On Thursday, November 16, a blog friend came to the hospital and chauffeured us around Bismarck. It was the most of the city we had seen since we had arrived. She took us to a couple of different stores to find a carseat, bottles, formula, a camera, a few extra pcs of baby clothes and I might have bought her a dress for church while we were shopping :) The nurses told us they believed that Ellie would be discharged the next day, so we had to start getting ready.
She also bought our lunch and then took us back to the hospital to spend more time with our girl.
Friday Morning, we packed our diaper bag before we left the Ronald McDonald House, made sure we had her car seat, car seat cover, extra hat, blanket, and for some reason, I grabbed the laptop.
When we got to the hospital that morning, we were met with smiling nurses saying, "Today is the day!" Asking us what our plans for the next few days were, and giving us hugs. They were all really amazing.
As they were hooking her up for the last round of antibiotics, I got a call from our agency. To make a long story short, there had been a hiccup in some of our paperwork (which really wasn't a surprise, everything happened so quickly) and we had to print a few documents, sign them, scan them, and fax them. We also needed to add an addendum to our homestudy. Right then. Everything had to be at the attorney's office by 4:30. That day. Because it was Friday. And there was a court date set for Monday (TPR) and if we didn't have that part done, they wouldn't move forward with TPR...which meant we would be in North Dakota until long after Thanksgiving.
I headed out to a waiting area armed with my laptop, cell phone, and the extreme kindness of the hospital social worker and Ben cuddled with this cutie...
Looking back, it was a miracle, but we completed all needed paperwork, with the help of the hospital social worker, our homestudy agency in Kentucky, our placement agency in Iowa, the facilitating agency in North Dakota, and our North Dakota attorney. That's a lot of people working on a Friday on one little girl's case.
Shortly after that, guess what Ellie got buckled into for the first time?
She looked so tiny in that carseat! We had to get a prescription filled for Ellie's thrush and call the taxi company to give us a ride to the Ronald McDonald House. The feelings I had as we were driving away from the hospital were intense. Excitement. Joy. Nervousness. Trying my best to just stay in this moment. Regardless of what happens next. We've made it to this point in an adoption before. But no finalization. I was trying to put all those thoughts out of my mind and fully experience the beautiful moment we were in.
Our daughter, who was predicted to be in the hospital 2-3 weeks at the least, was now discharged into our care at 10 days old.
We weren't "home", but we were in our home away from home now!
Later in the evening, we were eating dinner in the dining room and the volunteer in the office came and told us we had a visitor. I looked at Ben and he looked at me and we went to the living room area. We were greeted by the smiling face of a sweet woman named Rachel who owns and operates a bakery downtown and three dozen cupcakes! Rachel is friends with our friend who gave us coats on the way to Bismarck. When our friend in Fargo called Rachel and asked her to deliver some sweet treats to us, she said she would be more than glad to. They even had little "It's a Girl" toppers and oh my goodness were they delicious!!!
It was a great Friday evening and we were so enjoying being out of the hospital and looking forward to a relaxing weekend of sleeping and just spending time at the RMH as a family! This is really when we started missing Ethan too. But thank goodness for phones and internet that kept us in touch.