Saturday, December 31, 2011

open adoption - full hearts


a blog prompt from "production, not reproduction" suggested bloggers to consider "what did you learn about open adoption in 2011?"  (production, not reproduction)  we learned a hell of a lot!  we started this adoption process being terrified of open adoption.  in 2009 we did not even want to consider working with agencies that were only filling open adoption plans.  in 2010 we filled out our paperwork knowing that we "needed" to do an open adoption, but not fully believing we'd be able to do it with our full hearts. 

through a series of people we met, seminars we attended, the agency we selected, the social worker we were blessed in working with, and the longing of my adopted sister to know her birth parents - we knew we needed to be part of an open adoption.  but, while we needed to do it - we still did not fully want to.

if you read back through this blog from its inception you'd see how unbelievably scared we were regarding open adoption.  we were scared because we were threatened.  threatened that the child we adopted would never fully be our own.  threatened that this child that we adopted would never be able to call me "mommy".  threatened that the child we adopted would never love us as much as they'd love their biological parents.  we were threatened because we were uneducated.

when we talk to others who have not experienced an open adoption they're where we were last year.  it's just a place of not knowing.  it's just a place of being unable to imagine.  it's just a place of fear.  it's just a place of not being able to understand how it could work.  we still cannot believe we came from this dark cold place.

you see, now - we're in a place of warmth and light.  a place where our baby lives knowing the love of our family and his birth family.  it's an amazing place where the things we have in common are a love and longing for daxton to grow up, be happy, be healthy, and be loved. 

daxton's birth mother is a part of our life.  we email back and forth with her at least 3 times a week.  we've met her for a visit in her home, a visit to see santa, and dinner.  we were never threatened by her in these meetings.  she's able to see him, hold him, hug him, and love him.  we were actually nervous that we'd let her down.  we were nervous that she'd be less than impressed with our parenting skills - something we did or said.  we were nervous that she'd regret picking us to be dax's parents.  however, she never said anything of the sorts.  she's sweet.  she's kind.  she's loving.  she is not a threat to us.  she wants the best for us.  she wants daxton to be happy with us.

we're so glad we did not let fear overcome our adoption plans and ruin our chances at being the parents of this wonderful little boy.  if we were not willing to open our lives up to a birth family we would have turned our backs on raising this amazingly beautiful child.  if we were not willing to risk being nervous and being threatened we never would have met this sweet boy we call our son.  his birth mother wanted an open adoption and she only looked at profile books from families who were willing to share their lives with her.

open adoption is the way we can show daxton that his birth mother loves him.  he'll see her four times a year.  he'll send her notes, cards, and pictures.  he'll be able to talk to her if he needs to.  he'll really know why she chose to place him with us.  closed adoption leaves questions unanswered.  closed adoption leaves doors closed and leaves adopted children full of wondering why.  we've learned that opening ourselves up to the open adoption is something that our hearts just needed time to work through.  we learned that doing this for daxton really helped us become more secure, more assured, and less nervous in the process.  we learned how helpful it is for daxton's birth mother to heal by seeing him, visiting with him, and hearing how he is progressing. 

it's all worth it, and we're so thankful we are where we are with our full hearts.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

merry christmas


luke 2:11
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

we wish you and your family a merry christmas and a happy new year!


God is amazing

God is amazing.  there is nothing more i can say.

Blessing from God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

smiles and giggles

dax has had a good couple of weeks.  he's progressing quickly and it's hard to believe he's almost 6 weeks old!  he is starting to spend a lot more time investigating his surroundings, reacting to our silliness, and making cute noises.  (we still laugh every time he tooties!)  in the past week he has started smiling a lot more and we'll get smiles and even a giggle out of him when he thinks we are being funny or when we tickle on his belly.   he's very active and loves to wave his arms, kick his legs, and press on things with his feet.  he loves to pet on the back of his head, rubbing his hair, when his head is turned to the side.  he also likes to put his thumb between his pointer and middle finger when he really gets going on his bottle.  he's only fussy when he makes his poopies, he's gone too long without his lunch, or he's gassy.  the opthamologist is going to wait and watch his left eye and says that since he is using it (even though it is not opening all of the way) he could wait and see him again at 6 months.  he had his circumcision last week and his follow up for that tomorrow.  he'll be happy there will be no more doctor visits until january!

saturday we had the blessing of spending the evening with dax's birth mother and brother.  we met them at a local mall and waited in line to visit santa.  the line was long and they plunked down the "santa's going to feed the reindeer" sign about 4 families in front of us.  dax's brother was patient as a little boy could be, but the wait was long, and even i got antsy!  dax was busy sleeping and his birth mom held him and eyed his growth and progress since she'd seen him last month.  she could not believe how big he'd gotten and how much heavier he was to hold!  we finally made it to the front of the line and got a picture of the two boys with santa.  dax's brother was so excited to tell santa exactly what he wanted this year!

after a visit with santa we decided to head to cpk to get some pizza.  we all shared dinner together and were impressed with dax's brother's dinner time grace!  he is such a smart and sweet boy!  dax kept sleeping through dinner and we tried to get him to wake up so he could visit.  he finally gave his birth mom and brother his best one eyed exam, but he did not give them the giggly dax we've met this week.  hopefully he'll be less of a sleepy head next time we meet up!  after dinner we drove them home and gave them the presents dax had picked out for them for Christmas.  we gave hugs and said our "see you laters" until we can meet up again this spring.

dax's birth mom seems to be doing a lot better and we're so glad we were able to spend so much time with them.  she was wearing a necklace we gave her in the hospital and it always melts my heart when i see it on her neck.  i don't know if she wears it all of the time, but just the fact that she wears it when she sees us is good enough for me.  she sent us a wonderful email that night before we could make it home, and we're just so thankful that she found us and picked us to be dax's parents! 

dax's birth father signed all of his paperwork this past week and we got everything in the mail on saturday.  we were excited to learn more about his birth father and to know that he also wanted dax to be with us.  it felt good to have this one last piece of the puzzle!  he noted in the paper work that he would like a relationship with dax, and that made us feel good!  it's going to be the best Christmas ever!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

one month

it's been one month since daxton was born.
it's been one month since this sweet boy found his way into our lives.
it's been one month since our hearts grew exponentially with a love we never knew.
it's been one month of adjusting to new sleep patterns, living with another person, and new routines in our lives.
it's been one month and he's learned to giggle, smile, and raise his head up and turn it from side to side.
it's been one month of feedings and he's up to 8.5lbs.
it's been one month of growing and he's now 21 inches long.
it's been one month of 277 diaper changes.
it's been one month of 300 bottles.
it's been one month of wearing newborn clothes.
it's been one month of firsts.
it's been one month of visitors.
it's been one month of getting our days and nights worked out.
it's been one month of cuddling, rocking, and loving on our boy.
it's been one month of the purest joy you'd ever know.

