Our Adoption Story - Part 7: Life as a Family of Four
I thought with exactly one month before the girls turn 1 now would be as good a time as any to wrap up our adoption series. Where has the time gone?!?! I can't believe how fast time flies!
A lot has happened since The Day We Brought the Girls Home, so I'll try to be brief! I'll be doing more posts on adoption-related topics in the future, so I'd love to hear from you guys on what you want to learn more about and what questions you have about adoption. Shoot me an email or leave a comment below!
Once we brought the girls home, we still had a bit more "waiting" to do. You see in North Carolina, there's something called the "7 day revocation period" which means that a birth mother can change her mind up to 7 days after she signs the papers. Laws are different in every state - for example, in South Carolina there's no "waiting period", but in Maryland a birth mother has 30 days to change her mind.
In adoption it seems like just when you're done waiting on one thing, there you are waiting again - waiting 5 months for a birth mom to choose us, waiting a week and a day to hear what the courts had to say, and then another 7 days before we were certain their birth mom wasn't going to change her mind... and then there was still another 7 months of waiting until finalization! PHEW! God was really teaching us patience, that's for sure!
The 7 day revocation period ended on Thanksgiving - talk about God's perfect timing. Of all of the 29 Thanksgivings I have experienced in my life, this one topped them all. I remember sitting at the table with my 2 brand new daughters and my 5 month old niece and thinking how much had changed in our lives in the past few months and how from now on, holidays were going to be SO different!
The holidays with the girls on one hand were magical, but on the other hand not all that different since they had no idea what was going on - I can't wait for this year now that they are so curious and into everything and have such personalities! They did give us the best Christmas gift of sleeping through the night for the first time on Christmas Eve!
When we first met with the girls' birth mom, we decided we would get together again after the holidays had passed and we got situated with the girls. So we got together with her and the girls' sister and were able to exchange Christmas gifts and get to spend some time with them. They got to snuggle the girls and see how much they had grown in just 2 months - it was a sweet time!
We've gotten a lot of questions about open adoption, so I'll be doing a separate blog post with more details in the future. I can say that all open adoptions look a little different. In ours, we text pictures of the girls every couple weeks and get together a couple times a year. We are so thankful to have a relationship with their first mom and get to know more about where the girls came from. One day have the girls' take ownership over that relationship and have access to answers to the many questions they may have about who they are and where they came from.
June 18th, 2018 was another momentous day in the Hyatt household - the girls officially took our last name, and their adoption was finalized! Even though we knew long before then that God meant for them to be Hyatts from the beginning, there were still peaks and valleys in the process - times of great fear and times of great faith. So it felt SO good to have everything signed, sealed and delivered. I'm so thankful for what God taught us about patience and trusting in His plan in those months, but let's just say we all breathed a sigh of relief on that day! 6/18/18 will forever be our Hyatt Family Day - the day we officially became a family of 4 and we'll celebrate on that day each year.
Those of you who spent any time with the girls in the first 6 - 8 months of their life know that they had serious reflux. They say that reflux isn't as much of a medical issue, as it's a laundry issue, and that's the truth! We went through 10 bibs and 10 burp cloths EVERY DAY. I had to do laundry every 3 days, or we couldn't function - no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We tried everything - essential oils, burping more, sensitive formula, feeding in different positions, Zantac... everything, and even still they still spit up constantly. Finally at 10 months, we fully weaned off Zantac and they are FINALLY 98% done spitting up (we still have an occasional spit up, but nothing near what it was)
Other than that, they have been sweet, healthy and fun little girls! I can't believe how quickly they change in the first year. All of a sudden you wake up and they have a new skill... rolling over, putting their pacifiers in their mouth, smacking their lips, standing up, hugging your neck... It is truly amazing! One of my favorite things though is seeing how they interact with each other. In the beginning, they wouldn't even look at each other - they spent 8 months together as wombmates, but could care less about the other one. Then around 3 - 4 months, they started noticing each other and reaching for each other. Now they always want to be together and love to hold hands. They take each other's toys, climb on top of each other, pull each other's bows, and hit each other's bellies and just laugh!
Now as I reflect on the last 10 months, my heart swells with gratitude - sometimes I still can't believe God picked me to be their mom. Don't get me wrong, life with twins isn't always easy or glamorous, but it's filled with so much love and laughter, and in the end, that's what we'll remember - the love and laughter.
If I could pick 3 words to describe this past year they would be: love, laughter, and growth...
Before I met my husband, I wasn't sure if I had ever been in love before or if I'd know when I was in love, and then I met Dale. Then I knew I had never been in love before him and I no longer wondered how you know... When it happens, you just know. The same can be said for motherhood - it doesn't matter how many times you hear what a mother's love is like, you never really know until you experience it yourself, and I'm so thankful that I get to experience that type of love in this life.
Some of you may be thinking... How cheesy - love, laughter, and growth... those all sound so pretty and shiny and easy. Not so fast... When I don't know what to do in a situation, my first instinct many times is to laugh (and it's not always an appropriate reaction!).
I feel awkward, I laugh.
I feel overwhelmed, I laugh.
I am happy, I laugh.
I can't believe somebody pooped again and I have to change my 5th poopy diaper and it's not even noon, I laugh.
I hear the girls giggling at each other in the other room together, I laugh.
I haven't slept more than 3 hours in a row and I can't even understand what you just said, I laugh.
I hear for the 17th time in Target "are they twins?", I laugh.
I hear one twin burp and the other one giggle, I laugh.
Let's just say, this past year has been filled with a lot of laughter (and some tears too).
They say you realize how selfish you are when you get married, and then you really realize how selfish you are when you have kids. I'm going to have to agree with that one. This past year has stretched me in ways I never could have imagined. Realizing your life is no longer yours, and two other humans' lives are now in your hands, there is nothing more sobering than that. Nobody is a master of logistics more than a twin parent - getting two babies anywhere is no small feat. Transitioning from a successful job in marketing where we had a fully stocked kitchen and free lunch on Fridays to finding an identity as a stay-at-home mom - no longer getting praise and affirmation from your job and now being responsible for keeping your own fridge stocked and meals prepared for all four of us is quite a transition! I'm not sure there's anything that prepares you for parenthood, but I'm so thankful for how I've grown because it.
So much has changed for us in the last year that sometimes it's hard to remember what life was like before, but I love looking back and seeing God's hand in our lives - sometimes that means trying and failing and growing, sometimes that means protection, sometimes that means new relationships, and sometimes it means being able to sit on the floor and laugh and play with my daughters. If you would have asked me a year ago what I hoped the next year would look like, never in a million years could I have imagined this life. I'm so unworthy and so very blessed.