Celebrity guest bloggers The Guncles, from Oxygen's reality show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood and dads to toddler Simone, open up about the nail-biting moments before they could finally leave the hospital with their baby in their arms. Read their first post about how they chose open adoption and their birth experience in a small Southern town.
In our first blog post, we shared our story about our adoption experience and what it was like to be the token “gay dads” in the small town hospital. We really enjoyed sharing this with you, so we thought we’d now share some of the story about when it came time to leave the hospital. It was almost as intense as the birth itself.
If any of you have adopted, you know that the experience is very emotional. All feelings seem to be on high alert. Moments of tears and joy can mix and match within a matter of seconds. The hospital discharge procedure can be described exactly as that. Legally, our birthmother needed to exit the hospital and then hand over the baby to us—the adoptive parents—outside of the building. This could not be done inside the hospital – ironic since they hadn’t wanted us to be seen outside our room for 3 days. So on discharge day, we walked alongside our birthmother who was being wheeled out holding Simone in her arms. Even though the papers relinquishing Simone to us were already signed, we did have that moment when we looked over and wondered what our birthmother must be thinking. Signing paperwork is one thing. Physically handing a child off is another. What we did know for sure was this wasn’t an easy time for her. While we were overjoyed about leaving the hospital and starting our new life as Simone’s dads, our birthmother was holding a baby she carried for 9 months and delivered through a painful, unplanned C-section. Although we believe she never second-guessed her decision, the feeling of loss must have been overwhelming. We commend (and thank her) for her bravery!
So, the time had come. We approached the hospital exit doors and walked/wheeled through. Our hearts felt as though they literally may explode. On one hand we were so incredibly excited to finally be out of the hospital and have the paperwork completed, but on the other hand we also knew that (for now) it was time to say goodbye to our birthmother and her amazing family. In those few days leading up to the hospital and during our stay, we had felt very bonded with them, and it was sad to know that we wouldn’t be seeing them for a while. Again, we know that not everyone has experienced such a positive experience with their birthmother, but lucky for us we did—and we fully admit that we lucked out!
Like many new parents, we were very picky about which car seat we would use for our newborn daughter. Tori and Dean had introduced us to the Orbit Baby system—a car seat that also clicked onto the stroller base, so you never have to worry about transferring the baby back and forth between car seat and stroller. They had used the Orbit for Liam and Stella and from being around them, we had dreamed of owning our very own Orbit! So we did. We had the Orbit’s car seat base installed in our rental car and we were ready to go when the time came about.
Here we are, standing in front of the hospital awaiting the “hand off.” The car was pulled around, and we emerged proudly with our Orbit car seat in hand ready to strap Simone safely and snuggly and head back to our hotel when we hear, “What is that? That doesn’t look like a regulation car seat to me,” from the local adoption coordinator (we had to hire one because it was an out-of-state adoption and we needed someone locally to handle the state clearances). HUH?????? Now, circling back a bit. We had a few “run-ins” with this local adoption coordinator. We believed she had made some prenotions about us and finding out a bit about our life. So when she said this about our beloved Orbit seat, we nearly had a Spring Break smack down! We realized quickly that the truth was that in the area we were in, Orbits aren’t strolling about town like they are here in Los Angeles. So she had just (once again) made a snap judgment about us and assumed that after everything we had been through, we were going to try to slip our precious little girl into some non-regulation car seat.... After we explained to her what the Orbit was, we were all good. But for a few moments, we could tell that she was truly going to try and stop us from leaving with Simone in our Orbit.
After a very emotional exchange and sendoff, we were on our way back to our hotel to start our new life as dads. We will never forget that drive back to our hotel “home” and the overwhelming feeling of joy and happiness. We call it a home because we had already been there for days and had no idea when we would be cleared through the state and allowed to come back to our real home in Los Angeles. Don’t get us wrong, we love hotels, but by normal adoption standards we were told our clearances could take weeks! Meanwhile, it’s hard to enjoy when dollar signs are clicking in your head with every day spent on a hotel room. We had chosen a hotel that had a little kitchen in each unit so we could function as though it was an apartment and to not have to leave or order in meals while taking care of a newborn. Once we arrived back to the room, the new grandmas had finally gotten to meet their new granddaughter. (We didn’t allow anyone else to come to the hospital because we didn’t want to risk jeopardizing anything about the adoption.) We’ll never forget those first nights. It was fun making that little apartment style hotel room our home. We cooked, ate, fed Simone bottles and changed dirty diapers nearly 24/7 and enjoyed every moment! Although exhausting, it was comforting to be out of that hospital situation and just be dads. It truly felt like home.
-- The Guncles, Bill & Scout