Starting this blog is a bit more challenging than I anticipated. There are so many moving parts, so many pieces, and details – what do I share? What do I spare? All of it means so much to me, but everything together could create a book.
This is more than a story about a first date; more than recalling a memory. This is how my family came about, how I was shaped as a person, and how so many people I love came into my life.
This is my adoption story. It’s not just a story that starts with a contract and ends with two signatures. It’s much, much more. It’s months of trying, years of thinking, and a lifetime of sculpting beliefs.
So, like, where do I even begin?
Well, first, I’ll tell you that God is at the center of the entire story. He had His plan, and it unfolded – beautifully if I say so myself.
In high school, my parents got to know each other. A towel soaked in soap got flung in my dads’ eyes, leading to the start of their relationship. Once they got married in 1998, they were ready to have kids. Only, that wasn’t God’s plan. As much as they tried, they couldn’t get pregnant. There were no answers, but they decided to live the life of cool aunts and uncles. So, they bought two cars!
Shortly after they splurged, my mom was approached by a woman at work.
Before I tell you what the woman said, I’ll let you know a little more about my mom. She grew up not really liking others’ kids but wanting her own. She loved thinking about all the possible names for a daughter: Cynthia, Isabella, maybe Serenity? She would dart her thoughts and dreams into her diary all through her childhood. Along with the kid’s names, she’d imagine what her last name may be. All these dreams and thoughts were aimed at growing her own family, which she knew she wanted to do with my dad.
When having kids wasn’t in her future, I imagine she was crushed. As a girl, it is easy to imagine having your first kiss, shimmying into a white ballgown, and getting pregnant. Unfortunately, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and many couples can’t biologically have children. Many scientists speculate this number is much higher, as many have miscarriages without knowing.
So, my mom was at work. This woman, Roberta, started talking to her. Roberta’s niece had two kids that she wanted to put up for adoption. A little girl and boy.
I’m not sure what my mom was feeling during this conversation. Perhaps, skepticism? Excitement? Fear?
Whatever that feeling was, it was squashed by the sense of fate when Roberta referred to the teenage mother as ‘Serenity.’
On September 23, 2001, my parents met Chance and I for the first time. I was two, shoving candy in my face. Chance was nine-months, struggling to keep his gigantic head upright.
They say it was love at first sight. I can’t say I’m surprised – we were pretty adorable with our massive noggins. There’s nothing quite like struggling to get your head through a t-shirt hole.
By November, we were in their home; however, we weren’t Hinkle’s yet. Chance’s biological father didn’t want to put Chance up for adoption. He was a teenager, a little older than Serenity, and he was hesitating to give Chance up – even though he hadn’t been involved in his life.
A phone call from my dad and convincing from his mother finally allowed Chance to be adopted. Something they didn’t think possible, as they prepared to only adopt me – only, it wasn’t that easy.
Serenity hadn’t informed my biological father about me, and they didn’t know who to paternity test. Therefore, a six-week ad in the newspaper explained who I was and asked for my biological father to come forward.
Finally, on January 7, 2002, my parents signed the adoption papers, and we became:
Carlas, Amanda, Chloe, and Chance Hinkle.
Sadly, there was no popping champagne, exploding confetti, or cutting cake – it was just signing papers.
But there was loads of love and a strong sense of God’s presence.
The four of us were meant to be a family. Not one of us shares the same DNA, but that is not what builds a family. So many think there is nothing stronger than blood, but that simply is not true. There is nothing stronger than God, stronger than unconditional love, stronger than the family you choose. My family is a family because we show up for each other, we love each other, we listen, respect, and value each other – and it’s not because we all have a gene for bad acne.
I love my family with my whole being. I’d do anything for them – no questions asked. Unless it’s cleaning the toilet. Then, why can’t they do it!
While I love my family, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t think about my biological family. I was two when I met my parents, and I believe that is old enough to start developing questions.
