Imprinted

I have searched for the exact words to write this blog, at least a million times……each time, deleting, rephrasing, rewording all that I type. How do you begin to describe the fact that my journey had at long last found a happy ending? Through words I could capture my heartache, my pain, my losses but to find words to begin to describe the joy that came at the end of that fight, the sweet fulfillment of that dream coming true…….there seems to be no words. The emotion is strong enough to make the loss seem like a shrapnel, a fragment of what was to await my heart. The treachery I had endured seemed to define me……little did I know they were a piece of me….but it was the beauty at the end of the broken road that defined me. Braelyn, YOU define me. How do you put something that infinite into words????? How do I describe how your world can be so shattered and one tiny little girl can erase all that and put all the brokenness back together. So, I will start with the ending of my journey to finding you….and as sad as that may sound it is, I had stopped searching for you, not that I didn’t love you, oh how my heart ached for you. I had to let go of what everyone had described as a pipe dream of being a mom and settle for spending the rest of eternity just being a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister…..and nothing more.

As my last blog left off I had found sanctuary in your father’s arms. He again became the man that I entrusted my heart to. I didn’t know what that meant for us as a couple. I knew one day we would breach the relentless hopelessness of being unparents and find ourselves on the other side. After my final miscarriage, I found myself now infertile, unable to get pregnant which had at one time been so easy, although the pregnancy never lasted long. I now simply resigned to just be me again…….nothing more. I was too frail to begin hoping for anything more than the whisper of a dream. I clung to your father like the last strand of my life depended on it…….because, truthfully, my life DID depend on him. On his steadfast hand, his unwavering stability, his matter of fact belief that everything would work itself out……..my mind reeled as it tried to embrace this new reality.

I threw myself into being the best wife that I could. Shifting my focus from motherhood, to things that were tangible. Just when I had resided to move on, your dad said what if we adopt? I had always wanted to adopt even if I could have carried a baby but never thought it was something we could financially afford. I just wanted a child, it mattered not if that baby came to me through my own pregnancy or someone else’s. I didn’t care what biological factors played in your genetic makeup. I talked to a lady in mississippi that was giving her child up after birth. She was having a boy, part Thai, and I began making plans…..it was futile though the adoption fell through before he was born. For some reason, I had a peace about it, and it didn’t wreck me the way my other losses did. I just felt like he wasn’t meant to be mine.

Of course, I would have loved a son. But secretly, I had always wanted a blonde-haired, blue eyed little girl; and so had your daddy…that would have been my wish list if I could’ve made one. However, any child that was ours would have made us happy, regardless of gender or ethnicity. I had no idea what God had in store for me. I had talked to my cousin about researching adoption agencies, maybe sitting up some fundraisers to fund our quest for parenthood. Two weeks later, I get a call from her, she had been talking about me at work, and a co-worker had a relative who was placing her child. Something in my heart fell away, a calm covered me like a blanket lulling that part of me that had given up to quiet in my head, I just knew everything was going to work out one way or the other.

Anxiously, I awaited a call back, and within two days I got the call…but not the one I had hoped. “April, they have a family that wants the baby.” I just sat in the parking lot of the store, for some reason my heart just couldn’t deal at the moment…….I only had one question, “Was it a girl?” Silence on the other end of the phone as my cousin knew my desire for a daughter. “Pam, I just need to know. It is a little girl, isn’t it? “Yes, April, it is a girl.” I ended the call and sat there in silence, in that parking lot but I didn’t melt down, I just tried to process it. One more dream had been snatched away, yet it didn’t destroy me…I waited for the moment that the wave of grief would wash over me…yet it didn’t come…I think that is because somewhere in my heart, in my deepest longings, I knew that this wasn’t over….but I couldn’t see a happy outcome.

