I thought I’d get to this part in Eliza’s adoption story much earlier. (If you’ve missed it: part one, part two, part three.) But the stories we live aren’t often quick and concise — they’re made up of moments that take us up hills and down valleys we could have never imagined. Now, though, I want to share one of the purest moments of profound joy I’ve experienced.
I experienced it when I stood at the back of a church in a big white dress, arm-in-arm with my father, as the big doors opened and I looked down the aisle and saw my future husband standing at the altar. I experienced it when a Nigerian nanny placed a snuggly, sleeping six-month-old in my arms and told me, “Here is your son.” I experienced it when I looked into the bright eyes of the newborn son I had just brought into the world and my own eyes couldn’t stop my own tears.
And I experienced on December 21, I experienced it when we met our daughter.
Her foster mother gingerly placed her in my arms, and in that moment, each fear and worry I had locked away in my heart melted away, leaving only a raw, all-consuming love for this tiny baby.
She was more precious than we could have imagined, with a mop of curly tendrils. Almond eyes, button nose, beautiful mocha skin. I held the bundle tight in my arms, close to my chest. I studied her little fingers and watched her breathe and whispered in her ears that I loved her. That I would love her forever.
“We’re here now, baby girl. We’re yours.”
I breathed in her sweet baby smell and finally shared, placing her in her daddy’s arms. I watched him and quietly thanked God for the compassionate man I walked down that aisle to seven years ago.
The small meeting room was full of social workers and foster parents and notaries and adoption agency staff, but to us, we were the only ones in the room. The stresses of the piles of intimidating adoption paperwork we had just completed dissipated as we soaked in the glory of the moment.
We had a daughter, and she was more perfect than we could have ever imagined.
This sweet moment in a crowded meeting room is one that I’ll tuck away in my heart forever.
It was a whirlwind to get to her, but God made a way. As we looked into her eyes, we knew. We knew that we would spend our lives loving her. Encouraging her and empowering her and advocating for her. We knew she was joining a family that was overjoyed to welcome her. A wild family that was a little bit loud and a little imperfect, but boasted big hearts. I knew my boys would fall in love with her (spoiler: they did). I knew that in that moment, I was mama bear, and I had been given a precious gift to nurture and protect, and someday send into the world.
I don’t know what else to say except that this sweet baby has blessed us in ways unimaginable. That every time we look into her precious eyes, I’m reminded of God’s grace. The way she snuggles on my chest. The way she looks into my eyes and smiles when she sees me after waking up. The way her heartbeat slows when I pick her up when she’s upset. Just by being her, she is a gift beyond measure.
We’re smitten with Eliza — all of Eliza. An extra chromosome will certainly bring her some challenges, but in this precious daughter, we haven been given a gift. Only because of God’s grace will we have the amazing opportunity to experience life in a new way because of Eliza.
We have seen the goodness of so many friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers. We have been recipients of generosity that we could have never dreamed of and will never be able to be repaid. We were lavished with love through so many ways I’d need a new blog post just to list them. And through incredible private donations and contributions, we will be be able to fully pay Eliza’s adoption fees without debt by the time her adoption is finalized.
Our lives are just collections of the yes moments.
I don’t know what God is whispering in your heart, but I pray that you’ll experience the same profound joy that comes to saying yes. He doesn’t ask for perfection. He just wants our willing, imperfect hearts.
When we hold Eliza, we’re just a little bit closer to heaven.
What an amazing gift of grace she is.
Eliza’s Adoption Story:
[Top photo by Everyday Moments Photography]
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