little M’s birth story

i meant to write all these details down for about 2 years now, but haven’t gotten around to it. so,
in honor of his 2nd birthday, i thought this would be a good time to remember.  

august 21, 2010

it was a typical saturday for us… at least at the beginning. saturday chores, errands to run. chris
had a farmhouse meeting to attend.  we’d been on the “waiting list” for about 5 months by this time. not very long considering the typical wait time on average is about a year. but for me, “the wait” was beginning to take its toll and i wondered 
what lied ahead for us. yet at the same time, i found myself coming to a place both spiritually and mentally where i was at peace with whatever God had in store for our lives… even if it meant not being a mother. never having a child, adopted or otherwise.  funny how God does that — bringing you to the place where you’re willing to take whatever He might give. 

and then, we get a phone call. it was Joy {adoption facilitator for LifeChoice} and
said “well, it’s a good day to have a baby.”  she then went on to explain the few details she did know.
the birth mother was in labor and we needed to be at the hospital as soon as possible. and the
boyfriend {birth father}, he was at the hospital as well, but the news of his girlfriend being pregnant was a surprise to him. actually, it was a surprise to the birth mom too!  yep, you read it right… she didn’t know she was pregnant. 

i’m not going to lie.  one of the first thoughts that went through my head was “that could be a
good thing… she hasn’t had 9 months to bond with this baby.” but i was very cautious in hoping.  what if
it didn’t work out. chris and i had talked about this day beforehand and how we would take in
those “first moments” with our child.  to embrace that child fully was really the only option… even if the birth mom changed her mind.  he or she would still be our child, even if only for a few hours. 

so, we rushed around, packed our bags {if all worked out, we would have a room at the hospital
and stay the night}, and jumped in the car. i was nervous. chris was nervous.  we knew nothing
about the baby… if it was healthy or not, black or white or red, boy or girl.  as we
were driving, it came to our mind that this baby could possibly be the answer to sooo many prayers by so many
people…. but particularly one dear friend who prayed continually that God would give us a
child {naturally or through adoption} that would be conceived sometime during the 9 months of
her pregnancy.  this baby was conceived 8 months into her pregnancy. {later we would also
find out that this baby was actually conceived around the same time that we the received
the news of the very unlikely possibility of having our own biological children}. 

a short time after we arrived at the hospital, we spoke with the doctor who wanted to make us
aware of some potential medical issues. the first being that the baby had no prenatal care… no
medical history, nothing, nada. also, there was a lot of meconium and they wouldn’t know the extent of it
until after the birth.  they might even have to life flight the baby if there were
severe breathing issues. there was no fluid around the baby
{usually they attribute this to a medical condition of the baby, i.e. kidney problems}.  and the
birth mother had been taking ibuprofen early in her labor {she didn’t know she was in labor, but
was experiencing severe back pain}, which can affect the baby’s heart valves. 

at this point, we weren’t really sure what to do… should we back out?  should we stick
with it knowing that this child could have some severe medical issues?
we decided to wait it out. for me, i don’t why, but i just had this peace, this confidence, that it would be okay. 

{chris and i waiting outside the birth mother’s room as she didn’t want us to come in, but she
wanted us to be close by when the baby came} 


and so, 3 hours after we got the initial phone call… our son was born.
quickest delivery i’ll ever have… i’m sure of it! 😉

we didn’t know initially that it was a boy, but i’ll never forget, peering through the little window
into the nursery and the nurse who was caring for him, turned around and mouthed the words “it’s a boy.”
we were both ecstatic, jumping up and down. {we had secretly hoped for a boy, but of course, would
have loved it if God had given us a girl too}.  the next few hours were sweet bliss as gazed upon
this little miracle and held him in our arms for the first time.  

oh, and did i mention… he was healthy, no kidney problems, no heart problems, a little residual
fluid in the lungs which kept us at the hospital a few extra days, but nothing major. 

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our sweet friends {a&e} who walked with us through it all… from the news of infertility,
the decision to adopt, the adoption process, and now with us at the hospital
on the day our baby is born.  love these guys.  

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and now for the fun part… to tell you about all the different pieces of the puzzle that God had been weaving and putting in place for several years prior to this little boy’s birthday. 

so, the couple pictured above?  well, we were in a life group with them and several other couples.  they had grieved with us through the whole process of finding out we wouldn’t be able to get pregnant, they prayed for us often and fervently. they encouraged us, loved us in the midst of that dark valley, and then hoped with us as God began to turn our hearts toward adoption.  i don’t know if we would have made it without this group of precious people, and consequently, that little boy wouldn’t be ours today. 

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but God knew… about 7 years prior, that we would need this community of believers
around us. in those first several years of our marriage we had great mentors and older
couples that we looked up to and respected, but really longed for a few couples that we could “do life with”
that were in a similar stage of life, etc.  i struggled with feeling connected and i often
tried to hint to chris that we should just move somewhere else {preferably a big city}
and start over.  how grateful i am that he didn’t listen to me, but rather his
conviction that the Lord had called us to stay in Manhattan.  

