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Open Adoption - The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Today Ophelia is sharing her story with us. 

"When I saw my sister in law Annie and her husband Dean at her baby shower, it was easy to see that they both had been using again.  We felt more and more anxious as Annie's due date approached, nervous about what that meant for her unborn child.  Jaxson was born at 2:35 in the afternoon and was beautiful. I got to hold him when he was just a half hour old. I got to help with his first bath. He had to be taken to the NICU about two hours after birth The drugs were ravaging his little body. Annie and Dean were discharged from the hospital three days later. They hadn't seen the baby since he was taken to the NICU. Two days later Jon and I were called by a cps worker, we went to our first planning meeting. We told CPS that we wanted him, instead of him going into regular foster care. By that Thursday we had gone to court and We had legal guardianship of him. We got to see Jaxson in the hospital. We also had three days to get our house in order for a newborn before our first inspection. We became parents in those three days. It was the scariest three days of my life. Jaxson was in the NICU detoxing from the drugs that Annie took while she was pregnant for 31 days, I visited him during the day and Jon visited him at night when he got off work. It was so hard seeing him in pain and miserable. He didn't even open his eyes until he was three weeks old. His stomach is very sensitive and he has the worst gas I have ever seen, heard or smelled in my life, Colicky doesn't even begin to describe it. Jaxson came home on a tuesday, it was ridiculously hot that summer day.  He wouldn't sleep at all. the next night and day all he did was sleep. He loves the swing, and to be swaddled. I can't believe what Annie has put him through in his short life and every day I am amazed at how he fights through it. We now live in the land of uncertainty, we don't know if we will be able to adopt him ever, or if this situation will even be permanent. Jon and I are now navigating thru the DSHS system and being parents to our nephew. Our lives changed in days, and no matter the outcome it will never be the same."

We didn't choose open adoption, open adoption chose us.  I wrote the above journal entry when our son was 4 months old. We were kinship providers, family who legally takes care of a relatives child until a permanent solution can be reached, either returning home to their parents or out of home care (foster or adoption). In our case We adopted our nephew after 17 months in our care. Jon  and I had discussed the chances of becoming Kinship providers for Annie's child since we found out she was pregnant. it was always a late night talk right before we went to sleep, something that was a theory, a far off idea, nothing concrete. After Jaxson was released from the hospital we had monthly inspections like a regular foster care home. The big difference with Kinship is that we have different regulations to follow and don't have to have a state license. We also attended quarterly family planning meetings that included his social worker, a DSHS supervisor, a moderator, his caregivers (us) and his biological parents ( they never attended). We had a home-study done to determine if we were suitable permanent placement home (adoptive) for Jaxson. Talk about nerve wracking, 14 page application followed by three home inspections and two VERY personal interviews. After a year of non participation and no contact from his biological parents their Parental rights were terminated. At that point we pursued adoption of Jaxson. We were assigned a new social worker that specialized in the adoption process, it only took 5 months from TPR to adoption day. We became a forever family Nov 2012. Jaxson is now 18 months old, he is a very energetic, happy, willful toddler that loves cars and animals. He has some delays  and health issues relating to prenatal drug use but is making progress everyday. We have endured a year and half of uncertainty, death threats from biological parents, fear, and lots of paperwork. We are now settling down into routine family life, excited that everything is finalized. We are trying to navigate the next stages of our open adoption. This by far has been the most frighting, unsettling, happiest, best thing that has ever happen to us and we wouldn't have it any other way. 
Jon, Ophelia and Jaxson.

Be sure to check out the "other days of Christmas" for more adoption stories and some giveaways!
Womanhood With Purpose


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