I LOVE the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. Psalm1161:2
A baby’s first Birthday is so hard for a sentimental mama. It was hard when both of our boys turned one. But this girl, she is taking the cake! Literally and figuratively. Y’all it is so incredibly hard for me to believe it’s already been a year. Tonight as I was putting my sweet girl to bed, she laid her head on my shoulder and wrapped her sweet chubby hands around my neck. I took a long deep breath of her lavender scented hair and just held her. I whispered into her ear how much I love her, and how she was chosen by God. All the while, I was trying to memorize every part of her. Her smell. Her tininess. The way her squishiness felt in my arms. For 563 days I would walk into that same room and kneel beside that same crib and ask God to send me a daughter. Oh how He has blessed me. My cup runneth over.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 began just like any other Summer day. The boys and I went grocery shopping early that morning and then we went swimming with my sister in law Sarah. While the boys were busy laughing and splashing around, Sarah and I talked about the adoption process. I remember it like it was yesterday. I had told her about the email I had received from our adoption consultant that said; “I know this week has been slow with cases…so I just wanted to encourage you and remind you that the wait, the hard, it’s worth it.” No cases for us. It was the craziest thing! After we finished swimming I took the boys home for lunch and naps. It was during nap time that I got down on my knees beside of my bed and prayed “Lord, do You see me? Do You see my heart? Do you see my brokenness? God will you please give me a glimpse, just a glimpse that you are working all things for my good and your glory. A glimpse that you are taking our ship to shore.
Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went. John 6:21
It was a beautiful sunny day, but the heaviness I was carrying made it seem dark and gloomy. I sent Courtney our adoption consultant a text asking her to call me. I just needed to hear her voice and wisdom on “waiting.” (Sam had to work late that afternoon so I took the boys to VBS.) She called while I was at church so I stepped outside to talk with her. She pretty much said what I already knew, there were no “girl cases” right now, and the wait is hard. Excruciatingly hard, but Gods timing is perfect and we must fix our eyes on Him. After hanging up with her I felt so much better. I was at peace with our wait. I went back inside of our church and resumed with our VBS lesson, snack, singing, crafts, etc. It was around 8pm when church was finished. I buckled the kiddos in their seats and was buckling myself when I received a text from Courtney.
Courtney was texting me that she had just received a case of a baby girl. A baby girl whose mother was in labor!! (You better read that part again!) IN LABOR! I was so excited and so thankful that God had heard my prayer. He saw me that day and gave me the glimpse I had asked of Him. I prayed giving thanks to God the entire drive home. When we arrived home Sam and I put the boys to bed. We then discussed the text and what information we had. We had a very limited time frame to make the decision on if we wanted to present our profile book to this birth family or not. We had been given a beautiful glimpse, and honestly that is all I thought it was. I thought this was just another case, like the 22 cases we were given previously. As we discussed the details we decided to let God have full control. We text Courtney back around 9pm with “yes, please present our profile.”
It was 11pm and I had just climbed into bed when our home phone rang. I quickly grabbed the phone off of my night stand trying not to wake the boys. In a whispered “hello?” I heard Courtney on the other end of the phone saying, “Stevie, congratulations, you’ve been CHOSEN!” I said “praise the Lord” probably a million times! It was all I could think to say, and if I had to do over, I’d still say “Praise the Lord!” over and over again like a broken record. He is worthy of our praise! I was ecstatic! I was crying, shouting, crying, sweating, bouncing up and down, crying, squeezing Sam, crying, permanently smiling, you get the point. I was in disbelief. We had been told no 22 other times. This case was just my glimpse. We weren’t supposed to be chosen… But Y’all, God is faithful. He sees us even when it seems He is distant. He hears our prayers and cries even when He seems quiet. If you don’t remember anything else I’ve written, please remember this, God SEES YOU!
Before hanging up with Courtney that night, she gave us some instructions on finances, forms to fill out, and that we needed to book our flight to Utah asap. We slept very little that night. We woke the next morning to a beautiful text message saying that our daughter had been born at 10:27pm (mountain time) weighing 7lbs 3oz 19in long. I immediately called Sam’s parents to arrange baby sitting for the boys. I began packing baby clothes, blankets, paci’s, diapers, etc. When the boys woke up and we were finally able to tell them that their prayers had been answered and God had given them a baby sister. We told them that she was waiting for us and that we were going to be flying on a plane to go pick her up. They were both in shock, but the excitement soon kicked in. We ran a few errands and then booked our flight for that afternoon. Sarah decided she would go with us to capture in picture form, our Joy Journey.