When we were brought to their home, I missed my Grandma Darlene, who I’d been staying with. My Grandma Darlene means so much to me. As I sit here writing, I can’t help but tear up thinking about how much I love her. Whenever I have kids, and if I can name them, I’d love to name my daughters Noelle Leigh and Iris Darlene. All four names have a great deal of meaning to me. ❤
There are many other people in my biological mom’s family that I adore! Like, her two sisters, her brother, her parents, her Aunt Roberta, and all their families! Of course, my Great Grandma Darlene and Great Grandpa Henry are together in Heaven, and I love them dearly.
I do not see them all very often, but I am so grateful for their relationships!
Because so many people ask, I will tell you. I haven’t seen Serenity in ten years, and I haven’t talked to her since high school. I wish her the very best!!
Growing up, I knew Serenity and kept relationships with the family. However, I did not know my biological father.
This is where things get controversial for some. Some adopted individuals want to meet their biological parents, while others don’t. According to American Adoption Congress (2020), 94% of adopted adolescent have questions about their biological parents, while only 65% wants to meet their birth parents.
This is where Chance and I differ. I was always curious, while he was not. I am not sure what causes this difference – gender, age, etc. I just had to know. That does not mean that I have less of a relationship with my family; it just means I am curious. That same article (Myths About Adoptees’) found that this curiosity did not affect the adopted individual’s feelings towards their family.
Either choice is perfectly normal!
Somewhere down the line, I was told my birth fathers’ name was probably ‘Ryan.’
In high school, I reached out to Serenity to ask for more information on him. She did not really know much about him now, as she lives elsewhere.
My freshman year in college, I decided to DM a bunch of ‘Ryan’s’ who had the same last name. Some responses told me that they were only twenty, they didn’t know who Serenity was, etc. Until his wife (who is the best) responded to my Instagram DM.
The next day, my mom, Ryan, and I chatted at Applebee’s. I won’t tell you his story, as this blog post would grow by ten thousand scrolls. But I’ll tell you that he didn’t know I existed until he was charged for my birth – after I’d been adopted.
Ryan also has a wonderful family with two kids. He has lovely grandparents, a mom, a dad, a sister, two brothers, and all their families.
All these people on Serenity’s side and Ryan’s side are people I get to know, respect, and learn from.
Then, my dad’s parents, four brothers, three sisters, and all their families. Then, my mom’s parents, brother’s family, + her very close, four great uncles, three great aunts, and all their families. Then, Dawson’s parents, sister, five grandparents, two aunts, and their families.
A true village.
You’ll never know how many people are in my life that I love. These people are all our family, supporters, and community.
Dawson and I are so blessed.
I am so blessed.
God is so good.
And it all started when my mom and dad fell in love. They probably faced one of the most challenging times, and look where we are now.
I’ll always advocate for adoption. Can you imagine how full your heart is? Can you think about how strong a bond with a [adoptive] family must be, knowing you were meant for each other? Regardless of the circumstances, you were meant to be each other’s sister, brother, mother, father, daughter, and friend.
Wow. What a powerful, extraordinary feeling.
I love love. It’s unmatched. I’m wicked grateful for the love God has allowed me. My heart is full. My life is full. My family is full!
If you’re ever wondering if you should extend your family, start a conversation, or do anything that builds a new relationship – yes! 1000 times, yes! There really can never be too many people in your life.
Each person is a blessing from God. Each relationship is a treasure. Each love is incredible.
Thanks for listening to my story. I tried to keep it brief for a post. There is so much more I could say: feelings, thoughts, beliefs, political/religious views, etc. But I’d be typing for days.
I guess the moral of the story is to trust God. He has a plan that’s greater than you know. He always has given me everything I need and much more. Also, open your heart. Family is everywhere, and you’d be doing yourself a misjustice by denying those relationships.
Kiss after a soap towel hits your eyes, keep praying, hold your faith, stay true to yourself, and adopt, adopt, adopt!
Sidenote: Clearly, I have opinions on adoption. I’m always willing to talk to you about these views, hear your thoughts, and engage in conversations. Also, if you have any questions – I’m an open book! Unfortunately, I offend easily (lol), but not when talking about my adoption. So, always feel free to hit me up!! No verbiage or question will offend me – I pinky promise!