Oh Eli

Four years ago today we met this little wonder.
Today is her birthday! She shares it with Grandma Mickey and it just happens to be the day of the week they have tea together on Facetime. So they’ll celebrate their birthday’s together on Facetime over tea. I just think that’s amazing.

As I put Eli to bed last night, tucking her in and getting her all settled, I felt like I just had to share some of the story of how she came to us. To a 4 year old, I’m not sure it meant much or even made sense, but to us, it brings tears to our eyes every time and we get somewhat emotional about the thought of how she came to be an Elworth.

On her birthday, we had been notified about 3 weeks prior that we had been chosen to be her adoptive parents. We were told that it could be any day when they would call and we’d had to get on a plane as soon as possible to get there.

So we worked really hard to lay out the plans. That’s a big ordeal considering we were a family of 6 at the time. We had to split the kids among friends and each of them had a bag packed by the door along with ours.

I remember this morning so clear. I had gotten up early and gone to have my annual blood draw for my cholesterol. On the way back, I stopped by Starbucks to grab coffee and while I was standing at the mobile pick up counter around 7AM, my phone rang. I silenced the call, not thinking anything of it, grabbed my coffee and out the door.

When I got to my truck, the phone pinged telling me I had a voicemail and as I began driving out of the parking lot, I heard our caseworker from our agency in Florida tell me the exciting news.

Her birth name her biological momma gave her was Miracle Love, so they told us that Miracle had been born and it was go time!
You can imagine the emotions rushing through me as I drove home that morning!
I had a thousand things to do now today because we had a plane to catch.

I got home to find the house slowly moving around. Crystal was upstairs getting ready for the day and the rest of our crew was slowly moving, getting breakfast. I made my way upstairs and just casually mentioned to Crystal that I had gotten the phone call. She was as clueless as I was when I silenced the call. Like we had totally forgotten that we were expecting the phone call of our lives!
Within a minute, it made sense and now it was go time.

I had been checking airfare from three airports into Tampa, Florida everyday for the last three weeks, so I knew exactly how this was going to go down.
I took care of all the bookings that had to be done right away while Crystal made the final preps on all the kids needs and letting those who were going to watch them while we were gone know that we were coming.
It was all so exciting and moving so fast!

By 9AM, we were rolling out of the driveway in our big GMC Denali headed to two different stops to leave behind our 4. By 11AM, we were pulling into Regan National for our flight that would leave in just 20 minutes. I’ve never felt like I was going to miss a flight until that one. One of our stops to drop kids was in Martinsburg, WV and as soon as that stop was done, we were race car drivers and I prayed intently that we’d be able to go as fast as possible to get to the airport on time.

We were the last people on the plane, racing up pushing an empty stroller that drew a few strange glances. The smiles on our faces while pushing an empty stroller needed explanation for some reason, but we couldn’t contain ourselves! This was all so thrilling!

The plane was so full that Crystal and I didn’t get to sit together on the flight. She was one row in front of me and kept peaking through the space between the seats trying to find my reaction to all this.

Two hours later, we landed in Tampa and rushed to get our rental car and luggage underway. While we handled all that, we also contacted our agency and told them we were in town and would soon be on our way to the hospital.

One more hour and we finally arrived at the hospital, met our agent for the first time and started our way to maternity. This was so surreal, strange, and exciting at the same time. The emotions running through our minds and bodies were lightening fast and all over the map. We just didn’t know what to think or how to react to any of it!

There she was, for the very first time.

Just 7 hours after we had received that phone call, we were sitting in the hospital holding this promise, this gift the Lord has led us to wait on for years.
I get quite emotional when I think about it. You don’t know all the heart-aching moments we spent in prayer asking the Lord for the blessing of a babygirl. To see that moment, to have lived it, to be able to remember it is simply a testament to the faithfulness of a God who is and Is able to go so far beyond our understanding.

Moment of honesty here, first time I saw her, I thought she looked funny. She was all grey and had that fuzzy forehead. It makes me laugh as I look back on it today.

The days following that surreal event were tough. Eli was positive for coke and another substance. Don’t judge for it, though. Her momma didn’t know any different. Eli spent 4 days or so in the NICU to cope with the effects of withdrawal. She would shake and get really cold. She didn’t want to eat well and needed a lot of skin-to-skin content to know she was safe. We had all of that to give, so no issues there.

But she came through it!

She grew, she ate, she recovered and finally, after about two weeks, she came home!

What a day it was when we were all finally connected as a family together! Another story for another post.

Here’s to you, Eliana Kyleen. You’re an amazing joy and our family wouldn’t be complete without your smile.

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