I heard the Lord whisper, “Be quiet, and still. Through the storms I am your refuge.” I leaned on that because I had given it all to him just a month before. I had laid my burden at the foot of the throne over and over and each time I had picked it back up. Unable to wait, I would take back what I had told God to take over for me. This time I vowed to leave it there, allow God to do, what I had not been able to do….like have a child or not have one whatever his will! I felt for sure that soon I would find myself on the brink of insanity having one more dream dissipate before my eyes. I braced myself for what I was sure was a waterworks of emotion, but only peace consumed me, the Lord’s voice reassuring me my time was near, the wait was almost over, my answer was coming. Although I wasn’t sure what my answer would be or if I would even be a mom…I clung to that, the promise that God would give me an answer. I had no other choice, other than to spiral into the despair that I had been living in for seven years…..and that was not an option anymore.

Once I was at home, I knelt in my office where I prayed. I didn’t shout, or scream like I had not so long ago. I simply bowed my head and told the Lord, that we had been so close, a little girl, a private adoption without the pricey adoption agency fees, and that rarely happens. I would have given a million dollars for a child, but I no more had a million dollars than a precious baby resting in my arms. I didn’t know what His test was, perhaps showing me that with him anything was possible even something that rarely existed. A few weeks passed and not one of those days did I not think of that baby, the one that was almost mine, the one that was so close to being my daughter…..why did I feel like she was mine? Adoptive families never back out of a private adoption, especially ones that waited for years. Then why was this image of her cropping up in my mind? Why hadn’t I accepted it wasn’t meant to be, there would be a next time, right? But, nonetheless it felt this time was the time, this child WAS my daughter, and it all baffled me. As my heart dared to love her anyways, I didn’t wrap myself in grief or feel any anxiety. It was said and done but I couldn’t close the chapter? She was going to be someone else’s child, I realistically knew this……then my phone rang, it was a number I didn’t recognize which I typically do not answer. I picked up the phone thinking that it was the wrong number.

“This is April,” I said as I was washing the dishes………..

(To keep names private I am going to change the names)

“This is Sandy, I am Susan’s mother in law.”

I kept asking who this was, and trying to place the voice…I guess my silence gave it away.

“I am wondering if you were still open to adopt my daughter in laws baby?”

Trying to keep my composure, “Yes, I am interested! I thought she had already found her home.”

“The strangest thing happened and the other couple decided that they had waited so long that they no longer felt the need to have children.”

I wanted to shout, I know what happened, GOD intervened!!!!!!!! “What do I need to do now,” I questioned trying to keep my voice calm.

“Can you come and meet the family and Susan for an informal interview. You can ask questions and she and my son can ask you guys things. If it works out she will contact you and then you pursue the adoption.”

The call ended and I ran, shouted, and jumped in my husband’s arms who had no idea what the commotion was about! “They changed their mind we are going to be parents!”

Scotty puzzled, “WHO, changed their mind.”

“The couple that was going to adopt our little girl changed their mind……that never happens! They changed their mind because she is meant to be our’s! We have to meet with them in two days but I just know this is our daughter!” I exclaimed.

My husband who never gets emotional, picked me back up in his arms, sheer joy on his face, so much joy in fact that tears fell down his cheeks, we laughed and cried in the middle of that kitchen. Inside those lonely empty walls of a house we cried tears of bliss, overcome with the moment and not allowing doubt to come in. This moment, we had a daughter on the way, nothing was ruining that.

Two days, were an eternity as I waited and waited, I didn’t sleep a wink. I was apprehensive about what they might ask, how would I answer, would they like us? The night we met them we pulled in the driveway, shaking with nerves, we said a quick prayer for God to give us words, for them to know what we already knew this child was meant to be our daughter. I walked inside, introductions were made and I saw Susan sitting in a rocking chair, very pregnant! I hadn’t realized she was so far along, excitement filled my heart. I instantly wanted to touch her belly, which is strange as I never touch a strangers belly but I was drawn to it, my daughter was inside there, mere inches from me, invisible except the mound under Susan’s shirt. The thought that she was in the same room with me was euphoric. Susan’s eyes met mine and she smiled up at me and I smiled back at her. I was taken aback as my oddly colored eyes, a gray blue were staring back at me……I had never met anyone with my exact eye color. She seemed to feel the same and studied my face intently as if she was seeing someone she knew already. She asked, “Would you like to touch my belly? She rarely moves but you are welcome to try!”

