You all have been with us on this journey for a while. In fact, you’ve seen quite a few ups and downs in this blog, am I right? Well….you need some backstory. Because we need to be honest with you about a few things. After all, you have prayed with and for us, you have donated to our child in hopes to bring him/her home, you have walked with us through.a.lot.
Last Sunday, May 24th…I didn’t know if I had anything left to put into this journey. Because I was exhausted.
I think that the passing of my Grandmommy had a lot to do with this. I wanted so badly for her to know her future great-grandchild. The one that in the beginning of our journey, she was very hesitant about us pursuing. But months ago, she started being encouraging. And my Grandmommy, who I so often called when driving backroads to and from places just to chat, was now gone. And I wanted her here. I wanted her to know our growing family, her growing family.
And then there was the weaning. The pain of a dream to nurse our child that was being weaned away. You can read more about that here. And let’s be honest…that was the last huge thing that I was holding onto. The timelines, expectancies, expected cost, etc…all out the window.
But at the root of all of that was this dark, festering problem. I wasn’t in control and I didn’t like it.
I’ve never felt the Lord’s presence more in my life then throughout this whole journey. He has been right here. I knew He wasn’t finished yet. This story of His, He was still unfolding, and will continue to unfold far beyond what we can imagine. But…me. I was ready for something to happen. I didn’t want to continue in the wilderness.
Then on Tuesday, at breakfast, after I prayed for our food and thanked the Lord for providing it, our daughter, like she so frequently does, said ‘again.’ She does this whenever she thinks we haven’t prayed long enough, or for enough….and I knew what she was saying. She wanted me to add on what I had for so long prayed for and yet had left out the last two days…for God to “provide for little brother/little sister and for them to be well nourished too” and to please “bring them home soon.”
So I prayed that, with tears in my eyes because I had nothing more to give. And she smiled, squealed “AMEN” and then started pigging out on her cereal.
Much later in the morning, near nap time, I called my dear, sweet friend (really, Sister) Cat, and cried over the phone with her about all I was feeling. I didn’t know if I had any fight left. I didn’t know if maybe we should just take a break and start again when we are both 30, and possibly submit our dossier to China. She asked me my reasons, she offered advice (good, sound, godly). She reminded me that God is faithful. She reminded me that this isn’t bigger than Him. And I said, “But you can’t promise me that there is a child at the end of this. You can’t.”
She remained encouraging. She remained steadfast. And by the end of the phone conversation, I was in a much better place. More peace. Or maybe, it was that I had finally gotten to the end of my rope. I breathed, let go, and just officially.quit.trying.to.make.something.happen.that.I.had.no.control.over. I believed our child was somewhere out there, but I had to unclench my fingers, and let my desire go. It wasn’t mine to hold onto. It never was mine to cling to. It is God’s. And it was time for Him to shake me and my need-for-control loose. I was done.
Then Thursday afternoon happened.
My phone started vibrating next to me.
It was Jennifer. Our domestic representative. I picked up the phone and choked out something like this:
“Hey, Jennifer. How are you?”
“Good. Hold on, let me patch Zane in.”
And my heart stopped. No. Literally. I put my hand to my chest and couldn’t feel it.
The phone conversation was much of a blur…but not at all…at the same time. On Tuesday, a baby girl had been born. She was born at xx weeks, is in her little incubator, started breathing on her own on Thursday, her apguard scores were x, y, and z and she weighed x.y lbs and was z inches. Here’s a little more info on her …………… I still don’t think my heart was working. I mean, my hand was still on my chest and I couldn’t feel it pumping! “And Emmie, she is too little right now to eat on her own or suck, but she is being fed through her tummy, on donated breast milk.” And I started bawling. Such a little thing to so many people….but to me….what a gift for the Lord to give me. (YES, to give this little girl that nourishment, but to give it to me….there are no words to express the depth of gratitude, of humility, of “God, you have had this all along.”) Zane was on his way home from work, and Jennifer continued to tell us information that she could about Baby Girl and about Birth Mommy, about how we were chosen and how it all came to be, and then we got off the phone with her, quickly got on the phone with each other, decided we wouldn’t talk until Zane got home from work, but would use the next 20 or so minutes to pray and reflect and…whatever else you do when *the phone call comes.*
“Kids! Want to watch a movie? I’ll pop popcorn!” “Okay!”
So I got them settled, went outside on the front steps, and went blank. I mean, did this just happen?
I was crying on the phone with my friend on Tuesday saying I was worn and weary. I was spent. And while I was unclenching my fingers, knowing I had nothing more to put in, Baby Girl was being born.
I had started weaning our daughter believing I’d never nurse again, when God knew all along. A preemie baby born at xx weeks doesn’t need her Mommy to lactate at the same degree as a 2 year old. She needs less. Much less. And that is what I had weaned to.
This whole journey……But God….. The end of my rope….But God….
We have never been in control. Have always been in the world of unknowns. But God.
I started praying for Baby Girl. For the battle she is fighting in her wee body. For healing. For growth. I started praying for Birth Mommy and the healing she was having to do physically from delivery and emotionally from this decision. I texted two ladies, Cat and Christy, “Don’t ask any questions. Just pray.” <–I know, easiest text question they have ever had to receive, I’m sure.
