It was Sunshine’s birthday last week. She turned 14, and somehow, that sounds a lot older than 13 to me. Maybe it’s because she’s a high-schooler now. Anyway, the event had me waxing nostalgic about when she was born.

Sunshine’s birth mother, Suzy, was in her 20s and in the Army. She had a 4-year-old son being raised by her parents, and she thought it was unfair to ask them to raise another child. The Army does not allow single parents to be the guardians of minor children, for obvious reasons. It was a heart-wrenching decision for her.

At first our adoption plan did not include us being present for labor and delivery. On the day she went into labor, the social worker called to inform us. I had a good friend, Nanny, visiting with her grandson who was Pepper’s age. Nanny said, “If Suzy changes her mind about having you there, I can watch Pepper for a couple of days while you go for the new baby.” That is exactly what happened.

For the first (and so far only) time in my life, I was present at a birth. I got to see Sunshine take her first breath in this world. When they put her in Suzy’s arms, she gazed at her lovingly and handed her to me. I was so nervous, I thought I’d drop her! When they told us she was a girl, we were so surprised we laughed out loud– we had a boy’s name, boy’s room, and boy’s clothes at the ready. I followed the nurse to the nursery as they readied her for her hospital stay, and I have to tell you honestly, she was the most beautiful baby in there. We returned to Suzy’s room to shock Dear Hubby with the news of his second daughter. It was all amazing and wonderful.

I spent the night in base housing, Sunshine spent the night in Suzy’s arms; she wouldn’t stop squalling otherwise. I love that they had that long night together. When Suzy was discharged the next morning, I went with Sunshine to a hotel to wait out the 24 hours before the paperwork could be signed. (Dear Hubby was sick and had gone home to help Nanny with big sister.) I hardly slept that night between caring for and gazing at the beautiful baby and worrying over Suzy. I knew it was a difficult night for her.

By the time I got home to Pepper and Dear Hubby with our beautiful girl, Nanny had already taught Pepper the baby’s name. It was so sweet. We headed off to the church for an entrustment ceremony while Suzy headed home to her son and her parents for physical and emotional healing.

The snapshots in my mind from those days are as precious as the actual photos. I am eternally grateful for the brave decision Suzy made and the many blessings our daughter has brought to all of us. I know she has grieved mightily over the years, and there is never a moment I do not think of her with gratitude and admiration. Blessings on you, Suzy. We are loving her the best we can!