Praising God Together,
Scott and I (Emily) heard about a baby being born on Tuesday night (3/24), and we told our adoption agency that, if he was a boy, we were interested in our family's profile book being shown to his birth mother. On Wednesday morning, I took our profile books to a hospital in a nearby suburb to give them to our adoption social worker, Anita, who was meeting with the mother--this young lady and baby I had prayed for the previous night. I had actually just updated our profile book to show current photos of the girls and to emphasize a few things about our family more than I had previously, and the timing was perfect because they came to me in the mail a day late, which
meant that they were not in the mail on the way to our agency so I could hand deliver them! I found out on the way to the hospital that the baby was a boy, and, although my heart was so ripe for love of this child, I knew that Anita was giving the mother seven families' profile books to choose from.
Anita called around 2:00 Wednesday afternoon to tell me that the mother, "T," had chosen us to be the baby's forever family. Anita really wanted T to have a few weeks of counseling and being able to process everything before making a decision, but T consistently said that she was confident in her decision and wanted to sign papers as quickly as possible. Here's what we know about the events leading up to Grant's birth:
T is a senior in college, double majoring, wise, kind, an absolute gem of a girl who has big plans for her future. She was adopted as a baby and lives with her parents and siblings in a very loving home. She didn't want to say much about the birth father but says that he is unaware of the pregnancy and that she didn't even know that she was pregnant until December (5-6 months along) when she felt the baby kicking. While she hid her pregnancy from absolutely everyone until the day of delivery, there was never a time when she considered aborting the baby; she knew right away that she would place the baby for adoption. T had flu-like symptoms on Sunday night (3/22) and was throwing up a lot when her water broke. On Mondayshe had back pain, a fever, and more throwing up. Her mom was actually Googling and looking on WebMD to see what might be wrong with T! Finally, on Tuesday, when T had extreme stomach and back pains, her mom insisted that they go to the ER for some help. That's when T finally sat her down and told her mom that she was pregnant and apparently in labor. T isn't an overweight girl, but she has a softball-player build and wearing baggy clothes this winter helped to hide the pregnancy. She thought that she was around 36 weeks along, so she had banked on having a few more weeks to tell her family and make an adoption plan. Only T's mom, dad, sister, and aunt know that she had a baby, and she wants it to remain a secret from others. So, after laboring at home for two days, T went to a hospital in a suburb of the Twin Cities, and delivered a healthy, beautiful baby boy, weighing 6lbs, 11oz. She held him for an hour before he was ambulanced to Children's Hospital for testing and monitoring because they thought he was technically a preemie. The doctors at Children's said that the baby looked and acted more like a non-premature, 37-weeker and was doing perfectly.
Thursday (the 26th) was a long day of waiting. We knew that T had chosen us, but it still seemed like it could all be a hoax, or like she would change her mind once she started talking about the baby with her family and the counselor. Until Tuesday, she had never spoken a word about a baby or had a chance to process his existence and impact on her life with anyone. We thought that we would get to go meet the babyThursday afternoon or evening, but the hours kept slowly passing and finally, at9:00pm our meeting time was scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Scott and I went to our adoption agency's office Friday late morning to sign papers with Anita and talk about how our meeting with T and the baby would look. Then we went to Chik-Fil-A for lunch and to wait until 1:00 when we could finally be at Children's Hospital!
The password to see the baby was "Buddy." We washed our hands and went in to room #7, where we saw T sitting in a hospital chair and holding a tiny bundle in a blue sleeper. Anita asked if T would like some time with us, and then left us alone together. We talked with her for about an hour and a half. It was as if she had a list of things in her mind that she wanted to tell us about herself, her own adoption story, her hopes for her future, for the baby, and how much she loves this tiny boy that she entrusted to us. She talked about why she chose us (we value education, Scott loves sports, the baby will have big sisters, we specifically wanted a boy, we love international work, we are Christians, etc.), and said that ours was the last book she looked at and she knew instantly that we were the right family for her baby. Then it was time for a nurse to check his vitals, so T put him in the bassinette and she and I looked over our child while the nurse checked him out. I didn't want to take over, but T graciously offered for me to hold him. My heart swooned! So tiny! So perfect! So alert and content!
We had a completely beautiful time with T. We were able to pray with her for her physical and emotional healing, for us as we love the baby, and for the baby as he is molded into the man he will one day become. At one point, Anita stepped in and asked if we needed more time; T said, "Yes." I love that she didn't want to rush through this very important time. She gave us a letter she had written to the baby, and it is so clear that, even though she hid her pregnancy from the world, the baby was deeply a part of her heart while she was carrying him. We told her that his name would be Joseph Grant (5th generation Joseph!), and that we would call him Grant. She said, "I like that" and smiled.
After a little more talking, Anita came back in and with T's mom and sister so that they could have a chance to say goodbye to the baby. We talked with them for a bit before leaving for the waiting room. T's mom was sobbing and talked about being now on the receiving and giving sides of adoption. She and T's sister were still very much in shock and confused about T's keeping the baby a secret, but felt, too, that adoption was the best option for the baby. Then Scott and I went back into the room, T gave little Grant a kiss, passed him to me, and Anita walked with her out of the room. My heart was so full of so many emotions--humbled to be able to love this little boy, thankful for T's choice to give him life, hopeful that he would be ours, and hurting that a young mother just left her sweet baby...hurting even though we all knew it was the best option.
Scott and I spent about an hour with Grant, getting to know him and study him while we waited for the doctor to release him. Then, at 4:30pm, we walked out the door with our little baby, took him home, and introduced him to the girls. We didn't call Grant our own yet, and explained it to the girls like a fostering situation--we get to take care of him and love him, but his birth mom might decide that she wants to take care of him again. The adoption laws for babies born in Minnesota are more favorable for birth families than in a lot of states: birth mothers cannot sign adoption papers until the baby is at least 72 hours old, and then there's a period of 10 business days after that during which she can relinquish her rights for any reason. We had Grant for Easter, so Good Friday increased our waiting time. We tried to love him without reservation. T told Anita many times during her counseling that she was confident in her decision; there weren't any "red flags" that she would change her mind, but those two + weeks were still very long for us. When I imagined our adoption journey, I did not anticipate loving our baby's birth mother as much as I love T. Had she changed her mind, I know it would have been for a good reason, and I would not have been afraid for Grant to go back to her. She would have kept him safe and loved him well. Finally, on April 13th at 5:00pm central time, Joseph Grant Childs became part of our family forever. We praise the Lord for T and her courage to carry him, and are thankful that Grant is our little boy!