Life is a journey. More of a marathon, than a sprint. At least the way I run. Sometimes there are bursts of energy, but for the most part I just plod along with interspersed times of walking; slowly. I found our adoption journey much the same. The frantic rush of paperwork, the bursts of times there are things you can actually be productive doing, and the long walk of waiting. Only to gear up again on that day you finally get “the call.”
Our journey had already been ten years long to bring a daughter into our family. I felt like we had been plodding along for, well, forever! February is a fun month for me in life usually. It’s my birthday month, the month my husband and I met, and Valentine’s Day. My husband jokingly dubbed it “Kathy-ary” when we were dating. It stands true still today.
I often told people that our adoption process would go like this: I brought us to adoption, but an expectant mom would be drawn to us because of our boys, and she would choose us because she loves the strength, integrity, and grit of my husband. I would be an afterthought. I knew this is how it would be. And I was right. We were matched with an expectant mom who wanted her daughter to be surrounded by brothers who would defend her and protect her through life. She wanted a father who would adore his daughter, but still give her boundaries. She loved the connection she had with my salt-of-the-Earth raised husband. I was just there. And OK with it because I knew God had a plan. How? Because we were matched on my 41st birthday! God was telling me that I was not forgotten. We were overjoyed!
As the days plodded on again, with anxiety driven moments where I could almost barely catch my breath, we prepared to meet our daughter. Plans needed to be made near her due date in March. I had always prayed that I would one day have a daughter born in February like my mom and myself so I could pass down all of our gorgeous Amethyst jewelry. It was not looking like it would be that way, but oh well! We had six weeks to prepare so we focused on that.
We simply had to believe that our daughter would be born healthy and come home with us.
Three weeks after our match, on February 19, a Sunday, while at church, my husband wanted to go down to the front steps and pray for our adoption journey and the expectant mother we had been matched with. This was a big deal for me. I was not raised to go to the front of your church and pray openly. I was raised to pray in your pew and keep your junk private. But hand in hand, we wound our way to the steps, kneeled, and earnestly began to pray for our unborn daughter, the strong woman who carried her, and that God would continue to help us walk in faith. Tears flew down my face as a peace came over me. Hands were hot on our backs and we could hear the murmured prayers of those behind us. God was in control. We simply had to believe that our daughter would be born healthy and come home with us. And believe I did. I thanked God for the calming of my heart and prayed again that he would protect the baby that would hopefully be ours. We stood up, faced our friends, and knew that we were not in this journey alone. Our community stood in prayer with us. It was overwhelming. Trust in me, says the Lord…and I did.
That night, after the boys were in bed and my husband and I were settling in, we got a call from the birth mother counselor with our agency. Our daughter’s mom was in labor! At the hospital! It looked like our daughter would be born THAT NIGHT! I knew God had heard our prayers.
Which brings me to another interesting part of our journey. I wanted an ultrasound picture. But our daughter’s expectant mom was not eager to go have one done. She constantly put it off and I was sad. I have ultra sound pictures of my boys and wanted one of our daughter too. This was a painful time for her and I didn’t want to push it. On Feb 19, she went with the birth mother counselor and had an ultrasound. Right at the time we were on our knees in the front of our church, 1900 miles away from each other. This is where she found out her baby was breech and would need to be delivered by C-section if she went into labor soon. Later that night, she would go into labor and have to deliver by C-section.
Traveling from Illinois to California at the spur of the moment in an emotionally charged time of your life is not the most fun. It’s similar to miles 21-26.2 in a marathon. You’re tired. You’re sick of running. Of plodding. Of walking. You are simply propelled forward by prayer. So onward we went.
On February 20, 2012, I walked into a hospital miles and miles away from our home and met our daughter. Through a series of twists and turns that made that process difficult with hospital rules, the late hour, and my emotional raggedness, I finally sat in a rocker, in the nursery room, and took a big breath while I stared down at a little person who had grown in my heart for years. As we locked eyes, I simply said, “Hi” and she made not a sound. It was as if I had known her all of my life. This little person who grew under someone else’s heart, had already stolen mine. As I fed her a bottle, we chatted about the journey that brought us together.
A journey of a baby born in February 1971. A journey of two hearts that met and fell in love in February 1995. A journey of a family hoping to add a daughter and sister that was born in February 2012. A journey that brought my heart healing and completeness as I held her tiny body close to me, and our hearts finally beat as one.
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