May 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Sara Madalin!!!

Y'all will forgive me if I make today's post all about my baby girl, won't you? Oh, wait, everyday is pretty much about her.

I'm going to try and put into words what this past year has meant to us. I'm not sure I can because each time I've tried to do this over the past few weeks, I've started crying. But I'm still going to try.

First, I know that there are so many people that read our blog who have children of their own. Some of you are birth parents to your children, some adopted their child or children as we did. I want to tell you that, just because I make a big deal of the way Sara Madalin came to us (and I know I do that), it doesn't mean that I think her birth is any more special than the birth of any other child. It's just that SHE herself is so special to us. Now that I've cleared that up, I have to talk about my baby girl (again).

Each day this week I've reflected on what we went through this time last year. Wednesday I remembered getting the call from Reagan last year and he told me to go home and finish packing our bags. (We had started packing bags for the call to go to North MS, but we didn't expect to need them quite that soon.) When he called me, I was first in shock, then excited, and maybe just a little scared. You see, being married to someone for 11 years, and it being just the two of you for so long - adding another person to that equation, it's a big deal. We'd talked about that already, so I knew I'd feel nervous about it not being just me and him anymore, but it being the three of us. Once I got past those emotions (and I did within a matter of moments) all I could do was cry. The first thing I said to him was, "We're having a baby!" And we were. Just not like most people do. I didn't carry her inside me. I didn't experience labor and delivery. But we went through the "expectations" of having a baby for a very long time.

Immediately after I got off the phone with Reagan, I called my sister, Brandi. I told her we were leaving to go to the hospital. Then - and if any of you KNOW me, this next thing won't shock you too much - I said, "But my house is a mess. (We'd been painting our kitchen/dining room). And I know people are going to come over." She said, "None of that matters now." And I'm crying just remembering that. She was right. Nothing mattered except that sweet baby girl when I got home. (But I still called Jana next and told her to go to my house and straighten up because I knew we'd have company when we got home. And she did. She's "my girl." But not in a bad way. Just wanted to clear that up.)

So, Reagan, Susie, and I traveled to North MS May 20, 2008 to get our baby. You've seen and read about the day of her delivery. But I don't think I've ever blogged about the next few days. They were very emotional, to say the very least. Some of you received a lot of text messages and emails from Reagan while we were waiting for Sara Madalin's release. I think I called Nicki and talked non-stop for 30 minutes. Then later called Karen at Bethany and cried non-stop for about 15. It was very emotional. Several of you prayed us through those days. Although we'd discussed so much about adoption, and we'd had counseling, and we knew Sayra was telling us repeatedly that she was sure of her decision to place the baby with us, NOTHING, let me say again - NOTHING - prepared us for what we went through during that time of waiting for Sara Madalin's release from the hospital. While we were experiencing feelings of excitement and joy over bringing Sara Madalin home with us, we also watched the pain it caused Sayra to make the decision she did. And seeing her that way broke our hearts. I'm so glad that we had that time with her. I'm glad that I got to be with my daughter's birthmother during those first few days after Sara Madalin's birth. I only wish my heart could have been stronger for her. There were a number of times I had to walk out of the room because the emotions I was feeling was just too much. I wish I could have said what she needed to hear for comfort. One of the memories I have of those last moments with her, was her hugging me and just crying. No one can ever say to Sara Madalin that she was "given up" for adoption. Sayra is forever her mother. And as her mother, she chose to place her in a home with two people that love her, and want her, but Sayra has never given her up. It was the hardest thing she's probably ever done. And we are eternally grateful for her and the gift she gave us.

After we were dismissed from the hospital, we drove to a hotel for the evening, simply because we wanted to wait until ALL paperwork was signed before we brought her home to see our friends and family. And paperwork couldn't be signed until the next day (72 hours after her birth). I won't go into all the details of that day, as we waited. But those who kept in touch with us through that day, you know what all happened. You waited with us. You cried with us. You waited some more with us. You prayed. And then finally, you rejoiced with us after we got the call from Susie letting us know everything was signed. She called Reagan's phone and asked for me. I said hello and she said, "Malinda, lean over there and kiss your daughter." I will, again, be forever grateful to Susie. She has been with us through this entire journey. From the VERY beginning. She prayed for us. She wrote letters of recommendation to our adoption agency for us. She watched me struggle through the indescribable grief of adoption loss. She passed out her business card to countless pregnant women she met on the street. (No, not really. We just joke about that.) Through every high and low, she's helped carry us through more than most people would even dare to. She likes to say that she and Wayne "prayed us through." And they did. And still do so often. 

