Sunday, April 25, 2010

What a day....

We had a picnic after church today at Highpoint and it was a beautiful day for it! I was worried after all those storms yesterday that we wouldn't be able to have it or at least have it outside but we did and we sold lots of shirts and passed out lots of flyers for our night at Chick-fil-a!! We raised $850 through donations and selling our shirts! We are so thankful for the support of our church family...they are incredible. When God said it was time for us to adopt again and that He would provide the money....He meant it! And why do we doubt? My heart is overflowing right now....we feel SO LOVED! Makes me think of that song..."Oh how He loves us!"

Here are some pictures from today...I don't have a lot because my camera battery was dead so thankfully some friends have passed some along!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A heart of gratitude...

My heart is so full of gratitude right now. I'm grateful for what God is doing and who He is using to do HIS work. It's amazing to me how many people have stepped up to help and it's just the beginning of this journey. Thank you to all who have purchased a shirt, made a donation, or have offered your time to help us. We are so excited to see what God has in store for us!!

Another opportunity to show your support.....

Highpoint Family Night
At Chick-Fil-A
supporting Baby Stancil's adoption

Thursday, May 6th
Come anytime from 5-9 pm
1230 South Germantown Parkway
Chick-fil-a near Humphreys

Twenty percent of your purchase will
go towards our adoption fund!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To the least of these ...

Our refrigerator is covered in so many things these days. Pictures of family and friends, save-the-dates and announcements, wedding invitations and recipes and funny magnets my mom has given me over the years. And artwork. Little scribbles of pinks and purples and yellows and blues, all scribbled outside the lines with the artist’s name near the bottom (that someone had written for her) …

by: Caroline.


Soon after Paul and I married (almost) four years ago we began attending Highpoint Church. It was through Highpoint that we got involved in a small group, and through this small group that we met Jessica and Stephen. I believe that each of us have a story to tell, and from the beginning I found myself completely drawn to theirs. After years of trying to have a baby, and many closed doors, Jess and Stephen began to feel the tug of adoption on their hearts. And soon after we met them, and with this new vision … they began their first journey with adoption.

What a blessing to have walked through this particular season of life with this precious family. For so many years, while her best friends were giving birth to their first and second and third … Jessica was giving her desire to be a mother over and again to the Lord. Waiting with expectancy that He would one day give her the desire of her heart. She dutifully hosted baby showers, showed up with casseroles on her friend’s doorsteps when they brought babies home from the hospital.

And waited.

Almost a year after we met Jess and Stephen, the time had finally come. After months of paperwork with the adoption agency … and being chosen to parent a child by a birth mother hundreds of miles away … and preparing for a baby … it was April.

Springtime … a time for rebirth and new beginnings … for everything there is a season

I arrived one April afternoon at their house and sat down on the living room floor to help Jessica pack suitcases and bags. They were going to Texas and would be there for quite awhile awaiting the government “okay” for the open adoption to finalize (before they could return to Tennessee) … so packing in and of itself was quite a feat. I remember praying and praying that day … for the birth mother and for the courageous decision she was making to place this baby… for the two people who I knew would love this new baby to pieces … and for the sweet baby girl, specifically, that she would always know how much she was loved. A few days later Jessica and Stephen were off to Texas … and returned several weeks later … with a baby in their arms.

God’s goodness … a desire fulfilled … so many prayers … answered.

Sweet Caroline.


Fast forward two years later … and I was standing in the dining room on the day of Caroline’s 2nd birthday. As we all gathered around this little brown-eyed girl to sing the birthday song, her daddy dialed up a special guest from Texas. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my cheeks when we began to sing to her … with her birth mother listening in on the cell phone, and I’m sure, singing along too. Happy Birthday, dear Caroline … Happy Birthday to you ....

Life – the greatest of all gifts.


We (the friends of Jessica and Stephen) now have the privilege and joy of helping to raise funds for their second adoption. A baby sister or brother for Caroline. We are selling the coolest t-shirts in order to help this family meet their financial goals in order to bring another baby home …. and into their hearts and lives. The button on the left sidebar will allow you to order a t-shirt (with the money going directly to their Paypal adoption account).

I saw this scripture used in reference to another adoption fundraising effort recently, and it so resonated with me …

Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ –Matthew 25:34-40


There is a place for everyone in the story that God is weaving in and through our lives … and all I can say is thank you sweet Lord for allowing me the privilege of being a part of this one …

-Heather Bruce

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm a Mom

We got to the hospital and soon after we arrived we realized that B wasn't doing well. We began getting Caroline dressed and ready to go over on one side of the room. As we were putting her dress on I looked over and saw the tears streaming down B's face. I walked over to the bed and sat down beside her. She put her head on my shoulder and just sobbed. It was more than I could bear to see her in such pain. She sobbed because she didn't want to say goodbye to this precious baby but she knew in her heart that it was the right thing for her to do. I did my best to reassure her but in situation like this there really are no words. I told her that we would always talk to Caroline about her and make sure Caroline knew how much she loved her....that this decision didn't have anything to do with the fact that she didn't love her or want her. But it had everything to do with God and HIS plan for Caroline! I promised her while I was sitting with her on the bed that day that we would make sure that Caroline knew that B only wanted what was best for her. Then we just sat there in silence and both cried. There was nothing left to say. It was just so hard. This was the day I was going to have a baby placed in my arms....a day that I had prayed and waited so long for. I should have been jumping for joy. Yet, I had such sadness in my heart for what B was giving up and having to let go of. This back and forth of my emotions....bliss about becoming a mom....sorrow for what B was enduring....was absolutely wearing me out.

