Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Ezra Story (Long Read)

well, i know this post is well over due (8 weeks, to be exact). and i have no idea how long it will wind up being or if anyone is even interested in reading it all, but i will now attempt to share our journey. i have sat down multiple times to write this and every time, i struggle with my thoughts and how to best order them, and i am more than likely going to struggle now, but hopefully you will bear with me. and i will intersperse this post with pictures to make it more fun.

we got an email from bethany updating us on birth mothers they were working with and it also stated that a boy had been born the previous day and was taken into custody from the hospital as his birth parents had decided to make an adoption plan for him. i immediately forwarded the email to david and we agreed not to get our hopes up, but by the time david got home, i had the overwhelming feeling to pray for these precious parents. selfishly, yes, we hoped they would choose us. but, also because i can't imagine sitting in the hospital, holding your child, and for one of a million reasons you believe adoption would be the best plan for them.

it was around 4 in the afternoon and my cell phone rang. i looked at the clock and thought "what if this were debby (our social worker)?" not sure why, but i did, thinking it was still within business hours, and that's what i did during that time...waited for the phone to ring between 8 and 5. i picked up my phone and saw the memphis area code and my heart stopped. i answered and debby's voice was there saying she had a case for us and she thought it would be a perfect fit. i would like to say here that i gracefully cried, but i sobbed. i sobbed like a little baby and told her i wouldn't be speaking for the rest of the phone call, but i promise i was still there. she went on to describe the stats of mother/father/child as well as a statement from the birth parents and the interim care family that was caring for him at the time. all very formal and sterile but beyond exciting to me (it was a leap day miracle!). she did warn us, however, these birth parents are married and this case is a little more touch and go than typical cases. they are much more likely to change their minds and they wanted to meet us first. they had 3 other children ages 3, 2 and 1 and this pregnancy was a game changer. after talking to david (we flipped out together) we told her we would be there as soon as they wanted us there for the meeting. we were kept on hold until they could schedule something, but we were told to be ready to come the next day.  obviously, exactly what you can imagine unfolded that night. we called our families and closest friends. we weren't ready to announce it to the world or anything. we weren't sure if this would work out, after all. and then we started packing. we each packed one bag for the weekend and one bag for 2 weeks, just in case things worked out and we had to stay while interstate paperwork was being worked out.

on thursday, we waited and waited...ran errands and waited some more until we heard that a meeting with baby boy's birth mother was scheduled for friday at noon. we decided to head to memphis thursday night so we could wake up and take it easy before the meeting. we had dinner with our best friends mandy and joel so that we could enjoy one last dinner potentially as not parents (their little boy henry was due at the beginning of march and we weren't sure if we'd be back before he arrived), and then we hit the road. we got in late and stayed up talking to liz and jd, getting all kinds of advice and encouragement and then went to bed, but unfortunately for me that did not mean sleep. i spent a lot of sweet time with Jesus in the wee hours of the morning that night and in those to come...and besides being really really tired, i wouldn't trade it for the world.

friday morning we woke up and were mainly distracted by amos and evie and spent the morning playing and hanging out. then we made our way to bethany's memphis office where we were able to spend some time with our social worker going over what to expect and some questions we could ask as well as some questions we could be prepared for. we were only going to be meeting with his birth mother, which was at the same time a little disappointing and relieving. we heard her walk into the office and then were led into the meeting room (basically set up to look like someone's living room) where we would have our interview. as we walked in, the first thing i thought was "she is so beautiful." she said she was so nervous and we assured her we were just as nervous. probably more. we spent the next hour talking, telling each other about ourselves. it was almost like a proposal. i am vaguely aware of what we talked about, but it was so overwhelming that i've forgotten most of it. she shared that they really were looking for confirmation of the impression they got from looking at our profile book. and at the end of it, she felt good about everything. she did tell us multiple times that she was trying to protect us by making absolutely sure this was what they were going to do before we met baby boy. we really appreciated that and she was so wonderful, we were just excited to get to know her and share with her that we wanted to stay a part of their lives, if they were comfortable with that. she said she would go back home and share everything she learned about us with her husband and they would make a decision over the weekend. we also learned that they had already set a court appointment for tuesday morning to sign their surrenders (termination of parental rights).

we really just went away from the meeting being blown away by her. she was such an outgoing, sweet person who truly loves her child so much and told us that multiple times. people often think that children who are adopted have been abandoned (which is sometimes the case, yes), but there are so many cases where there are extremely loving and responsible parents trying to make a way for their child where they can't find a better option. it is a decision made out of love, and they make a plan, and they care. and ezra's birth parents love him.

we spent the weekend trying desperately to distract ourselves. we went out to dinners and went to the playground and went shopping, etc, etc. we had a great time with liz, jd and the kids. i don't know what we would have done if we had been in a hotel somewhere. saturday night, we went on a date where we finally settled on baby boy's name, and then we met up with liz and jd for desert before heading back home. sunday morning i woke up with a weird feeling. it wasn't a terrible feeling but it wasn't a peaceful one. we stayed home from church because we both just felt restless and i felt like i would burst into tears at any moment.

throughout the weekend, whenever i felt anxious, i just reminded myself that here was this married couple deciding whether or not they would be able to parent their 4th unimaginable position and that helped give me a little perspective. i spent the sleepless nights praying that their marriage would be strengthened by this, that they would lean on each other and that whatever happened, they would grow through it together. and then i prayed the same for us. it was a hard prayer, because for a little while i was really afraid that God was going to use this to grow us through a hard time. and that's terrible to admit, but there it is.

sunday night we got a call saying the bad news was they still hadn't heard anything. the good news was if they changed their minds they would have heard from them saying they wanted their baby back. if nothing else, we should stick around until tuesday to see if they showed up to court.

