29 December 2012

the story of our girl

It was a Tuesday afternoon in late November, and I had just gone to a fundraiser luncheon for my husband's job. He was the keynote speaker and I was brimming with pride watching him on stage sharing his heart. Since he'd ridden to the event with coworkers, I gave him a a ride back to work afterward. 
The point of this part of the story: Nick and I are never, ever together on a Tuesday afternoon at 1:45.

As we pulled into the parking lot, Nick's phone rang. He answered and looked at me in disbelief. "Oh hey, Debbie!" he said.
I knew in that moment what was happening. My palms got sweaty and my heart raced as I watched his face. He put her on speakerphone and we listened as she told us the news:
a baby girl, due in January. The birthmother had chosen us and wanted to set up a phone conversation for later that week. We listened as we heard her background, why she was choosing adoption, and how it would all play out when the time came.

After hanging up, we both sat in stunned silence. 
Truthfully, we didn't know that we were still even in the running for a baby. We'd known that birthmothers were few and far between, and we'd let our homestudy expire, taking our sweet time to get it renewed, as we didn't really feel rushed, and the sting of our last experience still lingered.

We were excited, nervous, cautious... and even though we'd been hurt before, we couldn't stop smiling. This felt different. 

Six days later we sat down for the conference call that had been set up with the birthmother and our caseworker. We dialed the number, not sure what would come of all of it. We reached our caseworker and made small talk, waiting for the birthmother to dial in.
She never did. 
Our hearts sank a little, feeling like this was a sure sign that it would all happen as it did before. We continued to talk ourselves into remaining as neutral is possible. Expect the worst, hope for the best. Not our style at all, but we wanted to remain realistic and do what we could to guard our hearts. 

The next day, our caseworker called us to reschedule, explaining that Jen (*not her real name, but I am tired of typing out "the birthmother") had fallen asleep and missed the time to call. She did want to speak with us, and we set up another conversation for the following day.

The phone conversation could not have gone better. She was friendly and sweet, and we felt totally at ease. It was an awkward conversation, knowing why we were on the phone, and not really sure how to address everything. But we got to know each other a bit and felt relief that it had gone so easily as we hung up.

We made plans to get the room ready after Christmas, and just enjoy this last little bit of time with the boys before our world (potentially) changed.
And then we got news that Jen had her baby three weeks early! Born on December 16, healthy as could be, beautiful and with a head full of hair. And I was dying... I wanted to be there, to hold her and cuddle her and bring her home with me.
But the agency advised we wait the ten days the birthparents have to change their minds and take back parental rights. It made sense, no matter how much my heart ached to hold that baby.

Our caseworker took her to a "caring home" - to stay with a family that volunteers to care for newborns until their adoptive parents come to take them home. The sweet couple sent me photos, dressed her for Christmas, and stayed in touch about how she was doing. The days dragged on, each day my heart growing more and more fond of this baby I didn't know, all the while very aware that Jen could take her back at any moment.
She had until 9pm on Thursday night to change her mind, my flight left at 10:45.

Nine o'clock came and went, and we finally breathed a sigh of relief and elation.
I boarded my flight and couldn't sleep a wink. I could not wait to hold my girl.
After a long layover and one more flight, I got my rental car and drove another couple of hours to my hotel. I changed my clothes, freshened up, texted a million people and waited and waited and then...

the knock on the door that changed my life, my heart forever. The caseworker and the woman who'd taken care of our baby stood there, my little Frances in her arms. She was awake and quiet and so tiny. I scooped her up and took her in - her sweet face, her soft curls, deep brown eyes, dimpled cheeks. I couldn't believe she was real. That she was mine.

In a sleepless daze, I signed all the papers, hugged the ladies, and they were off. 
It was just us - me and Frances - alone at last in my little hotel room.
And that's where we've stayed for the last 24 hours, cuddling and eating and sleeping and getting to know each other. We skyped with Nick and the boys (who were way more interested in the burger I was eating than their baby sister). 
I'll be here for another week, until the paperwork is approved by both states and I can fly home. I am so grateful for this time to be with her and ease into real life.
I am so thankful for the gift that this baby is.
And I am so grateful for all of you, who have supported us, loved us, prayed for us...
You are part of her story - of our story. And we are so blessed.



41 comments:

  1. Congrats! That's such a sweet story, and she's gorgeous :)

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  2. Yay yay yay! God writes some good good stories. Can't wait to meet her!!