it's hard to believe one month in the life of daxton has passed and we cannot wait to see what month number two has in store!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

time

time. 

where do you get enough of it?  how does it go so quickly when you don't want it too, but pass so slowly when you wish it would be over?  how do you use your time wisely?  how do you make the most of it?

a lot of people want to know what we've been up to lately. 

we've been pretty busy just being a family.  on thanksgiving we made a feast to feed the entire "who forest", but there were only two of us here to eat it.  we dirtied every pot, pan, and cooking utensil in the property and then had to run four loads of dishes to wash it all!  we got all dressed up to take a thanksgiving picture and then put back on our pajamas to eat our meal by the candlelight.  hey - nobody else was looking!

we've been battling baby acne, cradle cap, dry skin, a baby with a gassy tummy, and now a gunky eye.  we've gone to the pediatrician once for the acne and put a call in this morning about the eye.  since we have an appointment for his one month visit on thursday they told us he'd be okay until we came in for that.  until then we're just applying hot compresses and massaging the tear ducts in case they're blocked.

we've been on the search for diapers.  we'd decided before dax was born we were using earth's best diapers.  before he got here i found a jackpot of a clearance sale at our harris teeter store and stocked up on 12 packs of the size 1 diapers.  that was all well and good, but he still wears newborn!  we had diapers brought to us from ohio (thanks kathy) and have now switched to seventh generation.  they used to sell those at the grocery store, but alas when will went out at 8am on saturday morning, no newborn size!  we finally tracked down the last two packs that whole foods has.  i am praying that he will be moving on to size one when these two packs run out!

that weekend after thanksgiving was our last weekend at home with no work on the agenda.  the following monday it was back to work for me.  i work upstairs so i did not have far to go.  will was under strict orders to only help me in case of an emergency.  it was my opportunity to see if i was going to be able to pull this off.  there were lots of diapers, bottles, one handed typing, wishing i had voice recognition software and a baby bjorn, but somehow we made it through.  then on wednesday will went back to work.  the thing i had not accounted for was the 2 hour lag time from the time i sign off until the time he actually gets home.  those two hours were hard.  dax was fussy and mommy was tired.  however, we've learned some tricks and this week is going more smoothly.

this past weekend started off with our first time alone away from dax.  our good friend kathy came over so we could go out for a little bit.  originally we were going to the third day concert, but it was postponed until spring.  at the last minute we decided we'd go get massages and tacos!  everyone said it was a weird combination, but that's what we like!  we talked and talked until our mouths were dry.  it was good to reconnect, relax, and have some down time.  kathy and dax fared well and we only texted to check in twice while we were out!

saturday we put up our christmas tree.  dax was excited to pick one out, but he just could not stay awake.  he slept the entire time we were on the hunt, loaded it on to the car, drove home, put it inside, cleaned up, and put on half of the decorations.  we were exhausted by the time we were done.  i don't think we'd done so much physical labor on such restricted sleep thus far!  however, when we finally put it up dax seemed to like the lights and the shiny ornaments.  after we got it all up and into place i think i have decided i must be allergic to it.  i cannot go near it, cannot water it, and cannot plug in the lights without having my rosacea break out and getting massively itchy forearms.  next year we're moving to artificial.

before you knew it sunday had come and we had some friends coming over from church.  our friends brought us some casseroles, fruit, desserts, and company.  we were thankful for the visitors since our most frequent trips out lately are to target.  it was good to spend some time with people and have dax introduced to part of our church family.  they'd helped us pray for him and his birth mother for so long, i was glad to see it all come full circle.

sunday came and went and then so did monday too.  the weekend, just like the night time, goes so quickly!  its hard to get enough family time, resting time, and chores done.  did i say the laundry was piling up?  we've been really good about dishes so we could keep all of our bottles clean, but we need to get a kick in the pants about the laundry pile!  i also need to work on thank you notes, the baby book, his baby hand print, and ordering photos!  i just need more time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanks.giv.ing









thanks.giv.ing

merriam-webster defines thanksgiving as:
  1. the act of giving thanks
  2. a prayer expressing attitude
  3. a public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness
we're going with definition number three.  our hearts are exploding with celebration with this gift of family that we've been given.  we cannot begin to express our gratitude for daxton's birth mother for the love she's shown to us and to daxton.  just saying we're thankful does not even begin to cover it.  how can you put into words something that brings you the most amazing joy you've ever known?

this is it.  this is the holiday we've longed for all this time.  a time to build our own family traditions, carry down things that remind us of our own child hoods, and creating memories with and for dax.  it's still hard to believe it's all real, but for this day, this life, this gift, this treasure, this love, we give the ultimate thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2011

dax - day thirteen

daxton - day thirteen.
we've had lots of firsts in the past 13 days.  (in no particular order)

first sunny day.
first rain storm.
first car ride.
first trip to the pediatrician.
first weight gain.
first stroll around the neighborhood.
first meeting with nani.
first meeting with pawpaw.
first stroll around the park.
first gifts received.
first trip to target.
first trip to starbucks.
first diaper blow out.
first bath.
first attempted photo shoot.
first hiccups.
first visitors welcomed.
first post-placement visit with birth mother.
first visit with brother.
first package received in his name.
first attempted sleep in cradle ended in first rollover on tummy.
first arched back and holding head up.
umbilical cord fell off.
first boys hang out with daddy.
first doggy kiss on his toes.
held first toy.
first attempt to throw passie across the room.

right now we're battling some dry skin and baby acne.  each day his dry skin gets a little better, and it does not seem to bother him a bit.  he has a suspected blocked left tear duct that the pediatrician is just watching.  he works to open a little more each day and it tends to help when we apply a warm compress a few times a day.

