Monday, April 29, 2013

Easter Lily

As soon as I hung up the phone with the case worker, I frantically called my mother.  She did what she does best and put me at ease.  She emotionally expressed her love and her faith and continued to pray, as did all our family. 

We arrived at the hospital and met the case worker.  She explained that the birth parents were taking time to talk things over and come to a decision and that hopefully we would know either way shortly.  So we sat together in the hallway and waited.  And waited.  We were right there!!  Only footsteps away.  We had come so far only to be stopped right at the door.  I wanted to see Lily's Birth Mom.  I wanted to give her a hug and express my love.  I wanted to give her the gift I had for her.  I felt completely powerless but as Shane and I talked through things, we felt calm.  Shane had expressed weeks and weeks earlier that we would not walk into that hospital feeling entitled, feeling that she was OUR baby.  That didn't sit well with him.  Instead, he felt that we needed to just go with open hearts and open arms, ready and willing if our birth mom felt it best to place this baby in our arms.  Until that happened, she was not ours.  But we would be there, ready.  How do you prepare to love and bring a baby into your home...and also...maybe walk away with an empty car seat?  I'm not sure how you do both.  Our hearts were ready but we loved our birth mom and loved this baby and wanted the absolute best for both of them.  So we waited and then waited some more.  And though we could have focused on doom and gloom we didn't.  Not even close!  We knew it would all be fine either way. 
I love this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"Adopt the pace of nature.  Her secret is patience."
 
After about an hour and a half of waiting, I sent her a text letting her know that regardless of their decision that we loved them and still would love to meet them and Lily.  She quickly replied that they were ready to see us.  Insert small freak out moment!!!  Minutes later we went and knocked on their hospital door.  Our case worker lead the way....while Shane and I stood still at the door.  My feet wouldn't move.  I was completely terrified!  Shane had to push my back to get my feet moving. 
 
As we walked in and I saw her, the sweet person I had been communicating with for the last 2 months, my eyes stung.  Then looking over and seeing the birth father holding Lily, my heart was overcome.  I walked over and gave him a hug and he offered Lily to me to hold.  I took Lily into my arms and immediately walked over to her birth mother and gave her a hug.  Here we were with these people we had come to know and love at such an intimate level, holding the most beautiful little girl you have ever seen!!!  The second I think on this moment, my eyes fill up with tears.  For minutes, I just stared at Lily.  She was perfect.  So unimaginably perfect.  I kept staring, trying to take a mental picture in my mind.  I wanted to remember this moment for forever.  At this time, we still were unsure of how our birth parents were feeling and what they had decided.  And we didn't ask.  We just started talking.  It came easily.  They were both so gracious and open.  We learned more about Lily's delivery and her first day in the world.  Together, the 4 of us just focused on Lily.  It really was beautiful.  Their love for her was palpable and was felt deeply.  With time, we got a sense that they seemed to be moving forward with the adoption.  We visited with them for about 3 hours and then started making plans for hospital discharge and gave them some time alone.
 
Lots of hospital paperwork and then we made our way.  We were approved to transport Lily in our car to the agency office for placement.  I rode in the back with her and couldn't take my eyes off of her.  It all felt so unreal.  I couldn't believe this was actually happening! 
 
I won't go into all of the details of placement.  It takes hours just to complete all of the paperwork.  We were there for 3-4 hours.  After all the papers were signed, Lily spent time in the arms of her birth parents.  It was difficult to watch them.  That moment is hard to even talk about without crying.  My heart was so heavy and I felt giant sobs ready to erupt from the inside of me.  They told her they loved her and gave her kisses.  To watch Lily's birth mom place her in my arms is something I will never forget.  It was a sacred moment.  Two emotional ends of the spectrum, coming together with love.  As we all cried, we exchanged hugs and words of love.  And walking away from each other felt difficult.  This happened for us on Easter Sunday.  It was a day that the Atonement of our Savior was ever present in my mind.  It is because of Him and that miraculous event that we are able to be healed, cleansed, comforted, and made whole.  How fitting it was to have this experience on Easter.  We had our Lily.  Our Easter Lily.  
 
It was an exhausting day, in every sense of the word.  It was a day of miracles for our family.  The way that it began and the way that it ended were very different and we felt overcome with gratitude for the blessing and gift that was given us.  We were buoyed up by our families who were hundreds of miles away.  Our entire family, immediate and extended, was completely united in prayer, and we felt it.  We hope that Lily's birth parents felt it too.  There is such power in family and power in prayer.  As a family, we had a sweet experience that day.  At one point, I received a text from my Sister in Law in Chicago expressing her love.  She said she felt connected to the family and knew it was because we were all praying and pleading together.  She went on to say that she was in tears as she walked in on my brother in his room down on his knees at the very time that placement was happening.  What a tender moment.  When I talked to my mom later that night, I expressed as best I could with my emotions running high that we had felt of their strength, love, support, and faith.  It helped to carry us through with calm hearts and we were close to the Spirit.  I can't express enough the love I have for my family.
     
Through this whole process, I have learned so much from Lily's birth mom.  She is one incredible woman.  She is strong, brave, courageous, kind, funny, beautiful, faithful, and full of love.  By the time Lily was born, her and I had exchanged over 30 pages worth of emails.  She has taught me so much about what it means to be a good mother, as she has been just that for Lily.  She loves her with everything that she has, so much so, that she was willing to break her own heart in order to give Lily what she thought was best.  She put her daughter's needs above the wants of her own heart.  I am still amazed at her strength and will be forever grateful. 
 
Thomas S. Monson said it best:
“One cannot forget mother and remember God. One cannot remember mother and forget God. Why? Because these two sacred persons, God and mother, partners in creation, in love, in sacrifice, in service, are as one.”


14 comments:

Brandi said...

Oh man Amy, I am sobbing reading this. What an amazing experience you all have had. I can't think of a better home for little Lilly, she really is beautiful. So happy for you guys!

MariePhotographie said...

Wow, Amy. What an amazing experience. I am so touched and thankful that you shared this.

The Murphys said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. It is so uplifting and encouraging. I am so happy for you and your little family.

Justin and JoLyn said...

Oh Amy--Lily will treasure this someday. Thank you for sharing this experience! Love you guys.

Jerusalem Girl said...

Oh Amy...this is so sweet and touching. You, all of you, are amazing!

The McGary's said...

What an amazing story! I just want to keep reading.

Carrie said...

This is so beautiful.

Emily said...

That was beautiful and touching. What a wonderful story. You and your family are amazing!

Jennifer said...

This is so beautiful. I am grateful that you wrote all of this down and shared it.

Ashley and Dave said...

Love this.

John and Anna said...

I love your family! And your adorable "Easter Lily"! How appropriate! She's a beautiful gift for everyone who knows and loves her. I'm so glad you shared this. I just can't stop thinking of you guys and how amazing you all are.

Claire said...

ooh I'm so touched! Thank you for letting me read that! I love the 2 quotes you shared. I just feel like you've taken your challenge and learned and grown exactly as Heavenly Father would have you, and you've shared your growing experience with others too, which has been uplifting and inspiring. Thank you!

Desarae Fowler said...

Cant help but cry. what a little miracle. I'm so happy for you :)

amanda said...

No words.....