Oh my goodness.
Where do I even start?
I need to recap our recent adoption adventures from this past year for a few reasons:
- I need to process what happened in the months leading up to and those six weeks of our lives in Arkansas. Writing always helps me do that.
- There are too many small yet providential details I don’t want to forget and jotting them down will commit them to memory.
- I want to bring all of you (our dear supporters, prayer warriors, and cheerleaders) deeper into the story. Our online updates were sporadic at best and only glimpses of information in the pool of information we had.
There are still parts of our Charlie girl’s story that she gets to keep private and tell on her own when and if she’s ready one day. While I will absolutely be bringing you behind the scenes of our time in Arkansas, there are parts that aren’t mine to share on a public blog such as this and I am sure you understand.
Another caveat is that I think we had a year’s worth of experiences in a short 6 weeks so this will be a blog series, hahaha. I can’t cram it all into one post lest my fingers go numb from typing. And I certainly don’t want to lull you into a trance with a never-ending story of a blog post.
Bite size bits of our story it is and this is the first installment, so buckle up.
Ok, let’s back this train up WAY up.
March 10, 2016
Wait, what? Why are we going that far back? Because it’s where Miss Charlotte’s story began in my life and I didn’t know it.
Hindsight allows you to connect dots God’s been laying down all along only to them make your mind spin when you see His Providence in the fullness of time. Seriously, I need to be done doubting him.
Last Spring I was invited to give a 3-part talk about Mercy at a Women’s Retreat in the Minneapolis Archdiocese. When I told Jonathan I’d been asked to speak about mercy he laughed HARD. Amanda Teixeira giving a talk on mercy? Obviously crazy because I am a lover of all things justice. Mercy and I are a little bit like oil and water. I really don’t love that personal flaw of mine and I intentionally ask God to teach me how to be merciful but I’m not perfect. So it was rather hilarious God would ask me to speak into this topic.
In my research and preparation I dove headlong into the story of God’s mercy and it absolutely blew me away. Just listen to Father Michael Gaitley’s Second Greatest Story Ever Told talk and be prepared to get goosebumps. Preparing for these talks changed me to the core. God’s mercy is everything and it’s all I want to accept, give, and be.
I flew out to Minneapolis and was super antsy. New talk material is always nerve-wracking since it’s new and unproven. What if my jokes are lame? Stories fall flat? Or my content doesn’t connect with or move people? I was basically a ball of nerves.
As I got in my rental car to head to the talk, Oceans by Hillsong came on the radio. I’ve heard this song like 1,000,000 times but it was one of those freaky moments where I felt the Holy Spirit rush into the car while the lyrics began. I was trying to go over my talk notes but was overwhelmed by this feeling that God was preparing to grow our family and I needed to trust him. Whaaaat? I’m just trying to prep a talk here Lord, talk to me about that please and not some rand-o tangent. But it wouldn’t leave. I started to cry and was filled with this specific peace that our family would grow again.
Months later, in September 2016, we excitedly found out we were adopting again. It then wasn’t lost on me that my March talks on mercy and the car incident was 9 months prior to this baby girl’s estimated due date. We asked her birth family if they had any special family names they might like us to consider for baby girl and they had one – Lynn – which means pool or large body of water. Now that Oceans song was starting to really make sense.
May 27th, 2016
This was the day we launched the news we wanted to adopt again after several weeks of sitting in indecision on if or when we’d actually take steps forward. The night before I had an incredibly vivid dream that we adopted a baby and her name was Charlie. It was crystal clear so the photos had to go up that next morning.
Now that day didn’t directly link us to Charlotte’s birth family but your referrals did connect me to a blogger who eventually tipped me off about Charlie girl.
December 3rd, 2016…
I went to an Advent reflection that morning at a local church. Jesus filled me with peace after months of vague anxiety after the big move and all of life’s changes. Biggest reminder from the morning was to not be afraid of the darkness that comes our way in this life. (Little did I know that darkness lay ahead…should’ve figured as much. LOL)
I got a phone call from the adoption agency director that afternoon. She and the birth family were out to lunch coming up with a game plan, as Expecting Momma was experiencing contractions. The hospital she’d gone to said the contractions weren’t close enough yet and to just go home but she felt like they were steadily getting closer.