he's enjoying his outdoor time and loves to go for strolls and to hang out on the screened in porch.  we're working to get him acclimated to his days and nights.  he loves to sleep the majority of the day and then wakes up ready to go around 9pm.  unfortunately we are not as much night owls as we once were, so by that time mommy and daddy are exhausted.  some nights we get a 3 or 4 hour stretch, and we're very grateful when that happens.

he really enjoys listening to music.  his favorite cd right now is "you are my flower" by elizabeth mitchell.  we all love singing "little sack of sugar" to him.  he thinks its funny when we tell him we're going to "eat him up".  he almost seems to smile and dance when we play this song.

he's more wonderful than we could have ever imagined.  we waited so long for a precious child, but we had no idea how much love and joy he'd bring into our lives.  we savor every minute and treasure each second we have to spend with him.  we know how lucky we are to have him in our lives.  we prayed for so long for him to find us, and we just really had no idea what we were missing until he got here.  he is the sweetest baby who rarely ever cries.  we know he only cries if he's gone too long for his bottle or if he has a dirty diaper that we have not figured out yet.  otherwise he is calm, sweet, and restful.  we praise God for every day and we're looking forward to many more firsts with baby dax.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

adoption bloggers interview project

i elected to participate in the "adoption bloggers interview project 2011".  i was paired with another blogger and we were asked to read each other's blogs and create some interview questions to get to know them a little better. 

i had the pleasure of interviewing mandy from http://missmandybeth.blogspot.com/.  mandy is the mother of two children who entered her life through adoption.  mandy's blog focuses on every day struggles that most of us face.  she's a down to earth friendly person who i hope to meet one day!  cannot thank her enough for her offers of emotional support while we've been going through adjusting to life as a family of three!  she's a true sweet heart!

below are some questions that i asked mandy to answer for us in this interview project.

Are your adoptions open, and if so how has the openness worked out in your situation?

Yes, our adoptions are both open. Our struggle has been in the levels of openness from child to child. For example, Ellie's birthparents are both very stable who were college students when she was born. Both of their families supported adoption, but we have had to have different levels of participation from each of them. Ellie's birthmother and her family see Ellie at least twice a year, and we text, email, Facebook each other all the time. Anytime I send pics to my family, I send it to them. They come for Ellie's birthday each year, also. Her birthfather, on the other hand, has stepped away from us in the last couple of years, so our contact is mostly through emails and letters. His family also decided that ttey didn't want to be involved in an open adoption process, so we've had no contact with them since her birth. Sam's situation is a bit different - his birthmother was very young and from a pretty unstable environment, while his birthfather was a married father of other children. We have no contact with his birthfather, but we have annual visits with his birthmother, in addition to texts, emails, phone calls, etc. We don't feel comfortable having them in our home for various reasons, so we go to see them (about 6 hours away).

What is the best thing from your perspective about being an adoptive parent?

I think it's the opportunity to clearly see God's work and plan for our lives. How many people have children and don't stop to consider the miracle? We get to marvel at it everyday! I think if we had been able to easily conceive, we would have just continued on our own little path without looking for God's will. We so desperately wanted what WE wanted, that we had never really stopped to ask. We were only days away from starting the in-vitro process when we got "the call" ... a friend called to say her cousin's daughter was 15, 7 months pregnant, and looking for a family to adopt her baby. Literally, it was that quick and easy. Two months later he was home. It's as though God put His gentle hand on us, stopped us, turned us in a new direction, and said, - "here you go." It still gives me chills!

Was it ever hard to bond with your adopted children?

For me, bonding took awhile, but I truly believe this is just who I am and would have experienced even with biological children. I felt like a babysitter for months - literally MONTHS!!! It was a gradual process for me that eventually led to that "I would kill someone to protect you" kind of love. And now, the love I feel for them both is so intense, so deep that it is almost all-consuming!

How did you handle grieving over not having biological children?
That it is a good question. More accurately, it's how I STILL handle the grief. I don't know that it will ever go away. When I was a youth minister, I used to talk to the teens about each of us bearing our own burdens and taking what God gives us and living our lives according to His will, not our own. For us, our burden, if we can call it that, was suffering with infertility. For others, it may be a mental health issue or a dysfunctional family dynamic. I think instead of something that we grieve and get over, instead it becomes a part of who we are. I will always feel sadness at not having been able to go through the experience of pregnancy, but I wouldn't change my life. (I wrote a post about the grief a few weeks ago even!)

How would you like others to be more aware of orphaned children and what could be done to alleviate global issues in this crisis?

I wish I could get a hold of those couples who are paying tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments and give them the gift of seeing our lives, and your life, and others' lives with our adopted children. I wish I could tell them that in the realm of being a parent, reproducing biologically is just a bonus - truly peripheral when it comes to parenting and raising a family. I wish they could know that the love they want to have is available without the medical intervention.

I think to alleviate the global situation, we need more not for profit agencies handling adoptions, making the cost much less for those wishing to adopt internationally. I know that kept us from seeking international adoption for a third child.
 
i cannot thank mandy enough for answering my candid questions.  i really appreciate her genuine honesty in her answers and totally agree with her positions.  i really do hope we can get to continue to know each other better and further this relationship.  a connection with adoption binds parents together and helps us see things on a grander scale.  i'm so thankful for this opportunity and another connection out there in the blogsphere!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

meet daxton


meet daxton.  his arrival has been greatly anticipated by multitudes of wonderful people.  he'll surpass your wildest expectations, so just get ready because the journey is just beginning.

we woke up early this morning in preparation to head to the hospital around 10:30.  we wanted to make sure dax's clothes and diaper bag were ready to go.  we'd changed up his clothing arrangements several times since he was too tiny for some of the things we had in his closet.  we were ready early and i just sat with nervous energy waiting for the time to pass.  some how the last 30 minutes of this wait seemed like the longest time period of the entire journey.  finally it was time to go.

we packed up the car and pulled out of our drive way for the last time as a family of two.  will drove us to the hospital and i cried off and on until we arrived.  since we were early we decided we'd make some public announcements as to today's plan via email/facebook.  when it was close to time to be there we headed inside.  we waited anxiously in the lobby of the hospital for the social worker to arrive.  we've been working with an alternate social worker this week as our assigned social worker had to be away for a family emergency.  when she arrived we found a spot in the lobby area to sit and complete our portion of the paperwork that remained.  she went over everything with us and made sure we did not have any questions.  before too long it was time to head upstairs.

