Right about this time 7 years ago, Lance and I were vacationing in Colorado with my parents and my brother and his wife. Little did we know it at that time, but that would be the next to last time we would be an "all adult" family.
The last time we were together as "only adults" was a VERY painful day for Lance and I. We had come to Dallas for a required quarterly meeting at our adoption agency and we were meeting my family for lunch before we headed back home. This was the Saturday after 9/11 and of course, the whole nation was in shock. We had an extra measure of shock that day as we had been informed that some adoption laws were changing. While the purpose of these laws was good and right, to a couple who had been waiting over 2 years to adopt, it was devastating. We had already had 2 failed adoptions earlier that year and little did we know the very next week, we'd have another. To say we were in a low place would be an understatement.
In addition, I had my suspicions that my sister-in-law was pregnant, although this was not yet confirmed. Even though I was happy for them, I was so sad for me and in such a dark place that it was hard to be happy.
We lived thru the next failed "match" and as I cried on the phone to our social worker, she gently said, "Jennie, I know you don't/can't hear this right now, but there is another expectant mom looking at your profile." That might have cheered me up a few months previously, but quite honestly at that point, all I could see was that it probably wouldn't work out.
We waited a few days and then we got "the call". This young expectant mom did in fact "choose" us and wanted to meet us that Saturday. We agreed to meet in Buffalo,TX at the Dairy Queen. We were so excited and so nervous and really trying to be positive and believe this could really be happening. When you've waited so long, there is a piece of you that doesn't really think you are worthy of being selected and I was there. But....the minute we met E and her parents, that melted away. They were like us - they were devoted Christians with humble backgrounds - nothing fancy, just ordinary people in an extraordinary circumstance. We were all nervous.
When Adrienne (our social worker) arrived she helped us all to relax and steered the conversation. We found out lots of things/places we have in common and ultimately E decided she wanted us to adopt her baby. We couldn't believe it - we were overjoyed! And truly, I knew in that moment that this time it would happen. God eased my doubts and let me enjoy being an "expectant" mom. At this point, we still didn't know if she was carrying a boy or a girl and really, we didn't care!!!! Finally, E asked us if we wanted to know and we said, "of course". A boy, we were going to parent a boy!
The drive home from Buffalo that night was awesome (well, except for the fact that we left some photos in DQ and there is no exit after Buffalo for 15 miles!!!). We called our parents and let them know the news. While I was talking to my dad, he asked me to call my brother and let him know the news. So I did. Wouldn't you know it, that very night he and my sis-in-law had been over at my parents announcing their pregnancy. I think it was a relief to us all that our announcements came at the same time!
Over the weeks that followed, we visited with E both in her home and in ours. I remember trying so hard to "impress" her and being worried that our small home wouldn't be enough. But, E knew those things weren't what mattered, our love was the important thing.
Her due date was November 6th and we were in high gear getting everything ready. E and I had discussed several times that we really didn't mind when N was born, but that neither of us would desire for him to be born on Halloween!
About 4pm on October 30th, I was across the hall in a co-worker's office when I heard my cell phone ring. I ran, but I was too late to pick up the call. When I listened to the message, it was E's dad telling us she was in labor. Freak out begins here!!!! N ended up being born at about 5:15 that afternoon - E was blessed with a relatively quick and easy delivery.
I tried calling Lance, but he was at another church at a meeting and he wasn't answering his cell. I called our church to see if they could somehow get ahold of him. They couldn't either, so I hurriedly packed up my stuff and headed home.
Eventually Lance got home and we hurriedly packed for the trip to Dallas. It would be the next morning before we would meet N and oh, it was great!!! It was worth the heartache, the disappointment, discouragement, and tears and years!!! The next 36 hours would be full of errands and visits to the hospital. E wanted time alone with N to grieve and bond knowing he was hers for just a short time. Lance and I were thankful she was able to ask for this.
On Thursday night, November 1st, we gathered in E's home for the entrustment ceremony. This is a beautiful picture of the birthmom placing the baby in the adoptive family home. Ours was filled with poems, prayers, and words. The entire house was crying. Our family cried tears of joy and their family cried tears of loss and pretty soon, I was crying tears of loss as well. I could see this was not an easy decision for E. She had done this out of her great love for N. As we left her house that night, we were so nervous! Lance drove very slowly and we couldn't believe this tiny life was ours to love, cherish, and raise.
We had our son and the best part, he and E still have each other! They will always be in one another's lives and for that, we are so grateful. N is asking more questions these days about N. He needs her and that's okay with me. I am his mom, but she gave him life!