This is where Jonathan and I had to make some quick decisions. Expecting Momma had expressed on a few occasions she was afraid we wouldn’t be present for the delivery since we live 10-12 hours away by car. We thought that was a valid concern and shared it as well – we had no interest in missing Charlotte’s birth. That’s when we decided I would fly down to Arkansas the next morning in case labor continued. Jonathan and Josie would remain in Omaha as we didn’t know with 100% certainty when Charlotte would arrive so in case it was a ways out, Jonathan could keep working and JoJo could stay in a familiar environment as long as possible.
That afternoon I was in my happy place – obviously excited for the BABBBBBY but also because I love nothing more than having to take 1,000 tasks and break them down into logical step-by-step pieces only then to go on to accomplish said tasks in the most efficient order. #NerdAlert #NerdAlert
I packed. Ran last minute errands. Embroidered matching Christmas jammies for the girls and their cousin. Cleaned. Shopped for quick and safe food I could eat while traveling. I was the female Tazmanian Devil on a mission. I got it all done and the next morning Jonathan and I woke up at 3:30 AM so I could catch my 5:00 flight.
I arrived safely in Little Rock and that afternoon I met up with Expecting Mom and her boyfriend at a local mall. We walked around, as she was curious to see if that would help contractions progress. It was nice to spend time with them since we’d only met in person once. After walking a few hours she was pretty wiped out (as any 38 weeks pregnant woman who just walked a mall for hours would be) so I headed back to the family’s home I was staying with.
More on that family – back in September I wandered into a Domestic Adoption Housing Connection Facebook group. I asked if ANYONE knew ANYONE in Little Rock, as I sure as heck didn’t. In the weeks I had the post up I only got one reply and this contact from the group had a cousin who had room at their home for us to stay. We hadn’t met this family until we pulled in their driveway this last October when we met Expecting Mom!
Talk about relying on God’s providence…LOL Thanks be to God they were above and beyond amazing. Their home, family dynamics, strong faith, kindness, and southern hospitality instantly showed us we were right where we were supposed to be. God led us to some of the best in all of Arkansas through a Facebook group.
Insane, but of course he did.
My first night alone at this family’s home, I slept 13 hours because I could. LOL I knew the window to sleep for the next year was going to be brief so I took full advantage.
December 5th, 2016
I texted Expecting Mom and asked how her night went and she replied that she’d been admitted into another hospital for contractions again and this time they gave her IV fluids for dehydration. As soon as she was hydrated, labor completely stopped. No more contractions.
The baby was scheduled for a c-section on December 8th so really it was no big deal labor halted. I actually enjoyed the fact that I could spend more time bonding with and getting to know Expecting Mother and her family. We hung out on several occasions and always had a good time. I sincerely treasure those days.
December 6th, 2016
Jonathan and JoJo drove down on the 6th to beat out a snow storm. Josie was an angel in the car – as long as Frozen was on continuous play.
December 7th, 2016
Expecting Mom had her final appointment and asked me to join her. Everything looked good. Then the nurse said, “Alright, we will see you next week on the 14th for delivery.” Expecting Momma and I were scratching our heads, as the hospital already called her that day to confirm the delivery on the 8th. Somehow it got scheduled for a week later and now the next day wasn’t possible. Just totally weird.
Jon and I didn’t mind because this meant more time to hang with birth family. And the longer Charlie baked the better as far as we were concerned. We continued getting together with the birth family and had some really great times that week.
December 14th, 2016
The day had come for Little Miss Charlotte to enter the world. I dressed up – even curled my hair and put on high heels – since I would essentially be spending the next few days make-up-less in my pajamas and socks…or so I thought.
We got to the hospital at 9:30am to begin the adventure of becoming a family of four. Little did we know that our lives were about to turn upside down in a million ways over the next few days.