Tuesday, May 17, 2011

elijah grey: an adoption story {part 2}

our son elijah grey is two years old. i have only written little bits here and there of his adoption story. finally, i am writing it as a whole. this is to share with readers, family and friends. mostly though, this is for our own documentation. i hope you'll enjoy reading about our journey!
{catch up with part one}

september 5th, i met grace at the doctor's office. i heard the baby's heartbeat. the doctor said everything was fine as far as he could tell. he did order a visit to a specialist though. grace had had a baby four years earlier with a heart condition that required immediate surgery. the doctor wanted a specialist to check on this baby, to see what to prepare for. the appointment drew to a close. the doctor asked grace if she had any questions. looking at me, she answered "no, hannah, do you have any questions? it's your baby!". i shook my head no as i tried to digest grace's attitude about this whole thing. it was so foreign to me. i wanted babies so badly, someone who was so unattached just baffled my mind. i was thankful though. people like me-who really want babies-need people like her-who really don't want them at all. so, we gathered our things, headed to reception to make the appointment to see the specialist. october 13th would be the date.

after little contact, only a few text messages exchanged, the appointment day arrived. i drove to meet grace. i drove us to annapolis to the special appointment with the special doctor. in order to see the baby's heart, a fancy sonogram was necessary. i just wasn't prepared to see the baby. i could see it so clearly. a real baby. i tried to hold back tears. every now and then a huge salty tear would escape and fall onto my shirt. i hadn't cried in awhile. i was feeling happy and afraid all at once. i knew disappointment too well. it was hard, but i really didn't want to become too attached. i mean, who even knew if this was really going down, you know? the doctor looked at the baby's images. he studied the tiny body. he declared the baby free of any heart defects! i felt relief, even though i'm not sure i was even anxious about it at all. the doctor asked grace if we wanted to know the gender-funny side note, the staff there thought we were a couple:) they were even more intrigued when grace told them i was adopting the baby!-grace looked at me for a response. patrick and i had discussed learning the gender if we could. we wanted to name the baby, to pray specifically! i answered yes, the doctor said it was a boy. a boy. a rush of excitement overwhelmed me. we didn't even know if we'd wanted a boy first or a girl first, we just wanted a baby. hearing it was a boy though, it felt like "oh, hooray! what i've always wanted!". on the way home, we chatted about everything, baby and non-baby related. grace told me that people at her work thought she was a surrogate mom, she said she never corrected them. grace said she was. she said she was carrying our baby. i was unable to comprehend this about her, but i was so glad she felt this way!
working with our lawyer, we were getting papers ready for our private adoption. since we and grace both lived in the same state, things were moving quickly. the process was so not stressful compared to what we had been gearing up for. the bill was going to be infinitely less than we'd ever planned on.
this was simple.
this was too good.
this was jesus.

patrick and i had our name list. you know, the one most couples make when they first get married. we had only a few that really jumped out at us. elijah means "my god is the lord". that seemed to fit this baby. he was proof that god is the lord. of everything. grey means "pleasant"(and also the color, obviously). that was the state of our hearts. we grieved not having biological children, but we were thrilled with seeking adoption. beautiful adoption. it was settled, elijah grey. that would be this baby's name, even if he didn't end up coming home to us. we would pray for this sweet, precious baby. praying that it would be healthy and have the right parents, we hoped it would be us! grace asked if we'd decided on a name. she wanted to call him by it when he was kicking her in the ribs:)
most days, i thought about elijah. i thought of being his mother, patrick being his papa. i wondered what he would look like. it was so hard. we wanted to prepare for a new baby, but were a little apprehensive too. preparing for disappointment was what i was really doing. when we made the move to paint our spare room and gather baby things, i let the anticipation in. really, no matter how much i tried to tell myself that "this may not work out, don't get too attached", i was getting attached. i asked god to help me to be thankful either way.

days went by, i seldom heard from grace. just a few text messages here and there. we met for another breakfast, to discuss the birth. she wanted me there. in the room during the birth. say what?! i thought that was crazy and awesome. she said she'd just call us when she was going in to labor. our lawyer said he'd never quite seen a case like what we were experiencing. he'd completed over four hundred adoptions in maryland. it felt normal to be experiencing an odd situation. it felt odd for it to be such a favorable one.

holiday seasons arrived. family and friends, food and fellowship. the familiar hustle and bustle-a joyful and busy calendar. the difference was, all i was thinking about was that baby. elijah grey. we just wondered, would this be our last thanksgiving without a child? would we celebrate 'baby's first christmas' next year? overwhelming. the struggle to remain poised for any news, good or bad, was almost painful. the due date of january 17 was so close, but it felt like an eternity away. i was thankful for the blessing of christmas with family. a favorite time of the year, but also a distraction from this angst of the unknown!

