I pray he’ll be a Wiseman, he may one day be a Shepherd. Either way, our precious boy will know, that he is not only the gift we wanted this Christmas, but the answer to years of prayer. It’s so fitting that, on a December Sunday, we will stand before God, to Dedicate our child.
Dedication is a promise, to raise him in the love, and presence of faith in Jesus. That is our ultimate goal for our child, to love God. Because He loved us enough, to place Nicholas in our arms.
This time of year, has always been, as far as I can remember, my favorite season. From November 1, if not sooner, through at least January, if not longer, I love it. What I did not realize, in forty three years, is why I would love this time of year from this year on, and for the rest of my life.
As a young man, I was raised in Church. Both of my Grandfathers, and my Dad were called to the Ministry. I grew up viewing The Men Of God that He placed in my life as Giants, and not the bad kind either.
I also grew up with a dream, to serve God, to have a wife, and children, and a home of my own. My plan was to be married at 18, but God had other plans. His are always better than mine.
Finally, at 31, I married the love of my life. We planned on children, maybe not the first year, but we planned on children. Little did we know that God’s plan was ten years, not two. I’ll briefly throw this in. Have you ever wondered why God waited til Abraham and Sarah were old to have Isaac?
Among the reasons, one is this. Rebekah would not be born until a certain period of time. God didn’t give them Isaac until his age and her age would coincide to produce a Jacob and an Esau.
I mention them because, quite frankly, at 42, I felt like Abraham. Ashley and I identified with Abraham and Sarah, not only the age, but the seeming impossibility of our condition.
If you’re married, and one of you have a problem, physical, spiritual, etc, don’t say my spouse has a problem. You are one flesh, one body. It doesn’t matter if it’s the left arm, or the right arm, we have a challenge, but we also have God, and each other.
My wife had her first surgery when she was 11 or 12 years old. It turned out, she had polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis. At one point, a cyst wrapped itself around her ovary, and was pulling on it. This was only the beginning of her pain, but oh what that pain would produce!
Ashley had surgeries before we got married, but there were many more to come. Our first Christmas, we spent with her recovering from surgery the twenty third of December. It seemed like, every other year, we were in the hospital, either in December or January.
Very quickly, we knew if we wanted a child, our time was short. It’s easy in the beginning, when your story is just starting. You can come to Church and say, that’s okay, our baby’s coming. Prophecies went forth, that we would have a child. The earlier in our journey we were, the easier it was to hold on to hope, and to be thankful.
We would get news like, part of this ovary is gone. One doctor cut part of it out in a surgery without telling Ashley. As I watched her shiver in pain, the medicine wasn’t helping, and people were having babies they didn’t even want, it was a little harder.
We continued to be thankful, not because we are anything special, but because we had great teachers. You see, we had seen Great Men and Women Of God, be separated from their babies, and still lift their hands in praise.
Ashley and I knew, if they could go through that, we could do this. So we continued to be thankful. There were tears, and there were questions. Being thankful doesn’t mean you don’t say, Lord I don’t understand. It does mean you say Lord, I don’t understand, but I love and trust You. Whatever You choose to do, we are going to serve you.
We had been taught that, while we were far from perfect Christians, we were pursuing Christians. If you’re pursuing God in an active relationship with Him, then it’s going to be easier to maintain a Thankful Spirit. We knew, that there was so much we didn’t know.
I remember the confusion when we received the news about the hysterectomy. I say we, every other time when there was bad news, Dr Nylander; who is like family to us, one of the best doctors ever, would tell Ashley. The last surgery before the hysterectomy was supposed to be a routine cyst draining, it was different.
The doctor didn’t come out the same way she had before. This time, the lady who had said, she’s so young, let’s keep trying, said I’m sorry, but the conditions are pointing towards a hysterectomy. Dr Nylander felt I should tell Ashley, I was scared.
How could I tell her that the doctor said the hope seems gone? How could I tell her, I don’t understand baby, but this is where we’re headed? What I wasn’t thinking about, is I wasn’t Navigating the Journey. It was our job to follow, not to figure it out.
