The lovely Lacy Lauber and Ezra (1)
"I don't remember what I was doing the day my son was born. It was markedly unremarkable. I look back and wonder if I knew, if I felt him come into this world... but I didn't. He just came- this perfect little soul, born into the world to be mothered by me and I had no idea."
Lacy and her husband knew they both wanted to adopt independently of one another since they were in their youth. They met in 2007, married in 2013, and knew they wanted adoption to be their Plan A. They were not in a position to start a family and wanted to enjoy a few years of together but also saw the immense need surrounding them - children needing shelter, parents needing guidance, they saw the need for love and felt they had the capacity to give it.
A few months after they got married they began taking short-term placements with an organization that aims to keep families together by intervening before neglect or abuse happens giving parents a safe place for their children to go in times of crisis. In the last 3 years they have had roughly 7 placements ranging from a day or two, to a few months.
Lacy is also a Labor Support and Postpartum Doula and has always known she wanted to pursue a CNM and be a midwife. They decided to put off having a family and stop taking placements so she could pursue her career so they sold all of their baby gear and moved to a smaller apartment. It was in the beginning of her last break before starting an accelerated Masters program in nursing that she got the call that changed their lives. "I'll never forget it. It was a Saturday afternoon, my husband was getting his haircut and I was sitting in the waiting area reading 'Jesus Feminist' by Sarah Bessey. A text popped up from the organization we were volunteering with that said, "would you be willing to take a 4 week old for 2-3 weeks." My heart leaped into my throat and I felt the Lord tell me to say yes. So, without even conversing with my husband, I said yes. With no baby gear, with no idea how I would manage work and a newborn, without a second thought and with full faith, I said yes. I quickly told my husband the plan and he was all in."
The next text asked them to come get the baby right away. They learned a few more details while in transit and 15 minutes later a sticky sweet blue-eyed boy was placed in her arms. Lacy says that she breathed him in and just knew. Although she wouldn't be able to articulate it until months later, "I knew at that moment he was created to be my Son and I was created to be his Mama". The "few weeks" turned into a "few months" and it became increasingly more evident that the woman who given birth to him could not keep him safe. The journey to finalizing the adoption has been much easier and shorter than most and that is not lost on her, but the journey has still been hard. Moments of uncertainty, the lawyers and social workers, the court dates and tears- they all add up and they all take a toll on you.
"I became a mother in 15 minutes. With no preparation, with no period of expectation. He was placed in my arms and I loved him with every ounce of my being. I had no idea how it would work out, full time grad-school, a baby, one income… but it has all worked out beautifully and Ezra is the joy of our lives".
Two days after they brought Ezra home she finally managed to get him in the bath and when she removed his socks was shocked that he had a little tiny right foot with three precious toes. She spoke with the caseworker, with the investigator and everyone she could and no one had any answers as to why, in fact, no one had even documented it during the 4 weeks he was in the NICU. She goggled non-stop and stumbled upon a rare disease called Fibular Hemimelia. Ezra’s limb looked textbook and she was convinced it was the right diagnosis. It took weeding through a few practitioners before they were able to get him a diagnosis but by that time they had already researched treatment options and knew what they wanted to do. The two main options are limb reconstruction/lengthening or amputation. For many families, reconstruction/lengthening is the right decision, but they knew it wasn’t for Ezra and felt peace about amputation long before they ever received an official diagnosis. Ezra underwent surgery in mid-August to remove his tiny foot and those three precious toes and will be fitted with a prosthetic later this month. "He will run and jump and play, he won't spend any more time in a hospital, or any more time in excruciating pain. We knew from the get go that we wanted to choose the option that would cause him the least amount of pain and give him the greatest opportunity to do what ever he wanted in life; for us that was amputation. There is so much more I want to say, so many more things I want to tell you about my boy, but I also want to respect his story and allow him to tell it when he is ready. So for now, I will just share my story".
"I have been a fan of the project for years. As a labor support doula, your project resonated with my heart. Every story I read confirmed, expanded and taught me how to love the women I work with better. I am now a mother. Being Ezra's Mama has changed everything. My body, soul, and mind have transformed to care for this little one and he brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined. I have always been overweight and always struggled with my body image. I've run marathons, I've tired all the fad diets, I've beaten myself and given up over and over again... always unhappy with who I was. I married a man who loves every inch of my curvy, fair and stretch-marked body; but I still saw all my imperfections when I looked in the mirror. Then this gift was given to me. This sticky sweet, angel faced boy and everything changed. I want to raise him to love, support, respect and honor women of all shapes and sizes. To view the uniqueness of all human beings with beauty and wonder. I want to raise him to look at hearts and honor souls. It hit me one day as I was laying next to him in bed, barely clothed and completely unkempt. He looked at me with so much wonder and love. I realized this has all been taught. This hatred of imperfections, this hatred of self; It has all been taught. We are not born thinking that one shape is beautiful and another is not. So, if I want to teach my son to love, support, respect and honor women I first need to teach myself to love, support and respect myself."