I think I will have to share about the last week and a half in a series of posts. Things are pretty raw and my emotions are awfully close to the surface right now. But I at least wanted to post briefly because so many of you have been so faithfully praying for us and loving on us. I want to at least share where we are at the moment.
It is all kind of a blur...but we got the call last Sat evening that the birth mom was in labor and about to deliver. So within three hours our kiddos were packed and dropped off with a friend, a plan was in place and we had thrown enough stuff together to head to Kentucky. We were on the road by 8:30pm and arrived in Kentucky just before 5 am. We were met at the hospital by a wonderful adoption counselor from our agency named, Lisa. She was a godsend and walked us through this difficult week.
The baby was delivered around 7:30 pm and we had been contacted that she was healthy and mother and baby were doing well. Lisa took us in to meet the birth mom and that went well. She is a precious young woman that we truly grew to love. She went through very difficult circumstances and made a very courageous decision to bring her little girl into the world. She is a believer and a smart girl with an amazing future ahead of her.
Not long after they brought in the baby and introduced us to Hope. She is beautiful and precious and absolutely perfect in every way. To say we fell in love would be an understatement. We were smitten. She had our hearts. We spent the next 36 hours sharing time with the birth mom loving on Hope. The hospital staff was wonderful and let us have a room just down the hall from the nursery. Some of that time we all three hung out in our room and oohed and aahhed over the baby.
The last morning the birth mom had had Hope during the night and was supposed to be discharged and bring us the baby. She kept delaying and finally asked the hospital if she could stay through lunch. We were anxious but Lisa kept assuring us that the birth mother just needed time to say good-bye. So around 1pm she finally brought us Hope. The birth mother was discharged and then we were discharged with Hope to our hotel. The birth mother signed paperwork in the hospital releasing her to the adoption agency who then was able to release her to us until more paperwork could be signed. In Kentucky the birth mother cannot technically sign an adoption release until 72 hours after the baby is delivered. In South Carolina it is only 24 hours.
So we spent time that night loving on Hope and just cherishing each moment. She was so good and definitely needed to eat every three hours but I loved every second. It was heaven. It was what we had waited so long for. We were just dying for the boys to meet her. We did FaceTime with them a couple of times and they simply wanted to watch Hope sleep the whole time:)
That was Monday. On Tuesday we bought some baby blankets and simply rested and loved on Hope. A friend of a friend that we had never met contacted us and brought us a pack and play to use and a home cooked meal. She is a believer and was so sweet to us! It was neat how the Lord even sent people ahead of us to help us while we were there. Tuesday night the birth mother called us late and shared with us that she had called a close family member and told her about Hope and the adoption. This woman was driving into town the next morning and wanted to meet Hope and us as well. Up to this point she had not told any family members and told the adoption counselor that she did not want them to know because she was afraid they would try to change her mind. This call made us very nervous but she assured us she was still signing the paperwork but she wanted her cousin to meet Hope. So we arranged to meet that afternoon after she signed the adoption consent.
Wednesday morning we took Hope to the pediatrician for a newborn check up and then waited to hear from the adoption counselor letting us know the consent papers were signed. We waited and waited and waited and I honestly became more and more anxious and frantic. It was not a good sign. Finally Lisa called and said that the birth mom did not sign the paperwork and she and her cousin met with the lawyer to discuss the possibility of the cousin parenting Hope. The birth mom had until 3pm the next day to decide.
To say we were shaken was an understatement. We still were asked to meet the birth mom and her cousin for lunch. I just broke down. I am not a crier but I was heart broken. I knew this wasn't good at all. I was a red eyed mess but we met them. We didn't eat but just sat there trying to create conversation and without begging, appeal to the birth mom. It was the most awkward interaction and emotionally charged meeting I have ever been a part of. I tried not to cry but at times I did. Mark was so wonderful at trying to engage the cousin and get to know them. They weren't really interested in getting to know us and had no questions for us. Which we knew was not a good sign. We were there for at least two hours and oddly enough even though we offered for them to hold her, we held Hope almost the entire time.
