Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Time With Him

I decided to blog more in-depth about our time with Samuel at my other blog.  It is my loss blog after all.  I hope to have an update soon about the next steps we will take on this adoption journey.  Hop on over to Beauty Will Rise to read about saying hello, going home, and saying good-bye.

Coming Home and Saying Good-bye.

(This is a continuation of my last two posts about our process of bringing home the son we were adopting and having to say good-bye. )


We got up and took our time getting ready for the day.

A photographer friend of mine that lives not far from where we were met us at the hotel to take our first family pictures.  We were tired, but you can tell we were so happy.  Here are just a few.

We actually had to check out of our room, but the hotel was really nice and let us use their lobby.

We finished up there and had a couple hours before Samuel's follow up doctor's appointment, so we decided to get some lunch.  The waitress asked how old he was and I  told her 4 days.  She looked at me and said, "Shew girl you look good!"  I told her we were in the process of adoption, but she didn't hear me.  She went on and on about how he looked like my husband and how she hopes he gets Ethan's big blue eyes.  We just smiled and placed our order.  I literally could not stop smiling.

After lunch, we drove back to the hospital and met A (Samuel's birth mother there).  We got right in to see the pediatrician and Samuel's bilirueben levels looked great.  He had some mild baby acne and the Dr. ordered some cream for it.  The doctor asked lots of questions about his delivery and A answered them.  Then he asked questions about how he did while in the hospital and about the night before, which I answered.  Then he asked us if we were friends.  I'm sure he was wondering what the situation was with us.  We told him about the adoption plan and he said that one of the nurses had mentioned that.  He asked if we had any biological children and I briefly told him our story.  He commended A and told her what a great thing it was she was doing for us.  Especially after having a c-section.

We had to go to the on-site pharmacy for the cream and that took about 45 minutes.  Then, we were on our way home.  The almost 3.5 hour drive went great.  We both made some calls to let people know we were finally coming home and I talked with our pastor about Samuel's dedication at church.  There was already a baby dedication planned for the next Sunday, but our Pastor said if we wanted to wait and make his a special day just for him we could.  He also asked us to tell our story and share our testimony that day.  Many of our church family know our story, but we attend a very large church, so many still do not.

As we got back into town, we had to stop at my Mom's house and my Grandmother came over.

His socks are off because my Mom and Grandma always have to see baby feet.  I mean, who doesn't love baby feet?

Mom had cooked dinner for us so we stayed a while, then went home to get settled in as a family of four!  The night went well and the next morning we were refreshed and ready to really get into a routine.


There were many things that were so exciting about having him home.  We had decided to cloth diaper, so we started that and used the room in our house that has been a nursery two times before.  We used his new changing table and just took in every little look he gave us.  Then, late in the morning, my cell phone rang.  I was changing Samuel's diaper and he peed in the middle of the change, and he didn't like having to change his clothes again, so I had my hands full.  Ben told me it was A and answered it.  She must have asked for me, so Ben and I traded places and I took the phone.

The first thing she said was, "Mattie, I don't know how to tell you this..."  My heart immediately hit my stomach and I knew what she was going to say.

"I can't do this.  I tried, I really did, but I just can't do it."

I started crying and didn't know what to say.  I won't share our whole conversation.  But the short version is, she had bonded with him even when she was trying not to.  He looked so much like her first born, it was too painful to not parent him.  I had told her from the beginning we were going to try to make this whole process as easy as we could for her.  I asked her if she even had a carseat to take him home.  She said she was borrowing one.  I told her we had to make some arrangements and we would call her later.

I bawled in my bedroom with the door shut until my husband came in.  I straightened myself up a little.  I didn't have to tell him what was going on, but after him, came Ethan.  He climbed up on the bed and asked what was wrong.  I told him A called. I told him she really wants to be Samuel's mommy now and we have to take him back to her.

"NO!!" He yelled and buried his face in his hands.  "That will make everything broken again!"

He laid his head on my shoulder and cried.  He told me to call her back and just tell her no.  Tell her that I am his mommy and he is his brother.  I was holding Samuel and Ethan asked if he could hold him again, so I let him.  Ethan said, "Mommy, it feels like he is passing away."

