2018 was a banner year for the Captain and me: we became Gigi and Grandad. Jubilee Kate arrived on July 6. Can you see the resemblance?
Son Matt and Melissa announced about 18 months ago that they were going to adopt before they attempted to have biological children. They wanted it that way so their first one would know that he or she was chosen.
Matt is in the military and wouldn't have to pay a red cent for a biological birth. Instead, he and Melissa chose to tackle the mountain of money and the mountain of paperwork required. Within three weeks of their file going active, they were chosen.
The birth mom looked through the files at the adoption agency and knew immediately that Matt and Melissa were the right parents for her unborn baby. When they got the word that they had been matched, they were ecstatic. When they called us to tell us, we celebrated--from Mom Dot who would become a great grandmother at 91, right down to Hope who became Aunt Hope at the ripe old age of six.
Just as they suspected, Matt would be deployed by the time the baby arrived. Was it possible for me to come and be with Melissa? Well, of course. I could not wait to get my hands on that baby. Why, it's been six whole years since I've had one of my own. That's a long time for me.
We were visiting Memphis and were in my sister's pool when Melissa reached Robert with the news that the birth mother had gone into labor. He was taking Mom Dot to visit their old stomping grounds but hurried back to my sister's and got us out of the pool. Never has our big family packed up and rushed home so quickly.
The next day, the Captain (God bless him) put me on a plane for Texas. After many delays, I landed well after midnight. The sister of a West Point classmate of Matt's (God bless her) picked me up and drove me to the hospital. Don't worry, Jubilee, Gigi is coming!
The hospital had provided Melissa with a bed and Jubilee was rooming in with her. There she was, all 6 lbs of her, fuzzy black hair and the tiniest little legs I had ever seen. The labor was 24+ hours and Melissa had been with the birth mom every step of the way. Would I take the 5 am feeding? Um, I think I can do that.
Next morning, I met the birth mother: not yet thirty, beautiful and brave with a quick wit and easy laugh. Throughout our 48 hour stay at the hospital, the birth mom requested to spend time with Jubilee. It was an open adoption, and I confess this made me nervous every time she asked to see her. Would she change her mind? But each time we entered the room, she presented Melissa with a gift for Jubilee. A bright yellow dress; a letter to her ("You will always be my first child," she wrote); pictures of herself growing up so Jubilee could see if she looked like her birth mom.
I met the birth mom's aunt, her best friend, other family, who all applauded the choice she made to place Jubilee for adoption. The social worker commented that she had never seen an adoption that had such support on both sides.
On the day she signed the papers relinquishing her rights, I was standing in the hallway as she exited the room. She was crying and I grabbed her and hugged her. "I will never forget this day and I will never forget what you did," I said. She offered a smile and walked out the door.
I know babies. I have ten of them. But this adoption journey has been a new experience for me. I didn't completely get it until it all unfolded. I have had ten babies who were 100% covered by prayer (every mother's prayer: please let it be healthy) and 80% covered by insurance. Matt and Melissa joyfully raised the aforementioned mountain of money to adopt a baby they knew may not be healthy (though, thankfully, she was).
What a picture of what God does for us. What a picture of the beauty of adoption.
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."
-- Romans 8: 15-16