Three and a half years. That’s how long we waited to hold you in our arms. We were so in love with you long before you existed. You are so, so, loved, sweet girl (and by so many)! How did this all come to be? You will ask this and many more questions about your adoption in the years to come. I’m writing this for you when that time comes. By now you have heard the basics of the story, but this is the entire tale—from the very beginning. Here it is, my littlest love…
This is your story.
Your Lee-Lee discovered she was pregnant in the early summer of 2014. At first she was excited, then terrified, then numb. What would she do? What would be best for you? What would be the most loving choice? She wasn’t in a relationship with your birth father, but she loved you with all of her heart. They had been good friends since high school, but having a long-term relationship with him wasn’t going to be a possibility.
In the end, (and after much thought and prayers) she decided lovingly on adoption. Lee-Lee was adopted as a little girl and well knew that family isn’t always just about immediate biological connections. Adoption was not scary to her as it was so familiar. But she also knew that more than anything; she still wanted to be a part of your life. Not for one moment did she consider placing you and walking away. She wouldn’t go this route without a family also wanted a very open adoption.
She didn’t have the slightest idea of where to start. She was alone and scared. She decided to meet with her preacher to talk about what was happening and to see if he knew of any good adoptive families. He didn’t know of any families in that moment, but he prayed about it. He spoke with his wife about this situation to see if she had any ideas on how to help LeAnne.
His wife thought of your daddy and I immediately as she was a friend of your Nana and Papa and she knew that we had adopted Logan just over three years prior. She had been keeping up to date on our “Hoping to Adopt” posts on Facebook. She knew we were waiting, hoping, and praying for a second child to complete our family. She knew our family well and felt that we were what LeAnne was looking for in her hopes for her daughter.
LeAnne’s preacher called your Nana to see if he could get our phone number and explained a bit of the situation to her. Nana called us to give us a “heads up” that LeAnne may be calling us soon. We waited. That wait seemed to be forever to your Daddy and I.
From the moment I first spoke with LeAnne, I sensed the fear in her voice. At the same time, I heard her love and hope for you coming through the loudest. The conversation was very natural. She explained why she had decided on adoption. She said that she was so young (20 at the time), wasn’t in a place to be able to raise a baby, and had so many plans for her future. It just wasn’t the right time.
Your Daddy and I met LeAnne face-to-face one fall day in November. We talked for three hours at the restaurant and then went back to where she was living for almost two more hours. We spoke about all kinds of things, but truthfully, not about you all that much. We were getting to know your Lee-Lee. It was so important to us that she knew that this wasn’t only about her baby. This was about all of us finding each other as well. We wanted to know all about her and that’s just what we did.
She saw how we were with your brother. She saw that our family (though blended) was very much a “REAL family”. She saw the love we had for each other. She told me later that it meant so much for her to see that. We saw this young girl who sincerely wanted the best for you. She wanted you to have what she saw before her that day. We fell in love with her right away. LeAnne left that day as part of our family, whether she knew it or not.
LeAnne and I talked on the phone quite often from that day forward. She spoke about the adoption possibility more and more. She had a lot of questions. She wanted to be sure this was right. She needed to know that she could trust us, and that this was what she wanted for you.
When she called and left me a voice mail saying that she made her decision, I was so, so nervous to return that call. I was going to be there to help no matter what she decided. I knew that much. The more we learned about her and her situation, the stronger our feelings about wanting her to place you with us grew and grew.
Some may flinch at me saying that, but it had been such a long, hard road for us. LeAnne had stated over and over again that she wasn’t ready. She wasn’t. We knew a lot about her by this time, and we knew that to be completely true. What she wanted for you, she couldn’t give you alone, no matter how hard she tried.
The hope in my heart that you would become ours was so, so real. I couldn’t deny it and I never will. If she chose to parent, Daddy and I would support that and we would help her as best we could. Of course we would have. We loved her. Adoption is a roller coaster full of ALL kinds of emotion, my sweet girl.
I called her back that evening and she told me that (YES!) she had decided to place you with our family. Immediately I felt excitement. And then I felt sadness for her. I knew that it was the hardest decision she had ever had to make. I also knew that it wasn’t final. She could change her mind at any time. I was prepared for that.
She stayed on the line so that she could tell Logan. She wanted to be the one to tell him that he was about to become a new brother. I was hesitant. I asked that until she was sure, to please refrain from saying anything to him. She insisted. I decided that this was adoption and we would handle it if it came to that. Logan was so excited to hear the news. He didn’t stop talking about it until you were in our arms.
Daddy was next and he didn’t say much. You know how he is–he doesn’t really express his excitement outwardly. But it was written all over his face. He was getting his girl. He had a great deal of hesitation as well, perhaps even more than I did. He is very protective of this family and his concern was clear.
We visited Lee-Lee many times during the next month or two (it was during this time that you received your name!), and she visited us as well. Our relationship continued to bloom and you were talked about more and more.
As adoptive parents, there is always a wall that you put up to protect yourself, but with LeAnne it was different. I felt a calmness inside that I can’t really put into words. I trusted that whatever happened in the end, it would all be okay. I wholeheartedly believe that it was God letting us know that as awful as things had been before, they are going to be that much more beautiful to come.
