Sweet Asher, I have a story to tell you. There aren’t any dragons or princesses locked in towers, but it’s one of the best stories yet, and God started writing it a long time ago.
Years ago, long before I met your daddy, God placed a desire in my heart to adopt. I didn’t know what that would look like for me, but I knew God would one day grow my family through adoption. When your daddy and I met, he told me he wanted to adopt also. That made me love him even more, and I couldn’t wait for the day to come when we would start our family.
After we had been married for a few years, your daddy and I decided to start our family. A couple of years passed, and we still didn’t have a baby. We wondered what God had planned for us, and we prayed, asking God for children. On Christmas day of 2014, God confirmed that it was time for us to start the adoption process. Your daddy and I were overjoyed! We were officially on our journey to you.
We waited for months. Those were some of the happiest and hardest days of my life. God was stretching me and growing me and preparing me for you. He showed me lots of yucky things in my heart that I needed to surrender to Jesus, and He taught me to lean into Him and trust His perfect plan.
And, oh, what a perfect plan He had!
On October 27, 2015, we received the call that we had been matched with you! Oh, baby boy, I was over the moon excited! Was this finally happening? Was my dream coming true? Was God giving me the good gift of being a mama?
The next few weeks were a flurry of excitement and lots of to do lists! We shared our good news with friends and family, and we did all we could to prepare our home for your arrival.
And we prayed! We prayed for you. We prayed for your first family. We prayed for the lawyer and the doctors and all the people who were helping bring you to us. Lots and lots of people prayed with us. Did you know that one day, for a solid 24 hours, people prayed for you? They did! That was one of the most special days of our journey to you. We saw how much you were loved already, and our excitement grew even more.
We actually had the chance to meet your first parents a couple of weeks before you were born. Oh, Asher, I was so nervous! I knew your first mama had chosen us, but what if she didn’t like us once she met us in person? What if she thought I was awkward and laughed too much? What if I said the wrong thing? We prayed, and we asked our friends and family to pray. I prayed specifically that I could hug your first mama and that we could take a photo with her before we left the meeting.
God was gracious and kind. As soon as your first mama walked through the door, she gave me a big hug! Now, you’ll learn that I have a tendency to say awkward things. This moment was no different. The first thing I ever said to your first mama was, “Your hair smells SO good! Whatever shampoo you’re using, keep using it!” Yep. Oh, well, I think it broke the ice, because our time together was wonderful, so much more than I imagined. God filled the room with His peace, and we felt an instant connection with your first parents. Your sweet first mama even brought us gifts to share with you, including your ultrasound pictures and photos of your first family – what treasures! We left that meeting on cloud nine, and guess what we did right before we left! That’s right. We were able to take a photo with your first parents. God was so kind to answer my prayers!
We waited with such joy for the next couple of weeks. We weren’t sure when you would arrive! Your due date was November 29th, but we were both hoping you would arrive before Thanksgiving. On Thursday, November 19th, our community group created a little baby pool and each guessed the day we thought you would arrive. I guessed the 24th, and your daddy guessed the 26th, Thanksgiving day. We were both wrong!
The next day, just before 1:00 in the afternoon, we received an unexpected call. Your first mama was being admitted to the hospital. Her water was low, and the doctor wanted to induce labor. This was it! You were on your way!
We scurried around frantically, packing our bags and letting our family and friends know the exciting news. I was thankful your bags were ready to go! We loaded the car and drove the few hours to the hospital, where your first mama had been admitted by the time we arrived.
Asher, it was so good to see her! I didn’t realize how much I had missed her until I saw her again. We hugged and laughed, both sharing in the joy of knowing we would see your face very soon!
Your first mama was gracious and kind to us. She invited us into her labor and delivery room, and she let us stay with her through the whole process. Those days in the hospital were a sweet time of getting to know one another better, which gave us all a greater sense of peace about your first parents placing you with us.
We ended up being in the hospital longer than anticipated, so I was thankful I brought along an activity to help us pass the time. Do you know what it was? Coloring! Does that sound silly to you? Adults coloring? It was wonderful! We all relaxed, even your laboring first mama! This simple activity broke down even more walls and allowed us to talk and continue building our relationship. Your first mama opened her heart to us and shared with us about her journey toward adoption. She shared her hopes and dreams for you. Sweet boy, I look forward to telling you all about those talks we had in the wee hours of the night. They were sacred.
Asher, you are so loved. I never want you to doubt that. Your first family didn’t place you with us because they didn’t want you or because they didn’t love you. It was the opposite! They loved you SO very much that they made the hardest decision imaginable and chose to give you a life they felt they couldn’t offer you. Asher, they chose life! We are eternally grateful for their decision!
I don’t want to leave out your first dad. He wasn’t at the hospital a ton, because he was doing important work. He was taking care of your older brothers! He didn’t want your first mama to be in the hospital worrying about them, so he was doing his very best to serve her well and care for his family. He was with us some, though, and we enjoyed our time with him. He is a kind and gentle man, soft spoken and careful with his words. He loves your first mama very much, and he loves you also! Just like the day we met your first parents, we were able to take a photo with them again. I hope you can tell in this photo that we were all on the same team: Team Asher! All four of us want the very best for you.
Labor started on Friday afternoon and lasted until Sunday morning. Your first mama was full of peace as the hours ticked by. She said she could feel the Spirit in the room, and she was at peace. Asher, she showed such grace and courage. We were blessed to witness her strength and her faith. She knew God was leading her to place you with us, and she was confident in her decision.
