Meeting Selah + Part 2

With the adoption, one of my secret hopes was that Michael and I would actually be able to make it to the hospital in time for Selah’s birth. I had long ago realized that it might not be a possibility with us coming from Minnesota, on a 4 hour flight,  but oh how I wanted to be there in time. I didn’t want to miss even one minute of her precious life.

But Tuesday morning, May 3rd, I woke up with a happy and light heart.

We were in Florida. In her birth city. What an amazing gift.



That entire day we were in constant contact with our agency as we spent hours wandering her city, shopping for new clothes for me, and drinking way too much coffee.  It was a beautiful , and sunny day. Even still the hours dragged on , and on…Finally around 6pm we received a text to meet our expectant mama and the agency at the hospital.

We couldn’t have moved faster, and ended up arriving before everyone else. Sitting in the waiting room, my heart was thumping so loudly, I was so sure the receptionist could hear it. This was the beginning of a moment we had waited so long for…and it was just all so unbelievable.


The elevator doors opened and “S”, as beautiful as could be, with her cute, little, and perfectly round belly, arrived. We hugged tightly but we both were nervous. Especially her. She told me so as she filled out all the hospital paperwork. She was scared. I tried to encourage her as best I as I knew how, but really what can you actually say? I fumbled over my words, desperately wanting to communicate our love to her, but I think my efforts fell flat.

There were no perfect words to offer…there still aren’t.

Soon afterwards, she left to be admitted, and we were told that we would be called back to the hospital when it was time. I so wanted to be with her, to hold her hand as she labored. To be a voice of comfort for her as she brought her little one into the world.

I didn’t want her to be alone. But she wanted to be alone. I was happy to honor her wishes but sad that she didn’t have someone with her the entire time.

Sweet. Brave. Courageous. Strong.

I ached for her as we left the hospital. We went to dinner, and at that point the past two days caught up to me. I could barely keep my eyes open while we ate. I was beyond exhausted. If I laid my head on the table, I would have fallen into a deep sleep.


We went back to our hotel, and soon after I fell asleep until 7am the next morning, only to be woken once with a text that they had broken our expectant mama’s water. I read it, and almost instantly fell back to sleep.  Michael slept hard too. How we could sleep was beyond my understanding, but it was good we did, because sleeping was not on the agenda the next few days…

May 4th . 

We woke up to torrential rains, and dark skies.


We had Starbucks. ( and I ate a salad for breakfast much to Michael’s amusement )


We drove the rainy coast and talked our hearts out, listening to Dave Matthews.

We went BOWLING. Desperate times call for desperate measures…

The hours dragged, and dragged on…making it hands down the longest day of my life.

At 2:30 we returned to the hotel. We were going to take a nap to waste away the time. But before we could make it up the stairs I got a phone call to go to the hospital in thirty minutes.

“S”, was being prepped for a c-section.

I don’t actually think it hit me then that we were about to meet our daughter. That fact didn’t really connect with my brain. At the moment I was more concerned with how “S” was feeling. She did not want a c-section. I felt so bad that she had labored for so many hours, and now had to under -go major surgery. Poor thing.

At the hospital we were sent to a little room called , “The small world “, to wait. Generally the nurses will wheel all the c-section babies through the room , to then go across the hall to the nursery.

We sat and made small talk. Jumping every time a door opened. At one point we went to peer at the little babies in the nursery wondering if maybe they bypassed the room ( which they sometimes do ). But none of the little ones fit “her” possible description. So we went back to Small Word and waited some more.

Eventually our agency worker decided to go and look one more time. Two seconds later she peered back into the room and said, “She’s here! Want to see her?”

I can’t even.  Do we want to?

Through teary-blurred vision and a glass window, Michael and I feasted our eyes on the cutest, tiniest little bundle ever. She was perfect and beautiful.


I am not sure how much time passed, but there the two of us stood, nudging each other, and quietly gazing at her.

Unbelievable. So close, yet still way too far away.

I was trying to keep the tears back when a nurse came and fastened “a parent” bracelet on my wrist. The meaning of that moment was surreal and heavy.

Within moments of securing the bracelet, we were by her side. Any emotion I was trying to contain was released. There she was. “Our girl.” We could touch her, and talk to her.  We held her tiny little hands, and marveled at her perfect features.


Gosh. She was so beautiful. Tears fell on her sweet little body. Tears of gratitude and awe.

Everyone else in the room disappeared as we took every inch of her in .


Eventually we asked a nurse if we could feed her and before I knew it she was in my arms.


Sweet “S” wanted the evening to rest and recover. I wanted nothing more than to hug and love on her but we had to wait until morning. We spent the next hours with little Selah; loving her, feeding her, and literally breathing her in.

