When I look at this sweet boy of mine, it’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, I had zero interest in adoption. I remember when Caleb and I were engaged and he shared with me that he wanted to adopt in the future and I told him right then and there that I had no interest. I mean, zero, nothing.
It’s funny to me when I look back to see how God redirects us. How we think we know what we want and we visualize our perfect future and then God (I imagine with a loving smile) nudges us back on the path that he knows is best.
As he redirects and we rest in him, our desires change and line up with his plan. It’s a beautiful thing really. He did a little bit of nudging in my heart almost 4 years ago until I finally came to Caleb and explained that I wanted to adopt. Not only did I want to adopt, but I wanted to adopt before we ever had biological children.
I have never been a consistent blogger but I did have a blog through the first couple of years of our adoption process that one day literally disappeared somewhere into cyberspace and I cannot get back into it. It makes me so sad because it was the only written journal that I have through that part of the process and now it’s gone. Our journey is marked by longing and celebration, beauty and brokenness, worry and trust, and most of all, JOY! I love sharing our story because it is clearly God’s story. It’s a testament to Him in every way because we would never have made it through without him. We would never have our sweet little Crew without him. Maybe someday I will write it out again but I love to talk about it any chance that I get!
November is National Adoption Month and it will always be a special month in our home. We will always celebrate how Crew came into our family and we will always honor his birth-mom’s brave choice.
I will never forget seeing Crew for the very first time. In that moment I became a mom and my world was forever changed. Adoption is beautiful and tough all wrapped in one. It was a long three and a half year journey for us but I’m so grateful for it. We learned so much in that time and I know the Lord used it to prepare me to the very best mommy for Crew.
If you ever have any questions about our story or adoption in general, please feel free to reach out! I’m an open book and would love to chat. xoxo
Adoption is amazing and I’m a huge advocate of it (obviously!) but it’s also messy. I think often times we romanticize it but when it comes down to it, there are just some extremely heartbreaking pieces that come along with the joy.
I didn’t know until right before Crew was born that babies adopted right at birth, even if they never spend time with their birth mom out of the womb, can go through periods of mourning. I guess I assumed that we were going to get to skip that part since we were the only parents that Crew would ever know but I was wrong. Babies connect with their birth mom’s voices, heartbeats and rhythms while in utero and so it is highly possible that they will mourn losing her. It’s so sad.
We hadn’t seen any signs of Crew mourning until yesterday. All of you mamas get it that you KNOW your baby’s different cries. There is the hungry cry, the upset cry, the needy cry and the all-out angry cry! Last night, Crew’s cry was so different. It was beyond sad and in my spirit I knew that he was experiencing a little bit of mourning. Oh you guys, it was so heartbreaking to see him go through that. All we could do was hold onto him and do our best to comfort his sweet little heart.
It was pretty amazing because after a little while, we decided to pray and as soon as Caleb finished praying, peace washed over Crew. It was immediate and the mourning was over.
I realized that we may face this at different points in Crew’s life as he tries to figure out who he is and where he belongs. We have decided that we want to be very open with him about his adoption and how his birth mom chose this for him as an act of bravery, because let’s be honest, there are other options out there that she could have chosen. We will explain how we, and so many of you prayed for years for him before he was even born and how God chose him to be ours and us to be his. We will always celebrate that we get to be a family, even though I am anticipating that at times, this could be confusing to our sweet boy and painful I’m sure.
I pray that Crew would always know that even more than he is a part of us and our family, that he is God’s. I pray that He chooses to follow Christ so that he can be adopted into His family, as His son. There is nothing better.
Can I ask for some prayer? You guys reading this are the ones who support us and have been praying for our little family and we could really use it right now. We just got an email this morning from our agency that had an unexpected bill in it that we have to pay before we can finalize the adoption process. We were under the impression that the adoption was completely paid for and that we didn’t owe any more money so this came as a shock to us and we simply don’t have the money right now. We need God to provide so we can finish this thing and make Crew officially ours! Thanks so much friends!
Finding the perfect middle name for our sweet Crew proved to be unbelievably difficult. We wanted a name that sounded right between the names Crew and Thatcher (correct syllables for rhythm, etc.) and a name that had cool meaning. I just couldn’t figure it out.
We prayed. We flipped through name books. We scoured the internet. Nothing.
Caleb and I generally have the same taste in names but one day, just over a month before Crew would be born, Caleb busted through our front door after work and with all of the excitement in the world told me that he had figured it out! He had the PERFECT middle name for our boy!
