Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby!, Part 2

As we drove that day - or should I say That Day? - the first day of the new year - I received a text from our social worker, saying that they were going to meet with the birth mom at 10 a.m. for her to sign papers.  These were the papers which would terminate her parental rights to this baby girl.

When I think of any woman being faced with those papers, tears well up in my eyes.  I cannot wrap my head or heart around what it would mean, how hard it would be, how seemingly impossible.

In Kansas, there is no "grace period."  Once the document is signed there is no going back.  This is good news for adoptive couples, but I can imagine that it might make such a momentous signature even a little scarier.  Some moms choose to wait to sign, give it time, be sure of their decision.  They have that right and if that's what they need, they should take that time.

For the adoptive family, though, that time before signing can be fraught with a lot of anxiety.

So, as we drove, I sat and prayed.  Lest you be too impressed with my faith, though, I have to tell you that I also spent a lot of time wondering what we'd do if she didn't sign.

I imagined driving home with an empty car seat and my heart restricted with borrowed grief.  I imagined having to explain over and over again to concerned friends and family members how, after all this time, our adoption had fallen through.  I wondered what we would do with all of the money we had laboriously collected and so many had so generously donated.  And I imagined explaining to our children how their little sister was not to be.

By 10:45 I was in agony - much of it self-induced, I admit, but agony just the same.

I texted the social worker: "How's it going?"

No answer.

At 11:15, - finally! - I received the text that they had just finished; birth mother had signed.

I had to gain control of my voice before I could tell John, and then I cried.  I let out all of the pent up misery I had been imagining, and let out a huge sigh of relief and gratitude.  Once again, God had carried us over another hurdle.

So, by the time we reached little Evie, we knew that she was ours.  She was still in the legal custody of the adoption agency, but for all intents and purposes, she was ours.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Oh, how embarrassing!

The poem "Evangeline" was written by Longfellow, not Wordsworth!

Apologies to my grandmother, the English teacher, and poetry lovers everywhere!

Monday, January 7, 2013

What's In a Name?

Someone asked how we came to the name Evangeline Mary.

Well, the Mary is for John's mom.  All of the other grandparents had a child named after him or her, so it was her turn.  And, of course, we pray that Evie grows up to be a godly woman like her Grandma Shaw.

As for Evangeline, I'm not sure how we got there.  I think we were just reading through a website list of baby names and as we read aloud the funny or unusual ones, we also read out Evangeline and liked it.

I knew about the eponymous poem for which Wordsworth invented the name.  Apparently, the name is still used among the Acadian population in Louisiana; not surprising, but not a compelling reason to use the name.

The compelling reason comes from the meaning of the name.

Any Bible scholar can tell you that "evangel" comes from the Greek and means "good news."

Evangeline's name means "bearer of good news" and what better news is there than that we are adopted as sons and heirs by God because of His great mercy?

We never want Evie to feel like she has to be some kind of walking sermon illustration, but we do want her to know that her name was chosen for a reason, just like she was chosen for a reason, and we are chosen for reasons only He knows.

So, we liked the meaning of the name, the sound of it, and the fact that it is uncommon but not (in our opinions) weird.

Johanna is not a big fan of the name, but has consented to "Evie" and will, in time, we hope, forgive us.

A few weeks ago, after we had already decided on the name, we learned that some friends of ours, also a pastor and his wife, had adopted a little girl and named her Evangeline.  I e-mailed and asked if they would mind sharing the name with us!  Of course, they said they would share happily.  I said maybe we would start a trend; "Evangeline" will be the new "Emma."

Well, maybe not.  But that's okay.  We are quite happy with our choice and like its unique-ness.

And now, my little "bearer of good news" is the bearer of something pretty stinky so I'd better get her changed!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


I'm currently sitting in a hotel room with a precious bundle snuggled against my chest.  Let me tell you some of how I got here.

On Saturday, December 29, we heard that our birth mom was in the e.r. with heavy contractions.  We waited to hear a definite word on whether or not we should head to Kansas, but were pretty sure we'd be on the road that day.

To our surprise and chagrin, though, they sent her home again, and we settled in to wait some more.

Monday morning, we heard again that our birth mom was going in to the e.r. with contractions and that the social worker would call when she had some news, which probably wouldn't be for another  few hours.

Half an hour later, she called and said, "You'd better head my way. We're having a baby today!"

So, we sprang into action!

Let me tell you, lest you have a mistaken impression, that getting six people out the door for an indefinite period of time is not a simple or quick task!

As we raced around making last-minute arrangements and packing bags, the social worker kept us informed of progress.

And then...

"She is here.  12:59 5 lbs 1 oz 17 inches."

As with this whole adoption journey, this moment was wonderful and really strange.  Wonderful that our daughter was born.  Really strange that we weren't even there!

At looong last, we got the kids to their places and got onto the road about 4 p.m.  We hoped to drive straight through until we got there.  We estimated arriving about 3 a.m.

But then...

(Seems to be a common phrase in our lives right now!)

But then, weather.  By the time we got to Missouri, we knew that roads in Missouri and Kansas, particularly roads south of Kansas City, were ice covered.  Add to that the possibility of New Year's Eve revelers on the road and we decided to hole up for the night in Kearney, MO.

That was a hard decision.  We wanted so badly to be with our daughter, but knew that to go any farther that night was courting disaster.

And so, we finally reached the hospital about noon on January 1st.

After some last minute instructions from our social worker, we took a deep breath and went in.

When we reached the right floor, we were directed to a nurse who was working at a computer with a bassinet right beside her.  The baby in there was our baby Evie!  We got to pick her up and hold her right away.

She was so tiny, with dark eyes and a full head of dark hair.  And completely healthy.  (She's had a little bit of jaundice, but is already looking better.)

We are not sure we can identify all of the emotions we felt and are feeling now, let alone express them in writing.  If we were speaking in person, we'd probably say something like, "Well, it's know, it's kind of...well, you know that feeling..., etc."

The emotion most easily identified, the dominant emotion, I think, would be gratitude.  Family, friends, strangers, adoption professionals, hospital staff: the Lord has provided the right people at the right time in the right place throughout this process.  And, of course, we are grateful to the birth mom for her sacrifice in continuing her pregnancy and making the difficult decision to place her baby for adoption.  She has given two of the greatest gifts a person can give: life to Evie and Evie to us.

I'll write more later, but this is a start on this latest and most exciting phase of our adoption.
Evangeline Mary: born 12/31/12