Ben stayed with Ethan and Samuel and I began to pack his things.  All the clothes we had bought for him (except what he had already worn), a few packs of diapers, burp clothes and bibs and receiving blankets.  I packed the little socks and paci's and bottles.  The little Bible that we had for Samuel.  The one just like Ethan's little Bible.  The one I wrote 1 Samuel 1:27 in the front of.  "For this child I prayed and God granted me what I asked of him."

Ben called our attorney who told us we had to wait for the custody order to be vacated by the judge, because until that happens, we were legally responsible for Samuel.  I asked Ben to call Ashley and tell her.  We drove to my Mom's to leave Ethan because it would have been too hard for him to say good-bye like we were going to have to.  A little while later we heard back from the attorney and the judge was not going to be able to vacate the order until the next day.  I texted A and told her and she said she figured we might need another night and that was ok with her if we just waited until the next day.  We went home and sat together as a family.  All of us took our turns crying.  We also took turns feeding, changing, dressing and holding sweet Samuel.

I didn't sleep much that night, I could hardly take my eyes off of him.


About 10:00am we got the call that it was over.  Samuel was no longer ours.  We took Ethan to Mom's and she gave us a bag full of things she had purchased for him for us to give to A.  Ethan kissed Samuel and my Mom prayed over him and us.  We texted A and her friend was going to drive her half way to meet us.

We had to stop before we got there to feed and change Samuel.  We were to our meeting place first and I snapped just a few more pics of this sweet face.

He made some really sweet eye contact and I talked to him and prayed over him.

When they pulled up my knees went weak, but I knew what I had to do.  Ben got the bags and bags of baby stuff and I carried Samuel to her and told her where his medicine and formula were.  I told her about the stuff in the bags and I held it together well for a few minutes.

Then I kissed his little face and placed him in his birth mother's arms and the tears started.  I hugged her quickly and hugged her friend and told her to take care of them.  I peeked in the back seat of the car and said something to Samuel's biological brother and turned my back and quickly walked to our van.  Ben was right beside me.  As soon as we shut the doors, I began weeping uncontrollably facing away from them.  I just couldn't stand to watch them put him into that seat and drive away, so we left quickly.  It's been a long time since I cried like that, but I recognized what kind of cry it was.


It has been almost two weeks since we left that parking lot.  I have been emailing A and they are now back in her home state.  Samuel is doing well.  She kept the first name we gave him and appreciates all the stuff we sent.  We have gotten the bill from the attorney and decided that one of us should have went to law school.  We will continue to try and keep in touch with Samuel and his family, A said she knows we have bonded and would like for him to meet us someday.

Friday, March 23, 2012

In the Hospital

(This is a continuation of my last post about Samuel's birth.  I will continue writing it as if he was ours to keep.)


After not sleeping at all, I was still very alert and thankful to have my eyes on such a sweet little man.  His spit up continued and we asked about switching formula.  The nurse finally saw him regurgitate almost a whole feeding and talked with the pediatrician that switched him to soy.  He did much better with that.  They said his billiruben was normal, but they wanted to check it again later.

A (Samuel's birth mother) was very sore from her c-section, but was able to get up and move around a little. They were able to unhook her from some of the wires and lines and she held Samuel.  I even asked if she would like to feed him and she said yes.  It was so bittersweet watching her do this.  I knew that releasing him for adoption would be hard and I thought getting these few moments nurturing him would either be hard, or help the pain, but I didn't know which.  She is a good mom, so I knew she would regret it if she didn't take this time. With her permission, I took pictures of them together because I knew they both would want them someday (I will refrain from posting those here out of respect for A and her privacy).

At one point in the day, I was holding him and rocking in the glider.  I was just staring at him.  I must have been smiling.  I thought A was asleep, but then she spoke to me.

"I know I'm doing the right thing.  I know I am because you look so happy."

