After seeing Joshua the first night we were back at the hospital everyday for 7 weeks. It was quit a ride. In NICU things change rapidly. One minute your child is doing well and the next minute he might not be. That fact was never more real to us then the week before Easter. It was April and we had been visiting Joshua for a few weeks. I noticed when I went in that week that there was a new baby in the isolette next to Joshua. His parents were there almost constantly it seemed. Then as the week went on I noticed there was a screen up for privacy and lots of people were around his bed. In NICU only two visitors are allowed in at a time. So, it was strange to me that all these family members would be allowed to be in there. Sunday came and Glenn and I went to the hospital after church to visit Joshua. As we walked into the waiting area for NICU they informed us that the nursery was closed. We were terrified. They said everything was okay with Joshua but we were not allowed to visit him today. We asked why and they said that they had to close the NICU for another family to allow for some privacy. The next day we went to visit Joshua and the little isolette next to him was empty. It was heartbreaking and also very real to us that this was not a sure thing. There was no guarantee that we would be taking Joshua home with us.
Shortly after that Joshua took a turn for the worst. We had an excellent doctor who discovered he had a UTI and was able to treat it and Joshua quickly improved. We spent so much time at his bedside in prayer and just waiting. It’s painful to sit and watch monitors and just wait. Finally, on May 5th Joshua was strong enough to come home. He weighed 5lbs 5oz. He was still tiny! It was a little scary to take home such a small baby that you knew had been in the hospital for so long. But as the months went on he grew stronger and bigger. If I had known how hard the NICU experience would be I don’t think I would have done it. Fortunately, I didn’t, and God was with us through it all. He gives you strength to go through things you didn’t think you could.
After we brought Joshua home it became real to us that we now had a transracial family and all that would mean for us. We did not make the decision to be open to all races lightly. It took much prayer and we felt that was what God was calling us to do. Of course, we didn’t have any idea what it would actually be like. So, the first time I took this tiny little guy to Walmart there were plenty of pointing and stares. We have gotten so interesting comments, I will list a few of my favorites:
“That’s not YOUR baby!” (this one shocked me, it was one of the first ones I had gotten, I gently explained that he was adopted)
“Did you mean to adopt a black baby?” (I really wanted to say “no, is he black?, I didn’t notice”. but I gently said “yes, we were open to all races”)
“you sure have your hands full” (if I only had a dollar for every time I hear that one, I would be rich!)
“He so…small” (you know what they were really thinking was that he was another race, but they just said small instead. Glenn and I really got a kick out of the many times we heard that one, in fact it’s a running joke at our house now)
I have learned to answer kindly and just smile. I have gotten used to the staring and I don’t even notice it anymore. In fact, we were at the beach this summer and this family was staring at me and I could not for the life of me figure out what they were staring at until I realized, “oh, yeah, I am holding Joshua”. I had forgotten which child I was carrying.
Joshua has been such a delight to have. He is a really easy child and very sweet. He has such a sweet smile and is the most determined little guy I know. He has been through so much in his short little life, but he just keeps on going. He has made so much progress and continues to. We are so thankful to God for allowing us to be his parents. And we know his birth mother made the best choice she could for him. She loved him and knew she couldn’t care for him the way he needed to be cared for. God has a special plan for Joshua and we are just waiting to see what that is. I know it will be great. Each child is a gift from God and we are thankful to have four little blessings. We know that whatever the future holds, whether God blesses us with more little blessings through birth or adoption that it will be great.
This adoption has taught us so many things. God’s timing is perfect. He knows exactly what you need, even if it’s not at all what you asked for. God will come through with provision when it’s needed. And most of all about how God loves us and how we should love one another. There are so many stories I could tell about provision and help that He has given us through this experience. I would say that adoption is not for everyone, but if God is tugging on your heart to adopt that it is well worth the effort of doing it. God commands us to provide for the fatherless and the orphans. He will give you the means and the strength to do that if He calls you to it.