We left shaken. I cried for almost the next 24 hours. The adoption counselor asked us if we would be okay keeping Hope that night even though it was likely the birth mom would take her the next day. We said, yes, that we would love the time with her. We ate it up. Loved on her, prayed over her, played with her. She is such a sweet, treasure and although that was so painful, I am so thankful we had that time with her.
So the next morning we just waited and waited and waited some more. Around 11:30 am we finally got the call that the birth mom was not going to give the baby up. She was choosing to parent but in reality she was going to let the cousin raise the baby until she can be in a position financially and otherwise to parent. It was so hard. We packed her bag and kissed her and told her how much we loved her and wanted her but would be praying for her. Lisa came to our hotel and picked her up about 1:30pm. It was just time for her feeding so it was so hard buckling her into the car seat crying. But she finally calmed down and fell asleep. We kissed her sweet little head and told her good bye. Then went inside and held each other and wept.
There is nothing easy about it. Nothing. I hate it and I don't understand any of it really. We have asked ourselves and each other a million times...did we disobey...did we mishear...but we don't believe we did. We asked God to provide open doors and we would walk through them. We asked Him to provide the finances and figure out the details and He did. The only thing He didn't answer was this one final thing....we couldn't keep her. All along we said we would hold her with an open hand. Anything that is a gift from God is good and we know we need to keep our hands open. We just never thought He would take her that quickly.
Our hearts hurt....a lot. Our boys hearts hurt....I know your hearts hurt. Thank you for walking through this hurt with us. It does help to know we aren't alone. I am so disappointed...and honestly there are so very few times when I feel like God has disappointed me...I know that isn't theologically correct because I know He hasn't truly disappointed me...but to my little girl heart...it feels like it. So I am struggling through this. I am trudging through the questions of reconciling what I know about God and His promises with what is actually happening in my life and heart right now. I don't have all those answers yet. And the really hard thing is I may never have the answers.
I do know my Jesus loves me and He loves Hope and he loves her momma. And I can't call her her birth momma anymore because she is her only momma. That stings and breaks my heart into more little pieces every time I realize that anew. She will never be my little girl. Okay, here come the tears again. I never thought I could cry this much. Shew! For a girl that rarely cries, going through two kleenex boxes in a 24 hour period is a record!
So where does that leave us? Well, Thursday after we calmed down a bit and packed up all the baby stuff we went and drove around Kentucky (that is part of how Mark processes:) for a bit and ended up at the adoption agency. We talked to the director and Lisa and another wonderful agency worker for a bit. We don't have a definite direction yet. We are trying to give ourselves some time to pray and heal before we make any decisions about the future. However, we were thankful to find out that all the funds we poured into this adoption are basically still there. We may have to pay some minor fees for rematching and we have to work some things out with our lawyer, but most of our fees are intact. We just have to decide which direction we want to go. If we want to pursue Uganda longer or try domestic adoption through Kentucky again or South Carolina. There are quite a few factors that play into that but once we have had some time we will make a decision.
In so many ways we wish we could feel released from adopting...just because this journey has been hard on our hearts. But we aren't released and we can't walk away. We know we are called to adopt. We believe the Lord has Hope out there for us, somewhere. We have asked you all for so much and you have poured out on us. Thank you! Will you please continue to pray for us? Pray that we will heal and hear Him clearly about what is next. Pray for the little Hope that is growing up in Kentucky....oh Jesus may she know you intimately at a young age and follow you closely all of her days! Pray for our boys...this is hard for them to understand, but we are praying the Lord places a passion for James 1:27 in their hearts. And please continue to pray for our little one or little ones that are still out there somewhere.
What a week y'all! What a journey! I really can't even begin to express the support y'all were this week. Through FB and texts and phone calls and prayers. We would not have made it spiritually, emotionally, our marriage would not have made it without y'all praying and supporting us. Thank you!! We love you!! We are thankful! He is still our Eph. 3:20 God and He is teaching us and growing us and revealing new facets of His character to us through this process. For that we are grateful.