July 5, 2015

Grief and Fulfillment Part: FOUR

July 5, 2015

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Mason's battle continued.  We were still making frequent visits to the hospital, sometimes for weeks at a time. Parker was adjusting to being home with a mommy and a baby brother.  Life was settling in at our "normal" pace.  We were a family.  But back in Guatemala a little girl was praying for her own forever family.  This little girl was the boys' biological sister.  She was only 7 when we heard about her and saw her picture for the first time while Mason was still in the hospital.  She was their sister so she was our daughter.  But Mason was still very fragile. The adoption agency told us she had been accepted by two other families but for some reason both fell through.  Were we stable enough to bring her home and be her parents, her family?  Careful planning and thinking and praying and hoping and wishing consumed me. The adoption process began again.  The realistic fear of how we would afford the adoption hung over our heads.  Endless paperwork, home studies, and waiting started all over again.  A girl.  A daughter.  Their sister.  

This little "Dora the Explorer" showed up in my email one day.  
I found myself so anxious with worry and fear as to how it would all work out.  How could we pay for another adoption so soon after two adoptions and mounds of hospital bills?  Fate came in to play once again.  My mom entered a contest with The Ronald McDonald House and Sleep Number Beds.  She submitted an essay written from Mason's perspective and his wish to bring home his biological sister.  It was no coincidence my cell phone rang while we were sitting in our room at the Ronald McDonald House during a short stay for medical testing on Mason.  I thought it was a sales call at first.  But soon I started to engage in what the lady was saying.  We won!  Sleep Number, who provides ALL the beds for The Ronald McDonald House, picked us.  The prize?  I couldn't begin to comprehend.  They would pay for the entire adoption AND give everyone in our family a Sleep Number Bed.  Fate.  Answered prayers.  A little girl.  New beds!  It was unbelievable.  

I love this picture of Lauren and her friends.  A lady adopting the girl in the middle became a sweet friend who would send me pictures of Lauren before we were allowed to travel and visit.  
Once Mason was stable enough for us to feel comfortable leaving him with family (AKA:Camp Grandma) we traveled to Guatemala to meet Esmerita Esperanza.  I was so nervous.  Did she want to leave the only life she knew?  Was I the new mom she had pictured in her mind and prayed for? The social worker told me that when she had received a care package I had sent she was so happy to see pictures of her brothers, her biological brothers.  She told the social worker that she knew there was a reason why the other referrals fell through.  She knew God had something special for her.  She knew it was a gift to be placed with her biological brothers.  We met her for the very first time in the lobby of the hotel.  She was shy but sweet and smiled and giggled.  She immediately adored Big Dog and warmed up to him within minutes.  We spent three nights there getting to know her.  The language barrier made it hard.  She had lived a life that was completely unknown to us. I planned a birthday celebration for her at the hotel with her friends and foster family.  All I wanted to do was fast forward to bringing her home but it would be several more months.  

Happy 9th Birthday!
During that first visit we asked her if she wanted a new name because she was so curious about her brother's new names.  We brought up five different names and without hesitation she chose the name, Lauren.  Lauren Esperanza.  Before leaving her we stood outside and looked at the stars.  She cried.  She didn't believe we would be back.  I told her in my best broken Spanish that each night we could look at the moon knowing that the other was looking at the same moon.  It seemed so unfair to have just met her and let her go not knowing when we would see her again or how long it would be before we could bring her home.  
Parker came along on our second visit.  It was truly as if they had never been a part.
Lauren and Big Dog on our was to the USA!
The closer we got to bringing her home the more complex and difficult the process became.  Adoption was shutting down in Guatemala.  Couples were losing their referrals, and their promised babies.  We were far enough along in the process that we stood firm and fought to bring her home.  We finally got the call. We flew to Guatemala ready to bring her home this time.  Five days later adoption shut down for good.  We made it through.  We brought her home.  Just in time for Christmas.

Feliz Navidad!
Lauren was reunited with her two biological brothers and brought to a home full of aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents and family friends.  We were all adjusting and transitioning together.  Discovering our roles and where we fit was hard and emotional.  Everyone had been through so much.   Our lives had been so different but we each had a longing and that December it all came together.  We were together.  I was challenged by trying to mold what our family was made of into what I had always dreamed of.  Some pieces didn't fit.  Hearts had been hurt, spirits broken, and exhausting emotions had us all worn out.  But we kept on.  We forged ahead.  Auto-pilot kicked in.  It was all any of us knew to do.  Each one of us would continue to struggle yet be eternally thankful at the same time.  Our journey as a family had already had so many ups and downs.  When would the waters smooth, when could we relax and just be?  This family, my family, was still to grow.  More change was in the future. Heartache mixed with surprises and blessings waited to be discovered.  

A family on vacation for the first time ever!
Their unbreakable bond.  Lauren still clearly remembers caring for Parker as an infant and toddler.


  1. Made me cry...again. Thank you for writing your blog. Please don't ever stop

    1. Thank you to the person who played a very inspirational role in my life! I'm flattered that you read it. Thank you for keeping up with us. I miss you!

  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful loving family.