Thursday, April 21, 2016

Adoption Story: Brad and Corinne

Yesterday I shared the beginning of Brad and Corinne's story. If you missed it, it's worth going back to read the days and weeks leading up to the birth of their son. Today I get to share the continued story when they watched as a brave birth mama brought a son into the world. It's a hard thing to put into words something this significant. Something this life-changing. Something this beautiful and bittersweet and hard. Read Corinne's words as she continues to chronicle the end of her son's birth story...and the beginning of their family.

*Please note when Brad and Corinne note "our mom" here they are referring to the expectant mother (now their son's birth mother).

February 16th

Hello Friends,

Adoption is full of all kinds of emotions all at the same time, incredibly joy and incredible heartache. It is a hard thing to gain something so beautiful at the sacrifice and loss of someone else. I will do my best to put into words what the past couple days  have looked like for us.

God beautifully answered each of our prayers for our induction day. We woke up around 3:45am and felt full of peace from the moment we opened our eyes. The entire day felt and still does feel surreal. We picked up our Mom at 5:30 Monday morning and arrived at the hospital at 6 for induction. The Lord truly surrounded us with kind, compassionate, amazing nurses and doctors the entirety of the day. They were so kind to her and accommodating of her birth plan, especially with our case worker out of town. She didn’t want to see the baby so they got a team together to wheel the baby out to a room they set aside for Brad and me across the hall. One of her main nurses pulled me outside to tell me the plan and had tears in her eyes and shared with me that her daughter gave up a baby for adoption when she was  in high school and that what we were doing was beautiful and that we were navigating everything really well. 

One of our prayers had been that our Mom’s labor and delivery would be swift and trouble free for our Mom, especially since her last induction took 3 days. So they started her on pitocin (labor inducing drug) around 7:30 and she got her epidural around 11. She took a nice long nap after her epidural kicked in and I sat in the room and watched her sleep. I couldn’t help but think of how brave, beautiful, and sacrificial she was. She woke up about 2 and started feeling pressure so they checked her and she had dilated from a 3 to a 10 in 3 hours, which was insanely fast. So the doctor and team came into the room to get ready to push. I held one of her legs and 5 minutes later  at 3:02 pm sweet baby boy was here 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long. 

I cried like a baby, shocked that he was finally here, so proud of our Mom, so grateful for her generosity towards me in allowing me to be apart of the entire process, and so humbled at Jesus faithfulness towards us. So they wheeled the baby off to Brad and I stayed and held our sweet Moms hand while I was a blubbering mess as they got her all cleaned up. Her doctor was AMAZING. He came to her bed and said, “I know what a difficult road this has been for you, but you have walked it beautifully, I am really proud of you this is the right thing.” Some doctors are incredibly insensitive to scenarios like this. It was beautiful to see God surround our Mom too with people believing in her, supporting her, and loving on her since this is the opposite of how her life is right now. So I hugged her (yup still crying), and thanked her for being so kind in allowing me to be in the room and that she was a labor rockstar.  

I then went across the hall to get a first look at our boy, Brad and I could not stop smiling. That was probably the most out of body experience I have ever had. Sweet Baby has big feet and huge hands, looks like He will grow to be a big tall boy. He was just perfect. The hard part of this is that our sweet Mom literally has no one supporting her and had no visitors even to sit with her while she was here. I am so grateful the Lord helped me be aware of her in the midst of our excitement and joy with the baby. It didn’t seem right to me that this sweet Mama who just did the most sacrificial thing ever would be left alone, by herself, in a scenario that I am sure feels nothing but lonely. So I peeked my head in and checked on her a few times. She and I had been excited to watch this Dog show on TV  so I went and sat with her for 3 hours and had a great time. She was happy and chatty and very much herself. They then moved her upstairs and I helped her move her bags and got her all set up. Right before I left  I told her how much our family and friends love her and not just because of sweet baby. That she will always be family to us. So I got to our room about 12:30 or so and did some skin on skin with our boy and by this point I had been up for about 22 hours or so and was feeling pretty spent. 

Overall the day could not have gone smoother, truly the Lord was in each and every detail. So much of what we have heard was the hospital is usually completely crazy and our day was filled with peace and joy. And then our first night of parenting (aka not a lot of sleep), but Baby boy did amazing and Brad has been a rock. As if my heart couldn’t explode anymore, watching him become a Dad and love this sweet baby with so much patience, grace, and care has expanded my heart in ways I didn’t know were possible towards him. Baby boy is sleeping and eating great. Brad took the first shift if you will and I took the second. This morning we were exhausted in every way but so grateful and in love with this precious precious boy. Seriously, he is absolutely beautiful. 

So yesterday morning our social worker can to visit us and told us that our Mom had decided to name the baby which was a big surprise to us since we had tried to include her in the naming process and she didn’t seem to care. So this means his “legal name” will be what she decided until 6 months at placement but of course we can call him what we would like.  The case worker was also saying that she was going back and forth on seeing the baby before signing. We began feeling nervous after hearing this as we had 48 hours to go until signing. She had told the social worker that she had wanted me to visit so I got dressed and went over to visit with her. She was her beautiful happy self and we hung out for a few hours and watched “Bizarre Foods” on the travel channel. We had a great time; I told her about baby boy's big feet and big hands and how I was welcomed into being a boy mom by being peed all over by baby boy this morning. 

