August 5th 2014 was the day we got a glimpse that God maybe, just maybe, wanted to place Sarge in our family.
It’s crazy to think back to that time. One year ago today we traveled to the mountains for what we thought was going to be a restful week of vacation with the family. And then – with one phone call that came while we were sitting down to eat at our favorite pizza place – our world was rocked. It’s interesting to me how life can change so suddenly, with no warning. One moment you are sitting down to dinner with your husband, two children and parents and the next moment…..your heart is breaking for a baby you’ve never laid eyes on.
I came back to the table with a cloud of doom written all over my face. I could hardly eat. I think I did eat but my mind was hundreds of miles away with a little baby boy.
In those moments, I didn’t know what God was doing. All I had were the facts of what was going on right then and there. And it scared me for that little baby. I wanted the best for him, but what if what I wanted for him wasn’t what God wanted for him?
From that day forward, my mind was focused on this situation. I knew in my heart that I wanted to step in and say we’ve changed our minds, yes, we can adopt him after all. Even though I wanted to say that, a baby right now was the furthest thing from my mind prior to August 5th! Remember, we had had to say no to adopting Sarge back in March, when we first learned of him. It was hard to say no, but I knew it was necessary, given our circumstances back in March of 2014. I had tried to imagine what life would be like if we did adopt him, and I had decided a newborn on top of homeschooling the girls was just too much! There was no way. A newborn didn’t fit in our life.
So, desiring to adopt him when we got the news on August 5th was scary. We were in no way financially prepared to adopt. Domestic infant adoption is expensive. We’d already depleted savings twice in five years. We were trying to build up a savings – not deplete it even further!
My mind was so far removed from having a newborn. I had sold my baby stuff on Craigslist in March (yes, two weeks before we first got the phone call about Sarge). In my mind, our family was moving to the next stage of life. Our girls were growing up, we were moving out of the baby/toddler phase and into the phase of having kids that aren’t tied down to napping and eating schedules. I was really looking forward to that!! After 5 years of naptimes and bedtimes trumping fun activities, I was really looking forward to some flexibility there and having older kids that we could go and do stuff with.
As usual, God had other plans for me. Since deciding to grow our family back in 2007, God has time and time again asked me to surrender my plans for His. And I’ve done it every time and I’ve been witness to the amazing hand of God moving in ways that are not humanly possible to do things that only a God who loves and cares for His children can do. I’ve witnessed miracle after miracle after miracle.
While life swirled around me at this news, my heart was quiet….and still. I knew God had a plan for this baby. I knew He was in control of where he ultimately ended up. I knew God would work out all the details to place him in our family if that was where He desired him to be. I knew I had to sit back and wait for God to reveal His plan and then GO if God called me to go.
In the wee hours of the morning, two and a half weeks after we got that phone call, we were called to GO. We got up in the middle of the night, threw some items in a bag and left town for the next 27 days. At the time, we had no way of knowing it was going to be for that long.
As I am sitting here reflecting on last year, one thing seems to be at the forefront of my mind: When God calls you to GO, He equips you.
As I look back on this past year, God has taken care of every single detail concerning adopting a baby with absolutely no notice.
The first few days in the NICU with Sarge were surreal. I couldn’t believe I had a newborn son. I felt like I was living someone else’s life. It took a while for reality to set in that I actually had a 3rd child and my first son. In fact, even months after bringing Sarge home I would have those moments where I would look at Sarge while feeding him or rocking him before bed, and think “How in the world did this happen?!”. I had to consciously shift my mind-set while in the NICU and tell myself that this was God’s plan for my life at this time instead of what I had thought I would be doing in August of that year!
God gave me every single thing I needed while we spent that time at the NICU. Every single thing. I compared it to the Israelites receiving their daily manna from the Lord. That’s how that NICU experience was for me. Those were some of the hardest weeks of my life physically and emotionally but God gave me what I needed to get through each and every day.
While there, I instantly knew what Sarge needed, and this carried on when we came home with him too. I would be sitting in the hospital holding him, watching him going through withdrawal, and it would hit me like a ton of bricks exactly what he needed. This happened with his feeding schedule there and with the weaning process of his morphine. I would know exactly what needed to be done differently, would discuss it with the nurses first, then the doctor and then once the doctor gave the official okay to do things the way I knew they needed to be done, it was always a good thing in the end for Sarge’s recovery. This was an intuition that I had no doubt that came from the Lord. It was so humbling knowing God had literally sent me to that baby’s bedside to be his advocate and HE was guiding me every step of the way in knowing what Sarge needed.
Back home, while we were in the NICU with Sarge, things were happening on the home front too. Without warning, my brother called my parents the morning after we had left in the middle of the night, to tell them we had gone. My parents took over care of Little Bug and Sweet Pea for the entire 4 weeks we were away, which was no small task. That’s my parents though – they step in and do what needs to be done. My parents took over our human children and Dave’s parents, again without any hesitation, stepped up and took our fur baby. And – still to this day – almost 1 year later, they still have her. When we returned home, taking care of a dog on top of 2 active girls and an NAS baby was too much to handle. They willingly said they would keep her and she is so well taken care of there. She wasn’t getting the attention she deserved at our house and is much happier with them. We have both been blessed with amazing parents who step up to help when we need it however we need it.
Like I mentioned, I sold my baby stuff right before we got the first call about Sarge. Have no fear! Our connection group at church began taking baby donations that were pouring in. By the time the donations of baby clothes and baby gear had all come in, I could have opened my own second hand baby store – that was how much we were given! We had to come back one day to do a quick home study about a week or so after Sarge was born and we decided to drive home the night before our home study the next day. We arrived home and my mom had been going through all the donations for us and had everything spread out in our bedroom. We arrived home close to midnight. I was too tired to move everything off the bed, so we ended up sleeping in the girls’ beds that night! I remember standing at my bedroom door, looking at all the donations and just simply being amazed that all of that had been given to us in a moment’s notice. God was taking care of everything….right down to having clothes for this baby for months to come!
When I can freely share the story of Sarge, you will see how God doesn’t take hard circumstances away from us sometimes because He uses the hard circumstances of life to teach us and to show up in our lives when we desperately need something outside our own strength to get through.
These past 18 months I could not have lived through in my own strength. I’ve needed Him every step of the way and He’s been there. Every step of the way.