December 5, 2016 – around midnight
"We are in good hands; we are in Your hands. …Sitting in the nursery tonight, it’s been a while since I’ve been in here alone. It’s peaceful. It’s hopeful. It’s expectant. There is a longing in this space that only You can fill, Father. Only Your hands can provide what our hearts desire. One day our names will be called and it will be our turn – our moment to rejoice. One day because You said so, Lord. Simply because You promised…because that’s Your plan and You have already spoken our children into existence. They are real and there are many. So much love that we already have for them. My hands can already feel their hands, and many times my eyes have seen their eyes. You have given me such precious glimpses of who they are. This is a treasure to me and it’s what keeps me going…”
If you can remember my last post, this journal entry was written just days after we came home from our first failed adoption. I said “first” because we would have to walk out that heartache two more times before meeting our son.
On Easter weekend in 2017, we received a call that a precious baby boy had been born just hours earlier. It was Good Friday. We threw bags together while we cried happy tears, and made all of the phone calls that needed to be made as we jumped in the car with GPS set to the fastest route to Mobile. I prayed on and off all the way there, asking the Lord to let me make it there in time to sing Happy Birthday to him before the clock passed midnight. All the way…Lord, please let me see him on his birthday. And He did…and we did. Late in the night, we sang, and we rocked, and we chose a special name for him. It was a good day.
The next morning, we got up early to head to the hospital to meet with the attorney in the lobby. Papers were signed. And yet, the Holy Spirit was tapping on my heart. Before going upstairs to Labor and Delivery, we sat in a quiet corner downstairs and we prayed for this mama and this baby, and I asked the Lord for wisdom and discernment. Amen. When we walked upstairs to see baby boy, the nurses at the counter could barely look at us as they told us that his mama had him in her room. There’s your discernment, Lord. We were quickly directed into a waiting room, and that’s when I knew. 30 minutes later, it was confirmed that this baby was going to stay in his mama’s arms and would not be leaving in ours.
I knew this feeling. The one where time stops and you are sure that your heart is next. it’s hard to feel anything in your hands and feet, so it’s a miracle that I was able to take Brandon by the hand, look into his eyes, and tell him, “We are going to walk out of here with Grace.” Not my Grace, y’all. God’s. He will help us. And He did…and we did.
Bags, stroller, and basinet were loaded back into the car, and as we drove out of town, I cried hard tears. Heavy, like cement rolling down my face. Through sobs, I looked out the window and proclaimed God’s GOODNESS. I admitted that I don’t understand the why, but I spoke out that He will not forsake us and that His promise for us to have a child will prevail. It will be done. It is already done. Heal my brokenness, Jesus. And God, thank you. Thank you for letting us celebrate this new life when his mama was too tired and confused to feel joy. Thank you for letting us rock him, and welcome him into this world with excitement and open hands. Thank you for letting us shower him with Happy Birthday before the midnight hour. This did not go unnoticed by You.
Something similar would happen again on Father’s Day weekend, but we were cautious and did not travel to Georgia because certain things with the situation could not be confirmed. Thank you, Holy Spirit, for that wisdom. And God, what was up with all the holidays?!? Thanksgiving, Easter, Father’s Day…can we just try for a Tuesday next time?
We were weary, and it wouldn’t be fair to say that we didn’t want to give up at times. We have big faith, but we also have big emotions sometimes, too. I’m grateful that God understands when we throw ourselves down on the floor and roll around a bit. Ya know, like a kid in Target that’s an hour past naptime. That’s what I looked like on July 17, 2017 when I wrote these words to the Lord:
“Feeling super resentful this morning and trying very hard to replace those feelings with gratitude. Not easy. I want to cry and pack up all of the baby things and all of our things and start over. Truly, I do. Fresh start. And it’s not even realistic. Help me today, Lord. Please help my heart.”
10 days later, we received information about a “baby boy due in Arizona in 2 weeks.”
2 days after that, we said “Yes” and committed ourselves to this case.
