Monday, September 6, 2010

The Happiest Sad

My sweet sister, Heidi, has absolutely amazed me with her strength in this past year.  She ended up pregnant, with no father in the picture, and what could have been a horrible situation, was made in to the most amazing experience that our whole family feels eternally grateful to have been a part of.

First off, when she found out she was pregnant there was never any question in her mind that this baby was meant to be with another family.  It was just getting to them in a round-about way.  She felt the heavy responsibility of finding the parents that this little one was meant to go to.  She very unselfishly wanted this baby to be brought up with a mother and father who were strong in our faith.  The search began.

It was very short.

Working through LDS Social Services she knew almost immediately when the right family popped up on her computer.  Dave and Candace were it.  That was his mommy and daddy.  No question.

Heidi worked very hard through her pregnancy to stay healthy so that this baby could have the best start possible.  She was excited for every little milestone.  Once she found Candace and Dave, she enjoyed sharing everything she was going through.  She didn't want them to miss out on anything.

A month before her due date our family had the opportunity to go to dinner with Candace and Dave's family.  It was like being at a family reunion with family we hadn't had the chance to meet yet.  It was very easy to love them.  We met grandmas, grandpas, brothers and sisters.  We came back to our house with everyone afterwords for brownies and ice cream.  We talked and laughed for hours.

As the time grew closer Heidi asked lots of questions about the delivery.  She figured letting this little one go to this wonderful family would be hard, but she never questioned her resolve that it was the right thing for this little guy.  She became nervous about what would be physically involved with the delivery.  We had fun talking about all the ins and outs involved with bringing a baby into this world.  Her social worker warned her it was going to be difficult when she came to the point when she actually handed this little one to his new parents.  Heidi assured her it would be fine...oh boy...I don't think any of us were ready when that time came.

Heidi ended up being induced, but the induction wasn't progressing, so very spur of the moment, the doctor decided to go forward with a c-section.  I was quickly texted of the decision.  I was in the middle of sacrament meeting at church.  I quickly left for the hospital (only 10 minutes away), but by the time I got there they had already done the c-section.  Everyone's emotions were sky high.  It all came crashing down that we were going to have to say goodbye to this little guy we were just barely going to get to meet...little Griffin (I love the name they picked for him - fits him perfectly!).

My mom was the only one allowed to be in during the c-section.  We all had to wait in Heidi's room until they brought her back 90 minutes later.  Oh MAN did we all cry so hard.  He was the sweetest little guy!  We fell in love immediately!  Heidi was so excited for him to meet his new parents.  He was ALWAYS their baby - she was just the vehicle for getting him here.  I know there will always be a special place in his heart for the mother who was willing to let him go to his ETERNAL family.

Candace and Dave with their little boy they waited so long for!
 My sisters Kacie and Jamie, with me and Griffin.

 Jamie with Griffin
 My dad holding his newest grandson.
 Kacie and Griffin
 My mom and Griffin
 Griffin holding his new daddy's finger...and that little guy has a grip!
 Heidi was so cute with Griffin.  She said she had no idea until she held him, how much love she would feel for him.  But even then, she never regretted the decision she was making.  She only wanted to get her life in order so she could have a little family of her own some day soon.  She is working to be the best mommy and person she can be for THAT family...who is waiting for her.

Heidi had a hard recovery.  She was in the hospital for five days with little Griffin.  She relished every moment she had with him, for she knew all too well that time was short.  We all cuddled with him every day, whispering sweet nothings in his ears, nuzzling his sweet head with our noses, trying to make a lifetime of memories in a few short days.  Griffin got to meet my kids, his cousins, Bryan, Morgan, Colton, and Kyle.  They were so excited to finally meet this guy that had been kicking around in their aunt's belly.

When Heidi was released, Griffin was released to Candace and Dave.  That night we had a get together at our house where the adoption papers were signed, making Griffin an official member of Candace and Dave's family.  We had a sort of testimony meeting, all about Heidi.  We were all able to express our love for her and the great sacrifice she was making for this little guy who meant so much to her.  There wasn't a dry eye to be found.  Everyone felt the magnitude of what was taking place.

It really is the happiest sad (as I heard it described so well by another mother who placed her baby for adoption).

 Signing the adoption papers....Griffin just watched Heidi so intently.  He is the best behaved baby!
 Giving Candace her new baby boy...

 There really are no words to express what happened in this room.  How do you tell someone how grateful you are for their sacrifice.  A sacrifice that is giving you the family you have been waiting, hoping, and praying for anxiously for so long?  I feel blessed to have witnessed this event.  I feel blessed to have felt the strength of the love in that room at that moment.  I know these are the moments in which our Heavenly Father sheds the same tears of love and joy as we did.

