I can’t believe I am writing this post! It is still so fresh in my mind. 1 year ago today, Kenton and I got to be parents for one week to a very special baby boy. It has taken me one year to be able to write this and there still is a little burning in my heart as I sit here and type. Most of you know the story but I will remind you. Kenton and I were on a list for our agency to be able to provide what they call cradle care. Cradle care for our agency is a rare circumstance when the baby who is to be adopted cannot be placed in his/her adoptive home and therefore needing temporary care for the infant. Our agency is not a foster agency but they would like the infants to stay within the agency’s family so they ask couples who are waiting for an international adoption to volunteer if the occasion would ever arise. Kenton and I decided over 2 years ago to put ourselves on the cradle care call list pretty much expecting this not to happen. God had other plans.
We were called and we accepted. We had to have our house quickly inspected, which meant we had to do a few last minute repairs that kept Kenton up a couple of nights. The baby was going to be born on a Wednesday morning but we weren’t going to be his guardians until he was discharged from the hospital. To my friend’s advice, she thought that I should ask if I could be at the hospital right when he was born. I suggested this to our case worker and she thought that was great. Not only was I going to get the other wrist band from the birth mom, but I also got my own room. I arrived at the hospital at 6:00 am so nervous and so excited. I had never done this before so I had no idea what to expect as far as emotions. I waited about an hour in labor and delivery waiting room and then the nurse came and got me letting me know there was a healthy baby boy who was just born. I followed the nurse to the room where they were bathing him and doing what they do to newborns. I immediately fell in love and started snapping pictures. I wasn’t quite emotional yet because it was all so surreal to me. After they got him all snug in a blanket, they showed us to our room. What a crazy experience to not have given birth to a baby, but snuggling with one in a hospital bed as if I did just give birth to him. I was told it was my job to bond with him and hurt for him to take away his pain from disconnecting from his birth mom. For the next 5 hours I did just that. Wow! My heart just wept as I typed that. He was my boy and I was his momma.
That night I decided to leave for a couple hours to get some clothes and to see my most favorite people in our Wednesday night group. Gosh I love them. I walked into a room full of my friends and their husbands and they just let me cry. I explained to them that I was so honored that I got picked to be his temporary mom and I was so hurt that I couldn’t be his permanent mom because he deserved that. After I cried with my friends, I went back up to the hospital to spend the night with this sweet boy. The whole night I told him how much he was loved by his birth mom and how much he was loved by me. I told him I was his mommy because he deserved someone to speak those words to him. He was my boy and I was his momma.
They next day I decided to go back home to shower and get a few things ready for him. As soon as I got home, I got a call saying the baby was being discharged which was about 2 days earlier than we had thought. So Kenton went on a quick shopping trip for a few baby items and my sister, Heather, ran to Gymboree to find this little guy a special going home outfit. She met us at the hospital to make sure we had everything we needed. I had a friend gather all of her baby equipment to let us borrow including a car seat, and… we were ready!
The next week was full of so many different emotions. Trying to be a mom to a baby that was going to a different home was so hard. So I had to act as if he was going to be mine forever. I wanted him to feel so loved and I knew that was the only way we could bond. I had to set my hurt or any fear of future hurt aside and just be his mommy. That weekend we cuddled and cuddled some more. We even got professional photos done by my bestie, Becky. During the session (actually the picture at the top of this post), I found myself so overwhelmed with emotion and I broke down. That picture will always remind me of the magical feeling that the Lord gives between a mom and a baby even when that baby is not from her womb. For one week he was my boy and I was his momma.
This baby’s case was very rare because there was uncertainty of who would have custody of him. I obviously cannot go into details about his case but I can tell you that Kenton and I decided that we wanted to pursue adopting him. This was quickly shut down after we voiced our desire to our agency. Kenton and I were broken but knew that God had not chosen us to be this baby’s parents. It is the strangest feeling to have absolutely no control over a situation like this. Nothing I said could change anything. The next few days we continued to speak words of love and many prayers over him. We rarely put him down knowing that we only had a few days left. We bathed him so he would be all ready for his new family and we got in bed with this little guy one last time. Seeing my husband with him just broke my heart. Kenton loved holding him and cuddling with him in the middle of the night. We knew the hurt was coming and it was going to sting. The picture below is exactly how Kenton was with him all the time. This was the last night with our boy. When I think about Kenton with him, this is the picture that comes to mind. So peaceful in his white onsie snuggling on Kenton’s chest. Oh my heart! He not only was my boy but he was Kenton’s boy too.
Wednesday morning came and it was time for the case worker to come get him. We said our goodbyes with lots of tears and he was gone. Such a strange feeling having someone take a baby away from you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. We had to stuff our emotions quickly after and carry on to a little Christmas program in Isabel’s class. That night as Kenton and I were trying to figure out how we would sleep knowing we didn’t have an infant to care for, we found ourselves snuggling with one of his blankets and we both cried ourselves to sleep. Our boy was gone.
I cannot believe how much a boy would tug my heart. I absolutely love my girls but there is something about being a momma to a new born baby boy that just gets you. I only had him for a week but he was my boy and I was his momma.
Tonight the day before baby boy’s birthday, my friends came over for the usual Wednesday night hang out. Becky came in with two covered pans, to which I asked very quickly what was under the foil. She said we had to wait until our other friends arrived. When they arrived, Becky uncovered the pans for us to see cupcakes with blue frosting. She told Kenton and I that she had baked cupcakes and brought a candle b/c she knew that we would be thinking about this little guy all week. Right there in our kitchen, Becky, Mark, Emily, John, Kenton, and I lit a candle and sang happy birthday to this sweet baby boy. Ok, I mostly just cried while they sang. Emily had a card for us too! Yes, I am sad, but man am I grateful for these beautiful friends of mine. Becky, Emily, and our other friend Holly(they moved otherwise I know they would’ve been here tonight too) have heard me cry multiple times because of my desire for another child. So tonight was no different. Only I was quickly comforted because I know my friends will hold me up when I need it and this time is no exception. I could go on and on about them and how much I love them! Since I’m on the subject of our friends, I cannot go without talking about Kenton’s group of guys that he has been friends with and has met with every Thursday for the last 13 years. These guys are jokesters and like to drink a beer and play poker but when Kenton and I went through this last year, he was able to show up at guy’s night the following Thursday, tell them everything he was feeling, and not hide any emotion. I love them for that. Their wives are amazing too! They all surrounded Kenton and I with love and encouraging words when the hurt just kept on hurting. Our friend, Jonathon, told us he believes that this baby needed temporary parents like us to love him and have a hope that he might have been ours permanently. Parents that would hurt so much when told they couldn’t adopt him. Thank you, Jonathon. That has always comforted me. I can honestly say I loved him so much that the hurt was worth it. For one week he was my boy and I was his momma.
So that’s the end of our story. We feel so blessed beyond words that we got to experience this sweet boy’s first week of his life even though it felt like someone ripped our hearts out, chopped it in half, and put back in to mend itself. A year later we are still pursuing this crazy adoption journey and we continue to believe that this long wait is NOT just for the sake of waiting. I think going through this reassures me that I indeed have way more love to give, and that we will have another child someday.
Happy birthday, sweet baby wherever you are. I love you very much and will always hold our one week together close to my heart. For one week you were my boy and I was your momma.