I have been absent.
In my absence a story has been unfolding. A story that I couldn't tell because of the intricacies and the people that were involved.
It is now my story to tell.
Just like every story there is more than one side. In this one, there are more like 52 sides. All I can write about is my journey through the last 5 months.
My particular part of our story begins May 9, 2012. This day is a special one for me because it is my birthday. I received an email from an unknown person so I opened it and I couldn't believe the contents of this email. It was from a young woman and she opened up to me about her life in a way that was brutally honest and beautifully written. She knew Dave and I because she had seen us lead worship before. The last line of her letter to me said, "would you two pray and consider adopting our baby?"
I read that line over and over and yes, I wept. Could this possibly be the child that I had prayed and longed for? I was willing to dig and find out more for sure. I found out details of the story that made it difficult for me to believe that this could possibly be the right story to jump into for our family. This couple was married and loved Jesus. All we had learned up to this point was that it was better for babies to stay with their God-given families if at all possible. We were in the adoption process to care for an unwanted child or love a baby that couldn't be taken care of by their birth family. This was an entirely new thought for us - to become involved with a couple who could care for and love their child. We prayed and prayed and prayed some more and decided to meet this couple. We thought we at least owed it to them to meet them and love on them a little.
We met them at the end of May and heard their story and we cared for and loved them right away. They were hurting and we offered some of our strength. We felt that God said to walk with them because so many people had hurt them and turned their backs on them due to their decision to give their child for adoption.
I remember telling God that I would support them even if there was no child in it for us. I meant it in my heart of hearts but I thought that surely God wouldn't have me get so involved if there wasn't a child arriving in my life. They officially chose us to be the parents for their baby and so we started forming relationship with them. June through September consisted of doctor appointments, family meetings, dinners, decisions, praying, preparing etc. I was able to go to the appointment with the ultrasound and we found out that it was a girl. What a precious and exciting day that was for me! My heart had so longed for a girl. I went into preparation mode with getting the nursery ready and buying girly things.
All the while we knew to remain hopeful in the Lord and not to get too excited because they could always choose to keep her. Talk about the weirdest feeling ever. Prepare but don't get too excited? Ha! It was a balancing act with my emotions. God was always there though, reassuring that He wanted us right where we were and so we kept on moving forward.
There have been so many painful moments in the last 5 months that I can't even recount. This young couples’ families were hurting because they wanted this child, this heir, their legacy to remain in the family. I had complete understanding and compassion on the grandparents and all people involved. My heart ached for them and I shed many tears over their family. I felt like they must blame us for all this pain. I just kept telling myself that this wasn't my decision and I was following Jesus the best that I could.
We felt God had asked us to support this couple.
Support-To bear or hold up; serve as a foundation for. To sustain or withstand without giving way.
Were there days that I wanted to give way? YES! I KNOW there were times that I was not a good foundation for them. I think God covered all of our weaknesses though. He is so good like that.
As I am able, perhaps I will share more of the in-between story (between May and October). I know God will give me more understanding, and maybe it will help others in the adoption process in the future.
On Monday, October 1, 2012 our case worker called us to come to the hospital because our birth mom was in labor. My stomach was filled with butterflies and anxiousness. I would cry and then laugh. I had prepared for a child to come home, for a dream to be fulfilled, for the joy of a baby's cry and coos in my home once again. Not only me, but my husband and my son, my parents, my siblings, and my friends had prayed and awaited this moment.
When we arrived, I was so fearful to see the family. I didn't want to cause pain or anxiety in them. I didn't know what to say or how to explain that all I had wanted was to be obedient, support their children but also to fulfill a dream and a hope in me. I definitely didn't want my dreams or selfishness to cause pain to others. All I can say is that the Lord was in that hospital waiting room. There was peace, laughter and unity. How could that happen in such an intense environment? The answer is Jesus.
The labor lasted a long time and so we waited. The birth mom went through so much and I was astounded by her strength. Finally, 7:04 pm this baby girl showed up and graced the world with her presence. She was 7lbs, 14oz and 22 inches long with a head full of black hair. The hospital had a room prepared for us (the adoptive family) and around 11pm on October 1st they brought this beautiful and anticipated little one into our room and told us how to be her care takers. It wasn't official yet, that we would be her parents, as the birth family needed rest before a final decision, but we gladly took this time with baby-girl and soaked her up.