 Both of our families actually had family members who wanted to witness the event being Skyped in.  This picture shows my sister, Brittany on Skype.  My brother Matt and his family also Skyped with us.

 Kacie and Heidi
 All the grandparents - my parents, Dave's parents, and Candace's parents.
Mark, my mom, and Heidi.

Thankfully, we still got to spend about another week with Candace and Griffin - Dave had to return to work while Candace remained in state until the judge signed the papers.  Candace was so sweet!  She allowed Heidi to spend time with Griffin every day.  We all went out to dinner again with Candace, her mom, and Griffin.  The day before Candace and Griffin were to fly back home, Heidi asked me to do a photoshoot of her and Griffin so she could have some beautiful pictures to remember the occasion.  My sister was positively radiant!  She loved Griffin with all her heart, but she was so excited that he was going to this amazing family!  She looks forward to seeing him grow and develop into a wonderful young man.  We all do.

Thank you Griffin for bringing two amazing families together.  We love you.


judy abney said...

Thank you for sharing such an amazing story, your right "The happiest sad" story. My heart was touched,as I read. I begin to look at the pictures and realized that I knew both sides. Robin and Paul lived by our family for many years and I watched David grow up. A wonderful family. May each of you feel our Saviors love in your life.
I have felt the joy that comes with adoption. Thank you, Judy Brown Abney
Kyle's kindergarten teacher.

Lauren said...

beautiful photos danette! what a touching story! thank you for sharing.

Harris Family said...

nice post-process! and i couldn't help but shed a few tears while reading this. amazing!

Crystal Star said...

Danette- thanks for sharing. Heidi thank you for showing the courage it takes to give literally part of yourself. That has to be the hardest selfless act you can show. I have a brother and sil struggling and praying for an adoption so I've seen the years of tears that led up to this day. I'm proud of you and don't even know you. I have a close family member that decided to keep her baby boy, and he is now 8. She knew it would be best to give him up but it was too hard. I do not fault her, but I want you to know he is really struggling because of that choice and she is too I'm sure. May the Lord strengthen you and fill those empty arms for the right time in your life.

Nathan Baertsch said...

That is the sweetest story and bunch of pictures.  We are so proud of Heidi for making a beautiful and difficult decision. I have a very good friend, Becca. She and her husband Troy have adopted their two boys and just last month adopted a baby girl. What an enormous blessing for these families that there are strong women, like Heidi, out there who choose to make this difficult decision. We love you Heidi. Thanks for sharing this with us Dannette. Shellie, Nate, Becca, Katie and Caleb

Leslie said...

Okay I'm crying. Thanks for sharing. So very inspiring and just lovely. (you are quite the talented photographer too to be able to capture those beautiful moments) Maybe we will run into each other soon!

HeidiBybee said...

Thank U so much Danette for sharing our sweet story of Griffin and I! It's means the world to me to be able to see it through the eyes of my family members too...I'm so blessed to have the family and friends that I do! Without you guys I wouldn't be able to get through this experience at all, and that's the honest truth. I love you so much and I hope you know that! THANK YOU!

The 6 Woodfords said...

What a beautiful story. Such a selfless act. Thanks for posting.

Austin and Kristen Bennion said...

I love Heidi to pieces. We have been good friends since junior high. I had the same experience as Heidi about 4 years ago. I placed a sweet little girl with a wonderful family. I am so proud of Heidi for making that decision for Griffin, I know how hard it is and I know what kind of spirit is in that room when that sweet child is being placed with another family. I know how hard it is but how much it means to the adoptive family. Griffin will be forever grateful to Heidi. Those pictures you took of Heidi are amazing. Heidi looks so beautiful and Griffin looks so handsome.

Bingham Family said...

What a beautiful story and beatiful pictures.

Martin said...

This story was forwarded to me through Orchard View Ward channels. Heidi, as your former bishop I applaud and celebrate the courageous decision you have made. Knowing the angst and joy surrounding adoptions as we experienced it with our Tyler, I can assure you that there are many paths these precious children can take on their way into an eternal family. And as I witnessed the beautiful tiny hand of your newborn, I knew the Lord's hand was in all of this. God bless you and keep you all...

Dockstaders said...

Danette! I'm not sure if you remember me but Heidi and I went to High School together! I recently adopted a baby from LDS Family services and was able to have an open adoption also! Its nice to see other families having the same openess as we do! Thanks for sharing!! - Brittany Tanner Dockstader

Christensen Family said...

Beautiful post Danette! Beautiful story, beautiful pictures, beautiful people. I cried through reading the whole thing. I love you guys!

Devin, April, Gavin and Drew said...

Thank you for posting this story! He is BEAUTIFUL! I just cried through that whole thing! I love you guys!