Later that day, A's babysitter of her two other children came by and brought the kids.  She had came on Friday night as well, but without the kids.  When the nurse asked if the adoptive parents would be staying the night, the babysitter looked shocked and texted A later and asked her what that meant.  She didn't know anything about the adoption.  Looking back, that was probably a bad sign.  I went for a walk with Ben so her other kids and her could have some time alone with Samuel.

Ben left to drive the 3 hours home and get some sleep with plans on coming back the next day.  He called and told me he showed Ethan some pictures of Samuel and Ethan kept saying he was so jealous because we got to see him "really" and hold him.  A asked us Ethan was excited and I asked her if it was ok if Ben brought Ethan back with him the next day.  She said that was fine.  The next time the nurses came in the room, I asked if we could bring our son.  I knew there was a sign before you entered L&D that said no children were allowed in that area unless they were siblings of the newborn.  The nurse said she would have to ask the head nurse.  Another nurse came back in the room later and asked me to leave for a few minutes.  When they allowed me back in the room, A said that they were asking her if it was ok.  A told me she said that Ethan was Samuel's brother and it was ok with her for him to come.  She told them how excited he was.

The night nurse (who was great) suggested she take Samuel for a few hours (even though there was really  not a nursery in the hospital, she said I needed to rest since I hadn't slept the night before due to his gagging).  She took him for three hours through the night and I slept in the chair next to A's hospital bed.  This was also daylight savings time, so we lost an hour in the night as well.


 They checked Samuel's biliruben again and it was too high, so they wanted to put him in the bili-bed.  He hated that thing at first and kept spitting up every time I would lay him down.  But after some adjustments and our wonderful night nurse showing us a trick to make him feel swaddled while in it, he slept much better.

Ben got to the hospital with Ethan late in the afternoon and Ethan got to spend a little time with Samuel and I.

He finally got the wear the "Big Brother" shirt that had been in his closet with tags for over a year.
He just kept saying how precious Samuel's eyes were.  His little hands.  His nose.  Everything was just "precious".


I left the hospital for just long enough to run to the hospital and take a quick shower then back to spend another night in the hospital.  A notary came to the hospital and witnessed A signing the temporary consent paperwork.  We could now legally leave the hospital with him!  That is, as soon as the hospital would allow it.


They checked Samuel's biliruben again and after one night it had dropped low enough they would allow him to be released from the hospital.  With one exception.  We had to bring him back to the same hospital to see the same pediatrician the next day just to check on him.  And the birth mother had to come too.  We started gathering our things and brought in the car seat.  At this point, A started to get a little emotional.  I gave her a few minutes alone with him and she placed him in the car seat.  

Since the hospital would not allow us to leave with the Samuel (even though we had every legal right to) A had to walk out with us.  And since it was a military hospital, we had to do a few extra steps before she could leave.  One of these steps was the filing of the birth certificate.  A insisted on placing our last name on the birth certificate.  He had our last name.  The lady in the office we were working on that paperwork was a notary and A agreed to sign the final adoption consent and court appearance waiver while we were there.  (It had been over 72 hours required by our state).  She gave him our last name and she signed the adoption consent while holding Samuel.  She told me again that she was sure she was doing the right thing.

We finished there and had to stop and get his Zan.tac filled at the hospital pharmacy (by this point they had determined the spit up was acid reflux).  Ben pulled the van around and A's friend brought her car up to the door.  We put the car set in the van and I let A see him again.  We hugged and both cried, then agreed we would see each other there in less than 24 hours for his appt.  I told her to call or text me for anything if she needed it.  And like that, we were driving away from the hospital with a newborn.  In shock and smiling through the tears this was actually happening.

We had to get a hotel in the area so we could be around for the appointment the next day.  Ben went and some dinner for us and we settled in with our little guy.

I can't describe the blessed feeling of having him in our arms and wishing we could have been his forever parents.  

I'll write more about our time together later.  It's taken me all day to write this one.  Ethan has had a fever for three days now and he is asking to cuddle.  The Dr. said it is just sinus/allergy stuff and that the fever could hang on for a few more days.  Praying it leaves quickly though, he is rarely sick, so when he is I worry more than I probably should.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Samuel's Birth

I would like to look back and try to tell the story of our time with Samuel as it was happening.  When we still thought he was ours to keep.  There were so many emotions that I wanted to capture before they faded.