Leo-what?! Leonidas?!!! What IS that??
I didn’t like it at all and I was sure to let Caleb know it! I asked him what the name meant…..he didn’t know.
Perfect. I thought as I looked it up right there on my phone hoping that this would be my way out; that it would have some horrible meaning so that we couldn’t possibly give this name to our precious baby. I mean, Caleb’s reasons for liking the name were that it sounded awesome, like a warrior, and that it is Greek (to which Caleb loves to own his small sliver of Greek heritage!).
“Brave as a lion”
For the love. Are you serious?!
I wouldn’t even tell Caleb at first knowing that the meaning would only cement the idea in for him. And of course, when I finally did divulge the meaning, he was beyond elated!
The crazy thing is that for the few months before Crew was born, as we were preparing our hearts and home for Crew’s arrival, the word “brave” kept coming to us. Every single time I was creating something for his room, “Be brave little one” would play over and over in my head and it would bring tears to my eyes each time.
In fact, because of this word on our hearts, we ended up giving his room a little “brave” theme although that was not the original intention at all. Previously, as we had been praying for specific traits for our future son, bravery was not one of the top on our list, but apparently, it was on the top of the Lord’s list because He definitely spoke it to us over and over.
“Brave as a lion”. I couldn’t believe it.
Fast forward to the hospital, 2 days after Crew was born, still without a middle name… I had nothing. No other runner-up names. I started to think that maybe I should just let Caleb have this one. The name actually started to grow on me a little (although I didn’t want to admit that to Caleb!) and I spent some time talking to one of our nurses in the NICU about it when Caleb had stepped out for a bit.
This sweet lady encouraged me in my marriage. She explained that sometimes (a lot of times actually) in marriage, we need to lay down ourselves and desires for the needs and wants of our spouse. It’s true. This name was HUGE for Caleb and he is huge to me, so I knew what I needed to do.
When I told Caleb that we could give Crew the middle name Leonidas, he completely lit up! You guys, this sweet man of mine was so excited about this that there were tears and hugs and more tears!
So worth it.
And you know what?…..I actually really like it for our sweet Crew. I think it’s very fitting for him.
And even more importantly, I really like it that Crew Leonidas’ daddy loves it so much!
So we waited, and waited and waited in that room for another hour and 45 minutes after Crew was born until finally a nurse said that we could go back to the NICU to meet him.
Oh my heart. I can’t even describe the excitement, anticipation, wonder and joy as we walked back to get to see our son for the very first time.
A nurse walked us back and pointed down a row of babies all hooked up to beeping machines. “He’s that one, in the back corner.”
That one is ours? He is OUR baby?!
We got to spend the next hour and a half getting to know our sweet Crew. There are just no words to describe the emotion and experience that that was for us. It’s too deep. Too intimate. So, I will just show you a peek inside through the photos that my friend Jess got to take.
I’ve put this post off for 3 months and 7 days. Some of that is just us finding our new routine with a newborn at home, but most of that is just because I wasn’t ready.
You see this day, this very specific day where we finally got to meet our son, has been one of the two most highly anticipated days of my life, sharing the roll with the day I got to marry my sweet Caleb. But this day carries a different weight with it because we didn’t know when this day would actually come. We knew it would come at some point because God promised it would, but we just didn’t have any idea when. That type of waiting is indescribable.
So after 3.5 years of waiting, preparing and praying for our future child, the day that we got to meet him just feels so heavy. Not heavy in a negative way at all, but heavy in how HUGE this day was for us and how does one even begin to put words to something so important? This day was simply incredible and the only word that continued to come into my mind on that very day was just how WILD it was!
We were having a baby!!
Let me back up to that morning, May 11th, 2016.
This day was already so special in our family because our niece Jana and her parents were finalizing her adoption in court that morning. I drove with my mom-in-love to the celebration of that day and on our way back to our side of town, she got a phone call. All I heard on the other end was “Sarah needs to check her phone.” I peeked at it to find text after text and multiple missed calls from Caleb and our representative from our adoption agency.
I knew right away that this was it.
I called Caleb to find out that our birth mom’s water had broken and she was on her way to the hospital via ambulance. This was a direct answer to prayer! We prayed that although she had been refusing any medical care for the past 3-4 months, that when the time was right for Crew to come, that she would get herself to the hospital somehow. Well, she didn’t have a choice because her water broke in a public place and an ambulance was called. God is so cool! Caleb explained that we were on standby and that our agency asked us not to come down to the hospital until they gave us the green light that she was actually going into surgery. One of my favorite parts of this story that I never want to forget is when Caleb mentioned that he was going to the gym to get a quick workout in before we had to go the hospital! I died laughing. Our son was being born, our bag wasn’t packed, there was no car seat placed in our car, and my sweet, (committed) hubby wanted to get a quick workout in. Love him.