She really does feel like family to us. We have spent so much of our time with her and her daughter over the past couple weeks in a way its odd to be holding this baby with our her her. The caseworker came to discharge her and our Mom decided she wanted to go see baby boy. So we walked down to our room and she saw her boy. Brad was feeding him. We asked her if she wanted to hold him and she said no; she was fighting back tears. So we chatted with her for a bit and just stood and watched this precious baby, who by the way looks so much like his sister and his beautiful Mom. 

Once she got outside of her room she lost it and I hugged her and we both cried for a while. Our Mom has been so stoic and unemotional so seeing her hurt so bad  ripped my heart out. The caseworker told her she is doing a brave and incredibly loving thing for this baby I asked her if she wanted me to walk down with her. She said yes, so they wheeled her out in a wheelchair and I rubbed her back and we both cried the whole way down. As we waited for her car I grabbed her face and told her how much we love her, how grateful we are for her, and how brave and loving she is. I told her I was so sorry this hurt so badly, I wish I could take that away. I told her that we would take good care of her boy. 

My heart breaks for her. She has no support and no one rooting for her in her life. She just did the most sacrificial thing for her child at the loss of herself and we gain from this. It is hard to navigate and process all of these various emotions its hard to grieve and rejoice at the same time. Its hard to not feel like we are a part of what is causing her so much pain. Our Mom texted me once she got home and said, “Thanks for letting me see baby boy and I know I made the right decision by picking you guys. Thank you so much for everything and for taking good care of him.” She texted me this morning for some pictures of sweet baby and we have been chatting. The caseworker told us she told her that we have a special bond and that baby boy will know all about her and will be taken good care of. 

I know this update is long and probably scattered and confusing, but with all this we ask you to pray for our sweet Mom. Pray that the Lord would surround her with His love and people to love her well as she grieves. For wisdom for us to know how to continue to support and serve her while we are here. Pray that those she is living with will be kind and gracious to her during this difficult time. For patience and endurance for the next 30 hours until our Mom signs that we would trust God’s sovereignty.

Another huge blessing is that the hospital we are at are the only one in the valley that allows adoptive families a room with the baby during the waiting period. We had heard we may need to discharge baby to cradle care (a family's home who watches babies between signing) which would give us limited visitation hours. But the hospital and pediatrician has been wonderful and they have made a way for us to stay here until discharge and are figuring out a way to make us not have to pay for it. We are eager to be home and for all of you to meet this precious miracle baby of ours that we have been dreaming of for so long. He is more than we could have ever dreamed of, and not to mention has a TON of curly hair.

Adoption is complicated. Adoption is hard. Adoption is exhausting. Adoption is beautiful and redeeming.

We love you all,
Brad and Corinne

February 18th

Dear Friends,

It is with GREAT JOY that we would like to officially introduce to you OUR SON:

Floyd Bradley Lawrence

Each part of his name carries a lot of significance for us. Floyd (who we call Papa) is my Grandfather, someone who has been very special to me my entire life. At nearly 90 He continues to be the most faithful & godly man I have ever met.  He gave me away at our wedding and Brad asked his blessing to marry me before proposing. He holds a special place in both Brad's and my heart. Ever since we began talking about having a family many years ago it has been our hope to name a son, if God were to bless us with one, after Papa. Bradley is an obvious choice, and I get to brag here: Brad has been one of the greatest blessing in my life. I have been so fortunate to marry someone who is so gracious, kind, patient, a good friend, and a lover of the truth. Once we had been matched with our Mom we had chatted with her many times if there was a name she would like for the baby that we could incorporate, and she said she didn’t have any preferences. However, we learned these past few weeks that Lawrence is a name significant to our birth mom; it also happens to be Brad’s Dad’s first name. So we chose to include Lawrence in our boy’s name. Brad’s dad has been nothing short of a blessing to me as a Father in Law and he loves and trusts Jesus unwaveringly. He is an incredible Dad; I have been directly impacted in my marriage by his faithfulness in raising such amazing boys who love and serve their families so well. So our sweet boy is named after three amazing men and his brave brave Mom. We wanted to pass down a family legacy of faithful men who love the Lord and love their families and those around them well. We also wanted to forever honor his Brave Mom who gave Floyd life and sacrificed so much to allow us to be parents. Our prayer for sweet Floyd is that the Lord would bless him with character and a love for Jesus like those he is named after.

Saying thank you will never adequately express how grateful we are for the constant prayer, support, and encouragement you have given our little family. God has used each of you to bless us in more ways than you probably realize. The Lord has truly given us a front row seat to His Faithfulness. He truly writes the best stories, always better than we could imagine for ourselves. 

Sweet Floyd, you were absolutely without a shadow of a doubt worth the wait. 

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

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