Without thought, I just put my hand on Susan’s stomach and I spoke to her in hushed tones……suddenly there was this large kick that took me unaware. A stirring of my baby, the baby that already had my own heart…….you were mine. She asked me why I had chosen adoption, and I told her every grueling story of my endless losses, my horrific details of every heartache we had in 7 years. I tried to keep my composure, I had gotten good at telling my story, and usually I would keep the emotions at bay. Yet here I was stripped, raw, and vulnerable, baring my heart to a stranger, a stranger with grey blue eyes who also was busily wiping tears from her cheeks. My eyes locked her’s and she said she would let me know monday…….two days away what her decision was. Yet, her eyes told me so much more….she already knew.

Braelyn, how does a person describe the sheer brilliance of the colors in a rainbow after the rain? How do you put into words the feeling you get when you are outside and the sun warms your face? The emotion of when you see something so beautiful, and experience it to the depths of your soul that you cannot see anything but that beauty???????? That is what you were to me.

Monday afternoon, I got a call, I knew the number……but answering it made me so sick and scared and thrilled that I hesitated before calming myself and answering..”This is April.”

“April, this is Susan…I have made my decision..” the voice said

I think my heart stopped beating before I heard the magical words..”You are going to be a mommy!”

I don’t remember my response, I just hung up. I walked to the room your daddy was painting, and with calm that I did not feel I said, “We are going to have a daughter!”

He hesitated, then swept me up and we cried, and laughed and spent the entire night talking about you. Your daddy, who is not much of a talker, couldn’t shut up. Your father who isn’t emotional, veered between laughter and tears as readily as I did. We were going to have a daughter! We spent a month cleaning, painting, decorating and buying all the bedding/necessities for a baby. It was like finding out I was 8 months pregnant……..full nesting mode. I painted everything, found the means to get all you needed……and I don’t think I slept a wink!

The day you were born was 8 days before your anticipated arrival. You were due January 24, 2009….I didn’t sleep at all. The day you were born, oh, baby girl, it was magical. It was all I wanted and more. You were brought out and put in the nursery, my heart leapt as I stared at your face for the first time. Oh, perfection, beauty, and this instant desire to just hold you swept over me. I cried, laughed, screamed, and a million other things and all I wanted was you……my daughter in my arms! You finally had a face…this baby i prayed into existence…..and you had duck down hair the color of honey, blue eyes that would rival the bluest seas, and lips the color of rose petals! The only thing that terrified me….you were REAL now, you were a PERSON, you were my DAUGHTER, not some image I wheeled up in my head about a child I never saw, touched or held, not some loss, not some sad thing…….you were EVERYTHING! My inner thoughts plagued me, so what if the biological mother decided to keep you? What if I had just laid eyes upon you but my hands would never touch you? I could come back from 8 losses, I could cope with losing 8 pregnancies, 8 babies I had never had the intimacy of seeing their faces…I could do that IF that meant your face was my reward! What I knew for certainty that I couldn’t do is walk out of that hospital without you….I could NOT see your face, and return to my mundane life like I had never looked upon your tiny existence…….I looked up to the heavens, crying as I watched them wheel you to the room that housed the woman who had kept you for 9 months, the woman who had by all rights the right to keep you, but in that instance in all the hurt and sorrow it was worth it. I pleaded to God. I am so sorry for my doubts, my uncertainty of your plan, if all those losses were for me to have this one child I would endure it all again, and never complain. Lord, what I don’t know is how I will come back from this. I had saw the face of my daughter….not a dream, but real, beautiful, breathing and perfect. I knew God would see me through but I told him under my breath, “I know you have everything figured out and I trust you..” Secretly, I knew that there was no way I was leaving that hospital without my child, I would just have to be sedated or put in restraints, but I would never recover. You were imprinted on my soul, you were more to me than any of my losses, and as terrible as it sounded, I know I would have exchanged you for every single loss 100 times over. I will never be able to put it to words, but you…yes you, were mine. You were the part of me I had missed my entire life, and I hope that one day you will know the depths of my love.

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