To Ashley’s credit, she took it like a champion. I’ll be honest, I didn’t understand how she was handling it so well. I think part of it was God, and part of it was shock. Also, there was a little relief, she thought the surgeries would be over after that.
The Sunday before the hysterectomy on Wednesday, I was scheduled to take up the Offering. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel like doing anything. I had been taught to be instant in season, and out of season. I planned to do what I knew.
I also determined to be thankful. It looked like, our dream had ended. It looked like, in the physical, that the road had no more pavement. GOD doesn’t depend on man to build the road. I got up, talked about The Goodness Of God, and received a blessing that gave me strength.
My wife came home telling me something that happened at work. Ashley was telling people, they were going to take her baby maker out. She said God spoke to her, my wife doesn’t say that ever. God said, “Why do you keep saying that? Don’t you know I’m your baby maker?”
He will anoint you in your dessert. Stay thankful! God will strengthen you as you sorrow, if you are thankful. He will reassure you in your heartbreak, if you are thankful!
The Wednesday after that Sunday, we were going from our house to Pastors, the night before the hysterectomy. We thought, “Had we misunderstood the prophecies and pointers for a baby?” At The Man Of God’s house, The Baby Maker, who had created the very idea of a child, revealed His plan.
God let us know that night, that we may not have anticipated the path, but He would give us our expected end. I remember the tears when we found out, that a family very precious to us, was sponsoring the adoption. It was more than an answer to prayer, it was a reminder that God never forgets!
We began the adoption process. There were dreams, paperwork, hopes, and there were also obstacles. We were presented with cases, not knowing which one we should apply for. Once you applied for one, it wasn’t like shopping, there was a lock-in.
We submitted for different cases, and were rejected. Ashley and I began to wonder, what was wrong with us? What we had to remind ourselves of, was they weren’t rejections, they just weren’t our baby. We had to wait until the right baby was ready for us.
Many of us, when we ask for something and don’t get it soon, assume the answer is no, when it just means not yet. Don’t give up in the waiting, be thankful you have the opportunity to wait. It was a miracle that we had the blessing of waiting, and we couldn’t forget that.
In January she had to have another surgery. There was a cyst. These were the doctor’s words, it was the size of a newborn’s head. God didn’t cause it, but He allowed it. He has a sense of humor. That was in January, on the last day of January, the birth mother chose us.
I got the call February 1. Just as I had to give Ashley the bad news about the hysterectomy, I got to tell her the good news. Our baby was coming. Tears of sorrow can turn to diamonds, they did that day!
Ashley had always prayed something that, I’ll be honest, I didn’t think was likely. She asked for a baby whose mother has not exposed it to drugs or alcohol, or anything that would be harmful. I’m so thankful she had the faith to ask, because the birth mother wasn’t on any of those things.
She was in Arizona, and due in April. We went into preparation mode. When we talked to the birth parents for the first time, the beginning of March, we found out she was already dilated, and that the baby would come early. In one day, we went from flying out in April, to flying out next week.
That same day, after we got off that call, we had a flat. Ashley and I discovered we had to have 3 tires, and a serpentine belt replaced. After all that was taken care of, when we got home, saw a check in the mail that more than covered it all.
I’ll only briefly say, there were several financial miracles along our journey, which only God could accomplish. He has caused some very precious people to speak into our lives, more than we could ever repay. Don’t allow the need to eclipse your memory of the last time He made possible the impossible!
The Sunday before we were scheduled to fly out, Pastor, Pastor Denny Livingston, and the Church prayed for us. If you don’t have a Pastor to speak into your lives, and your children’s lives, I strongly, critically, advise you to connect with one. This Man Of God has been our leader, counselor, friend, and so many other things that are invaluable.
Of all the life moments, I’ll never forget that day. When he prayed, he said, “Lord let him be a Pruitt from the moment he is born.” Before we knew our baby would be our son, God spoke through The Man Of God about his future. Ashley and I, held to that through all that has come after.