Thursday, March 8

Ben and I left work early and traveled the 3.5 hours north to the city where Samuel was to be born.  On the way, we had a phone conversation with our attorney regarding the temporary custody papers that had to be signed so we could leave the hospital with him.  We had to some how get the paper also signed by the birth father, who lived in another state.  We panicked, we prayed, and we felt a peace about it.  I called the birth father and explained the situation and he assured me we had nothing to worry about, he would take care of it.

We met with my cousin (the one that introduced us) and Samuel's birth mother ("A") at a hotel near the army post Samuel would be born at.  We spent time with A and talked about everything from why she joined the Army to how her family was going to react to the news of Samuel's birth and adoption.  When we settled in our hotel room, neither of us could sleep well.  We might have gotten 4 hours or a little more.  We were so excited to finally meet the baby that would be ours!

Friday, March 9

We got up bright and early and headed to the post hospital at 5:30.  We followed A to the hospital and went to L&D.  When the nurse took us to the labor room, she asked who Ben and I were and I just looked at A.  She told them we were the adoptive parents and the nurse gave us the oddest look and asked us to wait in the waiting room while she got all prepped.

When we were allowed to come back, A said they told her that they didn't have to let us back there if she didn't want.  She told them she wanted us there.  Different people kept coming in and out and asking us to leave so they could talk to her.  We were kind of treated like some kind of baby snatchers by a few of the staff.  They even told us they were going to have to call social services and JAG to see how to proceed.  I gave them our legal paperwork and our attorney and agency phone numbers.  They were just not very receptive.

Labor progressed slowly through out the day, but we kept busy talking with A and my cousin joined us about lunch time.  We grabbed some lunch in the cafeteria and headed back to L&D. One of our conversations was in regards to how big we thought he might be.  "He'll be 7 pounds 4 ounces" said my husband.  I disagreed, he must be bigger than that by now, I thought.

 They finally checked for dilation late in the day and realized that a little after 5:00 that they wanted to break her water since she was progressing slowly.  Again, I was asked to leave the room while they placed her epidural.  They broke her water and my cousin and I held A's hands.  After that, she progressed very quickly.

Soon, the contractions were right on top of each other and very strong.  Her epidural did not take well and she said she was feeling everything.  I held her hand on one side and my cousin on the other.  We told her to squeeze our hands as hard as she could when the contractions came and remember to breath.  She was in so much pain and I could see it in her eyes.  She progressed from 5cm to 8cm in a matter of minutes and then there was a problem.  The Dr. looked at the baby's heart monitor and said, "Oh, crap!".  They quickly inserted the monitor on Samuel's head and then changed their minds on what was going to happen very quickly.

"We've got to get him out now."  The doctor said in a rush.  They shoved a paper under her hand for her to sign.  We started unplugging things like crazy and they took her away in a flash.  I told her everything was going to be fine, they just have to get him out.  After she was gone, my knees went weak and the tears started.  I'm not going to lie...for a moment, I thought that must be why she chose us.  We started praying and texting others to do the same.

In a matter of minutes, a nurse ran up the hall and said, "He is out, he is fine." That is all we knew.

A little while later, they wanted to clean out the labor room and asked us to take our stuff down to the post partum room.  On the way down the hall, I heard the most beautiful noise.  The cry of a newborn.

We walked in the room and there he was.  All stretched out under the warmer.  I wasn't allowed to pick him right up, but I could stand beside him and look in his big eyes.

How much did he weigh?

7 pounds 4 ounces

Ben was right.

One of the nurses made the comment, "As soon as he came out there was a big, loud cry.  No problems with those lungs!"   All I could say was, "That is the most beautiful sound in the world".  They must have thought I was nuts.

After a little while under the warmer and his first bath (which he hated by the way) I was allowed to hold him and give him his first bottle.

