We have some new developments that we have been patiently waiting to share…we have a new addition to our family! After waiting for nearly a year, we were selected by birth parents to adopt their baby. Finalization has not occurred yet (in WI it takes 6 months), but today was the court hearing to terminate the birth parent’s rights. We wanted to make sure that piece had taken place before making an official announcement! Here is how is all happened…
It was a very normal fall day – October 27th 2022. I (Rebecca) was working on catching up on editing after a busy summer of photoshoots when I noticed there was a voicemail on our adoption phone line. It was from a birth center in Hudson, Wisconsin – they had received our letter and business cards. Back in January we had sent several hundred of these letters out to OBGYN’s and birth centers in Wisconsin, in the hopes of that our details might reach the hands of a birth parent that was looking to place their baby. Many came back in the mail as undeliverable and we hadn’t heard from anybody else, so we had moved on to different strategies like hiring an adoption consultant. Needless to say, I was surprised that the voicemail left by the nurse sounded legitimate (until then all of the calls to our adoption line were spam)!
The nurse was wondering if we were still in the process of adopting and said they might have a situation coming up. She said the OBGYN would call us that night after her shift ended. When Jason got home from work we anxiously awaited her call, wondering if this could be it but not getting our hopes up. We took her call together in the baby’s room, and sat in disbelief as she told us she had a patient who was scheduled for a C-section in 2 weeks who wanted to place her baby for adoption. She said both mother and baby were in good health. The birth mother had previously placed a child for adoption and told the doctor she wanted a closed adoption and did not want to select the adoptive parents, which is why the doctor was contacting us. We told the doctor we would reach out to our agency adoption counselor to see what our next steps would be.
Our adoption counselor replied and let us know that we would need to sit tight. Birth parent counseling has to take place to assure the birth mother has the appropriate support and resources during her decision. Our adoption counselor also told us that best practice would be for the birth mother to consider placing the child in the home with the other adopted sibling. The OBGYN and/or patient would have to reach out to our adoption counselor to get the ball rolling. So all we could do at that point was sit back and wait. We tried to stay cautiously optimistic, but those days that passed without hearing anything were hard. Finally, about a week later, the unknown was getting unbearable and we decided to call the OBGYN’s office, just to see if the patient had reached out to our adoption counselor. We left a message after eating lunch, and Jason was just about to leave to go back to work when I received a text and voicemail from our adoption agency who said they had exciting news! My heart started racing. We called the adoption counselor back on speakerphone in the driveway – the first thing she asked was if we were sitting down. That is when things started to get real. She said we were about to become parents! Hearing those words was indescribable. I sunk to my knees and couldn’t stop crying let alone get out words, so I’m really glad Jason was home with me to take the call – both to share in the incredible moment and because somebody needed to write notes and I could barely see!
The counselor said that the OBGYN & patient had reached out. Coincidently, the counselor worked with this birth mom on her previous placement. Because they had a history together working on the previous adoption, birth parent counseling went quickly. She confirmed that the birth mother wanted a closed adoption and did not want to look at other parent profiles or meet us. She also confirmed that the birth mom wanted to place this baby with a new family, not with the sibling who was adopted last May. The birth mother was scheduled for a C-section on November 9th, the gender was unknown, and there were no known health issues. The birth father was also consenting to the adoption. The adoption counselor told us this was a once in a lifetime situation, and said there was no reason not to move forward. We asked what needed to be done and she said would be sending paperwork to sign and information on retaining a lawyer, and that we should plan on being in Hudson for the delivery and 1 or 2 nights afterwards. We were in total shock!
The next week was a blur. We were so excited and started working on a list of names, notifying immediate family, wondering what the future would hold, and hoping all would go well! We were trying to get the house cleaned and caught up on work, and also needed to buy things like a stroller and changing table and diapers and formula! Despite being busy with a long to do list, it was the slowest week of our lives. The anticipation was almost too much to bare, and it was hard to sleep!
