the story of the happy baby [part 4]

Note: You can read the story of the happy baby, part one HEREpart two HERE, and part three HERE. And here’s my “small print” – I want to tell our story with grace and love and I want to be very, very real about it. I pray that if you’re reading this and are at a different place in the adoption or infertility journey, you will not find this painful or frustrating to read, but that you will be encouraged by the hand of God at work in all things, through our story.

I do not know how to possibly adequately explain some of the literal miracles worked on our behalf by a good and loving Father! I do want you to know this: we have a very unique adoption circumstance and I have great respect and gratitude for the people involved in assisting us in BIG ways as we prepared for the Happy Baby. But because of the nature of our adoption, I have to be vague about some of those big open doors. I want to protect the privacy of our family and of those involved in helping bring the Happy Baby home to us. I want to protect and respect our daughter's birth parents, who gave us a tremendous gift when they made the difficult decision to choose adoption.


story of the happy baby || adoption & infertility || sarah writes ||

I called my dad back as I was leaving my friend's. Mostly the call was a blur. He said things to me like "a friend said there's this baby" and "felt compelled to let us know" and "baby is due in May". Those were the highlights, because what else do you hear? There was heavy traffic that day and I was on my way to meet another girl for discipleship and I tried not to let my heart pound out of my chest. I texted the mister: "not an emergency - call me asap". I felt a little foggy... but we'd just miscarried, we'd just left the adoption agency meeting. Surely it would be hasty to consider? Surely we would be wise to wait? But it couldn't hurt to just get the information, could it?

My husband had no qualms. "Call the number." he said. So that night, I did. I called the person who'd notified us of the opportunity and said we were interested in getting more information. Over the course of a week, she connected us to The Right People. And from there, things moved very, very quickly. We spoke with attorneys, were connected to an incredible agency and began our homestudy process with a phenomenal social worker. We began fundraising (and, unbeknownst to us, dear friends of ours were raising money for us in secret, too!) and gathering information and putting together enormous packets of paperwork. Seriously, I had no idea how much paperwork there would be. It was crazy.

Two weeks after that first call, at the counsel of our attorney, my husband spoke with the birth father over the phone. I was out of state visiting my brother when I got the call, "Baby! I just got off the phone with him. The baby is due at the end of May. And we're having a girl!" I burst into tears on the sidewalk as he wrapped up the call. My brother and his then-girlfriend-now-awesome-wife turned and looked a little bewildered and I just sobbed ecstatically, "It's a girl! What am I going to do with a GIRL?!" And dissolved into the laughing kind of crying that makes onlookers stop and ask if everything is okay. And you shout at them YES! I'M ADOPTING A BABY! IN LIKE SIX WEEKS! And they kind of look at you and say congrats and move slowly back into their yard. But it was so very, very good!

In the next six weeks, I learned the meaning of "waiting on the Lord" in new ways.

Our lovely, generous church family hosted a "necessities" shower for me, helping us to get ready for baby in very practical ways. It was scary, you know - the idea of having a shower for a baby I wasn't carrying meant that I was having to trust God anew that it really would work out. That my daughter really would come home to us. That the baby for whom we had prayed and waited for almost three years was very nearly here!

In late May, one Wednesday evening, I was on the phone with my amazing case worker, asking (for probably the umpteenth time) what the process would be when the baby was born. I know I'd probably asked all the questions before. But my sweet case worker answered them all patiently again. What we didn't know was that earlier that afternoon, at 3:15pm, that precious baby girl had come into the world!

Our circumstances required another wait — it felt interminable. The hospital was several hours away, there was paperwork. (More. Paperwork.) We were angsty and impatient, wondering how to move ahead and when we could get there and hold our daughter.

story of the happy baby || adoption & infertility || sarah writes ||

Enter my sweet, wise brother again. A one-line text message from him settled us down and turned our hearts to silence, to prayer, to peace. We decided to get on the road. We had no confidence that we'd even be allowed into the nursery. But as an act of faith, we decided to drive those two and a half hours to the hospital.

By the time we arrived, we still had no news and I was shaky. "I can't go in." I told my husband. "If we go in and they tell me 'not yet', I might be hateful or I might scream and cry. You go." So he walked in and not five minutes later, my phone rang.

"Hey," he whispered, "Come on. We can go meet our baby girl."

All The Things we were waiting on had happened, and within moments, we had our darling baby girl in our arms.

story of the happy baby || adoption & infertility || sarah writes ||
story of the happy baby || adoption & infertility || sarah writes ||
story of the happy baby || adoption & infertility || sarah writes ||

Maybe I literally ripped a hole in my purse to get my camera out, because the zipper got stuck and AIN'T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.  When you are holding your darling, brand new baby daughter that God brought to your family through simple and yet miraculous means, you start texting pictures of her to everyone and their mother because the beauty of it so stunning and breathtaking that you need those others around you to take it all in. You need your family that walked with you the whole long way to see the amazing gift. You need the dearest friends in the world -- who watched you bleed and held your hand -- to rejoice with you. And you need to see it again and again - the first time you meet your daughter.

There were other miraculous gifts to follow. Maybe someday I will be able to talk about them all, but this is rather long as it is. God followed up with other precious gifts to us in those days we were in the hospital with her.  With affirmations, with whispered reassurances of His love for us. Of the reality that one brave young woman chose adoption for her child and as a result, our family finally received the daughter we'd been praying for. The daughter of my heart, if not my womb.

That tiny, wiggly, squishy little baby has become the most adorable toddler. She is talkative and social like her daddy, opinionated and stubborn like her mama, and of course charming and clever and brilliant, like us both. #ahem

And we are blessed daily with the reality that God worked miracles to bring her home. Our sweet, precious, chubby, Happy Baby.


I love talking adoption. Since our daughter's birth in 2012, we experienced a failed match and two "false starts", not to mention 14 NOs during our second adoption attempt. Then finally, in February of 2017, we brought home our son, the Little Bear. Another courageous birthmom, another season of battling to believe God and to hope. If you want to talk adoption or infertility or have questions - I have two good ears and would love to hear from you. You can email me at sarah sandel at gmail. I don't have this figured out...but I am walking with Christ, whose Word to me is life.


Open Letter to Infertility when I realized I was no longer named by brokenness

Labor & Delivery when I attended a friend as she gave birth - in between our adoptions

On Mother's Day for anyone who feels like not a "regular" mom on that day

Family Update when one of our adoption attempts failedand I spent our homestudy money on new furniture. *shrug*