Our Adoption Story
Wow! Has it really been a whole year?
Last year on this day, we were eagerly awaiting news of the safe delivery of our soon-to-be newborn son. We were full of questions, fear, concern, and excitement about our adoption.
Hesitant, unsure, treading carefully.
We had no idea how this whole thing was supposed to work. I had given birth to three children, so it’s not that we felt out of place in a hospital. This was different. We were out of place, yet strangely welcomed. Asher’s birth mom had invited us to come to the hospital and await word of his arrival, but we felt uneasy.
He was born the day before the 4th of July. Families were making plans and gathering to celebrate. Shops were closing early, social workers were on vacation, the hospital was short staffed. No one was there to tell us what to do. This was unusual, but we felt very alone and unsure of what to do.
Do we rush in? Do we wait? Is it our place?
That awkward, scary place between joy and pain. A woman, who we hardly knew, had chosen us to protect and cherish her child forever. Would she change her mind as soon as she laid eyes on him? I wouldn’t blame her if she did! What a hard, beautiful, terrible, wonderful decision she was making.
I had been planning on writing this post… all year. I knew this day would come and I would be forced to look back and reflect. And yet I’m still at a loss for words. Adoption is beautiful and it is hard. There were many details we couldn’t share at the time (many that we still have chosen not to). Until the adoption was finalized, several months later, we lived in limbo.
He shivered and clenched his tiny little fists in pain as he fought through the withdraw symptoms. We wrapped him tight and prayed over him. We prayed for his birth mom too. For the emotional and physical battle she was surely fighting on her own.
The following is a post I wrote when Asher was born, but couldn’t share because our adoption wasn’t finalized yet. I saved it so I wouldn’t forget any of the details! We have chosen to be open about some of Asher’s birth details, because we believe it is so important for others to know how to help babies with addiction. It is important to know that it is hard, but you shouldn’t be afraid. It is challenging, but not impossible. If you are considering adoption and are scared of opening yourself up to the possibility of a baby born with an addiction – I would challenge you to prayerfully consider it.
Meet Asher James
Born July 3rd weighing just 5lbs 4oz.
Life has been a whirlwind for our family, these past few months. We found out just a few weeks ago that a mother had chosen our family for her baby. We met her a few days later and during that meeting, found out that her scheduled c-section date had been moved up and would happen just a few days after that!
We had agreed to have our profile shown to lots of other moms over the past few month. All of their situations were ones of crisis. Reading about each of them made us appreciate how strong they were to have chosen life for their babies. What struck me was their deep desire to break the cycle of addiction and abuse in their families by giving their baby the gift of a new life outside that circle.
Asher was born dependent on methadone
This has begun a whole journey of education for us. We’ve been listening to his nurses as they share, through tears, how much of an increasing issue methadone and opioid dependence has become in our country.
What this means for Asher right now:
is that we’re taking it one day at a time
He cannot leave the special care unit for at least four full days. Many times, the severe symptoms of withdrawal do not appear until the fourth day, as more and more of the birth mom’s medication leaves his body. He is given a score every four hours, based on a long list of markers that they look for; is he sleeping well by himself, how severe are his tremors, how well is he eating, how tight are his arms and legs, etc. His score has held steady at a seven, but if he receives two or more scores of eight, the Dr will more likely start him on morphine, which will prolong his recovery and mean an additional 2 weeks in the hospital (at minimum).
The good news is, his little body appears healthy, strong, and developmentally perfect! The short term challenges he will face are heartbreaking to watch, but the long term affects of methadone are small to none.
Currently, he is on an IV to keep his blood sugar up and a tube to supplement his feedings. He is so tiny, he doesn’t quite know how to suck from a bottle, but he is learning!
Please pray that he continues to eat on his own and hold his sugar stable without the help of an IV!
Please pray for Asher’s birth mom, as she faces a long road of physical and emotional recovery. We have not been able to see her yet, but we sent gifts to her room and are hoping to talk with her today! She is so sweet and truly wants to give Asher the gift of life within a loving family. We are so honored that she chose us to do just that. It has been such a blessing to hear through her nurses, how she has talked openly about us and how happy she is with her decision to choose our family.
With how quickly all this has happened, we haven’t had time to finish our fundraising process. We were JUST recently approved for a matching grant through Lifesong, and they will allow us to continue to raise funds even though Asher is already here. BUT, our final bills will be due in the next week.
Fast forward to today:
We truly believe, because of your prayers, and the physical love and attention we were allowed to give Asher as soon as he was born, we were released from the hospital without having to put him on morphine!! His doctors were shocked and in disbelief, up to the last minute as they signed our discharge papers. They had continued to repeat the same thing to us every day; that Asher would need to go on morphine and to expect to be in the hospital with him for several months.
Asher was restless and tense for the first 6 months of his life. Don’t get me wrong, he was super sweet and super happy! But he struggled with gaining weight, sleeping and eating. We kept him wrapped up tight and held him all day. He couldn’t last more than 30 minutes at a time without eating. We got very little sleep those first few months. Having a good support system was key! We are eternally grateful for everyone that stepped in to hold him so we could sleep, and for the friends that volunteered for the night shift!!
Today, Asher is small for his age. At a year, he is still in the 5th percentile, but he continues to grow steadily and meet all his milestones. He is sleeping through the night, laughing, crawling/almost walking, giving high-fives and clapping when he hears music!
We cannot imagine life without our little man! Happy first birthday, Asher!
Read more about our adoption journey here: Adoption
Look for ways in your own community where you may be able to help hold and sooth infants that are withdrawing from opioid addiction!
As the cases of opioid addiction are on the rise, there is a greater need for adoptive families and foster families who are willing to care for these babies who are born addicted. Find out more by contacting your local adoption or foster care agency.