The last biological son I gave birth to was 9lbs 10oz so when the nurse told us we were being discharged the day after we met our daughter (who weighed a whopping 4lbs 10oz!) we begged her to let us stay. She looked and felt so tiny, like I was holding a shoe, how could we possibly take care of her? It didn’t matter that we’d done this newborn thing three other times and had “experience” – there was zero chance we were ready to go. This was actually happening? We just got here 12 hours ago. But one car seat test later and we found ourselves in the back of our rental car with a tiny, precious little girl in the carseat we had just purchased at Target that morning.
Deep breaths in.
Deep breaths out.
Let’s do this.
We had been gifted a house to stay in by some friends and we were so grateful for our own space for the 10 days we ended up being in Arizona. It was in a gated retirement community, so it was quiet and quaint and the perfect place for us to get to know this little peanut that we had been granted temporary custody of. The first time I opened the doors, I froze as I looked around, as the walls were covered in these tiny, ceramic, decorative pots. If you’ve ever been to Arizona, you’ve seen them.
When we started this process, my biggest prayer was that we’d see God in the details of this trail we were (trying) to obediently follow. In our visit out to meet the first expectant parents we were matched with, I bought a miniature version of these ceramic pots that hung from a rope for baby girl’s nursery as an homage to her birthplace; a beautiful reminder of her first home. I had put them away in a drawer after our disrupted adoption, not sure yet what I was going to do with them.
And yet, here they all were, in every blank space of the walls in the home we’d be staying in. We felt like God was SO in the details and so very gracious to my heart.
Because it was anywhere from 90-110 degrees in early June in Arizona, there was a lot of staying indoors for these Minnesotans. Not to mention that we had this little, sweet human that we were soaking up every moment with. But we did go out to eat frequently in the evening (once the temperatures dropped a bit to the upper 90s) and during the day we took naps together, learned how to feed a teeny-tiny bottle to a baby, fussed over her every move, and did our fair share of binge-watching Netflix. It was one of the most sacred times of our lives.
That Wednesday around 3:30PM, we received another phone call. This little girl’s first mama, the one who carried her, protected her, nurtured her growing body and gave her life, had signed over her rights to us to become her legal guardians and parents. Another sacred moment full of so much loss and life and love.
Brynn Jacquelyn Senske, our daughter.
We didn’t know how long ICPC paperwork could take; we’d heard easy stories and horror stories about the length of time. So Brian headed home to work and be with our boys and my dear friend, Meg, flew out to hang with me and Brynn for a couple of days. We went out to eat, got our toes done, and Meg loved on my sweet girl like she’d known her forever.
A couple of days later we got the clear to head home. We landed in Minneapolis to a sea of family and friends who came to support us at the airport. Coming down that elevator and seeing balloons and signs and the most beautiful faces that I love so much is an image I’ll forever have imprinted on my heart.
The boys flocked to the side of the stroller to get a peek at their new little sister. They commented on how tiny she was, if they could hold her, asked if she was talking, all kinds of things that siblings wonder when a new family member joins them. They loved her instantly.
We were home. We were a family of six.
As I started unpacking her bag that night, I reached over to the drawer, pulled out the ceramic pots, and hung them on her nursery wall. Arizona will always have a huge piece of our hearts.