Monday, February 29, 2016

How the Fourth Came To Be

The story of how our fourth child entered our family is long and messy.  It was a journey where we lost all sense of hope multiple times.  Where we beat the odds with number of adoptions falling through.  By October of last year, we were done.  We didn't have it in us to keep trying despite a strong desire for another child.

I had started to process the grief of the loss of a dream.  I was getting to a good place where I was going to be ok with three beautiful children instead of four.

Then one afternoon our attorney called us.  He was our attorney for Abraham's adoption and he had walked with us through all our losses.  He was so hopeful that we would be open to hear him out.  A woman had just called his office saying she was 6 months pregnant and after wrestling with the idea since she found out she was pregnant, she had decided that the child she was carrying would be placed for adoption.  He was going to meet with her in a couple days and after that would present her with prospective adoptive families.  Were we interested in being considered?

To be honest, at first we weren't.  The thought of spending months getting to know and love this woman with the intense fear that it could all fall apart again and we would have to start the grieving process all over again was overwhelming.

So he met with her and then sent us the details.  We read them over.  Scott then looked at me and said if he had to give an answer right then, he would say yes.  I was blown away.  I figured he would be a for sure no.  I wasn't completely ready to say yes yet.  My heart was so fragile.  We decided to take a couple days to think about it and told our attorney such.

That was Sunday night.  On Tuesday morning we decided we needed to do this.  We had a strong sense that God had this path with this woman and child for us regardless of the outcome.  So I called our attorney that afternoon to tell him we were in.  He told us because he hadn't heard from us, he went ahead and sent a packet of family profiles to her that morning to look over and pick from.  He would go ahead and send ours the next morning.  We assumed that was the end of it.

Wednesday afternoon our attorney called.  She loved us.  She had created a list of pros and cons for the other families and had narrowed it down to one she was ok with, but then she saw ours and knew that were what she was looking for.  I was stunned.

A couple days later we had our first phone call with her followed by meeting for lunch a couple days later.  We left lunch feeling a small glimmer of hope that this might really happen.

The next few months were spent getting to know one another.  We told very few people about this because we didn't have it in us to tell everyone if it fell apart again.  I attended all her appointments and ultrasounds at her request.  We spent hours and hours together learning all about each others histories, families, and hopes for the future.  She continued to affirm her decision to us all along the way.

Then it happened.  One evening I got a phone call saying, "Lizzie, my water just broke."  And with that we both hopped on an emotional roller coaster that included me coaching her through labor and delivery, watching him be born (complete with me becoming a hot mess of uncontrollable sobbing), and cutting his cord.  Malachi James entered the world on February 23rd at 4:24 a.m.

She set up the time she wanted the attorney to come so that she could sign the adoption papers.  She had to social worker come down to the room I was staying in to request I come down to talk with her.  My heart sank.  I assumed I was walking down to her room to be told she couldn't do it.  I braced myself to love and support her in her choice.  I walked into her room to see her holding Malachi and she smiled at me.  I sat down beside her and she handed Malachi to me and asked the attorney for the papers.  I just stared down at him praying for peace and strength for her heart and mine.

She signed.  My heart exploded.  I was overwhelmed by the heaviness of that moment.  My heart broke for her knowing how hard going through with signing was despite the fact that she knew it was what she needed and wanted to do.

She filled out the birth certificate with his full name, including our last name.  She wanted him to always have our name and not have to switch at finalization.  She decided she would like to have an open adoption instead of semi-open, which we were thrilled hear.  She is a beautiful part of our lives and will always be honored, loved, and revered in our home.

So here he is, in 4,000 pictures, Malachi James.