Friday, December 8, 2017

Countdown to Forever

This week is a big one for our family. Yesterday, in a little courtroom in Illinois, a judge declared to my brother and his wife that they are officially the parents to their daughter, Elodie. A truth they've known in their hearts for over a year from the very moment they heard about her life.

In the days leading up to that moment in the courthouse when Elodie was officially named a Weston, Meg made a series of posts about the days surrounding Elodie's birth, her beautifully brave birth mama, and how adoption has impacted their family. Meg has been gracious enough to let me share her thoughts here as we celebrate Elodie's life, adoption, and the beautiful story God is writing...

November 30th 

Let the countdown commence! We are 8 days from Elodie becoming officially adopted. 

This is Tim waiting probably around 3am on June 21st. He couldn’t sleep or relax. He was the most anxious I’ve ever seen him. Little did he know, he’d be meeting that precious baby we had been praying for all night in roughly 3 more hours.

It was nearing 6am and the nurses told us to go get something to eat. The doctor wanted mama E to rest for an hour as she’d been working so hard all night. We found some vending machines and sat down for a quick bite. We were gone no more then twenty minutes and when we returned mama E exclaimed with excitement, “Did you see HER yet!?”

Right then and there, Tim and I were in tears. God had blessed us with a girl! A nurse escorted us to the nursery and we got to meet Elodie for the first time.

7 days to go!

December 1st 

Later that morning, mama E was transferred to a recovery room. Once she was settled in, the nurse brought Elodie in from the nursery. I remember mama E being so excited to hold her and to study her tiny fingers and toes.

It felt like such an intimate space and mama E was incredibly gracious to allow us in her room. Once she soaked Elodie in, she looked at me and said, “Okay, it’s your turn to hold your daughter!”

It was a feeling I’ll never forget. This woman who just gave birth placed that beautiful baby girl in my arms and made me a mama once again. It’s so profound - the selfless love that mama E has for her children.

6 days to go!

December 2nd

Tim had this deep desire for a daughter. He even had me keep a small bin of girl clothes just in case we ever needed it. I remember having a serious conversation with him about how it’s very possible we would have a family of all sons. However that didn’t mean he’d never have a girl to spoil one day, because maybe he’d get a granddaughter down the line. He’d nod in agreement but I could still see that glimmer of hope in his eyes.

I had held her for quite awhile when I realized he was patiently and eagerly waiting for his turn. He snuggled her in with such a proud smile on his face!

Elodie, you are the daughter your daddy longed for.

5 days to go!

December 1st

To paint a picture of adoption as a fairytale would be a mistake. There is brokenness, too.

June 22nd was a broken day. Mama E was being discharged and signing temporary custody to us beforehand.

As she was being wheeled out, Tim and I walked alongside her. She was in tears. I had no words. What do you say in such a hard, emotional moment? I literally cannot imagine how that feels and will never pretend to.

All I could do was give her a hug. As the elevator door closed, my heart broke for her and for Elodie. The bond that had been made for the last 9 months while Elodie was knit in her womb was at least partially broken.

So when I say it’s an honor to be Elodie’s mama, I mean that I desire to mother her in a way that honors the selflessness and bravery of mama E.

4 days to go!

December 2nd

This is Elodie's Grandma. We first met back in 2012 in the waiting room of a court house. She was there worried about who her grandson, Jacob, was with and how he was doing. We quickly learned that she is fiercely protective of her grand babies and would go to the ends of the earth for them.

Our relationship has developed over time, just as any other relationship does. It started out in the middle of McDonalds over cheeseburgers and Christmas presents. We continued to meet every couple of months until eventually she was in our living room for Christmas celebrations and enjoying birthday parties along with our entire family.

We’ve adopted each other. Yes, we adopted her grand babies but likewise she’s adopted us too. She’s fully accepted our family, as she even claims Griffien as her grandson. We are family.

3 days to go!

December 6th

Since mama E was discharged, Elodie was put in the nursery. At first, we were told we’d have to be in the waiting room and come in whenever she needed fed. I was heartbroken. We wanted to bond with our baby girl. That’s when Tim put on his tough daddy look and demanded to speak with a nurse supervisor.

He explained our situation and sure enough a sweet nurse came up with the idea for us to have the private feeding room for mother’s who had babies staying long term but still wanted to breastfeed. (Side note: Those are some serious superhero mamas!)

We knew that if a mom came in needing to breastfeed then we’d be asked to step out. However, it didn’t happen while we were there on the 23rd so we were able to snuggle and bond with Elodie all. morning. long. 

2 days to go!

December 7th

On the afternoon of the 23rd, we got word that Elodie was good to be discharged. We could finally bring her home to meet her eager big brothers!

With adoption comes a lot of paperwork and so it came without surprise that before we could leave we’d have to sign our names everywhere. To be honest, I don’t even remember what we were signing. We were just excited to be heading HOME!

After signing who-knows-what, we gathered our things to leave. The nurse, who took care of Elodie while she was in the nursery (she’s also the one who got us the private room), and the caseworker walked out with us. I’m so glad we got a picture! These are people who often don’t get recognized but who are definitely apart of her story. Thank you for all you do, nurses and caseworkers!

1 day to go!

And then, yesterday, there was a simple court hearing. In a small little room, the same one we all packed into for Jacob's adoption almost exactly three years before, Elodie officially became a Weston. The judge and court aids and attorneys in the room were all grins, proud big brothers sat at the plaintiff's table with suckers they had been given, and the bailiff kindly gave me freedom to take all the pictures I wanted.

The standard questions were asked, "Where do you work, Mr. Weston? What is your address Mrs. Weston?" I heard by brother choke up when he was asked if he was "prepared to take on the responsibility and liability of being Elodie's father forever." And then, the judge with kind eyes banged the gavel and declared "Tim and Meg Weston, from this moment on, Elodie is your daughter until the end of time."

I sat there and wondered if he knew he was just making an earthly declaration of what God had already ordained in the Heavens for this girl, and her family, long before...

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