Four years ago today our sweet little Nate came into this world. He came much too soon. He was born 15 weeks early and weighed a whopping 17 ounces. His prognosis was poor. He faced an incredibly difficult uphill battle. The doctors weren't certain he would survive. All of the odds were stacked against him.
And yet, his birth mom, with the greatest love and courage, made an adoption plan for him. She knew that if he did make it through, he would need a family. She contacted Adoption STAR and put the fate of her too small baby boy in their hands. Her love and sacrifice amaze me to this day.
Four years ago Brent and I were considering adopting again. It is something we had talked about quite a bit. But, though our hearts were ready, our finances weren't. We had decided that we would wait until 2008, until the money was there, until we were a bit more ready.
Of course, as we have learned time and time and time again, these things aren't exactly up to us. When we got the call about Nathaniel, just as with Tyler and Emmalee, I knew. I knew this sweet baby boy was meant to be in our family. I wasn't sure how we would make it happen but I had faith that if this was the plan for our family, it would work out.
Brent and I worried so much about Nathaniel's prognosis. At times the doctors were hopeful and encouraging. At times they were convinced he wouldn't survive. We were unable to go and visit him because our paperwork wasn't quite done and we were waiting on things like background checks and fingerprint clearances; things that were beyond our control.
Through it all Nate fought. He beat the odds, amazed the doctors and came through. He had setbacks and created fear and then beat the odds again. No doubt about it, that little boy is a fighter!! After all, he is a Gardner!
Through it all we fought. We had yard sales and online fundraisers. We had raffles and, I'll admit, we outright asked for money. We had faith that it would work out. We KNEW this child was meant to be ours and we put our faith in Heavenly Father, knowing that He would help us get things in order.
And He did. Looking back I am still overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family, friends and even strangers. It still brings tears to my eyes.
Many people ask why Nathaniel's middle name is Roger. He is named after a very special man who helped to make sure that Nate made it home to our family. His financial contribution, along with a matching contribution from his company, was the final $1000 we needed to get Nate home. It was literally an answer to prayers. We decided to name our baby Nathaniel Roger so that we would always be reminded of his love and generosity. It is also a reminder that prayers are heard and that things do work out the way they are meant to.
Today our too small, very ill baby boy is four years old. As I write this I am overwhelmed with emotion. The past four years have been a roller coaster ride for our family. We have faced challenges we never could have predicted. And yet, just as Nate has always done, we have fought. We are strong and determined and faithful. After all, we are Gardner's!
Nathaniel amazes me every single day. His name means "Gift from God" and he certainly is!
Happy Birthday, Natey. We love you!!!