Thursday the 7th, after I dropped Loren off at work... I had already begrudgingly told Emilie at the agency to go ahead and present the other families.
I spent a few hours with Emily Newbold, by dear close sister-friend. I could not help but text Emilie from the agency and ask her if she presented the other families to Mama R yet. She said she was with her now, doing that.
She called me and asked, "Can you present?" I said, "I just don't think so. I will keep making calls and pray for Mama R to have wisdom and peace in her decision."
I sob all over Emily's (my sister-friend) table. I tell her that this is hard. That this is scary. Emilie calls me again. "Natalie, Mama R really wants a young couple. I can't stop thinking that you guys would be perfect for her. I have presented 7 or 8 other families to her; the one she begrudgingly said 'yes' to today won't work due to state laws. I need you."
SO I said through nervous shivers, "Okay, here is an idea: unless it would be too taxing on Mama R's heart, would you present us and say, 'These people don't know that they can come up with the funds surrounding the situation. They don't know if this is possible for them. But IF it were, if miracles happened, would you choose them?'"
I also asked her if we would be able to have an extension to bring in the funds - she said, maybe, but it is up to the director; they have never allowed that. I texted Loren an update with shaky hands.
I go back to crying to Emily. Emily gently tells me that it is okay not to present, if we know it is too much; no one will think less of us - I had just been telling her that it is scary to present because what if the expectant/birth mama says yes? I then tried to explain the blender of feelings through the ugly cry face...you know the one. "Emily, we have to present. Its in my bones. But this is my fear with every single time we present: what if God doesn't come through? What if He doesnt provide the funds? What if He lets me become a foolish stupid idiot for the world to laugh at? I always beg Him to somehow ensure she says no if He isn't going to come through and then I beg [sort of I actually demand like a sobbing toddler] Him to come through if she says yes." She cried with me because she is the very best.
I head to Sears to pick up our dissembled shed. I am praying my heart out, begging God to not let her blink an eye when she sees us if it is not His will and plan. I am begging Him through those ugly cry tears, begging Him to come through if this was it. This was scary. This was impossible. This was bigger than any mountain I could dream up. The total cost of this adoption would be nearly twice our current annual salary, granted our annual salary isn't exactly ginormous. BUT STILL. LOGIC WAS OUT THE WINDOW THE MOMENT I SAW THE SITUATION (Wednesday am) AND MY HEART LEPT.
I pull into Sears, get the shed, get back in the car. Emilie is calling me. It is 4:30 pm Thursday the 7th. She explains to me that as soon as she showed Mama R the photos of us and the blurb, Mama R's demeanor changed completely. Hope was sparked after two long days of not finding an adoptive family. "Yes. This is them. This is the family! Tell them to get the funds to you and get over here!" Emilie then went on to say that she then carefully said, "R, there is something that may change your mind and that is okay: Natalie is currently 20 weeks pregnant with a boy." Do you want to know what Mama R's response was? Because it made me cup my mouth with my hands and fall over on the truck seat crying so hard. She said, "THAT'S EVEN BETTER." Emilie said to me, "If you can find the funds and get a plan, you have a baby boy waiting for you in Utah."
Talk about melt down.
Talk about emotions.
Talk about feelings.
Talk about fear and disbelief.
Talk about being at the base of the most giant mountain, I couldn't even see the top. The top was in the heavens and there was no visible way to scale it.
I call Loren about 18 times and of course he is at work and not answering his phone. I call family and tell them everything and ask if they would be able to help us get a loan. We could not do this without them but also knew if they couldn't, then that is that.
I text Loren, "URGENT EMERGENCY CALL ME ASAP." I tell him. We are both in shock at the entire thing. Loren tells his boss, "Hey...I think my son was born yesterday..." His boss drops his sandwich and is like, "Dude! Get out of here! You're off the schedule for a week!"
We call Emilie back and explain that we will apply for a loan and asked if we could have three weeks to raise the remaining $funds, plus any for lodging, medical, legal fees and of course paying the loan itself. She says yes. I post THIS post. My brother & his wife book and buy our plane tickets and we are to leave the next morning. Alarm is set at 3 am to wake up and go! We don't go to bed until 1:30 am because we need to pack and finish up some paperwork and all the things; our friend Emily Clum brings over a load of baby boy newborn clothes, blankets, wipes, gripe water, a car seat, and laundry detergent. I don't sleep. Not even for a minute. Nerves were on high, friends.
My brother, because he is the hero of all, wakes up at 2 am to drive us to the airport. We post this:
"If you haven't seen our blog or FB...HERE WE GO! Heading to meet this little boy and his first mama! Can't wait for this car seat to be filled. If every IG follower donated $44 to our adoption via PayPal, our entire adoption would be covered! Will you think about it?! Skip buying coffee for a month and help us bring our baby home? We are looking for miracles! We have already seen SO MANY. Donated car seat & clothes & wipes & THINGS! God is so faithful! Pray big! Smooth travels, FINANCIAL MIRACLES, healthy mama and baby, and that baby boy will connect well with us!" #adoptionisbeautiful #matched#bringhomebabybrenner #adoptionrocks#familyismorethanblood
There are so many details. So many details. Precious details written in our journals to keep safe for our son. We fly, we land, we barely eat, we are nauseous, we are running on nerves and no sleep. What if the money doesn't come in? What if we have him for a week and have to hand him back? The fears are real.