After he ate and he burped I had to give him back to the nurses.  By then, A was out of recovery and on her way back to the room.  She was in so much pain.  Since her epidural didn't take and she was put under general anesthesia, she was waking up feeling the full effects of the c-section. 

Once again, they made us leave the room.  For almost an hour.

One thing that made us nervous about this hospital was there was no nursery.  The baby had to be in the room with the birth mother the whole stay.  We had talked before Samuel's birth and she wanted us to be there to provide most the care, but said she would hold him and probably feed him a few times.  I thought this was a good idea.

As that first night progressed, I was amazed by the newness of this little guy.  He ate well, but in the middle of the night, he started gagging and spitting up huge amounts of his formula.  The nurses kept saying it was because he was a c-section baby and didn't get a good squeeze on the way out.  But I knew better.  I slept maybe a total of 30 minutes this night.  Everytime I would lay him down, he would start heaving, gagging and then spitting up.  So I held him most of the night.  I didn't mind loosing the sleep.  I was staring at one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen.  

They told us Ben had to leave. He could sleep in the waiting room if he wanted, but he wouldn't be allowed to be with us at all through the night.  He ended up sleeping in the van.

I never thought I would get to hold a newborn so fresh to the world again.  But I did.  And he was so beautiful.  I just couldn't believe he was mine.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012


1 Samuel 1:27-28
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."

The little boy we have loved since we first met his birth mother was born March 9 by emergency c-section.  (He is fine. his birth mother is fine).

We cared for him along side her and left the hospital with him in our arms and he had our last name.  

Then, at six days old, his birth mother called and said this was much harder than she expected.  That she couldn't complete the adoption plan.  

We placed her back in his arms.

He was ours for a short time, but we loved him none the less.

We named him Samuel.  

He was one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen and such a joy to care for.  

I'm so glad I got to be his mama, even if it was only for six days.

I will share much more of the story, but I just had to start writing and start getting it all out.

Thanks for the prayers.  We greatly need them.


1 Samuel 1:27-28

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.  So now I give him to the Lord.  For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord."

The little boy we have loved since we first met his birth mother was born March 9 by emergency c-section.  (He is fine. his birth mother is fine).

We cared for him along side her and left the hospital with him in our arms and he had our last name.  

Then, at six days old, his birth mother called and said this was much harder than she expected.  That she couldn't complete the adoption plan.  

We placed her back in his arms.

He was ours for a short time, but we loved him none the less.

We named him Samuel.  

He was one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen and such a joy to care for.  

I'm so glad I got to be his mama, even if it was only for six days.

I will share much more of the story, but I just had to start writing and start getting it all out.

Thanks for the prayers.  We greatly need them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 so far...

So far, 2012 has been a blur.  I'm friends with many of you on facebook and many of you follow my other blog so you will already know kind of what's going on, but for those who don't...

In early January, we get an email stated it could possibly another full year before we bring home a child from South Korea.

January 11 we get an email from a cousin asking if we would be interested in meeting a friend of hers who has decided to make an adoption plan.

January 14 we meet "A" and decide to proceed with a private, open adoption plan.  Baby boy is due in March (just 5 days from my brother and SIL due date), but doctors suspect baby will be born in 3-4 weeks!

February- My uncle (my mom's brother) very quickly and unexpectedly passes away.  The day after his funeral, February 14, my Father passes away as well.  All in all, we attended 3 funerals and 4 visitations in less than a month.

March- My brother and SIL welcome their little boy...well, big boy, 9 lbs 6 oz, into the world!

We are now anticipating the arrival of the newest addition to our family this week.  No latter than Friday!

We are beyond excited, but there is still a large amount of grief to take into consideration.  Our gain is our birth mothers grief.  She is an incredibly brave and courageous woman whom I am so glad I have gotten the opportunity to know.  We are still somewhat guarded.  We know the possibilities, but we also know God is in control.  We are simply waiting and hoping in Him.

I really wish I could have been processing my grief here over the past month with so much loss in our lives and the grief that Ethan has expressed.  There is just SO much going on it has been impossible to do everything.  Thank you all for your prayers.