparing our home for a 2-year-old. We were SO HAPPY.
Then, on November 30, we left for China. It was so weird to say goodbye to our friends, our home and our dogs knowing that we’d be back pretty soon with little Nova. We spent two nights in Beijing at the beginning of our trip. We had the best last few date nights (the Peking duck dinner was SO good!) and some time to walk around and experience China without a toddler. But our brains were super focused on what was about to happen … also we had jet lag.
Next, we flew to Changsha, China, which was the capital of the province where Nova’s orphanage was. Jeremy made a video starting the morning we met Nova. We sent it to our families on Christmas Eve (we were unable to be with them this Christmas due to just getting home with Nova). This video is so special to me, I still can’t watch it without crying …
Music by Sleeping At Last. The song is called “Moon.”
We’ve now been with Nova for two months and I finally completed the story of her adoption day (we call it our “family day”), and the two weeks we spent together in China. Adoptions are never easy, whether for the families or the adoptees. That said, I can honestly say it’s the best choice we’ve ever made in our lives and we feel like the luckiest family in the world.
Since we’ve been home, our bond has grown so strong! We are so proud of Nova and I don’t think it’s bad to say we are really proud of ourselves as well. In hindsight, our transition seemed relatively quick and easy, but day by day it’s been super challenging. I think any new parent can relate to these feelings.
We still feel like we’re getting to know Nova (she’s full of surprises!) and we love her more every day. She’s funny and smart and confident and so brave.
On a personal note, I have never been happier! I still wake up every day and cannot believe this is my life now … it’s the most incredible gift. I’m working hard to be present every day and enjoy this season while I’m in it. I’m definitely guilty of over-documenting, but I’m working on that (she’s just too damn cute!).
Throughout our adoption I got a lot of questions, so I compiled them into two massive Q+A posts. You can read part one (about getting started and those early decisions) and part two (about special needs adoptions, China adoptions and questions about money).
Thank you so much for your kindness and love. Our family felt so supported throughout this journey. xx! Elsie