tears were welling up as we walked the long corridor to our birth mother's hospital room.  there was a heaviness that surrounded the situation and made me feel so overwhelmingly upset.  we felt (and continue to feel) extreme sadness for her loss in knowing that the happiest day of our lives is one of the most difficult in hers.  we wish there was something we could do to comfort her and help her heal as she works through this loss and grief.  it's hard for me to feel the happiness i've longed for today when all i can think about is the sadness that consumes her.

however despite the gravity of the situation and the complexity of everything that envelopes us we know more than ever that God is just quite simply amazing.  we don't really know how we got here, but today we brought home our son.  daxton is the most amazingly perfect little fellow you've ever laid your eyes on.  we praise God every minute that passes for this blessing and cannot wait to share how his little life will unfold.  today - our sweet baby darling deer found his way to us.  thank you daxton for finding us and calling us your family.

it's happening

tuesday - 11/08/11 - 12:38am
this was the day "our" son was born.
i did not sleep at all that night and this was the photo of the sunrise on tuesday morning.

what we've been looking for will be here tomorrow.

Friday, November 4, 2011

faith

faith like a mustard seed, that's all it takes. never give up hope, he's gonna do great things.

He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

saturday we had a long conversation about the loss of hope. will was worried his hope was gone. it was heartbreaking to hear the phrase that he'd lost hope, but i knew it was still part of his grieving heart.

sunday we worshipped at church with a proper sermon on hope and faith. it's like God was speaking right to will's heart.

monday morning will prayed for his hope, his heart, and the adoption. monday afternoon our social worker called about an opportunity.

today we met this sweet mother who wanted to learn more about us and how things would unfold. she graced us with some amazing ultrasound photos, something we thought we'd never have. she connected with us on multiple levels and we're blessed to have met her.

we've got faith like a mustard seed and nothing is impossible.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

nc state fair - a foodie tale


we took friday off to enjoy the nc state fair and go to the newsboys concert.  we'd been looking forward to a day away from work, a day to sleep in, some perfect weather, the kk burger, roasted corn, and hearing "born again" live and in person.  friday did not disappoint.  we slept in until about 10am.  even the doggies (with a few potty breaks) took advantage of the chilly fall weather and snuggled with us in the bed under the covers until we'd all had more than enough sleep.  we woke feeling rested and ready to enjoy the day.  after a few errands we made our way to the fair.  the air was crisp and cool and there was not a cloud in the sky.  when we arrived at the fair we were starving.  we skipped multiple meals friday just to get bites of various things we'd wanted to try. 

we started with the roasted corn.  you can get fooled and get corn from a lot of vendors on the fair grounds, but the best one is in the back of the park by the camper set up.  we waded through the crowds with our stomachs rumbling with the smells of the various food stalls and made our way to the vendor we'd sampled before.  it was worth the jaunt.  the corn was charred and roasted and fully cooked.  the smoky flavor was amazing!  (by far the best fair food we had yesterday.)  on our way back through the food maze will got lured into the sausage kiosk.  it smelled divine and so i clutched our hand squeezed lemonade while he waited in line for a sausage and pepper roll.  i was not even going to take a bite, but after he ordered it and it was so mouth watering i just had to indulge.  meh.  it tasted so much better than it actually was.  i told him if he did not love it to chuck it, so into the waste bin it went.  next we had to try the illusive krispy kreme burger.

we'd wanted to try this since we heard about it last year, so this had a lot to live up to.  we made our way back through the crowds and over to this stand.  we pondered the menu on what would be good on this burger.  we were going to order just cheese and the burger, but that seemed like a cop out.  we ended up getting a hamburger patty, melted cheese, shredded lettuce, pickles, and tomato sandwiched between two original glazed krispy kreme donuts.  we were both leery, but braced ourselves and will took the first bite.  he was not impressed.  i ponied up and took a bite myself - there was just something so weird about it.  i honestly feel like the tomato was the deal killer.  i did like the pickle, hamburger, and donut combo.  will thought it was the cheese that threw it off.  i think they are using day old donuts, which gave them a sort of chewy texture that i did not love.  either way, we tried it and now can say we tasted it.  another partially eaten item chucked in the trash.

after all of this traipsing around and not really fully eating anything we were looking for something that really tasted good.  will saw a sign for hand dipped corn dogs, but he could not recall where he'd seen it.  we walked around the entire fair until we found that booth.  there are a lot of booths for corn dogs, but not very many that are hand dipped.  there is a big difference.  we don't want to waste our energy on anything we could make for dinner at home.  the hand dipped corn dog did not disappoint.  it was delish and was painted with yellow mustard.  loved it!

after enjoying the corn dog we took a walk around and looked at all of the rides.  with will's chiari we have to be careful about what we should not put him on and we decided we'd rather not try anything out.  we did have fun watching everyone else scream their lungs out on some pretty precarious things!  i also don't think i am as adventurous with this stuff as i used to be.  something about plummeting from the sky just does not look appealing anymore.   this long detoured walk lured us into the smoked turkey legs.  we've seen these before at past fairs, and always laughed as we saw people walking around with giant turkey legs in hand.  but, we just had to try it.  will ordered up one turkey leg and a bottle of water.  we thought it was strange that the fella wrapped it up in tin foil and put it in a bag.  however, once we found a bench and unwrapped we noticed he'd given us two turkey legs!  whoa!  we did a cheers with our turkey legs and settled in for some chow down.  these were smoky and delicious - the outside was like turkey jerky - yummo!

we could not go to the fair and not have a fried dessert so we both agreed we had to get something.  we'd seen fried oreos, fried cheesecake, fried, twinkies, fried snickers, on and on and on.  however we elected for the tried and true funnel cake.  where else can you get a good funnel cake?  the funnel cake was freshly fried and looked fantastic, but the oil must not have been fresh or hot enough.  the cake just tasted off.  boo!  another item half way eaten hits the waste bin!

after this food tasting extravaganza it was time to sit and watch the sunset.  we hung out by the waterfall and got ready to head into the dorton arena for the concert.  the sun looked spectacular setting on the water.  then it was time to head in for the show.  the opening act was a group we'd not previously heard of, but they were pretty decent.  however, just after 8 the newsboys came on stage and their show was amazing.  they started out with two of the band members on raised panels that were about 60 feet off the ground.  they played the guitar and keyboard while floating above the audience.  at one point the drummer's set rose up (drums and all) about 40 feet off the ground and then tilted 90 degrees (picture him now looking at the ground) and then rotated 360 degrees, spinning!  the band as is good in person as they are recorded and we really enjoyed the show.  will's make it through your brain surgery song was "born again".  it was a song that really empowered both of us through this time, and we really felt like it gave us a fresh start at our lives and living them the way God had intended.  we held each other's hands and sang a little louder for this one.

