© 2013 Joyful

Wiley & Owen’s birth story

We had a lot of fun celebrating Wiley and Owen first birthday week: a special breakfast with gluten free pumpkin pancakes and bacon (for the first time!), a sweet birthday party that afternoon with family and friends, and a weekend full of birthday love and snuggles!

Over, the past year, I’ve been slowly writing down their birth story. Wiley and Owen will always know about the love of their birthmother and about the incredible sacrifice she made for them.  Sacrificing her own heart and desires in order to give them something she could not provide herself.

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Christina celebrated her birthday on Thanksgiving this year! Happy (belated) Birthday!! Hope it was full of love and joy!!

Wiley & Owen’s Adoption Story

At 3:50 am on Thursday, November 15th, 2012, Dan received a phone call that would forever change our hearts. Christina’s water had broken and she was on the way to the hospital via ambulance. The babies were coming!  The following 48 hours were filled with such contrasting emotions: beauty and anxiety; joy and heartbreak. New life. New beginnings. Hard choices. But through it all, abounding PEACE and overwhelming LOVE.

Dan and I arrived at the hospital by 4:15 am (before Starbucks was even open), and walked into an empty waiting room. We asked the security guard if Christina had arrived yet. She had. Her nurse came out and said that one of us could go back and see her. I was so honored and grateful for this moment. It was evident that her contractions were very strong and that she was very near giving birth to her sons. I held her hand, as another contraction griped her concentration and silently prayed that God would be present and go before each of my steps in this process. How could I convey my love and deep gratitude to this beautiful woman, whom I had only met the previous week?

As soon as her sister arrived, they wheeled Christina away to the OR.

Wiley was born at 5:02 am and right behind, came Owen at 5:03.

W + O day 1

By 6 o’clock in the morning, Christina was back in recovery and the boys were taken to the NICU. Dan and I went back to see Christina, to love on her. We had realized early on that God had pre-ordained this very moment and situation, and it may only result in life without children for a little while longer. In Florida, the birth mother has 48 hours after the birth before she can sign away her parental rights.  No matter what she decided, we wanted to love on Christina each moment we were given (no matter the outcome). We wanted to love on her without the expectation of receiving something in return. We wanted to honor her choice in this event, no matter how heart wrenching. It’s hard to love someone without any expectations, because it requires that you only consider them. But this was the task put before us and we prayed that God would grant us the ability to purely love her.

As we walked into where she was, one could sense that we were all feeling a mixture of emotions: relief, apprehension, joy, sadness.  I rubbed her feet and said a measly “Hey, how are you feeling?” I wanted to say, “You are the strongest woman I know! You are whom I’ve asked God for! You can give what I cannot!” I wanted to tell her how incredibly grateful I was that she had chosen LIFE for these babies!! But instead, we just listened to her recall the birth of her sons and looked at the pictures of those precious newborn babies, when they were minutes old.

Shortly after, we were back in the waiting room, just praying and waiting. Praying that we’d be given permission to go see the boys in the NICU. Praying that God would continue to direct each of our steps, and that He would bring comfort to Christina’s breaking heart. Praying that He would bring peace and comfort to our hearts too, especially if she changed her mind.

3 hours later, we were told Christina had granted us permission to go back and see the boys. Our hearts SANG!

I barely breathed, as we washed and dressed for NICU access. This was the moment we have dreamed of for the past year. Yet at the same time, my heart beat a little faster with the fleeting thought that this could all change in an instant. There is a certain level of risk that comes with all adoptions. Here we were about to meet these two precious boys, where we would instantly fall in love with two babies that we have no legal standing, say, or anything!! We entered their room, looking potential heartbreak in the eye, and soaked up every single second and I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.

And there they were, lying under heated lamps, hooked to beeping machines that were tracking who-knows-what. They were still learning how to regulate their own breathing and needing time to be able to regulate their own body temperatures, etc. . . . they were perfect! 20 fingers. 20 toes. Two heads full of straight, dark brown hair. As soon as I looked down upon these two sleeping angels, my eyes flooded with all of the emotions I had felt for the past year. Anticipation, peace, joy, fear, love. They were so tiny and fragile. Yet, both were sleeping so peacefully, so comfortably. A beautiful picture of the Gospel . . . though the days ahead may be full of unknowns and trials, Christ is our peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27

The NICU started their ‘quiet time,’ so we went back to the waiting room, where Dan’s parents greeted us. They had brought us some coffee and breakfast. Christina’s sister was also in the waiting room and joined us (after convincing her there was plenty and that we would love her company). Was it awkward? At first, yes. But throughout the course of our meal, all that awkwardness seemed to disappear. It almost felt, like we had known each other always. Laughing and crying. Sharing our hearts, hopes, and concerns. You don’t do that with strangers. But we weren’t strangers anymore. We had been brought together through the love we shared for those two precious babies back in the NICU asleep.

