a little room for hope...

i wrote about this room a few years back [below]. at the time, i was feeling nostalgic about saying goodbye to the nursery that i had lovingly pieced together during the long wait for "THAT call" - the call that would finally make us parents.  ten years ago, putting together our nursery served as a source of hope for me as we played the adoption waiting game. this past summer, the room that began as an office and morphed into a nursery, became a big-kid playroom. today, the walls and furniture have fresh coats of big-kid gray, big-kid games and toys fill the shelves and a flat screen tv and big-kid furniture take the place of the rocker and crib.  the room that was once a  quiet spot of solace for me is now a space for board games and barbies, wii dance and disney movies, and it makes my heart so very happy. a 9' by 11'  reminder that some dreams really do come true...
the more my one-year-old billygoat hones her climbing skills, the closer she gets to moving to a big girl bed. i think most moms find the crib-to-big-kid-bed transition rather bittersweet. it's a milestone that forces us sentimental moms to recognize the passage of time, and oh my how these baby years fly by! i decided to take some photographs of our little nursery as it looks now, not only for me, but for my girls to enjoy down the road.

putting the nursery together was quite unique task for me as an adopting mom. i have to begin with the morning i decided to transform our office into a baby room. when we moved to hot springs several years ago, we had already been through years of unsuccessful infertility treatments. i was determined to resume that battle upon our move to hot springs. i thought that as soon as we settled into our new house, new neighborhood, new little town, i'd begin the search for a new doctor. i went to bed one sunday night, with arkansas doctor research at the top of monday's "to do" list. but early that next morning, i had a dream so vivid that it still gives me chills when i think about it. i had a dream that we had adopted a baby girl, and that she was sleeping soundly in the next room. the dream was so real that i got out of bed, half sleep-walked in there and flipped on the light. i blinked a couple of times, but alas...only an office. i sat down at the desk, and the next step i needed to take was so, so clear. i rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and scratched the first item off the list on my desk. i called my husband who had gone to work early that morning: "hello?"... "hey - i think it's time to look into adoption."... "ummmmmm - okay...". i don't know if he really heard me, or if he was just really busy, but either way i began the search for an adoption agency that very morning. i realize it sounds strange that we had not considered this option during seven long years of infertility, but when we were trying desperately to have a biological child, the suggestion of adoption just kind of -- stung somehow.  i can't explain it, but it just was not an option. for some reason that dream flipped the switch for me. you know: one of god's not-so-subtle nudges in the right direction...

the search for an adoption agency proved exhausting and extensive, with many obstacles and money-hungry scoundrels along the way. i began researching in early october, and finally found and registered with crisis pregnancy outreach several months later. during those daunting months of wait, wonder, and worry, i kept faith that no matter where the journey would take us or how long it would prove to be, there would be a baby in our arms at the end of it. that is the cool thing about adoption. with that refreshing resolution, i finally gave myself permission to dream - to hope - and most freeing of all....plan for a baby! it's a strange thing though. when you are waiting to be chosen by a birthmother, you don't have any idea what kind of timeline you are working with. it could take years, or it could happen over night! you don't have doctor's appointments to mark the time and progress. you don't devour every page of "what to expect when you're expecting" to discover each stage of the little pea pod. you don't walk around babies-r-us with your hubby happily pointing the cool little registry gun at bumbos and boppies. your friends aren't planning showers. on the contrary, it feels as if you are attending showers for everyone you know. in fact, i think every female in the tri-state area was pregnant during this time. during one visit to walmart, i counted 58 pregnant girls, not including the two smoking out front on their break...

