(meeting our daughter for the first time)
It is time to write this down! My heart has been FULL, but my time/energy has been low. Almost like there is a new baby living here, you know? :)
Where to begin….
In October, we opened up our openness to include boys. My reasoning for wanting a girl was this: why not choose what we don’t already have? I looooooved being a mom to two boys (I was hoping for a second boy with Knox), but I definitely saw one of the perks of adoption as being able to choose the gender of your child. All I can say is that God completely changed my heart on this. I woke up one morning, made breakfast for the boys, and felt God tell me in my heart “These boys are the most precious gift you have…why are you not open to another one?” Done deal…I texted Ande right away and said, let’s open up more; I’d love to have a third boy. Ande was just waiting on me to do this. So now we were completely open on ethnicity and gender.
Fast forward to November. Near the end of RUF Large Group, we got a call at 9:30 pm from a number I didn’t know. I stepped out to call the number back, feeling like this might be “the call”…who calls so late on a weeknight?? (well, besides RUF students, but they were all in the Bible study!) It was our social worker, Kate, saying she needed to talk to both me and Ande at the same time, and the pregnancy counselor would be on the line, too. I knew this was IT!!!!! I ran back in, all shaking and crying, to tell Ande this was THE call, and we needed to call her back in 5 minutes. I ran back to the hallway of UCF to wait. I sat down on the floor so I would not pass out. I laughed and prayed and tried to remain in an upright position :). Ande gave the benediction to the students and ran out the door to meet me.
We stepped outside the building, sat on a bench, and called back. When we were all on the line, we learned that we had been chosen by a birthmom that day, that she was due THE NEXT DAY, and that the baby was an African-American BOY. Tears and laughter and shock and excitement!!! (Wanna know something extra awesome?? Ande recorded the phone call! We’ll always have it and be able to relive that excitement.) I went home and frantically began cleaning the house (nesting) until I finally dropped over at 3:30 am. :)
Birthmom went a week late, so exactly one week after getting THE call, we found out she was in labor around lunch time the following Tuesday. We prayed and waited throughout the day. Before dinner, we took the boys on a walk (we all needed to get out!), and Kate texted me she was at 10 cm and would be pushing soon. About 10 minutes later, we got a picture text of our just-born baby, underneath were the words “It’s a GIRL!!!” and then lots of pictures and even a video of her being cleaned off. A GIRL!?!?
I cried. Ande laughed…and no joke, a bald eagle swooped right over us at that moment. Ande said he imagined God saying “Bald Eagle!” just for extra flair! We had our boy name ready to go…it was already on her paperwork! Our heads were spinning, and I wondered if we should name her a feminine version of our boy name (which we had never considered). Ande wisely said, “Let’s name her Harper. That was the girl name we decided on months ago. She should be Harper.” Deep breath….yes! She’s Harper Grace.
That evening, just a couple hours later, we were able to meet with Harper’s birthmom. What a special, sacred time it was. I am so thankful for her. I had a year and a half to think about what it would be like to meet our child’s birthmom, and in the moment all I could be was excited. The Peace of Christ is the only way to explain it. Then we met our beautiful daughter. She was so perfect, so pretty and feminine with lots of hair, so alert. Ande and I left the hospital that night, prayed, and celebrated together over second-dinner at Chili’s (one of the few places still open so late!)
Two days later, when Harper was released from the hospital, the boys met their sister. They were overjoyed. These boys had prayed faithfully, Owen for a year and a half, for a baby sister. To see God’s answer right in front of us, being kissed and cuddled by her two big brothers…my heart was so full.
showing all her hair
showing her tiny fingers
first kisses from big brothers
During the hard, long wait from start to placement, we really rode an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes we were hopeful and felt like our baby could come at any moment. Sometimes we were in despair. I wondered why the long wait. I wondered why God had blessed our adoption fundraising efforts but was still waiting to give us our child. I wondered was I foolish to do this. Was I wasting prime child-bearing years just waiting for a baby…one with no guarantee we would get? I wondered what in the world was God doing. Knowing God is sovereign, I knew the reason we didn’t have our baby was because He hadn’t given her to us yet. We tried to remind ourselves that once she was here, the wait wouldn’t matter. But in it, it DOES matter. Can you tell I was all over the place??
Here’s what Ande and I know: God writes the story. His story is always bigger and fuller and more amazing than any story we can write. It is not an easy story, BUT it is a beautiful one.
So, soo thankful she is here.
And so, soo thankful to the many of you who prayed and gave sacrificially to our fundraising efforts to adopt. Adoption is not cheap, and we could not be here without all the help you’ve given. Please know we are so grateful.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!