Over four and a half years. That’s how long we waited for a little one. Although it was the hardest and most painful thing we have ever been through, it is truly amazing how God really does know what’s best for us. We wouldn’t trade any part of our journey for anything because looking back, it is beautiful to see how God has grown us and shaped us into the parents he wants us to be for Cruz.
We tried just about every fertility treatment out there. The emotions and frustrations that come with that were indescribably painful. I won’t go in to too much detail there, but to want something so bad and have zero control over any of it was honestly too much to handle. Thank The Lord for His strength and mercies. And for incredible friends and family constantly lifting us up and reminding us that GOD IS GOOD.
After MUCH prayer, we decided we wanted to adopt a baby in April of 2013. We started raising money immediately. We had a big yard sale and I started selling some photography projects I had been working on specifically for the adoption. Before making our decision, the adoption process just seemed intimidating to us. The money, the paperwork, the home studies, the exhaustion of MORE WAITING. So needless to say, we were scared, but excited to see what God had planned for us. We had our first information meeting with Bethany Christian Services in May. We chose Bethany because we had heard wonderful things about them, we loved the fact that they are a christian agency, and we knew we wanted a newborn baby. Bethany was kind enough to hold a private information meeting for us because Wes had his open heart surgery in November of 2012, so we missed the prior information meeting and did not want to wait until June for the next one. In June we went to training where we learned all about everything we needed to know about the adoption process. This was enlightening, encouraging, and fun to meet other couples who were adopting. In August, we had our home studies. We were SO nervous, but we loved our social worker. She made us feel so comfortable. By September, we were approved and waiting for a baby. Surprisingly, April to September really did fly by for us and the process was not nearly as long and intimating as we expected. Then came the waiting…
From September to February, we waited. I can’t believe it was only five months because it felt like five years. During this time, we got emails about different babies. For several, we did not get picked by the birth parents and that was hard. We cried and prayed and pleaded with God. The week before we got the email about Cruz, our hearts hurt more than ever. That particular week, I really did not know how much longer I could hang on. I honestly felt like giving up. Just days later, we got the email about Cruz and responded immediately, “YES! We would like to be considered for this baby!!”. It was an unusually quick turn around. On Wednesday February 19, 2014, we got the email about Cruz. On Thursday February 20th, we got another email stating that lots of families were interested. At this point, Bethany did not know Cruz had already been born. On Friday February 21st, we got THE phone call from Bethany telling us that the birthmother chose US to be the parents! We have never heard happier news. God’s timing is perfect and it was our time.
Friday February 21, 2014: THE CALL. For Valentine’s Day, Wes gave me a ski trip to Sugar Mountain in NC. Since Wes is in school and had been studying for tests (trying to get into med school), we had not spent much time together. I was craving time with Wes and I was dying to go skiing. We had planned on being out of town all weekend. The car was packed for the weekend with all our luggage, complete with Max. We got to Sugar Mountain around 10am and had been skiing for about two hours. We were on the ski lift, riding up the mountain when I decided to check my phone. I had a missed call and voicemail at 10:58am. It was now 12:30pm. I had a feeling we should listen to the voicemail right away, so we did. At 12:30pm on February 21st, while riding on a ski lift, we listened to Bethany explain to us that they were calling about the email and needed to speak with us ASAP (I was freaking out because I was scared they would call someone else since we had not called back in an hour and a half!). Our hearts were racing. We got to the top of the mountain and skied down the mountain (I like to think Bode Miller style) to the lodge as fast as possible. We ran inside, sat down, took a deep breath and called Bethany back. On speaker phone, we listened to Bethany tell us they had a two day old baby boy for us, born on Wednesday February 19th. TEARS, TEARS, and more TEARS. Tears rolled down our faces because at that moment, we knew we were finally parents. We went to the ski lodge administration office to print off the paperwork, sign it, and fax it back. The ladies who helped us were amazing. They were so excited for us and one of them was even adopted herself! We could see God’s hand in every moment. After we faxed the papers, we dropped everything and drove straight back to Columbia to meet and take home our son.