i hesitantly began putting a nursery together, and it quickly became a much needed source of comfort. in the absence of the traditional pregnancy and all that goes with those nine months, the nursery was a physical reminder that a baby was in my future too! we had recently been given two small oil paintings of our beloved dogs, a yellow lab and a dalmatian, painted on red canvases. i hung those on the wall and went from there.  i at least had a start. as i explored my new town, i discovered some funky flea markets, quaint antique stores & estate sales. i found an old dresser that would be a perfect size for a changing table - i just had to look past the putrid yellow paint and dated pulls. i found old chipped bookshelves at another market, and a 1950's telephone table that had a strange ivy design all over it. my friend handed down a darling rocker with a denim slip cover and an old brown crib. with each little piece, i dared to hope a bit more. my dream of being a mom was symbolically solidifying with every find. i found the perfect shade of cream paint for the furniture, and i had to smile when i noticed the name of it: "baby's breath". i painted and antiqued the dresser, crib & bookshelves. i painted a quote from a children's poem on the wall. an antique wooden crate became a toybox. i covered the telephone table and an old peg board in a bright shade of red. as i moved the hand-me-down rocker into the room, i peeked under the slipcover. it was covered in a beautiful cream fabric! i found a tiny ottoman to recover and place by the rocker. each time i scoured my little haunts around town, i would pick up a few children's books - the bookshelves were filling up slowly with little golden book classics and dr. seuss hardbacks. when i found a 1930's dalmatian lamp  to sit on top of the shelves, the room was finally complete.

i had begun the collection of nursery items in the spring, and by the following fall, our office had been completely transformed. i did have quite a few ... ummmm...comments along the way. well-meaning friends would say, "how can you walk by that empty nursery all the time?"..."doesn't it make you sad to look in there?" ..."i could never put together a nursery if i didn't have a baby on the way!" and so on.  but they couldn't understand - it was a little spot of solace, peace and reflection for me. this year of waiting for a birthmom to "choose" us seemed even longer than those seven grueling years of infertility. i would sit in that rocker and pray for the birthmom that would be or already was carrying our baby. in mid-november, we finally got that call. our baby girl was to be born in a matter of weeks! the entire time i had been preparing that room, god had already created our little miracle, lucy. for many months, her sweet birthmom, liz, had been struggling alone to make ends meet & struggling with the realization that she wouldn't be able to provide the life she had dreamed of for her child. it still brings me to tears when i think about it: as i sat in our nursery praying for liz, liz sat in her apartment praying for the courage to make the most difficult decision of her life.

it's been five years since i brought lucy home to her little bitty room that used to be an office. countless times i've rocked lucy, and now our baby ruthie, in that rocker where i used to sit alone. i still pray for liz, and now ruthie's birthmom, hallie, as i sit there. it would be impossible to express our gratitude for them in mere words. they helped us create this family --- this family of four.

today there are a few "ruthie" additions to the nursery, but it's otherwise stayed the same. it will be quite a sad day when the space is turned back into an office. i know i'll have to dig out these photographs every once in awhile, and thank god once again for my little answered prayers.

8 comments:

Briana said...

Oh....Shannon! I'm crying my eyes out! Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your journey.

pharker said...

There are no words...I just see God's hand in all of it. He is so good.

michele said...

Shannon-

That was so beautifully written! I am crying as I type! He is faithful!
It makes me miss my work with adoptive parents and birthmothers all the more reading this. It was one of the biggest blessings of my life to be a part of seeing God create forever families like yours. You are richly blessed!

amy said...

This brings back so many heartbreaking and joyous memories. What a journey you all have been on and what a blessing your precious girls are. This is beautifully written and will be priceless for lu and ru to have when they're older. Keep pouring the words from your heart to the pages and you'll have an amazing book before you know it! xoxo

seller1 said...

every adoption story has one commonality...God knows what he is doing! Loved reading this, brought back so many memories of planning the nursery for the unknown, but knowing it would eventually be a reality! We had soooo much fun yesterday, I am ready to do it again!

Dana said...

Love finds a way...

The Shibley Six said...

Shannon, I'm absolutely moved by this story. What 2 wonderful blessings you have been given by God. He planned both of those little girls just for you, and at the perfect time. Building that nursery and waiting patiently and praying for those birth mothers wasn't crazy, it was faith. You knew what you had been told in that dream and you held on to it completely and wholeheartedly. For that you were given those precious little girls to steward over. I pray they bring you a lifetime of happiness! We have a loving God that knew just what you needed and always has perfect timing. :)
Much love,
Misty Beamguard Shibley

zburrow said...

Loved the story! What wonderful parents you guys and how lucky the girls are to have two mom's that loved them so much! Thanks for sharing the story!