Dedicated to my daughter on her 5th birthday. I’m so sorry it has taken me FIVE years to write this down for you but I remember it like it was yesterday. Every detail forever engrained in my mind. One of the happiest days of my life. We love you Nora!!!
Friday, December 5, 2008, was much like any other December morning in the Midwest. A bit wet and gloomy but tolerable. This particular morning followed many months of depression, heart ache, and struggle as your dad and I desperately wanted a second child (I’ll discuss more about this period of time in Part II which I hope to write later this month). Little did I know when I woke up that morning that this day would be one of the happiest days of my life because it is the day YOU were born!!!
I went in to work that morning and went through my normal morning routine before I left the office to do some sales calls. I wrapped up some meetings and headed home early as I had the afternoon off. Shortly after arriving home, I received a phone call that would start a chain of phone calls that would change our lives. Betty, the owner of the adoption agency we were working with in Ohio, called me. This was not unusual because Betty, God love her, spent a HUGE amount of time holding my hand and talking with me about the process. We had spoken nearly every day for two months and she was an absolute angel to us. We had just finished our home study and she had emailed it the day before to an agency in Jacksonville, FL that she had a good relationship with. When I got her phone call, I assumed she was checking on me to see how I was doing that day but that phone call was so much more.
She told me the agency in Florida had just called her and asked if our family would be open to an African American baby boy. Yes, boy not girl but we’ll get into that later! 🙂 Now, without going into too much detail in this part of the story, your dad and I had prayed a lot about whether we would request a child of a specific gender or race while we were going through the home study. In the end, we decided that God had led us to adoption for a reason and that we would be open to whatever HE wanted for us. Dad was a bit nervous about having a child of a different race because he wanted to make sure that this child would grow up comfortable in our family (he knows now that that was a silly worry) and I had REALLY had a little girl on my heart for months BUT in the end having a child was what really mattered so we didn’t specify anything.
Betty told me to call your dad and talk it over with him before giving her an answer. I knew immediately that my answer was YES!!! Yes a thousand times over!!!! Dad took a little more convincing. He was nervous because we had just finished our home study and worried things were happening too fast. We spoke on the phone for nearly an hour before God gave me the right words to say to your daddy. I finally told him that if this was meant to be, God would take care of it and if not the right opportunity would come along at some point. And with that simple statement, your dad opened his heart and said YES.
This is so significant to me because had he said NO I wouldn’t be writing this right now and our story would be much different. But thankfully God stepped in and asked daddy to TRUST in HIS plan for our family and that simple word YES became the start of something beautiful.
I called Betty back immediately and told her that we wanted to be considered. We didn’t have a ton of information about you at that point and in fact still thought you were a boy! I anxiously tried to keep myself busy for the next few hours and then the phone rang again. It was Betty saying the baby was born and it was a girl!
Now, for those families who are familiar with adoption this is almost unheard of. Typically an agency will not tell a prospective family a gender unless they are SURE as they don’t want there to be any kinks in matching up birth moms and families as far as expectations go. To this day, I’m still not sure of the reason why we were initially told you were a boy but in my heart I feel it was all part of God’s plan. It was a bit sad for me to give up on my hope of having a daughter when we decided to be open to anything that God wanted us to have. I knew I wanted a child more than anything but having a daughter, especially since we had your brother, had weighed heavily on my heart for months. I really do believe that God was testing me when HE presented the offer of a boy. It was like I could hear Him saying “Are you sure you really are ready to take whatever I give you?” and because my answer was a resounding “YES” He then decided to give me my heart’s desire. It’s the only way I can explain the situation – I know God had a hand in everything that took place that day making the pieces fall magically into the perfect place. When I heard you were a girl, my heart sang! I would have been happy with any child – boy or girl – but the fact that God had granted me my deepest heart’s desire when I finally decided to hand over control to HIM was beyond what I could imagine.
Betty and I spoke more and we learned that your birth mother, H, would be presented with prospective families the following morning after she had some time to rest from the delivery. I don’t even know if I slept that night because even though I knew we were IN it was impossible to know if your birth mom would choose our family. The following day, we spent many phone calls and emails going back and forth. The FL agencies visit to the hospital to meet with H was delayed until the afternoon so more time passed. The funny thing was that we had painters at our house that Saturday painting our basement and I remember thinking what bad timing that was.
