Charlie's Birth Story
Before she officially chose us we had to meet her. But we weren't the only ones. She was also meeting with another couple that day. Talk about NERVE racking! A first impression never meant so much. Later we found out we were the first couple she met with and from her perspective (and ours as well) there was just an instant connection. We left the meeting feeling pretty good, but it could have gone either way and the nerves were almost unbearable. She told us a few days later to meet her at a park with her mom, that she had a few more questions for us. Ahhh! seriously! So of course we went, nervous as can be. And instead she surprised us with a basket full of baby stuff and an ultra sound picture telling us we were the ones she was looking for. Of course I instantly started crying and shaking and hugging. But could that have been any cuter! She is so wonderful!
We were lucky that she picked us fairly early in her pregnancy. We got the experience of going to some doctor appointments with her, even the one where we found out she was having a boy, and we were going to have a son. We got the unique experience of meeting her family and hanging out with her on several occasions. This is what she wanted as part of her birth plan. Getting to know us before the placement. And we are so grateful for that time too.
Then we all just waited for the big day. When it finally arrived it was unexpected (at least for us). It was 3 weeks before her due date and she called me in the morning saying she was scheduled to have him and 5pm. At the time we lived a 4 hour drive away so we had to hustle! I was so frantic. I packed like a mad woman trying my hardest not to forget anything and we sped out of town. Once we got to the city we even drove in the carpool lane illegally (driving separate cars) just to make it to the hospital in time. We arrive pretty much at 5 on the dot. Ran in and were rushed to her side. We didn't have that much time with her as the whisked her away to the operating room. Her mother and I were allowed in there with her, while Mark had to wait outside. We got on our white space suit looking outfits and after they had her comfortably on the table we went in. I was on one side and her mom was on the other. I tried to balance equally telling Charlie's birth mother how great she was doing and peeking over the drape to see the first glance of Charlie. His bum came first. The tiniest, cutest bum I'd ever laid eyes on. And then as quick as that he was out and rushed over to the nurses. After they cleaned him up Charlie's birth mother's mom was dear enough to let me hold him very first. I showed him to his birth mom, and after oohing and awing over him for a few minutes he needed to go to the nursery.
I went with my gorgeous new son. First we showed him off to his dad and we followed him to the nursery. We watched the bath and monitoring and all the stuff they do there. He had some problems breathing and lions couldn't have torn me away from his side. We had to eventually leave him for the night. Really hard.
We spent the next 2 days in the hospital with our mom's and our birth mother's family. Charlie's birth mother was amazing. She'd let me change his diaper, feed him, burp him. I'd give him to her to do the same. She said all she wanted was to see Charlie with his mom and dad. The strength she showed was amazing. She was super-human during those days. I'm not sure many people could have the strength birth mothers have. It is awe-inspiring.
The time finally came for paperwork to be signed. We were all anxious to say the least. She took some time with Charlie before it happened, we waited nervously in the waiting room. To say we had all fallen head over heals for Charlie would be a gross understatement. All I could think about was what Charlie's birth mother was about to do. And I didn't know how she was going to do it. I just cried for her. Then she wanted us to be in the room while she signed her paperwork. Maybe to give her strength? Mark and I were both crying so I'm not sure how we helped the situation. Her mom was crying, the caseworker was tearing up but Charlie's birth mother was solid as a rock. She signed with ever ounce of bravery and strength she could muster. The thought of it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. She was (is) an angel. Our angel. No other way to put it.
We walked away from that hospital different people. The experience of Charlie's placement changed us. It is an experience not many get to have. We were placed with the responsibility of raising, caring for and loving this 6 pound 7 ounce baby boy that was literally placed in our arms by a loving mother who only wanted more then she was able to give. A mother who loved him so much she gave him to us. A love far greater then I have ever witnessed. I often think it is nearest to the love the Savior has for His children as he sends us to earth.
Adoption is part of our Saviors plan. I know that Charlie needed to come to our family. Of course he would have been dearly loved by his birth family, but for reasons unknown entirely to us on earth, he was placed with us. And by divine powers they are made ours for eternity in the temple.
Charlie is perfect in every way. We couldn't love another baby more. And we adore how unique and love-filled his birth story is.
Lucy's Birth Story
The day before Lucy was born I was running errands with my mother-in-law. She arrived that Monday morning and I couldn't have been more thrilled about it. We did the grocery shopping and other errands I'm sure... I just can't remember now. I had put off the grocery shopping the whole week before and we were left with condiments, peanut butter, and cilantro in our fridge. Our pantry was equally empty. It was a scary place for Mark to be. I don't remember much about that day except thinking it was crazy that our daughter would be born the next day.
Tuesday Mark and I woke up early and went to the Temple to do a session together. Our very first together all year (we've been alternating and going alone all year) and it was nice to be there with each other. We were home by 8:45am and we just needed to keep ourselves busy until we received the phone call from our case worker that we should head to the hospital. So Mark got on the treadmill but my nerves wouldn't have kept me walking on that treadmill for more than five seconds, so I jumped in the shower and got all ready to go.
By eleven we hadn't heard anything so we called our caseworker, Cindy, to get an update. She said that our birth mother had just gotten her epidural and that she'd probably be calling us in an hour to and hour and a half to start heading up. I asked what we should bring and then we hung up. Not a minute later my phone rang and Cindy said she had just heard from our birth mother's caseworker and that she was dilated to a 9 and that we'd better head up right away. In the minute between the two phone calls we decided that we'd go get some flowers and a little something to give our birth mother when we saw her but then our plans had to change when suddenly we were rushing to get our bodies out the door. Armed with some homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, our camera and kisses from Charlie we headed out the door. As we rushed down the street we thought we really should have a bundle of flowers to give to Lucy's birth mother. So... on our way north we stopped at Costco and grabbed a pretty purple bouquet that smelled and looked beautiful.
