One particular comment that many people have said is that they "could never do what we're doing".
YOU'RE wrong, if you're thinking that. Because what we're doing is simply being obedient to the call that God has on our lives - as parents, as husband & wife, as believers, as adopted children of God. You CAN do it, because God works through you.
Only by God working in me and through me and around me was I able to endure the next part of Seth's adoption story.
So there I was in CA alone, visiting Seth as much as I could, learning as much as I could about him, helping as much as I could with his care, asking the questions of the doctors and nurses, telling our story to anyone who would listen. But I wasn't really alone. Not only was my prayer and quiet time ever more "tangible" (more on that in another post), but God was sending real live people to be a blessing.
First, while Hampton was still in CA with me, God sent an amazing godly couple that we had known in MS to minister to us and encourage us and truly CARE for us while we were there. It was such a blessing to be able to talk to someone face-to-face who knew us personally and who shared in our joy. And they continued to bless me and Seth after Hampton went home. Praise be to God for B & T. (The Navy didn't know they were sending you to CA just so you could be a blessing to us!!)
Then, time after time, God sent strangers to speak truth into my life. Nurses, other families at the Ronald McDonald House, blog posts, even songs on the radio. I love how God can orchestrate people around a situation just so. Amazing.
After a week or so of being in CA, a family came to stay at the Ronald McDonald House who had an accent that I pegged pretty quickly as Southern. They were from New Orleans! We bonded instantly, over discussions of sweet tea, college life in Mobile, and all of the sights to see in the Big Easy. They helped me with several practical things while I was there, but mostly they provided a sense of family in a situation that could have been very lonely. And they did this while still dealing with their own situation, their own reason for being there at the children's hospital, thousands of miles away from home. Amazing. Thanks T family! Love you guys!!
As you can see, Seth's story is made up of so many more people than just Seth and his parents. It's important to me to recognize these people because we don't live life alone. We are not in a bubble. We cannot pretend that what is happening to someone else doesn't affect us. We must SEE people. And that's what these people did. They SAW me. And Seth. And Hampton back in FL (for the love of RBBC, thank you thank you thank you). And Luke staying with grandparents. We were all SEEN and that matters so so much. Thanks to everyone for letting God use you as a blessing in Seth's story.
Some practical matters at this point: the hospital days went by SUUUUPER SLOW. I lost track of time and what day it was, and being in a different time zone did not help. At the hospital, I was in the Seth-zone. Outside of it, I was trying to help Hampton navigate the house-closing business. (We are NOT writing about that mess. We closed. We have a wonderful new house. End of that story.)
Seth was feeding better and better each day, and we thought he might improve enough to be released without any feeding help. However, as the days turned into weeks and his progress plateaued, the decision was made to give Seth a feeding tube. He had surgery and was eating again the next day by mouth. This step in Seth's care was a pivotal one, because it meant that he would be able to be discharged as soon as I was comfortable caring for and using the g-tube.
After 6 weeks in the NICU, Seth was finally discharged on June 15. I had been there for 3 weeks and 3 days at that point. We received our final paper for the interstate adoption process and we were cleared to fly home!
Tuesday, June 16 we flew home and began our new life as a family of four. We are all adjusting to this new life, with feeding tubes and bags and pumps and syringes, with stairs in our two-story house, with big brother learning how to be Big, with our new extended family in China, and with new adventures just around the corner.
Seth is doing well, still struggling to eat by mouth as much as we want him to, but so healthy in every other aspect. We are so blessed and are excited to see how God is going to use Seth for His kingdom and for His glory.
New baby, new house, new family, new normal. Amazing!
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
~2 Corinthians 12:9-10