Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s almost all I can say… But… I promised you a story so here it is!
On the night of Thursday, January the 12th, Jeremiah and I were getting home late from dinner with some friends. Just when we reached the door Jeremiah said “Oh.. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th.” I replied “Well then… tomorrow is going to be a lucky day for us!” And this is where our story begins.
Friday started like any other day. Jeremiah got up and went to work. I got up and headed to the gym. I was going to my Friday morning Zumba class. J When the class was over I grabbed my purse and headed to the car. I happened to glance at my phone and noticed I had 3 missed phone calls and 2 voicemails. That seemed odd for it being fairly early on a Friday morning. I got to the car and listened to the messages. The first message was from Mark Iverson. (Our adoption Lawyer) He said something like “Hi Danielle, this is Mark. Could you give me a call as soon as possible? It’s about a potential baby.”. I felt my heart racing a little bit… but the message was so vague I didn’t really know what to make of it. Jeremiah had left the second message. He said that he was leaving work and that we needed to go to Mark’s office and meet with him. I called Jeremiah right away. He was already in his car driving home. He was going to pick me up and then we were going to head down to Mark’s office. Jeremiah knew a little bit more than I had gotten from Mark’s message. Apparently there was a couple at his office and they had a baby with them. So that’s basically all we knew.
I got home and showered super fast and we headed down to Mark’s office. On the way to the office we were talking and just wondering out loud if the baby had a name. We realized that we had never really talked about baby names before. Since we didn’t know the gender of the baby we started talking about names we liked for either gender. We came up with several that we both agreed we liked. I guess since we knew we couldn’t have children of our own the thought of talking about baby names never really occurred to either of us.
We pulled up to Mark’s office and got inside and quickly and calmly as we could. We met Mark inside. He brought us into his office. There wasn’t anyone else in there but I saw a baby carrier in the corner with a diaper bag. There wasn’t anything that indicated the gender of the baby. He let us know that the couple was down stairs at the café getting some lunch and that he would go get them. He told us that they had come into his office that morning looking for a family to place their baby with and that they had chosen our profile out of the 4 others they had seen and wanted to meet us in person. He told us the baby was a week old but still didn’t mention the gender. I was getting pretty anxious to know at this point. Mark went downstairs to get the couple so we could meet them. Jeremiah and I sat nervously in his office for several minutes waiting for them to get back upstairs. I can’t even tell you how many thoughts went through my head that day. They might have sounded somewhat like this. “Oh my goodness! Are we going to be bringing a baby home today? Are we even ready for this? Of course we’re ready for this! Why would we have started this process if we weren’t ready… we’re definitely ready. Oh man what if it’s a boy! I don’t know what I’ll do with a boy. Hmm.. I wonder what color we should paint the bedroom? Oh man! If this really happens Deb is going to flip! But wait… we don’t know anything yet so I shouldn’t be getting so excited… But I can’t help it!! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!!!” Yeah…. That’s pretty much exactly what was going through my head.
So finally Mark gets back up stairs and introduces us to the birth parents and the baby… and FINALLY we find out it’s a boy! J Dakota Mikeal was an absolutely gorgeous baby! Mark let us visit and get to know each other for 10-15 minutes by ourselves. We got to hear their story and also share a little more about ourselves with them. They were pretty young. 21 and 20. They had been married for a year and hadn’t planned on having children so soon. They weren’t financially stable. The birth mother had only finished a year of college and the birth dad was working nights. You could see their love for baby Dakota. It was very apparently. Both parents were healthy and had kept Dakota very healthy through the pregnancy. They were making a very selfless decision based on love for their baby and their desire to see him have a bright future.
In reading our birthmother letter there were several things that stood out to them that made them chose us. One being that we are both musical and so is the Birth father. He plays any instrument that has strings basically. The other thing was that I’m a photographer and the Birth mother is going to school so she can open a photography studio. They were really excited that we had those things in common.
Mark excused us from the room for a while so he could chat with them a little more to see how they were feeling about us… I guess the feelings were positive because we all started signing paper work. We wouldn’t be bring Dakota home that day. The birth parents wanted to get the chance to spend a little more time with him and say goodbye. The court date was set for Tuesday (just 4 days later) and we would bring Dakota home with us then. We both were happy with that… since that at least gave us 4 days to mentally and physically prepare to have a baby in our home. There had never been a thought in our heads that this would happen so soon and so fast. We had always imagined getting matched up with a young girl in high school or a similar situation like that and have at least a few months to prepare before the delivery. So this totally caught us off guard. Especially since we had just finished our birth mother letter 3 days before Mark called us.
Dakota had his one week old appointment to go to that same day and Mark asked if we’d like to go along with them. Of course we did! He had grown and inch and had gained a few ounces. He was very healthy! We both got to hold him while we were at the appointment. That was a pretty crazy experience. I was looking down at this perfect tiny baby boy and thinking that he would be my son in just a few days. It didn’t seem real! We left the appointment and started visiting our closest family members and friends to let them know the good news. Everyone was as shocked as we were. It just seemed too good to be true which is what I asked Jeremiah that night when we got home. Was this all too good to be true? Can it really have been that easy for us?
