Read the first part of this post here.
Up until Sunday, our Monday afternoon placement meeting was still tentative. Then, I got a call from our social worker Sunday afternoon. “I always get nervous when you call” I told her. “Well, you should be excited about this phone call” she said.
“Are you available Monday at 2:30 to come pick up your children?” she asked.
“WHAT?! REALLY?!” We hung up and I actually jumped up and down like a teenage girl and cried my eyes out. I called Aaron at work and we were in shock together. Those babies were beginning to feel like ours.
That weekend was frantic! We worked on getting the house in order as much as we could and ran around gathering clothes and gear from friends who have been so kind and gracious to give to us.
When the Cowboys play on Sunday nights we go over to our friends’ Barbie and Zach’s house and watch the game. This Sunday we went and it was going to be our last night out as just Aaron and I. During the game and after dinner, Barbie and Zach surprised us with champagne and a cake that said, “Congratulations Bunker Party of 4!”
It was hitting me. This is really happening.
Sunday night I wanted to go to bed early because I knew it would be my last full night of uninterrupted sleep but I just couldn’t stop moving. There were so many loose ends around the house that needed to be tied. So many loose ends that are still loose (any body want to come help me organize clothes and decorate a nursery?!), but that pale in comparison of soaking up every little ounce of our babies’ newborn deliciousness.
Monday morning Lesli came over to bring us some baby goodies. I fixed coffee and we sat on the couch in the quietness and just talked. That was such a precious moment for me spending that time, the calm before the sweet storm, with Lesli, one of my dearest friends. She prayed over us and for Gracie and Cason…a beautiful moment in the story of our adoption that I’ll soak in and remember forever.
The parents were scheduled to sign their relinquishment at 1 and we were scheduled for placement at 2:30. At 1, I was nervous, hoping I wouldn’t get a phone call saying that they changed their mind. No news was good news as Aaron and I pulled into our agency at 2:30.
We pulled the car seats out of the car, made our way up the elevator and down the hall to the agency. As I turned the knob to open the door, I started crying. This. Was. Real.
Our social worker met us and led us to a room where the foster moms that the babes were placed with after being released from the NICU were hanging out to meet us. We were able to talk with them and ask questions about these babies’ personalities and schedules. While the kiddos were in foster care Aaron and I prayed deeply that the foster homes that they were placed in would just pour love into those babies, love that we couldn’t give them at that time. When we met the ladies, I immediately felt they were an answer to prayer. They loved our kids so much while they had them. They met their needs and prepared them for their forever home. I told them how sad I was that we missed the first three weeks of their life but these ladies are so amazing and took pictures and made us scrapbooks from the time they had them. And that’s when the tears flowed! They gave us some basic baby gear and presents, answered our questions, told us all about our Gracie and Cason, and celebrated with us.
Then it was time to meet our babies.
At our first meeting, the birth parents showed us pictures of the babes. But honestly, I was still guarded that when I saw the pictures, they were just pictures of cute kids. I didn’t absorb the photos. Our social worker had told us that they were giving the birth parents the opportunity to meet with us again at placement and my heart prepared for what was to come.
We went into a room where the birth parents were holding Gracie and Cason, loving on them, and saying goodbye. And you know what. I’m sitting here in starbucks writing this blog post and crying thinking about that moment for them. Birth mom was holding Gracie and birth dad was holding Cason. She had tears in her eyes as she handed Gracie over to me.
“Can I hug you?” I asked her. She shook her head yes. And I squeezed her tight. She cried in my embrace. My heart hurt for her. It hurt so bad. She wiped away her tears and kissed Gracie as I held her in my arms. Birth dad had handed Cason to Aaron and he was was talking to Cason saying, “I’ll see you later.” Then birth dad came over to Gracie and gave her kisses. It was a precious, yet heartbreaking, moment. Birth mom gathered her things and wiped away her tears and I hugged her again. I couldn’t help it.
We looked at each other, words insufficient for this moment, but I told her and reassured her that I would love these babies with all my heart and always take care of them. “We’ll see you soon” we told them.
And they left.
I couldn’t stop crying. I was crying for joy for our celebration, and crying in sadness for the heartbreak that those birth parents have gone through. Everyone gave Aaron and I a moment alone with our kids and then our social worker and the foster moms joined us in celebrating. And that’s what I really needed – to focus on our celebration in that moment, more than the loss because the loss was consuming me – and having those people there to celebrate with us, was wonderful. They took our first family pictures, brought us more baby swag, and just poured into us as a family. We signed our papers and Gracie and Cason went home as Bunkers.
This whole experience has been incredible. Aaron and I were talking about every step in this process and Aaron remembered back in March when he had an MRI on his shoulder; while he was in the MRI “coffin,” he felt deeply led to pray for the birth mom of the child(ren) we would adopt some day. Looking back on it, March was probably around the time that Gracie and Cason were conceived. Mind-blowing, isn’t it?! Who knows, maybe that prayer is what led us to our kids and protected them and their mom.
I’m absolutely in awe of this story. God has just blown us away. And that’s been my prayer the whole time – the whole 4 year journey we’ve been on – that God would use this story to bring him glory. The beauty from these ashes is two beautiful, healthy babies, that are exactly what we had pictured in our minds. And when I look at Gracie and Cason I think, “You’re the little people we’ve been waiting on.” They’re the people that were designed and meant for our family. They are what we’ve been waiting on for 4 years…
…and they were so worth the wait.