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The Whirlwind Continues...

The BIG Move!
I really, really do!
So the last two weeks have been a bit…strike that…TOTALLY nutso! Up until a day or so I wasn’t sure if I was coming or going, to be honest! Two Fridays ago my sister and I drove to Oklahoma to help our parents load up the last of their stuff and make the big journey back to their new home just down the road in IOWA! It was hot, dirty, and full of memories I’ll cherish forever. Not a lot of ‘kids’ my age get to have these special times with their parents and while it was a ton of hard work - it was allllll worth it! The afternoon we arrived back home, we were expecting a FaceTime call with the social worker and our birth mother after her doctor’s appointment. We busied ourselves around the house, waiting for the call, and decided to put the pack and play together – our first baby assembly project! (And it was successful, without much drama – SHOCKING!)
To our surprise, the social worker ended up FaceTiming us FROM the doctor’s appointment! Our birth mother really wanted us to be a part of the ultrasound – so they turned the phone to the screen so we could see and hear all that was happening. Amazing. We heard his tiny heartbeat, we heard he was definitely a boy, we heard and saw this tiny little guy for the first time. After the appointment they called us again from the car so we could talk and Matt was able to ‘meet’ her for the first time. She was excited to meet us in person and we made some plans for our visit. After hanging up – we sort of sat there in a stupor. Was that real? Is this really happening? We couldn’t believe it!
The next day we spent unloading at my parents’ house…another hot, hard day of physical work. But joy was in our hearts as we celebrated how wonderful it was going to be to have them so close by!
Thursday – we hopped on a plane to ‘sunny’ Florida! There were many things about this trip that had Ms. Emily a little nerved up. (Not just meeting our birth mother, but flying into an unfamiliar city, renting a car, and driving around this unfamiliar city!) Thankfully – no issues. We found our hotel, grabbed a quick supper, and settled in – trying to sleep before our big day. Friday morning we made our way across Tampa Bay…in.the.pouring.rain. Sunshine state? 361 days of sun? This was 362, apparently. No sun. Rain. Lots of Rain. I had spent so much time primping and preparing and trying to look my best, only to be dashing here and there in the rain loading and unloading Matt into the car. Humid, rainy, hair. Those of you who really know me, know how happy this made me.
Getting ready to meet our birth mother!
Anywhoo….we made it to the restaurant we had arranged to have lunch at with our birth mother and the social worker. I had to pee. I was so nervous. I didn’t want to leave Matt alone to greet her without me, should she arrive while I was in the bathroom. But I didn’t want to greet her and then immediately have to run to the bathroom. Oh the major life dilemmas I face, right? Thankfully I made it to and from before they got there. (Crisis averted). The social worker text me – ‘We’re in the parking lot. Let me know when you get here’. I replied ‘We’re here – just inside’ Gulp. Heart Racing. Palms sweaty.
I could see them walking past the window as they made their way inside. She was petite (shorter than me even). Her hair was long and dark. Her eyes were big and warm. She walked right up to me…and hugged me. Hard. Real. She hugged Matt…and then we made our way to our table. Breathe…just breathe.
We sat next to each other and the conversation flowed with ease. We laughed and joked, and talked about family, friends, faith and the tough journeys we’ve faced. She told us how she couldn’t imagine a better family for this baby. She could see from our profile book how much love we had for each other and how much love there would be for this baby. I confessed how we were a little insecure during this journey – wondering if anyone would ever pick us…knowing how different we are. She was puzzled by this – ‘Really!?’ she asked. To her – it was a no brainer. Humble Emily.

We talked about the name and how much we all loved it. Ethan Phillip. Matt’s middle name and his father’s middle name. We talked about how spoiled he will be…how loved he will be. We talked about how she’d like things to go at the hospital and after. We talked about visits in the future and the ongoing relationship we hope to have. We talked about so many things. It was easy, in such a weird way. I liked her almost instantly. And I loved her by the end of the day. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel. I couldn’t fathom this kind of open adoption relationship in my mind before. I just couldn’t see it. Until it happened.
After lunch we made our way to have a 3D ultrasound at a nearby place the agency uses a lot for their adoptive families. We sat in a cozy room with a couch and large TV so we could all see the screen easily. She wanted to make sure we could see. She wanted us to be a part of it so badly. It was truly, truly amazing. She told the ultrasound technician…his name is Ethan.
Don’t cry, Emily.
The baby had his little fist in front of his face the entire time – despite all their best efforts to get him to move. She drank apple juice, she had a mint, she went to the bathroom, she turned side to side…but he didn’t budge. We had a great view of one side of his tiny face! His little chin, his pudgy cheeks, and his tiny hand. It was beautiful – even though we both agreed it was a little creepy.
After the appointment, we chatted a bit more and then prepared to say our goodbyes. I didn’t want it to be over. I wanted to linger with her more. To ask her things and answer her questions. We took a few pictures and she pulled in close to me – cheek to cheek. She put my hand on her belly. Mother to would be mother. I still can’t comprehend it. This amazing gift she would offer. The sacrifice she’s planning to make. It’s mind boggling and so incredibly amazing.
I gave her an e-mail address so she could write with any questions etc…and we hugged our goodbyes. We got in the car and sat looking at the pictures of this baby…stunned. What.just.happened?! Is this real? What to feel? What to think? It’s just so impossible to say, my friends. Blessed. We just felt blessed.
A little beach time
The rain had stopped for the time being, so we made our way to the beach and found a spot to lounge for a bit. We sat taking in the beauty around us and trying to digest all that had just happened. I shed a few tears thinking about it…and Matt just sat smiling. Happy and not at all surprised that it had gone well. (His confidence annoys and reassures me so much!)
Later that evening we wandered around some of the local touristy areas, bought a few trinkets, and had a wonderful supper to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary which was the next day. It was a great end to an unforgettable day. Saturday we made our way back home – happy and excited for the coming birth of this baby. We felt we’d made a real connection with our birth mother. We felt she truly felt connected to us for a special reason. We felt God working out something amazing in our life AND hers. We felt so much love.
Sunday morning she e-mailed… ‘Hope you two made it home safe and sound. Did you have a good flight?  I had a very nice time getting to know you both. I’m so happy you are the woman my child will be calling mommy and that Matt is the man he will be calling daddy. I’m truly grateful for us being brought together.’  I couldn’t have said it better. I too am incredibly grateful for us being brought together.
Of course I know that nothing is set in stone. There is always a chance this situation won’t work out for one reason or another. Adoption is not for the faint of heart – you guys. You wait and wait and wait and hope to be chosen. You celebrate this momentous step – and yet you hold back a little because you know…this baby is not yet yours. You want to believe it will work out…but you want to be prepared in case it doesn’t. You pray for peace and security for the birth mother and you pray this is the child meant for you. It is an emotional roller coaster of epic proportions. We are readying the room. We are buying the necessities and we are planning for this baby to be ours…for him to be called Ethan Phillip. And yet we know – we could come back home without him. All signs are positive. We are encouraged and doing our best to trust in God’s plan. That He’s brought us to this place for a reason. We ask for your continued prayers as well. Please pray for this birth mother and her peace, safety, and security. And please pray all continues to go well. We are so very grateful to have gotten to this place with her and are very hopeful that soon we will be bringing home this wonderful little baby who will be so loved by her, us, and you. He will be one lucky little guy!!
Anniversary Dinner - before our family of two becomes three!


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