"So promise me you'll never forget...that you aren't an accident or an incident...you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth...Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly.'" Max Lucado, God Thinks You're Wonderful

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday Owen!

I can't believe my Owen is 4. And at the same time, I can't believe he's only 4!

It seems like I have been a mom for much longer than 4 years. But to think back to this night 4 years ago...wow. Our God is incredible.

It hadn't even been a year since we started the journey in adoption. We first thought we were supposed to adopt internationally, but God closed several doors and we knew domestic adoption was where God intended for us to be. So we chose our agency and started the process.
Mandy had "picked" us for Owen 5 weeks before he was born. She asked us to join her at her doctors visits and be with her in the delivery room. So this time 4 years ago we were packing our bags ready to head to the hospital for her to be induced on the 18th.

That morning we met her at the hospital and it was surreal. It was such an incredible experience watching a woman you love labor and deliver your child. Nervous doesn't begin to describe what I felt that day. I so wanted her to be okay and healthy and feel right about her decision to place him with us. But I also knew that with that decision came great loss and pain. I was nervous for that pain and grief to hit. As much as I was elated to become a mommy, I knew it came at the cost of another mom losing her son. This time 4 years ago I saw firsthand what an indescribable act of love placement is.

I remember like it was yesterday when Owen took his first breath. I so desperately wanted to run to his side but I also didn't want to leave Mandy. For the first time they were separated and I found myself having to choose who to go to. Mandy noticed my dilemma and she said, "go to him...he needs his mommy". I tell you what...she's incredible. I couldn't hold myself back and I bear hugged her. I was bawling and told her how I loved her and thank you. Then I did as she asked and ran to meet my sweet baby boy. {{tears}}

Mandy asked us to room in with her. It was such a precious time with her. It was a time she could have kept to herself with Owen, but she wanted to share it with us. She told me later she wanted to see us become his parents. She felt like it was a part of her healing and solidified her decision because she was able to see how much we loved him and how intense that bond was so immediately. She watched me mother him and it gave her great comfort in her choice. Not that I am that spectacular, but to see it in action gave her peace.

Our experience at the hospital was so incredible, I will never forget it. It was like time stood still for weeks. And then they made us go home. We all joked that as tired as we all were from being there, that we wished we could stay longer. Saying good-bye to her, even though we knew we would be talking on the phone and seeing each other, was still torture. Blake and I sobbed as Mandy left with 2 of our social workers. The thought of her going home without Owen was hard to swallow, yet we were so overjoyed to have him as our own. What a mix of emotions!

We stayed behind as Owen had not yet been discharged and we had time to gather ourselves and stop crying. We eventually got our act together so that we could see well enough to drive home. Although throughout the day and for weeks it would hit us what Mandy and Owen had lost and we would both break down and cry. How wonderful though to be able to grieve that loss with our son through the years because we felt loss too. We know it is not the same, but we now felt a gaping hole where Mandy had been for the last 5 weeks.
So tonight and tomorrow as we celebrate, we are also thinking of the precious woman that chose for her son to have a family. We know that birthdays can be hard as we are reminded of what was lost. Our Owen is so tender and I know that this day will be hard for him as he starts to understand more of his adoption story.

This really wasn't meant to be a sad post, just one reminding us all who birth mothers really are. They are my heroes. They are selfless, noble and strong women. They are the ones that are bold enough to do what most of us only hope we could. I had not shared Owen's birthday before and it was more than I could have ever dreamed of.
Thank you Mandy for making me a mommy. Thank you for making my sweet Blake a daddy {{big lump in my throat}}. Thank you for not only placing your son in our care, but for everything else that you included us in as he made his debut. We love you more than you'll ever know. Happy birthday sweet Owen. God answered our prayers the day you were born!


Norma said...

How awesome, Molly! You have me crying, too!! (What are we doing up at this hour?... I know you stayed up to write these words, sweetie...) You did leave out a few things about these days in our lives... I will never forget hearing about Owen's birth while in CA and flying home to see him!! You and Blake caught us in the Dallas airport and told us Mandy wanted us to come to the hospital to meet her and Owen!! We were thrilled beyond words and rushed home late that night to turn around and fly to OKC to the hospital early the next morning! We were so blessed to begin our special relationship with Mandy... We love you all!! Happy Birthday, Owen!! We love you! Noonie

Terra said...

Such a precious post Molly! I too have tears just reading this sweet story. I am so thankful that you are so open and honest. I know I don't personally know Mandy, but she was the first birth mother who I got to "know" through the stories you would tell and she should know she is what made me realize what heroes they truly are! Most people don't share this side of adoption so we go on visualizing what we think they are, and boy are most of us wrong. I am glad that she/you open my eyes and heart to the gift they give and the selfless, amazing women they are!
On to sweet, adorable Owen! Happy Birthday little buddy! I still have his birth announcement and I remember thinking I couldn't be more happier for a family than I was for you guys! He is so blessed to have you as his mommy and daddy!

Melodie said...

i love those old pictures. but i love Owen's story. each adoption story is unique and different and always a blessing. just further proving God's unique orchestration for all of our families. thanks for sharing!

Holly, Ben, and Reid said...

Such a wonderful post and a wonderful life story for Owen! Happy birthday sweet boy!!!

sarah m said...

Wow, what a precious, touching story! Thank you so much for sharing. And Owen is so so cute!! :)

Dr. Erin and Mr. Heath said...

You should have had a disclaimer at the top to not read at work and have tissues standing by!

What a touching story. Happy birthday to your sweet Owen. You are such a blessed and beautiful family.

Anonymous said...

It seems impossible that Owen is already 4! He is a special gift from God that keeps me always grateful and thankful that I have the honor to be his Gigi. I hope Mandy feels the prayers that are being lifted up for her today. I thank God for her and her willingness to sacrifice herself and to listen to God's voice. I will never forget the first time I saw Owen. He was already holding his head up checking out everything. God has very special plans for him. I love you, Owen and Happy Birthday!

Karissa said...

I am so glad you take time to post your thoughts. Happy Birthday "O"!

Chassidy said...

Molly-It's so awesome to see Gods hand in Owen's story. God allows difficult times to draw us close to Him. He has allowed them for our growth, His glory, and encouragement to others. And your family is certainly an encouragement to MANY OTHERS! Thank you for sharing this special story with all of us :)

Krista said...

Molly -
Thank you so much for sharing Owen's adoption story! So precious, and it definitely brought tears to my eyes. You and Blake are such great parents - so aware, transparent, nurturuing & loving! I cannot wait for our baby girl to get here, so we can share in mommyhood together! You know I will be emailing with lots of questions!
Love you,