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i was anxious about adopting in the sense that i wasn’t sure about the whole “open” adoption process.
i know for many families it has been a positive experience, but for me, i just didn’t
know what it would be like to have a relationship with the woman
who gave birth to my child. truthfully, i wanted to avoid it altogether. 

God did just that, really. since the birth parents weren’t aware of the pregnancy, it seemed
as though it would be easy for them to forget it ever happened.  the birth mom never held the baby
and in the end, while they had expressed a desire to meet us, never actually followed through.
i will forever be grateful for their decision to give him to us.  and that sweet birth mom…
so much stronger than me.  i would’ve never been able to give my baby up. 

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{overwhelming feelings of joy and peace as we signed the adoption papers just 24 hours
after baby was born. so grateful to live in kansas as it’s only a 12 hour waiting period.  he’s ours!!}

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we named him mason lee {lee is chris’s middle name and we just liked mason}. mason means “overcomer.”
{normally, the birth mother would give the baby a name and we could of course change it later,
but she graciously allowed us to do this}. i really admire that woman… just her
thoughtfulness and kindness towards us in the midst of a very traumatic and painfully
difficult time in her life was amazing.

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the day before mason’s bday, the birth parents had come back to manhattan
{as they were students at K-State} for the start of classes. the birth mom went into
labor that evening and initially had gone to the er with severe back pain.  i’m fairly certain,
that if mason had decided to come a bit earlier, he would’ve been born in kansas city and…
well, he wouldn’t be our son.  

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i mentioned earlier that there was no fluid around him in utero.  this is speculation, but i would
imagine that the birth mom didn’t look pregnant for this reason.  i also wonder if
this kept him from being able to move around in utero, concealed from his birth mother.
honestly, i  think that if she had become aware of her pregnancy in
the earlier months, she would have likely aborted him.  she didn’t want a baby
and she definitely didn’t want her parents to know. 

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another crazy God detail was that for a number of different reasons {the brevity of our
relationship with the birth parents and the fact that the birth father was present and involved} the
legal process was very short and had no hiccups. consequently, our attorney fees
were very low. a huge blessing.  and our health insurance paid for all medical expenses for both birth
mom and baby {just as if i was the one who had given birth}.  so crazy. so amazing.
without a doubt, God’s hand.  on a children’s pastor salary and still paying off school debt,
we would’ve never been able to afford an adoption. oh, and did i mention, that any other
costs associated with the adoption were paid with funds that were given to us as gifts by generous people,
all of whom we still do not know. 

and so, after the adoption papers were signed… we announced the big news
{of course our families were on standby waiting for the green light to come see the new little man}.
we had a big party! lots of people came to visit and we celebrated this little boy and the
miracles God did that were truly “immeasurably more than all we could’ve asked or imagined.” 

since we only had about a 3 hour notice before mason was born, we really had
not purchased any baby stuff {although we did have a crib, crib mattress, a few toys and i think a
single onesie. oh, and did i mention that the day before mason’s birth i had randomly decided to
buy a carseat with the justification that it was the last “big purchase” we needed to make
before a baby came our way. {chris was upset with me that i had spent that much
money on a carseat when we didn’t even have a baby or a prospect of one…
but after the phone call came in, he was quickly willing to overlook it :-)}.
the generosity and kindness of so many friends and family overwhelmed us as an
influx of clothes, blankets and diapers were given to us. 

mema {amy’s mom} with mason

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grandpa {amy’s dad} & mason

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 mason & grandma donna {chris’s mom} 

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mason with grandpa barker {chris’s dad}

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crazy aunties and uncles {amy’s sibs}

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cousins – little nikolas and mason at about 4 months old 

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and one more sweet detail that God decided to throw in the mix, if it wasn’t already
hard to believe. little nick {pictured above} was born just one week before mason.
and i don’t know to this day how his sweet mama {my sister laura} did it, but she managed to pump
enough milk for the both of these boys for 6 months!  now you know
why my guy had so many fat rolls! {good ole whole breast milk}.
such a precious gift from my sister.   i know she sacrificed much sleep and time during those
months. i’m indebted to her.  and to her husband joe for helping load up all that milk
for us to haul back to manhattan!!

so, whenever i’m struggling a bit to see God’s goodness or His faithfulness in the midst
of circumstances i can’t explain, i just look at my little boy.  there were so many details
{i’m sure there are many more that i’m unaware of} that He was orchestrating
all those years prior to mason’s birth, in the midst of our dark clouds and questions, and wondering
if He really knew what He was doing. i’m not saying i’ll never doubt again — i wish i were that strong.
but i know God’s sovereign and i know that He really does long to
give good gifts to His children… even me. 




Published on: August 25, 2012 | Tags: ,

3 Responses to little M’s birth story

  1. John Barker says:

    You are both such good parents, makes me wish I was closer to Brandie and Christopher

  2. kendra says:

    love this post and reading of God’s intricate workings!!!

  3. Jenna says:

    This story always brings tears. Miss you guys and happy birthday mason!

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