If there’s any indication of how crazy things are getting here, Teddy is now six months old, and I haven’t introduced him on the blog yet!
If you follow our story on social media, we were originally set up with another mother-to-be back in March. You can read the full story in this blog post– long and short, they all failed, and we are devastated. We know it’s always a possibility – with any kind of pre-natal match, there’s always a parent-to-be who might change their mind.
And let me be clear- us support it. I would never want a mother or father to put their child up for adoption if they were able and willing to be parents. So even though it was hard and sad for us, we also *always* knew it could happen. And we hope and pray the best for the sweet baby and their mama ❤️.
We got a call about the fall in late April, and asked our agency to remove our names from their “waiting families” list so we could take some time to process, and, honestly? We need to grieve the loss of what should have been.
We close the door to the nursery we’ve prepared, put the boxes of baby clothes & still-packed essentials back in the closet, and spend a lot of time outside walking the family, looking for some nice little moments.
Twelve days after failing, we told our agency “ok- you can go ahead and put us back on the list” thinking it would be a few months before we heard anything again.
Not enough 🙂
Three days later, on Mother’s Day, we got another call.
We were in the car—Matt was driving me to DC to catch the train to Connecticut for my puppeteer’s biannual retreat. The phone rings, we see our social worker’s name on our IDs, and we both look at each other – the only reason I can think of is that she’d be calling us on Sunday, Mother’s Day.
We picked him up, and he said something like “hey guys- I know you probably didn’t expect to hear from me this soon but… we have another placement- a baby boy, he was born yesterday… and you’ve been chosen.”
Matt and I fell silent- three days after we go live on the waiting list again? Completely unexpected.
He continued: “The only thing is, You should be in West Palm Beach tomorrow. Is that even possible?” He told us to take a minute to talk, and to call him back ASAP because of how fast things needed to move.
It took us about three seconds to reason, call him back, and give a YES!
I was very surprised. We both. I was worried whether everything would fail again, because the last one was only two weeks before, and this feels like a crushing blow. Nice whiplash. But still, it took your head and heart a second to adjust to the extreme turn of events.
We went to the train station and walked up to the counter to cancel my ticket, then got back in the car and headed home. Thank God, I couldn’t bear to unpack the boxes of baby clothes- I stuffed them in our suitcases along with everything the newborn needed and clothes for all of us, while Matt rushed to book flights for the next morning.
I really don’t want to break our family’s heart again. So Matt and I decided not to tell any family members other than my Dad (who drove us to the airport the next day) that we had another arranged marriage, in case something went wrong.
We’ve talked to our good friends and newborn photographer Emily Gerald, about coming with us for the final game, so I texted him at 9 or 10 that night to let him know we were set up and that we were disappointed we wouldn’t be able to get him with us. But then Emily, being an AMAZING HUMAN, managed to find daycare and a flight in a matter of an hour, and she finally met us in Dulles bright and early the next morning! He documented the trip, Felix meeting Teddy, and our first few hours as a family of four!
The Day Itself
Monday morning was a mixture of excitement, anxiety and frustration – we were pulled from the plane with a mechanical problem, and our flight ended up being delayed for two hours. Which, when you’re against the clock and NEED to get to the hospital by a certain hour, can be very stressful. We are in constant communication with our social worker, who is in the hospital with Teddy and his biological mother.
All of these photos (except for the hospital room, more below) are of Emily- she is ALREADY a gift to our family, and to me as a friend!
We finally landed in West Palm Beach and order it straight to the hospital (45 minutes drive), and on the way received an SMS from our social worker Teddy’s real mama wants to meet us!! It wasn’t something we expected, we anticipated his arrival after he left but he was very friendly waiting on us. what a GIFT!
A few minutes later, we got another text – he had officially signed the placement paperwork.
In the state of Florida, once the consent paperwork is signed (which doesn’t happen until at least 48 hours after birth), it’s binding, which means… that Teddy is our son.
It’s so real – we’ve been away from still grieving to second parent over a period of more than one day.
Pulling into the parking lot at the hospital, it was another moment of praising God — this time, because Emily was there. Only two visitors are allowed in, so Emily happily agrees to wait with Felix so Matt and I can go in together to see Teddy and his birth mother, and to sign the paperwork.
We walked into the hospital 28 hours after incoming call.
We only had a few minutes with Teddy, his birth mother, and his mother, but we were so grateful to be able to meet him and hug him, to tell him we love him in person, before he came home. Those few minutes with him meant a lot to us, and I loved telling Teddy about what a good birth mother he was. He didn’t have to wait for us, he didn’t have to let us have some of his pictures, he didn’t have to be there when we met his sweet boy. But he did and he did, and we are so grateful.
And there was that sweet boy lying in the hospital crib, black hair, gaunt cheeks, and the most beautiful brown eyes I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe this precious son was ours, that his biological mother placed him with us, entrusting his life to us.
We were then taken to the room where Teddy was cared for by his nurse to sign placement paperwork with our agency representatives… and Matt and I were both surprised to see the name “Theo” on the blackboard. I asked why up there, thinking maybe the previous occupant’s name was Theo?
But they said no – this is the name one of the nurses chose to call our Teddy while they were waiting for us to arrive, because it means “a gift from God”. they have no idea we plan to name him Theodore. Another glimpse of God’s sweet providence and grace!
We spent about an hour signing the paperwork, getting an overview of the standards from the head nurse, changing and feeding Teddy… and then it was time to go home. (In fact, they also have a foster mom who rides a wheelchair!)
I texted Emily to let her know we were on a trip so she came with Felix, and we got to introduce her to her new baby brother in the not very photogenic hospital lobby, where all Felix wanted to do was play with cars :). And then we loaded back into our rental car and headed to our Airbnb for the night.
And then we proceeded to call our family members on FaceTime and surprise them with the latest Springmann news. It sweetest a series of calls I’ve ever had- seeing my brother cry as soon as he saw Teddy in my arms is a core memory, to be sure.
We anticipated being in Florida for up to two weeks while we waited for the ICPC paperwork to clear, so we spent just one night on West Palm beach – we drove to Orlando the next day where we had more activity options for Felix while we were away from home and resources. we are normal. (Side note- road tripping with a three day old and a toddler is not for the faint of heart)
But then our package of paperwork was done two days after it was turned over to the state, and we were able to go home on Saturday! I’ve never been so happy to pay a last minute price for a flight, and everyone at United was so nice and accommodating. We got home that night, and we were finally able to start settling in after a week on Airbnbs.
Every adoption is different- we are often asked if we had an open adoption with Teddy’s birth mother as we did with Felix’s birth mother. Both adoptions are open – we’ve had more direct contact with Felix’s birth mother, and we hope to have more with Teddy’s birth family as time goes on. We are open to anything God calls us to, and our hope is for Teddy to know that he is always free to ask questions, and if we have answers, we will never hold him back.
The adoption process changes you. Likewise with Felix’s story, and again with Teddy’s story. The hard valleys we’ve been through have made me softer, more aware of other people’s points of view, slower to make assumptions, slower to form opinions, especially when I don’t have all the information.
As we told our boys the stories of how they became part of our family, as they grew up with pictures of their mama who gave birth to them in every room, I knew I couldn’t control how they felt. But I hope they always know this is a safe place, and that their birth families and their stories are valued and respected here.
To Teddy’s first mama, we love you. More than you can ever know.