LeAnne started having some problems where she was staying and it ended up not being a safe place for her to be, emotionally. It seemed like it just kept getting worse and worse, but we didn’t know how bad it really was until the very end of December when we got a call asking if she could come to stay with us.
Without hesitation, we said yes. We didn’t talk about it. It was just a look between your Daddy and I and we knew what we had to do. We knew it would be hard. It would also bring us even closer to her and we saw nothing bad that could come of that. We risked some pretty big heartbreak, but deep inside we knew that if she decided to parent, our closeness would carry us through. LeAnne moved in with us two weeks later. We picked her up one night and she settled into the room that is now yours.
There were many trips to the hospital before you were born. I had never birthed a child, nor had LeAnne. We were all first timers at this, so we didn’t know when was WHEN. We just took her into the hospital whenever she felt like she needed to go. The nurses told us what to look for, but when it isn’t “your” body, you can’t really gauge the pain. After 8 trips to the hospital, the nurses finally said that Lee-Lee was going to be admitted because you were ON YOUR WAY!
LeAnne had been having contractions all of the morning and they were really strong ones—clearly stronger than any she had before. We knew that this was the real thing before we took her in, but we had been turned away so many times that we waited until we felt it was truly “time”. She was dilated to three when we went into the triage area.
She had an epidural within the hour and her water broke really quickly after that. Things progressed quite rapidly until she was dilated to eight. At that point, things seemed to slow significantly. Your heartbeat kept rising and rising and at one point, it went well over 200. The nurses said that you didn’t like the water being low and they started pumping LeAnne full of fluid. I’ve never seen two IV bags empty so fast! The nurses started to become scared when your heart rate would not slow. They quickly called in the doctor and she attached an electronic device on your head so that they could get a better reading.
Your heart rate was slowing down, but not as they would have liked. Out of concern for you, the doctor said to go ahead and have Lee-Lee start pushing (she wasn’t completely dilated yet, but they were hoping this would do it). She pushed for just 20 minutes before you were here! LeAnne was a rockstar at this pushing thing—even the nurses that had taken care of her on all of the false alarms couldn’t believe that she did so well. I was in tears because I was excited and so proud of Lee-Lee!
You screamed the very second you were out into this world at 4:09am. My heart warmed inside of my chest the first time I saw you. If you never believe in love at first sight, you will the moment you see your child for the first time.
You were pretty blue and quite cold. They rushed you to the heating bed as quickly as they could to access you. They recorded your color and said that your muscle tone was a little slow to develop. (Not your tongue though. Your tongue was all over the place. LOL!)
You loved to be touched. (You still do.) The second that someone was touching you, you calmed down. When they let go, you’d scream. That’s actually how they got your color to come in—by leaving you alone and letting you scream for a few seconds. All of the nurses got a little giggle about that.
I didn’t sleep at all that night or the next day. Logan came to see you first thing the next morning with Nana and Papa. He was so, so proud of you! He loved you before you were even born, but now that he could see you? He couldn’t get enough. He was over the moon!
LeAnne loved on you every second that she had in the hospital. We just sort of stayed back and took the reigns when she asked us to do so. We understood that this was HER time.
She was released on Tuesday and the papers were signed making us your Mama and Daddy. We were very, very happy. We were also sad for Lee-Lee. It was insanely hard for her. It was something we couldn’t even imagine. She handled it like a champ, but she was still broken hearted. She took comfort in that she knew she would always be able to see you and get to be part of your life as you grow and grow.
LeAnne left that night to go to her uncle’s house and then to her parent’s a few days later. She struggled, Ruby. She struggled a lot. She missed you. There wasn’t one moment where it was easy. She loves you with all of her heart. She just wanted you to have the life she imagined for you. She knew that it was important that you have that.
Adoption isn’t always because of something ugly. It isn’t always because of someone having no choice, or trying to find an easy way out of a bad situation. So often in adoption it is beautiful and it becomes nothing but a story of love. Your story is one of those. You are blessed beyond measure. Someday you will understand the depth of her love for you. When you get to hold your sweet baby in your arms, you will understand it. You will also OUR love for you.
The moment I held you in my arms…my heart burst into a million pieces. I think all mothers worry about loving their second children the same. We know how much we love our first, and we worry that we can’t spread that love over another child. How wrong we are to ever think that. My heart grew with love and hope and joy for you. It hasn’t stopped…not for one single moment.
You are loved so much by two families, sweet girl and you will be forever. Never, not for one moment, ever stop feeling this love around you. No matter where you are in this life, we love you always. Forever and ever you are part of all of us.
Oh Ruby, every single time I start to think about this journey to you and how we thought we would never get to have you in our lives, I just look at you and I realize that it doesn’t even MATTER anymore. Yes, I remember know how hard it was. I remember the five failed placements, the five wasted years with foster care, the 312 inquiries on waiting children. I’ll always remember what that suffering was like. But now? Now my cup runneth over.
Although I remember that pain, I don’t feel it anymore. Love takes away all pain somehow. God is good like that. There is always sunshine through the rain. If you haven’t reached your sunshine, your journey isn’t over yet. No matter what life throws at us, God never forgets us, Rue. He never, ever forgets us.