Today’s post is written by our friend, Carissa Bleecker, the owner of Method Letterpress, a stationery and graphic design company based in Dallas, Texas. While designing stationary is certainly Carissa’s passion, today’s post is about something far greater. This is the story of how she met her daughter.
“Adoption was placed on my heart many years ago. There was no particular reason why I wanted to adopt. I didn’t know anyone who was adopted and had not heard any moving stories of adoption, but the desire was there.
The road to our adoption was a difficult one, just like any story of adoption. Ours started with a desire to have a baby, but no pregnancy materializing. I was heartbroken and felt forgotten by the Lord. I watched as dozens of my friends became mothers all around me, which only fueled my desire for children and my pain in the lack thereof.
After about a year and a half of trying, my husband and I decided that maybe God was telling us that it was time to adopt. Time to fulfill that desire he had put in us both so long ago. So we started on the road to foster to adopt. The classes we took to prepare us for foster care were very honest about the challenges of fostering and the truth that the point of foster care is to care for a child until they can be reunited with their parents. A very good thing, but friend, my heart wasn’t in it. I wanted a baby, one that came to me with the direct goal of being my child.
So, we shifted to a domestic adoption. We found a wonderful agency near us that was well run by believers and only do matched adoptions with birth mothers and adoptive families. We went through training, filled out our paperwork, and made our birth mother book. Can I be honest here? That last part was strange for us to make. It’s basically a photo book with pictures of your family, friends, home, hobbies and a letter to a perspective birth mom. It felt like we were putting together a sales pitch for a baby and we tried not to puff up our life and make it look better than it is, but also make it look appealing. So strange.
We finished up everything we had to get done and were officially on the waiting list. Our nursery was ready to go and so were we. There were a couple of calls in the following months, but nothing panned out. But then, in April we got the call that a birth mom had picked us and wanted to meet. Soon my husband and I were in a restaurant with this birth mom, her daughter, her mom, and her grandparents. The birth mom had thoughtful and pointed questions for us, as did some of her family. My husband mostly answered her questions, because I was afraid if I spoke I would weep. The thought that this dear girl wasn’t in a position to raise this child and would have to go through the pain of adoption was terrible to me. And yet I was filled with the desire to adopt and raise and love this child.
She picked us. I still can’t believe it. It is the greatest honor to be chosen by someone to raise their child.
We were so lovingly invited into her pregnancy and life. We got to be at the sonogram to find out it was a girl! We got to be at every doctors appointment up to the birth. We were invited to her daughter’s birthday party and got to know her family. We were even allowed to be in the room when our daughter was born. I got to be the first to hold her for a whole hour. This amazing woman gave up those precious first moments because she wanted us to bond. And bond we did, even though I spent that time trying not to fall in love with this babe. Because we had 48 hours before the birth mom could sign away her parental rights, and we knew that she could change her mind at any point before then.
We gave our girl her first name and her birth mom gave her middle name. Her first name is Eleanor, which means shining light, and is exactly what she is to us. Her middle name is Grace, which means having favor bestowed on you by superior, and that grace was given by her birth mom.
Two days after Eleanor was born, her birth mom signed her rights away and we were made her legal guardians. That day will forever be etched in my memory as one of the most beautiful and painful days of my life. Watching a mother say goodbye to her newborn is something that should never happen. It is devastating. Adoption is such a good thing and so necessary, but it is costly. It is costly in the way that Christ dying on the cross for our sins was costly.
Today, Eleanor is a joyful and stunningly beautiful toddler. She has wild curls and makes us laugh all day long. We are madly in love with her. We are thankful for her. She is tangible evidence of God’s love and grace in our lives. And one day, I’ll get to tell her that we chose her.