Prior to that moment, that life-defining moment, I didn't know what all the baby-craziness was about. I wasn't one of those people that always knew I wanted children. I didn't know if I ever wanted kids. Through the whole labor and delivery process, up until the second she was born, I was DEFINITELY asking myself why anyone would ever do this more than once.
She was born.
And in an instant, I got it. I understood why my mom and billions of other women do this multiple times. That tiny little person (who actually felt like a BIG HUGE PERSON on the way out) was absolutely amazing. There were no words to describe how I felt when I saw her the first time. I just remember thinking, "Oh. THAT'S why. That's why women do this. That is, by far, the coolest thing I have ever been a part of." People say freshly born babies can look like aliens. Maybe they do. But she was the cutest dang alien I'd ever seen. I couldn't believe I had the privilege of bringing her into this world. And it felt like a privilege. Like I didn't deserve this amazing gift, but here I was receiving it anyway.
To me, it was God's grace in action once again. For about a year before I got pregnant, I wasn't very interested in what God had planned for my life. I wanted to do my own thing. Live the single life to the "fullest", whatever that meant. I didn't want God messing with my "freedom". And then I took a pregnancy test and my delusional world shattered. I was in crisis mode and had to quickly figure out a plan. At first I didn't see it as a privilege to carry this little girl. I was overwhelmed, in denial, and too self-absorbed to see the big picture. But then, as the immediacy of the crisis waned, and I could breathe again, I had sense enough to ask God to help me. Help me make the best decision I could for this precious little life inside of me. I wasn't sure how God could redeem this situation. I was pregnant and not married. This kind of thing didn't happen in MY family. Growing up in a Christian home, I had been around Christians all my life. My parents were elders in their church. I was worried. In general, some people are good at this Christianity thing. Some people are not. I anticipated judgment. What I received was grace. God must have chuckled at my disbelief. He overwhelmed me with mercy, love and redemption.
When I told my parents I was pregnant and considering adoption, my mom cried tears of joy. Not tears of sadness, rejection, anger, bitterness, or judgment. Joy. She said "I'm going to have another grandbaby!" My dad said "A baby is a baby. That's a gift from the Lord." And then I cried. Tears of relief.
God granted me favor with my boss at the time. She did not, by law, have to extend to me health benefits (like COBRA) if I quit my job. I couldn't leave my job and leave my benefits. If she didn't go for this idea, I couldn't move home to NC (from SC). She accepted my request. Grace abounded.
I moved home as soon as I could after encountering such acceptance, grace and mercy from my parents. I started going to their church. More grace, mercy, love and compassion. That church loves people very well. It was a couple at that church that I chose to be Chloe's parents.
My husband says that Chloe is the reason we're together now. "Chloe changed you. Softened you." He knew me before, during and after Chloe. He noticed the change of heart that took place. My relationship with him, my marriage, is another way God demonstrated redemption to me.
There are more examples, but you get the idea. When Chloe was born, my heart was in such a different place than it was when I found out I was pregnant. That's why I can say with confidence that carrying her, birthing her, placing her for adoption with a stable, loving, Christian couple, was absolutely a privilege and an honor.
Chloe, you are an incredible, adventuresome, fun-loving, sweet, caring little girl. Thanks for changing my life forever for the better.
Love, your tummy mommy