Sunday, September 3, 2017

Born On A Sunday (An Adoption Birth Story) - Pt. 5

This story is long because this journey was long. Four years long. I share it here for Dominic, but also for all those who may still be on the long road to adopting. May it bring encouragement to all those who are patiently waiting for an answer to their prayers.
Part 5 of 6

For Dominic.

The emptiness in the pit of my stomach hit hard. Your birthmother was in serious trouble, and we could do nothing about it. She’d failed to inform anyone at the hospital of her intentions to place you for adoption before she’d lost consciousness and now your fate was unknown. If the worst case scenario unfolded, you would most likely go directly into foster care and perhaps never get to come home with us. Our only hope was that she would regain consciousness, but the doctors could not assure us that would be the case. She had experienced multiple organ failures and was on a respirator. It was every fear I’d had a week earlier being realized. Meanwhile, you lay in the nursery and had yet to feel a mother’s arms, and my heart longed to be with you.

The next morning, we went straight to the ICU waiting room. Our social worker had managed to find the hospital social worker and gather a little more information about your birthmother's condition. The prognosis was not encouraging. Your birthmother was still on a respirator and unconscious. We were told that they would not begin weaning her off the respirator until 36 hours had passed.  Hopefully, at that point, she would regain consciousness. But even if all that went well, there was still a lot of uncertainty.

We were still not allowed to see you either, although we did sneak up to the nursery at one point and peered through the glass window at the babies, trying to guess which one might be you. We saw your birthmother's name on one of the bassinets and knew then that we had found you. You were sleeping peacefully and seeing you behind that glass made you feel so close but also, so very far away. I wanted to break through that glass window so badly and just wrap you up in my arms. With nothing left that we could do, we returned to our hotel.  It would be at least another day before we'd know if your birthmother was going to recover.

But God had other plans. That evening of August 29th, as I was calling a friend and asking her for prayers, a message from your birthmother suddenly appeared on my phone. It was in broken English and did not make very much sense. I wondered if it was a joke. Did someone steal her phone and start sending me messages? I contacted our social worker and he said that he had just received a message from her, too. It really was her! She wanted to know where we were and what had happened. Twenty-four hours after losing consciousness, to the surprise of even the doctors, your birthmother had awaken on her own and started asking for us. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the miracle we had been praying for and my heart soared!

The next morning, we rushed to the ICU and counted down the minutes until visiting hours so that we could see her. At last, we were able to give her a much anticipated hug and being with her felt like the biggest blessing. She had the sweetest smile in spite of all the trauma she'd just been through, and she asked me if I had been with you. When I sadly told her that I had not been allowed, she was visibly disappointed. Soon after, she signed papers that allowed me to be with you, although, due to hospital regulations, I was only allowed to do so under direct supervision of the hospital security guards. Tears welled up in my eyes when I first held you in my arms. The thought of you not being with a mother during your first day and a half of life broke my heart, and I was determined to make up for the lost time.  I put your skin against mine and rocked you for as long as the nurses would allow.

The next couple of days were spent alternating between spending time with you and with your birthmother. As we all got to know each other, she seemed genuinely happy that we would be your family. Four days after you were born, she signed consent giving us permission to be your guardians and bring you home with us. Soon after, she was discharged and went home. We said our farewells to her, and she held you and kissed you goodbye. Little did we know that we would be seeing her again soon.

You and your brothers and your father and I, along with Grandma and Grandpa, who’d driven to Houston from Missouri a few days before your birth, spent time in the hotel, bonding and getting to know you. I began breastfeeding you and supplementing with formula. Your grandparents visited for a day with you before heading back home. Your brothers adored you! We slowly adjusted to having a new baby in our midst.

Unfortunately, just a few days after your birthmother got home, she began experiencing health issues again related to the birth. She returned to the hospital and I went quickly to be with her, arriving just before she was taken to emergency surgery. She was in terrible pain and her eyes looked up at me in the most pitiful way. I will never forget that look, and I still see it every time I see you looking up at me when you are hurting. I see her in you so much. She made enormous sacrifices to bring you into this world and into our family.

The next day, I visited her and she was doing much better. No longer in pain, she seemed to be stronger. She was sad over the events that had transpired over the previous few days, yet she still spoke to me as a friend. I shared stories with her about you, and we chuckled over how much you liked to eat!  A couple of days later, we said goodbye to her again. Ironically, the day that she left the hospital was the same day that the state of Texas gave us permission to take you back to Kentucky. We felt that there was no coincidence in the fact that the amount of time that it had taken for us to be granted clearance by the courts was exactly the same amount of time it took for your birthmother to recover and be released from the hospital, and we saw God’s hand in that. That timing had allowed us to be there with her when she needed us and now, eleven days after you had been born, she and we were ready to start the next chapter of our lives.

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