July 28, 2017
“I’m hopeful, I’m cautious, and I know that I don’t want to leave the hospital crying again. The stakes are up on this little boy. The fee is more than we have left with the agency, after all the lost money through the fails. Plus, the travel is looking costly. This is way more than a car ride. This is way more than emotional risk. And yet, are you not more than enough, God? Do you not provide for what you guide us to? Of course, you do. And as I write, I hear your rain outside the nursery window and I am reminded of your abundance, your provision, your Spirit that falls freely over us from the heavens. Your word is my strength and I rely on it for wisdom and guidance – as a beacon through this muddy water. It has been a light in what often seems like complete darkness. I ask for wisdom, Jesus. The same wisdom that You gave us with the case in GA. You helped us walk through that decision with clear minds and not just hopeful hearts. Thank you, Father. Let the truth be revealed, Lord!”
11 hours later, on July 30th, BABY BOY WAS BORN. (!!!!)
Hello, sweet Noah “Groves”. By Arizona law, 72 hours after birth, papers were signed and he was ours.
He was ours.
I have to pause a moment here because of the vastness I feel in those words.
After 12 years of waiting for a child of our own, he is ours. And we are Yours, Lord.
After receiving, reading through, and praying over 87 adoption cases in 9 months, the Promise is fulfilled. Praise you, Jesus. You are a Keeper of Your Word. You are Truth. You are Faithful.
“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.” - Luke 1:45
The night that we arrived in Arizona, the Lord did some unexpected things for us, and we were able to sleep in the room next door to Groves’ birthmama. Our social worker let us know that she has never seen that happen here. The favor of God will often times leave you speechless, and right in the middle of a moving current that even you cannot stop. The word “usher” comes to mind: to steer, guide, accompany, lead. Y’all feel me on that? Exactly.
Because of our close proximity to his birthmama, I was able to connect with her in a way that would have been difficult otherwise. Brandon went to bed, the hustle in the halls slowed down, Groves went to the nursery, and she and I stayed up and talked throughout most of the night. And cried, and laughed, too.
She said to me, “I heard that you’ve been through this a few times before and it didn’t work out.”
I nodded my head.
“Well,…you won’t leave empty-handed this time.”
Jesus, you know.
This woman that sits across from me. The one that gave this child life. The one that wants me to help him live. This love. This beauty from ashes.
Since Groves was considered early, he had to stay in NICU for 2 weeks. During that time, we felt led to invite her to come visit us and spend time with him. No, we weren’t scared. No, we didn’t feel threatened. We felt the love of God for her, and there were some things that He wanted to show her through us. Here’s the thing, Friends. The enemy will try to steal precious moments and opportunities from your life by using fear to hold you back and paralyze. Recognize this.
By opening up our hearts, we were able to meet her Mom, her sister, and even Groves’ birthfather. I did this for her. I did this for us. Most importantly, I did this for him. He will ask one day, and I want to share all the JOY that surrounded his arrival. I want him to know about the people who were there and the unity we felt.
For the protection of Groves, we won’t be sharing any intimate details of his story because it belongs to him, and it’s his to tell, if he chooses. Our aim is to glorify God because I think we all know He is the only one that can, and He is the only one that did.
Three weeks after he was born, we brought Groves HOME!!! Brandon and I made the commitment to continue contact with his birthmama, as long as she wanted. This is not something she asked for, but sometimes it’s hard to know how to ask. Month after month, I would text or email her small updates and cute pictures. Rarely did we “talk” about anything other than him, but she continually told us how much easier it was for her heart to know that he is well-loved and safe. A relationship was birthed between us, based on a common love for him.
And guess what happened next?? On June 13, I was sitting in my office before the shop opened, and I received an email from her. She wanted to know if we would like a sibling for Groves, because she is expecting again.
Another baby. A biological sibling to Groves. She isn’t able to, but she wants to know if we will.
I read through her words 3 or 4 times. I picked up my phone with a shaking hand and tried to call Brandon. I dropped the phone and picked it up again, laugh-crying so hard, I could barely get the words out of my mouth.
We said Yes.
I am reminded of sitting in my brokenness just moments after our first failed adoption, almost two years ago. I cried out to the Lord and asked Him to speak to me right then. I needed to hear from Him and as I opened my Bible, these were His words to me in Jeremiah 31:15-17:
deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted –
for her children are gone."
“Do not weep any longer,
For I will reward you”, says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
From the distant land.
Your children will come again to their own land.”
Let the whole world know what He has done.
Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises.
Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8-9