One year ago today we woke up in our home as a family of four for the very first time.
Eliza was born early in the morning on June 28 and it took a week for the state of Oklahoma to let us leave. It was a stressful week with a lot of the unpredicted things coming up.
But I don’t think I’ve ever written how it ended.
The state of Oklahoma had been giving us lots of conflicting information. We had all of our paperwork done and completed, but after Eliza was born they asked for brand new paperwork and told us of requirements they had never mentioned before. My long suffering, incredibly patient husband had just about had his full.
At the end of the week, on Thursday, July 3, the state of Oklahoma tells us that Eliza’s birthmom (J) needs to go before a judge. This was a one more requirement they had never mentioned before. And we had to find someone get it done before the holiday weekend.
Through some very kind individuals we are able to get an appointment with an Oklahoma judge for 2 p.m. that day. J and her dad met us there.
At this appointment J held Eliza while the judge asked her if she understood her decision. I couldn’t take my eyes off the two of them. J looked at Eliza most of the time as she gave her statement. Then we went into a court room to wait and the judge said everything was done. J hugged Eliza one more time. Her dad did the same and then we said our goodbyes. A few minutes later we got official permission to leave the state and return home. That night we were home.
This image has been forever burned in my mind. J knew what she was doing. And she did it out of love for her child. The state of Oklahoma gave J and her parents a lot of extra things to do. And they did them all.
There is a misconception about adoption that if a mother loves the child, she wont go through with it.
Adoptions get disrupted all the time for a multitude of reasons. And many mothers change their minds and make the decision to parent. And they have every right to do so.
(And there are many adoption situations that arise out of abuse or mistreatment. I’m not talking about those. )
Both the decision to parent and the decision to place your child for adoption can be loving decisions.
Many people have asked us about our relationship with Eliza’s birth family. And they don’t often understand what it must be like. If we’re honest, we don’t really either. We’re all figuring this out as we go. But the fact is, these people have become our very own family. We love them. They are a part of our daughter, they love her deeply and so they are a part of us. But it’s not just Eliza, they also love Jamie. We keep in touch and they are just as eager to hear how he is doing. They love him. They love me. They love Brandon.
We don’t know when Eliza will get to see them all again. We are praying for wisdom to know when it’s time.
But we are so incredibly thankful, honored, privileged and humbled that they would entrust our sweet baby to us.
Adoption is a beautiful and incredible thing. It’s hard. It can be uncomfortable. It’s messy and unpredictable. It’s full of brokenness and heartache. But the grace is so very rich. The mercy is overflowing.
And I love it.
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