Monday, December 7, 2015

A Season of Thanksgiving!

We're at that magical time of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year seems even more special because our sweet Maxwell is here! It has been too long since I have posted an update, but we've been pretty busy getting used to life with three children! Max is 4 months old now and is thriving! He is healthy and is doing great (and growing really fast)! His sisters adore him and we can't get enough of his sweet personality. He is mostly all smiles and loves to be held and cuddled. 

It's amazing to think of how far we've come from last year when we were just starting this process! When I think about the mountains God has moved to bring Maxwell to us, I am overwhelmed by His goodness and grace. I was just thinking the other night about all the amazing ways in which He has blessed us throughout this process. In the spirit of the season, these are things for which we give thanks: 

1. We found Faithful Adoption Consultants early on in the process: they led us through this process with humility, professionalism, and prayerful guidance! 

2. We were able to fundraise enough money early on to pay for our consulting fees, home study and other expenses out of pocket. We literally started this process with us a few hundred dollars to use for adoption. 

3. Our family and friends have been so supportive of our call to adoption--especially our church here and our small group (BFG). 

4. We became members at Ashland Avenue in early 2015 and are so blessed to have church home for our family! 

5. God placed an amazing friend in my life whose family is also in the process of adopting. 

6. Our rental house suffered from a fire--yes, we are thankful because it allowed us to get rid of a bad tenant and God used the situation to show us that He would be the one to provide for all our needs during the adoption. 

7. There were many cases that we presented to and we are thankful for each one that we weren't chosen for--we were able to pray for those birthmoms and babies and that was a blessing in and of itself. 

8. When we thought that our Birthmom had already chosen and that we weren't being considered by any other birthmoms, God showed off and totally surprised us in the fact that she hadn't chosen (miscommunication) and that she wanted to talk to us. 

9. That we got to speak to our birthmom on the phone and share our hearts. I think that conversation is one of the most precious memories I have. I'll never forget being on the way to swimming lessons and getting the call that she wanted to chat with us! 

10. That we were chosen by Maxwell's birthmom to be his forever family just 4 months after becoming active. 

11. That we were chosen to be the parents of a baby BOY! We were open to either gender, but our oldest daughter really wanted a baby brother and we thought it would be neat to experience having a son! This was particularly ironic as most of the cases we saw were 80%! 

12. That our initial loans we needed came through in the 48 hour time span we had to send the first payment to the agency. This was a stressful time and at one point we thought there wasn't any way we could pull it off. God showed up big and everything got processed in time! Nothing was going to stand in the way of us getting to our boy! 

13. We were able to talk to Max's Birthmom's mother on the phone. It was a beautiful conversation and we both cried! 

14. When we left for Utah, Kurt and I were both feeling unwell--we recovered quickly and were fine by the time Max was born! 

15. Leaving for Utah was as "relaxed" of a process as it could be knowing we made it to his induction date and it was pretty planned. It was nice not to have to fly out suddenly! We were also blessed by being able to stay with another FAC family for our first week in Utah--which not only helped us to save funds, but provided us with new friends!! 

16. Our parents and Auntie cared for our girls so well while we were gone! 

17. For a healthy delivery for birthmom and baby on August 3rd! It was a tense time with birthmom ending up with an emergency c-section! The waiting was horrible! Mabelle also had an accident that day requiring oral surgery for stitches. I have never felt so helpless, as I felt two of my babies needed me so much and I couldn't be with them (we didn't see Max till he was 24 hours old). We were thankful that the surgery went well and Mabelle handled the process like a champ. It had to be so scary for her! We were so thankful my parents and Auntie took such good care of both she and Hazel that night. 

18. That our birthmom signed a "see and hold" so that we could see Max on August 4th when he was just 24 hours old. 

19. That we got to meet our birthmom's mother and spend time with her before meeting Max. We looked at photos and chatted. It was precious time. She introduced us to Max, which was so humbling and beautiful. 