We arrived at the airport that afternoon only to find our flight was delayed, delayed some more and then finally canceled. I was a wreck! I just knew that the birthmom was changing her mind and that’s why there was a storm in Atlanta. But that wasn’t the truth. It hurt my heart to think of my sweet baby girl being in a hospital nursery alone. I was missing those first snuggles with her, but I had to trust that the God who created her, the God who heard my cries to make me her mother, He was the same today as yesterday, and He would take care of both of us until we could be together. We arrived home around midnight to sleep a few hours before catching the first flight to Salt Lake City Utah.
June 19th, as we borded the air plane, Sam had the window seat. I was in the middle and a kind lady had the isle seat. (Sarah was sitting a few rows back from us.) As we flew I tried filling out those last minute adoption forms. The lady sitting next to me saw the papers and asked if we were adopting. I told her that we were and that we were on our way to pick up our beautiful baby girl. As we talked about our reasons for flying to Utah, the lady opened up to me with a very broken heart about losing her husband one year ago that day. She was flying out to be with his family on the one year anniversary of his death. You could hear the heaviness in her heart. My heart in that moment was filled to the brim with JOY and hers was full of GRIEF. She then began asking the hard questions…how could God…is He even real…did He know… “Yes friend, He is real, and yes friend, He knew. He created us in His image. He sent His only son to die for our sins. So that we may have eternity in Heaven with your husband…with my daughter. Hear me friend, God is good. He is love and He sees you. He wants you to see Him and to believe in Him. For you to ask Him to be your Savior and your help in this weary time of need.” And in that very moment I knew why our flight had been canceled the night before.
The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1:21
We landed in Salt Lake City, Utah at 10 am. We found our luggage, rented a car, checked into our hotel and freshened up. We arrived at the hospital at 12 just minutes after the birth mother “C” and birth father “M” had signed their rights away. We were excited and anxious all at the same time. This moment we had been praying for was finally here. I had been praying for the birth-family to have PEACE in their decision. As we were ushered into a hospital room by a social worker we saw “C” holding our girl. We said hello, and she asked with a smile on her face if I wanted to hold her… absolutely! Time screeched to a halt, as she gave me her baby, and for the first time I held my Daughter. She stood smiling as I broke down sobbing. The Lord was answering so many prayers in that moment. She was at peace just like I had prayed, and I was basking in the mercies of my Father, as I stood there holding my miracle.
Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness; Psalm 30:11
As the tears streamed down my cheeks I couldn’t believe that God had answered my prayers so perfectly. He had taken our ship to shore! And how is it He would entrust me with this child? She was stunningly beautiful. A jewel straight out of Heaven. She had the chubbiest cheeks, a perfect little nose, lips, ears, fingers and toes. I couldn’t hold back the flood gate of emotion. I handed Ella Joy to her Daddy to hold for the first time, and He was in love at first sight. “C” and “M” were both at peace. They smiled, and were kind as they made light conversation with us. Our time together was brief as the hospital was discharging them. We prayed with them before we stepped out so that they could say their final goodbyes. A moment later they were gone. Ellie wasn’t supposed to be discharged until Saturday the 20th but the hospital went ahead and began her discharging process. Just another gift from God.
They that sow in tears shall reap in Joy. Psalm 126:5
I had read months earlier in the book of Ruth (ch.4 vs.16) where Naomi took Ruth’s child, laid it to her bosom, and became nurse unto it. I was intrigued. I began researching “nursing your adopted child” while I was still praying for her to come. I knew that all things are possible with God. (Matthew 19:26) I began taking herbs and vitamins and doing anything possible to get my body to supply the nutrition my daughter would need. Fast forward to June 19th…
Hear me: I. Nursed. My. Adopted. Daughter! Her little body lay across mine and God gave me the gift of milk. My body was used to nourish and nurture my baby. A miracle blessed with a miracle. The social worker couldn’t believe it. She was stunned. She said “I have never seen anything like this before.” But I sat there, in awe of my Heavenly Father.
Shortly after Ella Joy was finished eating, we were given her discharge papers and we left with our daughter. It was the most beautiful day. We returned to the hotel and gave thanks to God for this beautiful answered prayer. As I sat there with tears falling, and arms raised, we worshiped the Giver, not the gift.
Stay tuned for more of our adoption journey…