i received a text from grace on sunday, december 21. she said "i think you're gonna have a christmas baby!" say what?! she said she just knew, she felt this way with her first pregnancy and the baby came. a month early. she was headed to the doctor the next day. i didn't go along. i just stayed home and freaked out. she was a few centimeters dilated. i've known women to walk around like that for weeks. grace said she knew this baby was coming soon. goodness! now? thus began anxious eating and lack of sleep. on tuesday, i was at target grabbing a couple things, from the baby section. just in case. i was mulling over pacifiers and up walks grace!! wow. she actually looked super pregnant now. i hadn't seen her for a few weeks, when i had, she was just so tiny! she came right up to me and showed me "the best pacifiers" and a few other "must haves". she was with her sister. i felt more than awkward. pukey even. it really takes a lot to make me uncomfortable in a social situation. this was unbearable. her sister was sweet. they were both so happy to see me. grace said "this baby is comin', girl! are you ready?" um, is this really happening? patrick and i were scheduled to pick up my sister and brother-in-law from the airport the following day-on christmas eve. in philadelphia. i asked grace if she thought i should stay home. we decided that even if she went into labor, we'd get there eventually!
so, we parted ways. i purchased the "best pacifiers", because they were what grace picked out. i realized as i was walking out to the car, my face hurt. i was smiling. hard.

patrick and i drove to pick up the fam at the airport, the traffic was wild and we had fun. we made it home. no calls or texts. baby was not ready yet. i really only half thought that grace's feeling was real. truly, we were looking for elijah in january. it was christmas! possibly our last christmas as just the two of us. we were just soaking it all up-and simultaneously consumed with the looming possibility of parenthood.
traditionally, the girls of the family head out bright and early on december 26 to blow some christmas money and snag some after christmas deals. i went along as usual, found a few fun things too! surprisingly, throughout the day i didn't really think about the baby too much. when i came home from shopping, i was surprised by an after christmas gift from my husband-a wii! woohoo! i hate video games, but the wii stole my heart, y'all. we were pretty tired. we'd fire up the new game system the next day.

at 5:30am on saturday, december 27, we got a text from grace.
she was at the hospital. in labor.
this was for real.


  1. Once again, I am so engrossed in your story. So beautiful. I love to see how God just swung those doors open wide for your family.

  2. amen!!! thanks so much, katie! xo

  3. I'm loving this story! Keeps bringing me to tears!! Thanks so much for sharing...

  4. thanks for reading-it has been such a fun, emotional experience to share it! xo

  5. my good friend adopted a baby girl in a very similar, God-is-clearly-in-this way. I just forwarded this on to her. Such an awesome story, Hannah. Can you post Part 3 tomorrow? Thanks... ;)

  6. total goosebumps reading this, hannah.

    and, the friend Jessica mentioned? she totally came my mind too when reading this. funny how that works.

    you have been gifted in telling your story.

    i can't WAIT for the next piece. <3

  7. I was lured into taking a peek even though I need to go start some laundry and got hooked and couldn't stop! The laundry will always be there, right?:-)

  8. thanks, nancy! the laundry always waits-it is sweet like that :)

  9. chills. and my heart is beating fast to hear what is next. love you friend. i don't know if i have shared with you but caleb and i have adoption on our heart too… anxiously awaiting part three.

  10. .....and you say you're not a writer!! waiting for the exciting conclusion :)

  11. Oh my! I am unlurking again ;-) because you have me on the edge of my seat! What a story of grace. And I'm not even talking about Elijah's mother...I'm talking about His Grace!

  12. This is the line that touched me the most:

    "it was settled, elijah grey. that would be this baby's name, even if he didn't end up coming home to us."

    I want to hug you. I never finished my unplanned gift story, so you never knew that I DID pick a couple to adopt my son (out of pressure from others). And I obviously changed my mind. i had to call them and break that news. I wonder if they chose a name for him? Thank you for sharing this story.

  13. ugh I can't get an advanced copy?!! I need some warning if I'm gonna get this emotional in the middle of the day ;)
    Love you!

  14. I was finally able to read part 1 and 2 tonight. I am enjoying reading this journey you have been on. It's so sweet and amazing. I can't wait to read the rest.

  15. Okay, I am caught up on sweet Elijah now. you can do part 3 now please. So cool.

  16. eeee! i can't believe i am just now reading this. where have i been?! number 1...precious name...love it and wish we could use grey but our last name is fox..grey fox. hmm...not so good haha. number 2...i love the way you write. number 3...i love you. that's all. going to part 3 now!

  17. Obscene grammatical errors I tell ya!
    I am on pins and needles.

  18. Ahhhhhh, on the edge of my desk chair!!