Our Adoption Story: Three weeks in Texas

2014-04-19 11.09.10No matter how many books you read or how much time you spend with other people’s babies, nothing can prepare you for the first time it’s just you alone with your baby. When we left the hospital with Miles, it felt like a dream. Everything had happened so quickly and now here we were, free to leave with our boy. We could hardly believe we were allowed to take him. We left the hospital walking on air… and then we got to the hotel room.

I could have titled this post, “The Surreal Life: Two sleep-deprived people, a newborn and two big dogs destroy a hotel room” because that pretty much sums up the chaos that ensued. Beautiful, blessed chaos, but chaos all the same. We were so incredibly happy and excited to have our son with us. But what we would have given to have been able to take him directly home to our comfortable house, with our comfortable couch, separate sleeping areas, full kitchen, and washer-and-dryer.

2014-04-10 18.40.53But with our out-of-state adoption, that wasn’t possible. Instead, we took our little bundle of joy home to the Towneplace Suites Marriott. Thankfully, we had a one-bedroom suite and a kitchenette (this is the absolute minimum you will need if you are adopting out of state – trust me because had it been a traditional hotel room we very well may have lost our minds).

The staff was so sweet to us there, though–they waived the pet fee and surprised Miles with a gift basket, a stuffed bear, and a cuddly blanket. All the ladies at the front desk adored him. (I wished I’d gotten their pictures. In fact, I wish I had taken more pictures of this time, mess and all.)

IMG_4394We got progressively smarter as parents as our time in Texas wore on (I look pretty put together in this picture at the hotel, right?), but the first couple nights were challenging. Okay, they were a complete disaster.

Miles slept all day and cried all night. I overdressed him for bed the first two nights (didnt want him to be cold!) and wondered why he woke up sweating. He was having a hard time digesting the formula he was on. The hotel room smelled like bored dog and dirty diapers. We couldn’t wash any of his clothes or burp cloths, and he seemed to go through one or more of each an hour. 2014-04-06 19.29.09The dogs had to go outside, as they do, and that required going down three flights of stairs and out across the street, something that was much harder on no sleep. They grew restless in the stinky hotel room. Comic relief came in the form of errant and high-flying pee streams courtesy of Miles. We were a sight to behold. I left the maid a tip, but she deserved more.

IMG_4448A few days in, I think my mom heard the desperation in my voice and decided to fly with my stepdad and meet us in Dallas for a few days. We knew we’d be in Texas at least that long and nothing said we had to stay in Texarkana. So, we rented a condo on VRBO.com, (highly recommend doing this for out-of-state stays) drove the two hours to Dallas, and picked them up at the airport.

It was so wonderful to have the help and to have a small backyard, kitchen, and laundry. It was SUCH a relief to have extra hands, wisdom, clean clothes, and an easy place to let the dogs out. If we hadn’t been dealing with paperwork, a frustrating adoption agency, and legal snafus, (detailed in a coming post) this would have been a perfect week. 2014-04-12 13.07.29We enjoyed ourselves very much all the same, and began to get into a routine with Miles and figure out what he needed and when. It all began to make more sense. And the grandparents got to spend some quality time with newly born Miles.
We took walks in the nearby park and they cooked us breakfast and dinner.
I know they will always be thankful for that time. And we will always be thankful they came.

After my parents left and it became clear that we were going to be in Texas for much longer than we thought, we got back on VRBO and Air BnB to search for a new place to stay as the condo we were in was booked. We ended up finding an adorable little 2-bedroom cottage on Air BnB in a cute little town for ($88 a night!) with a front and IMG_4531backyard and in walking distance to town center. IMG_4500We will always remember this place as the place where our little family really started to come together.

We found a formula Miles could tolerate, we started to understand his different cries, we got into a sleep schedule (sort of), we spent lazy, long days on the front porch. The dogs were happy. We were happy. We were a family. It seemed the hardest part was over.
We took a lot of walks to town. We got ice cream and sat in the sun. I took my dog for a run, something I’m pretty sure she thought might never happen again. It was almost life as usual. The struggle to get home and to get our paperwork set for ICPC clearance was still ongoing, but at least we were no longer in a hotel room.

