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???
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!
I wish that each of you reading this could be sitting on my couch with me, curled up with some coffee because that would make this a whole lot more comfortable!
The cool thing is, I actually feel completely comfortable talking about this now because The Lord has done tremendous healing in my heart since it all happened, but typing it out on a document can feel pretty sterile to be honest with you. But, this blog not only serves as a great way of communicating our story with those that care for us, but it also is a memoir for our family to hopefully always have to look back on and see God’s story played out in our little lives. So here we go….
A couple months ago, we were buzzing around like crazy getting ready for “our” twins to arrive. Since we announced that we were getting the twins, we were absolutely showered with hand-me-downs and gifts from so many generous people and in the meantime, we were getting to build a relationship with our birth mom. We adore her. It was amazing to me how quickly she had a place in our hearts and felt like part of our family. We were excited about the possibility of an open adoption with her, if she decided that was what she wanted. However, after our first doctor’s visit with her, where we got to hear the two little heartbeats, our birth mom told us that she was having a tough time with the whole situation. She said that she wasn’t changing her mind but asked for space.
That was a rough text to receive and fear and panic washed over me as I read it over and over again. I was so worried that she was going to change her mind and that these babies wouldn’t be ours anymore. That very morning I remember praying and asking the Lord to refine me more before I became a mommy. Little did I know how quickly he would answer!
I was a hot mess for a few days and had to continually hand the fear I was feeling over the The Lord because I just couldn’t handle it on my own. I wanted to trust her (our birth mom) when she said that she wasn’t changing her mind. I wanted to trust what I saw in her situation when it looked impossible for her to keep these twins. I wanted to trust God that He had it all under control with my best in mind but it was a struggle!
There were about 2 weeks where we didn’t do much with the adoption or for the twins. We reached out to our birth mom a few times with no response and each time, I reverted back to fear and just stood still.
But then there was one weekend where I really felt that God was telling me to prepare, to get ready for these babies. Along with that, came a sense of urgency to get their room ready (which I hadn’t done anything to!).
We started immediately and spent the next 2 weeks decorating their sweet little room and washing and organizing all of their clothes and baby items. I was in my happy place because I got to get crafty and as I sewed, glued and designed, I would just pray for “our” twins and imagine them in our little red house.
We had been debating over names for a few weeks but in this time of preparation, their names became clear to us. Once we named them, our prayers became more specific for each of them and their futures.
This season of preparation was such a sweet one. Fear had left and excitement jumped in.
This one particular morning I woke up and was finally able to emotionally hand the twins over to the Lord and really let go of control. (I didn’t really have any anyway, but I tried to)! I was in a constant internal battle, trying to release control and this one morning, I was finally able to.
That same morning, I found out from our lawyer that we needed some information from the birth mom and birth dad and that I had to be the one to obtain it. So I texted the birth mom and for the first time in a month, she responded. But her response sent me to the floor.
“We have decided to keep the babies…..”.
She continued on to explain that her situation had changed and therefore, they were going to keep them.
Here is the thing, I have hit the floor before. I have spent time on the floor writhing in pain, unable to control my emotions, body or thoughts and THAT is the very place I found true intimacy with Jesus. I grew up knowing who Jesus was but it wasn’t until I was on the floor, alone, at 25 years old that I first really met Him and felt Him. And because of His closeness in my life, from that very place years ago, the floor is actually a sweet place of rest for me.
I have prayed over and over again in the last 9 years to be able experience that same intimacy without the grief that brought me there and the truth is, I always get in my own way. So as I laid in the middle of the floor in my living room, although I was overcome with sadness and grief, I felt peace because there He was, my Father, holding me.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the grief any less, I just wasn’t alone in it. Caleb came home from work soon after that and we just held each other as we tried to comprehend what this meant for our family.
I got to see the birth mom the following day and that helped me, and I think her too, so much. I still love her. I still love those twins because I’m invested in them. But I knew I had to fully let them go.
It’s been just over a month since we lost “our” twins. It has been so interesting to see how Caleb and I both grieve this so differently but I am getting to know my husband on an even deeper level through it and I’m so grateful for that. God is completely healing our hearts and we finally got to the point recently where we don’t think about the twins every day and mourn them which feels like a big step. God is the ultimate healer.
So what’s next for us and our adoption?
Just last week we contacted our agency again and told them that we are available to meet new birth moms. We also are still praying that we get pregnant and are working through that at the same time since my clock is ticking!
For now, the baby room is still there, all decorated and ready for when the time is right. (I had so much fun creating it all so I will be doing some future posts for some of the DIY projects that we did in there.)
Thank you so, so much for all of the love, prayers and support. We have been once again, overwhelmed by it all.
Don’t get me wrong, I love our white couch and how it looks in our little house. God has literally answered prayers on this very couch. This is the couch that we sat on with our birth mom when she told us that she chose us to be the parents to her babies. On this couch we have laughed (hard) with dear friends of ours and cried with others. This is a place of comfort and gathering in our home. We love it.
Trust me, I have actually heard many opinions from many people about how crazy we are to have a white couch with a black dog and now twins coming. And this day, as I was reluctantly cleaning it yet again, I agreed with each of them for the first time. Until…..
it occurred to me, vacuum still in hand, that this white couch, and the fact that I have to clean it ALL THE TIME, is actually a blessing! (what?!) Before you think that I’ve totally lost it, let me explain.
We all have dirty couches! Whether we have pets, kids, or even just us cuddling and kicking our feet up, we’ve got junk. The difference with my white couch is that it’s visible! And because the junk is visible, I address it and take care of it.
As I realized this, it started to freak me out how little I cleaned our last couch! I would vacuum it, but only once a month or so or when we had special company coming over and yet, we had the same amount of junk on it, it was hidden, and therefore ignored! Yuck right?! (Before you run off to clean your own couch, stick with me for the best part.)
Isn’t this the same in our own life? If we keep all of the junk, tough stuff, yucky parts of who we are in our flesh hidden, then we don’t have the opportunity to deal with it, or better yet, let God deal with it. But, if we become like white couches, revealing to our owner (God), ALL of us, even the deepest parts that are attached to guilt and shame, then, he can clean us up!
The amazing thing is that He is not afraid or appalled by our worst stuff. He is the master cleaner and restorer!
So who’s with me? Who is going to choose today to allow him into those deep, hairy, dirty crevices and let Him do His magic?
Note: IF you are thinking about purchasing a white couch, I do highly recommend this one! It is the Ektorp sofa from Ikea. It is inexpensive (for a couch!), comfortable, and the white is actually a washable cover so you can remove the covers from each cushion, and the entire base of the couch, and just throw it in your washing machine! I do vacuum it for weekly (sometimes daily) maintenance, and then wash it only when needed.
2nd note: Look on Craigslist! We purchased this one for $300 (normally $1000) AND we are now friends with the sweet lady who sold it to us!