After the painters left, we decided to get out of the house and take your brother to Skyline . I remember taking a long shower before running out and had started to mentally set myself up for disappointment. The more minutes that passed with no news, the more I thought maybe this isn’t happening. I didn’t dare start to pack because the idea of packing and then having to unpack the car if we were not chosen was to heartbreaking to think about. So we just tried to occupy ourselves with other things. We didn’t do a very good job but we tried and of course had your brother to entertain us! 🙂
Around 6 pm, shortly after we got back from Skyline, I went down to the basement to check the computer for emails when the phone rang. The caller id said Jacksonville, FL. Literally trembling, I picked up the phone and after some brief introductions, I heard the four most beautiful words in the world – come get your daughter. I remember I couldn’t cry or hardly do anything. I was struck with so many emotions I was speechless. Your dad was still upstairs and I remember screaming things like “She’s ours!” and “We’re going!”. We made plans to meet the following day, Sunday, at the hospital at 1 pm.
In a whirlwind, we packed the car, made frantic phone calls, hotel reservations, and money transfers to write the check to the agency. In four short hours, around 10 pm, we left for FL (which was a miracle in itself). Imagine packing for a long vacation with a 4 year old and newborn with NO notice and trying not to forget anything. Well one day you will understand that it’s pretty tough! 🙂
On the road, your brother slept and daddy and I giddy with excitement talked about names, what you would look like, etc… There was still a bit of worry because birth mothers can change their minds before signing the papers but the owner of the agency in FL assured us that your birth mother was very resolute in her decision which put my heart at ease.
We didn’t sleep at all that night and arrived in FL just as the sun was coming up. It was a beautiful dawn of a new day, December 7th, 2008, when our family became complete. We still celebrate December 7th as our “Family Day” to remember the day we became a family. A few hours after dawn we arrived in Jacksonville and ran to Target to get diapers and all the other little supplies we would need to bring you home. Then we went to the hospital to wait to meet you and H. I remember your brother running around the hospital lobby enjoying all the Christmas decorations while we waited for the agency owner to arrive.
When she got there, we went up to your floor and waited outside H’s room while the owner spoke with her briefly and prepared her to meet us for the first time. Then we got to come in. We exchanged lots of hugs and tears and H asked us questions. We learned more about her and God’s plan for all of us as we spoke. She told us a bit about her – she was the mom of three boys (your half brothers) – one in college, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. I think it was destined that you would become a tom boy at that point. So many brothers!!! 🙂 H worked at Anthem and owned a home. She got pregnant with you while dating your birth father and he wanted your birth mom to have an abortion. Praise God that she stood firm and carried your with love through the whole pregnancy even after your birth father left. The reason that I like to speak about H is because she is an amazing person – not just because she choose adoption for you but because it was important for her to give her only daughter a daddy. She wanted very much for you to have a mom AND a dad to love and cherish you. I think her heart would sing if she could see you with your daddy today. H was also not a typical birth mom. She had prenatal care, was working, and beyond wanting you to have a mother and father to raise you, she felt she could simply not start over with a newborn at that time in her life. Nora, I ALWAYS want you to remember that your birth mom loved you SO much that she choose this life for you, and I will be forever grateful to her for making that decision and giving us the great privilege of raising and loving her only daughter. Even though we don’t hear from H that often, I’m sure she loves you and thinks of you every day.
God brought us all together. I know He did. H told us that she had waited until her c-section was scheduled to make a decision about what to do. I imagine adoption was something she had thought about through the whole pregnancy but she did not make the move until the very end and that part was God. She told us that after the c-section was scheduled for Friday the 5th at her Wednesday check up. That Wednesday night, she went to church and sat and prayed for God to give her a sign and an answer. When she got home that evening, she pulled out the phone book and it flipped up right to the agencies advertisement in the yellow pages. She told us that was her answer and God had given it to her. She called the next day.
Nora your birth was my rebirth – you filled my heart with love and faith and so much more. Words can’t describe how happy we are to have you as part of our family. Your brother and you mean the world to me!!!