I swept her up into my arms immediately and only put her down in her bassinet twice in 16 hours. We got to be her care takers until 3pm the next day, which was October 2, 2012. We sang over her, prayed for her, changed her diapers, fed her and just basically stared at her often. It was a difficult and beautiful time. It was VERY hard not knowing the final decision, but we kept calling on the grace of God and He kept giving it. At 3:15 pm we took her to the birth family's room so they could spend some time with her and they could have visitors meet this new beauty. We left and we waited. We waited for what felt like years but was only a few hours.
Our case worker came in to tell us where the birth family was at in the process of deciding and that they were having some questions in their hearts about what was right. They couldn't make a decision.
They kept the baby that night and we went to sleep with so many questions in our minds and in our hearts. The next morning, October 3, 2012, I awoke and I immediately knew that the thing gnawing at my heart the most was, NOT KNOWING the outcome. I was going to be okay either way. If they knew they could keep this little girl and love her then I would be COMPLETELY good with that or if they were ready to give her to us knowing that we were the best choice for her, then I was definitely ready. I just needed to have an answer.
That answer wouldn't come until 8:00pm that night. The crazy thing was the answer dropped in our hearts before they even called us over. We knew that if there was a question in their minds and hearts and there was some desire to parent on their side that we most definitely WOULD NOT take her home. We were ready to adopt a child that wasn't wanted or couldn't be taken care of and this was no longer the case.
Dave and I took our car seat and walked down the long hallway to the room that held three very important people in our lives. I didn't know how emotional I was going to be but I was so emotional that I couldn't say a word, which for those of you who know me, you know that is rare. We gifted them the car seat and then my husband, the most spectacular, sensitive, honorable and loving man I have ever known, began blessing them as parents and telling them that we support them and will continue to do so, while I stood there blubbering away.
I was astonished at his grace and leadership in such a crazy and painful moment. He prayed over the three of them and then they spoke to us.
They kept apologizing and thanking us for all the support. I hurt in my heart for them knowing how difficult that was for them to tell us. We hugged them and said goodbye to the baby and exited the room. I felt as if my legs would give out on me and wanted to run and scream and cry.
I didn't feel like I was leaving “my child” at the hospital like I thought I would, but I was leaving a dream. 5 months of time, energy, finances, preparation, tears, excitement. There was a death to a piece of my heart; working so hard for something and now we are back to…nothing.
Why did I get into this in the first place? Was it just to support this couple? Is it enough to know that I had a part to play in their lives and in their choice to keep the baby? Can I possibly enter into another adoption story ever again? What do I do with the baby swing sitting in my living room? How can I stop crying every time I walk past the nursery made up for a little girl? How many days, weeks, months, years will it take to grieve this? How can I support my husband’s grief when it doesn't look at all like mine? How do I tell my almost 8 year old that we didn't bring his sister home with us? When will my heart be okay to continue pursuing this dream of loving a child and bringing them up in the Lord?
These are just a few questions I have racing through my mind but I know that this is NOT the end of our journey.....
Father, I bless this baby girl that YOU knew and formed in the womb. I thank you that you love her more than anyone and that she belongs to You! "The Lord's" is written on her tiny hands. I bless her with a full life and lots of love all the days of her life.
Father, I bless the birth parents with grace to raise Your child. Give them the strength and peace to parent on the good days and the bad. I bless them with your presence in their home, in their bodies, and in their family.
Father, I bless my wonderful husband with time with you, seeking Your face and hearing Your voice. I bless him with dreams and more dreams and visions that are fulfilled. I bless him as a Daddy and his dream to have more children with me.
Father, I bless my son. I bless his mind, his heart, and his spirit to know You truly and fully. I bless him with understanding that YOU ARE GOOD no matter the circumstances. I bless him to trust You in everything even when he sees his mommy cry.
Father, I bless the extended family of this precious couple. I bless them with closeness and unity with one another like never before. I bless them with open and real communication with each other and with You. I bless them with joy during such a time of celebration.
Father, I bless our case worker. I bless her with your presence in her growing family. I bless her with the strength to do what you have called her to do and to be who you made her to be.
Father, I bless my family and friends. I bless them to have understanding, wisdom, and strength for each other and for us during this time. I bless them and their families to be strong and in love with You more than they ever have been.