I expected this post to go much differently 24 hours ago.
We went to bed Tuesday night so excited for the coming days. An easy flight to Dallas, a reunion with In-N-Out, and a good night's sleep before Thursday's early start.
We woke up Wednesday morning to blizzard conditions, cancelled flights, and unexpected surprises.
One thing was certain: nothing was going to stop us from getting to Dallas in time for our birthmom's scheduled c-section. We weighed our options - wait for our rescheduled flight that night in hopes that the storm would clear or drive. The storm was moving south quickly so time was ticking. We decided to make the "12-hour" drive, packed the car up and headed out into the blizzard.
The next three hours were some of the craziest driving conditions I've ever experienced. Driving through that storm was probably one of the most ridiculous decisions we've made but it was a no-brainer. Our baby was coming soon.
I can't even do justice to just how undriveable (I don't think that's a word) the roads were. Slowly but surely, we were making progress, trying to traverse the hilly snow-packed roads, gusting winds, and limited/zero visibility. There were moments when the hood of the car was the only thing I could see. Jenny kept checking the road closures and all of the reports said the sections we were on were closed. But we kept on trucking. Near misses by other cars, big rigs stopped everywhere, accidents, cars that couldn't make it any further...just some of the things we witnessed as we kept moving slowly through the blizzard. It makes no sense that the Feisty Ford (Jenny's old Explorer) made it through the blizzard. It's an old Explorer with rear wheel drive (a complete disaster for snow/ice) that's been known to struggle at the sight of snow.
God heard our prayers and the prayers of His children. Our friend's kids prayed that God would bubble wrap our car. I love that! And He answered those prayers. It was an exhausting drive and there were moments when we almost gave up and waited it out, but God cleared our path, weakened the wind and got us through. After we got through the worst part of the storm, we still had over 11 hours to go. The conditions were rough for the next few hours while Jenny took the wheel but we kept moving. We finally made it to our hotel in the Dallas area at 3am. We were scheduled to be at the hospital shortly after 5. Ouch. Welcome to life with a newborn, right??
Aided by caffeine and adrenaline, we were able to spend a little time with the agency's case workers (who are amazing) and the birth mom. Shortly after 8:30, we were called out of the waiting room to meet the baby. Finally! Laying there in all her swaddled glory was this precious little girl.
Full disclosure #1 - I don't know a lot about the birthing process and I've never seen a black newborn baby before. Well, evidently some (most/all, I don't know) are born white. We want Bailey to have a sibling that has beautiful brown skin like her. I'd be lying if I said Jenny and I weren't a little surprised at the skin color of the baby looking back at us and quickly tried talking to each other with our eyes, wondering if someone was playing a trick on us! It was hilarious and quickly the agency workers were whispering about it too. We finally asked the nurse about it. I never knew!!
The rest of the day was spent loving on the precious little human thrust into our care.
Full disclosure #2 - When friends and family have babies, I'm not typically in line to hold them. I'm so afraid I'm going to break them. That's a quick way to lose friends, dropping their precious cargo. So instead I smile from a distance.
Well, this one was mine. I've never really been around a newborn baby so this was all brand new. At least for yesterday, we were responsible for this baby, so I was all in. I was trying to do all I could to understand the needed care she needed. After the first match fell through, I know we needed to be careful with our hearts but I couldn't help it. This precious little baby was mine. I wanted her to know and feel love. We held her, fed her, were fascinated by how she slept (and slept and slept...). We agreed on a name, shared the big news with family, and on and on. We spent about half the day in the NICU with her but were moved back to the regular baby floor in the afternoon. Late in the afternoon, we heard that the birth mom's family was trying to pressure here to parent the baby but she was holding firm to her decision. I had to go run some errands for us and while I was gone, the birth mom asked for the baby to be brought to her so she could see her. The baby was returned an hour later and we thought that things were going to settle down. The nursing staff offered to watch her so we could get some much-needed rest and we were so grateful.
The baby was brought back in to us just after 6am and we had a few hours with her. She was more awake today and we enjoyed that time with her. Little did we know that was the last time we'd see her.
At 9am, a nurse came in and told me that the birth mom had asked to see her again. I put her down, gave her a little kiss and they took her away. Over the next couple hours, we tried to keep busy/distracted, and then the case workers arrived and updated us. More of the birth mom's family had come and was continuing their pressure on the birth mom. We prayed hard - for God's will to be done, for wisdom and clarity for the birthmom, for her family, for the baby to be blessed, for our hearts. We just wanted the emotional tug-of-war to stop and for an answer one way or the other. At 2pm, we were finally told that the birthmom had decided to parent. The baby wouldn't be coming home with us.
The way things were going this morning, we kind of expected that answer but nothing prepares you for it. Our hearts are broken, again. It doesn't make sense but it doesn't have to. God has a baby for us. We are one day closer to our future child than we were yesterday. I do pray that the Lord blesses the baby, the birthmom and her other children. I pray that that baby girl experiences the loving and saving grace of Jesus and enjoys a life full of love and purpose. I pray that God was glorified in how we've conducted ourselves and how we tried to love that baby and the birthmom.
Adoption is hard. It is messy. To have to say goodbye after a day is hard. Maybe it made me realize how difficult the decision has been for the birthmom (and for all birthmoms). What we're feeling right now we wouldn't wish on anyone. But we'll do it again. And again. And again. God is good. His plans are perfect. He's growing us through this. He's showing me that He wants me to love completely, no matter the cost.
"Funny" that the first match fell through shortly before Christmas and this match fell through on Good Friday and shortly before Easter. Today we remember Jesus crucified on the cross. Thank you God Almighty that that isn't the end of the story. In a few days we'll celebrate His glorious resurrection. He is risen, indeed! He's alive, He loves us, and He has invited us into His family. It's the best outcome, ever, and the story keeps being written as more of His children accept His offer to be adopted into His family.
This chapter may not have a happy ending for me today but the story does. In that, I take comfort and find peace.
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.