i've started to write this post about 20 times. and erased it. and started again.
there is no pretty way to say that we lost our son...
Emerson Grey Casteel was born on february 9th, 2012.
because his incredible birth mom allowed us to be present for the birth; I watched him enter the world and take his first breath and cry his first beautiful cry.
for a few hours they would not let me hold or disturb him because he had some fluid on his lungs. i could only hold his tiny hand.
when they finally lay him on my bare chest, i wept with joy i had not known. Steve and i spent the next few days in the hospital falling in love with our beautiful son. holding him skin to skin, which is so good for all babies, but especially good for adopted babies who need to bond with their new parents.
i had induced lactation, so i even got to breast-feed my son, which was so intimate and wonderful. He was a champ at nursing and it was his favorite activity.
After a few days, we found out that Emerson's birth father was interested in raising him. after 2.5 weeks of life with him, we found out that Emerson would not be coming home with us after all.
(we spent the 2.5 weeks in foster care because in our county you cannot take your baby home until after court proceedings).
its good right, a biological dad wanting to raise his child? of course it is. i don't want to speak poorly of Emerson's birth dad. He was fighting for his son, just like we were fighting for ours.
what's hard, is falling in love with your son, believing with everything within you that he is your son, and then having to say goodbye to him...
its INCREDIBLE how much steve and i loved that boy (still love him) after only 2 weeks with him, in fact after only 2 hours with him, we would have both jumped in front of a bus to save him.
and so, our first adoption...failed. that's what they call it. steve and i have come to hate the words "failed adoption." they sound like we did something wrong. i hope we didn't.
many of you found out through emails and instagrams and twitter, about emerson, and also that i believe in God. though He didn't answer my prayers the way i wanted him to this time, i still believe that he is good. and that he loves me. That he is holding emerson in the palm of his hands. I haven't known how to "out" myself as a god believer-in-er on this blog. it bothers me when people are all Churchy McChurcherson on some blogs, but are not genuine. i don't want to shove stuff in your face, but i also want to be who i really am, someone who loves Jesus.
This grief feels at least TEN times worse than the loss of my father. the loss of a child is just...nearly unbearable. i didn't realize that one person could cry so much. everything in our house reminds us of emerson...the vitamins on my counter to help me produce milk, the couch where i watched "Downton Abbey" and pumped every 3 hours for 2 months. Even our dumb car we bought so we could get him around safely. His room feels like a graveyard of forgotten dreams, i can hardly ever muster the courage to go in there. all the things i thought i had made and prepared for emerson...that he will never see.
Its hard to know what to even do with myself. because so much of my life was preparing for this little bean. The days are long without emerson on my chest, every moment i wish he was near.
i don't tell you this to receive pity. i just know that many of you knew he was supposed to be born in february and here i was silent. for a month. i thought i should explain.
our friends both near and far have been incredible to us this past month. praying, sending notes, bringing meals and visiting. all of Emerson's grandparents came to meet him, from illinois. and my brother and sister came as well. Everyone LOVED him. you would have loved him too. he was literally the best.
emerson's birth parents have been kind, they've said we can visit him and be a part of his life. i don't know exactly what this will look like, but we do know we'd like to do it. somehow.
steve and i are still as close, no closer than ever. we LOVED being parents together. steve realized how much he loved being dad to a newborn. we will start again, soon. well, maybe not soon, but someday...
the bible says that God is near to the broken hearted. that he works for the good in our lives. and loves us more than we know or could even imagine. As i cry, and life seems unbearable, i hold on to those things, because i have known them to be true...even when they don't feel true.
well, that's my heart out there for all to see; broken and confused as it is, but trying to hope.
thanks for reading,
these pictures were taken by an amazing woman named erica short