Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Isabelle's 4th Birthday

Yesterday was Isabelle's 4th birthday. I was thinking last night that 4 years ago Isabelle still wasn't mine. I wasn't in a hospital 4 years ago having my labor induced, having contractions, getting an epidural, pushing out a precious 7 pound 15 ounce little girl. My labor experience was entirely different. I went to bed that night in my own bed as usual and slept the usual 8 hours, same with the night after that. It wasn't until Isabelle's 3rd night that my sleep was interrupted and it was quite some time before I slept 8 hours again.

The night she was born I was sitting in the living room at my parents house with my husband and son, parents, brother and sister-in-law and their kids. We were making small talk about the new townhouse my parents bought and the impending move from the home they had been living in for 25 years. I thought about the fact that Isabelle would never know my childhood home. And as we were chatting my cell phone was sitting on the coffee table in front of us and we were all staring at it waiting for it to ring, waiting for our social worker to call and tell us our precious daughter had been born. When the phone finally rang she only told us that Isabelle was born and doing well but that Sam, the birth father, wanted to tell us the details. We quickly called him to hear all about the birth and everything that had gone on. He made a joke about the fact that she was indeed a girl and we wouldn't have to make a panic trip to the paint store to cover up the pink room we had created. We asked him if he would take a picture with his phone so we could see her that night and he said there were lots of cameras and they would send us lots of pictures. We raced home to see many precious pictures of our little girl.

She was a blob. A little face poking out of a blanket. The pictures are precious to me today but that night as I looked at the red blob of a child that I did not know and did not yet love I cried. I wanted to have that instant love I had with Jake at the sight of the picture and I didn't. And even though I knew I would love her, the emotions of the experience overtook me and I cried the night my daughter was born.

The next day was another day to watch the phone. 4 years ago today we were at Jake's school for History Day and waiting to find out if we could go see her in the hospital. Finally that night we were able to go meet our little girl in person, to hold her and touch her, feed her and hear her voice. She was and is a miracle. Sam and Lauren were so excited to introduce her to us. We were so amazed by their strength and maturity in the situation at such a young age. The had complete confidence in the decision they had made. Isabelle was adorable, amazing and beautiful, and my love affair with her began.

Finally on March 5th, 4 years ago, we went to the hospital again to bring home our little girl. That day Sam and Lauren were both red faced, they had spent the morning saying good bye to their daughter so that we could say hello to our daughter. We shared an Entrustment Ceremony together. We promised to raise her and love her and be godly parents to love, protect, support and nurture her. We all vowed to work together to develop a relationship that would give Isabelle a sense of identity and to know that she is loved by all her parents. Then we gave them a hug, loaded Isabelle in her car seat and left the hospital. We had about an hour or so after we got home before we were descended upon by family who were as excited as we were to at long last be bringing home the child we had desired for so many years.

And now she is 4 YEARS OLD! It has been an amazing journey. We love her with every part of our being. I am not a big baby person, we wanted another child but I was nervous about doing all the baby stuff again, and it was hard. I kept saying, "We just have to get to 4 and then it will be fine." I knew it would go fast but it has just flown by. And true to my word I am enjoying her so much as we enter 4. The tantrums are almost over and the fun learning stage of her life has begun. I am enjoying my time with her and thinking through how I can continue to nurture her and guide her to become the godly woman I have been praying for her to become as she grows.


  1. Happy Birthday Belle!

    Isabelle is such a blessing - as are all of the little (and not so little!) angels in our family. I am so thankful for the opportunity to participate in each of their lives - however small that opportunity might be.

  2. Melanie, I enjoyed your blog so much today as I read through it I realized what a blessing adoption can be. So many people go through life without children because they feel that they do not want to raise someone elses child. Isabelle is very lucky to have Godly parents. God bless you as you go into another year with her and yes time does go by fast.

  3. Good grief, girl, you brought me to tears with that post! What a precious gift from God this experience has been, not only and primarily for you, but for all of us in the family who have loved Isabelle as our own since the very beginning, and love Sam and Lauren for their selfless and courageous act of love towards her in giving her to all of us to love!

    I cannot believe we waited 10 years for you to receive another blessing from God after Jake, and now FOUR MORE YEARS have gone by!

    I will never forget your phone call when I was due with Grace in 6 weeks and you cautiously telling me what could potentialy be in the works, before Sam and Lauren had yet made their final decision...still remember thanking God and feeling that although we did not get the babies together with Evie that we thought we would, He gave us babies together at the end, 6 years later, with Grace and Isabelle, and it has been so special to share that with you!

  4. Thank you for sharing the details of such a beautiful, God-written story . . . you have a beautiful family! Happy Birthday to Isabelle!

  5. Wow, what a beautiful post, Melanie! Definitely brought tears to my eyes. It's been such a joy to watch Isabelle grow up over the past four years...she's always been one of the "smiliest" children I've ever encountered! We love your family.

  6. I had never experienced adoption and had not a clue what to expect as the Grandma. Would it feel different? It is so fabulous and miraculous. She is a precious gift that i would never want to be without. She is loving, bright, precocious singleminded and has truely become a reflection of her Mom. As we said from the beginning. Sam and Lauren "chose in kind" She is genetically just like us! Happy Birthday my little "peanut"