How To Prepare for Baby In Only 3 Days

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When I look at this picture of our family, I can only think of the insanity of that time in our lives and am amazed that we are alive to tell this story.  Dramatic much?  We’re holding our babies for the first time, having known that we would become their parents only three days prior.  You read that right – three days of preparation to become parents to actual, live human beings…times TWO.

Not only that, but my husband had shoulder surgery only a month before and was supposed to be in a sling for three months.  We knew absolutely zero {Z.E.RO.} about taking care of a baby.  I could change a diaper and feed a bottle – that’s it.  I remember asking their foster mom, “Okay, so how often and how much do I feed them?” I chuckle now, but back then I was scared and excited all balled into one.  But I have learned an important lesson that allows me to give myself much grace…

Parenting is on-the-job training.

Most people get 9 months to prepare to bring little one home.

We had 3 days.

I know not everyone knows how the domestic infant adoption process works, so here’s a cliff notes outline of how the process played out in our family ::

Early October 2013 :: We attended an orientation at Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services {PCHAS} to find out more about their adoption program. We immediately felt like this agency was an incredible fit for our family so we requested the application packet.

Late October 2013 :: We turned in our application packet which included a ton of information – background checks, physicals, financial history, personal recommendations, employment history, personal documents {birth certificates, ID, social security cards}, diplomas, insurance information, comfort level inventory…it was a BIG packet of information!

December 3, 2013: We received our pre-approval letter in the mail from PCHAS and scheduled our home study to begin in January 2014. The home study process was going to take a month and once it was complete, that’s when we would be officially approved with our agency and added to the list of waiting parents, able to be presented to birth parents.

On December 16, I got a phone call from our social worker.

“There is a set of twins, a boy and a girl, that were born on the 9th, and I’m meeting with the birth parents in two hours. I’d like to present your profile to them.”

We did not expect to be presented to birth parents at this point! We hadn’t completed our home study yet, we still needed to write our Dear Birthmother letter {a letter you write to the birthmother to tell her about yourself}, we had only been pre-approved for a few weeks, and I still had an empty nursery to decorate!

But we were open to twins and our social worker thought we would be a great fit. So we cranked out our Dear Birthmother letter {I had to write it in one hour}, and she presented us to C&G’s birth parents. Over the course of two weeks, while we waited on their decision, we fast-tracked our home study in case they were to choose to meet us. So instead of the home study being a month-long process, we completed it in only 24 hours. Phew!

In the meantime, the birthparents decided that they would like to meet us. So the day after Christmas in 2013, we sat down with C&G’s birthparents for the first time.

We left the meeting with a good feeling that they may pick us. But at the same time we were so guarded because we didn’t want to get our hopes up. Aaron went to work while I headed to Ikea to let myself get a little excited and look at cribs.

While in Ikea, our social worker called me.

“They picked you guys. Keep Monday afternoon open to sign the papers and take the babies home.”

I floated out of Ikea and called Aaron. We sent out calls and texts of the news to our family and friends telling them about the plans and immediately they responded by asking us what we needed.

“EVERYTHING! WE NEED EVERYTHING!”

For the two weeks we had known that these kids existed, we worked so hard to guard our hearts in case this opportunity would pass that we didn’t invest in anything but a crib and a changing table. Plus, it’s hard to prepare for a baby when you know absolutely nothing about the child you would be bringing into your family. Had we had longer to prepare, I would have read all the books, done all the crafts, organized all the clothes, bought all the baby gear…you get my drift?

We thought we would have until at least February after our home study was complete to do any preparations. And even then, February was only the latest that we would be on the waiting list. We could have waited much longer than February.

But we had Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to prepare to bring home 3 week old twins.

By our placement meeting on Monday, we had everything we needed thanks to the kindness of friends and even strangers! Clothes, diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, car seats, blankets, a stroller… We had enough, and I was so grateful.

Thinking back over the last 16 months, it astounds me how we made it through with such a short time to prepare. But we did it…we are doing it! I often reminisce about that whirlwind and what I’ve learned, and I wanted to share a few of those things with you…

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Things I’ve learned about parenthood having only 3 days of prep…

1} In hind-sight, I realize that if I had 9 months to prepare, I would have taken the entire nine months. If I had a week to prepare, I would have taken the whole week. With only 3 days, we took the whole three days. We have to decide to make the best of the time we’re allotted.

2} Asking for help is O.K.A.Y. I hate to admit it, but I hate asking for help. I’m a do-it-yourself-er through and through. But I had no choice but to ask for help in so many areas – feeding, sleeping, bathing…not only for baby but for US too! So many people helped us out not only with great advice, but also pitching in a hand with a hot meal or snuggling the kids so I could get a shower or take a nap.

3} Baby gear expires quickly and is recyclable. Holy cow, this blew me away! So many friends were quick to lend us baby gear because their kids had outgrown it, and they were simply storing it for the next kiddo. “Just bring it back when you’re done” they would say. Kids outgrow clothes, toys, and gear so quickly. Maybe this is old news to a lot of people, but to this first time, whirlwind mama of twins it was a new, awesome development! I’ve since been more than happy to lend items to people because I totally get it now. I didn’t before our situation. I hate seeing someone spend a ton of money on something if it’s just sitting in my closet waiting for the next Bunker.

4} We can worry and worry and worry about all the things we need to do and buy for baby before baby gets here. But when it comes down to it, you’ll be holding a precious miracle in your hands and that’s what matters. That’s way easier said than done, am I right? Of course you have to have the necessitates to take care of baby, but don’t borrow worry from tomorrow. Yes, be prepared for tomorrow, but don’t spend your energy worrying about things you don’t have control over. Do your best to live in the moment as a parent.

5} Because our kiddos are all uniquely different, sometimes you have to throw the books out the window…and that’s okay! Do what you can to learn – but more importantly, learn your kiddo. Then take what you’ve learned from the resources, eat the meat, and throw out the bones.

6} Parenting is on-the-job training. You can spend all the time in the world preparing, but nothing compares to the day to day of taking care of our little ones. You learn this parenting gig by doing, by learning your kiddo, by figuring out who you are as a parent, and discovering your family dynamic as you go. It’s beautiful, and hard, and rewarding, and crazy, and amazing all rolled up into one incredible package.

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If you knew someone with only three days to prepare for baby, what is the biggest nugget of wisdom you could give them?

6 Responses to How To Prepare for Baby In Only 3 Days

  1. Roxanne W April 14, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    So sweet, thanks for sharing! It’s all true about you take the time you’re given.

  2. Brittney Ford
    Brittney Ford April 14, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    Love this post! Great job, Hannah!

  3. Rachel November 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    I love this! We had 24 hours to prep for our daughter. It was wild, fun and exciting! I was amazed by all of the people who came out of the woodwork to help us.

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