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…
I just wanted to pop in here and give a little update on our quest to get pregnant! For those new to our story, I will give a little background (this will just be the facts….I could write a novel on the emotional and spiritual journey through all this!) Caleb and I have been married for 4.5 years. When we got married, I starting charting my cycle to avoid pregnancy but then after about 6 months, we decided to stop preventing because we didn’t actually mind if we did get pregnant! About 6 months later was about the time when the Lord completely changed my heart about adoption and we started that journey in January, 2013. (That is again, another novel!)
Adoption was our first choice of how we wanted to have kids but we have always wanted biological kiddos as well. So when a year of “not preventing” passed and we hadn’t got pregnant, I wasn’t too concerned because we were in the middle of our adoption, and at the time, that was pretty exciting!
Well, here we are in 2016, and 4 years has passed. I’m not sure where the line is drawn between the terms “not preventing” and “trying” but we have lived both of those out in the past 4 years! About 2 years ago, we started to get pretty concerned as to why I wasn’t getting pregnant. A few friends had referred a specific infertility doctor to us so we made our first appointment.
I’m pretty sure I cried through most of that first appointment. It just sucks. It sucks to have to be there. It sucks to even utter the word “infertile”. Like, who gets to decide that? I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in that office.
Our doctor explained the series of steps that we would take. Testing. Probing. Hoping. Planning. More testing. He talked about the magical age of 35 and how we need to do as much as we can to get pregnant before I turn 35 because “your chances of getting pregnant drop off a table after that birthday”. I remember sitting there at 32 years old thinking that I had so much time.
Now I sit here, almost 35 (in 5 months) in shock at how fast the last 2.5 years went. It just makes me giggle at how much life planning I do (and keep doing)! If life had gone according to my original plan of what I wanted in my early 20’s, I would have 9 kids by now! That was my hope for so long. I wanted a family of 11! I am so small and my plans are just so silly and I’m grateful for that because I serve a HUGE God who is in full control….and that is a great thing.
Here is the truth….1 in 7 women deal with “infertility”. That’s A LOT! But we rarely talk about it. I’m not sure why because I know that I need community and people who ‘get it’. Maybe we don’t know how to talk about it. Maybe it’s just too painful to hear coming out of our own mouths. Maybe saying it out-loud makes it so much more real when all we really want is for it to disappear. I’m not sure what it is for each person battling it, but I’m here, thick in the battle, ready to share!
So now for the update on our quest to get pregnant: First, (about 1.5 years ago), I got my fallopian tubes checked for blockages. That came out clear. Then I had to get a blood test…clear. Next, Caleb had to get checked for healthy swimmers….clear.
We are now to the last step before we decide on big words like “IVF”. I am currently on Chlomid, a drug that helps women to ovulate and sometimes drop multiple eggs. We started it in January and it didn’t work. We can do this up to 6 rounds and that is really all the body can take.
So here’s to round 2! We are really hoping and praying that we get pregnant within this next 5 months so that we don’t even have to think about the next steps. We would love for you to join us in prayer for that specifically.
To be honest, I would be shocked if we got a positive test. After 4 years of negative tests, it just seems impossible, but I know that God loves to do preposterous things that we can’t even imagine!
***update from just a couple hours after this post was originally written – I forgot to mention that we have also been going down a naturopathic route for fertility. If you know me, you know that when it comes to health, I prefer the most natural methods possible, and this is no different with our fertility issues. I have been seeing a great naturopathic doctor for a few months and have seen great improvements with my hormone levels and adrenals. Next step will probably be oils and acupuncture. At this point, we are trying both Western and natural routes to see which works first!