Then we came home. Y'all know what happened after that. I began to blog every detail of her life. I know sometimes I go over board with it. I'm probably going to regret some of the things I share someday down the line. But all this blogging, it's for her anyway. Wouldn't you want to read about your childhood? And see video of your first words. Or know that you thought you could talk to your dog? Or see yourself lying face down in the sand licking it like a lollipop? I'm hoping she can enjoy that some day. Sure, she'll think, "Mom, seriously? You told them my diaper exploded in Jarro's and you and Granny had to clean me up?" And I'll say, "Yes, sweet girl. Your Aunt Sue and Mrs. Shirley wanted to know EVERYTHING." Can't you just see her rolling her eyes at me?

To us, her life is such a testimony to what GOD can do. I just want to share that testimony - with her, with our family, with our friends, and with what has turned out to be with a few strangers who've found us along the way and become friends. I want to testify of His great love. God has been so good to us. He's poured out blessing after blessing upon us in the past year. And for someone who thought for so long that God never even saw me or heard me, that's something I can't keep to myself. SHE'S something I can't keep to myself. 

In case you haven't been able to tell it by all you've read this past year, I'm a happy little mama. I love everything about being her mother. I love washing her clothes. I love changing her diaper. I love feeding her. I love shopping for her. I love singing with her. I love when she wakes up in the morning and looks up at me and smiles. I love hearing her laugh. I love the way she gets excited when she sees Reagan or Taco or Mrs. Gail - and so many other people that she has grown to love. I love how she has to have her head tucked under my chin when she sleeps next to me. I love those beautiful blue eyes. I love that she loves jewelry and shoes and four-wheeler riding. I have loved every milestone of her life. And I look forward to more. I love this little girl. I told Reagan, I can't imagine loving a child more, even if I had given birth to them. And how in the world do you love two? I just can't fathom it.

Now, having said all that, and having read all you have about her over the past year, I have a request of those who read our blog and who have grown to care about her. Today is her birthday. My aunt asked, "What do you get a little girl who seems to have everything?" You pray for her. Pray for her heart, her spiritual growth in the Lord. Pray that we as parents we will say and do the right things to point her to the Lord. Pray that she understands the things of the Lord at an early age and that He keeps her pure and safe. Pray that we give her opportunities to be exposed to God's word and His work. Pray that she receives it. Every morning Reagan prays for us (and some of you), and I can't tell you how many nights I've stood beside her crib as she sleeps and I've prayed and cried out to God for her protection and salvation. We ask that, as you think about our girl, as you read about her, as you laugh at something funny she does, as you watch her grow - please pray for her. 

We love you. Thank you for sharing this year with us. I can't wait to see what the next year of her little life holds.

Happy Birthday to OUR Sugar-Sugar!

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Melanie said...

What a fantastic story - it brought tears to my eyes!

I love the last picture!

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA MADALIN!!! we love you and will see you saturday!!! Reagan and Malinda we are so happy for yall...I am so glad that you are so happy and you deserve every bit of happiness with this sweet little girl!!!

Love, Dwight Kandi Breanna and Allyson

Anonymous said...

What a great story! You definitely keep up those memories, it is something she will cherish forever.

We will say a sweet little prayer for her.

Jamie & Angela Wade

Lynn said...

Well, you started my morning out with a good cry. A HAPPY ONE THOUGH. I am so proud for you and Regean to have this little girl that has brought you so much happiness to this family. I can't wait everyday to get on line and look at the update to see what this precious little girl has to say today. There is no doubt that she is a HAPPY LITTLE GIRL that knows she is loved. I love you Sara Madalyn. Happy Birthday. I will be praying for you, your mommy and daddy too.
Love you, Lynn

Anonymous said...

