chapter 21 {my adoption labor and delivery story}

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you think about it, play it out in your mind, exactly how you imagine it will go. the day you meet each other. the day she is delivered into your care. this practice keeps you sane in the waiting. this "escape into the land of adoption" holds you up above the mundane of paperwork and no email updates. it gives you something to look forward to, for it's the only "tangible" you've got since you cannot reach her across the waters.

for this is how i labored long before i delivered.

like any other labor and delivery story, no two are the same.

the labor pains lasted 3 years. we knew we were adopting may 5, 2012, approved by our agency to move forward. it was confirmed by india in august.

the following march we were told...It's a girl! age 7. healthy. name kavita.

we could start calling her by name and preparing home to receive a child close in age to the boys. unbeknownst to us at the time of extreme joy, we would hurt and face complications for the next 2 years. this is not what we expected. then there's this book someone wrote "what to expect when you're expecting." doesn't apply here.

then 3 years to the date, on may 5, 2015, we became her parents. adoption creates a different kind of labor and delivery, so though we became her legal parents, it would be 6 more weeks before she would be delivered into our arms.

but like every labor and delivery, the laboring gets old and you're doing anything to speed up the delivery. travel websites, airline pricing, hotel options, packing lists. instead of walking to help speed up the process, i was making countless runs to target for things i thought i needed plus some.

 laboring prepares the heart and body for delivery. it's absolutely necessary.

while i labored 3 years, i do not know. well, i've got a few clues. {thank You Jesus} but it was in the laboring that i learned i am not in control. He's not finished with me yet and still has much to do with me and in me in this new season of life. i learned to be more still and listen to the heart of God and what really matters to Him. in the laboring, i was made well once more. i hit rock bottom and He lifted me up out of the miry pit and gave me a firm place to stand. in the laboring, God was getting me ready. God was getting my little girl ready. and no umbilical cord was needed for this to happen. i could not pass to her nutrients. i could not sing her songs at night. i could not feel any kicks or rolls in the womb or learn the heartbeat rate.

but that's what makes adoption so miraculous.

God does the supernatural in the heart of a child and in the heart of her forever momma that grows and unifies despite dna and genes and cells.

and then the time comes. and it's not my time, but the Holder of time. for if it had been my time, it would have been completed long before now. but though i doubted and wrestled and questioned, i still trusted and held on and believed.

it was time to deliver.

like any delivery, i was on cloud 9, overcome with emotions that rage out of control and my physical body just endured the high amounts of estrogen.

like any delivery, i felt perfectly prepared, but not prepared at all.

like a planned and scheduled c-section, we were expecting to deliver on thursday.

it was planned and i like a good plan.

but she was coming a day early!

we hurried around the room to get everything ready. we put most of our things away to make our luggage look as minimal as possible. we gathered what was necessary for our visit to the orphanage.

my eyes were seeing the beautiful story unfold, yet my mind could not process it all.

this would take weeks.

i wore the outfit i had picked out for months. i wanted to look the prettiest for her.

then the moment happened and i can replay it over and over and over.

i felt her and she felt me.

but it was like an out of body experience.

she entered my embrace, becoming dependent with each breath from then on.

what was she thinking? for she had seen other children leave for this very reason. one day i'll learn what was going on in her little heart that day.

but the way she looked at me.

and the way i couldn't keep my eyes and smile off of her.

that's the supernatural that only God can do. for i was experiencing what the laboring had done for my heart the past 3 years.

the first night we all slept really good. no one waking me up to check vital signs. my heart was healthy. my mind sane. as sane as it can be coming off of this.

it was the second night in the hotel in her city.

she laid in between me and ben. but something was going on. she was tossing and turning more than normal. like a momma who had done this a time or two, i knew she was having a scary dream or on the verge of waking up.

i was well aware of what we had just done. how there was one less orphan in the world that night and she was tucked into bed between a momma and daddy who loved her deeply. and how hated we were by the enemy.

she got up and went to the bathroom. i followed her. then more tossing and turning.