We managed to dry our tears...for the moment...and get B's things together. We all walked to the car and headed to the adoption agency. It was quiet in the car on the ride over. What do you say? I remember we were getting close to the agency and I could sense another breakdown coming in my own heart and felt that B must be feeling that way too. I reached back behind my seat and just patted her on the leg. We got to the agency and the ladies there came out and said hello and told us to hang out in the lobby with Caroline while they took B to the back for her paperwork. I asked Stephen to hold Caroline. I remember thinking if we can't take her with us then I cannot be the one to let her go and give her to B. He had to be the strong one. I just paced the lobby and prayed and prayed for B. I asked that God would fill her up with His peace and give her strength like she had never had before. That is what is was going to take to do this. An hour passed by. Then another hour passed by. No one told us that there was a stack of papers to sign and that someone had to talk you through each page and that it would take literally forever. They finally came out and one of the ladies from the agency looked at us and motioned us back. She said, "It's your turn for the paperwork." Stephen gave Caroline to B and she and her mom waited in the lobby while we went to the back. We got to a room and sat down and she smiled and said, "Congratulations, you're parents." Oh.... those words. I could breathe. I could barely sign the paperwork through the tears...this time only tears of joy! We were back there for what seemed like forever too and our cell phones never stopped ringing or receiving texts. We had told our friends and families to pray and that 2:30 would be the time to sign everything at the agency. It was now right at 6:00 and they were getting really worried.

We walked out with B and her mom and got them settled into their car. We gave them big hugs told them to call us when they were ready to come and visit with Caroline. We knew we would be in the state for awhile and knew they would want to visit Caroline as much as possible before we had to go to Tennessee. We drove off and I sat in the back right beside my little girl...I just kept saying, "You're our sweet girl. Do you know what a miracle you are? You're our sweet girl." We of course had a million of phone calls to make to tell everyone that we were indeed parents now and couldn't be happier. We took turns holding Caroline and making calls. We were exhausted. We were ready to collapse and go to sleep. Ha! How ironic that all those times we looked at each other and asked how were we supposed to get any sleep....we did the same thing that night! Only for a different reason. We had a newborn baby and knew we weren't going to sleep any that night. We definitely slept more at peace though knowing that our journey to becoming parents was finally over. And a new journey was about to begin....the journey of raising this precious little girl that God was gracious enough to give us.

Stephen waiting at the agency holding Caroline while I was praying!

Bring Caroline "home" from the agency! Her first home was Drury Inn & Suites!

We decorated our door with a pink bow!

Well, that's all for now. I really could keep writing more of this story but it's time to stop writing this one for now. Because we are going to begin writing a new one....

To be continued...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Placement Day!

It was Friday morning and it would turn into one of the most exhausting days of my whole life. The phone rang that morning and it was B who told us she planned to spend the day with Caroline and we would meet up with her that afternoon at the adoption agency for placement. This is when B would sign the paperwork and the agency would place the baby with us. B wanted some time with Caroline and who could blame her. However, not seeing Caroline all day and knowing that nothing was for certain yet was REALLY hard. Really hard. My cell phone kept ringing- the plan would change on how everything was going to work out again and again. B was going to get discharged sooner than we thought from the hospital but too soon to sign papers yet so another plan had to be made. I must have talked to B and the adoption agency half a dozen times that morning. And then there were all the phone calls from back home from friends and family calling to check in. They were on pins and needles too and wanted to hear word as soon as possible that we indeed would be parents and would be bringing this baby girl home with us.

The plan was for Stephen and I to go to the hospital to pick up B and the baby and then all go to the adoption agency together. I got some clothes together for Caroline to wear "home" from the hospital and packed a bag....praying with every item I put in the bag that God would indeed allow us to be parents today. And asking myself, "But what if He didn't? What if B couldn't say goodbye to Caroline and decided to parent her? What do we do then?"

We got dressed and decided to go to lunch somewhere before heading to the hospital. We ended up at Taco Cabana. Now, why in the world when my stomach was already in knots would I eat Mexican food for lunch?? Who knows what we were thinking? My mind was elsewhere...what can I say? Needless to say on the way to the hospital we had to make a stop at the store for some medication! After our pit stop to the store we headed to the hospital to pick up B and Caroline. Nothing could have prepared us for these next several hours and what all we would endure....such bittersweet moments.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Happy Birthday!

What an amazing day!! It was so surreal to watch this sweet baby girl come into this world. B was so calm and did amazingly well with the delivery. I think the easiest way for me to give you a glimpse into that day(because it's so hard to put into words) is to share with you my journal entry from that night. I kept a journal while we waited and wrote to the baby so it's as if I'm speaking to her.....