20. Our precious birthmom signed consent forms on August 5th and we became legal guardians of Maxwell. Signing was pushed back three times and just when we were starting to become fearful to the point of tears, we got news she had signed. 

21. We were able to meet and spend time with Maxwell's birthmom on August 6th. 

22. Maxwell spent 19 days in the NICU and we were so thankful that he overcame each health obstacle that he faced. We were told that he would most likely not be able to go 5 straight days without medication to be discharged, but he did it with no problems! Everyone was astounded, but we knew that God was answering prayers. 

23. That I (Priscilla) was safe the week I spent in Utah alone with Max and that our precious cousins drove from Colorado to visit us before Kurt left. It was so amazing to see familiar faces and have support. 

24. That Kurt was able to fly back to KY to spend a week at home with the girls and give them a sense of normalcy. 

25. For Kurt returning to Utah a bit earlier than scheduled (He clearly knew when I needed him most!), as I came down with a case of shingles. 

26. For Max being discharged from the NICU and for all the paperwork and consents going well that day--I was alone in Utah the day he was discharged and it was by God's grace alone that I had the strength to take a baby from the NICU to a hotel room alone! I was starting to get sick with shingles at this point but I was so elated to have my baby boy that I didn't mind! 

27. That Max did not get chicken pox from me! 

28. That we were able to meet with a judge while in Utah (it looked like the appointment might not happen for a bit but it worked out perfectly, along with our ICPC and our flight to leave). 

29. That our flight home went well and that there were no crazy incidents bringing Max on the plane. 

30. That our girls did so well adjusting once we were home and that they are both crazy over their brother. We prayed so much for God to prepare their hearts and to comfort them while we were away. I was away from them for 23 days and we were away from home 26 days.

31. Mabelle started school one week after we were home (Jr. Kindergarten) without crying--basically  a miracle for our child who has a hard time with new situations. 

32. That Maxwell's health has been perfect--he is gaining weight (he's a big boy), eating well, and that he is close to being medication free! We have seen no complications so far from his NAS. 

33. That our Both Hands fundraiser went extremely well and that we were able to serve sweet Ms. Penny. It was very hard to prepare for such a big project with a newborn and we know that God carried us through and provided the donations and help we needed. 

34. That everything legally has gone smoothly so far--we are waiting to finalize at six months. 

35. We weren't sure how much we would be able to pay on adoption loans this year--if anything, but, through the gracious donations from friends and family (through Both Hands and otherwise), we will be able to pay off $6,000 of his loans before the year ends! 

These are just a few of the amazing things we have to be thankful for this year, regarding Max's adoption. We are looking forward to celebrating Christ's birth with Maxwell for the first time this year. Adoption is such a beautiful, bittersweet thing and we are humbled and blessed that God was able to use this process to call us to be Maxwell's parents. We don't deserve it. We aren't amazing or great, or even good--but He is! We didn't have the means, but He did! We are so thankful for Maxwell and his sweet birthmom. We are thankful for life, for his sweet life, and for the grace of an amazing God that allows us to live free from bondage in the center of the precious gospel message. 

We hope you have a beautiful Christmas season and we'll try to update again very soon! 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Just a quick update: We're home!

I will do another, longer update soon (with lots of photos), but I wanted everyone to know that we are home! We have been home for about a week now. Baby M ended up spending 19 days in the NICU and we were away from home 26 days before we finally made it back! It has been an incredible journey! He is doing well and is already up to 12 lbs and 2.5 ounces! We are so thankful he is in our lives and are just so in love with him. Our girls think he hung the moon as well!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

10 days old, 10 days in the NICU

Thank you so much for your prayers! As you can see from this photo, we are now the proud parents of a beautiful baby boy! Baby M was born on August 3rd weighing 9lbs and 7oz!!! I can't even begin to express what a whirlwind these last 10 days have been for us! We have seen God's provision, mercy, and grace poured out on us in amazing ways. I'll try to recap a bit of our journey here: 

