So, I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this or not. I know it's been a ridiculously long time since I have posted. And I know that if any of you have been following this blog for a time, I sort of just left you hanging at the climax of this whole adoption journey. But the truth is that it has taken me quit some time to process through everything.
Kaplan Thomas Autry was born on December 23rd, 2008. He weighed in at 7 lbs and 7 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.
We got the call Monday afternoon (after our we discovered our fridge had gone out and we had to go buy a new one) that Kaplan's birth mom (whom I will refer to as A. from now on) was going to be induced the following morning at 6 a.m. Amazingly enough, I wasn't running around the house screaming in excitement. Not that I thought I would, but sometimes I do have a flare for dramatics. Actually, I just took down some last minute notes and did some last minute preparations. Most of which included getting all of our food back into our new fridge.
Sleep also came pretty easily that night. I feel this was a gift, because now....well....sleep doesn't come so easily. We woke up the next morning at 5:30. We didn't want to get to the hospital right when A. was getting there. We wanted her to have some time and not feel as though we were over excited or feel that we were just interested in her baby. It also happened that it was icing that morning and I got my monthly visitor. I mean, really we didn't expect anything less. We are the Autry's.
We arrived at the hospital and we just didn't know what to expect. There was a big part of me that was just expecting this whole experience to be gut wrenching and horrible. While a life was being brought into the world, a mother was also giving up her child. How can that be a pleasant experience? How could we not feel like we were baby snatchers? I must say now though, that I really am glad I had bad expectations. That may sound harsh or like I'm a negative person, but the hospital experience was so smooth and peaceful and it so far outweighed my expectations.
We went in to see A as soon as we arrived. She was doing good and we sat with her for a few hours and just got to know her even more. That time to me is priceless. It's a legacy that we will be able to pass down to Kaplan. She is not just a face or a fictional person we will tell him about. We got to know her heart, her likes and dislikes and her sense of humor (which is very similar to ours and we think pretty fantastic).
Most of that day was spent in the waiting room. I was a bundle of nerves all day. I had a lulling ache in my stomach that just wouldn't go away. Jamie and I tried to play cards or watch the waiting room television, but we just couldn't focus on much of anything.
We went back in to see A. later in the afternoon and she was in much more pain. She was grimacing and we could tell she didn't need a lot of visitors. We told her she could reach us in the waiting room. We really wanted her to be as comfortable as she possibly could. As we were leaving her room the guy who gives the big nice shot (because I can't spell the word that he actually is) was coming in to hopefully relieve some of her pain. We went back in the waiting room and about 10 minutes later A's mom came out and said she was fully dialated. About five minutes after that the waiting room phone rang and Jamie answered it. A said "he's here! do you guys want to come back and meet him". Jamie couldn't believe it was her because she sounded so calm. He asked "who is this?". Seriously. That is my husband.
We immediately went back. I can't quit describe to you what was going on with me during all of this. It was so different than how I played it out in my mind. I thought I would be all weepy and thinking of this sweet little baby who would be placed in my arms. But that is not how it was at all. We were first thinking of A and how she was doing. We wanted things to be as easy as possible for her. While we were elated to see and hold Kaplan, we wanted her to know that we loved her and we wanted her to be ok.
There really wasn't that "moment" where we held him for the first time and knew this was our child. Well, not in the hospital. I don't know if it's maternal instinct or what, but all I knew is that this baby was now my responsibility and I didn't quite know what to do, but I wanted to be the one to figure it out.
Thankfully the hospital was generous enough to give us our own room and they put A. in the room next to us. They came in and gave me a bracelet so I could get our little man out of the nursery. I called the nursery and they told me I had to wait an hour. How awful! I know they need to do all their business, but that was very hard! By that time A was in her room and we had been communicating with her. She asked if when we got him from the nursery if we could bring him in to her. Of course we could. We wanted her to be the one calling the shots. We felt this would ease her transition. And like I said, we just wanted everything to be as smooth as possible for her. But I have to admit, this was a little hard for me. I had held Kaplan in the delivery room and that was all. I couldn't wait to get my hands on him and look him all over. I wanted to know if he had any birthmarks or a crooked toe. I needed to hold him and stare at him away from everything and everyone else. But, that couldn't happen at that time.
We got him from the nursery and took him into see A. What a sweet moment. He looks just like her. You could feel the love she had for him oozing out into the room. She knew exactly what to do as she fed him and changed him and cuddled him up. We sat and talked with her for a few hours it seemed like. We wanted her to have some time alone with Kaplan, so a little before 11:00 that night we went back to our room. I have to tell you that was the hardest thing to do. I broke down once we got in the room. Jamie just stood and looked at me, feeling so helpless. I told him I just couldn't handle any more people. I knew everyone was so excited to see this precious angel we had been praying for for the past several years, but I needed to be with my son alone. I so desired for us to be a family and sit all cuddled up in our little room. But the truth of it was, he wasn't our son yet. He was A's. And as difficult as it was to share him in the hospital, we knew she needed to spend as much time as she could with him.
A little later A. called us and said we could come and get him. We got to bring him back into the room with us and finally there we were. All three of us. A family. We just held him and stared at him. I unswaddled him and looked him all over. I fixed his bottle and fed him. It was amazing.
This is basically how our time at the hospital was spent. Passing little Kaplan back and forth. How lucky for him to have so many people who love him and care for him and who are looking out for his best interests.
The day we were to go home, Christmas Day, A. had him in her room for a little while in the morning. I had been dreading actually leaving, just knowing how difficult it would be for her. I can't quit put into words how it all felt. There was a huge part of me who wanted to bundle Kaplan up, turn around and run as far away as I could, but then there was a part of me that wanted to hand him to her and ask her how we could help her. While we were elated to be chosen to be the parents of this amazing child, we also could see the hurt and sadness in A.'s eyes.
She came into our room and handed him to us. She said "We had a talk this morning". I'll never know the sweet things she whispered to him, but I am so thankful she took the time to do that. I think it will help her in the coming months and years. It was time for her to leave. We stood and cried and hugged, but it wasn't devastating. It was sad, but peaceful. She knew why she had to give him up and she felt at peace with her decision.
It was Christmas Day, and we got to bring our son home. It was such a special day. Visitors didn't start coming until the next day, so on Christmas it was just us. It was so sweet to sit on the couch as a family of three and do something as simple as watch television.
Looking back on those days now, everything seems like such a blur. We were sleep deprived and running on adrenaline. The days since, at home, have been so wonderful. Hard at times, but wonderful.
I guess it was the third day we were home and I got up to feed Kaplan in the middle of the night. I was holding him and feeding him and I knew at that moment that we were meant to be together. He was looking up at me and grasping my finger and all I could do was weep. This is the child God had picked for our family. When we were laboring in prayer for a biological child, God said no. He had other plans for us. He knew that different DNA was needed to make up our first child, and that it wasn't ours. He has had us in the palm of his hand since the beginning. He was listening the first time Jamie and I said "let's start a family". And I can't help but think he was smiling as we sat in that hospital room looking at this sweet little boy.
Most days when I stare at Kaplan, I can't help but cry. These times are precious for me. I'm not usually a crying type person, but the other day, I was washing bottles and crying. I just can't believe we are here. It's still surreal that we have a child. It's a heavy responsibility that we do not take lightly. We can't wait to watch him grow and see what wonderful things the Lord has planned for his sweet little life. Well.....I can wait....he's already growing too fast!