monday morning i woke up with the greatest sense of peace. i truly felt like we were going to become parents and that we would hear from them soon. we knew our social worker had a homestudy that morning so we wouldn't hear from her until after lunch. david was going stir crazy and had to get out of the house, so he headed off to starbucks to get some work done. around 2, i got a call from debby and it was the quickest, most wonderful phone call where she said "we've heard from [birth mother] and she and [birth father] are in agreement and would like to move forward with placing their baby with you and david! since the court date is tomorrow, we will let them sign their surrenders and you will get custody tomorrow. so go celebrate and i'll call you back later with details!" literally, that was it. she obviously said those things with great excitement. but it was definitely short and to the point.

so then i called david and he was just speechless and mad that he wasn't there and then he was on his way to get a celebratory cookie cake (because who passes up on an opportunity to get a cookie cake?). he came home to liz and i sorting through amos's baby clothes and making a target list. we went that night to target and were ridiculously giddy, practically skipping down aisles. and then that night i folded a bunch of tiny baby clothes that the next day my son would be in. between the emotions and the staying up late to fold laundry and the lack of sleep nights prior and the relief, i slept like a baby.

tuesday was sort of a grueling day because we weren't supposed to get to the agency until 3, which made for a looooooong morning. but it was awesome, because it was the big day. i remember debby calling to tell us that the surrenders had been signed and i was so excited and at the same time mourned for these precious parents. around 2 david put the car seat in the car and it became very real what was about to happen. we headed up to the office and had to sign about a thousand papers, and then were led back to that same living room-type place. we sat there and then i heard the doorbell ding that indicated someone new had come in and i knew it was our baby (well, the interim care mom carrying our baby). my heart started pounding and i felt like time slowed to a crawl. i realized later they were taking him out of the car seat so they could actually hand him to us, but at the time i just wanted to run down the hall and grab him. i was kind of a wreck. when they came around the corner and said "here's your baby!" i had a total come-apart. we just sat there and stared at him and held his little hands and talked to him and it was so wonderful. we then had this time where we talked with the interim care mom and got the basics of his schedule/needs, etc. he was two weeks, one day old when we took him home. the next 30 minutes we spent with our social worker, the birth mother counselor and the interim care mom were kind of a blur, but then we got to take him with us (really? they let us do that?) and it was so exciting. i think david drove 20 mph the whole way home.

when we got back to the house, the kids were asleep and we immediately had to hand him over to aunt liz. shortly after we got home, evie woke up and when we went to get her, she had the most hilarious look on her face of "why is mommy holding a baby?" and then she looked at me like it was my fault. it was really hilarious. when amos woke up, we were a little more interested to see what his reaction was going to be (we're and amos), but he was so excited and just kept saying "hey, baby!" over and over. and he just wanted to touch him. the picture above is one of my favorites. he just wanted to be close to him.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

my mom came to visit during the week. sadly, i didn't take any pictures and didn't realize it until just now. hopefully she took some!

david's family came up that weekend and got to spend some time with sweet little man. david's dad wins the award for most effort! he drove all the way from texas to birmingham on friday to meet up with david's mom who had come to visit liz and charlie (they had just moved into a new house) and then all of them drove up to memphis on saturday morning - just to have to turn around and drive back to texas on sunday. we love them so much and it was really hard to see them go!

the pictures below were taken the day we left. on tuesday, march 13 we got the call that our paperwork was approved and we were getting to go home. it was really bittersweet. we were ready to get home - to get to some level of normalcy - but at the same time i broke down into tears. i was so sad to leave. the reality that liz and i don't live in the same city anymore hit me and i just knew that going home meant leaving her. but we got our butts in gear and amazingly got the car packed, fed ezra, got in the car and left. we made it home around 9 to an apartment full of our closest family and friends. they were total troopers to party that late and it was great to introduce ezra to his new people!
(liz said that amos woke up the next morning and went downstairs and the first thing he said was "baby?" she had to tell him that baby had gone home and then he said "bekah home?" -yep. bekah's at home too. "day-day home?" -yeah, baby. bekah, david and their baby went home. sweet boy. he thought we were moving in.

that day everything changed. that little boy became the greatest thing in the world to us. we were overwhelmed by how beautiful he is and how much we loved him immediately. yes, there was a 10 day waiting period where his birth parents could change their minds, but we really felt that - based on her previous protection of us - that they wouldn't have even made this decision if there was the slightest possibility that they may change their minds. we just stared at him, as did amos and evie! we were and still are so overwhelmed and thankful for our little blessing. he amazes us every day. his is 10 weeks old now and completely fascinating. he knows his mommy and daddy and will turn towards us when one of us starts talking - even in a room with other people talking! we think he's advanced. and we just are head over heels in love.

we are so appreciative of everyone who supported our journey, whether it was financially or through prayer. to say that we could tell that people were praying for us is an understatement. there was no reason for us to be as calm as we were. We are so thankful for those prayers of our sweet friends and family.


April said...


Super sweet story. :) Thanks for sharing. I wish Destin and I were there to meet sweet Ezra in person. Oh, and we LOVE the name.

Julianne said...

Love love LOVE this story! And you. Thank you for sharing, and allowing us to be a part of it :) And, please, blog more. The end.

Ashley Nolan said...


Ericka B. Jackson said...

Rebekah this is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the whole experience with us - I have been dying to hear it but figured you were busy with your handsome little man!

So happy for you guys! Congratulations again!

MegMc said...

I just read this for the first time. It brought me to tears. To think this may be us soon is pretty overwhelming! What a sweet story :)