God has a plan. We try so hard to figure out the plan on our own and think we know so much more than what God is trying to tell us. But He is in control. When we decide to take a back seat and let his plan unfold, that is when Amazing happens. David says it best: Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Palms 134:14) And now I truly know it.
7 days ago was Evelyn’s Birthday. July 12, 2016. She would have been 3. Ava wanted a birthday party for her little sister. She wanted friends to come over and even offered to open up any gifts that Evy might receive. We had cupcakes for breakfast and picked green beans. We knew we wanted to have a fun family day and decided on Coney Island. Adam, Ava, Alayna, both grandmas and cousins came along. It was the perfect birthday of sadness and celebration.
On the way home at 7:30 PM, we received a text message. How serious are you about adoption? It seemed like an odd question, but I replied that we were very serious. We took classes and were officially licensed to foster to adopt. That was our plan. Maybe a girl, toddler age. But we were semi-open to other possibilities. She replied that a friend of a friend of a friend had a baby the day before and was giving him up for adoption and would we be interested. Of course we were interested! We saw pictures of the little peanut and thought we would see where it led.
We received a text at 11:00 PM asking for a short bio of ourselves. A family friend was collecting info from all potential parents to pass along to the grandma. I passed on as short of a bio as possible, but it’s really hard to fit Evelyn’s story in a short bio. I sent along a family picture that we had taken during the day at Coney Island. The lady (Dawn) seemed to love us and said she would send on our information. Dawn let us know that the birth mom would contact all potential parents in the morning.
We couldn’t help but think that this all happened on Evelyn’s birthday and was this a gift she was sending us. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, but it just seemed too perfect. We went to sleep and updated Adam’s mom early in the morning to let her know. My mom was in the car with us when we received the first text so she was already up to speed. We felt if it all worked out, then it was meant to be. If not, this wasn’t really our plan and we would be okay if it didn’t work out. The next morning came and went with no phone call. We were a little bummed but felt that a better suited home was found. I texted Dawn to let her know that even though we weren’t chosen, let us know if we could help in any way.
5:30 PM we received the phone call. It was Dawn. She was giving me the number of the grandma. I called the grandma and she gave me the number of the birth mom and it was the first I learned her name: Naomi. Calling the birth mom was nerve racking, but my adrenalin was pumping. I started dialing her number and realized I should probably call my husband first. I needed to let him know what was happening and to make sure he was ready to do this. He said yes.
Talking to the birth mom on the phone was confusing. We didn’t seem to click and I had no idea how to lead the conversation. We had been planning on adopting through the foster care system, so parents would not ever be involved. This was new world to us. As I asked if she would like us to come up and meet her and the baby, she asked if we could wait until the morning. What? Wait? How could we possibly wait! I wanted to fly there as fast as possible. As we continued the conversation, she went on to say she had a cesarian section. Nurses were in every 2 hours. She was exhausted. My heart instantly filled with compassion. She was making the hardest decision of her life. She had met with other potential parents and none fit. She had to have so many emotions flowing that she just wanted a fresh start in the morning.
Friday morning we crossed the river into Kentucky to meet the birth mom and our potential son. This just seemed crazy. It all had happened in less than 48 hours. On our drive, the car in front of us had a license plate that said Evy. She was leading the way. At the hospital, social workers met us and took us to see Naomi. The love I instantly had for Naomi is indescribable. I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes. She loved her son so much that she wanted a better life for him. Who is that selfless? Naomi. I slowly went into our story and just kept talking. I felt like we were chosen before we ever finished. In my opinion, we just clicked. Then we asked the question, “So when was he born?” We were told by our friend the 11th. She clarified it was July 12th. Evy’s birthday. Three years after she was born, he was born. Same day. She asked if we wanted to see the baby.
The little boy was so tiny. It had been less than a year since Alayna was born, but we forget how tiny newborns really are. Naomi and her grandma were teary as we held the tiny boy. Naomi wanted him to go to a loving family and she saw that in us. It filled our hearts when she told the social worker that she found a family for her baby. She let us know that the hospital had told her she had to pick out a name. She wanted to know our thoughts on Baby Elijah Aden. Perfect. I loved that she had picked out the name. The name will always be with him and it will be a great story to tell him one day that his birth mom loved him so much that she chose his great name.
I think we could have all sat there forever, but then reality hit. We had to call the lawyer and get paperwork moving fast. It was Elijah’s last day in the hospital before being released. We quickly learned that if we did not get temporary custody fast, then baby Elijah would either go to Catholic Charities adoption agency or foster care in the state of Kentucky. There was no guarantees that Catholic Charities would approve us for the adoption. If he went into Kentucky’s foster care system, we would have zero chance of adopting him. Our peace disappeared. Our lawyer specialized in adoptions and interstate adoptions. Crazy that the Ohio River is what separated us from being Elijah’s parents. An imaginary line that is drawn on a map makes all the difference. Indiana vs. Kentucky. The mom chose us, but that didn’t matter.
Good news. Our lawyer was able to buy Elijah another night at the hospital since the adoption plan was moving forward. Huge sigh of relief. Naomi was released from the hospital and Adam got the ok to spend the night in Elijah’s room. The nurse that was assigned to Elijah’s room that night was a petite woman with a big smile. Her name was Evelyn. How amazing. I went home to get the girls and spend the night with them. I wouldn’t go back up to the hospital until papers were ready to sign. I didn’t know life could move so fast. One day we have three girls, the next day, we have a son.
Adam called me in the morning letting me know he hadn’t heard from the lawyer yet, but that as soon as the papers were sent via fax, he would let me know. Then we heard that Naomi had to be present to sign papers too. She was already released. We had to contact her and hope that she was willing to come back to the hospital. I was hoping her part was all done. I knew her heart was hurting. Papers weren’t signed until the afternoon. I went into the room and held Elijah while Adam faxed papers. When he came back in, Adam told me about Elijah’s ethnicity. Naomi is a mix of Black Cherokee and Caucasian. The dad is Hispanic. I was so excited. What a beautiful combination that made our son. His skin was flawless.
We were giddy with excitement as we sat waiting for the okay that Elijah was ours. Time was just flying by. Then we realized how fast time was flying by. The social worker came in to let us know about Plan B. I didn’t want a Plan B. Catholic Charities was Plan B. Catholic Charities is a great adoption agency, but it didn’t keep Elijah as our son. We quickly texted panic prayer requests instantly. We let everyone know that we had one hour and fifteen minutes of intense prayer to make Elijah ours. I turned on my phone and let worship music fill the room. The Christian band United Pursuit softly played and I prayed the hardest I have ever prayed. Deep, meaningful prayer.
I prayed for mountains to move and seas to part. For time to slow. I prayed that God would bless all hands involved. For miracles to happen. I asked the enemy to leave the room. Too much of this was directed by God and signs of Evelyn were everywhere. With not a minute to spare, the lawyer called and said we were granted temporary custody. We could leave with him from the hospital. Exactly three years after Evelyn’s birth, a little boy was born. Elijah Aden. And he was ours.