Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life…
Everly was due on December 29th. I had convinced myself she would be 2 weeks early and when the 2 week date passed, I started to prepare myself for the very real possibility that she could come the 29th or later.
On Wednesday, December 21st at around 11:30am our social worker called and told us that Mama J, who was visiting her family in Denver, was at the hospital in labor! We packed and got ready, grabbed some food and hit the road. Surprise #1- we would be in Denver, Colorado and not Wyoming. This was particularly wonderful because it meant Mama J would be with her family through this process as they live in Denver.
We booked a hotel near the hospital and assumed we would be going straight there and spend the next 48 hours there until we could meet Everly.
Mama J’s mother was texting me and giving me updates on how things were going. When we were about an hour and a half away, she told us we should come straight to the hospital. Surprise #2- we would be meeting Everly right away.
One thing I really wanted was to be able to have a friend of ours photograph our first moments of meeting our daughter. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an option. I had put it to rest and was fine with that. While driving we received a text from Mama J’s mother asking if we’d like a friend of theirs, who is a professional photographer, to take pictures for us! Surprise #3. God was in EVERY detail.
We got to the hospital Wednesday night about 2 hours after Everly was born. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but from the moment we walked in it felt like we were all family. Mama J’s parents were there and 2 of her sisters. The nurses immediately referred to us as her “parents”. The hospital was amazing. They said they’d done adoptions before but never where everyone was so open. They offered us a room to stay in but we declined. We wanted to give Mama J some room to enjoy her time with baby girl and not feel pressure knowing we were in a room on the same floor.
I will never forget walking into that room and seeing Mama J nursing Everly. I thought I would feel strange or jealous but all I felt was pure joy and love…for both of them. Surprise #4-Mama J had them give me a hospital bracelet to match Everly’s. It was completely unexpected and made my heart soar. We stayed at the hospital for a few hours and then headed to our hotel to get some rest.
Dec 22- Thursday morning we returned to the hospital. It was so special for us when Mama J told us she had the nurses wait to give Everly her bath because she figured we would want to be there. It was the first time Elliot and I got to be with Everly alone (minus the nurse who gave her her sponge bath 🙂 ). We hung out at the hospital for a few more hours. Our plan was to go, have dinner and return. But once we left I felt like we should hang back and let Mama J have that last night with Everly.
That would be our last night as just the two of us. We went to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and saw a movie. All we did was talk about Everly and we couldn’t wait for our lives to change forever.
Dec 23- Friday morning we returned to the hospital. It was discharge day and the social worker would be there soon to start the paperwork and to have the entrustment ceremony. Before arriving, she called me to tell me that miraculously ICPC had cleared us to return to SOUTH DAKOTA. BEFORE WE WERE EVEN DISCHARGED. We had been told we would have to head back to Wyoming with Everly to wait for ICPC to clear, since that is technically where the adoption was taking place. Surprise #5! Our agency said that had never happened before and it was a Christmas miracle!
After all of the paperwork was signed, Mama J’s family came to the hospital for the entrustment ceremony. It was so beautiful. Heartbreaking, yet full of love and joy. The ceremony consists of prayer, some words of affirmation spoken over Mama J, blessings spoken over Everly and Mama J literally placing her into our arms, entrusting her to us. I have never met a more beautiful, brave, selfless person.
We left the hospital as a family of 3. We spent the night at the hotel and drove home the next day, Christmas Eve, with our Christmas miracle.
Our entire adoption process can be summed up in this- we were OVERTAKEN by the goodness of God.
I may not have carried you in my womb for 9 months, but I’ve carried you as a dream in my heart for as long as I can remember.
I may not have stretch marks on my body, but my faith has been stretched while believing for you.
I may not have labored physically with you, but I’ve labored for you through prayer and tears for over a decade.
You, are our promise fulfilled.