Monday, February 22, 2016

Answered Prayers

During Lent our church does a 40 Days of Prayer journal/study as a way to reflect and grow as a congregation and on an individual level. Looking back over all the wonderful events of the last few months, it dawned on me that our path to Caroline's adoption really started with that prayer journal last year. So I thought that'd be a great place to pick up the blog that I've neglected since last August! I'll go back and back blog about her arrival and our first few months together later. At the moment that seems a bit overwhelming so I'll just jump right into the here and now for now!

So going back to last year during Lent...we'd struggled with infertility/miscarriages for the last five years and we were both feeling discouraged. And wondering if we were just wasting money on specialists and procedures that obviously weren't working. At church one Sunday, participation in prayer team's 40 Day Prayer Journal was encouraged and since I wasn't keen on "giving up" anything for Lent, I thought the journal sounded like a great way to observe the Lenten season.

While, of course, I was praying for a healthy pregnancy, I was also asking for guidance on how Ryan and I were suppose to grow our family. We'd always talked about adoption as something that we may pursue at some point in the future but was that future now? And, if so, do we go the foster care route like some dear friends, international adoption like some other friends or domestic adoption. There were many choices that all had positive/negative aspects. And Google-ing "how to adopt" is quite overwhelming!

We also met with our pastor during this time and he encouraged us to pursue both adoption and the best medical options we could afford. He said God would open doors or shut them. We didn't think He would start flinging them open! We started seriously looking at the options and talking about timelines. 

Around that same time, our church held a workshop on foster care/adoption needs in the area. We went and left with totally different take-a-ways (Ryan liked the idea of fostering newborns between birth and placement with adoptive parents. I did not think that sounded like a good idea!). A couple spoke about their process of adoption through DSS. After talking with them afterwards, they mentioned Special Links, a local organization, and how they knew of several couples who had had very positive experiences. A few weeks later I met a friend-of-friend who had adopted through Special Links. And that was it - two great recommendations and we were ready to get started!

Fast forward to July, our (really my) self-imposed deadline for ending the fertility treatments/acupuncture/fertility diet. We filled out the initial application with Special Links. During our time at Edisto with my family, we completed our home study questions. And a few weeks later had the home study and turned in a profile book for birth families to look through. We were told it'd be a year. At least.

And the last week of August on a Wednesday afternoon I got a call, we'd been CHOSEN!!!! That was the longest afternoon of my life waiting on Ryan to get home so I could tell him! And the baby was due in just three weeks. We were overjoyed!!! And so nervous. Part of me was sure it would fall through. We told our families and a few friends and then just waited. I'm glad I didn't have much time to wait, because I don't think I really slept those three weeks. We made a quick trip home to borrow baby stuff from our siblings. We bought a car seat and diapers and set up the pack 'n play. My sister supplied us with girl clothes out the wazoo, a Moses basket and boppy pillow.

And on Saturday, September 19th (at 1:01 p.m.) we met the most precious baby girl. To say we loved her immediately and completely is an understatement. There were so many things that just went right that day and in the days to follow. God was guiding the whole process and we felt the prayers of our loved ones. We were able to have our own room at the hospital and "room in" which was something we didn't expect. Caroline's birth parents were amazing. They were kind and graceful on a day that was beyond hard for them. The nurses were great and included us in everything - many times adopting parents are the third wheel with really no legal rights at first. We were kept in the loop and consulted on everything. Ryan had the rare weekend off and was able to take off the next two days.

Our first family picture as three! She's even smiling!

Caroline Grace - 6 pounds 3 ounces and 18.5 inches long

Caroline's first bottle! Look at that hair! I just love her hair!

So I'll go into more of her first few days and weeks soon, but for now I'll wrap up by jumping forward a couple of months to this year's Lent. On the first Sunday of Lent, and also Valentine's day, Caroline was baptized at our church. It was special in so many ways. All her grandparents came along with Net, Sis and and Elizabeth Magee. We had a brunch at our house afterwards and were so touched at our friends who came to help us celebrate. The day was all about her and she enjoyed every second of it!

Our senior pastor, Dr. Richard Gibbons, and Caroline before the service. I teased him that Caroline feels right at home with his Scottish accent because of all the Downton Abbey we watch:) Her gown is the same one I wore as a baby. Mary Thorne also wore it a few years ago!

We were a little afraid she'd dive right into the baptismal font there. She loves bath time!

And, of course, I'm doing this year's 40 Days of Prayer. If you're interested, here's the link. See you soon!


Lee and Kim said...

Love this!! I'm playing catch-up on your posts. :) They make me so happy!!!

Kitty Hurdle said...

Beyond ecstatic for you!!!!!