In honor of my son’s recent 13th birthday, I’m sharing a sneak peek into one of my very favorite Stumble to Rise chapters, “The Greatest Blessing” In the book, I share experiences about how I deal with and conquer adversity. I blame the MonSter (as I not so lovingly refer to it) for a lot of my biggest struggles but since I’m more than MS, so too is my book.
After being diagnosed with MS in 1995, and later experiencing several years of unsuccessful attempts to make a baby, my husband and I received a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. As if one annoying diagnosis wasn’t enough? My hubby Scott and I pursued several months of medical intervention to no avail. Then we took a break — for a few years. Hey, we had fun as a couple! Eventually, though, adoption became our focus.
In nine months we completed the lengthy list of adoption prerequisite requirements. Extensive paperwork, and multiple steps including classes and interviews, background checks, physicals, home study and more. After we jumped through all the hoops, we were put on a waiting list that we imagined would be a very long holding pattern. To our surprise, we were quickly chosen to be the parents of a baby who was due in two weeks!
I bring our journey to light in my book but I’m sharing a taste of it here.
“While the days passed, it was nearly impossible to sleep. I was tired but my brain wouldn’t slow down. As the hours ticked by, I replayed the series of events up till then and envisioned the gargantuan life change unfolding in a matter of days. I thought about what his birth mom was feeling. Was she sure about her decision or would she have second thoughts? What kind of mother would I be? Would I adjust to my new life? After a series of sleepless nights, I began writing letters to my son. It allowed me to therapeutically pour my thoughts on paper. I was writing a letter almost daily and have continued that practice to this day– although much less frequently. They are kept in an album and we’ve read many to him through the years.”
I share the whole letter in my book but here’s an excerpt from the very first one I wrote him on Sept 30, 2005. Just a few days earlier we had received word that we would soon be the parents of a little boy who was due in two weeks!
Friday, 09-30-2005 6:30am
Can’t sleep…again. Got up at 5am after tossing and turning — now is when I need to be sleeping as very soon that will all change thanks to your expected arrival on October 10th. We were officially finished with our Home Study and were put on the “waiting list” on September 15th. The agency told us it would probably take 2 months to 2 years before we would be selected. We agreed that we would start putting the baby’s room together once we finished the Home Study. We thought we had plenty of time and hated the idea of decorating the room and then having it sit empty for two years. But I was anxious.
So, we started by purchasing a crib on Thursday, Sept 22nd and the next morning, I went to Lowe’s to get the sunny yellow and granny smith apple green paint colors mixed — colors that would work in a boy‘s or girl‘s room. That Friday, September 23rd, when your Dad came home for lunch, we emptied everything out of the future baby’s room and decided we would start painting the next day. I said that perhaps we should leave the queen size bed in the room in case we needed it over the next couple years for family get-togethers. Deep down I thought that we may be rushing things a bit but was ready to make the room beautiful.
At about 3:30, later that same afternoon, I was at the computer in my office when the phone rang. It was Sandra, our social worker. She asked if I was sitting down and then she shared with me the biggest news of my life. A birthmother had chosen us and she was due October 10th! “Oh and by the way, it’s a boy!” I was shocked, surprised and confused and could hardly speak. I started crying. We had only been on the “list” for 8 days–how could this be happening?…
We can’t wait to see your tiny face! We love you already!
Love, Mom and Dad”
From Stumble to Rise, “I’m not crafty and didn’t make a traditional baby book that focuses on dates of milestones with a couple words and pictures. Instead, the letters give Reece insight into the emotion and detail behind the time just before he was born and through his entire childhood. I cherish these letters and will keep them going at least until he turns 18. At some point, they will go with him into adulthood and I hope he’ll enjoy reading about the love, fun and activity of his young life from his momma’s perspective. Maybe when I’m long gone he’ll read the letters to his own kids or grandkids.”
Happy 13th birthday to the boy who brings us constant joy!