The Story of Joel, Part 1 | Personal

The Story of Joel, Part 1

I feel I need to start this blog with a disclaimer. I am not writing this to get blog views, or to make people click, or even to make myself feel better. I am writing because we have loved and lost a little boy whose story deserves to be told, however brief it was. With that said, here is the story of our first child.

Most of you have been following our adoption journey thus far, and I often dreamed about the day we would finally get to say that we had brought our little one home. From hashtags to congratulations to people asking for updates, the wait has been long but exciting. We never expected to wait less than a year for our baby so when we received a call at the end of November as I left a bridal portrait session, we were ecstatic.

The call was from Bethany Christian Services asking for permission to show our profile book to a birth mother. We do not always get asked ahead of time, but in this case the baby was due December 31 and the process needed to be sped up. After thinking and praying it over, Nathan and I excitedly told our social worker that we would love to have our profile book shown. She said that if we didn't hear back within a week, it was safe to say we weren't chosen.

The week dragged on but eventually passed by. We were ok. We knew that if this was the child God wanted us to have He would have opened the door, and it just wasn't the right timing. Life continued on as normal, and I left for San Francisco in mid-December.

That's when things got crazy. That Wednesday, amidst spotty cell service, our social worker called me back. Though the birth mom had decided to move forward with another family it hadn't worked out, and she wanted to know if we were still interested. She also wanted to confirm our commitment that if we did get chosen (and it was a big if) we were ready to say yes to this baby. We prayed and agonized over the decision, then called her back the next morning and said we would still love to be shown. That Friday, as I sat on the tarmac in San Francisco, I sent Nathan a text that said "I could be wrong but I think this is our kid. And I think he's a boy...his name is Joel."

The next day while we sat on the couch talking, my phone rang. When we saw it was our social worker, our hearts stopped. Sure enough, the birth mother had chosen us and wanted to meet with us. Were we free that Tuesday? I think I told her I would move heaven and earth to make sure we could be there.

After what felt like the longest weekend ever, we arrived at Bethany's offices on Tuesday and met the birth mother. I won't share much to protect her privacy, but the meeting went really well and we found a lot in common. I asked a million questions because I knew that if she did decide on us, this would be my only chance to find out about our child's birth family. I took notes and grew teary-eyed when she gave us the ultrasound picture, though she didn't know the gender. On the way home it was confirmed - she had chosen us. We were going to be parents! On top of that, the baby was due just 10 days later. And thus, the planning began.

We told some friends and family, though we kept it off social media intentionally. I refreshed myself on what to do with a newborn, and we got some supplies for the first few days - diapers, wipes, a car seat, a going-home outfit, and a couple other necessities. We spent Christmas with my parents but had our phone on at all times in case she went into labor and we had to drive back. Vacation came and went with no calls and we headed back home, ready to become parents in just a few short days.

The next week was excruciating. We heard a little news from them about some contractions, and at one point she even thought her water broke, but it was a false alarm. I had an uneasy feeling because I just knew our baby would be safe with us at home, and I couldn't wait to get him/her there. We picked out cribs and dressers and my sweet friend planned a baby shower for Sunday, January 3. For some reason I had a pit in my stomach the whole time, but I knew I was just anxious to be a mom. This is what I'd been waiting for for so very long!

The baby's due date passed, and we began to grow even more anxious. Each passing day, my nerves flared higher and higher. I went on long walks, bought a puzzle - anything to keep my mind from dwelling on what was going to happen so soon. Again, it felt like the longest week of my life.

On Saturday before I went to bed, I wrote my final pre-birth letter to our sweet baby (you can read some others here, here, and here). I told our little one we already loved him/her with all our hearts, and we always would. Then I went to sleep.

Click here to read Part 2.

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.