We were completely in love. And no longer totally clueless new parents. Still mostly clueless, but not totally.








8 thoughts on “Our Adoption Story: Three weeks in Texas

  1. Gosh, I just never even thought of the staying in a hotel for an extended period of time with your dogs situation…..yea that sounds pretty tough! I’m glad your parents decided to come down, sounds like things started going much more smoothly then. Miles is adorable, and you look so happy!!

    1. Thanks, Jen! Yes, things got much better – the first couple days were hard. I think it’s always hard bringing home a newborn baby and not sleeping, etc. and not really knowing what you’re doing. But add in a hotel stay without your usual comforts (and necessities) of home and it’s a recipe for stress. There were so many amazing moments of course and we were so happy but it was not easy at first. It is such a drop in the bucket though!

  2. Megan

    I LOVE (love love) that you’re sharing “this” part of the story. It’s something that’s been in the back of my mind since we started this whole process…and one of the things that makes me the most nervous. (I think it’s also one of those things that people tend *not* to share when they are telling their own adoption story…probably partially because it is all such a blur, and partially because it’s so miserable – but those are the things I want to mentally prepare myself for now. As much as possible anyway;) We have SUCH a supportive network of family and friends to help when we’re home – but being hundreds, or thousands, of miles away from that support during those first [most stressful of all] weeks is something I’m not looking forward to at all. I had wondered if a VRBO might be a good option so I’m glad to hear that worked out well for you guys!

    1. Hey Megan – Yeah, it is definitely challenging being away from home and your support network. We weren’t prepared for how difficult it would be in that hotel room the first few nights. But, the good news is that now that we are home, everything seems so much easier! Seriously, you get the really hard stuff out of the way and everything seems easier after that. The first few nights… phew. Not having our own bed, or our own couch to curl up on didn’t help. HIGHLY recommend VRBO and AirBnB – we used them both and were SO happy with the places we stayed. More affordable than a hotel room and you can get a whole house. Our last place was adorable and comfy. We said a few times that we could actually live there. It is definitely the way to go. I’m seriously not sure we could have handled hotel living for 25 days.

      1. I’d wondered if doing something like VRBO would be a good option – I’m glad to hear it worked out. I even wondered if you could do a special deal with the owners if you were staying for quite a while. I’m glad you found a better avenue than the typical hotel room.

        I also wondered about what we’d do with our dog, if our adoption ended up being a “hey, get here quick” kind of scenario. The closest relatives live several hours away and friends wouldn’t be a long-term option. Never thought of just taking him with us – which of course we did the only time we’ve ever rented through VRBO. Something to consider…

        We’re still hanging in there with the wait – (some days patiently, some days not). Thanks for posting about your experiences – I’ve heard ICPC can be a pain and that the average wait is between 2 and 3 weeks – and that’s from an agency licensed in Texas.

  3. Maya

    I am loving your story!!! Thank you for sharing… We are in the waiting period and we are all so impatient for a baby!! Es

  4. Even though having the dogs with us was a little challenging the first few days, we were very happy we had them since we were in Texas for about 25 days. We would have missed them and I’m not sure who would have wanted to watch them for that long anyway. I am very thankful we were able to drive to get Miles – I think it would have been much harder if we had flown and only had a suitcase of stuff. And now, after the 18-hour drive home, Miles is very comfortable in a car seat and usually just goes to sleep when I put him in it.

    On waiting, I know how you feel! I started feeling impatient and thinking we were never going to get the call. Of course, now that it has happened, I wish I hadn’t worried so much about it. Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but now when I look back, I can see that the timing was absolutely perfect. Keep busy, do stuff that you enjoy to do, go to the movies, sleep in, get a massage, treat yourself… hard as it is, try to enjoy yourselves during the wait. It will happen and your baby will be here before you know it!

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