once the show was over we headed back outside into the crowds for this one last strange food item.  i'd heard advertisements for the kool-aid pickle, so i just had to get one.  i LOVE pickles more than just about anything.  will had an app on his phone that allowed you to search for food vendors or food items.  he found the pickle.  it was tucked in a permanent booth inside a building.  we would have  never found it without the miracle app.  will ordered up one kool-aid pickle and we went back outside to try it out.  will declined to take a taste, so it was all me.  i took a bite and found that it was really too kool-aidy.  they'd advertised "sweet and sour", but it was all kool-aid with a pickle texture.  good concept, but failed execution.  last item half eaten and pitched in the waste bin.

after the pickle we decided to linger just a little longer so we could see the fireworks.  nc spared no expense with these puppies.  the show was impressive and we're glad we stuck around.  once that show was over we made our way back to the shuttle bus and eventually back to our car.  we were so tired that we both fell asleep at 11:30, which is unheard of in this house!  we had a great day together, loved the fall air, enjoyed the search for the freaky food, and will always remember the concert.

Friday, October 14, 2011

it's fall - afterall


fall is by far our most favorite time of year.  the cool crisp air, the smell of flames in fire pits, making smores, mugs of hot tea, the warmth of the sun on your face with the breeze blowing, the colors of the changing leaves, the pumpkins, the greenness of the grass, are just a few of the things we love about this season. 

who doesn't love carving pumpkins, handing out candy, and eating caramel?  there are just so many fantastic things about fall and especially october.  nc's state fair is in october.  last year i eyeballed a krispy kreme hamburger but did not have the guts to order it.  i've lusted after it all year.  friday - one week from today - that hamburger is mine.

last october i got to go visit my good friend "D" in texas.  this october i got to spend some quality time with my sisters and soak up some family lovin's.  my family thought i was just a little wacky when i laid in the weeds to get the photo of the dandelion, but i just could not resist.  it's got fall written all over it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

bloodlines - a documentary with john piper

there is nothing i can say, aside from the fact that everyone everywhere should watch this.


Bloodlines Documentary with John Piper from Crossway on Vimeo.

Friday, September 30, 2011

the power of food

food has the power to heal all wounds. 

it takes your mind off things when you spend multiple hours in the kitchen chopping, grating, blending, stirring, mixing, staring into the oven, watching for things to boil, broil, and brown.  it kept me totally distracted, which was apparently what i needed.

this week we've been feasting on some gourmet (if you want to call them that) home cooked meals.  you could call me a regular fan of the barefoot contessa, even though the food that i make never seems to end up looking so pretty.  i need a food stylist to swoop in just when the dinner is ready and fix the plates before we commence the eating.  husband was all giddy last night when he found out that his plates have been those that were photographed all week long.  mine were much sloppier.  he thought that was a nice gift.

i first have to say that i never go by a recipe.  i watch a lot of food network and cooking channel and i remember dishes that i have seen and then i adapt them to whatever i think works/sounds best.  it's hard when people say "oh, that was so good - let's have it again" - because i will likely never be able to recreate the same dish twice.

we started the week off with fresh figs three ways.  the recipes that night featured fresh figs raw, figs with balsamic honey glaze and a sprinkle of thyme, and figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in prosciutto.  we both decided that the cheezy salty figs were our favorites. 

the next night we had herb roasted parsnips and carrots with lemon thyme chicken and barley.  we both loved every single bite of this delicious dinner! 

the next evening we had tom kha (coconut soup) and handmade eggrolls stuffed with cabbage, carrots, and shitake mushrooms.  we both really liked this meal and husband said that these eggrolls were better than the restaurant! 

the next night's dinner was a twist on carbonara.  i took rigatoni noodles and roasted asparagus to go with the pancetta and parmigiana reggiano coated noodles.  it was fantastic!  (I had the rest of it for lunch the next day!) 

last night was our only little flop up.  we had herbed chicken, roasted beets with goat cheese, and fried green tomatoes with remoulade.  we both really liked the chicken, the beets, and the remoulade - but the fried green tomatoes i had been so excited about were a complete bust!  i think we ate enough beets to obliterate dwight schrute's farm though, so we were full even without our tomato mess!

a big thank you to my dish washer - will - who has washed every bowl, pot, and pan multiple times this week so we could feast on some very elaborate meals!

tonight's entree of choice - whatever husband picks up on his way home from work!  bon appetit!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

painterly sky


will was feeling under the weather starting this past wednesday.  he had that kind of cold where your nose is runny, but all clogged up at the same time.  he couldn't breathe, even after two run ins with the netti pot, decongestants, loads of vitamin c, and two days in the bed.  we decided to lay low this weekend and just rest.  thankfully, after pretty much three days of total nothingness - he is starting to feel better - like he's beat the affliction.

friday night's sunset was probably the most exciting thing that occurred in the past 48.  when the clouds parted (after it being totally cloudy all day)  i saw rays of sun pouring down the road that runs beside our house.  i left pasta boiling on the stove, grabbed my camera, looked both ways, and ran out and sat in the street.  the light bouncing off the clouds looked just like a maxfield parrish.  i felt like i'd walked right into "ecstasy" 1929.

remembering the boiling noodles, i decided i'd better head back inside.  luckily i found mr. sickly tending to the stove.  shew!  i think he's been dealing with my hair brained love of the sunset ever since we met.  you never get the same sunset twice, so you have to capture it, if it's something amazing.  i love living in a neighborhood where i have not yet been evicted for sitting in the middle of the road in my pajamas taking photos of the sun, and being married to a man who puts up with my tangents - even when he's under the weather.

Friday, September 23, 2011

free to be happy

"you are free to be happy"


i needed to hear this today.  it's a rainy dreary afternoon, will does not feel well, and iliana is back at the vet for more testing on her cushing's disease and the nodule on her spleen.  it's just a mopey kinda sad day.  but, this afternoon on k-love amanda told a story about a phone conversation she and her mom had last night, and i found it to be inspiring:

"Last night, I called mom, and had one of those long talks. As we were about to hang up, she out of the blue says…“You know Amanda, you are free to be happy.”

