Thank You Note

Today is Kate’s due date.  We’ve been able to hold our daughter for two weeks now, but today is her due date.  So many feelings accompany this day.  I’m completely overwhelmed by all of the blessings that God has given us that can all be wrapped up in a soft pink blanket around 7 pounds of perfection.  I also can’t help but think about the woman a few miles north of here who is healing from delivering our precious baby.  For months, today was on her calendar.  Whenever people would ask “When are you due?”, she would answer with today’s date.  I do text the lady who started the ministry occasionally to ask how she is doing, but I haven’t seen or spoken to her since a few hours after Kate was born.  I look at our baby, and I know what a high cost was paid for her to be with us.  I pray that the rest of my life, and every moment of hers is a thank you note to God for that blessing.

It’s hard for me to imagine that I could ever forget a single detail of the past few weeks since they have forever changed me.  I know though that the passage of time, and more months of less than enough sleep could dull my memory.  I want to record them here so that I can always remember and tell our little girl about the miracles that brought her to us.

It was almost exactly two months ago today that I got the initial call from Wendi that there was a birth mother who wanted to meet with us.  It was a little more than two weeks after that initial meeting that we found out that she would be ours.  Almost exactly one month after that meeting Kate was born.  Those might well be the most intense 6 weeks of our lives.  On the day we found out that Kate’s birth mother wanted us to adopt her, which would have been overwhelming enough, God began to confirm in huge and tiny ways that He was working all things together for good.

One of the biggest concerns for us with adopting was always cost.  Everything we knew had told us that domestic adoption would cost anywhere from $18,000-$30,000+.  We are very blessed to have good jobs that more than provide for our needs, but coming up with tens of thousands of dollars just to bring a child home was a daunting thought.  A year ago some sweet friends organized a garage sale to get our adoption fund started.  The Lord took their efforts and doubled them and doubled them again, and gave us more than we ever thought possible.  We were also blessed with some donations from extremely generous family and friends that got us to about half of what we thought we would need. After we had left the meeting with our birth mother when we learned we would get to adopt I texted the leader of the ministry and asked what this would cost.  Since they are a new ministry and we are the first family to adopt through them we hadn’t discussed cost before that meeting.  I was a little scared to read her text back to me, but to my amazement the total cost of our adoption would be just a little less than the total collected at the garage sale.  We had always just trusted that the Lord would work out the financing when the time was right, but we never in a million years expected Him to work it out like that.

On that same day my aunt’s business partner told us that her good friend had a preemie and was unable to use all of her breast milk.  She had pumped and frozen milk that she would be happy to give us if we wanted it.  I assumed we were talking about a few bags that might last us a few days or even a week.  When they delivered the milk it filled up my aunt’s freezer, refrigerator and an additional ice chest!  She provided our girl with an amazing start that we couldn’t give her.  I’m overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of our friends and family, but this is someone I don’t even know!

Aside from the cost of the adoption itself, one of my biggest concerns was childcare.  I knew that I would be going back to work after the baby was here, and in our area childcare is in high demand.  We have friends who have gotten on a waiting list at a daycare when they found out they were pregnant, and still not had a spot for their little one when they needed it more than nine months later.  So, I was super nervous that we wouldn’t get into one of the ones that we felt good about.  I went to get on the waiting list at the daycare at our church pretty much thinking there was no chance we would get in.  I mean we were only a few weeks from her birth!  I asked the director if there was any chance they would have a spot for us.  She let me know that she was in the process of calling people on the waiting list for the summer session, and she just didn’t know.  She promised to call me within two weeks and let me know.  She called me that very afternoon to let me know that she could definitely offer us a spot in the fall, and she was still unsure about the summer.  I headed in the next day to pay the registration fee for fall so we at least had a spot then, but was still apprehensive about what we would do for the summer.  When I got there with my checkbook the director came out to let me know that several of the people on the waiting list had made other arrangements, and we had a spot in June!  This NEVER happens, so the only explanation is that our Jesus worked it out!  It is our first choice because we already go to church there, we know several friends who have children there that are very pleased with the care and it is very convenient to my office.  I was prepared to settle for our second or third choice, and the Lord exceeded every expectation and gave us our very first choice.

Due to the short time frame between when we learned we would get a baby and when she would be in our home, I thought we might have to buy many of the things we needed ourselves or do without until our baby shower after she arrives.  You might have figured out by now that I am a slow learner, and still haven’t figured out that the Lord hasn’t asked us to settle for scraps but invited us to the head table at the banquet.  My family had an impromptu shower at our girl’s weekend, both of our offices had showers for us, my Sunday School ladies OUTDID themselves and people from all over came through with stuff that we would need and want with a new little one.  We have had to buy VERY LITTLE, and we still have a shower at the end of this month!  The sweetness of our people to share the joy of welcoming our little girl has made this whole thing even more wonderful.

I think the biggest and most surprising blessing of the whole experience is Kate’s birth mother.  I had always assumed, and we had been told by adoption agencies, that the birth mother would likely be very young, drugs and/or alcohol would probably have been involved for some of the pregnancy and regular prenatal care would have been highly unlikely.  We were prepared for many unanswered questions, and the complications that could come from these poor choices on the part of a birth mother.  I expected to be grateful that another woman was allowing me to parent her child.  I did not expect to truly fall in love with her.  Of course we only know what she wanted to tell us, but we don’t think drugs or alcohol were involved during her pregnancy, she had very regular prenatal care from early in the pregnancy and she is only a few years younger than we are.  Due to some blood pressure issues and staffing at the maternity home, we ended up spending a pretty good amount of time with her over the last 3 weeks of her pregnancy.  She is a sweet girl with big dreams for her future.  She loves our daughter very much, and made a hard and very selfless decision to allow her to be ours.  She allowed us to be a part of her doctor’s appointments and I was in the OR when Kate was delivered.  She put her wishes and comfort aside to do what was best for Kate, and to allow us to bond with her from the very moment she entered the world.  We haven’t seen or talked to her since a few hours after Kate was born because I want to give her the time and space she needs to heal, but not one day goes by that I don’t feel totally overwhelmed with gratitude for her.  We pray that this good decision is a turning point in her life, and that the Lord opens the floodgates of Heaven with blessings upon her life.  I hope that she will be able to testify like we are now about how God has far exceeded even her best dreams. Our lives are forever changed not just by her baby, but by her.

Then of course there is Nancy Kate.  She is more perfect than we could have dreamed, and we are completely in love with her.  It still hasn’t completely registered that she is really ours.  We are in awe of her, and humbled at the blessing and responsibility of being her parents.  We know that God has very big things in store for her, and that her story has and will be a testimony to many of His faithfulness to answer prayers.

In a few days I will celebrate Mother’s Day for the first time as a mother.  It will be a whole new experience since for the past few years it has been a stinging reminder of an unrealized dream in my life.  This year I will stare at that dream in my arms.  I will do that with a heart overwhelmed with the sheer volume of blessings that have been poured out on our little family, and total amazement at the way God can weave a story out of our lives.  I’ll also be especially tender toward a woman who gave us the greatest gift we could never get ourselves, and at a tremendous cost to her.  I hope that I never forget the sweetness of how God has answered our prayers, and that I have learned to trust Him and ask bigger of Him because He really is just so faithful and generous.