She labored for you for almost 9 months and then through one long night. You were born at 6:45 that Wednesday morning. She sent me a text right away saying you had arrived and we could come as soon as possible.
We were awake, but not thatkind of awake. So we ran in circles for the first fifteen minutes, trying to collect our minds, got your siblings off to school and then packed up our things to come see you.
TiTi Vivian reminded me to make notes of the day so I’d be able to relay them to you. So we took a video of ourselves driving to Florida’s Space Coast. It was an unusually cloudy morning with the sun peeking through occasionally. John Mark and Sarah McMillan were playing in the background, providing the perfect, reassuring soundtrack
for our drive.
We settled on your name in the car.
Your birth parents loved our other kids’ names, so we wanted to pick something for you they might like too, fitting in with the trendy-but-old-fashioned names of Stella, Ruby, and Schaeffer.
I was putting on my make-up in the car and spilled foundation on my pants. In spite of my best stain fighting attempts, we had to make a quick stop into Target to get me a new pair. Big life events tend to be punctuated with everyday things. I’m thankful the spectacular seems to coordinate with the simple to remind us of our smallness. I felt safer reassured of his greatness, comparatively.
We arrived at the hospital just after noon. Our adoption specialist and the pregnancy counselor met us in the waiting room. We went in together and saw your birthparents first.
She was beautiful, as always, and I told her so. Even after giving birth.
They were understandably exhausted. She shared the story of how you made your entrance.
I want you to know how much she loves you. A mother knows another mother’s tears and feels her heart. She hears the nuances of affection in her voice and follows the inflections straight to those nurturing impulses.
We shared that time together for you, because of you.
Your birth father walked over to your crib and rested his hands on the sides of it. I hadn’t even looked at you yet. I looked at him so I could tell you about him. His face melted into a tender smile but his eyes showed the grief of all that was taking place that day.
There we were. I don’t know when you’ll be able to understand this. But all four of us, they your birthparents, and we your adoptive parents, were together there for you. Our worlds providentially colliding to share our love for you. To join arms together, each having different roles and responsibilities, but all working together for your good. Delivery and deliverance to be inseparably linked forever.
Then we saw you. I remember telling them how beautiful you were. And in one of the most selfless acts of love I’ve seen, they wanted us to hold you. They wanted, with their own eyes, to see us love you even though it was painful for them. Their broken hearts were laid open for you and we gently picked them up – and you – and held them close.
We have part of them with us all the time in you, and we want to cherish and protect that bond. We will do that, by God’s grace and with his help, for you and them.
Next, the hospital kindly provided us with our own room and there in the quiet, we studied you. Daddy was worried you were too cold and wanted to keep your knit toboggan warming your sprinkles of red hair. You didn’t open your eyes at all on Wednesday but your long eyelashes already grabbed our attention.
Instinctively, I kissed your head every time it came near my lips – exactly like I did our other three babies. And just like that, you were my girl.
You and I share a bit of history in common, so it’s fitting you should have my middle name. My mom, your Ammy, says I was a ray of hope born into a rather hopeless situation. And you, our Sunshine, with your own chapters added, bring our story full circle.
As I called your Ammy from the hospital with you in my arms, we wept over how God was continuing to redeem our broken story with you. He makes all things beautiful in his time.Remember that, sweet Sunshine. You’ll hear me say it often.
We who have the hope of Jesus are the broken beautiful. Broken stories, beautiful purpose. Broken relationships, beautiful reconciliation. Broken world, beautiful eternity. Broken people, beautiful Savior.
You could not be more loved. But their love isn’t enough for you. Our love isn’t even enough for you. It won’t be enough to get you through questions about your family history. It won’t be enough to get you through struggles with your identity. It won’t be enough to keep our relationship as parent and child close. It won’t be enough to help you process your adoption into our family.
If there is one thing we gleaned from our adoption education, it’s that. Our love will help you, but it is not enough for you. We fought through that statement. We threw up objections and wanted it to be a lie. But after we faced it, it freed us to surrender you to a love that’s greater, deeper, higher, longer and wider than you can comprehend. A perfect love. And dear Eloise, his love is enough. It will cast out your fears. It will help you deal with insecurities. It will stabilize you, rooting you in and connecting you with a family bond that is thicker than blood because it flows from the Father of all. He gave up his son for you. In fact, he knows something about broken relationships, because he broke their relationship for you, forsaking him so you could be brought near to him and us to each other. The most marvelous thing isn’t how extravagantly loved you are by your birth parents and adoptive parents. The most marvelous thing is that you are extravagantly loved by him.
May you see his love in your past, present, and future. May you feel it all around you in brilliant displays, sovereignly highlighting all your days. May you experience it personally in the forgiveness of your sins. That is our prayer for you on your Adoption Day, February 9, 2017, and always, our dearly loved Eloise.