Thursday, February 26, 2009

A young lady whom we'll always, always love

We first met Brianna on an October Wednesday evening at the Chili's on 151st St. At the time of our dinner together, Erin and I were convinced we weren't ready to adopt. But I have to admit, we fell in love with Brianna that night and I kept thinking over and over, "I'd love to adopt this girl's baby, what if..." As this blog entry explains, we spent a month praying and God responded by drastically changing our life's direction. Toward the end of our month of praying for direction, Brianna began to look at the profiles of other adoptive families (we'd told her to continue searching since we weren't yet sure) but kept praying that we'd become her baby's adoptive parents. It was great to hear her huge sigh of relief when we called to tell her our decision.

Erin and I came to love Brianna even more over the next few months. It was amazing to watch Brianna come to see her pregnancy not as a mistake but as an amazing gift. You can read a bit of what she wrote on that here. I can't imagine anyone ever doing a braver or more selfless thing than Brianna's choice to place her baby into an adoptive family. It was, and still is, an incredibly difficult decision but throughout the entire process, even while experiencing labor pains, Brianna continued to reassure us of her commitment to follow through with her decision. We'd heard so many horror stories about failed adoptions that we were hesitant about opening our heart to Brianna and her baby, but she eventually earned our trust, allowing us to open our hearts.

Although she is honest is saying it still hurts, Brianna continues to tell us over and over that she's happy that she made the right decision. During the difficult emotions of the last few hours before Brianna signed the papers, making Dawson legally our son, her mom said, "If it was anyone other than Donnie and Erin, I don't think we could go through with this." That might be one of the greatest compliments we'll ever receive.

I spent the last two months worrying about the pain and awkwardness of the time between Dawson's birth and us taking him home from the hospital. While it was certainly difficult and we all shed a lot of tears, the strength of the relationship between us and Brianna made the transition smoother than I could've imagined. This is an open adoption, so Brianna will continue to have some sort of contact with Dawson throughout his life. We're not sure what that will look like in the future but we're going to do our best in maintaining healthy lines of communication. .

In the picture of all 4 of us, I'm holding the gift we gave Brianna; a Willow Tree sculpture of a pregnant woman. I bought that same sculpture around Valentine's Day in 2006, planning to give it to Erin whenever we found out she was pregnant. Of course, that never happened. When I was diagnosed with infertility in the summer of 2007, I gave Erin the sculpture anyway, telling her it signified the beginning of a new journey toward parenthood, that we were "expecting" in one way or another. Since Brianna's gift became the end result of that journey, we bought her that gift. Yes, it was hard for me to get out that entire story when giving her the sculpture.

For some more pictures of this amazing young lady, check out this facebook album.

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