be warned. the story that follows is long. but it's a really, really good story.
lois' mama and daddy, charis and jordan, are our people. we do our everyday life with them. jordan is the only other staff at the stockbridge boiler room with my husband tim, and the nature of our church family and ministry is such that we are together multiple times a week, all up in each other's business, praying and dreaming together, sharing our things, and even pushing each other's buttons from time to time. ;) they actually live in our first house, the house where my own first two babies were born.
tim and i lived in that little house the summer that jordan and charis told us, during a visit from KC, where they were living at the time, that they were about 12 weeks pregnant. but only days later, charis started to bleed. and so it was at this little house that they hunkered down to endure that sad delivery while me and my family vacated the premises to give them space.
later, they moved back to Grand Rapids and started living in this same little house. but it was well over a year before they would have another positive pregnancy test. as they waited -- with such honest wrestling and also incredible grace -- through more negative pregnancy tests than anyone should have to endure -- they faithfully kept their hands in the work God had given them, loved our children with gusto, and geared up to begin foster parenting (a call they'd felt on their lives for a long time).
one day in May 2015, i went over to photograph them in the room they had made up for the two little boys they had just accepted a foster care placement for. sitting in that beautiful little room, they told me that they were pregnant again. shrieking, i threw myself on charis and happy cried with them. the timing was hilariously stereotypical: say yes to foster care or adoption, and immediately fall pregnant. why does that seem to happen so often?! but at this point, no one cared about being a cliche, because this was the best cliche ever.
as charis' belly grew, she and jordan grew in their parenting grace as they invested themselves wholeheartedly in their foster sons. we watched them be transformed by their yes to parenting, however it would come for them. their foster sons were reunited with their blood family just a couple of months before charis' estimated due date. she turned the boys' bedroom into a nursery for their baby girl, did some house projects, finished up her jobs... and together they waited.
the morning of the day that their baby would be born, charis and jordan came to our house for breakfast, as they do nearly every friday. she confided that her water had broken that morning and there were a few promising signs that labor was imminent. we had breakfast, then parted ways. charis and jordan had an active day -- playing Just Dance 2016 (charis), babysitting a friend's child, sitting in meetings with my husband, and going for a run (jordan) -- but by late afternoon the contractions were getting more distracting. however, having it in their head that this process would take a long while, they hunkered down, anticipating a long night with the baby coming sometime the following day.
at about 8 pm they called the midwife, sara (who is also my beloved midwife) to come check in because things felt very intense and though short, the contractions were very close together. they alerted me at this point, too. a few minutes after sara and her student becky arrived, i got a text that said, "sara says you should come quick!" luckily, i live two blocks away, so this was no problem. :)
it was harder to watch my friend in pain than i had anticipated. but she worked so hard and she was so fierce and strong. jordan was tender, fully present, and constantly flashing her the most loving and pleased smiles. then suddenly - just after 9 pm - THE moment was upon us. jordan was summoned by sara to "the other end" to catch his emerging daughter, who flew out in rather a hurry from her watery home and into her daddy's waiting hands. after clearing her mouth and patting her off with a towel, sara passed baby through charis' legs so that she could gather her up off the bed and up to her chest and kiss her little face. and then we were all just a tearful mess (and guys, i actually don't usually cry at births)!
this little girl is the culmination of prayers and longing and the fruit of ton of love. she's the luckiest to be born into a family with these parents. lois joy, we are so very glad to welcome you into our world and our lives.