hey Jude...

I have a few minutes while my precious baby is sleeping on my chest so I am going to use them to share his amazing story of how he came to be ours.

Jude was born on January 20th at 6.8 lbs and 19 1/4 inches long. He was a "Safe Haven" baby, which means his birth parents or parent dropped him off at a hospital or fire station anonymously. We will never know the name of the amazing woman who gave him life, and loved him so much to make sure he was safe. I am so thankful for the Safe Haven laws that allow someone to drop off a newborn no questions asked, as the alternative is often heartbreaking.

We did not know he was born until February 9th at 4:45 p.m. when my adoption coordinator called me and told me to come into the office the next day at 1 p.m. with a car seat. Jude had been cared for and loved by a foster family for the first three weeks of his little life. In Safe Haven adoptions, the birth parent has the ability to come back and claim their child for around 30 days. Our adoption agency waited until most of that "at risk placement" time was up before letting us know we had been matched with him. Although I am sad we missed out on the first 3 weeks of his life, I am sure that it was the best for us since we had been so heartbroken when we had our failed adoption less than 2 months ago. We were willing to take him though, knowing he had a few weeks left in the "at risk placement" time period, because we felt we just needed to trust God and hope that He would protect Jude and our hearts. An "at risk placement" means you are willing to take in and care for a child that may be going back to their birth parents for a certain number of days. In most adoptions in Florida, that time period is only 24 to 48 hours. So, Safe Haven babies have a longer wait, but he was well worth the worry that we might have to let him go. Because he is a Safe Haven baby, we don't have any information about either of his birth parents, medical health history, or even his ethnic background. We always said we just wanted a baby, and we didn't care about the details....well, we got what we asked for!

It does make me sad that I will not be able to tell him the name of the loving woman who took care of him so well for 9 months, and left him safely at a hospital or fire station. But I will raise him with the knowledge that she is special, and we love her for giving us the most amazing gift anyone could ever give. She gave Jude life, and she gave us our son.

The at risk placement is over, so we are now finally able to relax and not worry about having to give him back! He is 100% healthy and happy, eating and sleeping like a champ! He has tons of curly thick hair, and soft chubby cheeks that I can't stop kissing. I can't believe we are finally parents after everything we have gone through as a couple. We are enjoying every minute we have with him, and cherishing each and every day.

I'm happy to say my back is doing really well even though Jude is already over 10 lbs! My leg does get sore at the end of the day sometimes, but not really much worse than when I worked 8 hours sitting at the desk. My back doesn't seem to have any worse pain at all. I feel really strong, and having the extra support of my fusion seems to make a big difference in my ability to hold him and lift him all day long. I am careful not to bend or twist, to keep my lowest un-fused disc healthy for as long as possible. I am already finding creative ways to do this! I am SO glad I had the surgery before I had a baby. I would have been in so much pain. There is no way I could have kept up with the physical demands of motherhood before I had my back straightened and reinforced. The sitting alone would have made me miserable, not to mention the carrying around, rocking, and picking up and laying down. God really has blessed me, and I am so thankful that after all that pain, I am getting to experience such joy.

During one of the first sleepless nights I had when Jude came home, I realized something really amazing. Since Jude was born in January, he had to have been conceived in May of last year. Last May is when Drew and I re-started the paper work to become parents through adoption. So the entire time we were going through getting home study approved, moving into our new home, picking out baby furniture, going through a heartbreaking failed adoption, and praying every night for our future baby....he was growing strong and healthy inside the womb of his birth mother. It took 9 months altogether, from the time we started the paper work, to the time he was born. It felt so long during the process, but now I see it took as long as it was supposed to, 9 months!

We named him Jude for two reasons. One, I am a huge Beatles fan, and their song "Hey Jude" has been one of my favorites since I was a child. But the second reason is that Jude is a Hebrew name that means "thanks and praise." We are so thankful to have him, as we know he is a a direct gift from God. And we give all the praise to God, since we believe that
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from from the Father of heavenly lights" (James 1:7)

---To learn more about the Safe Haven laws, please visit the National Safe Haven Alliance website by clicking HERE. ---