Harper's story started long before our crazy Oklahoma adventure. You know that we've been hoping/trying to adopt for five years. We haven't talked about it much, but there were some major disappointments and heartaches along with several almosts. At times, we were ready to throw in the towel but we knew in our hearts that we couldn't.
We've been talking with an attorney out of Mesa, Arizona for about the last year who facilitates adoptions mostly in Arkansas and Oklahoma with the Marshallese (Pacific Islands) community. Evidently there is quite a large population of them living in those states...who knew. This attorney served his mission in the Marshall Islands, and obviously speaks the language. We heard about him from one of the adoption blogs that I read. I emailed her for his contact information, and she hooked us up. I talked via email with her, along with another family who used this attorney, to ask a million questions, get feedback, and as much information as we could about this option. We actually had a match with him a year ago, but at the last minute, the way we were going to finance the adoption fell apart and we had no other option but to walk away. It was really hard, to say the least.
In the spring, we had heard rumors of the big changes coming to LDSFS, which scared us because we knew we were in trouble (we are older and already have 2 kids). We got serious about finding a way to make a private adoption happen. We had two possible situations come up over the summer, but for different reasons they both didn't work out.
Fast forward to September. We got an email from the Arizona attorney saying that he had a possibility for us. We were cautiously excited. We thought we had approximately 3 weeks to get ready for the baby, and started quietly getting ready. It was scary to involve the boys this time, but we felt pretty good about the possibility of this being our new baby girl.
Friday, October 3rd, I was awake at 5am by a phone call saying that the baby had been born and that we'd better get to Oklahoma. (Kyle said he'd been awake since 3am and knew that today was the day.) We jumped up and started throwing things together, booking airline tickets, making arrangements, etc. and were on the way to the airport by 10am.
We flew from Salt Lake to Denver, and had a layover. We got something to eat, and face timed with my parents in Australia. The short layover ended up being a 2 hour delay.
We got to Tulsa at 8pm. We grabbed our luggage, and then discovered that our rental car reservation wasn't right and they were trying to fix it by putting us in a much smaller vehicle. We were tired and getting grumpy, but after about 30 minutes or so, it got worked out. On the way to the car, Kaden happened to look over at the baggage claim area and noticed one of our suitcases. I don't know how we'd missed it, but were so thankful that he had noticed it (and that it had happened to stop right where it needed to so that we would see it). It was a tender mercy for sure.
We had a 3.5 hour drive to the middle of nowhere, to the small town where Harper was born. We were on toll roads, so every time the boys would get to sleep, it would be time to stop and pay the toll. So annoying! We finally got to the hotel and checked in around 12:30am. We were all pretty wiped out, and crashed as soon as we got settled in the motel.