Saturday, November 15, 2008

National Adoption Day: Remembering

Grab a cup of coffee or hot tea and sit down to remember with me our family's memories of 2 years ago today, National Adoption Day, when Paul Robert Borgstede joined our family officially.

Paul's story began on April 27th, 2004, when he and his twin brother were born at 25 weeks (15 weeks premature). Paul's twin brother, Alex, died when he was two months old due to complications from the prematurity, and Paul himself was not expected to live on several occassions. He's a trooper though and pulled through. This is what he looked like during that time:

When Paul was 3 months old he went to live with his birth family. It was when he was 5 months old that he came into our lives. Doyle, the director of the foster care unit for Lutheran Family Services at that time, called to tell me about a premature 5 month old boy named Paul, and would we be interested in taking him? The next day Mike and I were at the hospital holding him. This is Paul the night we brought him to our home:

We brought Paul into our family knowing very little about his medical issues, but as the days passed we learned the severity of his complex medical history. We jumped in with both feet, scheduling therapy and learning new medical terms. Daily therapy, medications, stretching exercises, feeding problems, oxygen, more feeding problems...this was Paul's life and now it was ours.

We also began to learn more about Paul's birth family and their life situations, and the county he was placed with began the long and challenging process of family reunification. The reunification process is usually a long and complicated one, with the county trying desperating to mend the biological family if at all possible, and Paul's case was no exception.
Meanwhile Paul was growing. We were becoming more attached to him and he was attaching to us. He was developing at his own special pace, but it was happening. The serious, sick little baby who came to us was becoming a smiling, energetic little guy:

After about two years of many ups, downs, twists, and turns with the court system, we learned we would indeed be getting our "happy ending!" Paul would be avaible for adoption, and our family was first in line to adopt him! We agreed to a semi-open adoption so Paul will still know his birth family and visit them a few times a year.

November 17th, 2006 became the Borgstede family's "Forever Family Day" on National Adoption Day. It was a special day for Paul but really it was a day of celebration for each of us, as we became our new family. Rebekah, Kiersten, and Josiah gained a new brother, and Mike and I a son.

The adoption service was short, but the moment I'll never forget was when the judge turned to Paul and said, "Paul, this is your Mommy, and this is your Daddy, and forever and ever, no matter what, nothing will ever change that."
I think most of us were teary through the whole event, but at that moment there was barely a dry eye in the house!

After the adoption we had an amazing party because it was just too wonderful not to celebrate big!

Now here I sit today, two years later looking back on those moments. When we first expressed interest in adopting Paul, one of the members of his birth family had real concerns about how we could love Paul as much as we love our own birth children, and how we could treat him as fairly. There is no way to put into words my feelings but truly he is our son in every possible way. I couldn't love him one tiny bit more if I had given birth to him. He gets love, hugs, time-outs, presents, smiles, scoldings, and attention just like every other child in our home.

We also faced many unknowns with Paul's medical issues. The future is uncertain in some ways, but he's doing incredibly well. He still receives therapy and special help at pre-school, but in all the important ways he's a typical child. He writes, he counts, he runs (oh, yes, he runs and runs and runs!) with no more leg braces or special equipment needed. He is our miracle.

"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted my petition that I made to Him."
-- I Samuel 1:27


Pastor Mike said...

What a wonderful experience we have had - a blessing from God. Love you Paul!

Anonymous said...

That is a wonderful story. What a handsome young man he is! -c_f

UntPawGal02 said...

Wow... what an experience you had. Paul is an absolute cutie :)

Anonymous said...

*Sniff*....Sara, what a wonderful story. I can't believe it's been 2 years already. Paul is such a special little man, and he fits in perfectly with your family.
What a blessing indeed!!!

Boomer said...

Aloha, I was cruising around going through some triathlon blogs when I came across your post about the adoption. We, too, adopted a son. We were blessed with him as a baby and he will be turning 9 in a couple months. The Lord has blessed us too. It is nice to see others who have heard the Lord's call. Paul is a beautiful child!