Friday, August 01, 2008

The Rest of the Story

On Monday night, we finally took the kids up to the hospital to see Hudson.

Poor guys.

They had asked non stop since he was born..."When are we going to see our baby?"

They were so excited when we told them it was time to meet their baby brother.

They were beyond eager to see him, and to bring him home.

We had a talk with them before we went to "j's" room to visit Hudson.

"This is her time right now with the baby. He'll come home eventually, but we want this time between Hudson and his family to be so sweet and special. So, please don't ask us in front of them if we are bringing the baby home. That will hurt their heart. We're not bringing him home today."

Adoption is so wonderfully strange.

It was hard to see the boys so excited and yet have to ask them NOT to talk about bringing the baby home. It's hard to explain to kids the ebb and flow of adoption. We're so excited, anticipating the moment we take Hudson home, and yet his family, is dreading that time when they kiss him good bye.

Hard.

Kids are brutally honest. That's one of the things I love about them.  I tried to remember that when Ashton said, right as we were leaving...

"I don't want to leave Hudson here. I want to take him home with us. When is he coming home with us?"

It was so sweet and so sincere, and all of us in the room felt the weight of his words. Hudson's family feeling for us, and our family feeling for them.

Sweet Ashton...sweet, honest, DISOBEDIENT, Ashton!

The next morning I woke up and immediately thought...

This is the day I become Hudson's mom.

Today we are going to pick up a baby that is a stranger to us, and somehow, he will be ours, and God will knit him into our hearts and our home. In no time at all, I will feel for this child, that I barely know right now, all the love, intimacy and connection that I feel for Anson, Hayden and Ashton.

Adoption...it's just incredible.

We had spent several days...several intense days with Hudson's family. Like I said earlier, I think that time was definitely needed.

However, it didn't make the day of placement any easier to think through.

As I was getting ready, it's so hard to explain the crazy emotions and thoughts that went through my head.

Remember Ecclesiastes 3?

A time to laugh, a time to weep, a time to plant, a time to uproot, a time to mourn, a time to dance, a time to tear, a time to mend, a time to be silent, a time to speak.

I have experienced all of those life emotions.

If you've lived long at all, you have too.

I have been sad.

I have laughed hard.

I have had to say good bye.

I have needed to speak up.

I have been reconciled with others.

I have had to be silent.

The difference with adoption is, you feel all of those intense feelings in the exact same moment.

Hudson's first family was experiencing grief...weeping, mourning, tearing...they had to say good bye to Hudson. In a real way, he was being torn from their arms...from their life.

And we felt so much joy...were filled with excitement and laughter. We couldn't wait for him to be in our car...on the way home with us. I couldn't wait to nurse him for the first time.

And yet we were also filled with so much sadness for his family.

Adoption is messy.

Like Cindy Seay said...you feel years worth of emotions in just a matter of moments.

You live out all of Ecclesiastes 3 within hours.

"How am I going to be able to watch our birth mom hand Hudson over to us at placement today, Lord?"

I would cry just thinking about it.

When we got to the hospital, we were as prepared as we could be for the placement ceremony.

We brought our birth mom a photo album filled with all the pictures we had taken during labor, delivery, of her holding Hudson, of her family...

And we bought her the sweetest necklace by James Avery of a mother holding a baby.

We wanted our birth mom to know that we would never forget her, or let Hudson forget what she so bravely and lovingly did for him.

We were ready to walk into a situation and be a mess emotionally...filled with excitement and sadness all in the same hour.

And yet...

We got to the hospital and Cindy said...

"Don't be offended, but "J" doesn't want to see you today. She's fine. She just wants to say good bye to Hudson and go home."

One part of me was sad. We love our birth mom and know she loves us...so it was hard to think of her pushing us away.

But we understood.

And to be honest, I was somewhat relieved.

I think both of our families felt the same way.

We knew it would be hard to deal with the pain and the excitement at the same time.

So, our birth mom had her time with Hudson Wednesday morning, telling him good bye...loving on him.

And then she said good-bye.

Hudson became ours.

We were taken into the nursery where we dressed our baby.

We signed papers.

We put him in the car seat and left the hospital.

We love our birth mom, are still praying for her every day.

We sent her a letter this week and lots of pictures of Hudson.

From this point on, for the next six months, we will send letters and pictures to New Life that will be passed onto "J." After six months, once the adoption is finalized, we are free to be as open with our birth mom as we want.

We are praying for a long, beautiful relationship with Hudson's mom.

We want her to see this baby grow up. We want him to know her. We want to be a constant source of love and encouragement to this woman who has given us the sweetest gift of all.

After we left the hospital, we went back to our hotel room.

Look...I'm just being honest here...adoption can be so weird.

If you've birthed babies, you know...you would NEVER leave a hospital and go check into a hotel, spending your first night at home with baby NOT at home.

But the truth was...we were far from home. We wanted to sit and soak in the baby we had been asking God to bring us.

I wanted to nurse him. (I know you're all dying to know about this...have no fear...Monday's post will be all about nursing an adopted baby. It's so fabulous!)

You know what other insane thing we did?

We went out to eat at the Rainforest Cafe and took our brand new baby with us.