I cried. She reminded me that I made it through a valley recently. I may have little things to complain about at the end of the day. I may be tired, a little lonely and my kids may be “spirited”, but I have the choice to be happy. You do too.

We are all free to be happy."

amanda's mom is totally right.  sometimes, you just need to hear it.  we've gone through a valley, but we're working on walking back up that hill.  until we get back to the crest, we're going to focus on the things that make us happy in our lives.  right now i am focusing on friendly smiling faces, my sweet mommy who is always there no matter what, ellie-boo's tongue from this past summer's trip to the beach (she was always sticking that thing out), my loving granny, and my new ferns.

so - now i know you're wondering if i am just going to  burst out in song?  if you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it, if you're happy and you know it clap your hands!  (takes a bow)  nah, we're not there just yet - but we are working on it.  slowly, but surely.

Monday, September 19, 2011

eventually there will be peace




when the mail comes it's been a mix bag of sympathy cards or birthday presents.  the birthday cards were a good distraction from the up and down roller coaster of sad condolences.  don't get me wrong - it's a blessing to get the cards and hear from all of these people supporting us through this twisting winding road.  however, some days it's more difficult to make it through the mail than others.

right after the match failed we continued to get baby girl presents that people had ordered when things had a positive outlook.  it was difficult to open those boxes and padded mailers, but i knew what was inside before i did - so i just braced myself for something pink before i ripped the tape off the box.  however, it got a little more difficult last week when b-day time was upon us.  i was not sure if it was going to be something joyous or something else to put into the nursery.  my grandpa actually did the silliest thing (IMO) and gave me a combo card for my b-day and his expression of sadness that we still did not have our sweet darling deer.

the mantle is a mixture of cards.  a hodge podge if you will.  its the good, the silly, the sad, the sweet, all of those things that friends and loved ones do to make you feel better when you're sad or to wish you happiness to commemorate the day you were born.  we've received 23 notes so far, just from people to let us know they are thinking of us.

will and i decided that we grieve differently when we first really started talking about all of this.  we came to the consensus last week that i grieve hard and fast and that things take a little longer to hit him.  however, we found out this weekend that we're still both dealing with this, even though we thought we'd moved past it.  i told him that i learned that i still cannot drive alone in the car and cannot listen to k-love radio by myself.  we had this discussion over huevos rancheros on a sleepy saturday morning and both ended up in tears. 

we both agreed that this loss is just like our last miscarriage without the physical pain.  we're greiving what could have been, what we thought was going to happen, and where we thought our lives were headed.  it's hard for some people to understand how hard this loss can be, if you have not been down this road yourself.  but for once we felt closer to having a baby in our home than we'd ever been before, so this loss hits us hard - you know the kind that punches you right in the gut - the kind that takes your breath away - the kind that renders you speechless.

we know this takes time, and it's difficult now to move through the motions of the things that we thought would be different at this time because we thought a little one would be with us now.  will was sad that he had to go back on call (not for the work) but because he'd made arrangements to have someone cover him because he thought he would not be there.  it's just another thing that is not as we thought it would be.  it's these silly little things that can send us into sadness.  most of the day we're good.  we're fine.  we're okay.  but, you just never know what minutia will be the thing that sends you over the edge.

so thanks for the gifts, the cards, the difficult phone calls, the hard to mention the subject e-mails, and just being there.  we really appreciate all of it, even if we cannot say it.  we know eventually there will be peace.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a weekend away

last weekend we headed out to wine country, nc to get away for 36 hours and recenter ourselves.  we loaded up the car and drove out to sample some fine wine, spend a night in a little cottage in the woods, feast on some delicious food, and just be with each other.  we had a great time relaxing, recouping, and reconnecting.  the weather was gorgeous and we went to a lot of places we'd never seen in nc before.  it was good to unwind and chat it up with husband.  we did not realize how exhausted we were, but apparently living your life waiting for a phone call had taken its toll on us.  we feel so much better now that we were able to get back on track and refocus our journey.

Friday, September 9, 2011

coping

we're working through things and each day gets a little less teary eyed. we're not sad that this sweet mother kept her baby - we're just sad for the future we dreamed of, and the things that might have been. for the first time since 2004 it seemed like a realistic goal to soon have a baby joining our family. we knew when we opened ourselves up for adoption that we were entering some risky territory and did our best to prepare our hearts. no matter how hard you try though, it's hard not to latch on to something you've wanted for so long - even though it is not yours.

our super fabulous social worker supplied us with some very informative information on grief. over the past few days we've been touched by the outpouring of love and support from family and friends. however, we've also had to confront their issues of anger towards this sweet mother. we understand that our friends and family have not gone through all of the courses, e-classes, webinars, books, blogs, seminars, and experiences we've encountered and that everyone grieves differently. however, we felt defensive when others said things that we wished they could take back. after all, this sweet mother had no obligation to place her baby, and she did what she felt was right for her baby. this baby was never ours. so, we just want to make sure that there are no bad feelings out there for her. she's doing all she can in this world to make a better life for her little one, and we give her all due respect - and just ask that our family and friends do the same.

for anyone who is curious, below is an excerpt from some of the information our social worker passed along to us about grief. feel free to read, take what you need, and share what you want. (while our situation is not specifically about the death of a human being, it is the death of a dream of the life of this particular baby in our family. we've been angry, we've bargained, we're coping, we're accepting, we're healing.)

"Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and the nature of the loss. The grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried – and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Myths and Facts About Grief

MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.
Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.
Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.
Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

MYTH: Grief should last about a year.
Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person. *Source: Center for Grief and Healing

The main point to remember is “there is not a typical response to loss, as there is no typical loss. Our grieving is as individual as our lives.”

The 5 Stages of Loss and Grief
By Julie Axelrod

The stages of mourning are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness or to the death of a valued being, human or animal. There are five stages of normal grief. They were first proposed by Elsabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying.”

In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage more or less intensely. The five stages do not necessarily occur in order. We often move between stages before achieving a more peaceful acceptance of death. Many of us are not afforded the luxury of time required to achieve this final stage of grief. The death of your loved one might inspire you to evaluate your own feelings of mortality. Throughout each stage, a common thread of hope emerges. As long as there is life, there is hope. As long as there is hope, there is life.
Many people do not experience the stages in the order listed below, which is okay. The key to understanding the stages is not to feel like you must go through every one of them, in precise order. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at them as guides in the grieving process — it helps you understand and put into context where you are.

