This is Stephanie’s story: i’m not an overly sentimental person…i love family heirlooms, thoughtful gifts…handwritten notes but i don’t keep things for years just because. but yesterday packing up everly’s outgrown clothes…i got sentimental. it felt like i could remember each time she wore something or how she got each stain there. especially the early things…the things she wore in arkansas when i thought i needed to cling to every moment in case they were our last with her.
each little piece had it’s own set of appreciation…especially the ones that were given to us. i could remember each one and who it was from. can’t say that about everything but again it was those early things. the people who surrounded us in the month leading up to our trip to arkansas and the outpour during and after. those two weeks were difficult but amazing. they were heart wrenching but there was so much growth there. it’s in those times that stretch us that we seem to remember all the little things. it’s in those times we let go of the things that are so insignificant and unimportant because all we can do is cling to where we are and hope we survive it. looking back i remember so many details of that stay because i’ve never lived so in the moment, i’ve never lived in a place where everything else was SO insignificant. i could have cared less what i looked like, what clothes i had packed, what my evening activities were, work, tabloid drama, govt shut downs, what teams were winning or losing. i’ve never lived in a place of complete abandon to Him and complete trust that He had us. how do i live there everyday…how do i cling to the moment and remember everything she is doing, learning, wearing now…how do i let go of all the insignificant things, the things that are about me, the things i don’t need in this world and live in where He has me now? what kind of mom would i be? wife would i be? friend would i be if i could do that? i have no answers. just thoughts. just so many memories. so much appreciation. we went to arkansas thinking it would be a fun stay waiting for court as our family of 3. could not have anticipated the events that followed but so thankful that they did. i would not be the person, mom, wife, woman i am without that stretch, without that abandon and without that time.
so here is a look down my memory lane. this one. one of the only ones small enough to fit our 6 pound girl! we left the hospital with everly wearing this. and as things started to seem unclear as we left, we left anyway, with a lot of hope we’d be going home soon with our girl. i remember like it was yesterday putting her in this tiny onesie, buckling her into the car seat thinking she was too small to be safe in there. then riding the entire way to our transitional home in the back with her…tears falling and prayers lifting the whole way. this onesie also reminds me of sitting with my best friend the week before we left with what she called our arkansas kit. i cry just thinking about the thought and time she put into that. everything we needed, onesies, blankets, hats, bottles, advil (for mom), leggins, pj’s, and so much more. what would i have done without her? we took everything and every time i went to grab something she was there with me! my friend who i needed during that time was there for me in so many ways and this was one of them. she somehow knew i would need things i didn’t even know i would need. i could only hope that one day i’d have a friend like her.this one really got the tears flowing. cupcake pj’s. i can see every picture we took of her in my mind seeing this. i remember every bath we gave her and these were the pj’s. when i was folding this up it has formula stains on the top and it’s obviously not one i’d pass on but i can’t get rid of it. i remember those stains. i remember my mom soaking it so we could get the stains out. i’m so glad we didn’t. i remember changing diapers and 2, 3, 6am feedings in these pj’s. i remember seeing her curled up on her dad’s chest sleeping with her little cupcake butt in the air in these pj’s. i remember watching her sleep in these praying over her with what few words i had. the story behind these are her aunts. they showed up right after we got our call with BAGS from babies r us and buy buy baby. the cutest receiving blankets, onesies, dresses, towels, wash rags, bath stuff, and everything else they could find in the stores. very excited aunts and grandma had a blast shopping before she was even here. everly is so loved by them it fills me to the brim!
last one i’ll write about today (can’t help it but i know i’ll do this again). oh the cuteness. my mom bought this before we left. this was her “court” outfit. it was nb size but she swam in it. i remember seeing this before everything was final hoping we would get to wear it to court. hoping God wasn’t finished with us yet and this journey we’d started! hoping our role in this beautiful girls life was permanent and not transitional. when we got the call for the Christmas Baby i was at peace that our role were his prayer warriors. and i’ve never quit praying for him. but in these moments i could not be at peace that our role was somewhat the same. i wanted to take her to court and make her ours forever. i wanted to put her in this teal skirt and hear the gavel fall (much to my disappointment they don’t do that at adoption hearings). and you all know the ending. we did just that. surrounded by some amazing family we went to a tiny arkansas court-house and had the best sweetest bailiff and dreams came true! back to my mom…i don’t know what we would have done without her!
i don’t know what we would have done without our parents. the moms stocked the fridge, cleaned, helped with early morning feedings so we could sleep, fielded phone calls, texts, emails that i just couldn’t handle, we couldn’t leave everly but they would watch her sleep while we walked in the mist around the property. the dads were pillars of peace. brought wifi, quiet when i needed quiet and hugs when we needed hugs. crying again just thinking of them and how they supported us. thank you is not adequate, i love you is not adequate, but i kinda get it now. good parents, this is what they do for their kids. now they went above and beyond…but i know i would do the same for everly, i guess jer and i are just blessed to have the above and beyond kind of parents. i love thinking back to those two weeks. i love thinking of the people that surrounded us, the ones that drove the distance multiple times to see us, be in court for us. the ones praying for us at home, it was all possible because of you!
the journeys God takes us on are long, they stretch us but oh how they bless us! as i’m writing i’m thinking of jonah…in the belly of a whale! what is your belly of the whale? what do you plan to do with the “belly” time while you’re there and then once it’s all over? because it will be over and it’s up to us how we spent our time in that belly and then how we use that time once we are out…
this blog is one of those things for me. i want to encourage not just those waiting to adopt but those who are waiting for anything! because a wait is a wait…no matter what the end result is. let’s be people who glorify our maker with our wait, let’s be people who draw people to us even while we are waiting…because our waits are beautiful.
My Life Is Crazy Too is a series of reader submissions. Your life is a story …this is your opportunity to share your stories about real life, love, and mommyhood to provide understanding, hope, and compassion in the unique situations each of us face every day. “Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it! I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are. I’ll never quit telling the STORY of your love.” Ps 89:1 If you would like to submit a guest post about parenting, adoption, missions, or orphan care to this series, send to firstname.lastname@example.org. My guest today is, Stephanie Brenneman. She is a blogger here.