So, there’s a story about us leaving Virginia…
We know who Anna’s birth father is. He was in the room when she was born, he held her, he comforted Mama with kind words during the times they spent alone with her, and he was concerned that I learn how to care for Anna’s hair. He went to court on the date that Anna officially became our daughter but he didn’t want to sign anything. He never gave a real reason, and this wasn’t a big deal. Not really. But it did make our leaving Virginia problematic. Had he signed we could have left when Anna was about a week old but since he didn’t, we had to wait an extra two weeks. This was a touch frustrating at the time because we were ready to get home and back to life, but looking back, I have to say I believe it was best that we had to stay longer.
It was best because:
- We were basically held hostage in Virginia and we were forced to do nothing; to spend time together; to not get back to work or dive back into a normal routine.
- We were forced to take walks during the days and watch TV in the evenings.
- We decided not to do school even though we had all of it with us.
- We were forced to watch the tide rise and fall in the waterway behind the apartment.
- We were forced to just hold Anna all day long and focus on the seven of us.
- I really think we needed that extra time and, had we had the option, we wouldn’t have taken it.
Part of the itch to get back was that we wanted to introduce Anna to our friends and family in North Carolina and friends who have become family in Texas. But for Matt, it was also that he felt very protective of Anna and felt ready to have her home under our own roof. It seems I nested before she arrived and Matt started the minute she was born.
So, here’s the story of our leaving Virginia.
The Putative Father Registry required that we give the birth father 10 days to come forward with intent to parent. Anna was born on Saturday the 23rd – during Winter Storm Jonas. That delayed the registry a little so when our time to leave the apartment came up on the 6th of February, Virginia wasn’t ready to let us leave.
Thankfully, we were able to tack on an extra two nights at the apartment where we were staying so we didn’t have to move to a hotel. If you remember I mentioned that we found ourselves in the middle of a family battle and were almost evicted from the apartment. The call to vacate came on Saturday and we had already paid for the next two nights and really didn’t look forward to packing eight of us into hotel rooms. (My mom had come up to stay with us for the weekend.) Matt was able to talk to the people involved and prove that we had legally rented the place and were given no more trouble. We settled back in for two days but come Monday morning we had to check out. There was no option to extend.
We packed a month’s worth of “stuff” into the van, including two extra people and their stuff: Anna and Matt. Obviously we didn’t arrive in Virginia with Anna, and Matt didn’t drive across the country with us, he flew. Needless to say, our van was TIGHT.
We drove around town for a few hours waiting for the call from our attorney that we were released. No call came. Around lunch time I called them. They had still not heard from Richmond that we were free to go. We were so ready to get on the road to North Carolina. So. Ready.
We ate at Cook-Out and finally made the decision to drive to the VA/NC border in hopes that our attorney would call while we drove. No such luck.
We made it to a public park near the border before 5:00 pm and I called once again. Still no word. So we sat there and waited. Worst case scenario we’d get a hotel and stay the night. I decided to research a little and within five minutes found that ICPC allows children to be taken across state lines “for the purposes of visiting.” I called our attorney (actually, the paralegal) and told her what I had found. She told me to forward the link and she’d take it to the attorney. Almost immediately they called back and released us. I was sort of annoyed that they hadn’t found this weeks before. I had no reason to research this until I was stuck at the border with nowhere to go. Of course, I had to think back to the truth that those extra two weeks of forced relaxing and bonding were a blessing to our family.
We loaded up and headed to Nana and Papa’s house with the excitement of introducing Anna to our families building with each mile.
About an hour after we crossed the state line (secretly watching over our shoulders for the baby police) we got the text that we were officially released! ICPC Virginia had cleared us!
(The next day our attorney overnighted our packet to the Texas ICPC office. Texas took only 24 hours to approve us!)
Below are pictures of our last days in Virginia.
Because of our extended stay in Virginia we were able to watch the Superbowl with the Holsingers… and their newest son, Ryan, was wearing his jersey all the way in China!
(The Hamricks were NOT happy with the results of the game, though.)
Trying to get a good family-of-seven shot! And then, of course, one of the girls.
Looking for a Cook-Out: We found one and spent a long time in there, waiting for a phone call that never came. We miss Cook-Out now like we missed Chick-Fil-A while we lived in Germany.
No sign of the baby police as we crossed the state line.
Uncle Josh and Aunt Ashley were waiting on us when we got there! It was really late so we didn’t have the entire family over. We did have one special guest stop by because they were heading out of town and this was their only chance to see us and meet Anna. (See next picture.)
Cindy and her son, Kyle, came by that night. They were leaving to go out of town and we really wanted her to be able to meet Anna. Cindy and Eddie were my godparents growing up and we love them so much. Eddie has gone to live with Jesus now and we miss his vibrant personality.
Granny and Grandaddy.
Putting Anna to sleep in the family cradle.
Grammy – we spent a day visiting with Grammy and seeing Matt’s side of the family.
Matt’s Grandma Mollie
Uncle Brad and Aunt Erin.
Steve, Antonia, and Brooke…
The Ramsey Family.
This is “the Anna” we named our daughter after.
And just like that it was time to leave North Carolina. We only stayed there three full days because we had spent so much of Matt’s leave time in Virginia. Here’s Anna in her traveling clothes… comfy rules!
I can hear my dad’s laugh when I see this picture! He’s going go kill me for posting a picture of this funny face, but I don’t care! I LOVE IT! I love to hear him laugh this hard! He’s holding a sick Parkey. For some reason, Parker had a few bouts of unexplained stomach cramps while we were on our trip. The doctor we saw prescribed Zofran, which we gave to him right about this time He made it through the next two days of driving without any incident, but the hour leading up to our leaving was tough. (Part of me really wonders if it was the result of having to leaving Nana and Papa… and cousin Mason.)
My mom was having a really hard time right here. We made plans sitting in this restaurant to have her out for Mother’s Day… (And as I write this, we are just over 48 hours from her arrival!)
So this is how a family of seven travels across the country! Well, at least our family. It was tight in there, but we made it.
We stopped at Chick-Fil-A in Greeneville, SC for lunch and ran into a friend from Matt’s youth pastor days, Howie! Such a small world!
Day 1 of travel was spent just trying to get through Atlanta! I think we drove the same amount of time both days but got two-thirds of the miles covered on the second day. We raced through Atlanta at a whopping 8 miles an hour.
I’ll share the rest of our journey in the next post. Thanks for stopping by to read our journal! It’s so much fun to relive these moments… I’ve enjoyed writing them down.