Selah Claire: ” To praise God. To reflect upon ” “Bright” 

5lb 13 oz  

18 inches

3:56 pm

Little Selah, 

We praise God for your life. You are a precious and valuable gift. From the moment you were conceived you were loved, wanted, and cherished, not just by us , but by your beautiful birth mama too. May you always grow in the knowledge that you are loved beyond understanding and that you bring light in the lives around you …I’ll forever be grateful for the way Jesus led us to you, for the way he created you in your birth mama’s belly keeping you protected and safe, and for the way His hand is on your life in miraculous ways. Your story is just beginning and it is a beautiful one at that, full of God’s redemptive love, and grace …we are so honored to be a part of it. So honored to know and love you …

May 5th

There is a lot to Selah’s story that I am leaving out . If one day she wants to share she can. This next little bit is very intimate and special. I am choosing to share only because I think people tend to have a negative view of birth moms and it tears me apart. These views are often unfair and misconstrued. A birth mother is no different than a mother who loves deeply, who sets aside her own needs for the needs of her child. “S” is a beautiful mama. One in the same. Same beating heart. Same devotion. Same concerns. She should not be torn apart, or looked down upon. Instead be respected and loved. She has walked paths in life harder than any of us ever will…

Our morning started with bringing “S” breakfast and spending time with her. I will always treasure our quiet spoken conversations . As the sun shined outside, Mother to mother, together,  we gushed over Selah’s beauty. Later in the nursery,  I placed Selah in her arms for the very first time…

I’ve been asked if that made me nervous…I suppose it could have …

But it didn’t…not in the least. It was a quiet and beautiful moment as she held her daughter in her arms. I am forever grateful that the two of them had that time together. Selah will forever be a part of “S”, and “S” forever a part of Selah. I don’t feel intimidated by that knowledge, only humbled that “S’ loved her daughter so much that she entrusted her into our care. I am only Selah’s mommy because of “S” and her selfless choices.  That fact STILL days later makes me weep…

Kissing the top of her head, she placed her back into my arms.

And my Heart. Cracked. Wide. Open.

May 6

Around 10am we were asked to go back to “Small World” to wait.

“S” was about to sign papers.

The moment was too huge to take in. So Michael and I sat together, without speaking.

Then I get a text. “She signed, come and say goodbye.”

The wait was over. 

But I didn’t want to say goodbye.

The walk to her room was long because I couldn’t keep my emotions at bay, and every two steps I had to stop to re-compose myself. Tears without permission continued to fall and fall. The beautiful gravity of what “S” had done for Selah hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt intense grief for both “S” and Selah.

I can’t reconcile the fact that in their grief, we gain. It is terribly unfair. Adoption IS beautiful. It is redemptive. It is a gift. But there is loss and pain involved and we came face to face with that the morning she signed. Heart wrenching. Painful. Brutal.

Saying good-bye to “S” was by far the hardest goodbye of my life.


Not for what she did for us, but because of who she is.

I will always love her.

In the dead of night when I rock little Selah to sleep , I think of her. I pray for her. I miss her…

May 6th-May 13th

The next week as we were in the hospital  and in Miami waiting out ICPC were some of the most beautiful and tender moments I’ve ever experienced. When we started this process I wondered if I would feel the same kind of love for an adopted baby as I do my biological child.

It was an unfounded fear though…

For Michael and I, the love we had for her was instantaneous and just as strong. From the moment we laid eyes on her, we loved her immensely. She is woven deeply into the core of me. I watch her sleep, and wait eagerly for her to wake so I can look into her beautiful dark eyes. I am fascinated with every movement she makes. I hate being apart from her and feel at peace when she is nestled into the crook of my arm. I can’t get enough kisses or snuggles . Her sighs melt me and her smiles pierce my heart. I can’t imagine life without her.

The ICPC process went much quicker than anticipated, just another confirmation of God’s hands on her life.

Bringing her home was one of the best days of my life. I am still in disbelief that we are home. That she is here. That she is ours.

I am so thankful for God’s whispers in my heart to “feed his little lambs.”

I am so thankful that Michael challenged me to trust God and face hard roads.

I am so thankful for Christian Adoption Consultants, and our consultant Casey who held our hands through every step of this process, making it seem seamless and “easy”. Her encouragement, advice, and presence was invaluable. Many times she was a voice of comfort and reason when things were difficult.  CAC led us to our daughter and we will forever be grateful . We love you Casey.

I am so thankful for our friends and family who supported us this past year. For the thousands that prayed for Selah and “S”. Who gave of their time and their finances to help bring her home. Who helped love when love was needed.

I am so thankful for “S” .

“S” you are loved. Your name is spoken with only love and admiration in our home. “Thank you”, is simply not adequate. So I will spend every day of my life honoring your decision for Selah. I will love her unconditionally. I will put her needs before my own. I will protect her with fierceness. She will grow to know that you love her deeply. 

Thank you for that. Thank you for Selah Claire


And then there were four.


If you want to follow along Cari’s sweet family on IG head over to @cariduganphotography or @theunveiledmama
and if you want to follow along her awesome blog head over to Dugans in Cahoots

If you want to know more about what it looks like to work with an adoption consultant shoot me an email at

With love,

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