If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2, click on the links and read...
Oh, yes... the saying goes, "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry." I don't think there is any theology intended in that statement, but the Bible does say in Is. 55:9, "For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Often we plan and plan and expect God to just bless our plans, but He has other plans...
We were making waffles for breakfast on Saturday, April 29 when Aunt Judy called to let us know that the baby had come already! Nora's water had broken early that morning at home and Angelina helped her deliver there in their living room. Later, Angelina told us through her tears that she was so scared because when he was born, he was not breathing. Her instinct and experience with delivering her own babies in Guatemala kicked in and she went to the kitchen and got a piece of onion to hold under Zach's nose. He sneezed and cried his first cries. Eventually, the paramedics came and took them to the small county hospital where we met them.
I will never forget the bittersweetness I felt when I entered that hospital room. To my right lay my newborn second child in a bassinette, still being cleaned up by a nurse. To my left lay the woman, the hero, who was giving us this precious gift. I felt pulled in two directions at once like never before. We went to Nora and hugged and cried quietly.
After a few minutes, Bill, Rebecca, and I walked to the other side of the room to meet Zachary William Owens, the name we had decided upon on the trip to the hospital. Zachary means "the Lord remembers" --- God remembered the promise he had made to us so many years before to fill our quiver. He was so tiny --- only 6 lbs., with a head full of black hair. The nurse wrapped him up and handed him to me. I remember wishing that Nora did not have to see me holding him because I did not want her to hurt any more than she already was. I can't imagine her pain. Remember, she told us that she didn't even want to see him --- that she had wanted us there for the delivery and for them to whisk him away. Well, those plans had changed.
A little while later, the nurse took our new family of four to another hospital room. We spent the afternoon getting to know Zach. He slept in our arms and we fed him. He just wouldn't ever eat more than a fraction of an ounce. Often newborns do not eat well, since they are so worn out from the delivery, so we really didn't think much about it at the time. Looking back now, I know that God's hand was moving to orchestrate every part of the situation. He made it possible, on that Saturday evening, to have the lawyer and a notary to come so Nora could sign the papers that relinquished her parental rights. What we didn't know at the time was that there were important medical decisions to be made and her signature on those papers gave us the right to take action.
Nora requested to first see her baby again, to say goodbye. Of course we were very scared that she might change her mind, which she still legally had every right to do. The few short minutes that she had him in her room were an eternity to Bill and I out in the hallway. Finally, Angelina came to the door to invite us in. Nora lay holding him and motioned for me to come over to the bedside. As Aunt Judy translated, Nora spoke words that I will never forget. "Here is your son --- take him." As I lifted him from her arms, I felt the weight of so many emotions. I ached for Nora, knowing that she had suffered for months carrying this baby and would live every day of her life thinking of him, wondering about him. At the same time, I felt joy and elation for our family because of this precious child that we would have the privilege of raising. It was a very emotional moment.
We left Nora's room, leaving her with Aunt Judy, the lawyer, and the notary to take care of the paperwork. That would be the last direct contact we would have with Nora and her mother to date. We have sent pictures to Nora via Aunt Judy in the past, but even she has not seen Nora for some time now. She did talk to Nora recently and found out that she is now married and expecting a baby! We cried tears of joy over that news, for that has always been our prayer for her, that she would find someone to love and have a family with.
Zach has been such a blessing to our family. He has taught us to laugh and to enjoy the moment and to trust God. I had always wondered if I would be able to love an adopted child as much as I love our biological child, Rebecca. My heart ached for so long to experience pregnancy and motherhood because it is such a special thing. Certainly with adoption, the physical bond that occurs between the mother and child during the pregnancy is not there, but somehow, God provides. He has provided well for our family.