Saturday morning we got up and started shopping. I had a baby room to make! We got paint and went by Babies R Us and picked up a few things we thought we might need. We got home around noon and I had just finished cleaning everything out of my office (which would soon be the babies room) when we got a phone call from Mark. My stomach started feeling sick even before I knew what he was going to say. He told me that the birth parents had called him and were considering some other options where they would be able to keep custody of Dakota. They hadn’t made their mind up completely but would call him Monday morning with their final answer. He told me that if they took the time to call him and let him know they were considering other options… then the chance of them going through with the adoption was very small. He said 95% of the couples who call him with second thoughts end up keeping their baby. Needless to say me and Jeremiah were very sad and disappointed but at the same time I couldn’t help feeling happy for them. I had seen how much they loved Dakota and knew this was not an easy decision for them. If they had found an option for them that would allow them to keep him… how could I be upset about it? Here’s what the thoughts in my head might have sounded like after that phone call. “I knew it was too good to be true. We had to experience the heartache of a failed adoption attempt at some point. I guess it’s good that it was only 1 day that we got our hopes up instead of 3 or more months of anticipation only to have the birth parents chance their mind. He was such a cute baby! I guess this teal blue color could work for a boy or a girl… I might as well keep painting because they really haven’t given a final answer yet and it would be really nice to finally get rid of these horrid pink and green stripes!” And that’s what I did. Jeremiah had school to work on so James came over and helped me pull the nails out of the wall, patch the holes and prime the room. It was really nice having James there to talk to. I kept my mind off of everything and just painted.
Around 3:30 my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered. It was the birth father! He told me that he had tried to call Mark but since he didn’t answer he thought he’d just call me in person. They had left Dakota at his parents house and went for a drive to clear their heads and to talk about everything. They had decided to go through with the adoption. They had gotten a lot of negative responses from some of their family members that made them second guess the choice they were making… but he said they just had to go with what their heart was telling them to do. Their heart said that we were good people and they knew we would take care of Dakota and offer him more than they could. Heavens to Betsy!! What a rollercoaster of emotions we had gone through in those 24 hours. I’m not sure I’ve ever experience so many emotions in such a short period of time.
That weekend was a blur. Tuesday seemed so close... but it took forever to finally get here! The court date was set for Tuesday since Monday was a holiday and the court house was closed. We got there and met Mark and the birth parents. We would be waiting out in the hallway while the actual court appointment took place. The birth fathers mom was there and waited out in the hallway with us. She was a very nice lady. With tears in her eyes she told us that she had prayed and prayed that Dakota would end up with a Christian family and one that would teach him about God’s love and was so happy when Dakota’s parents had shared our birth mother letter with her. She knew we were the answer to her prayers.
I cried a lot that day. Up until that point I hadn’t. I think I had been so overwhelmed that I didn’t know how to respond to all the emotions I was feeling and going through. They all hit me there in the court house hallway. Jeremiah and I were going to be parents! I was going to be a momma! We were going to be bringing Dakota home in just a few hours to meet his new family. It was such a humbling moment for me.
Typically after the birth parents are done with their court appointment they would come and hand the baby to the adoptive parents and go their separate ways. That just felt cold and formal. We decided to go to coffee with them afterwards so we could visit more and make the switch as comfortable as we could. We had a pleasant visit with them and after an hour or so they said their goodbyes to Dakota. I cried again. Such a bitter sweet moment. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness at the fact that we were bringing home our son… but so sad for the pain I could see in his birthparents eyes.
We have agreed on an open adoption. What the agreements states is that the birthparents will have 2 supervised visits a year with Dakota and that we’ll send letters and pictures twice a year as well. If we decide that we are comfortable with making further arrangements for visits then we can do that. At this point… I feel very comfortable with having an open relationship with Dakota’s birth parents. They are very nice people and I think it will be important for Dakota to know them and know that he was loved very much by them. However if the situations ever change we will always put Dakota’s best interests first.
So we’ve had Dakota for a week and a day! I have loved every minute of it! Even getting up in the wee small hours of the morning to feed and change him has been exciting for me. He is the sweetest baby I’ve ever know. He is so calm and loves to cuddle! He smiles in his sleep all the time and even giggles some times. It melts my heart every time! His daddy loves him so much too! He is so proud to have a son! Its crazy to think that only 8 days ago I was finding it hard to imagine my life with Dakota in it… but really it only took one day for me to find it hard to imagine my life without him.
The adoption isn’t final yet. We have to have Ruth Moe come back to our home to do a post placement inspection and then after that’s been done and everything checks out okay… Dakota Mikeal will be Dakota Mikeal DuPey!
Thank you everyone who prayed for us and sent us encouraging messages. Those meant a lot to both of us!
I would like to send a special thank you to our church family at Northside Church of Christ! They helped us start our adoption fund and so many of our friends and family there donated to help us raise the money it would take for this adoption. I have to admit that most of the time I felt guilty for receiving help… And maybe it’s because we were receiving money for something we didn’t have yet. I’m not sure why I felt that way… but now every time I look down at Dakota and think about everything that our friends and family at Northside have done I am only filled with humility and gratefulness. I don’t think we can thank any of you enough for what you have done for us! But we will try! J
This won’t be the last blog you get from us! J We named our site “TheDuPeyFamily” for a reason. We want to continue writing blog posts every once in a while so you all can know how Dakota is doing!
I love you all!! I am the happiest momma on the face of the planet right now!