To my daughters…

To my daughters…

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I had fallen asleep at school that day. When I told Daddy, he was convinced that our dream was coming true.  I agreed to take a test, and 3 minutes later, we saw those 2 little lines appear. Those lines that meant you were on the way.  Those lines that meant finally, after all the waiting and wondering, we would be parents. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Even though it was 11 at night, we called Mamaw and Papa and Gammy and Granpa right away.  We even jumped in the car and drove to tell our friends. They were excited too after they woke up and got out of bed.  You, our baby, were all Daddy and I could think about.

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DSC_0174We had wanted another baby for so long. My heart was longing to hold a precious little one close, to feel a baby’s soft cheeks brush mine, to cradle a tiny one in my arms.  Daddy and I had talked. We had prayed. We knew God would bring a baby at his time and in his way.  And He put adoption in our hearts.  The day we decided we would adopt, you became real to me.  I knew we would get our baby, and I am so thankful that baby is you. I began to dream of you. I imagined what you would look like and when you would come.  Joy had filled my heart.

 

DSC_0003We went to the doctor for my sonogram and my heart felt like it would burst.  Sitting in the waiting room, I felt like time had stopped.  All I could do was watch the hand ticking slowly around the face of the clock. I couldn’t wait for the official word that you, my child, were real.  When I saw that little morsel on the black and white screen, tears filled my eyes. You were real, and you were coming!

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DSC_0174We went to Gladney to begin our journey which would lead us to you.  I was so nervous. I couldn’t decide what to wear. I wanted to look perfect, to act perfect, for everything to be perfect.  It had to be – because this was the first step toward our baby. We learned so much at orientation – what the process would look like, what we needed to complete. And we learned that we would have to wait.  I had no idea then how hard the waiting would be.

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DSC_0003When we heard your heartbeat for the first time I couldn’t believe how beautiful it sounded.  A tiny little heart beating inside a tiny little body.  Beating so fast – pumping blood to all your tiny parts. The doctor said your heart sounded perfect – of course I already knew you were.  My days were spent dreaming of you, wondering if you would be Claire or Connor,  planning every little detail of your nursery. I didn’t have a clue how much you would change our lives – how you would fill it up with joy and laughter, and how much I would learn from being your mommy.

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DSC_0174As soon as we got home from Gladney, we started the paperwork.  The huge binder full of papers.  As we answered questions about our jobs, our family, our marriage, our health, our house, all I could think about was you.  Each doctor visit, each fingerprinting session, each interview, was just a stepping stone to our destination.  Spending late evening hours at the kitchen table, with papers spread out in front of us, was a joy – because it meant you were on the way.

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DSC_0003I couldn’t wait for my stomach to grow. I started wearing maternity clothes out of desire, not need.  With each week that passed, I could see little changes, and they thrilled my heart. As time passed and I felt you move, my love for you grew even more.  I loved the connection that we already had, you living in me. I loved my big stomach, and the promise that it held.

 

DSC_0174I didn’t think our house would ever be clean enough for our home study visit.  I wanted the caseworker to see how much we wanted you.  To see how our hearts already loved you and were planning for you. As we made our profile books, we imagined your birthmom.  We wondered what she would be like, what her story would be.  We wondered what she would think of us as she looked through our book and read our story.  Would she think we were good enough?  We didn’t know then what a beautiful, amazing, strong woman she would be and how much we would connect with her, right from the start.

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DSC_0003In the final month with me as your home, I got huge. I was achy and swollen and just so ready to see your face.  Every morning in the shower I would pray that today would be the day. Every evening Daddy and I would sit on the couch, poking my swollen calves, and trying to set records for how long it would take for the poking marks to raise back up. I was tired of waiting. I wanted to hold you in my arms and stroke your cheek and kiss your head.  I wanted you.

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DSC_0174The 10 months we waited for you felt like an eternity. Every single day I thought this could be the day.  Every single day for 10 months, it wasn’t.  Every single day we prayed for you.  Every single day we dreamed of you. Every single day we checked our phones over and over, hoping for a call.  There were a few days when the phone did ring, but the calls weren’t about you. It wasn’t time yet. Toward the end I got really anxious. I cried.  I prayed harder.  I wished for you and my heart ached, missing you.  And then, the call came.  Our baby girl had been born, and she was waiting for us.  Finally, it was time.