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  3. Carina. this is all kinds of wonderful.
    my heart has been bursting since you first revealed your newest adventure.
    i cannot believe how wonderful this is. i cant wait to see how the rest unfolds.

    much love. :)

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  4. oh wow!!! tears of joy for you and your expanding family!! she's beautiful!

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  5. What a beautiful story! You've got me crying again over here. =)

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  6. Congratulations!
    She is absolutely beautiful.

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  7. oh man, just crying so so much reading this, even though I talk to you like every day! haha. I love you friend, and am so so happy for you...and for Frances. She just got an amazing mother. :)

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  8. frances is my fave.
    praise the lord for her!! love you xo

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  9. Congratulations. Sending love and good wishes.
    Kathryn F-W
    http://ourchateau.blogspot.com/

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  10. Oh my SHE IS FREAKING ADORABLE and I LOVE her name... I showed my daughter her picture and told her the name and she thought it was the CUTEST name ever!! I AM so happy for you!!! Congrats!
    xoxoxo
    JeNeal @ piecesofluv.com

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  11. Congrats on Frances. I stumbled onto your blog and adoption is so dear to my heart. My husband and I finalized our adoption this year of our little Faith. We have had her since birth and she is now 2 1/2. Again Congrats and best wishes.

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  12. I am SO SO happy for your family! Frances is beautiful. I hope you can truly soak in every moment of this week with her. Congratulations Carina!

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  13. OH C I was at the Lodge house with the family when i saw the first official instagram pic and I squeeled out loud and had to share the news with everyone although...they don't have the privelage and honor to know you!! I am SO happy for you! Congrats sweet friend!! This is amazing! She is simply beautiful!! I can't wait to see more pics!

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  14. She is so Beautiful! Oh this Melts my Heart! Congrats to you and your Family!

    xo

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  15. Wow. Tears. Congrats, mama. You have a girl.....prepare for your world to be ROCKED!! {In the best way possible, of course.}

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  16. Ahhhh!!! I'm ecstatic for you guys!!! And she is so beautiful!!

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  17. wonderful and awesome and beautiful and amazing...

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  18. She's absolutely beautiful. Congratulations to your family!

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  19. Congratulations! She is beautiful!

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  20. Congratulations! I'm sure the boys will be more interested once they get to know her as a human being (as my older bros were with me...and me giving them presents, courtesy of my parents, when I was born didn't hurt!). I can't wait to see more pics of the precious little girl, and watch her grow up. Well done! :)

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  21. It just amazes me how God matches our hearts up just right. Every single time.

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  22. Congratulations!! What a lovely blessing to end the year with!! I know that 2013 is going to be filled with so many surprises and happy moments for your sweet family!

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  23. I am weeping!! She is absolutely beautiful!! Congratulations to you and the whole family. Just beautiful.

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  24. Dear Carina and Nick,
    We are so happy for you! Another blessing in your lives! Our love to you, Lute, Eddie, and George, and now sweet Frances Mary. God bless you, Aunt Kate, Uncle Kevin, Jack, Tom,Joe, Dillon, Elaine, Robert, Audrey, and Anna

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  25. Your hearts are so beautiful and tender. I just love this story and the your other adoptions stories. Any child in your care will clearly be blessed! Thank you for sharing all this with us! Many prayers to come:) xoxoxo

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  26. What a precious story! I'm so thrilled for you and your whole family!

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  27. I love this so much! She is sooooo stinkin' precious. Congratulations to your family on your newest blessing! :D Happy New Year, too!

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  28. CONGRATULATIONS!! what a BEAUTIFUL little girl Frances is!!
    My heart is SO elated for you at this moment.

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  29. Congratulations! What a beautiful story :) Happy new year to you and your family<3



    Mai

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  30. what a beautiful, perfect story God wrote for Frances and your family. Over the moon for you!!

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  31. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story with us. She is soooo sweet. Just perfect! Congrats :)

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  32. This made me cry tears of happiness for you! Congratulations! God is good!

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  33. Reading this made me cry! What a sweet girl & a special story. Congrats :)

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  34. Congratulations! She is precious! xxx

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  35. {tears} beautiful!!! i love adoption stories. i have a niece and nephew who joined our family through adoption. it is such a beautiful thing. enjoy your baby girl. she's beautiful!!!

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  36. Oh my goodness! This is such a beautiful story, I can't hardly tell you! I'm totally sitting at work crying~ joy, happiness, love! Gah! So wonderful! I'm so happy you and baby Frances are together.

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