To say that I panicked, is an absolute understatement! We parked the car and I reclined (read: threw) my chair back as far as it would go as my mom-in-law and I screamed in excitement, cried together and tried to get our minds calm enough for a moment in order to make a plan. At one point, she was rubbing some sort of oils all over me, and then on herself, to try to soothe us. We were nothing short of a hot mess.
All I could think was “But I haven’t cleaned out the hall closets!!” Seriously. You read that right. You see, I had a well planned “To-Do Before Crew” list with all of the tasks that I felt needed to be done before I became a mommy. And those closets never got the attention they deserved! “How could I bring a baby home to those chaotic closets?!” I was just sure that there would be absolutely no opportunity in the future to ever clean those closets once we had a baby. and in that moment, that’s where my brain went. The closets.
Once I caught my bearings, I decided to run home to pack the overnight bag and get the car seat in the car. Praise the Lord that Caleb chose not to go to the gym and so when I got home, he was there already packing. He had gotten a call on his way home that our birth mom was on her way back for the C-Section. We had to go!
Picture a tornado, or a bull in a glass shop, or something else that spins crazily out of control and you can get an accurate idea of me, flying through our house, trying to pack all of the items that I (and my new newborn) would need for the next 3-4 days in the hospital. (We found out in that very moment who in our marriage was the calm, collected one in these moments, and who is……well, not.)
My husband, the ultimate rule follower, went the speed limit, and not 1 mph over the entire 35 minutes that it took to get to the hospital! I wanted to jump out of my seat because I was bound and determined to have my plan and part of that plan was to get to have immediate skin to skin time with Crew as soon as he was born. Our birth mom decided that she didn’t want to see or hold Crew and so she approved letting us receive him right away and I did not want to miss that moment!
We got to the hospital and found the 3 representatives from our agency that were also there and waiting. The hospital staff was trying to find us an open nesting room to settle into and stay for the next few days, but this was a very busy day and there weren’t any rooms available. My heart sank with the realization that we wouldn’t get that immediate skin-to-skin time.
As the hospital staff worked on trying to find us a room on a different floor of the hospital, we stayed in the waiting room anxious to hear the news that our sweet boy was born. Finally, nurses came in with the announcement. I couldn’t believe it….he, our baby was actually here!
Wild. This is all so wild! Unfortunately, we couldn’t see him yet. Since they didn’t have a room available for us, they took Crew to the NICU to get cleaned up, hooked to monitors and to stay warm.
My heart longed and ached for this baby boy that I had never met, but who was already somehow mine. But we had to wait…
Before we get into this; why didn’t anyone tell me how much pressure there is in naming a baby?! I mean, it was fun to think and dream about names for my future children as I was growing up and with Caleb but when you are naming an actual child that will be stuck with that name FOREVER….that’s a huge deal!
Luckily, our soon-to-be son’s first name came to us pretty easily and we agreed immediately, however we are still thinking and praying about a middle name (so if you have any ideas….chime in with them in the comments below!).
His name is Crew…. Crew Thatcher! Crew __?___ Thatcher!
Crew is a name that we have loved for years but the interesting thing is that when we were naming the twins last fall, the name Crew just didn’t feel right for that baby boy so we named him something different. However, when we found out about this little guy, Caleb actually brought up the name Crew again and I immediately agreed. It just felt right. He is our little Crew.
When I looked up what his name means initially, all I found was “a group of people”. The thing I loved about that was that it definitely is taking a group of people to bring this little guy home! For the past 3+ years we have felt so incredibly loved and supported and so I liked that I would always think about that when I thought about his name meaning. But the day after we found out the tough news about our birth mom and her drug abuse, etc., my sister-in-law Emily dug deeper into the meaning of his name and sent me the following in a text and it rocked my world:
“Praying for Crew. This little guy is the Lord’s even before He is yours and I believe that God has GREAT plans for him in your family!