When we were about ten minutes away we got a text from Cindy that read, "she's pushing" and we stepped on the gas. Even though the plan never was to be in the delivery room we still felt like we needed to hurry! When we got there we met up with our case worker and waited until we could go in. By 12:30pm we were given the ok to go in and meet both our little girl and her birth mother.
It was kind of a surreal situation. Our birth mother looked so good after just giving birth I wondered if she really was pregnant! Lucy was laying on the foot of the bed and we immediately went over and took a peek. She was teeny tiny! It was a delicate balance of oooing and awwing over the baby and doing the same over our birth mom (with 4 other people in the room watching us!) This was our first time meeting her and even though it was a little awkward at first I think we did a pretty good job. We weren't in there for long before they needed to move her to a different room. In that first 30 minutes we spent with Lucy's birth mom we could tell she was a easy going, laid back person with such a sweet personality. Honestly I was amazed with how she reacted to the whole situation. We could tell this was very difficult for her, but once she knew what she needed to do, she did it with as pleasant of an attitude that I'd ever seen. Something I hope Lucy inherits!
After some shuffling around they moved our birth mom and we got to spend a couple hours with Lucy in the nursery doing all the fun stuff like watching the first bath. This adoption was SO different from Charlie's. Not bad, just different. We stared at her, held her, took pictures of her, held her hand, watched as the nurses worked on improving her breathing. It was all so surreal. She was going to be ours. Our little girl. We didn't know nearly what we knew of Charlie's birth family. It had happened so much faster but with no less excitement. After a couple hours with our baby, we got the word from our caseworker that our birth mom wanted to spend some time with Lucy and since she couldn't leave the nursery we had to leave so she could come. Which we were fine with since we knew this would be the only night she would have with Lucy girl. So we went home to be with Charlie and waited. I did call the nursery to get an update on how she was doing around 11pm since she was having some issues but there wasn't much else we could do but wait. And I hoped that our birth mom was spending some quality time with her that night. Loving every minute she had with her. I wanted that for her as much as I wanted it for Lucy.
The next morning we were told she was going to sign her paper work around noon and we couldn't believe it! You see, in Utah, once the papers are signed she can't change her mind and with Charlie the process was sort of drawn out and very dramatic. But with this adoption it was just standard that papers are signed as close to 24 hours after birth as possible. So imagine our surprise and relief when it really happened that way! We showed up at the hospital about 12:30pm and waited in the waiting room while she signed, then the caseworkers came out to where we were and helped us sign. And by about 1:30 it was done. It was official, she was ours. Wow. I still can't believe how smoothly everything went!
That day our birth mom was scheduled to be discharged and so we hung out in her room with her while she waited. It took them forever to get her discharged which I'm glad about now because it gave us some extra time with her. Some time to get to know her a little bit more. Some time for her to hold Lucy some more. And so we waited and chatted and held Lucy and took a picture. And then they let her go. And we knew we'd see her the next day. And as she left I could tell it was difficult for her. How could it not be. And Mark and I kind of looked at each other with teary eyes. And even though she didn't cry and we didn't cry we just knew how hard this was.
And then we spent the rest of the night in our own room (on those awful hospital beds). But still loving every second of our alone time with Lucy. Since Charlie is only two he wasn't allowed in the maternity ward (being a germ magnet and all). We did go out to dinner with him and Lynn during the hour that Lucy had to be in the nursery during shift change (at which time we told them her name was Lucy and they could now make her a name tag for her bed). And it was then I realized I missed my baby but I didn't want to leave my toddler. And I had two children. But of course he was in very capable hands with Lynn that night so we went back and retrieved our baby from the nursery. And on her little bed was a Halloweeny Lucy tag.
The next morning we were discharged and off we went to meet up with our birth mom for lunch and then home bound we were. Later we met with her one last time so she could hold Lucy for the last time. And the very thought of it makes me teary. We went to spend about an hour with her and as soon as we got there we handed over Lucy. Lucy knew her right away. And as Lucy lay on her chest for that hour she was calm and sleeping. We let her have some time to herself to cuddle and be with Lucy. Mark and I took a walk down the street. It took every fiber of my being to leave and walk away for the few minutes that we did, but I knew Lucy's birth mother needed that time. And we were happy to give it to her. After all, look what she was giving us. And after we said our final goodbyes and were driving away Mark and I were silent in the car. It wasn't until that moment that I cried. I cried for this girl whose life has been anything but perfect. Partly as a result of her own choices but I know partly from choices out of her control. And although of course I was grateful that we are privileged to give Lucy the life we will give her, I couldn't help but wish I could help give her birth mother a little better too. But instead I knew that would most likely be the last time I'd ever see her. But I was given a part of her and so she was a part of us - through Lucy. I think I'll stop trying to explain how it feels, because I'm not sure you can know unless you are given a baby. It's an amazing experience. It's happy, and it's sad, it's joyful, and there are parts that pull on heart strings you didn't know you had.
And you know the rest. We got home and Charlie was thrilled to have a baby sister and we were thrilled (and shocked) we had another baby.
Each of our children's stories are different but they are equally amazing in how they came to be part of our family. And I wouldn't have it any other way.