So Worth The Wait
A wise person once said "the longer you wait for something, the more you'll appreciate it when you get it. Because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for." These words can be interpreted in different ways by different people to be relevant for any obstacle in life, but I cannot think of a more spot-on way to describe the painful struggle of infertility. After years of trying, my husband Stuart and I were told that we would never be able to have children of our own. It's hard for me to put into words how devastating this news was for us but infertility brought out an ugly part of me. I was bitter and angry and jealous. But I was also hopeful.
In early Spring of 2014, Stuart's brother and his wife came to visit and shared with us the exciting news that they were expecting. Of course we were thrilled for them but I couldn't hold back the tears. It seemed so unfair at the time. Everyone seemed to be getting the family that we so desperately wanted and now, the younger brother of my husband was going to be a dad? It just seemed like things were "out of order." Even as I write this, I realize how silly and selfish that sounds, but that is how we felt. Little did I know at the time, this soon-to-be-neice of mine would become such a special part of our adoption story. More on that later...
Once they left, Stuart and I just hugged and we both agreed that we were ready to start the adoption process. Almost immediately, we began reaching out to anyone and everyone that we could think of who had some connection to adoption. After several months, a good bit of research and a whole lot of prayer, we had gone through the tedious home study process and had chosen an adoption agency in Jacksonville, FL. The ball was now out of our court. I truly believe God used my brother-in-law and his wife to kick us into gear and I am forever grateful for that.
If you were to ask me 5 years ago what my thoughts were on adoption, I probably would have mentioned how expensive it is to adopt a baby, or how long the process takes, or how heartbreaking it can be when a birthmother changes her mind, or some other negative response that a person who is not educated on the process may give. In truth, the real beauty of adoption was not fully clear to me until we actually went through the process.
Sure, some of those things are true to a degree - and, to be frank, can be maddening along the way - but if you really scratch the surface, you will see that there are so many amazing resources available to help families through every step of the journey.
Today, if the same question were posed to me, my answer would simply be ADOPTION IS THE GREATEST BLESSING.
Remember that special neice I mentioned earlier? Well, she graced this world on December 3rd. Stuart and I got to meet her that evening and I will never forget holding her and feeling so hopeful for our future family. About 30 minutes after leaving the hospital, Stuart's phone rang. It was a lady from the adoption agency saying that someone had looked at our profile and had chosen us to be the parents for her baby!!! We were FINALLY going to have a BABY!!
We were having a baby (!!) and that baby was very close to making his or her appearance in the next 6 weeks. Or so we were told...
The due date was estimated to be around mid-January and we had two trips planned between then and Christmas, so Stuart and I did as much as we could to get prepared for the baby while we were home but had the mindset that we would really focus on getting the nursery ready after Christmas. We flew to Tampa on the 19th to be with family for a few days and were scheduled to come back home on the 22nd. The last night of the trip, we went to bed early and I convinced Stuart to put his phone on silent-mode (which he never does!) because, after all, we didn't have too long until we were going to be up all night with a baby and we decided that whatever funny story our friends wanted to tell us about in the middle of the night could wait until the next day to talk to us. We needed our rest.
When I woke up that next morning, I grabbed my phone to see what time and almost threw up when I looked at my phone. There were TONS of missed calls and text messages from a phone number with a Jacksonville area code and I knew that it couldn't be good news. I ran to grab Stuart's phone and saw the exact same thing and my heart sunk. I just knew that the birthmother had changed her mind and, with fear in my heart and knots in my stomach, I woke Stuart up and asked him if he could please make the call because I knew I couldn't handle the news. Stuart paced as he waited for an answer and then his whole expression changed. He looked at me with big crocodile tears in his eyes and said "Our baby was born a few hours ago. We have a son."
Side note: For those of you who don't know me, I must tell you that I am a big cry baby. Always have been, always will be. If you think for one second that I am not ugly crying right now, think again.
Our baby was here!! We called my dad and he came racing to our hotel, threw us the keys to his car and said "GO!" We jumped in and sped off to Jacksonville. During this short drive, I think we both experienced every single possible emotion. The second that I laid eyes on that precious baby boy, my whole life changed. You know all of those cliches that you hear about motherhood? The ones like "you'll never understand this kind of love until you're a parent" or "you never knew you could love someone you just met so much" and "you physically feel your heart grow when you meet your baby"??
Yeah. They are SO TRUE.
And do you want to know the best part? It doesn't matter if that baby grew in your tummy or not. That baby grew in your heart. And that's the most important part of becoming a parent.
Words cannot express the LOVE that I have for my son. I truly believe that adoption opened my heart to an even greater appreciation of life and love than I would have been capable of otherwise.
If you are considering adoption, I know that getting started can be so overwhelming but that is what makes me so excited about Extend Your Tent. I have such respect and appreciation for families who foster or adopt. It's not easy, but trust me, it is SO WORTH THE WAIT!