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DSC_0003I woke up at 3:45 with heavy contractions that Tuesday morning.  I was sure it was a false alarm and decided to take my time on a shower, doing my hair, and putting on my makeup.  At 5 o’clock we decided it was time to go to the hospital.  After waiting awhile, I got admitted and the journey of labor began. Through the process, through the pain, I knew you were waiting.  You were the reward.  At 1:21 that afternoon, as I held you in my arms for the first time, with tears filling my eyes and joy filling my heart, the journey of the last 9 months came to a close. And a brand new journey began.

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DSC_0174We walked down the hall at Gladney, where we had walked two times before.  This time, though, it was different.  You were waiting at the end of that hallway.  Not just the dream of you, or the hope of you.  You – flesh and bones – were waiting for us.  In just a few minutes, I knew you would be in my arms.  And then, you were.  You were in my arms, with my lips brushing your hair.  You were in my arms, with tears streaming down my face. You were in my arms, and you were perfect.  You were meant to be. You were wanted. You were chosen. You were ours. The long, hard, journey to bring you home had come to a close.  And a brand new journey began.

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Waiting – Part 2

Waiting is hard to do.

Waiting on a reply to an important e-mail.  Waiting in line to use the restroom.  Waiting for Christmas morning (even though I’m 30).

Know what’s really hard to do?  Wait for a baby.  I’d venture to say it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

To say that we had become impatient in waiting for our baby would be accurate.  To say that we had entered the begging/bargaining stage in our prayers wouldn’t be a stretch.

Last Monday evening at bedtime, Claire was close to tears saying she missed our baby and wondering when the little one would be coming along.  Chris suggested that we pray about it, and he asked God to give us dreams about our baby and speak to us as we slept.

The next morning – Tuesday – Claire reminded us of our bedtime conversation.  “Well, do you guys want to hear my dream?”  We were a little surprised that she remembered, and of course, curious.  “I had a dream that our baby is now.”  Chris and I exchanged a glance, silently asking, What does that mean?  We asked for more information and heard matter of factly, “Oh, and our baby is a girl.”  I felt a thrill run through me and a fresh burst of excitement fill my heart.  But Tuesday passed without a word.

Wednesday and Thursday came and went.  Thursday evening I posted something on facebook saying how very anxious we were feeling to get our baby.

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Then on Saturday my phone rang.  I was doing my hair (after finally changing out of my pjs and showering at 4 pm), so I let it go to voicemail.  It was Melissa.  After all these months of waiting, all these moments awaiting this phone call, all the days checking my phone 10, 20, 30 times a day, THE CALL went to voicemail.  I quickly called back and Melissa filled us in.  A birth mom had chosen us and her baby had been born on TUESDAY .  Yes, on Tuesday.  The morning of the “Our Baby is Now” dream.

This was going to – most likely – be our baby.  A baby girl, weighing 5 lbs 15 oz, and 19 inches long.  Healthy and staying in transitional care – with a volunteer family – working for our agency.  But, it wasn’t a done deal yet.  The birth mom, “D”, wanted to talk with us on the phone Sunday evening.

So many questions, thoughts, and emotions were swirling through me.  What does she look like?  When can we see her?  What if…D doesn’t like us?  Something goes wrong?  What if, what if, what if?  And also, Wahoo!!!  Our baby girl is here at last!

Sunday night finally rolled around.  To say we were a huge ball of nerves would be entirely true.  I pressed three wrong buttons before being able to properly answer the phone.  Within the first minute of our conversation, we – Chris, me, D, and her mom – all confessed how nervous we were and shared a good, jittery laugh.  From there, our conversation went beautifully.  All I can say is that D is a delight.  We share so many things in common – from playing basketball, to being homebodies, to our dogs being similar.  After fearing this phone call for so long, we were unbelievably relieved with how it went.  We talked for 45 minutes and soon afterward heard from Melissa that D loved us as much as we loved her.  On Monday D met with her caseworker and at 11:44 we go the official word – this baby girl will be ours!

We will travel to Dallas to have dinner with D and her mom on Friday evening.  Then on Saturday we will meet OUR DAUGHTER for the first time  and get to bring her home.

One of my friends said to me, “Shannon, it’s like you guys have all the emotions of finding out you’re pregnant and having your baby jammed into the same week.”  That pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Life right now is a whirlwind – buying a car seat, bottles, and diapers.  Taking care of paperwork.  Celebrating with friends – and our friends have been over the top amazing – offering meals, making plans to care for Logan while we’re gone, setting up a fundraiser for us.  Calling the doctor.  Planning family visits.  And trying to remember how to take care of a baby.

To say that we are excited would be correct.  To say that we are happy would be perfectly true.  But to say that we are thankful – that just won’t do.  “Thankful” does not do justice to what we feel in our hearts.

I just don’t think there are words strong enough.

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