she sat up in bed and pointed to the window. we walked over to it together and she put her right hand on the window. with her left hand, she pointed outside.

it's clear she was thinking of one thing.

the place of familiar. home for the past 4 years. homesick.

i led her back to bed. both of our hearts heavy. i lay even nearer.

for the rest of the night, i put upon myself the emotions my daughter had bottled up inside.

plus my own that were mounting.

i would wake to make sure she was okay. that part came natural.

but the stress that my body was experiencing that night, plus the invisible stress that was already there from days and weeks before pushed me too far that night.

with little sleep and no appetite, i sent her and ben on to breakfast the next morning. the thought of food was nauseating.

i reached out to my amazing adoption community letting them know what i had experienced last night and asking them to pray knowing they had encountered similar battles. "but this was a heavy weight to me as i feel responsible to carry all the emotions she doesn't know how to express or want to express right now. i need strength to care for her and love her especially right now. i'm glad i can be real here. love you for praying for me and her. ben is doing amazing! amazing! and she responds very well with him. they are down at breakfast right now and i just took a hot bath...."

a little later i updated my adoption community:  "so while i was sending this to you, there was a knock on my door. it was ben and kavita. she had come back up to get me because she had fixed me a plate and was ready for me. she helped me get better! thank you all. it's hard. very hard. but worth every second."

so while i was trying my best to heal with time alone and avoid contact with food, my daughter of 2 days had fixed me a breakfast plate and wasn't going to sit down in the hotel restaurant and eat until i was there with her and ben. she was helping me heal.

my stomach remained in knots and continued for a few days as the truth kept pouring over me. "you have a daughter to care for and love. she's looking to you now."

while bonding was taking place beautifully, the weight of such a task, jet lag, no appetite, and lack of sleep was spiraling my mind out of control.

i needed some meds so i could sleep. {and that's typing that sentence lightly.}

we were in delhi at this point and because of a dear friend in our adoption community, i was able to get something over the counter. i was so desperate that after kavita had her medical appointment, i waved down a rickshaw taxi and told ben and kavita to climb in, momma needed her meds.

after two nights of much needed sleep and a bit of a hangover each morning from the medicine, i was back to eating and feeling better.

and all of this while bonding, going to the embassy and her doctor multiple times, exploring delhi, and swimming in the hotel pool.

like 3 prior labor and deliveries, i must give heaps of credit to the best breathing coach ever. the one who would stand and hold my hair back. the one who would entertain our daughter so i could lay down. the one who was intentionally checking on me countless times a day to make sure i was doing okay. the one who held me to a few days of meds so i didn't become addicted. the one who brought me comfort food one night and ordered room service when i had not the strength to go out.

and a different type of breathing method this time. for we were breathing in indian air and walking the indian land with our daughter who wanted piggy back rides rather than ergo rides. he basically carried both of us home. and i will always be grateful.

while this labor and delivery didn't go at all like i expected or imagined, every detail was seen and orchestrated by our loving God. and we were not for one minute without Him though we had to labor hard and deliver in a faraway land.

no two stories are the same, but this is ours and she certainly has one her momma will keep telling.

and this little girl was worth it all!

and God has more to do in the labor and delivery rooms of adoption.

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and if you're there, keep breathing. keep holding on. keep trusting.

and if you're waiting to be matched or overwhelmed with mounds of paperwork, stay in the best book of all and pour your heart out of the best Father of all.

and if you're on the fence about adoption, open those hands up and surrender and see what God gives and takes away. He's called us, no doubt, to care for the orphaned. the Gospel is clearly displayed through adoption. it's hard and not glamorous in this pursuit, and it's the closest to Jesus i've ever been.

i have two books to give away to anyone in the process of laboring or delivering or waiting!

The Connected Child by Dr. Karen Purvis (truly the bible for adoption)

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

share an adoption related photo on instagram and/or 
why you're pursuing adoption on twitter with this tag
 #adoptionlaboranddelivery 
and i'll choose at random 72 hours from this post.

happy to share these great books! happy to hear from you!

because everyone has such a unique labor and delivery story!