Last July, we were matched with a birth mom who was scheduled to deliver a girl in November, but that match ultimately fell through. I was emotionally attached to that unborn child, so the loss was very painful for me, leaving me bereft and worried about the infant's welfare. After that experience, I was tempted to give up the search for my second daughter, because I couldn't imagine surviving another crushing disappointment. But deep down, I knew giving up wasn't really an option. It wasn't what Heavenly Father wanted from me or for me. So Will and I pressed on, considering every case our adoption agency brought to our attention. During December and January, we turned down several opportunities to adopt because the situations didn't feel right, even though some of them sounded ideal.
On Monday, January 24, our adoption agency contacted Will about two situations. The first was a little girl who would be born in Virginia around February 1. The second was a little girl who had been born in Alabama a few days earlier. This second little girl had been diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that would require at least three surgeries to repair. Both Will and I felt drawn to this second little girl; we were concerned for her well-being, and we wanted her to have a family that could provide all of the extra attention she would need. We talked about whether or not we could make it work and about Shelby's physical and emotional needs. Eventually, we convinced ourselves that we were not the best family for this second little girl. She would need more than we had to offer. We decided it would be best for everyone if we took the little girl in Virginia, so that's what we told our adoption agency we would do.
Over the next two days, Will and I tried to act enthusiastic about the baby in Virginia but instead found ourselves feeling unsure and asking each other, "You're excited, right?" During that time, I frequently wondered if our adoption agency had found a family for the Alabama baby. I was worried about her health and worried that no one would accept her. I wanted her to be loved and secure. I began to wonder if we had made the wrong decision, but I didn't know how to broach the subject with Will. Unbeknownst to me, Will had also been contemplating our decision. On Wednesday morning, he sent me a cryptic text message: "Rachel. On all the adoption situations we have talked about over the last few weeks, which do you think most about?" I decided to take the risk and tell him about my feelings for the Alabama baby.
Once we discovered that we were on the same page, Will contacted our adoption agency to find out if the Alabama baby had found a home. We learned that another family had considered taking her but ultimately decided against it because their first child also had a heart defect and had not yet completed her series of surgeries. Learning that the Alabama baby was still available was both relieving and terrifying. Relieving, because we desperately wanted her and we knew that God wanted us to take her. Terrifying, because we had to acknowledge the severity of her condition (which we knew so little about) and face the possibility that she might not survive her surgeries or reach adulthood. We were afraid, but we were also confident that we were making the right decision.
After counseling together, we contacted our adoption agency to let them know we had changed our minds. We would take the little girl in Alabama with the special heart.
After we made the call, Will was overcome with emotion. He was filled with fatherly devotion and concern and also humbled by the will of the Lord. I was filled with the Spirit of peace, a feeling I hadn't experienced since our first match fell through, and for the first time in months, I felt pure joy and relief.
I spent the next day (Thursday) getting all of my ducks in a row and delegating tasks to others so that I could leave for Alabama on Friday. Then, on Thursday evening, Will and I met with our adoption agency to sign paperwork. With just a few signatures, we became the legal parents of Daphne Jane Gainer.
photo Our first glimpse of Daphne Jane Gainer. This photo was taken by nurses in the UAB RNICU. When I saw the bow and Elmo vest, I knew our baby girl was in good hands, and I was filled with gratitude.
The most miraculous part of adoption is how the right babies find the right families. I'm so grateful that the Lord didn't give up on Will or me after we chose the wrong child. Working on us individually, the Spirit was able to change our hearts and turn us down the right path. Now we can face the challenges ahead with faith and confidence, knowing that the Lord is on our side and that He has a plan for our family and our little bundle of joy.