Something in our hearts told us to go to FL when “J” was 37 weeks along. We had anticipated an early arrival of baby girl and it just felt right to be there. On May 2, 2017 we arrived at the airport with no idea what we needed but as much baby stuff as we could fit in four suitcases and an empty car seat. Walking through the airport was surreal. There was no gray area in what it meant, only black and white. We were either coming home with Baby C or completely broken with the empty car seat I had feared for months.
Once we arrived, we met “J” at the hospital the next morning for her 37 week appointment and heard the sweet sound of Baby C’s heartbeat again. We then spent a wonderful day together catching up since our last visit 10 weeks earlier.
A few days later we had a great day with her family. It has always been important to me to know as much as I can about Lennon’s birth family. On our long walk “J” kept grabbing my hand to feel Baby C move and it is some of the sweetest memories I have. This was the 3rd time I had been able to touch her growing belly. The moments I had with Lennon while she was in “J’s” womb mean the entire world to me. I feel as if though she knew me a little when she was born and that I was able to experience a small fraction of her pregnancy.
On Sunday, May 7, 2017 I had a really restless night. My connection to Baby C and to “J” throughout the 10 weeks had been pretty spot on and I was a pile of nerves all day. I had visions of Baby C being stillborn and a heart feeling that something wasn’t right. After no sleep and trying to give myself enough courage to ask “J” to get checked for peace of mind, I woke up Monday, May 8th, 2017 to a phone call from “J” around 7am. She was crying, in a lot of pain and said the babies heart rate was dipping.
I shot out of bed and packed what I could. Kris and I couldn’t even talk on the drive. I was trying to figure out where to go and prepare myself that she was going to be born in a few hours and things may not be good.
Kris dropped me off and I sprinted inside to the complete unknown. I felt so out of place and had no idea what my role was. All I knew is that “J” needed me. The nurses were so kind, they walked me down to labor & delivery and I nervously waited until I could enter “J’s” room. She was in so much pain and I just sat in the dark, prayed and told her I was there and loved her. After a few difficult hours her pain was managed but Baby C was not handling contractions. Within 30 minutes of her lowest heart rate dip, “J” was moved in for a c-section. I put on my scrubs and Kris was told to wait for a lullaby song, which would signal the baby had arrived.
I gave “J” a hug and told her I would be holding her hand as soon as they brought me to her. I kissed Kris and said your going to be a Dad the next time I see you and then I sat in a room by myself, completely quiet and waiting to be let in the c-section room. It felt like forever as I stared at the floor waiting. In that moment the weight of our wait finally hit me. For the last 10 weeks I had been the communicator, the glue that held things together. The one in charge of managing emotions in both MN and FL. The one who wanted to do everything I could to protect this precious baby I was about to meet and couldn’t. I was the one who’s emotions had to be stable and were the emotions echoed by “J” and Kris. The past 10 weeks my whole world had been hanging on a string. There were storms and even though I had peace during them in a few minutes it would become really real. The emotion, the pain, the beautiful but broken that adoption is.
The doctor came in and brought me to a stool right next to “J”. I tried to keep her peaceful and calm. Together we squeezed hands, looked into each other eyes and smiled as we heard Lennon cry. I cut her cord, held her and brought her back to the woman who would make me a mom. She was the most beautiful baby and when I saw her I had no doubts she was exactly what my heart had waited for. I looked up at the sky and said in my head, “Now I see it Lord, 7 years of wondering when and what and this is why.” I have seen this face in my dreams, her eyes, her lips, her skin and hair. She is everything I prayed for. My heart felt immediately connected to hers. Within seconds she was holding my hand and I felt whole.
Just a few minutes later they moved “J” to recovery. She wanted me to bring Lennon to Kris so he could see both of us when he heard the lullaby song. Walking up to him with our beautiful girl was the best moment of my life. We cried and said, “Can you believe it?” “Thank You God” on repeat.
The next few days we spent so much time with Lennon and Mama “J”. We did all of her firsts, loved on her together and talked about our hopes and dreams for the future. We were like a little family.
After 72 hours it was time for “J” to get discharged and placement papers to be signed. I cried for “J” as we waited in the hospital waiting room knowing the reality of what she was signing. She made me a mother in that moment and entrusted her daughter’s life to us. My heart was broken for her. We love her so much and are only holding Lennon now because of her deep love for her daughter.
A few minutes later Kris and I got a text saying everything was done and we could come in the room. We walked through the same doors we nervously walked into 72 hours before, but now with a daughter.
God is redemptive friends. God is faithful. He walks before us holding our hand if we will step into the unknown and reach for His. He showed me that I am able to love like him. He forever changed me with His love and now we have forever changed two lives with that same love.
We hugged “J”, and headed to the NICU to hold our sweet girl. I may have sprinted in there. I felt like for the first time I could be her mom entirely without holding back one bit out of respect for “J”. Since that day, I stare at her morning and night. Even 10 weeks later. It’s like looking straight into the eyes of God. He speaks to me through her features, her breaths, her squeaks and her hands as they touch me. Years of wondering what He wanted from us. This was it. He wanted to push me out of my comfort zone. Every single thing about Lennon was everything I said no to at the beginning, everything that scared me, everything I felt I wasn’t qualified for . There were many surprises that had I known at the beginning fear easily could have won, but God knew the beginning and the end of this adoption. He left out details He knew I wasn’t ready for and introduced the tough parts when He knew I could handle them. He so cautiously orchestrated our journey.
After 23 days in the NICU healing and growing strong, we were discharged with our sweet girl. The next day we flew home to MN with a full car seat and even fuller hearts.
If I can reassure you of one thing it’s this.
Something I fought for years because it didn’t look like what I wanted has given me the most fulfillment of my life. When you truly surrender to the Lord you can’t fathom the blessing coming your way. Do not let fear stop what He places on your heart. I have seen far to much of His goodness to ever doubt anything He thinks is right for me. I will always answer the call. I will always gravitate toward the unknown and I will always listen to His whispers of what He places on my heart.
Adopting Lennon gave us the daughter our hearts were longing for all those years. However, our journey wasn’t just about any baby, it was about finding the baby God chose to be ours and giving ourselves to her. We are the lucky ones to have the opportunity to love sweet Lennon and her Mama “J”. You can’t change the Lord’s plans for your life and for that I am eternally grateful.
“For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart.” -1 Samuel 1:27
5.8.17 • 6.5 lbs • 19 3/4 in
Born at 3:07 pm
Photo Credit: Sabrina Stueve Photography