"Happy Birthday to you! You're here with us and you are absolutely beautiful! You are perfect from head to toe and such a miracle to us. You have the sweetest lips and the cutest nose I've ever seen! You have long pretty fingers and you have dimples. Oh, I don't think you could be any more perfect. I just cried and cried when I saw you for the first time.

B wanted your first hours of life to be spent bonding with us so we followed the nurses to the nursery with you. Your daddy got to listen to your heartbeat and your breathing. He also measured you to see how long you were. The nurse put you on the scale and it said you weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces. The nurse let me give you your very first bath! What a privilege to get to do that. Usually the nurse does all of this while the mom is recovering in her room and you don't even get to see it all much less be a part of it. After I sponged you off we just stared at you. The nurse finished dressing you and led us to a room right off the nursery. The room had a rocking chair in it and I walked to the rocking chair with you thinking that I had waited a very long time for this very rock my baby. I fed you your first bottle and your daddy just stared at you and kept saying how beautiful you were. We took lots of pictures of you and sent them to our families at home to let them know you were here!

Those first few hours with you in that nursery were so very precious. Those moments will be etched in our hearts and minds forever!! God is so good!!"

I had those first hours with our sweet baby girl and I was elated but as the time wore on my heart began to feel heavy. This baby's birthmom was just down the hall recovering from the delivery with her mom by her side telling her everything was going to be okay. She just gave birth and yet there was no celebrating and no baby to hold....because her baby was with us. I felt so terrible. We had to go check on her to make sure she was okay. We stepped into her room and she assured us that she would be fine and that we should go be with the baby yet I found myself not wanting to leave her and help take care of her and love on her. She was hurting.

Later that evening we left the hospital so B could have some time with the baby. We were so grateful that B wanted us there but over the next couple of days we tried our best to remember we were only guests visiting with this baby instead of mom and dad. We would come and go so B and her family could have time but is was so hard not to be there every second.

Friday was placement day...that's the adoption term for the day that the baby is placed with you as the adoptive parents....or in some cases...not placed with you if the birthmom decided to parent the baby. Little did we know it would take everything we had within us to make it through that day.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Texas Bound!

We arrived in San Antonio on Tuesday afternoon. B was set to be induced the next morning bright and early. The plan was to start the induction early that morning and for Stephen and I along with her mom to all be there with her in the room for the delivery. Once the baby was born...48 hours later B would sign the paperwork to relinquish her parental rights. Texas law says the baby must be 48 hours old before the birthmom can surrender her rights. But a lot could happen in those 48 hours. In my mind, all it was going to take was one look at that sweet baby girl and B would begin thinking twice about her decision. I mean, how could you not? How could you hold that precious baby and not want to keep her? From someone who wanted a child so badly...I just didn't see that as possible. Back to the strength and courage again....I told you this woman was my hero.

We went to dinner that night with B and her mom and talked about the baby and what she was going to look like. We were all excited to meet her. I remember standing in the parking lot with B as we were leaving and she looked at both us with this huge smile on her face and said, "So, tomorrow you will be a mom and dad!" She really was so happy for us but I remember just wanting to ask her, "But are you really sure? Are you really going to be able to do it?" Instead I simply said, "I can't believe the time is finally here!"

We walked back up to our hotel room and got ready for bed. We prayed again for everything and looked at each once again and said, "Now how are we supposed to get any sleep tonight?"

To be continued...

Birthday Bash

It was the weekend before we were set to leave for Texas and I was having a big 30th birthday party. I can't believe I agreed to a big party amongst all of the packing and getting ready for the big trip. I remember being emotionally a wreck all day that Saturday...the day of the party. I just didn't know how to deal with all the emotions I was experiencing. So, I just cried...and cried...and cried. I cried because I was absolutely overjoyed at the thought that I was about to become a mother. I cried because I was scared that I would come home from Texas without becoming a mother. I cried because of all the pain B was about to face. We had grown so close over the last few months and become friends. I knew she was having a hard time that weekend...I could hear it in her voice. I remember thinking how weird it was that I was partying for my 30th and elated about becoming a mother while she was grieving and trying to prepare herself for what was to come. She loved this little baby girl...that I could tell. So, how was she going to place her in our arms? Oh, the strength and courage! If only I had an ounce of it!

Stephen's family came over on Sunday night before we were set to leave on Monday and prayed over us...for the days ahead. They prayed of course for our safety traveling and the birth of the baby. But what was so amazing was they all prayed for B. They prayed that God would give her the strength she needed to carry out HIS plan. They prayed that God would give her peace and that He would carry her through these hard days ahead. See, they too had become so attached to her as well and so grateful for all that she was giving up in order to bring us such joy. As I prayed that night I remember just wanting for God to have all the glory through everything. I wanted the nurses and staff at the hospital to see the work of God in such a mighty way that they had to believe it was Him who orchestrated all of this.I wanted anyone who came to the hospital(friends or family) to just sense God's presence. And I prayed that no matter the outcome that I(we) would still believe that God is good and He is sovereign... because He is.

To be continued...