Welcome to the third post in our adoption story series. If you haven’t read the first and second ones, please stop and get caught up! This week is full of pictures and memories.
I have been putting off writing this post all week. I think it is because it is hard to remember the “in-betweens” of life. I remember the high of the phone call and the match meeting as if it happened moments ago and I remember the spinning sensation of our grief when we lost her, but it is that time in between that is lost. It is the moments between the climb and the fall, the inhale and the exhale, and the loving and losing that get swept up in the shuffle of it all. It is the ordinary, mundane and the daily things that get passed by.
All I can tell you, without a doubt, is that we were happy.
There are some things I do remember though. This is the part of the story where I can start telling you about our amazing “people” that walked this entire road with us. These people will continually show up in my writing and I am so excited to tell you all about them. There were many of them and I doubt we would have made it through in one piece without them.
Mandie and Bryan are two of our very best friends. Mandie is the comic relief in my life, my drink-wine-on-the-couch-and-talk-until-midnight soul friend, and one who always shows up. As teenage girls, we drove around East County in her green Ford Explorer. She dyed my hair and introduced me to Mac makeup. We dated the same boy. As women, she threw me my first baby shower for Jack. She cried with me after my miscarriages. I cried with her when she had to unexpectedly put her precious dog down. We go to concerts, talk about God and life, and try to laugh our way through some of our hardest seasons. When she heard about the adoption, she got straight to work designing Baby Kent’s room. We didn’t know the gender so we wanted to come up with something classy and neutral.
She and Bryan sat in the baby room with us comparing paint colors and dreaming with us. We picked out the perfect gray paint. Bryan’s mom went with Mandie and I to look at fabric.
Justin and I put the crib together. We built shelves that still hang above the dresser today.
The girls from the support group I lead sent me a onesie. It is the same one I send to all the girls when they “graduate” from our group with their belly bumps or adopted miracles in their arms. I had given out seven that year and mine was the eighth. I proudly laid it in the crib while I tried to imagine the little person that would fill it.
October went by quickly. We picked pumpkins and posted this picture.
We spent time getting to know our birthmom. She came over for the first time to our home and we carved pumpkins. We stayed up until 1am getting to know each other. Our facilitator recommended that although we would have final say on the baby’s name, it might be a nice gesture to give her “veto power” in case we inadvertently picked the name of her arch enemy. So we talked about names that night and came up with three for a girl and three for a boy. I remember seeing those names written out. This was really going to happen!
On Halloween, she came and visited us at our Halloween festival at church.
Ugh. As I remember this season, I just feel the loss looming in the distance like a fog. We were just so happy.
We had her over one night in November to meet the family. As many of you know, my family is big and loud and my very best friends. While the cousins ran around terrorizing the house (literally) with happy shrieks, the adults sat around our table and got to know this woman we hoped would be a new member of our extended family. We told stories, we laughed and I think all of our hearts grew a little bigger that night. This was new for my family, but I marveled at how they welcomed her as one of their own. My family had been on the infertility rollercoaster with us too. This was a true test of their ability to dare to hope as well. And they all passed.
The rest of November was a lot of in-between moments that I am sure are lost forever, but a few stand out. We continued to go to work every day. We announced our adoption to the internet.
Justin shared with our church family about our adoption and the excitement began to grow among our friends. Our birthmom visited church one Sunday and I got to feel the baby kick that day. I remember exactly where I was standing when it happened. We went to dinner with her and her mom and I was amazed at how quickly we all felt like old friends.
She and I texted almost every day about insurance, lawyers and social workers, and how she was feeling. She lived in another town a few hours away so Justin and I took a trip out there to visit her, take a hospital tour, and enjoy our very own babymoom. We walked around the mall with her looking at baby clothes and bought matching cups for the labor and hospital stay. I started to wonder how this would all work.
Our dear friend Aaron took beautiful pictures for our family.
We packed our hospital bag. The due date came and went.
Thanksgiving day arrived. It was HOT and we celebrated at the beach with Justin’s parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin and her family. In keeping with the age-old family tradition, we sang “All Good Gifts” from Godspell before the meal (hey- we are a theater family!) We just couldn’t believe such a good gift was on its way. We kept our phone close by…just in case.
Two days later, she was born. But that is another story for another day.
So there it is- the calm before the storm. I feel like there isn’t much to add to this part. It is just part of the story that has to be told. The facts that need to be reported. Oh how I wish I knew during these days what my heart was about to endure so that I could brace for impact. I told Justin that I look back on those days and feel like I was just playing dress up in a place I didn’t belong. So eager. So innocent. And although there is beauty in these pages, I cry tonight because this season is part of the book.
I want to tell that girl in the story to save some of her dreams for another day….to please save them for another baby…
But I didn’t . I was all in. And that baby was coming…..