1. Denial and Isolation
The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.

2. Anger
As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry.

The doctor who diagnosed the illness and was unable to cure the disease might become a convenient target. Health professionals deal with death and dying every day. That does not make them immune to the suffering of their patients or to those who grieve for them.

Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to give you extra time or to explain just once more the details of your loved one’s illness. Arrange a special appointment or ask that he telephone you at the end of his day. Ask for clear answers to your questions regarding medical diagnosis and treatment. Understand the options available to you. Take your time.

3. Bargaining
The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–
• If only we had sought medical attention sooner…
• If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
• If only we had tried to be a better person toward them…
Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality.

4. Depression
Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.

5. Acceptance
Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression.

Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final period of withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient to produce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown by our dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us.

Coping with loss is a ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

not the one

i just got a phone call from bethany.  unfortunately it was not the call we'd wanted to receive.  turns out that e-mom actually had her sweet baby girl two weeks ago, but decided that she wanted to parent.  while we're happy for her and her family with this blessing of a little baby, we're devastated.

i guess this was not our sweet darling deer afterall.

(ps - have to add that our social worker just got the email from e-mom this morning and she called us and forwarded us the email as soon as she got them.  unfortunately e-mom had not returned our social worker's previous calls or emails since august 5th.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

yes, we're still waiting.



waiting stinks.  it's no fun.  i don't like it.  i don't like it at all.  my niece ellie says it all in this photo that i snapped while we were at the beach  this summer.  does she look like she's having fun?  it's not pretty.  there is nothing pretty about it.  i am mean, i am snippy, i am grumbly.  it's just not fun.  ask will.  don't even think of calling any of our phones.  i won't answer.  if you are not bethany or a nc number that i don't recognize then you are probably not the good news i am looking for, so no me respuesta.  i actually literally get angry with the phone - the nerve of this person to call me!  how rude!  don't even think of asking me to do anything.  i don't want to go anywhere, i don't want to do anything, i don't want to see anyone.  but, i don't want to be alone, so don't leave me here all stranded like this either.  i don't want to sleep, but i'm so tired.  i don't want to eat, but if you want to make me some baked macaroni and cheese that would be fine.  and for goodness sake don't ask me if we've heard anything yet.  seriously, we will tell you when we hear something - anything!  i promise!   it's gross.

but people are trying to be supportive, be helpful, be good friends - and i know this.  i am not so why it's so hard - this part of the wait, when we've been waiting since 2004.  i feel like i've been pretty patient for the past 2555 days.  but now, somehow all of my patience is gone.  it's a jittery unstable feeling, one i don't like.  we're not in control, and we know that this part is in God's hands - but it honestly does not make it any easier to swallow.  i pray that every hour will be the hour, every phone call will be the phone call, every new day will be the day.  we went to the movies sunday night and had to sit in just the right seats, even with my cell phone on ring (loud) and vibrate - just in case they called.  i figured two movie tickets, a popcorn, a soda, and watching all of the movie trailers was exactly what sweet darling deer needed to be prompted into this oxygen bubble - but it wasn't.

we pray (just about every waking moment) that our e-mom and her sweet baby are still doing well.  we want them healthy and happy - and we pray that God will protect them and keep them safe.  we know e-mom was uncomfortable when we met her a month ago, and we cannot imagine how she's feeling now.  we pray she is able to sleep and rest and that she's not still having to work.  we pray her heart isn't too heavy and that she's content with whatever she's decided. 

until it's time i promise to do my best to be less worrisome, less anxious, and more understanding of other's caring concern for our handling of this waiting time.  and please know that we will post something - the minute we hear anything at all.

Friday, September 2, 2011

officially overdue

we've gone officially past the due date.  sweet darling deer decided that her birthday would not be september 2nd.  while we pray that she comes sooner rather than later, we want her to make her grand appearance when she's ready to do it.  we're ready and waiting, so whenever she's ready - we'll be there.

until then we'll all continue to try and get some rest.



Sunday, August 28, 2011

blueberry pancakes

it's highly likely that this is our last weekend without a child.

this morning, when i woke - i headed straight to the nursery.  we were stuck in doors this morning with hurricane irene barreling her way through the area.  i sat in the nursery floor and put all of the laundered baby clothes on tiny baby hangers, sorting them all into piles according to size.  i took the top shelf out of the closet (the shelves we added when that was my art closet) so i would have more room for tiny clothes to hang.  i reworked the closet and moved the burp cloths to the changing table, got all of the diapers arranged, folded all of the tiny leggings, and placed all of the hangers into the closet.  my good friend melanie was visiting and she helped me get everything in order.

husband had gotten up and headed to the kitchen to make us blueberry pancakes.  we heard him in there stirring and whipping up pancakes, sizzling bacon, and frying up eggs. 




he took a break from his breakfast making to come into the nursery to make an announcement - he looked out the window and said - "did you think that this is probably the last saturday you'll be in this nursery without a baby?"

i'd thought about it - i'd thought about it a lot.  but, when you put it like that it does seem that this long battle and struggle in waiting for a baby to join our family could actually almost be over.  it's honestly hard to fathom.  we've been attempting to grow our family since 2004, and to think that there could be less than a week of days and nights that separate our lives as a childless married couple to being parents, it's sort of overwhelming.

sure, we're prepared.  i've asked people to quiz me on what i might be missing.  i found out i did not have enough socks, so now we have about 20 pairs.  i was told we better get some baby nail clippers, so those have been secured.  i found out we did not have a baby bathtub and that we better get one, and one miraculously appeared on my doorstep friday.  we've packed a hospital bag, the diaper bag, watched videos, read books, had millions of conversations about how we'll parent and what the future looks like - but it still all seems surreal.

our e-mom's due date is friday - this coming friday - september 2nd.  she told us when we met that she'd carried previous pregnancies overdue, so we do not really know when sweet darling deer could actually arrive.  we'll just have to wait and see - however, we've been through an earthquake and a hurricane this week - so seeing our baby being born in 6 days is not too highly unlikely.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

glider rocker

we got a phone call a few months back from the owner of the store where we'd purchased (50% down payment) our custom glider rocker that the owner and her husband were going through a divorce and she was afraid he was going to close the business.  long story short, she wanted us to pay the remaining balance on the glider rocker, even though the chair was not due in until mid august.  she called us from a cell phone.  it seemed pretty shady.  i called amex and asked what we could do.  they told us until the promised date that the chair was set to be delivered, there was nothing more that we could do other than to wait.

