i hope you'll enjoy reading this final part of our adoption journey!
we hurried to get dressed and out the door.
the hospital was only a few blocks away, the drive seemed hours long. we arrived, parked and headed for the fourth floor. i was sick from the billion butterflies fluttering around inside of me. to be honest, this day, the birth day, is mostly a blur. we were in a bit of shock, i believe.
we stepped off of the elevator and found grace's room. nervously, i took a few steps in and knocked on the open door. she cheerfully beckoned me and patrick into the room. her sister and mom were there. grace introduced us to her mother. wow. i thought i was already a jumble of nerves, but this meeting made it too difficult to think clearly. grace's mother. elijah's grandmother. all smiles. the three of them were chatting away, to us, to each other. discussing how happy they were for us, how this was the right decision for grace and the baby. they all loved the name we'd picked out. although grace's mother was clearly happy and certain of this choice, i detected grief. this broke my heart. i prayed for her, grace and the sister too.
i wanted to just stare at these women. this was elijah's family. they are part of his roots. sometimes i wish that i would've written notes, i'm sure i have already forgotten so many little details. i do think their beautiful faces will never fade from my memory.
it was crazy, how patrick and i felt so at ease in that room. grace was in labor, she seemed to calm. her labor was simple so far, and nearly pain free.
the nurses that day were fabulous. they were completely enamored with the entire situation. they had prepared a room for us. right next door to grace. we went into our room to rest-from chatting-and to give grace a little space. we were getting hungry, we headed downstairs to get a bite to eat.
we called our lawyer, he was on vacation. grace's lawyer was on vacation. the hospital social worker, who handled adoption paperwork? was on vacation, too. elijah wasn't due until january 17, so no need to avoid vacation:) but here we were, it was two days after christmas. this could be tricky, legally speaking. our lawyer said it would get worked out. he made lots of calls for us and chatted on the phone with hospital staff. we really didn't worry at all.
grace was fully dilated by 12:45 pm. she was breezing right along. her labor seemed like no big deal at all. she looked amazing and only winced a few times. the dr. was planning to let her rest an hour or so before he made her begin to push. we decided to head downstairs again, for lemonade. we were so excited. even after the elevator ride, we were still floating. we got our drinks and made our way back up to the fourth floor. when we got to grace's room, the door was closed. lots of commotion behind the door. grace had wanted me in the room for the birth, but i just felt awkward waltzing in now,
it was happening.
the baby was coming!!
we scurried into our room, next door.
we could hear everything-this was especially easy because we had our ears pressed up to the wall.
grace complained loudly of strong pains, so the dr. checked her...the baby's head was beginning to come out! the dr. had her push...once...and out came the baby! we heard a tiny little cry. in minutes a nurse came into our room, holding the baby. elijah grey. a little miracle. we held him tightly. smiling and crying at him. his eyes were wide open. he had a funny little mouth. we fell in love with him. hard.
the nurses came to take elijah to the nursery. we followed along. we watched them clean elijah's little body and put a newborn diaper on him. the diaper was too big, he had a super tiny heiny. the nurses showed us where we could go to hold elijah some more. again, we had the little room to ourselves. elijah had his first little bottle in that room. we stared and stared and held and held him. a nurse came back to get elijah, a doctor needed to check him out since he was an early baby. while elijah was being examined, we headed back over to grace's room.
she still looked amazing. i hugged her and cried thank you to her. what should i say? "thanks for giving us your baby" just sounded weird. she double checked the spelling of elijah's name, she wanted to write it on the birth certificate. a hospital social worker had been located (by phone) and had directed the nurses in writing relase forms. this would make it possible for elijah to come home with us. since no "real" papers could be signed-with lawyers on vacation-this would have to do. we all signed the forms. it was like we were designated babysitters for elijah until the necessary papers could be prepared. in maryland, you have seven days to get these papers signed, stating birth parents rights relinquished. once those are signed, the birth parents have thirty days to change their mind. we couldn't help but wonder, would grace change her mind?
the nursery staff allowed us to stay late with elijah. we practically spent the night! we did rush home to shower and collect ourselves, but then right back to that baby. our baby. elijah had a clean bill of health. praise the lord! they let him leave to come home with us that day, only 24hrs after his birth. it was terrifying, strapping his itty bitty self into a car seat and driving him home. does every new parent get so stressed out about this?
after praying and seeking advice, we had decided it wise to not have anyone at the hospital other than ourselves. we were home now, and the grandparents and cousins, aunts, uncles and friends wanted to meet elijah. over the next few days elijah had a ton of new friends.
elijah was the best newborn ever. in fact, he slept so well, i wasn't sleeping because i thought "isn't he supposed to be awake crying?"!! after two delirious weeks without sleep, all my own fault, we were feeling pretty comfortable. we were a mama and papa. we were just waiting for the legal end to be completed. grace had a death in her family, sending her out of town. this slowed things down a little in the beginning, but all was well. the thirty day wait felt like a five hundred thirty day wait. sounds crazy, but we were freaked and calm at the same time. freaked, because we are human and it is our nature to trust ourselves and worry. calm, because we know god has every minute of every waiting day under control. he was our strength, our peace. even when we let the flesh creep in and try to worry us to death. i'm so glad he's faithful even when we are not!
i will sing to the lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
the wait ended. grace didn't change her mind.
she had given us the most precious gift, a son.
we praised the lord for allowing us to steward this little sinner!!
next up, waiting for our court date.
march 17, we'd become legit parents.
a new birth certificate.
a new family.
a new life.
the sweet day arrived.
early on st. patrick's day, 2009,
elijah became our son.
elijah grey is our son. to laugh with, cry with, travel with, play with and eat with. praise the lord, we read together, pray together, sing together and learn together.we watched him roll over for the first time, take his first steps, and learn to run. these last two and a half years have been a delight. even the tough times, like the current toddlerville, point us to christ with a grateful heart. god chose us long ago, to be elijah's family. talk about beyond our dreams! we feel so unworthy of this responsibility of parenthood. that's great though, really, because his strength is perfect-and all we need.
elijah's adoption is partly open, partly closed. we know who his birth family is. we've even sent photos, by request, on occasion. always pleased to do so. they do not want to see elijah ever again. things could change though. so, if either parent were to decide to meet elijah at some point, we really wouldn't mind at all!
this is still new. elijah doesn't understand too much right now. we do know, he will always know that he is adopted. he will always know where he came from. he will always know that he is ours and we are his. and that god keeps us all in his care. we're unsure what all of this will look like in the future, how things will unfold and be understood. it's something to look forward to, not to fret about. a little bit scary, a lot bit exciting!
we can hardly wait for elijah to have siblings-praying they'll join us soon.
he gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
praise the lord!