The ride home took about four hours (FOREVER!!!). During that time we were calling family and friends to tell them that we were on our way to pick up our son!! Lots of crying and lots of screaming for joy. Bethany told us that we needed to decide on a name for our son before we got back to Columbia. No pressure. We had a name for a girl, but we were at a loss when it came to a boy name. I knew I wanted the middle name to be Wesley, but there just weren’t any first names we were happy with. We wanted a name with a strong meaning after everything we had been through. As we were frantically brainstorming names, I prayed that God would show me what He wanted us to name our son. Literally a few minutes later, we received an email stating that the birthmother named him Cruz (and a middle name) and if at all possible, she would love for us to incorporate one or both names in his name. Side note: up to this point, the birthmother did not express any interest in wanting to help name the baby. In the past, I had been so opposed to the birth mom helping to name the baby, because I wanted to name my baby and I was just positive I wouldn’t like what they came up with. Initially, we really liked Cruz, so I looked up the meaning of Cruz and it means “cross” in spanish. I looked over at Wes and he had tears in his eyes. At that moment, we both knew our son’s name would be Cruz. We decided to also keep the middle name from the birthmother because we want to be able to tell Cruz as he grows up that his birthmother loves him very much and that she even named him.
Since we had no time to go home and shower/ get the house ready/ go buy and wash clothes, blankets, and bottles/ get the nursery ready, our amazing friends and family went out and got us everything we needed and more while we were driving home. Not to mention, I felt disgusting (hat head…mascara all over my face… just gross from skiing), so I changed in the car and did my best to look presentable. Wes changed in the parking lot at Bethany. As we drove into Columbia, we were in rush hour traffic, 5 minutes away from where our son was waiting for us. Talk about nervous! Cruz was born outside of Columbia, so when he was discharged on Friday, his social worker drove him to the Columbia Bethany office. We finally got to Bethany at 5:30pm. We were so excited. No words can express how we felt. We were about to meet OUR SON!!! When we walked in, Cruz was behind a closed door. Have you ever experienced tunnel vision and all you can hear is yourself breathing and your heart pounding? That’s how I felt. When they open the door, we could see part of a car seat and a blanket. I buried my head in Wes’s chest and just melted. I lost it in the few moments before we met our son. We walked up to the doorway and then saw his face. INSTANT LOVE. The most beautiful thing we had ever seen. I got Cruz out of his car seat and we just stared at him and cried. We held him and loved on him as we filled out paperwork and listened to Bethany teach us a little about how to care for him. Bethany then asked us to pick a verse for our adoption devotion ceremony. We picked 1 Peter 1:6-8 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”. We then prayed and got to sign our names, with all the other couples who have adopted, in the Bethany Bible, next to our passage. So special!!
Since all this happened very quickly, as I mentioned before, we were not exactly prepared. We had a crib and the nursery was sort of set up and we had a few odds and ends, but nothing was READY to bring a baby home. Our situation was a bit different from how most adoptions happen, which is one of the many reasons we love our story so much. The social worker showed us how to install the car seat and we put Cruz in the car and drove home with all our luggage, Max, and our brand new baby boy. As we pulled up to the house, we saw our friends waiting for us on the porch, jumping up and down and screaming. As we walked up to our home, we found a beautiful sign with blue balloons. The sign read “Welcome Home Cruz, We Love You!”. We walked in the door to find our coffee table covered in all the essentials: onesies, detergent, washcloths, diapers, wipes, etc and our friends were already washing all our new things. We had pizza and a homecoming party for Cruz as we pulled everything together. We couldn’t have dreamed of it better. It was amazing and we will never forget it. We don’t know what we would have done without the help of Mary R., Mary O., Ryan, and Ben that night and everyone else who has just showered us with texts, meals, cards, gifts, gift cards, visits, etc. WE FEEL SO LOVED and we are thankful for each and every one of you!
The second night we had Cruz, the four of us (including Max) sat down to pray before dinner. After Wes prayed, he turned to me with tears in his eyes as he said, “This is the first night we didn’t have to pray for God to give us a baby”. Each night before we put Cruz to bed, we stand in front of his crib, in his nursery that was empty for so long, and thank God for our beautiful boy. We pray that Cruz will grow strong and healthy and walk with Jesus every day of his life.
Introducing our son, Cruz. Born on February 19th, 2014 at 5:58pm. He weighed 8 pounds 5 ounces and was 19 inches long. He joined our family on February 21st, 2014. We are in heaven. God has blessed us beyond measure. Thank you for reading our story. (Sorry about the overload of pictures. We are so proud!)
**A note to my clients: I have quit nursing and am now a stay at home mom. I am still running my photography business, but will be a bit slower with turnaround times for editing and answering emails. At this time, I am taking limited bookings.**