Saturday, March 3, 2012

The unknown

The middle part of our journey was almost the most painful part. To leave the hospital with an infant that is yours in your heart but not legally is almost gut wrenching. Although we were considered Elliana's guardians, we knew she was not yet ours. One more hurdle needed to be jumped and as we got closer to it, our faith was tested once again.

We took Elliana to the hotel with us on Tuesday. Stopping earlier that morning to buy her a car seat and stroller and some essentials, it still did not click with us that we would be bringing her home. The birthmother was not medically discharged, and we had paperwork that needed to be signed. Tuesday night was restless with me up ever hour and a half to nurse or bottle feed this child of my heart. Wednesday dawned and we found out that our birth mom would be discharged that day. We wandered the streets of Balboa Island, shopping and talking around the topic foremost in our minds.

Everyone had a comment about our sweet baby. It was wonderful to see that everyone could see the angel that she is, but we took their congrats with an ounce of pain. She was not yet truly ours. Later at the hotel we found out that the mom did not sign at discharge, did not want to sign the next day but may be available to sign on Friday. I fell completely apart. Dave fell completely apart. We could still not fully exhale. Through my tears I called our worker. As tears streamed down, I prayed. Dave knelt with our heart child in his arms and prayed. In my heart of hearts I knew that God did not bring us to this child to take her away. "He brought you to this, He will get you through this." I kept hearing that mantra in my head. Placing my faith back to God, I took a deep breath and told Dave. "She is ours. This is just a hoop. We have jumped hoops all the time through this. God will see us through." Then the phone rang.

It was our caseworker explaining that our birthmom was too tired to sign today, I completely understood. She had just had major surgery. She did not want to sign on Thursday because our worker had a dr's appt and could not be there, and she wanted her with her. So she said she would meet and sign on Friday at 11:30. Then later it changed to 3:00 due to witness complications.

Dave left on Thursday. It was hard on both of us knowing the unknown could still happen, but grabbing ahold of our faith with both hands, we went on. I muddled through the day on my own. Friday dawned with a few hopeful tears and many prayers from around the world. Never have I been so humbled than by the prayers that poured in for us and our daughter. Friends, patients, aquantances, family, everyone seemed to have us on their mind and bringing our daughter home on their hearts. And many prayers for a young woman who was giving the biggest sacrifice of all. I hope to always remember that feeling of being surrounded by prayer. Circles and circles surrounded us, protected us.

I took Elliana to the Adoption Agency and met the men and women behind the scenes. Such a precious moment as the reassured me all was going as planned and soon, she would truly be ours. Back at the hotel, I took Elliana for a walk along the bay around the time that our birthmother would be signing.

As we were leaving the hotel a woman stopped me. "Oh, your baby is beautiful! How old is she?" "Six days." "Wow~! You look great! How are you feeling?" "Emotional. We are adopting her and the birthmother will be signing paperwork soon." The woman made the sign of a cross over Elliana and I. With a smile she said.."Never fear, that paperwork will be signed. This baby is your daughter. May God always Bless her, and you." A calm came over me. Another sign. Thank you, God!

As Elliana and I walked along the bay waiting for the call that all was complete, I thought back upon the journey that got us to that day. How in early September of 2011 Dave brought up adopting. Out of the blue. We had our phone consult a few weeks later. Then bought a van. Then signed on. Our profiles went live mid October, weeks before projected. Our home study started Nov 4 and was completed in less than 5 weeks. Beyond quick. We were officially just waiting by December. Pass along cards went out in January. We were matched with our birthmom on my birthday, Feb 1, 2012. Our daughter was born on Feb 19, 2012. Papers were signed Feb 24, 2012. I brought our daughter home to complete our family Feb 29, 2012. An emotional roller coaster for such a short paper pregnancy.

As you know, our paperwork was signed. Communication guidelines were set, ICPC paperwork was sent out, and we were finally able to come home. To our boys. To be a complete family once again. Our missing link was found and brought to us by God. Every step of the way I was reminded that when I truly let go, and let God, amazing things happen. Once again, I was thankful to walk out on that limb of faith and to wait for the blessing God would bestow upon us. Elliana Marie....The Lord has responded......
So many emotions go into this adoption journey. Almost 2 weeks ago we frantically made our way to California to meet our new daughter. She was born my c-section in the late hours of Sunday night and I fought my way to her almost all day Monday. After weeks of waiting, planning, making sure the boys were well taken care of and people were lined up to do my Mommy duties, the time was here! It was nothing like the movies protray. Once I finally made it to Orange County Airport, waited in line for a rental car, rushed to the hotel (that I could not find and drove around forever to locate), and finally made it to the hospital, I was not allowed to see my baby. Oh, I could look through the glass window to the next room and see her pink and blue hat, but I could not get in there with her! After 30 minutes of talking to the charge nurse (who was Asian with a thick accent I could barely understand and very rule bound, she only showed a slip of her hard core nursing facade when I cried that all I wanted was MY BABY!) and hunting down someone in administration, the "adoptive mom" was finally able to get a band to see the baby! On my way to the nursery, I was told that Dave would not be able to have a band or see his daughter. He would have to stand outside the glass window and gaze at her that way. Only the bio mom, me, and bio grandma could have bands. Not the Dad? I threw a complete meltdown fit. The charge nurse was unmoved...the administrator was. Thankfully. Dave would not get a band, but he would be able to see her, and the next day we could be given a room so he could be with her. Tears are good.

I was so worried to see her. What would I think? I've had three children so I knew kinda what to expect, but this was not a child I felt move in my belly. This was not a child that I bonded to through dreams as I rested my hand upon my swollen body. What would I feel? Anything? The moment I picked her up and she snuggled into my shoulder, I knew this was my child. The child of my heart. As I gazed down upon her sweet face, she was looking up at me. It took me 18 hours to get to her side. Rocking her, feeding her, and checking out her fingers and toes, I knew this little girl and I would have quite a journey ahead of us. I didn't love her because I had to. I loved her because I knew God had hand picked her for us. He knew what my heart needed and this sweet 6lb 10oz dark headed angel just fit into that slot in my heart that had been empty. Finally.

Through that night and the next day Dave and I were able to meet with Elliana's birthmom. We were able to ask questions, get a feel for her heart, and she was able to rest easy knowing that we would love our daughter through thick or thin. One thing that broke my heart and showed the innocence of her youth is that she could not understand why it took me so long to get to the baby's side. She thought that we may have changed our minds and no longer wanted her. After I explained my crazy day of leaving my boys, driving to the airport, two flights, one long layover, dashing for the car, the room, the hospital...I got there as quickly as I could from Illinois to California. She smiled, deeply sighed, and we talked of other things.

I want Elliana to know that her mother was very sad to let her go. That she loved her the only way she knew how. She tried to take good care of her while she was in her belly. Truly, I believe she did the best she could. Sometimes there are things and people in our lives that help us make wrong decisions. Elliana's mom gave us one of the 4 greatest gifts in our lives. We are eternally grateful to her and will always let Elliana know that as well.

Dave did get to hold his daughter that night. He loved her right away. I think in his heart, he knew that things had gone so well for us, that this child was our destiny. We were able to have a room to bond with her more as we went through the discharge information. And finally, I was put into a wheelchair and taken out of the hospital. I entered empty wombed and empty armed. I left with a daughter and a full heart. Sometimes life surprises me.