Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. Jeremiah 1:5
Daddy's first time to hold Rose
If there's one thing I am not short of, it's words. Yet every time I sit at my computer to type out Rose's story, I find myself staring through tears at a blank screen. I will do my best to share a little of her story, as it is a huge testament of God's goodness and perfect plans.
Chet and I have always known we would adopt, and known any children added to our family from here on out would be adopted. This summer, we knew it may be quite a few years before we were able to adopt though, so we laid those plans out before Christ. To be honest, I was disappointed and had to remind myself to mindfully praise God in the "hard" - knowing that His plans are always greater than my own. In July we decided to get serious about saving up to adopt, and wait on the Lord to open doors up "in Uganda" or "wherever" He might do so. I started Nerium in July to help out with those plans financially, "far in the future".
In August, Chet and I learned of a precious birth mom who was making the most selfless decision of all: adoption. She wanted to give the child growing inside of her a family with a mom and dad. At that point, we decided maybe our only part in her story, and her baby's story, was to pray for them.
So we did. We prayed every day for her, never imagining our stories to intertwine past prayer. My heart went out to her, knowing the weight of her decision. The selflessness of choosing life. The sacrifice she was making. Hurting for what we knew she would feel one day, leaving a hospital without the baby she had been carrying for nine months. We already loved her and felt as though we would never forget her no matter what.
We never imagined adopting domestically, or even what that looked like. We never imagined adopting a child at birth. And we most certainly never imagined actually meeting and falling in love with the birth mom of our future child(ren).
In September, we received an email from our birth mom, sharing her story and sharing with us that she was carrying a girl. This email changed everything we ever knew, and our lives forever. We wrote back and forth a few times, and agreed that we should meet and get to know each other in person. On September 21st, we met our earthly hero. A beautiful, brave, amazing woman who was making the hardest decision one could ever make to give her child a life she could not give. If our stories together ceased there, I believe she would still be our earthly hero.
That evening, September 21, 2013, she told us we would be her daughter's forever Mommy and Daddy.
Through four months of precious details only God in His goodness could orchestrate, we built a relationship with our birth mom that has changed me as a woman in ways I never knew I could be changed. We named our daughter Rose Catherine. Her daddy named her Rose in honor of his great grandmother, and we chose Catherine in honor of a Hope Baby that was the reason our stories were connected. The perfect name for the perfect little miracle.
[Our birth mom chose a private adoption, and we worked with a highly recommended adoption attorney and social worker. I only add this detail because so many of you have asked.]
At the beginning of our story with our birth mom, my sister had quickly "guessed" a birthday of December 23rd. I told our birth mom that, and she told me the number 23 had been very special to her for her whole life. We casually counted down to her birth as the 23rd of December, knowing that only God knew her actual birthday (due date was January 1).
On the morning of December 23rd, our birth mom was in labor.
I will not share hospital details, as they are the most difficult and precious part of Rose's entire story, and she will be the only one we share them with in their entirety one day. The three days we spent in the hospital are three that are burned into our hearts forever. Unless you have walked by a birth mom's side, and loved someone so deeply, it is impossible to convey what it feels like to be given the gift of adoption.
Our Christmas miracle was released to come HOME with us on Christmas Day.
Many have asked why we kept her story private for the most part, other than sharing with a few of our closest friends and family. The answer is simple: We have the utmost respect for our birth mom, and if she had chosen another plan for Rose's life after she was born, we did not want anyone to ever disrespect her or her decision. We never wanted her to feel pressure from us, just because the "whole world knew".
Adoption is the most difficult thing we have ever been through emotionally. We cried more at the hospital during Rose's birth than we did during Holden and Grey's births (and I didn't think that was possible)! There are never words to describe the respect, love and admiration we have for Rose's birth mom. Her sacrifice and selflessness leave me speechless and bawling daily. We are reminded of God's greatness in a way that doesn't even seem possible as we hold and love our second daughter. She is truly the most planned and beautiful baby on earth.
Our birth mom held onto the promise of Romans 8:28 over Rose's story. Amen.