To my son, on your adoption day

To my son,

It’s been a journey. You’re too young to understand everything that paved the path you walked. But it’s my hope you will one day realize how many people helped place you in my arms. Here’s your story, and a look at those who made it happen.

♥♥♥♥

We were dancing—your brother and I. Singing along to a song that played from my phone. We twisted our hips and laughed, trying to release the emotions of saying goodbye to our first foster child earlier that very day. My phone rang—the number of our foster care agency lit up the screen.

I answered, my voice shaky. It was only the second time I’d answered this type of call.

“A newborn baby needs a home,” our worker said, without an introduction. “He’s being discharged from the hospital and has nowhere to go.”

I froze.

“We weren’t really considering taking a newborn,” I replied, my heart pounding. But the truth is—I knew. I knew I was going to say yes. I knew I was going to fall in love with you. And somehow, I knew it was going to be worth it.

We called your grandma and asked if she could take your brother for the weekend. I’d figure out work later, I told her. I’ll figure it all out.

I had to…you needed me.

That night, I didn’t sleep. How could I? We were going to meet you the next day, and the thought kept me awake. Eventually, your daddy and I headed to the store. We planned to buy you some things, and then have our “last meal before our life changed” at Red Robin. It sounded delicious.

I stood in the diaper aisle at Target, my head spinning. Newborn diapers, formula, bottles… it had only been two years since we’d had a baby in our home, but all of these products seemed so foreign to us now.

How big would you be? Would you have hair to comb? Which bottle would be best?

There were so many unknowns, and I was a bit overwhelmed. That’s when my phone rang again, and your worker told us: “He’s ready.”

I grabbed the nearest pack of diapers, set of bottles, and pair of pajamas. Suddenly, the decision was easy. It didn’t matter what color your bottles were. Because you were ready for us.

We set aside our Red Robin plans, and raced to the hospital. The walk from the parking lot to the building felt like a mile. I vividly remember shaking as I carried your car seat through the unfamiliar hospital doors. There was your worker, and the nurses gathered around the check-in counter.

When they found out we were there for you, they became guarded.

They’d named you, cared for you, and cuddled you. They already loved you. And, who were we?

“He’s a cute one,” one of the nurses said as she wheeled your basinet around the counter. My heart still skips a beat when I think about that moment. You were so tiny. Fragile, precious, and beautiful.

I remember the feeling when you began to fuss. We looked around—first at the nurses, then your worker—was I allowed to pick you up? I didn’t want to do anything wrong. But at the same time, I couldn’t let you cry.

I reached down to calm you and, in that very moment, I knew you were going to be part of my life forever.

If not in my arms, in my heart.

There was no going back.

And for the next 245 days, I prayed over you. There were so many tears. Oh honey, I’ve never cried so much in my life.

I held you close and breathed in your newborn smell, willing myself to belief it wouldn’t destroy me if you left. While you screamed in pain (and oh, sweet boy, you were in so much pain), I cried alongside you. Promising you I’d never leave, even if, truthfully, I had no say.

Today, I look back on those moments and realize how far we’ve come. And, I thank everyone who helped us get there.

There were your aunt and uncle, who visited the day we brought you home and helped us navigate the newness.

The friend who brought me lunch when you were only a couple days old and I was so, so tired.

There were the dozens of foster care workers who touched your case—from intake to permanency.

The group of women who started a meal train, bringing dinner and hope to our home every night for weeks.

There were the leaders who didn’t even bat an eye when I told them I needed to take unexpected family leave from work.

The friend who babysat you before you were old enough for day care.

There was your attorney who fought for your rights when you couldn’t.

The women who worked through the night to ensure your adoption would happen as promised.

There were the family members who traveled from distant states to see you (officially) become their own.

The judge who granted our request to parent you for the rest of your life.

There were the friends, family, and strangers who prayed for you. The Bible clubs, church groups, friends of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who gathered all of their positive energy and sent it your way.

And of course, the people who brought you into this world. I’m not naïve to that struggle. I’m not a stranger to that pain. And someday, I know we’ll work through it together. Until then, we’ll remain thankful for their sacrifice.

I never thought I’d open my home to a newborn baby, fully aware that he may not be (odds are, won’t be) part of my family. That I’d survive his rough newborn days, earn his first smile, and kiss him more times than I can count… all with the knowledge that he could be gone in a matter of minutes.

With one phone call, you could have been gone. And I’d have no say. No ability to stop it.

I can’t count the number of nights I feared I’d pack your things and kiss you goodbye. My baby. My son. My world.

All of the pain—the nights I dehydrated myself from crying, the gut-wrenching torture associated with believing I was going to lose you, the times I couldn’t drag myself from bed, the breakdowns when no one was looking, the inexplicable pain that often came from looking in your eyes, the countless “I can’t do this anymore” and “why is this happening?” cries of frustration, the panicked phone calls, the unprecedented fear… my son, it was all worth it.

I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

You’re mine. I’m yours. That will never, ever, ever change.

And today, we thank everyone who helped make that the irrevocable truth.

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