Before this whole experience, Dan and I had hoped that we would be able to see Christina at least once more, before this whole ordeal was over. We knew our being there would be a constant reminder of the decision that lied ahead of her, and knew it would probably be too difficult for her to have any interaction with us. Initially, we were told that we would have our own hospital room to rest, wait, and snuggle the boys in, but all that changed when the boys were admitted into the NICU. So, Dan and I assumed we would be spending a lot of time in the general waiting area, while we waited for our times to go back and visit with the boys.

Yet, Christina, being the amazing person that she is, welcomed us up into her room! The time we spent there with her is something I will always cherish! It gave us time to really get to know each other. It gave us time to see one another’s personalities and interests. It gave her time to ask us questions. It gave us time to ask her questions. It was the sweetest time! Never had I imagined falling in love with a stranger, but that’s what transpired over those two days. If we weren’t visiting the boys in the NICU, we were visiting with Christina. We were given countless opportunities to fall in love with the mother of our two boys!

As those 48 hours came to a close, our hearts began to hurt, knowing that either way hearts would be broken. Christina’s or ours. It was gut wrenching!

Friday night, Dan and I went to go see the boys, for maybe the last time. It was so hard saying what might have been our last “Good-byes!” We had fallen in love with these two miracles and knew our hearts and home would feel so empty without them in our lives. We had to rest in the sovereign plan of our Savior and King. Before the beginning of time, He knew the outcome of this moment. The outcome would bring Him glory. We both kept reciting, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21

Once, we had said our final good-byes to the boys, we went back to the waiting room and signed in, hoping to go say goodnight to Christina. But it was a few minutes after eight o’clock and visiting hours were over. I was grieved. Earlier, Christina and I had eaten dinner together in her room, and towards the end she broke down in tears. She confessed she just wasn’t sure how to muster up the strength to say good-bye to her sons in the morning. Her heart quivered knowing she had the hardest decision to make in the morning. I sensed she needed some space. My presence was a constant reminder of this painful task at-hand. As I left, I asked if it’d be all right if I come say goodbye before leaving for the night; to which she agreed. So, down in the lobby, I was greatly troubled, when I realized I wouldn’t be allowed back up to her room, as promised. I didn’t know what to do, so we sat down and prayed, hoping that somehow we’d get one more chance to love on Christina before saying goodbye.

We waited for two hours. Nothing. It was late. We were tired. It was time to go home. So we left. When we got to the car, Dan realized we were out of tokens for the parking garage. The token machine was located just inside the waiting area, so we went back. As we walked off the elevator, Christina was walking onto the elevator. GOD!! Completely God!

She needed some fresh air, so we walked outside with her and talked and talked and talked. None of us wanted the night to end. None of us felt ready for the morning. Dan and I will forever be thankful we were out of tokens that night!

With much anticipation and dread, Saturday morning came, and it was time for Christina to sign the final surrender paperwork. Dan and I sat in the waiting room and silently prayed and sobbed the entire time. My heart was breaking, because I knew in that moment, I was (most likely) causing this precious woman the worst pain she had ever felt. Our family and friends were all texting and praying, and nervously waiting to hear the news, any news.

Finally, Christina walked out sobbing. I couldn’t read her. Was she sobbing because she had forfeited her right to raise her children or was she sobbing because she was about to tell us she had changed her mind? But it didn’t matter. She needed comforting. So I ran over to her and embraced her. We just stood there hugging and sobbing, until this sweet, elderly lady came up to us and told us to stop crying. She said, “Jesus loves you! Be happy!” To which, Christina replied, “I know. I’m just sad. This is the mother of my two boys.” My jaw dropped. Could this be real? Then I squeezed her again, whispering “Thank you! Thank you!” over and over. She had given me the gift of motherhood. The gift of raising her natural children, and oh it was the happiest kind of sad I had ever felt; joy for us; devastation for her. We fought waves of guilt and knew that this decision had been a complete act of selflessness and courage and LOVE by Christina, who only wanted the best for her sons. She asked if she could go back and see them one last time. We gave her all the time she needed to say goodbye.

My heart wanted to sing for joy, but it couldn’t. Not yet. My heart first had to break with Christina and her pain of saying goodbye to her sons. I knew my heart would heal, and quickly at that, but I didn’t want to so easily forget this incredibly beautiful sacrifice that Christina had just made.

This is the way adoption goes – it’s overwhelmingly joyous and equally devastating. Christina had made her decision months prior; choosing life and love for her unborn babies; desiring to give them a life and future that she could not provide; carefully choosing a family with whom to trust with her very flesh and blood, and she followed through with her plan when she could have so easily listened to her emotions in the moment and change her mind. This selflessness, this sacrifice humbles me EVERY day!

A little family photo before Wiley got discharged.

 

Wiley and Owen, we adore you! We promise to do our very best to nurture, protect, and care for you for the rest of our lives! May you always know how very special you are, that you were/are chosen and loved and wanted and cherished by so many! You are an answer to our prayers and you have touched our lives in countless ways. Your story is unique and beautifully crafted by God.

W+O 1 year