The minute we got that call, I knew you were our daughter

As they placed this 5lb 4oz baby in my arms, I looked at her and I knew. “Hi Ella,” I said, “I’m your Mommy.”

The minute we got that call, I knew you were our daughter
?:: Katie McCord 

“I honestly can’t believe I’m making this call, but there is a healthy newborn baby girl at the hospital and her birth mother is relinquishing her rights. If you say yes, you can go and pick her up tomorrow.”

These were the words that we never expected to hear from our foster-adoption caseworker. After a millisecond of shock, the fact that there was an ‘if’ in there made us laugh. And tomorrow felt like an eternity. We said yes—actually, we shouted ‘YES!’—if I’m going to be honest.

After we hung up the phone, we stood looking at each other in disbelief as we processed the fact that our dream of adopting a baby was coming true—after only three and a half weeks! We felt so lucky.

The foster care system in California deems it necessary for any family preparing to adopt to have a bedroom ready for the possibility of almost any age range for the child coming into your home. So we had general baby gear for 0-3 years old (a convertible crib, closet, changing table—the basics).

We rushed out the door, grabbed dinner which we couldn’t eat, begged a police officer at the local university to install our car seat and went shopping. It was the first time in my life—but certainly not the last—that I’ve ever filled an entire shopping cart with non-food items. Homecoming outfit, first bear, clothes, socks that look like shoes (the beginning of an addiction I didn’t know I had), bathtub, bottles!

We arrived home and did a mad dash around the house to prepare everything we had. We did not sleep that night. We knew that even though a child had to live with us for six months—during which the birth parents could change their minds, among other things related to the Child Welfare System—before we could even apply to adopt her, our child was coming home to us the next morning. We believed she was meant to be our daughter.

The social worker called the next morning and told us we could pick her up. She asked, “Have you chosen a name for her?”

I answered with tears in my eyes and love in my heart, “Her name is Ella.”

“Well,” she said, “Ella is a beautiful baby with the most wonderful disposition. She is waiting patiently for you to take her home.”

On the drive south on the busy Los Angeles freeway, we called our parents to tell them they were about to become grandparents. They were shocked, nervous and excited. When we arrived at the hospital, we were greeted by the hospital social worker (the first person I’d shared our daughter’s name with), led to the NICU, scrubbed in and walked into her room.

And then...we saw her.

The nurse said, “She is so beautiful! She is calm and content. Just don’t be late feeding her because she will let you know!” And then...we held her.

As they placed this 5lb 4oz baby in my arms, I looked at her and I knew. “Hi Ella,” I said, “I’m your Mommy.” And it was true—there was an instant bond. I felt as if I were holding my very own heart on the outside of my body and it was the most intense, incredible love I have ever known.

And that very moment, we were a family. For the next few hours we got to know our baby. We held her, talked with her and she smiled and cooed and looked at us with her intense grey eyes. She didn’t cry once, until we had to leave the room to sign the necessary paperwork to take her home.

She was five and half days old and, though the nurses spent as much time with her as they could, this was the first time she’d been cuddled for a long stretch of time. The nurse told us that she could see that she’d already bonded with us and gotten used to being in our arms. Hearing that was like music to my ears.

And then...right before we left, it was just me and her.

I said, “On the day you were born, all the gods got together and had a biiiiig party. They decided that you and me and Momma should be a family. So, we are going home today, and we will be your family. Forever. Ella gave a deep sigh in that moment, and my heart soared as a huge smile spread across her face.

Since that very first call, I just knew. This was our Ella.

In This Article

    These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

    It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

    When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

    But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

    I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

    So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

    It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

    But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

    Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

    Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

    Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

    Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

    Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

    This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

    You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

    Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

    As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

    Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

    Keep reading Show less

    29 last-minute family Halloween costumes you can pull together NOW

    If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

    Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

    Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

    Keep reading Show less