Now that you've had time to catch your breath from that cliffhanger I left you with in Part One, we can all smile at the fact that Brighten has a brother! How cool is that?
Brother is three years old and was adopted by C (remember, that's our mutual friend from Brook Hills). C even traveled down to Houston when Brighten was born to help out, introduce us to the birth mother, and of course, hold Brighten. She's pretty cool. I believe she is planning on blogging about all of this, so I'll be sure to link to that once it's finished!
Thai Food & Acceptance
After a full week of email conversation back and forth with C, we met for dinner on August 29th. We talked through her adoption stories and our story so far. Brighten's birth mother contacted C when she found out she was pregnant over the summer. C told Birth Mom that she would help her find a Christ-following family in Birmingham so that Brother and this baby could grow up near each other, since that was Birth Mom's biggest request for an adoptive family. Originally, she thought God would just usher in a family that would totally make sense to adopt this baby, but as time went on, that didn't happen. As Birth Mom's due date neared, C put the word out, and that's where the email that we got on August 22nd came into play.
When we met for dinner, we had no idea what we'd walk away with. We didn't know if she'd made a decision, just wanted to meet us, or what. After our "almost" a few weeks before, we wanted to keep our expectations low.
We ate yummy Thai food and talked, and then when it came down to it, she told us that she'd been fervently praying and seeking wisdom about who to pick to adopt this baby girl, and she told us that she had picked US! Jason, being the amazing, funny man that he is, immediately threw his hands in the air and said, "Well, WE ACCEPT!"
After our "almost" we didn't tell very many people about the possibility of Brighten before we knew for sure that we'd been chosen. After dinner, we called our families and told them. When my mom answered the phone I said, "Am I talked to Honey?" (her grandma name). She flipped. We also got to tell my sisters at the same time, in person. It just so happened that they were hanging out at my sister Carlee's apartment that night and her apartment is right across from the place we were having dinner. We asked if we could drop by and say hi. When we did, we made small talk for a minute, and then when we were all sitting down I asked them how they would feel about having a niece. Their reaction was priceless.
Over the course of the next week we told our Gospel Community (bible study, small group, whatever you want to call it), and we are so excited that Brighten will have 6 little boy friends (not boyfriends, boys who are friends, get it right) in our GC. How cool is that? She's breaking the Samford stereotypes before she even gets there.
Brighten -EN Storie - IE
So names are a big deal in our family. We spent a lot of time thinking of Judah's name and Swanson's name, and Brighten is no different. We like names that are different, but not confusing. With a name like Jessica, I grew up Jessica S. so we wanted to name our kids names that aren't too crazy, but that maybe they won't have to include their last initial on everything.
I'll start with explaining the middle name. Storie was my great-grandfather. He was Storie Sansom, no middle name. He marked timber for a living and he could throw a hatchet and cut off the head of a snake since he came across them so often in the woods. Every story I've heard about him has been so cool and he seemed to have lived a really adventurous life, plus, Storie is just an awesome name. Storie passed away right before I was born, and I really wish I could have met him. I've always planned on naming a child Storie, or at least using it as a middle name. Since we used a family name as a middle name for Judah, we decided that would kind of be our thing.
Brighten is actually a band name. I know, right? Leave it to Jason Morales to name his child after a band. It's not a favorite band or anything, but we have always just thought it was a cool band name. A few years ago, Jason was listening to Brighten in the car and he said, "Hey, what if we named one of our kids Brighten?" I think he was shocked when I said that I liked that. Along the way, Brighten has come to mean much more than a band name to us, though.
I mean, what could be a better definition of a name? Also, we wanted her name to represent light and cheer, which is why we spelled it like the word "brighten" instead of the place, or the store, "Brighton."
We love her cute little name so much. Originally we had chosen it as a gender neutral name, but I was never convinced that it was right for a boy name. Jason was adamant that it was cool for both genders, but once we were chosen to adopt a baby girl, Jason admitted that he always thought it was more of a girl name. He's crazy. Love that man.
Preparing for Brighten
So, when C told us that we were going to be Brighten's parents, we literally had a crib and some random boy clothes. We also thought that the due date was September 24th, and then quickly found out that it was actually the 27th, but Birth Mom would be induced a week early. That gave us exactly three weeks to get ready.
I'm not sure how many people will read this, but I wish I could broadcast it for everyone I know to read. Not for metrics or to gain readership, but just to say thank you. I will never be able to adequately express how appreciative we are to people rallying around us as we prepared to bring Brighten into our family. In less than three weeks, we had everything we needed and so much more. We had enough money to pay for our 2.5 week stay in Texas. We had Houston residents reach out to us and offer to help us find places to stay, places to board Swanson, and more. The outpouring of love and support that we've experienced has been unmatched. It's abundance. It's the Church with a "big C". It's been everything to us, and I have been astounded and humbled by it all. So, THANK YOU, to everyone who has given us something, prayed for us, and kept up with our story, we THANK YOU so very very much.
Chicken & Dumplings
The Thursday before we left for Texas, we got to meet Brother. C, our attorney, Jason, and I gathered at C's house to eat chicken and dumplings, play with her sweet kiddos, get to know each other better, and plan our trip. C was headed to Texas for the birth as well, so we talked paperwork, travel plans, and logistics. It was so fun to meet Brother, and what a special memory we have of all gathering together to prepare for little Brighten before her arrival.
Just a few days later, Jason and I were commissioned out by our church and then we were off to Texas 24 hours later. I've always wondered what the drive or flight to meet one of our children would be like, and I have to say that it's all just very surreal. We knew what was coming, but there were still so many unknowns. There's something special about all of our "lasts" before so many "firsts" and I'll always treasure that time (12-ish hours) we had in the car together in anticipation of becoming parents.