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Liz Stokes

First blog post

As I was lying in bed last night attempting to fall asleep. I decided that I needed a better outlet to express my feelings, concerns, and what not besides a private Facebook group page. I felt like I was sharing too much too often which is great for some but not for others. So today I start a new and back to blogging.

The story of Carter.

We received a phone call around 1p on Friday, June 16th, 2017. We were wrapping up our vacation in Florida and on our way to a restaurant. The Director of our adoption agency called and said she had a baby boy born June 14th who had a heart defect called heterotaxy syndrome and a hole in his heart. He’s currently under medical care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. My first response was to say no. I didn’t know anything about the syndrome. I hadn’t even heard of it but I wouldn’t make the decision without Rob’s consent. So I responded to her it’s a no but I have to confirm with Rob first. I couldn’t talk to Rob. We were in public, I didn’t want our older children to hear, I didn’t want to involve my parents. I figured I had time. So what did I do? On the drive to the restaurant I googled heterotaxy syndrome.

One website. One legit website came up search matched and it was linked to Boston Children’s Hospital. The information was very vague. It spoke in medical terms. From what I could decipher it was one-two surgeries and fine. Ok. I might be able to handle this. Our older son has a heart condition. Ok. Maybe. I messaged our director and said when do you need a confirmed answer, thinking I had 6 hours or a day to think and pray over this. She responded we’re meeting with birthmom in 30 minutes. YIKES!

I ran it by Rob. Without skipping a beat he said yes. Yes to presenting our book to a birthmother.  Being completely blunt and honest here, I didn’t think birthmother would pick us so we were just giving her something to look at. I messaged the Director back and said we’re in, please present our book. She of course was ecstatic. Which was reassuring to us as always.

We headed back to our hotel, kids and grandparents in tow, and headed out for one last swim in the pool. I put my phone up. Got the kids ready to go out and sent everyone out the door. Rob hung back for a minute for some privacy to change while everyone was on their way to the pool. I checked my phone one last time before heading out. I had a missed call and a voicemail. It was our director not even two hours after presenting our book to birthmom. No worries. I knew we weren’t going to be picked.

I checked the voicemail. There was a different tone to her voice. I heard the words. Nothing registered. I replayed the voicemail, tears starting to stream down my face. Three years of waiting. Three years of no’s. I heard it. You’ve been matched. He’s our’s. His name is Karter. My heart immediately filled with a love that I can’t begin to describe. I’m sitting here four+ months later tearing up thinking of that moment. We were matched. I turned and told Rob. He was happy but nervous. I could see it on his face. We thought we would be thrilled and ecstatic but we were scared. Our baby boy was currently in the hospital alone going on day 3, on oxygen, facing open heart surgery, and we had no idea what was going on. The clock started ticking. From the moment Mom signed on Friday she had 72 hours to change her mind. We didn’t check out from the hotel until 10a the following morning and had a long drive ahead of us, another hotel stay, and a panic attack to get us home.

Telling the kids. At first they were very much excited. They were calling him by name and calling him baby brother. Then the fears and questions came in. We tried our best to reassure our kids that Carter is in God’s hands. God will not hurt him. He will protect him. Jackson had a legit fear of not being the baby anymore and losing our attention. Something he had just seen in a movie called Boss Baby. We reassured him as well. He snuggled up and joined us in bed that night. Then developed an ear ache that would make our night and trip home one to remember for years to come. It was a sad yet great distraction from our thoughts while we traveled.

We told our family, texted the extended families, and of course called the “sisters” aka best friends to let them know what was going on that we were matched but there are concerns for baby’s health. We were met pretty much with the same response from everyone, I’ve boiled it down to “reserved excitement”.

Sunday night was a night of repacking for a stay we didn’t know how long would be or if would be. Birthmom had every right to change her mind even in the last thirty seconds. My oldest and I ran to Meijer to pick out a couple outfits and socks for him, as well as a very perfect and clearance priced Mickey Mouse lovey. After all our family does Disney and we had just gotten back from Disney World. I was pretty much in a constant state of prayer for Carter.

We tried our best to sleep that night but to be honest after four scheduled inductions. This felt like that. There would be no sleep and what little sleep I’d get would be restless.

We woke up to our hospital routine. Shower, because we didn’t know when our next shower would be, pack the van, pack the kids, drop them off at Grandma’s, then on the road we went.

Before we could meet Carter we would need to meet birthmom and she would need to sign her termination of parental rights. Yes. She could still change her mind.

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