March 5, 2020

Three years ago today, I got a call at work that changed my life forever.

I stepped out into the hallway, next to a big sunny window that overlooked the parking lot, and returned our social worker’s call.

A baby boy in the NICU. Born at 26 weeks. Drug exposure. On a ventilator. One week old. Prognosis unclear.

That evening I went to the NICU by myself to meet this child. I didn’t know yet that he would become my son, but I knew I felt drawn to him. We were, inexplicably, two magnets traveling through time and space to find each other. 

“Hi, Kyeler,” I whispered into the warm isolette. “I can’t wait to get to know you.” 

His small fingers curled around mine and I stroked his cheek, which felt impossibly soft. 

Josh and I visited Kyeler together the next evening, and we were able to do kangaroo care and read to him. We played Jon Guerra’s Kingdom of God and it quickly became our song. From that day forward, though legal documents hadn’t yet confirmed it, we were a family. 

A family built not through DNA but through a decision to love and care for each other no matter what. 

There was so much I didn’t know on March 5, 2020. 

I didn’t know that when Kyeler cried while getting an IV, I would cry, too. 

I didn’t know that he would come home on oxygen, the long silver cylinders feeling to me like a ball and chain. 

I didn’t know that some of the sweetest moments of my life would happen while holding Kyeler on my chest and simultaneously feeling CJ kick from within. 

I didn’t know that when CJ was born, I would question whether my love for Kyeler was as strong as it was for my biological son—whether my heart had room to love them both as much as I wanted to.

Three years ago we scattered seeds of love and steadfastly watered them, hoping they might grow into something beautiful.

And they have.

March 5, 2020
March 5, 2023

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