I was brushing my teeth when Faye came into our bathroom sporting a stern look on her face, hands out wide she scolded me, “Mama your phone ringing. You need to answer your phone.” I smiled at her sweet reprimand assuming that it was actually Mat’s phone that was ringing. No one calls me at 9:15 am. And if they did it’s no surprise I didn’t hear it over the hum of the Sonicare.
Less than a minute later, Mat whips his head into the bathroom looking at me with wild eyes speaking more to me than to the person who called, “Hello, Sharla! How are you?”
Faye was right, my phone had been ringing. Sharla would have tried to call me first.
See Sharla is our case worker at our adoption agency.
We’d gotten a couple emails from Sharla since we finished multiple gigabytes of paperwork. Those emails were updates meant to keep our hopes high during the waiting.
But we’d never gotten a call. Everyone on an adoption waiting list knows that calls aren’t for updates; calls are for matches.
Mat headed for our closet…yeah, I don’t know either. Between my jeans and his suits we huddled together and listened to Sharla explain that a birth mother had chosen us to adopt her baby. We were excited but not yet frantic. Then Mat asked when the birth mother was expected to deliver. Sharla gave a slight chuckle and said, “Well here’s the thing. She actually delivered on Tuesday.”
Stammering and silence often accompany surprise. Mat answered with, “Wait, you mean, so, the baby has already been born?” And I stared at the phone mouth agape.
The baby was already two days old. Cue frantic.
While Sharla spoke, Mat and I commenced a parallel silent conversation—knowing looks, excited eyes, shoulder suggestions, and explanatory hand motions; we hung up the phone knowing that a young woman in Texas had chosen us, that she had already given birth, and that we were a yes for this baby.
With thirty minutes until the next call, we went into a flurry of activity—me to get Faye to school and Mat to clear his calendar for the morning. We sent a group text asking for prayers of wisdom and guidance.
The thirty minutes of driving the mom-transit to and from Faye’s school the pressure to pray big wordy prayers felt weighty, but all that I could find in my head was, “This is your doing, I know this is your hand, thank you.”
Prayers that weren’t our own seemed to engulf us.
Fourteen hours earlier Mat and I had walked into our church’s monthly elder led prayer evening. This particular Wednesday our good friend and an elder at our campus, Marshall, led a section on praying for foster care and adoption. He asked that those families currently in the process of fostering or adoption to raise their hands and for those around them to gather and pray.
We raised our hands and other hands moved toward us from our right and our left, they came from the seats in front of us, and they moved from the back wall to our seats. Friends and pastors laid their hands on us and asked God to bring a baby to our home. They asked that at that very moment God would be leading a birth mom to choose our family. They asked for us to be faithful in our waiting. They praised God for bringing us as far as we had come and for knowing the perfect placement for us.
The previous evenings prayers seemed to have followed us home and that morning they mingled with the ones we had just asked for. No grand additions where required. I could only submit an astounded acknowledgment that they had been heard.
Mat and I reunited sans Faye just in time for our 10:00 call. Thirty minutes after that we were 90% sure this was going to happen. I spent the day getting things ready and making lists of baby necessities and the gear we didn’t have when we were in London—ya know, just little things like a car seat.
At 4 pm, I stood in a friend’s kitchen window and learned that everything was set. We would pick up a baby girl, our daughter, the next morning. We would meet her birth mom and birth grandmother in the afternoon.
I took Faye to her swim class and then handed her off to Ben and Ashley so Mat and I could make a mad dash for Buy Buy Baby and Baby Gap.
The entire evening was so full of crazy it could take up its own blog post. Our credit card company noticed it was nuts–we set off the fraud alert buying Elliotts gear.
That night I slept hard—when I feel a little overwhelmed my body sets off a MUST SLEEP alarm. I crashed, fully clothed and on top of the covers, a little after midnight. Mat stayed up into the wee-hours. He has a different alarm than me.
The next morning, my parents came and played with Faye at our apartment while we drove to the hospital for paperwork and to meet our newest daughter.
We gave Faye a hug and were about to walk out of the door when I realized these were our last moments as our family of three. I fought my tear ducks with eye squints, rational thinking, and filling a hospital bag.
I thought that I had let our family-of-three-time run out without making it special.
But on our drive, the previous weekend played in my mind. We had done so many fun family things—we took Faye to see Kung Fu Panda 3 complete with popcorn and M&M’s and all three of use went to the Perot Natural History Museum to see the Creatures of Light exhibit and play on the tiny Dallas skyline toy. God made sure we memorialized our last days as a family of three without us knowing that’s what we were up to. Such a sneaky and lovely God. And realizing a piece of his provision on the way to the hospital calmed my nerves a little.
We arrived at the hospital and waited in the parking lot for the call to come in. Understandably, our birth mom wanted to finish her paperwork and kiss her sweet girl without us.
When she left the hospital we entered it. We made a huddle of hospital waiting room furniture to write our newest daughters name on a handful of forms. Do the makers of manufactured wood chairs know the weight of the moments their plastic seat covers will hold?
Quick side note: I am going to save some things for a later post. The moments waiting for her to arrive where a compilation of so many emotions from the day before and more so that entire morning. I want to explain them to you. I want you to taste the bitter pith of the fruit of adoption. But it deserves more than a couple sentences.
Then we walked to the room where they would wheel in our daughter, Elliott.
Within a few minutes there she was. Two months of agency searching; nine months of paperwork; eight months of waiting—our fullness of adoption time materialized in six pounds and three ounces of curly-haired sleeping sweetness.
In less than twenty minutes, we had Elliott in a five point harness hug heading to meet her big sister.
I will have to write another post about the joy of Faye in all of this. For now think of it as uncontainable happiness—Christmas packages that won’t stay wrapped because they can’t adequately envelop the glee of the gifts inside them.
After a quick introduction, we met Elliott’s birth mom and grandmother for lunch. I know you think this sounds incredibly awkward and maybe just an awful kind of hard. I get that. Honestly, I was nervous about it.
But y’all, it was so good. We talked seriously, we chatted, we looked into each others eyes and made silent promises. We hugged a little. We cried a little. We grew mightily in affection for one another. It was time God crafted maybe because he knew how much we needed it, or at least how much I did.
The time spent at lunch with these women is precious to us. If Mat and I get a chance to sit down for dinner with you, we’d love to talk about it more. But for now, it’s ours. And out of respect for Elliott’s birth mom and for our feelings, we will keep some of it to ourselves and basically all of it off the internet.
After lunch, we headed home a freshly minted family of four.
The steadfast faithfulness of God in all things good and bad has been so apparent to us over the last eighteen months. The arrival of Elliott proved once again that his love for us has no bounds, and that he works all things out for the good of those who love him.
To all of you reading this who have supported us, prayed for us, given of your time and resources to us through this journey please know that thank you does not begin to express our gratitude. Please know that your support has time and again been the very thing that we needed and always pointed us back to the one from whom our strength comes from. We are honored that you would love us the way you have.
And please, don’t stop.
Pray for our family as we add Elliott to our mix. Pray for a smooth transition, for strength in the weariness and rest when we can get it. Pray forward for us—our future holds countless conversations about adoption, race, birth mothers, God’s knitting together families, and how the gospel is displayed through adoption. Would you take a minute to ask the Spirit to guide our words in those moments? Would you ask that he multiply those opportunities as well as our grace and courage and boldness and love in them?
Now we come to the moment you’ve been waiting for. Or not waiting for (I bet lots of you came for these first, I probably would have too)
Elliott Clare Hency | Born February 2nd, 2013 | Six pounds Three ounces