Well friends, Stephen and I have some exciting news: Earlier this month, we met our sweet, precious baby boy. Griffin Eugene was born on December 18 and joined our family through the gift of adoption.
If you’re a regular reader, you know I’ve written quite a bit about the adoption process since we started our journey in February 2017. You’ve also probably noticed that I went quiet around October and didn’t really share much on my blog.
On October 17, we received a text message from our adoption counselor, letting us know an expectant mother was looking at our profile book and interested in getting to know us. We set up a meeting for the following afternoon. I was so nervous—what if she didn’t like me? I left work that afternoon and what did I do? I got my nails done. I still had a gift certificate left from my birthday, and I was all about making the right impression. Obviously my nails needed to be painted. We then grabbed Chick-fil-a for dinner and headed to the store to put together a small thank you gift for this mother.
On October 18, we drove to our adoption agency to meet her. On the 10-minute drive there, I worried myself sick. We actually had to stop twice because I felt like I was going to be sick. I even put a different shirt in the backseat in case I did get sick on the drive over. (OK, maybe I was over-prepared.) We arrived first, and chatted with our adoption counselors about what to expect. Stephen and I were both super nervous, but after learning about her, we both felt like it was a good fit.
When she walked into the room, she immediately hugged me and I told her that I was just as nervous as she was. (Might as well be honest!) For the next two hours, we talked about everything from raising kids, our favorite hobbies and activities, our favorite sports teams, what foods we like and our parenting philosophy. At one point, she asked us if we had chosen a boy name, and we told her “Griffin Eugene.” We explained that we simply liked the name Griffin, but that Eugene is Stephen’s middle name. We were so glad she also liked the name. At the end of the two hours, we said our goodbyes and gave her another hug and then headed out to our car. As we walked outside, I whispered to Stephen, “I really hope she picks us. I like her so much.” We were getting in the car when we saw our adoption counselor running outside to get our attention. She told us that there was one question this woman forgot to ask. We walked back inside, and she took a deep breath and said, “Will you be Griffin’s mommy and daddy?”
Friends, it’s a memory that will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. Remember the first time you saw two pink lines on a pregnancy test? Well, this was my “two pink lines.” I burst into tears and threw my arms around her, saying “yes” over and over again. Next to saying yes to Jesus and yes to Stephen, it will always be one of my best “yeses.”
Over the next two months, we attended doctor appointments and ultrasounds. She was so gracious to invite us to them all. I’ll always remember the first time I heard Griffin’s heartbeat—sitting next to his birth mother and smiling at her when I heard it. I’ll always remember the first ultrasound I went to, seeing his little hand fly over his face, preventing us from getting a good picture (he still does this).
When we started the adoption process, I wondered if I would ever get to experience hearing the heartbeat, getting an ultrasound photo or even feeling the baby kick. God was so gracious to allow me to experience all three. At one appointment, Griffin was active and kicking, and she told me to come over and place my hand on her belly. Feeling him kick was an incredible experience.
On December 18, two months to the day after being matched, Griffin was born. His birth mother was so incredible, inviting us to be in the room for the delivery and giving Stephen the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord. She even invited our families to be present at the hospital, something we never imagined would be possible. (The weekend before his birth, she asked to have lunch with our parents. What a gift that was, to ask to meet our parents—the people who would be her son’s grandparents. Our parents were thrilled to get to meet her.)
Right before the doctor came in for the delivery, I asked her if I could pray for her. I’ve prayed for her since the day we started the adoption process—for months I prayed every day for a nameless, faceless woman. But starting on October 18, I prayed for her by name. And on December 18, I said that prayer out loud and over her. I prayed for her strength during the delivery, I prayed for safety and minimal pain, I prayed for a quick delivery, and I prayed for a healthy, strong baby. And then I praised God for her—for her sacrifice and love for this baby she carried, for her trust and confidence in us, and for the gift she is to our family. I cried through the whole thing, but I was determined to go to the Lord on her behalf. Less than 10 minutes later, I heard Griffin’s first cry and I just continued crying. She held him first—and I want Griffin to know that—and then asked for him to be handed to me.
After the delivery, she told us she wanted our moms to come back to the delivery room to meet their grandson. We were humbled by her willingness to allow our families to be part of this experience. After our moms visited, our dads and Stephen’s sister came back to see him.
For the next couple of days, we stayed at the hospital with her and Griffin. The hospital was wonderful and gave Stephen and me a free room to stay. I have nothing but absolutely wonderful things to say about the nursery nurses who took such amazing care of us and of Griffin. I probably asked some dumb questions at times, but they were so kind and helpful.
We were able to leave the hospital on December 20. Leaving the hospital was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done. We watched Griffin’s birth mother hold him, kiss him, and tell him how much she loved him. And friends, she loves him so much. It’s so evident. To me, that made her decision to make an adoption plan so much more beautiful. Before we got in the car to leave, I hugged her neck, cried, and told her how much I loved her and how thankful I was for her.
And here we are—we’ve been home ever since then. A lot of people have said how lucky Griffin is to have us as parents. And yeah, I like to think that Stephen and I are pretty awesome, but we definitely are not saviors or superheroes. We were just two people who wanted to be parents. Griffin’s birth mother gave us that gift—we are the blessed ones. Poor Griffin is our first child, which means he’s also the guinea pig, so I don’t know how “lucky” he is. We’re so grateful to have such a good relationship with his birth mother. Griffin will never have to wonder who his birth mother is or how much she loved him, and for that I am so grateful. He’ll always know I’m his mommy, and that another woman gave me the most wonderful gift of being mommy. Adoptive mama Jody Landers once said, “A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
Friends, adoption is hard. There’s nothing easy about it. When you start the process, you’re met with a pile of paperwork and forms, and then you’re required to attend training classes and complete education hours. There were days were I was bitter, thinking, “You don’t have to do this to get pregnant.” The home study is invasive, and you feel like you’re sharing every detail of your life, childhood and marriage with someone you just met. (Trust me, our adoption counselors feel like family now.) And then, after the home study, you just wait. You wait, and you wait, and you wait, and then you wait some more. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days feel long and depressing. Some days are blissfully short and you forget your heart is heavy. Every morning you wake up wondering, “Is this the day we’ll get a call? Is this the day someone will choose us?”
But let me tell you: Adoption may be hard, but it’s worth it. One day, that long-awaited call will come … and it changes everything. When we met Griffin’s birth mother, I just knew she was the woman I had been praying for. That’s why I whispered, “I really hope she picks us” to Stephen as we left the agency after meeting her. The second Griffin was placed in my arms, it was as if every tear shed and heartache I felt during our wait just vanished. I thought to myself, “I would wait for you all over again.” He was so worth the wait.