I have tried to finish this post for days. I think I finally realized that it may never be fully finished. It is a journey so complex and emotional and amazing, that I know there will always be more to remember. So for now, this is our story on paper:
Three weeks ago, our life changed. Forever.
Three weeks ago, we met Parker's birthparents. Three weeks ago, we sat across a picnic table from two people, who would ultimately make the most courageous and selfless decision of their lives, in trusting us to raise their beautiful son.
Our lives collided with two people, (who we will call Joe and Krista), in a story that became the last chapter of this adoption journey.
We first heard from Joe on Parker's due date. It was an email through our blog. He shared a small bit of their story, with no promises of adoption. However, as we exchanged emails, we all felt compelled to meet.
You should also know that we were in Oregon, when he emailed. Joe and Krista live in Oregon, so our first meeting was a miracle in itself.
Our meeting was brief, but overwhelming. Joe and Krista had been through so much. Sadly, Oregon DHS was involved in their lives, threatening to take their son into custody the minute he was born. And so they were desperate for a better answer. Desperate to give their child a more certain future, yet completely torn over the thought of not raising their son. Adoption was not their first choice.
Their story left us heartbroken. Heartbroken for them, for all of their pain. Heartbroken for the choices that they would have to make.
We returned to Chico, not knowing what Joe and Krista would choose. There had been no commitment to an adoption plan, only a commitment to choose us, if they were to make a plan.
It left us confused, not knowing what our role was, but sensing that God had brought us all together. With Krista's due date past, we knew that every day mattered. So we prayed with more intensity than I have ever known. We prayed for clarity.
As we sorted through our thoughts, we decided that we would definitely support Joe and Krista, no matter what. We felt called to do that. We also realized that this would mean driving back to Oregon, with a lot of unknowns.
So on Monday, April 8th, when we received the call that Krista had gone into labor, we drove north. We had no idea what we would face. They had asked us to come, but not to the hospital.
And then, late that evening, we received a text that they wanted us to visit them.
This invitation led to the next eighteen hours at the hospital. Kenny and Joe would go for walks, while I sat with Krista in the early hours of her labor. We paced the halls. We prayed. And we all stayed by each other's side as if we had been friends for years. As Krista progressed into harder labor and throughout her three and a half hours of pushing, I remained next to her.
At this point, we still had no idea what would happen with Parker. They had dreams of parenting. And we just hung onto God -- knowing He had called us here.
Parker was born via C section at 2:15pm on April 9th.
The Oregon DHS arrived at the hospital at 4:00pm on that day.
The news wasn't good for Joe and Krista: On what should have been one of the happiest days of their life, there was great sadness. Grief over the reality that they would not walk out of the hospital as a family. Grief over the fact that they would have to make the hardest decision of their life, in the next two and a half days.
Parker would either go into foster care for many months, while Joe and Krista walked through a grueling process to fight for their parenting rights.
Parker would be adopted by us.
And so our prayers became prayers for peace. That whatever Joe and Krista decided, they would have peace to move through all of this. We knew either choice was going to be hard.
For the next three days, we stayed at or near the hospital. We would spend time with Joe and Krista. We would spend time with Parker; seeing him as their son. Some of our family members came down to support us -- which helped more than we could have imagined.
There were times of great peace and strength for us. And there were times of exhaustion and sadness. It was very hard.
It was hard to see the overwhelming grief of Joe and Krista.
It was hard to imagine Parker going home with a stranger.
It was hard to trust God, no matter what.
On Friday afternoon, Krista asked me to come to her room. She was in her clothes, standing near the bed. All I remember is hugging one another right away. We held onto each other and cried, long hard tears. Nurses came in and out. And I will never forget the moment that Krista told me to love Parker and take care of him for the rest of my life. She asked me to be his mom.
There aren't words to describe that moment. I cry every time I think of it. Krista is a hero to me. I don't believe for a moment that I am any better of a mom than Krista -- only that our paths were at different places. I cry because I know how much she loves Parker -- enough to trust him to us. Joe and Krista are beautiful people.
The following hours were filled with great joy and sadness, all at the same time.
But one thing we all had; we all had peace; deep, unchanging, peace.
I will never forget walking into the nursery one last time, this time holding Parker a bit closer, knowing he would be our son.
I will never forget signing the papers to adopt Parker late that evening.
I will never forget saying goodbye to Joe and Krista at the hospital.
Three weeks ago, I never imagined Parker. I didn't know his parents. I didn't know that my life would be forever changed. Changed not only by one small person, but his amazing birth parents and the road that we walked together.
Our story is not about us becoming parents, or "getting a child". It is not a story of infertility. It is God's story, in which He brought together so many pieces to create something beautiful and redemptive and miraculous.
We love Parker so much. We love Joe and Krista so much. And we believe, that although this chapter is finished, all of our relationships, our stories, are just now beginning.
And so we started this adoption journey with a dream, and through every moment of the journey, we now end with a life and perspective much bigger than we could ever imagine.
Thanks for walking with us. We have been blessed by so many of you.
Much love and gratitude,
K and K and p