We also held to a prophecy God spoke through Pastor Bobby Ray McCool in February concerning our baby. Different ones had spoken into, not only our lives, but Nicholas’ life, before we even knew him. It reminds me of what God spoke to Jeremiah, about being called before being born.
We flew out on Tuesday March the 12, because the birth mother expected to be induced the next day. When she went to the Doctor on Wednesday, they did a test for something I had never heard of, Strep B. She tested positive, so we were delayed a week.
Before we got this news, we arrived at our booked location. In Arizona, several major league teams have camps there, and this was the heavy season for it all. What may normally cost 100 a night could easily triple or more. This was true, not only of hotels, but house rental apps, etc.
My wife had located a place that looked wonderful, on screen. When we got there, it was not only not what it seemed, it wasn’t safe. Thankfully we were able to cancel without paying for the fourteen days we had booked.
Throughout the trip, we would stay at a place or two for a limited time, and then have to move, because they were booked up. The story behind all of that would take a while to tell, so I’ll simply say, it was challenging, but we were glad to meet it, since it meant getting our baby.
I am skipping a lot of course. There were unexpected hotel price discounts, people gifting us things we couldn’t afford, rental price deals that came through at the last minute, changing rental cars, and getting to know the landscape of Phoenix’s many suburbs.
During this time, we were able to meet the birth parents twice. That first meeting, Ashley and I were scared to death. We didn’t want to say anything that would cause her, or the birth father to change their mind. The caseworker said, the meeting could not have went better.
Later on, we met the couple’s two children they had, a sweet boy and girl. Again, everything went well, but we were still nervous. We were so close to our child, and yet, felt like we had a long way to go.
The next week, after already being delayed a week, we anticipated getting to see our baby. Our hopes plummeted when the doctor said he would not induce until next week.
This doctor’s visit, we met the case worker and the birth mother there. We did get to here our baby’s heartbeat. At this point, we still didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl. The birth mother had decided they did not want to know.
This meant that we would not know until the day the baby was born. So we had a boy’s name, and a girl’s name. We bought boys, and girls clothes, and dreamed of our baby.
Finally, after what seemed like years, on March 27, the birth mother went to the hospital. The anticipation was to its zenith. In those times, God sends things to lighten the tension.
In the midst of all the challenges, anticipation, and excitement, laughter was so needed. For us, it was in the form of fabric baskets. The caseworker had suggested we prepare a gift basket for the birth parents, which we did.
The problem was, it was on the night of March 12, anticipating the birth the next day. We had carried those gift baskets from hotel, to rental house, to hotel, to rental car, and so on. Our first thought was getting to meet our child, our second thought was being able to give the gift baskets.
It may seem like a strange thing to mention, but the wait was something we could not control, so little things like that seemed important. It would take too long to tell everything that happened, but God was with us in everything. Even the little victories, like those baskets, helped us through the waiting.
It can be maddening. Waiting has to be done, and it’s hard, but necessary. The waiting was not only helping our baby grow to maturity, it was adjusting us for the next phase of the process. It’s not that nothing is happening in the waiting, but that we can be unaware, or lose sight of, all that is happening in the waiting.
Thankfully, when the day did came for our child’s birth, we didn’t have to wait long. Within five minutes of getting to the hospital, at least the waiting area, our baby was born. It was a few minutes later that the caseworker got a picture, and told us that we had a baby boy.
While we had told ourselves that we would be equally happy with a boy or a girl, we both wanted a boy. We received the most perfect, for us, precious little boy, next to The Lord Jesus, that God ever created. I know that every parent line, but Ashley and I would not change a thing about our Nicholas.
When we first had talked with the birth parents, she had asked about a name. We told them that we had picked Nicholas, and she asked if we would consider using Asher as a middle name. We happily agreed.
Asher not only is a Bible name, but it has his mother Ashley’s name in it. I love the name Nicholas, so he has a little of us both in it. Also, I’ve been blessed to write about Asher from Scripture, and I love that it means happy. He’s a happy, rambunctious little boy.
I think we stared at him for hours in the hospital. The caseworker had told us that we may, or may not get a room, it depended on availability. Thankfully we did get a room to be able to stay with him.