After driving 4.5 hours on Tuesday, November 8th, we arrived in Hudson, checked in to a hotel kitty corner from the hospital and proceeded to retrieve a few last minute items, such as a bottle and newborn outfits. It was abnormally warm and rainy that evening, so we decided to relax with a bottle of wine, the hot tub, and tried to go to bed early knowing sleep would be difficult.
We were told to be at the hospital by 6:30am, so we arrived a few minutes prior only to find the main entrance locked and not to be opened until 7am. Thankfully, the Emergency Room entrance was open and upon entering and asking for the way to the Birth Center, the receptionist already knew our names and story, and who to call to come get us. We learned during our stay that Hudson Hospital is very small and come to find out it had been two years since their last adoption placement. We were provided a hospital suite in their birthing unit, which made the whole experience feel natural.
As we settled in to our room, we were met with a barrage of hospital staff, including the birth unit supervisor, social worker, and multiple nurses, including the nurse to be assisting in the delivery. She informed us the birth mom’s c-section was postponed by an hour due to an emergency c-section that needed to be done prior. She said she would let us know when she was on her way to the delivery room. Around 8am the nurse popped in to let us know she was headed to the delivery room! Nearly immediately after, the unit supervisor came in to inform us that they did not have adoption paperwork in hand and that we may not be able to be with the child after birth. Because things happened so quickly in this case, our adoption counselor was bringing the paperwork with her to the hospital to have signed, but she wasn’t going to be there until 1pm. The hospital was checking with their legal department regarding what they could do in the meantime. Disappointed, we sat back and wondered how we would make it to 1pm! Our emotions changed quickly because minutes after she left, the nurse knocked on our door and they rolled in a beautiful baby! She said HE was just born 3 minutes ago! Apparently the nurse had not been told that they hadn’t received paperwork yet, so while they spoke in the hallway, we were able to hold him for a few minutes – we were in total awe! Since they hadn’t heard back from their legal team and couldn’t leave him with us yet, he was taken to the nursery for observation and testing by the doctor.
We couldn’t stand sitting in the room – excitement quickly overtook us and we started pacing the hallway and peeking through the nursery viewing window. Thankfully a few minutes later the nurse came out to inform us they had received permission for us be with him! We were able to go into the nursery while the doctor checked him over and were relieved that he was completely healthy! Then they brought him back to our room and we took turns bonding with him, doing skin-on-skin time while he ate and slept. We both couldn’t stop starring at him and found ourselves never letting go of him! After being asked by several nurses and family members about a name, we finally decided on Malakai (“Kai”) Vincent Parker Pfeifer. Vincent is Jason’s Dads middle name and Parker is Rebecca’s Grandmas maiden name. In the afternoon, our adoption counselor arrived and visited with us and the birth mom to complete paperwork. Despite the birth mom being within the same hospital and wanting to support her in any way we could, we had to respect her wishes to have the entire adoption process be closed.
With anticipation of being discharged by the afternoon the next day, Jason decided to try and sleep in order to drive back, while Rebecca took the night shift. Kai slept and ate like a champ and actually gained weight within the first 24 hours! The following day Rebecca’s brother Justin was able to visit since he lives only 1.5 hours away. It was great to see him and have him be the first of our families to meet Kai! After receiving final instructions and discharge paperwork, we packed up the car for the trip back and Kai’s first car ride, at only 30 hours old! As with this entire situation, we lucked out on the weather as they originally called for snow while driving back, but instead we just had some rain. Kai was amazing in tolerating the car ride, even our pit stop at Kwik Trip for some well-needed coffee and a diaper change and feeding in the backseat in their parking lot! Tired and exhausted, we arrived home to put him in his crib for the first time, something we had been waiting to do for a long time.
Below are a few photos of Malakai. We can’t share identifying photos until the adoption is finalized. We’ll be celebrating his “Gotcha Day” in court next May! There will be a big post with lots more pictures then!
Birth Date & Time: 8:13am on Nov. 9th, 2022 | Birth Weight: 7lbs. 7 oz | Birth Height: 20″