Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thanks for the laughter, Lord.

This is the 4th installment in Isaac's adoption story. You can find the first, second and third here.

What an amazing feeling it is to be chosen to parent a baby. We had been waiting so long. It had been 10 months since our homestudy was complete, about 18 months since we had started the process. That's short by a lot of adoption standards. It felt like a long time to us. Most of the couples that we had started out with already had adopted by this point. We were some of the last to have a baby placed with us.

We went straight from meeting our son's birthparents to my parents' house to pick our daughter up. Our daughter was the first person we saw and we told her she was going to have a baby brother. She ran in the house and told her grandparents. We went back to our house and got a call telling us that our son would be most likely coming home the next day. Wow! So we called my parents and asked them to come over and help us get ready. We hadn't bought diapers or soaps or any of those baby supplies. The crib was still in pieces in the basement. I didn't want all of that sitting there daily reminding me of what we didn't have but now it was time. My Mom and I washed clothes, my Dad went with Rick to buy a second car. My Mom always jokes that they actually came over just to help hold my feet on the ground. That's probably closest to the truth. I felt like I was floating, like I couldn't focus. I had so much to do to be ready for this little guy in such a short period of time and I didn't really want to do any of it, I just wanted to go pick him up and hold him in my arms and bring him home.

We met the adoption worker and our son's foster mother at DSHS the next day. The first thing they did was hand us his discharge papers from the NICU. There were 9 different diagnoses listed on it. Most of them were resolved but I was so overwhelmed. Then his foster mother started outlining his care; how his feedings had to happen, when his medications were due, how to work the monitor, what to do when he turned blue or the alarm sounded telling us that his heartrate was too low. Then she took the blanket off the carseat and there he was; so tiny--only 6 pounds and 6 ounces at that point--and so pale. He looked so fragile and I was so scared. For an instant I wondered if we really were the right parents for this little guy. And then she asked if I wanted to hold him. When she laid him in my arms all of the negatives just evaporated. There was such a feeling of rightness, this was our baby. Our son had finally arrived. Isaac David Jacob was now a part of our family.

I remember early on in our adoption journey hearing that every adoption begins with loss. The adoptive parents have (usually) lost the abilbity to have a biological child and need to mourn whatever brought them to that place. The child has lost his first family--his birth family and will mourn that over his lifetime. And of course the birthparents have lost the daily parenting of a child that they've given life. But out of that loss, something beautiful can grow. We didn't ignore the loss, we couldn't. We didn't deny it's existence, denial wouldn't have made it go away anyway. Instead we trusted that God is bigger than any of those things. He can redeem any situation. He's not limited by grief, he's not limited by feelings. He took those first losses and used those tattered threads to weave together a family. I am so, so thankful that he did.

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