Misty and Nate, friends from work who also had adopted, had advised us to ask about this. Their advice was so helpful during the adoption process. I truly believe that God had placed them in our journey. There have been so many precious people along the way.
They had shared with us how to get through the next hurdle, the 72 hours. The birth mother had three days, according to Arizona law, to change her mind. We had prayed, tried to not think about it, and overcome it when we we’re thinking about it. Can you imagine the thoughts of meeting your baby, and having him taken away? That thought is terrifying.
Thankfully, God not only helped us through the 72 hours, He seemed to speed time up. When we got a phone call from the caseworker, she was able to share her joy with us, that our baby was now passed the 72 hours! I can’t tell you the tears of joy that we added to those we had already shed at meeting him, and anticipating him.
Except for one night at the house we were staying at, when we brought him home from the hospital, we were able to stay in one location after that. Ashley’s Mother had to go home the Saturday after he was born, so it was just the three of us. Baseball season had ended, and pricing had dropped.
The Holiday Inn Express, that had gave us a special rate the first few days we were there, gave us a rate better than any rental, or other place could. The clerk had been a birth mother who had her own adoption story. God sent us to the right place, the right person, and the right time.
We will always hold a special place in our hearts for the Holiday Inn, with or without Mr. Crosby. You would have thought it was the Ritz to us, but we had a safe, clean place to get to know our baby. After all we had experienced, we were at the Ritz!
The next phase, was the waiting to be cleared to fly home. There weren’t any complications with the adoption, but there was paperwork delays with the state and things. You would get a message, you’ll get to leave next week, or you’ll have clearance tomorrow. Then you would get news, I’m sorry, it’s probably not going to happen until next week.
It may sound strange, but at one point, you begin to feel like a prisoner. We had to be cleared by Arizona to leave, then had to be cleared by Tennessee to enter the state. All of this was nothing compared to waiting to see Nicholas, but we were just so anxious to get our baby home.
We felt isolated, and alone. One night, we FaceTimed Brittany for hours, just to talk to her and Ana. It gave us a sense of home.
Financially, it was challenging. Some very special families, who don’t want to be mentioned, blessed us during all of this. I can honestly say, we would not be where we are, without them. Words can’t express our hearts to them, they made possible what was impossible. They were literally the hands, feet, and heart of God to us during this time. God does work miracles, and often, He does so through His people.
Finally, we got the clearance to go home. We bought the tickets, packed our bags, and left for the airport. I think we got up at 2:00 in the morning for the first flight out of Phoenix. Things went so smoothly on that first plane.
When we got to Dallas, not as much. We had to delay landing, and getting off the plane because of delays ahead of us. When we got off the plane, Nicholas had a major diaper emergency. We scrambled to get him changed, and to get to the gate.
We were behind, and they were holding the plane for us. We made it just barely in time, but we made it. We were on a flight home to Nashville! I wanted to kiss the ground when we got there.
We got to introduce our family to Nicholas, and Nicholas to our family. We were able to walk into his nursery. Aunt Kim picked us up from the airport. When we got home, Pastor, Nona (Sis Alonna), and the kids met us at the house with balloons and surprises. We got to spend time with everyone over the next few days. Nicholas was home!
Since then, so many special things have happened, but I’ll skip ahead to a courthouse. The one where we walked in on November 5, 2019 to finalize the adoption! Everyone couldn’t be there in person, due to emergencies, but were always in our hearts. Our lawyer, Aunt Kim, Aunt Nikki, were there with Jeff, and Nancy.
All of us walked into the court room to finalize what God had wrapped up in His court room a long time before that. There are certain moments that define your life, walking in that room, was one of those moments. They sat Nicholas on a bench after the hearing. If we live to be 100, we’ll never forget the look of our son on that bench.
Our son, Nicholas Asher Pruitt, our son. A sentence that, the year before, was impossible, is now our reality. Tomorrow, we will walk inside the Sanctuary, stand before God, and dedicate our son Nicholas. This is our possible, this is miraculous, because of Jesus, this is Christmas!