Four years ago today, S. and I walked into a room to sign a mountain of paperwork. I kept glancing anxiously at the clock wondering how much longer it would take, wondering if she was there yet. The woman across from us, our amazing social worker, felt my anxiousness and said, “She’s here. She’s upstairs and after we finish, I’ll take you to her”. Mountains of paperwork loomed, some asking the same questions as the sheets before it. It was daunting and reminiscent of when we closed on our first home, but this task so much more important to us. Task complete, a manila folder with all of the paperwork was handed to us and minutes later my husband and I were walking into a cheerily painted room where a man stood (his wife and son beside him) holding this beautiful, tiny little baby girl. An amazing and pure blessing.
Meeting our Honeybee for the first time
She was handed to me. My husband, recording on his tablet, and I started crying. Huge tears and HUGE praises uttered from my lips. I thanked God for that moment, for that place, for that time that was created and preordained before I was even a thought. God is SO great. I reclined slightly on the couch and stared into her beautiful dark eyes and she stared at mine. She was quiet, so very tiny, and I was in awe. I enjoyed that moment, basking in her, allowing her to bask in me. I passed her to my husband, whose eyes betrayed the tears that were there. This was a moment that he’d prayed about, that we’d prayed about together. It was beautiful and raw and open.
Later, after changing her diaper, we placed her in her carseat and marveled at how very tiny she looked. Our social worker walked with us to the car and observed us placing her inside. I climbed in the back with, we were all alone with her in the car. She was so tiny. Tinier than I could have ever thought possible. She was so beautiful. I remember stopping at Walmart and staying in the car with her while S. went for additional supplies because I didn’t want to expose her to the outside elements, but really so I could have alone time with her to just stare.
A tiny Honeybee
I remember going home and going into her room, waiting for our son to arrive home from school so that we could share the joy of the sibling he’d prayed for. His reaction was priceless. He thought she was a doll and then squealed when he realized she was real. He’d prayed for her too. He’d been in this journey with us and now his little sister was here. That was an amazing day.
Later that day, we went to the hospital and waited outside in the parking lot. One of our relatives was under the weather and my mother in love was visiting her. S. asked her to come to the car and she did. She saw me holding this little bundle that moved and thought it was a cat! LOL. She was ready to run until we told her that it was her new grandbaby….and she fell in love with her. She held her nonstop while we had dinner later that evening at the local Chik-Fil-A because it was so close to the hospital. It was an amazing day.
That evening I kept getting up to see her sleep. It was amazing and surreal. I’d wondered if we would connect. I was secretly afraid that I wouldn’t be able to wrap my heart around her immediately or that she wouldn’t be able to wrap her heart around me. I needn’t have. My heart loved her as if I birthed her. It swelled with loved. The things moms don’t tell you (that they worry about how their heart will have room for more than one child). My heart celebrated! We were now physically and emotionally a family of four. It would take quite a bit longer to be a legally recognized one, but that didn’t stop us one bit. We were simply blessed to have her in our presence.
We don’t do “Gotcha Day” in our family. That “Gotcha” always seems woefully inadequate and out of place for capturing of all that this day truly was. There was such joy and celebration on one side. We’d prayed for years for this moment. Those who were intimately involved in the process prayed for us. We’d seen hopes dashed and disappointments, but kept faith. Now, this beautiful little person was here.
But, without a doubt, there was a deep and soul aching sadness that existed for the heart and experience of Honeybee’s birth mother. She made this decision having never met us just knowing that we met a list of requests important to her for the raising and loving of her baby girl. She had to trust that when she released from her arms this tiny bundle that she would one day be placed in the arms of a family who would cherish her.
Our social worker had kept her informed of the placement timeline. After Honeybee was safely in our vehicle and on her way to start her life as a loved child in a new family, our social worker called to inform family, she informed her that the placement had occurred.
Her birth mother was happy to hear of our reaction, pleased to know the baby would be loved so much, but still missing a part of herself. I can only imagine the ache and the pain she felt. I imagine there was such peace in her about her decision (as later was shared), but such anguish as well. No, “Gotcha” is in no way appropriate for this moment.
Today, I look at our beautiful Honeybee with her sparkling personality, her love of hugs and kisses, her joy of reading, her energy and love of dance and I am SO thankful and so blessed. Four years seems like a blink of an eye, but I thank God for it every day.