We made the drive home slowly, going only a few hours each day. You did not enjoy the car seat very much and got fussy quite a bit. Your brothers were so excited to be heading back to Kentucky. This had been a hard journey for all of us, especially Joah. After a period of extreme behavior issues, he had broken down and started sobbing just a few days before, and finally confessed that he was broken-hearted because he didn’t think he’d ever see his Kentucky home or his Grandpa again. For your brothers, the fun had been over for a long time and it no longer felt like a vacation. Your father and I had under-estimated just how much anxiety all the activity surrounding the trip and the events around your birth had caused in your brothers. Knowing that they were finally going back home, after a month-long journey with no end in sight, brought their little hearts great comfort.
After traveling across 900 miles, we finally left the freeway and started winding our way up north through the hills of Tennessee and onto the Cumberland Plateau. I was amazed at how much the landscape had changed during our absence. Goldenrod and blooming asters now lined the roadsides, and I rolled down the window and let the scent of pine woods and countryside fill my head. It felt so good to be home again and to be introducing you to my favorite corner of the world, far from the pavement and smog and oppressive heat that we’d experienced in Houston.
The welcome home was wonderful. A few friends came by to see you and bring food and gifts. Cards and packages began to arrive in the mail. Church friends, in particular, were beyond excited to have us back and were enthusiastically planning your baby shower. Grandma and Grandpa couldn’t wait to hold you and our little dog jumped for joy. We were home!
And you…you thrived. The first month flew by and on October 2nd, the Feast of the Angels, we had you baptized. It was not lost on me that it was in October that we had initially felt the call to adopt and four years later, in that same month, we had found completion of that calling. God had finally brought you to us, and we were now joyfully bringing you to God.
Those first few months with you were like one big happy dream-come-true. You and I cuddled often and we spent hours at night one-on-one. Your brothers couldn’t get enough of you and Joah was kissing you constantly. One of them always wanted to play with you and sit next to you and hold you. Your daddy was always there to help me, even in the wee hours of the morning, with diaper changes and warming up food for you. You fit into our life perfectly, and all the years of waiting just melted away.
On May 22, 2017, we were able to finalize your adoption. Four years and seven months it took us from the time we decided we wanted to adopt again until the day it was finally all over. Many of the steps along the way were painful, frustrating, and discouraging. So many times during that long wait, we questioned if we were following God’s will in our desire and pursuit of adopting again. Even now, I feel a bit resentful that we had to wait for four years for an adoption, but I know that without the wait, we wouldn't have you.
And when the time finally did come, as I look back at the unfolding of events, I can see that God and his saints were helping us along our way. There are the little things that are too numerous to merely be coincidences. Such as the fact that your father and brother both share St. John the Baptist as their patron saints, and that it was on the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist that we were officially matched with your birthmother. Fast forward two months later, to when you were overdue by nine days and it was anyone's guess at that point when you would be born. Had we realized it at the time, however, we should have known that St. John the Baptist would intercede for us yet again, for it was on the vigil of the feast of the Passion of St. John the Baptist that you were born, and on that same feast day 24 hours later that your birthmother miraculously regained consciousness. I have no doubt that this great saint interceded for us and saved her life and brought us to you.
And your name? Little did we realize when we chose it for you that the name Dominic has traditionally been given to boys who are born on a Sunday, and as if God had planned it that way, you were born on a Sunday. The day that belongs to our Lord. The day of the resurrection and a new beginning. The day that is meant to remind us each week that there is always hope, and that the culmination of pain and trial and waiting, when coupled with prayer and trust in God, is joy and rebirth. I believe it is a great honor to be born on a Sunday and I pray that, as your name suggests, you always belong to Him.