At 2:30 am (now remember I went to sleep at about 2am) on December 21, 2005 my phone rang and it was the ministry director proclaiming “Congratulations Mom, your son has been born, just in time for Christmas. Go to Dekalb Medical Center now.” By this time, I’m half dressed as being a pastor one knows that when the phone rings in the middle of the night one must be needed
Well this time it did also but for completely different reasons. I was indeed at first confused, I confess, I thought maybe this lady had been studying the ultrasound from earlier the day before and had just figured out it was a boy but no she really meant that our baby had been born. So much for 6 weeks.
By the time I got off the phone Joe was up and getting dressed and we called his mom as we were leaving our apartment. We had no idea what to expect, as we didn’t have any legal papers drawn up – heck we didn’t even have an attorney, never mind anything else we needed. But we trusted and we were ready to let the hospital folks know that we were the birth mother’s pastor but that was not needed. As we entered the hospital it was if they were waiting for us and everyone treated us with such respect and knew we were the adoptive parents of the baby that had just come in by ambulance. No nothing was wrong with the little guy, he just came so quickly he was born en route to the hospital in the ambulance.
When we arrived to maternity and delivery we stood at the nursery window with tears in our eyes as the nurses indicated which precious bundle was ours and watched as they pricked him to check his blood and did all the other tests that happen in the first few hours of a new born’s life. My dream was coming true. We also visited with the birth mother and made certain she still wanted to give him up for adoption, which she did and she again assured me that she would never do anything to take him away from us that her promise was good and she knew he would be in the best hands possible with us to love and care for him. We spent the rest of the night in the hospital room with his birth mother and him (until paper work was worked up we could only be with the baby in the mothers room). But it was me who changed his first diaper – which was such wonderful. I was taken aback because they had bagged him to get a toxin screen on his first urine and it was I who feed him his first bottle. Gifts that lots of adoptive parents don’t get to do. God’s hands were certainly in the midst.
The doctors believed that although this little bundle of boy appeared to be “normal” that he had a long road ahead of him as he would certainly have major withdrawal from the illegal and legal substances found in his body. They prepped us for what was to come the shrill screaming, the inconsolable cry, perhaps tremors or even seizures. They quickly told us they would not be discharging him till well into the new year. It was as if they wanted us to turn our backs on him. But there was no way we were instantly in love and the parent baby bonds had begun to happen.
Early that morning about 7:30 am we got hooked up with an attorney that was willing to take on our case and would meet with Joe and the birth father at his office and would then come to the hospital for the birth mother to sign her part of the surrender of parental rights. It was only because of the fact I was a bit late with my last quarterly payment for my self employed taxes that I had the money to write the attorney a retainer check. By mid day Joe was back at church doing some work, the surrender of rights had been signed by both parents and I just hung out in the hospital room with my precious baby and the mother who gave birth to him. Those moments were holy to me – no other words can describe them.
Joe had to pull me away that evening about 7 or 8 because I’d been there all day without much to eat and without any sleep. Plus we had learned that we needed to return the refrigerator we bought because it wasn’t the right size and have a new one purchased and delivered plus we realized that we at least needed a car seat to bring our precious new one home in ~ whenever that was going to be. So we rushed off to HHGregg to return the one refrigerator and arrange for it’s pick up and delivery of another and then to Babies R Us to pick a car seat. I’m sure it was all good that i was so in awe, shock and suffered from severe exhaustion because normally I would have researched every pro and con of every carseat — but that night I just picked on. Didn’t care, just so long as it wasn’t to girly.
By the time we finished up there my cell rang and it was evident that word had somehow gotten out at church because the Women’s Fellowship had also made a trip to Babies R Us that day and told us to stop by my office because they had a gift for us. Well my office was FULL of stuff diapers, pacifiers, bottles, sleepers, hats, a few toys, a bear, sheets for one of the new pack and plays that was in the nursery, cozy warm blankets and well pretty much anything we needed to bring the baby home (again whenever that would happen). Our hearts were overfilled with JOY. We loaded up the car and took it all back to the apartment and as I thought about my sweet baby lying in the nursery I looked at how much folks had already done for him to welcome him into our family and the church family. Indeed he was loved and we were loved.
The love would grow and increase over the next 8 years but stay tuned for the reminder of his first days. More tomorrow friends.