We didn’t get Teddy until he was six weeks old. He was born in Maryland, and by Maryland law, once a birth mother has given birth and relinquished her child for adoption, she has a 30-day revocation period, during which she can choose to parent. (Revocation periods vary from state to state. Louisiana’s is six months; Utah doesn’t have one at all — once a mother relinquishes her child, it’s a done deal.) With our agency, because 50% of birth mothers do choose to parent, the babies go into interim foster care to shield adoptive families from the unnecessary stress of caring for a child for a month only to have the adoption fall through.
It is odd having a baby join the family when he’s already six weeks old. For example, we know he’s growing (he’s already outgrown 0-3 onesies) but we don’t have any context for how quickly he’s growing. (Although, two weeks in, we’re gaining context!)
But there are several neat things about getting a baby who’s a few weeks along the developmental path. For one thing, he was already alert when he came to us. We skipped the mostly stationary stage. When he’s well fed and rested, he’s a smiling, dimpled bundle of energy who loves to stand on Daddy’s lap and do leg presses or lay on Daddy’s chest and crawl up. He’s also super social, although that’s a combination of development and personality. He loves being handed around to people–which is a good thing because a lot of people want to hold him =) We also skipped most of the wobbly-neck stage–which made me feel better about his tummy-sleeping preference.
Thanks to a super foster mom, Teddy came to us already on a soft feeding schedule, which made learning what his cries meant that much easier. It also meant I’m not quite as sleep deprived as most new moms. And the first night we had him, we had a resource to call on, someone who had actually cared for him, to ask how best to get him to go to sleep. The foster mom also helped us out by trying different kinds of formula to see if Teddy noticed a difference, saving us that hassle.
Being Teddy’s parents is an amazing blessing. Starting the process with fewer unknowns and a few kinks worked out is even better.