Beginnings: Emma


December 12, 2012 by greenhouse04

I know several people (again! see here) who are having or have had babies in the past couple months. I went to visit one mother and baby last week, and as I held the tiny newborn, I couldn’t help but see in my memory another tiny newborn who came into our lives only two years ago.

She was born on a Monday, the day after Halloween. As I try to remember that Monday, I realize that I do have a fairly decent recollection of it. It came right after a very busy weekend at church with our Missionary Conference and some missionary relatives of mine staying in our home. Eddie had been with us a month, and had ridden his first horse that weekend.

That Monday morning my relatives left for home, and we cleaned up the house and recuperated. I had no idea that my daughter was being born nearby!

In the very hospital in which I was born, a woman my same age was laboring with a breech baby. According to the story, the nurses put her in the wrong room, so everyone thought she was another woman and didn’t take her for a c-section right away. Finally, however, around 4:15 p.m., the doctor delivered a tiny baby girl with a slightly misshapen head due to being stuck up in her birth mom’s rib cage for several weeks. She weighed in at 6lbs 5oz, 18in. long.

Over the next two days events were put in motion around this tiny newborn that would eventually culminate in our adoption of her. I won’t go into details to protect my daughter’s privacy, but I will say that positive substance tests (even on Emma!) and hospital security measures were involved.

Finally, on Thursday we were called. I do remember the day our daughter was born into our family very clearly.

Eddie was at his weekly visit with his birth mom. I was resting on the couch with a stomach ache.

The night before I’d gone to a ladies monthly church meeting, and had realized that exactly four weeks earlier I had been at a ladies meeting, and the very next day had gotten the call about Eddie.

Now exactly four weeks later we get the call about Emma.

My husband answered the phone, and I knew immediately that he was talking to our social worker. He listened for a bit, then said that he’d need to talk to his wife and that we’d let her know. I was immediately wide awake and full of questions.

All the social worker knew at that point was that there was a newborn (3 days old) in the hospital, with possible substance withdrawal. The baby would probably be released in a couple of days, but we’d need to go to the hospital to learn how to care for him (yes, the worker thought Emma was a boy!!). The worker knew nothing else – not a name or anything.

Our first reaction was no. We had a 2-year-old – how could we care for a newborn going through withdrawal?? And we didn’t like having no other information about the child. We decided to think and pray about it for an hour or so.

During that hour there were two thoughts I clearly remember having: how could I make grocery shopping work with a newborn and 2-year-old? And, if this baby is really a girl, I’ll say yes! (Ah, the seemingly petty things that lead to a decision that will change your life!!)

Soon we get another call from our social worker. The baby’s actually a girl, here’s her name, and we don’t need to go to the hospital because she’s actually already been released and is in the emergency shelter. We ask about her withdrawal, and the worker says she doesn’t know, but the fact that she’s already released and that we don’t have to go to the hospital to learn how to care for her are good signs that she’s doing fine.

And as extra encouragement, her court hearing isn’t until tomorrow, so you could take her home for tonight, then decide tomorrow if you really want to keep her. (Major manipulation ploy! How could you send a newborn back!!)

By this time I’ve gotten the whole grocery shopping thing figured out, and of course I’m excited that it’s a girl! And she’s THREE days old!! I’ve been waiting and praying for years for a baby! How could I say no now?

Soon after this Eddie returns home. We let him rest for an hour, then put him back in the car and head back to town, explaining on the way that we’re getting a baby! (poor guy)

For timing, we received our first call about Emma a little before 1:00, and left to pick her up around 3:30. How quickly your life can change!

We make our way to the emergency shelter, which, by the way, is the same place Eddie stayed before coming to our home, and is right behind the court house where both children were adopted.

And there we meet our daughter.

Just remembering that moment fills me with emotion. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know she would become our legal daughter, but at that moment I fell in love with her. She was so tiny – down to 6 pounds now – with a white, round face. She was so beautiful. I took her out of the shelter’s car seat and carried her out the door to our car. I didn’t want to strap her in – I just wanted to hold her.

She came with a pitifully small bag of belongings – gifts from the shelter and formula from the hospital. We had to go to Wal-Mart to buy diapers and more formula. On the way we stopped at my parents’ to let them meet her. She just slept peacefully in the car seat while my parents gazed at their granddaughter.


Emma at three days old, the very first night in our home.

At Wal-Mart I carried her as we shopped, and Eddie rode in the cart. Several people commented on the tiny baby, and one lady told me I looked good for just having had her!! We finally made it home, and I spent the rest of the evening and much of the night watching this newborn. I’ll admit it now – she slept in my bed with me that first night, a big foster-care no-no!! Ah, well, she was so tiny and quiet and still that I didn’t want to let her out of my sight.

She’s still fairly tiny (skinny, that is), but definitely NOT quiet and still!! A lot has happened since that first day I met my daughter.

I’ll always cherish her beginnings in our family.

[Read a post I wrote shortly after receiving both children here.]


One thought on “Beginnings: Emma

  1. Melinda says:

    I love hearing your stories Larissa. God is so good!

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