I don't even know where to begin here. I could talk about adoption and my love of adoption for days and days. In case you're new here, both of my oldest daughters were internationally adopted from Vietnam. I became a mom the first two times because of adoption. I'm one of the lucky ones that has both adopted and been able to be pregnant, as my third daughter is biological. My prayer is that possibly through these images more people can understand the beauty of adoption, whether it be international or domestic, and more babies can find loving, forever homes. I also pray that more hospitals would be as accommodating and supportive as the hospital we were in was. This experience would not have been the same without their complete cooperation. I also pray that people understand the sacrifice and love that goes into adoption - from BOTH sides of the story - because I can't tell you how many times I've been told in a scoffing tone, "I just can't believe someone would give these beautiful girls up." The hair on the back of my neck stands up at such a statement. Let's be honest here, it is certainly not that easy or cut and dry. If you ever find yourself wanting to say such a statement, I encourage you to stop and think for a minute.
If it were that simple and dismissive, why would birth mothers even bother carrying the babies to term? I mean, pregnancy is no walk in the park, especially when the end result is a baby that will not even be coming home with the birth mother. I believe in my heart that birth mothers are some of the bravest and definitely strongest women on the face of this planet. I couldn't do it. Even if I knew it was best for my baby due to my circumstances. Yet birth mothers around the world make this decision every single day. I applaud their love for their babies and I personally would give just about anything to be able to hug both of my girls' birth mothers and show them how beautiful and amazing the girls that they created and grew in their bellies are. I love those two women with all of my heart, yet I've never met them. I'm sad for them that they had to experience the extreme loss of not being able to raise their daughters and having to say goodbye to their newborn babies, but I am eternally grateful to them that they gave their daughters the opportunity to live and find their ways into our family.
Let's be clear that adoption is not for the faint of heart. I do not believe that everyone on this earth is cut out for adoption. You need thick skin and you need to be able to roll with the unexpected - because nothing in adoption is to be expected or predictable. That goes for both domestic and international. Just when you think everything is in place and about to happen, something twists or turns. As the expectant parent, these bumps can be difficult to deal with. We feel like we are never going to have our babies in our arms. At times we feel hopeless and like there is no end in sight. But have faith, God has a way of working things out just as they are supposed to be.
I cannot even tell you how closely God had his hand on R's arrival and adoption. It was miraculous to be able to witness unfold. I am going to keep the details of the day personal to the family. That is their story to share. Just know, as I drove away from the hospital after spending 15 hours with the family, I was in awe of God's ability to orchestrate the most perfect situation, even if we didn't see it at first. And spending all of that time with the entire family was one of my favorite parts of this experience. I went ahead and told them I consider myself one of their family!
I was incredibly honored to be chosen to document such an intimate and personal moment. I thank this family from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to do this for them and letting me experience this miracle right along with them. I will forever treasure this experience.
I will stop rambling now and share with you what I know you want to see - the arrival of baby R and her family getting to meet her for the very first time.