No, I would have NEVER done this with the babies I birthed.

But hello...the babies I birthed were born within a few miles of my home and in close proximity to a refrigerator and a pantry.

We were in Galveston. We were hungry. Some things are just different about adoption, and you have to be fine with that!

My choices were to either sit and starve in my hotel room alone with our new son, waiting for Aaron to get back from eating dinner with the boys OR go along, taking a wee-tiny, shouldn't be out and about baby with us.

We chose the latter.

13 comments:

Sarah Shalley said...

Heather, I LOVE this story. I am so happy that this has all worked out. I was a nevous wreck about the entire thing! Thankyou for sharing your life with the world. Can't wait to hear about breastfeeding.

Sarah

bighousetx said...

Thank you for allowing us to be with you on this journey. For being so honest and open, and encouraging. I think that through your experience it has confirmed what I have known in my heart for so many years. I can't wait to see more pictures of you and your beautiful family, and hear your experiences with baby Hudson. God is so good, all the time.

The Wakefields said...

Hudson is precious! He is the perfect addition to the Hendrick family!

We are rejoicing and praying with you!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Heather and Aaron. It's been really fun keeping up with you all and the adoption process. I had lots of questions and now even more but will wait until after Monday and see if some are answered. Aaron and Heather I wish we would have looked so good bringing newborns home from the hospital. You both look relaxed, happy and well rested. We were the complete opposite with our two. I'm glad everything turned out so wonderful for your family. You guys are awesome.

Trey Hubley

Jill said...

I've been following your blog for a few months now and I"m SO excited for you guys! We are one of those families who have said "yes" to adoption. Our homestudy is complete and we're waiting. It's killing me!! But at the same time, it's an active exercise in waiting and trusting in a Sovereign God.

Jessica B. said...

Heather,

It has been so wonderful to read all about your story. It is great getting to live out what it means to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Wow, what a summer this has been!

Completely off topic...Rachael and I have a ton of empty boxes from our move that are available for your family's use if you need them. I'm not sure what your plans are, but if you would like them I could bring them to you sometime. Just let me know!

Molly said...

Heather, once again you have beautifully written the process of adoption. There are so many bittersweet moments on the day you bring your baby home, you captured them so well in your post. Thank you for sharing what God has done and does do through adoption. You look just glowing and I love hearing about what your boys did and said. Sending our love and wishing we could squeeze you all!

Bob & Judy said...

I have trouble asking for prayer for myself. I'm the preacher's wife. I'm the mom. I'm supposed to be the strong one, the mature one.

But the other day, someone taught me an important lesson.

When I ask for prayer, when I share my weakness, and when God answers (and He will, in some form), He has answered not just my prayer, but the prayers of my friends, my family, my church.

Thank you, my daughter, for letting us all pray for Hudson, for J, for you.

My Father has answered my prayers because you shared your fears and your doubts and your longings.

Anonymous said...

I would love to add that if anyone is interested in hearing about the foster-to-adopt option, I would be happy to be a resource. Until our experiences, I never knew that adopting through the foster system is a tiny financial cost compared to private adoption, and in our second adoption, there will be no attorney or court costs, because he qualified for financial aid.

Obviously, the financial end of it is not the most important, but as someone who went through fertility issues for five years, I know that we never believed adoption was financially feasible for us. If God tells you to get involved in adoption, He will provide the necessary funds.

Thank you for being a voice for adoption, Hendricks!

Melodi

Hendrick Family said...

Yes...Melodi is right.

Finances should never be the reason NOT to adopt.

We're proof that God provides the money.

And...on top of God's provision, adoption can be free, even through private agencies.

The government offers a tax credit up to $10,000 after your adoption.

We will be 100% reimbursed for Hudson's adoption. So, for us, adopting Hudson will have cost LESS than birthing our biological children!

Please don't let money be the reason not to pursue adoption!

Heather

Amanda said...

Congratulations on your sweet, beautiful family and on your brand new baby. Your post absolutely blessed me. Waiting anxiously for more.

King Family said...

Thanks for the whole story. It's so great!! So much of it echoes our experience with Jude. We didn't get to see "A" or say good-bye to her. But James Avery is my best friend. He makes the perfect gifts for birthmoms (and birthdads). I basically have an account there! Also, we ate at our favorite restaruant in Tyler, Mercados', about 30 minutes after picking Jude up from the hospital. A few people asked me how old he way (I had the carried covered w/a blanket), and I sheepishly said "2 days." One looked me over and said, "wow-you look good." I just laughed and didn't correct them. The other looked at me like I was insane for bringing a 2-day old baby to a restaurant. But, like you said, what were we supposed to do? We were hungry. He was fine. Adoption's just different. I am dying to meet Hudson and talk with you for hours. When would that be feasible?

Jon & Sally said...

Love the story! And I've loved being a part of pr-ying!! You've definitely helped "warm up" our hearts for adoption! It'll be nice to have this resource under our belts!
I just love your sweet face in these pictures. ...The looks tells the story of your heart!! ..Of course it could be that blond hair too!
Blessings to you guys!!
Sally
Oh & by the way, you've got to change the "5+" number in your header now!! YEA!!