“I (Emily) looked up the name Crew and it means ‘Chariot’ in the Latin. What a powerful word because the Lord uses the word chariot again and again in the Bible as to describe a way to get to a holy place. The chariots were the people’s most prized possessions of all throughout the Old Testament. And even when the Lord is describing riding up to heaven, he didn’t choose to ride on a horse, or fly, or use anything else… He chose a chariot of fire. His best chariot. I believe that your little boy will be a power house for the Lord. And He is and will be such a TREASURE. A hold place, one of the Lord’s most prized possessions. He has a purpose. There’s a reason you chose a name that represents such biblical power (without even realizing it). Your boy will be a servant, and a tool in bringing people to know the Lord.”
“In French, Crew means to ‘grow’. I believe that not only will your little boy grow into an amazing man of God – he is also going to be used strategically by God for your growth. He will cause beautiful growth in your marriage as you work together to care 0f him. Beautiful growth in your faith as you learn to trust the Lord with him every step of the way . And beautiful growth in your heart as you fall in love with him from the moment you meet him.”
“The Lord is so faithful and LIFE and BIRTH is orchestrated directly from Him. There’s a reason he is trusting this little boy to you. He works ALL THINGS for good for those who love Him.”
Such incredible truth spoken over our sweet boy. That text completely broke me in the best way possible. My mama heart already loves our Crew so deeply and it would be my greatest joy for him to not only know the Lord but to also be a tool in bringing others to know Him!
Ok so now we need a middle name friends! Any ideas???
Last night we got some tough news. Our adoption agent called to give us an update on our birth mom and her medical records.
The good news is that she is still confident in her decision to adopt and her choice with us. She is keeping in great contact with her rep from the agency and has recently moved into safe housing.
Then we discussed her recent medical records. To be fully transparent, one of the reasons we were excited to show our profile to this birth mom, was because on her application, she had stated that there was no current or past substance abuse. (She was the only birth mom that we had been presented with in 6 months that had this clear of a history.) Our ‘ideal’ situation.
We found out last night that she tested positive in November for Marijuana and amphetamines (likely meth). It felt like a punch to the gut. They tested her again in February and I will find out the results to that test next week.
She also test positive for an STD called Trichomoniasis (“Trich” for short) which is easily treatable for her but is extremely dangerous for a baby in utero. It often causes premature birth and low birth weight. (another punch)
I hung up the phone and immediately grabbed my keys and headed straight for the gym. I know this sounds like an unlikely place to go in a time like this but I have found that when I am doing a cardio workout and depleting myself, I am so receptive to the Lord’s voice and in that moment, that is ALL I needed.
With tears pooling at the bottom of my eyes, and “Bethel Music” playing in my earphones, I climbed up on the Stairmaster and just started going. My breath prayer was that God would speak to me. I needed Him so close. I needed to hear the sweet, calming, fierce voice of my Father.
The next 40 minutes on that Stairmaster was a pure, messy, beautiful time of worship. An exchange from His heart to mine and then back again.
I was literally inhaling Jesus and exhaling worry and fear step by step. With each breath I was filled with more of Him and less of me. Exhale – ‘But what if our baby is sick? What if he isn’t okay?!’ Inhale – “You unravel me, with a melody…
Till all my fears are gone.” (I am in control Sarah and I will continue to undo you so that you can be more like me.)
Exhale – ‘Jesus, I don’t know if I can handle this!’ Inhale – “Cause when I fall to my knees,
You’re the one who pulls me up again” (Sarah, you can’t, but I can. I’ve got you and this baby and every single time you fall, I will pull you up again)
Exhale – ‘Jesus, why??’ Why is this happening to us and that innocent baby?!’ Inhale – “What a mystery
That you notice me
And in a crowd of ten thousand
You don’t miss a thing” (Sweet Sarah, I love you and I know you and I’m in control of it all, every detail and I have a perfect plan. There is no need to worry.)
Exhale – ‘I’m so scared that he will have lasting issues his whole life. What if he has a delay or disability? I’m so afraid God!’ Inhale – “And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea” (Don’t you remember who I AM Sarah? I can tell a mountain to move and it will jump. I’ve got this.)
Exhale – ‘You are right Jesus. You have always been here for me. Ok, I’m
letting go. I trust you Jesus.’
“Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.” Inhale – (That’s all I want from you right now Sarah.)
Exhale – “I have to know you
All that’s within me
Cries out for your presence, God
There’s no one else
Jesus you’re my one desire ” Inhale – (Through every step, keep seeking my face Sarah. That is the point.)
And then as I was finishing the last few minutes of my workout, utterly exhausted, but spiritually elated, the song “Ever Be” by Bethel came on and led me into a time of worship. The kind of worship that can only happen when you are completely open, empty and vulnerable and I got to praise my sweet Jesus for being so huge, yet so intimate with me all at the same time.