If you missed Part One, you can find it here.
Our agency kept us updated each time they met with Sarah. Her response remained the same, she was confident of her decision to place her baby with us. She even invited us to be at the hospital when he was being born. This was an incredible blessing, to know that we would get to meet him very soon after his birth.
We were unsure about when we should drive to the hospital (a three hour trip). Our agency advised us to wait until the baby was born, in case she changed her mind at that point. But we couldn’t bear to think of being so far away if she did keep her decision, then having to miss those first few hours of our son’s life.
We decided to drive up first thing in the morning on Wednesday since we knew he would arrive sometime around 10:00 am (a scheduled c-section).
We packed up everything we could think to bring and tried our hardest to sleep the night before. That night seemed to last forever. It was a bit like Christmas, and a bit like dying. The morning would come, but what would it bring with it? In just a few hours, this young woman would birth a child and then what? The answer could bring us incredible joy or excruciating pain.
Morning did arrive. It was very cold outside. There had been an ice storm north of us during the night. We prayed Sarah remained safe on her early drive to the hospital. Our things were packed and we started on our way.
I don’t remember much about the drive. I remember seeing ice on the trees, it was absolutely breathtaking. I remember us asking each other over and over, “is this really going to happen?” I remember looking at the car seat behind me and wondering if there would be a little warm body in it on our way back. We hoped, we prayed, we waited for a call.
Twenty miles outside the city where he was to be born, we got a call from our social worker. Her words were exactly this: “your boy is here and he has strong lungs!” The hospital social worker had spoken with Sarah and she remained firm in her decision to place him with us. Our social worker said we would be able to see him in about an hour, how far away were we? Only 20 minutes! Thank God we decided to leave when we did.
Jeff looked at me with glassy eyes, it was finally happening. We were overjoyed. And yet speechless.
We pulled up to the adoption agency and waited for our social workers. They arrived shortly after and gathered their things, then we followed them to the hospital. The hospital social worker came down to meet us. They were ready for us, we just had to check-in and get washed up.
There were so many doors to walk through as we approached the nursery. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, we did not know what was going on, we were just waiting to see our tiny boy. They led us into the nursery (it was actually the NICU because this particular hospital did not have a nursery) and to a bed where a little white baby lay with all kinds of cords and monitors surrounding him. They said he was healthy, the monitors were standard procedure since he was in the NICU but there was nothing to worry about.
There he was. Tiny. Pale. Sweet little boy.
We took turns holding him while our social workers stood nearby taking pictures. It was like a dream. It didn’t seem real and half the time we didn’t even know what was going on or what we were supposed to be doing. So, we just stared at this little boy and thanked the Lord that he was here.
Then the hospital social worker said something we did not expect. Since we could not take him home until 72 hours after birth (standard adoption procedure), we had the option of staying in a hospital room with him for the next two and a half days. They had asked Sarah if she was ok with it and she was 100% supportive. We had no idea this was even possible, our plan had been to stay in a nearby hotel and come up to see him as often as we were allowed. But to stay in a room with him? To be able to hold him day and night? To get to ask the nurses our millions of questions about how to care for a baby? This was a complete surprise! And such a tremendous blessing.
For the next two days, we did what any typical family does after they have a baby. We sat in our hospital room holding our little boy. We fed him. We changed him. We watched TV and sent pictures to our friends and family.
Each day seemed to pass by so slowly, but eventually it was Friday and we were about to be sent home. With a child. To care for on our own. It was all a bit crazy!
One hour before we were to be released on Friday, Sarah decided she wanted to meet us and the baby. Our hearts stopped and our minds raced. It was hard to breathe. He had just left the room for his final checkup, so in about thirty minutes he would be back and we would go meet her. Though we were very thankful she had chosen to meet us, we were not sure what to expect. We called our social workers and they rushed over to meet with Sarah and with us in order to provide support (this is why we love them so much).
What do you say to a woman who is about to give you her baby? All I could think to say was thank you, but that didn’t seem like enough. We went down to the gift shop and bought some flowers. Then prayed that the Lord would give us words, that we would know what to say to her and how to bless her.
Nathaniel came back into the room and we waited for the hospital social worker to come get us. After a few minutes she came in and said, “Sarah has decided she wants to meet the baby first, then I will come back and get you two.”
Our stomachs dropped as we watched her wheel his bassinet out of the room. At this point, nothing was certain. She was taking our baby away. And there was no way to know if he would come back. We were so in love with him and the thought of never seeing him again was unbearable.
It was the longest ten minutes of our lives. One of our social workers was there with us, the other was in the room with Sarah. We tried to talk about other things, to keep our minds off the nightmare that kept trying to creep back in.
We trust you, God. We trust you with this.
Finally, the social worker came to get us and walked us over to Sarah’s room. I’m not sure I have ever felt such release, yet still so much tension at the same time. Sarah was lying in bed and Nathaniel was in his bassinet right beside her. He started to fuss when we came in. She had already held him for a bit and wanted us to hold him, so Jeff picked him up. Sarah watched as Jeff cradled the little baby and her eyes filled with tears. It was the most beautiful and heart-wrenching thing I have ever seen. Our social worker talked about the strong, God-fearing daddy Jeff was and how great it is that Nathaniel would have him.
We talked with her for about thirty minutes and took some pictures of all of us together. We spent that time just getting to know her. We talked about what she likes to do, her favorite foods and movies. Anything we could think of to get to know who she is. Then we headed back to our room. With our baby boy. She still stood by her decision. We were so very grateful.
That afternoon they released us, filled our car with baby supplies, and sent us on our way. The sweet boy slept for most of the drive, stopped once to eat and have a diaper change, then fell right back to sleep. Before too long we were home. The three of us walked through the doorway of our house and our worlds were changed forever.
Now here we are. Seven months later. Life is busy. Life is so good. And for that, we are thankful.