Zane got home. Took forever. Seriously, in those moments, I think it took longer for him to get home than this whole adoption journey has taken!
We slowly, but eagerly (so weird) walk up to each other, hug each other….and doubtfully but wishfully say “Is she ours?”
The rest of the night was filled with sharing some with our parents, 3 or 4 of our trusted friends/advisors/been-in-your-shoes-before/prayer warriors, then did our best to somehow take care of our kids while also calling our pediatrician to let him know, ‘we know this this and this about Baby Girl,’ writing a list of questions for our agency, googling preemie babies, what to expect, and a few other things.
Somewhere in all that our doorbell rings. Surprise! Cat had driven 45, 50 minutes…who knows in through downtown Nashville crazy traffic…to our house AFTER stopping at Target to buy our son a ‘big brother’ card, our daughter a ‘big sister’ card, us a ‘congratulations’ card, along with a couple of newborn ADORABLE Baby Girl outfits and a ton of wipes and diapers. We’ve never had preemie diapers before. They are itty bitty. I mean, bare baby butts actually come in this size?!?! I learn so much about loving other people by how Cat loves people. Wow.
I didn’t sleep. No shock there. I’m not sure how much I’ve slept since that phone call. There has been so much to take in. So many phone calls. So many unknowns. So many important and hard conversations. So much reality! So much love. So much encouragement. So many prayers.
We have to fly to ………………., twice. The first time, next week, to meet her, sign all of the official papers, all that jazz. AHHH I cannot wait! The second time, when she is ready to be released from the hospital, and to come home…we will bring her home. (I want you all there at the airport! I can’t believe this is really happening!!!) This is a domestic adoption. Fees for domestic and international are different, but basically, all of our domestic fees that we were fully funded for, did not include 2 sets of round-trip plane tickets. Also, this state she is in requires that we not only use our agency, but also an agency there, so we have some extra agency fees tied in.
On Friday, the stress of dealing with logistics, finances, firm conversations really did a number on Zane so at 6:15 p.m., I called up some friends that have walked this road before, Josh and Kimberly, and basically said “I know you all aren’t spontaneous but it is time to be spontaneous. Can you all come over?” I didn’t tell them much, but that *the call* had come, and they showed up 30 minutes later with Chocolate and Twizzlers in hand. Again, incredible friends teaching us more and more about loving people. Living life with people.
We already had had a Craft Show on the calendar to participate in for Saturday, May 30th. It got rained out half-way in, but with that, and a friend buying a necklace Friday night, and another friend just wanting to give because, well, she cares about this and God is good, He has already brought in over $300. Without even telling people all we are up against, God has begun to provide the extra expenses.
After all, He is God. He is Good. He is Constant. He is Sovereign. Always.
I had continued crafting and selling locally, and we had some set aside in our bank account should we need an ’emergency fund.’ That said, we need roughly $4,000 more to get our daughter home. Like, now. Haha. We are all in. This is our girl. This is who we all have been praying for, fighting for. This was the plan all along.
When we started this, I thought God had a little African toddler for us to fly to and bring home. Nope…God had a preemie white girl for us to fly to and bring home. We’ve read the books on parenting children that have lived in orphanages, on dealing with attachment and trauma, on becoming an interracial family. We haven’t read the books on this. Haha! I can’t recall how many times I have literally laughed out loud. But this is the way, walk ye in it…
And I cannot wait to tell her how many people have been loving her home, since before she was even fearfully and wonderfully formed. Baby Girl….you have a whole army that loves you and adores you.
Her name means two things. Her first, means ‘Dawn,’ and isn’t it always that Joy comes in the morning. Dawn comes after the dark of night. And her middle name, bearer of good news. And what good news this is. Fitting, yes? We are not posting her name in this blog due to identification concerns, but wanted you all to know the meaning behind it!
Years ago, I blogged about ‘A Thousand Years’ and what it meant to me in terms of adoption…and I keep thinking of some of the lyrics now.
Every breath, every hour has come to this. One step closer. I have died every day waiting for you. Darling don’t be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I’ll love you for a thousand more.
One step closer. It’s time to get her home. God’s got this. He always had this. You guys….THIS.IS.IT.
If you want to give, give! Go here to donate and track where we are at and do feel free to share all over social media 🙂 If you want to pray, oh please do!
Ways to pray:
1) For her! She is in an incubator and will be for a few weeks. We are limited in what we can say/share, but she is battling in her wee body right now so pray for her. 2) Pray for Birth Mommy! Praise the Lord that she chose life for her child. Pray that He heals her wounds, those we see and don’t see, and that she comes to know His love that is so rich and freeing. 3) And pray for us. This journey, one chapter is closing and another is just beginning. Pray that finances come together. Pray for safe traveling. 4) The hospital nurses, doctors, etc that are helping her right now. For wisdom and for caring and loving attention. 5) Praise the Lord with us for the women out there donating Breast milk to our Baby Girl, for all of you that have given your prayers and/or finances along the way, and for the Community we have around us that are going to live this with us. Man, we are pumped. 6) Pray for our adoption agency to continue caring for the fatherless and to grow every day in deeper care and love for the Lord, the fatherless, and the families welcoming children home.