We drive to the hospital, spend a couple hours with his Tummy Mama, caseworkers, and Sage. We are in love and we want so desperately for his Tummy Mama to know we appreciate her. That she is amazing, selfless, lovely. That she is more loved than she knows - we tell her that there is an army of prayers being prayed over her. For the last 8 months. Crazy the timing, is it not? We all cry. All of us. We shared the name Sage that we like and were thinking of naming him: she likes it. We ask her what name she likes for him, she said Issac, we asked if we could use that as his middle name. More tears. We want to keep every part of her that we can, for Sage and for her.
I will never forget the moment we said goodbye in the hospital. Too sacred to share. Too monumental for words.
The nurses and caseworkers and everyone who knew the story kept saying that we were obviously his parents. We were clearly designed by God for this baby, because they tried every avenue and turned up empty handed every time. Until we came along. It just, it is tear jerking beauty. The agency employees have said to us over and over again how very special our story is to them, that it reminds them why they do what they do.
It is miraculous. Miracles we cannot deny.
Since Thursday evening we have raised $12,000.
TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. To say that our minds have been blown is an understatement.
I hope to share a bit more here and there, but this is the gist of it. We are now in a rental home with our baby Sage near the hospital, Loren has been THE BEST dad and husband and been taking such good care of us. Been cooking us meals and we switch the snuggles, but neither of us ever want to let go. This boy has had so many smooches.
In love, you guys. The Lord is so good. We don't deserve this. This is beyond gracious for us. And to think thaybour greatest joy is Tummy Mamas great loss... my soul hurts and rejoices all at once.
Our friend Cassidy has family near us in Utah and her mom called in a delivery pizza for our dinner Sunday which has lasted us 4 meals. I think we have one or two more meals coming our way from her family too. We are drinking instant Folgers coffee because it was $1 compared to Starbucks Via $8; there's no coffee pot here. Back home people are preparing for our return in more ways than we understand.
We are still raising funds. We are still praying big miracles. But we have gotten far enough into this that THIS IS OUR BABY. We are his family. There is no denying it. The agency knows it too; they all have told us how special this situation has been to watch unfold. How truly miraculous.
Saturday we had a huge group of friends at our house back home cleaning and organizing the mess of chaos that is now our nursery. I cant even. There has been donated breast milk, food, gifts, clothes. I know the tears won't stop when we get home. The village is for real, you guys. There are so many things. He is so gracious. So faithful.
There have been many times where I think this is too good to be true. There have been many moments where we have received messages encouraging us, blessing us, sending us so much love. Our faith has only increased. We keep reminding ourselves: look how far God has brought us. This is clearly His story.
We cannot and will not imagine life without Sage Issac, ever again. Oh my heavens, this boy is ours forever and for always and no matter what. Now we know. Now we believe: God orchestrated this and He planned this specific baby, Sage Isaac, to join our family. We could not receive a more undeserved gift of grace.
We are hoping to head home this weekend if all goes well. Part of me is extremely excited to share him with every single human being I know that loves him...but another part of me is protective of my sweet boy, wanting to be careful with over-stimulation and healthy attachment to his mama and daddy. He, though an infant, is still experiencing some traumatic life changes. All he knew for 9 months was his Tummy Mama's voice, her heart beat, her smell...and then he spent two days with her loving self at the hospital. He just lost all his little young life has known. So we are praying that we can reveal to him over time our very safe, real, and genuine love. We pray that he grows knowing he can trust us. As well as let him know that his Tummy Mama loves him more than we can explain.
If you have already supported us, which thousands of people have, many of them strangers...we pray from the bottom of our hearts that you know how much of a difference you are making. Whether $5 or $2,000, meals, our plane tickets, rental car, etc...you have changed our life, Sage's life, and Mama R's life forever. For the better. You have brought a family and a child together, uniting them as one. You have grown our family and there is simply no way we would be here today, holding our son, without you. Thank you. There aren't enough words.
You are literally helping us bring home our baby. We could not do it without you: plain and simple.
If you are able to support us, here are some ways to:
Paypal: Please follow the directions below and it will be a HUGE help! To cut down on Paypal costs, we are asking that winners send payment via PayPal as a "gift to friends and family".
You can also buy beautiful items through Allison Ramsing's Stella and Dot Trunk show she opened for us! 25% of all sales goes to our adoption fund. The show is open until February 2, 11:59 PST. It is easiest for you to shop if you go to: http://stelladot.com/allisonramsing and select Natalie as your hostess at check out. You can totally contact Allison if you need help placing orders to support us!