we're pretty good at waiting.  so, while i got upset (fired up) about it, worried about it, and hoped we were not out half of our rocking chair money, we waited.  then, this week was the date that the chair was due to be complete.  i checked on wednesday and the company website was still online.  good news.  then two days later i got the phone call that our chair was ready for pick up and that we just needed to pay the remaining balance and come get the chair.  the owner told me that the store had actually closed last saturday.  (if i had known this i probably would have lost it.)

we made arrangements for will to pick up the chair on friday on his way home from work.  luckily he got home right after a huge rain storm and we were able to get the chair inside before we had to run out to his follow up mri appointment last night.  the chair fits perfectly beside the cradle and will confirms that it has excellent rocking form.  he tested it out with a pillow posing as a baby.




amelia thought it was a lovely place to pose for some photos.  i entertained her notion and snapped a few shots of her before she and daddy played catch this morning.



Friday, August 19, 2011

faith in knowing

one of my sweet sisters told me to put on a smile, put on a dress, wear lots of jewelry, and to go have fun last night.  i followed her instructions and we had a great night out.  we dined on our favorite foods, shared a 10 year old bottle of wine, and toasted to 10 years of a wonderful marriage with prosecco.  we really feel like this is the last time we'll be celebrating as a family of two.

this journey is like a roller coaster.  one minute you're on the top of the hill, sometimes you are coasting down the peak, and most of the time you are climbing up hills that you never think you'll reach the top of.  i am not normally a crier (or what i call - shedding tears), but i have been lately.  any little thing can set me off.  some people say that going through an adoption a woman's body can mimic pregnancy symptoms.  if this is possible, i think i have the emotional part down pat.

today was a good day.  while the social worker did not hear from our sweet e-mom, she reassures us that this really is not abnormal and informed us of the standard "what happens next" procedures if the next time we hear from her is when she's in labor.  we still feel really good about the situation and feel like God has gotten us to this point for a reason.  so, i will try not to shed any more tears and keep plugging along with nursery prep, diaper bag packing, and washing tons of laundry.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

10th wedding anniversary - but still a worrisome day

the social worker says we shouldn't worry, but i am.  our sweet expectant mother did not show up for her appointment this morning and i cannot help but cry.  the social worker says it happens all the time and its not unusual for this to occur.  she reminded us how busy e-mom is and that she just probably could not make it, or did not feel like she needed to have this visit.  our social worker says she'll call us if/when she hears from e-mom again, but for us to not fret over it.

we just worry that something has happened to her.  we pray that everyone is all right and that she just got called into work etc. 

i was hoping that today i'd get a little more peace about the entire thing.  i cannot help but be nervous for this until it's all officially over and signed off on.  i felt like today was going to be a step for me to feel a little more comfortable about everything.  i am starting to worry that buying all of this pink was a bad idea.

husband and i are going to try and focus on our marriage and the fact that we're celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary today.  we're getting all dressed up and going to a special dinner.  it's hard to believe we've been married 10 years, and we've been through some major ups and downs.  all of those trials have made us stronger together, and i know this one will too.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

God's sweet grace

we had our first meeting with the expectant mother that selected our profile book for consideration.  our meeting was at 9am, so we got up early and headed across town to make sure we were "on time".  we got there about half an hour early, and just as we were sitting there (me freaking out), my mom called on will's cell to chat, encourage, and keep our minds off things. 

i was nervous that she would not like us, that she'd find something quirky or irritating that she just could not get past.  we spent last night reading forums, blogs, and website articles about meetings like this - and what to expect.  we created our list of questions (thanks kierstin) and tried to be as prepared as possible.  we burned a dvd of our you tube video and i made a scrapbooky type cd cover with a "sweet darling deer" on the cover.  we figured we'd see how the meeting went, and then at the end if things went well, we'd have it to give to her.  i was nervously sweating bullets by this morning and could not wait to just get into the office and get it over with.

we ended up going inside about 5 minutes early.  when we got there our social worker greeted us and led us into the room.  we met the expectant mother and her husband and our social worker eased us past the awkward silence.  the couple was so sweet, so humble, so gracious, and so kind.  we were amazed at their grace through this process and their willingness to be open with us about their situation and their desires.  we felt good about our conversation and they reassured us that they felt good about it too.  they confirmed with us that they felt so much more reassured since they'd met us in person and they really felt comfortable with us being the parents of this child.

they went on to tell us that they wanted me to be in the delivery room,  for us to be the first ones to hold the baby, for us to be the first ones to change her diapers, feed her, and to give her her name.  we were floored by this level of concern for "us" and the possibility that we might get to see this baby be born.  its something we'd always dreamed of, but dismissed knowing that it could be a very uncomfortable or awkward situation for everyone involved.  we knew however, with this being our possibly one and only domestic infant adoption (future planned adoptions will probably be international or from foster care) that this might be the only chance that we'd ever get to witness a child of "ours" being born or giving them their name.

the expectant mother had great concern for our involvement and wanted us to know that we would not be stepping on her toes.  she wants us to ask for things that we want, things that are important to us, and to speak up if we feel like its needed.  i never thought we'd hear such emotional concern for us, when she's going through so much of a difficult time herself.  she seemed more concerned for us than for herself and we were amazed by her selflessness.

we talked for almost two hours and our social worker set up another meeting for the two of them to firm out her birth plan and open adoption plan (on our anniversary) next week.  we will then have a meeting with the four of us the week after that to go over everything and get everyone's expectations in order.  at the end of the meeting i asked them if they'd seen our video and when she said they had not, i gave her the dvd.  she seemed happy to have it and i hope she'll watch it and learn even more about us to reassure her if she still does have any lingering reservations.

when i prayed to God that he'd send us the baby that He wanted us to parent, i never dreamed that we'd be introduced to and possibly work with (and have a future with) someone so wonderfully amazing as these human beings.  we feel very confident that she is sure in her commitment, and pray that this is the "one", but we know that even if she changes her mind and decides to parent this sweet baby girl that we'll be graced by having met her today. 

we kindly ask that you please continue to pray for this family and their peace with the decision they make.