Monday, October 29, 2012

My Pregnancy Lasted Longer than an Elephant's

Eleven years ago today, Patrick and I got dressed to appear before a judge. Erin was almost ten months old, and she was in tow. She had on a black beret, with a black, velvet bodice dress with black hounds tooth skirt, white tights and black paten Mary Janes. She was clueless to the stress and energy surrounding this day. We drove to the Belton County courthouse where we met up with our family and our attorney who was my uncle. Unsure of how long we would be here because there was no order to the docket, my uncle started jockeying for position before the judge even entered the courtroom.

All Rise. I had been in courtrooms before but not for anything close to this. As soon as we were allowed to be seated, my uncle sprinted toward the bench. That’s the fastest I think I’ve ever seen him move. The judge decided to hear our case first, and Patrick and I approached the bench. I was happy to be holding Erin because my nerves were on end, and I’m afraid of what I would have been doing with my hands otherwise. As we stood before the judge, he began asking questions of my attorney uncle, and then his questions turned to Patrick and me. Will you be good parents? Will you love this child? Will you see this child as your own? Some of the most ridiculous questions on the face of the earth. Like we were going to answer with, Nope, Nope, Nope. Sometime during the questioning Erin’s chubby little hand reached over the bench and took the judges calculator tape and unrolled it towards her mouth. I didn’t realize it until the judge looked down at Erin. So relieved and a little embarrassed, I replaced the judge’s calculator tape while he grinned. It was one of the best thing he does as a judge, he said, to announce our adoption had been finalized. Of course, pictures were taken. Hugs were given, and our family all made our way down to the first floor to file the paperwork. And by family, I mean me, Patrick, Erin, Sharon and Steve, Lori and Madeleine, Honey and Poppar. It was more like a posse.

What a joyful day it was to finalize Erin’s adoption. I had loved her from the moment God had put the desire in my heart to be a mom. I had wanted her from the moment we had started our search for her. I had prayed for her during our journey to find her, and when I saw her for the first time in the delivery room taking her first breath, I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else in the world.

I am forever bound to another woman in this world because she loved her child so much that she chose life. She chose to give Erin life, and then she chose to give Erin her future. If you have never craved a child, desired to be a mom, grieved the loss of every month that passed, if you have never searched high and low for the child God had chosen for you, if you’ve never known the failure of an adoption because of withdrawal from a birthparent, then thank God. If you have been through those trials, struggles and tribulations or are going through them, know that there is an end, and the reward is great. I cherish my kids. I don’t take them for granted because there’s no way I could have them myself. There are no rule books for adoption because each story is unique. If you are even thinking about adoption, start journaling because it is part of your baby’s story and your journey to meet him or her.

I tell people my pregnancy lasted three years and two months – from the time we started trying till the time Erin was in my arms. My pregnancy was longer than an elephant’s whose pregnancy lasts for 22 months! Did I feel her move inside me? She was growing in my heart. Was I ever uncomfortable? Have you ever talked to another woman who is contemplating placing her baby for adoption and is considering you for that job? You bet I was uncomfortable at times. Did I have cravings? Stress eating can cause people to eat specific things. Thankfully I lived in Belton that had some great places for breakfast burritos! Was I emotional and did I nest? Are you kidding me? Absolutely! Erin’s nursery was ready before we even went to the informational meeting at the adoption agency!

I specifically prayed for a healthy, easy-going baby girl the first go-around. I wanted to be in the delivery room. I prayed for that. There are other things that I prayed for and God answered them. Erin knows without a doubt that it was by God’s design that she was chosen to be my daughter. She also knows that sometimes God does things outside the box in unconventional ways for different reasons, and we just have to trust that He knows what He’s doing and will work it out for our best.

Erin, I can’t imagine my life without you in it. You are such a blessing and a joy, and you were so worth the wait!

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