At 6:00 the morning of Sunday, November 22nd, the doctor made the decision that you needed to be delivered via c-section. We were all excited that labor was coming to an end, but I could tell your first mama was scared. She chose to pray and trust God, again putting you before herself.
Things moved quickly from that point! Your first mama, again, was kind and gracious. She invited me into the operating room with her so I could witness your birth. What a gift! A nurse brought me a hospital gown and booties and such, and a group of nurses prepped your first mama for surgery. They wheeled her back, and I waited in the recovery room until I could go in with her. I was so nervous and excited! I paced back and forth and listened to a little music and prayed to calm my nerves. I knew I was just minutes away from seeing your sweet face!
Then, it was time! A nurse walked me into the OR. The doctors and nurses were all supportive and kind, knowing there were two mamas in the room. Your first mama was nervous, so I did what I always do: I told random stories and filled the silence with my awkward laugh. You’ll get used to that.
The anesthesiologist was sweet. She asked if I wanted to see you as they pulled out your head, and then she held the curtain back so I could get a glimpse. I yelled, “He has hair!” Your first mama and I both giggled with delight. Just moments later you were out. Oh, I cried and cried the happiest tears! You were such a handsome boy, and you had a healthy set of lungs! And you had squishy cheeks from the start! Thank you for that.
Before you were born, I was nervous that we wouldn’t bond quickly, that it would take me a while to fall in love with you since you didn’t grow in my tummy. Please know that the moment I laid eyes on you, I loved you so very much. It felt like my heart was exploding! I didn’t know I had the capacity to love the way I knew I loved you in that moment. I was scared I wouldn’t be able to soothe you, that it would take you a long time to get to know me. But God is gracious! While the nurses were cleaning you up, you were crying. Screaming is more accurate! I placed my hand on your chest, and you were instantly quiet. Oh, what a moment! God gave me the precious gift of knowing we would be OK. You and I were going to get along just fine!
I was able to go with you to the nursery, where they measured you, gave you your first bath, and made your footprints. You have the cutest feet! That’s also where I was able to introduce you to your daddy and have a little skin to skin time with you in the rocking chair. Your daddy loved you instantly also! You may notice in these pictures that I couldn’t stop crying. I was so happy!
This is the picture we texted to our family and closest friends to announce you had arrived. You looked like a burrito swaddled up tightly in hospital blankets. I should have asked that nurse for some swaddling pointers. Sorry about that. :O)
You were pricked and prodded a little before you left the nursery. You were not a fan, but you held onto my finger and showed us how brave you can be. I think you get that from your first mama. She was brave to let you spend all of those first moments with us. She wanted you to bond with us first and start getting to know us before we took you home.
Once the doctor was all finished with your first mama and she was in the recovery room, a nurse walked you and me over to see her. She was so excited to see you! We took turns passing you back and forth, giving you lots of hugs and kisses.
You were in the hospital until Tuesday, and we all spent as much time with you as we could. We oohed and ahhed over every little noise you made, every little facial expression. Those days were filled with joy and peace, true grace from the Lord.
We passed you around, each getting time to snuggle you and feed you.
Tuesday was the big day, the day you would be placed with us and we could take you home! I was nervous all morning. We spent some time with you and your first mama. While she was still at peace, I could tell how hard this was going to be for her. Placing you with us was going to require tremendous strength, strength we knew could only come from the Lord. So, I prayed.
While your first parents were signing the paperwork to say you could come live with us, I felt like I was holding my breath. Things were taking longer than we anticipated. Had they changed their minds? To ease my fears, I pulled out my Bible. I was a couple of days behind on my Bible reading, and that felt like the perfect moment to catch up! I read Mark 14, and I was challenged by the words of Jesus, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (v. 36). In that moment, I surrendered you up to Jesus. No matter what happened, you were His.
Just moments later, there was a quiet knock on our door. Your first parents were standing there holding you, ready to place you with us. They placed you with us with gentle confidence and humility, an act of true love.
As they walked away, I cried and held you tightly to my chest. Next to Jesus giving Himself for me, you are the most precious gift anyone has given me. Know that and treasure it in your heart, baby boy. From the moment I heard about you, my love for you started growing in my heart, and it hasn’t stopped. When I look at you, my heart swells. I’ve only known about you for a little over a month, and I’ve only been able to hold you in my arms for 10 days, but you’ve changed me.
Asher, you’ve changed all of us. Your first parents shared with us how much they’ve grown in their faith since they began this journey with you. Your daddy and I feel the same. You may only be 10 days old, but you’re already a world changer. I’m praying big things for you, little man. I’m praying God draws you to saving faith at a young age. I want you to know Him and love Him fiercely. I want you to know how much He loves you and then serve Him and others in response to that love.
For now, know this about our great God: He “is able to do far more abundantly than we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). We’ve seen it in your story, which is just a little piece of God’s big story of grace, and we trust we’ll continue seeing Him do abundantly more as we watch you grow.
With all my love,
Please note: We have an open adoption. While we were in the hospital, we talked with our birth parents, and we all agreed we were OK with sharing pictures of each other, but not names. They’re a big part of Asher’s life, so they’re going to be in our lives! If you know their names, we ask that you not post them on social media. Thank you!
Tuesday, October 27th was cloudy and chilly. I rushed out of the door that morning, running a few minutes behind...