Malinda, I never tire of reading your blog. It makes me remember when I finally had my Ashley. One day Sara Madalin will love to read all about her life with you and Reagan and all her "family".
Happy 1st. Birthday, Sara Madalin.
You have been blessed with wonderful parents and God is just getting started with you.
Love Ya'll,
Pat F.

Anonymous said...

Hey Melinda this is Christy, I work at the Drug Store. It is so weird you made that comment about loving 2 kids.... I went through that when I was pregnant with my youngest now. My oldes was 7 at the time and was my BABY....I layed in bed crying wondering how I had enough room in my heart to love another one...and I DID IT!! It's weird how that really never actually know what your heart is capable of.....Sara Madelin is a beautiful girl and is truely blessed to have you and Reagan for parents!!! Happy Happy Birthday!!!

The Glenn Gang said...

Dear Sara Madalin,

Happy First Birthday! You are living proof of God's greatest miracle...LIFE! You are only one year old but you have pointed so many people to Jesus already. I have known your mommy and daddy for over eleven years and consider my life blessed because of their friendship. I have watched them stand with integrity and faithfulness in the midst of their darkest days. I have been priveleged to see them live lives that glorified God no matter what their situation. You, little precious girl, minus their relationship with Jesus, are the best part of them! You will never know how much they wanted you, prayed for you, hoped and dreamed for you and now thank God for you! Your life is a reminder to us all that God is faithful. I pray that God blesses your days with health, wisdom, joy and peace, but most of all, I pray God blesses you with an early understanding of who HE is and what His son Jesus did for you. Oh, Sara Madalin, if you can grasp on to that at a young age, your life will continue to bring people to Him. I love you sweet girl!

Your Future Mother-in-Law,

Paige said...

Happy Birthday sweet girl! Although I do not know you personally, I know you are loved a whole lot and bring so much joy to your family. May God continue to bless you and your family throughout your precious life!

P.S. - Love the last photo! She looks so proud of herself.

Katie (and Tony) said...

How is it possible she ate that whole cupcake, chocolate frosting and all, without getting a spot on her?

While our adoption journeys are so different, reading your thoughts exemplifies just how similar they are. How wonderful God and the Spirit of Adoption are! While you may have not experienced true, physical labor and delivery (in the traditional sense)...You did have your own labor pains and birth.

And I, too, wondered how is it possible to love another child as much as I love the first one? Once again, God's love is amazing. Yes, you can love the second as much as the first!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! You are loved!

Heather said...

Now that I've wiped away the tears I can say what a wonderful and touching entry that was. I don't know you, your family, or your sweet girl personally but I have enjoyed reading about what goes on in your life as your baby girl grows up. It was a few months back that I first watched that video you have up of the day Sara Madalin was born (cried my eyes out over that one too) and just recently shared it with my husband as well, we thought it was incredibly beautiful. You both are very blessed indeed and quite honestly Sara Madalin couldn't have been more lucky to have you and your husband for parents. The love you have for her comes shinning through in every entry and photo. Happy (belated) Bithday Sara Madalin. (those pictures by the way were too cute...especially the last one).

Stephanie Moore said...

Malinda, I tried all day yesterday to get to your blog and couldn't....It seems I have become addicted! Anyway, I loved the blog from yesterday. As I sit at work, I am wondering if anyone is going to pass by my office and ask 'What is wrong with you'? I am so happy and proud for you guys. It is great that you are able to use your gifts to write this blog everyday and to give all the glory to GOD! Thanks for sharing your special moments! You guys are in our prayers.

Stephanie Moore

Jennifer said...

What a wonderful way to honor your precious daughter and her birthmom.

Love it love it love it!

happy birthday to you!!!

~the mccrarys~ said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SARA MADALIN!!! I hope your party is great today! I look forward to watching you continue to grow on your blog! Lucky for us your mom captures everything! =)

Sarah Denley said...

such a sweet sweet story! does sayra know you have a blog? I just wondered if she reads it....