Day 65

We woke up to comments from all over the place! You guys are so awesome, and sharing this incredible experience with so many of our nearest and dearest – and Kat’s nearest and dearest! – will remain one of the most poignant, life-changing moments we ever experience.

Today we signed papers for an emergency ICPC agreement. This is the paperwork that allows you to transfer oversight of temporary adoptive custody to another state. We won’t need it for a few weeks, but it takes some time to process. We need it to leave Utah.

During our first 3 months back home, our caseworker will visit us and write reports about how fabulous we are as a family. Then in September, Tess’ adoption will be finalized in Utah. We may or may not need to come back for that. I know people hesitate to ask questions, but I’ve gotten a few from family (yes, our quiet, unopinionated and shy people!), and figured I’d share some of the most frequent answers.

• Tess is ours, despite the temporary custody. It’s adoptive custody, with the understanding we want it to be permanent and it will be barring any secret axe murderer tendencies. I think we’re safe. No one will take her away from us because we wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize her well-being. This temporary period confirms our appropriateness as parents through caseworker involvement, and protects the child involved from being placed in a home where she can’t be sufficiently cared for. Not going to be an issue.

• As much as Kat and Spencer love Tess, they can’t revoke their decision to let us adopt her – at least not according to the state of Utah (differs around the country). Despite which they wouldn’t. They seem quite happy with us as adoptive parents. Yay for us!

• The caseworker is not scary and judgy. She’s got a great sense of humor and imagination (thank God – we showed her a nursery with no floor and missing a wall!), and has been as flabbergasted and cheerful as we have about 3 months in the NICU. We’re pretty big fans. She says this temporary period is her favorite: she comes to visit and parents get to gush about their children. Who wouldn’t want to play with happy kids in their new homes?!

• Open adoption is determined by the 2 sets of parents involved. It can involve pictures and photos once per year, a single meeting at or before the birth or regular visits. There’s no set definition. In our case, it’s included family dinners and multiple hospital visits, and will include letters and photos and the blog. We love the flexibility it’s given us, and think it’s one of those things that can grow and thrive based on what you’re willing to put into it. We have no regrets whatsoever about how ours is playing out.

It seems odd to us to be signing more paperwork, as on a normal adoptive timeline we would have done this months ago. Still, each step towards taking Tess home makes my heart skip a beat.

Tess is having a brain growth day, meaning she pounded her morning bottle and slept through the afternoon.

I’m having an anti-people day, and will therefore work from the house tomorrow. It’s incredible that its taken me almost 9 weeks before needing some alone time. My hermit tendencies are coming to the fore! I’m daydreaming about Saturdays in our house, where we only have to see other people of we feel like it. I can hear mom snort from here. 🙂 My antisocial tendencies are showing. this is no reflection on the fabulousness of the Utahns or Wisconsinites we know and love – just me, and my fixation on the approaching homeward bound voyage.

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