On August 1st, we flew out to Utah by way of Las Vegas. Our flight didn't leave Kentucky until later in the afternoon and both Kurt and I weren't feeling very great from some sinus stuff. It was also pretty hard for me to leave our girls, though I really tried to contain it for their sakes! They were excited to go with my parents, so that helped. Once we reached Vegas, we were supposed to have an hour layover before flying another hour to SLC. Our one our layover turned into a four hour layover! By the time we got to SLC, rented a car, and checked into a hotel, it was closing in on 5:00 AM Eastern Time. We were so tired!! Needless to say we tried to sleep in the next day and occupy ourselves while we waited to see if our birthmom or her mother wanted to meet. 

Waiting in the airport in Las Vegas (we didn't really play the slots :D) 

While we were waiting, we decided to drive out to Park City, a place we had visited on our honeymoon. We had to take a new photo from the same overlook near the Olympic ski jumps. The photo on the top was taken on our honeymoon in January 2006 and the bottom one was August 2nd 2015. Later that afternoon, we found out that our birthmom's mother's flight had gotten in late and that we wouldn't be meeting. 

Aftter sleeping about 12 hours straight, I awoke on August 3rd already feeling anxiety about what the day would bring. We got a message around 9AM that our birthmother was already in the hospital with her induction underway. We weren't sure how long it would take, if she would want to see us, or what would happen. We dropped flowers off at the hospital for her and headed out to Hooper, Utah to stay with a local adoptive family there. We heard updates throughout the day about how birthmom was progressing. It's pretty surreal to find yourself waiting for your son to be born and to not be in labor! Around 3 PM, we heard that she was at 9cm. We also got a call from my best friend at that moment that started with the words, "Don't worry, but were at the ER with M!" Our four year old had had an acident and split open her top lip. She was going to need stitches, though the smaller ER where my parents had initially taken her didn't have a plastic surgeon. She'd be going to a hosptial closer to our home to be sedated and have stitches. I cannot even begin to describe how crazy I felt. My daughter needed me and I was so very far away and my son was being born, but I couldn't even be there. It was literally one of those times I feel like God hammered home the point that He is in control and I am not! We really started to get anxious about the baby when we hadn't heard anything by 6PM. I was pacing the floors and praying for both my children! Around 7PM, we finally got a message that said our son had arrived! Our precious birthmom had ended up having a c-section because our sweet boy weighed 9lbs 7oz and had gottten stuck! We knew that he was being taken to the NICU because he had some fluid on his lungs and needed O2, but otherwise we didn't really know anything. A few mintues later, our social worker sent us these two photos: 

We spent the rest of the evening waiting for updates from both our baby boy and on M. M finally got an IV around 3AM (EST) and was finished with stitches by 6AM (EST). We were up most of the night waiting on a call that she was home and fine. Exhausted in every way possible, I finally collasped to sleep. 

August 4th, was another intense day. We weren't sure if we were going to get to see our birthmom or baby boy. In order to see baby without birthmom, she had to sign a "see and hold" form, so we basically weren't allowed in until that happened. Finally, we got a message to come to the hospital around 3:00PM. We met our social worker there and later met our Birthmom's mother. She was such a sweet and special lady and we were thrilled to meet her. Our birthmom was in a lot of pain from surgery so she didn't want to meet us that day. We totally understood. However, she did sign the "see and hold" so we were able to go back to the NICU to meet our son! It's hard to describe how I felt scrubbing up and then walking down those halls. The NICU has huge glass doors on each room and when we finally turned a corner, we could see our precious boy snuggled up in his bed. 

I had always imagined that I would bawl when I saw him, and, while I did cry, I couldn't get this crazy happy grin off my face. Not only did we get to see him, but we were able to hold him and feed him. It was such a gift. We spent 4.5 hours with him and each moment was a celebration and a miracle. 

Because our birthmom had a c-section, we knew that would delay her signing paperwork for an additional day. She was having a hard time with the pain and her grief, so Wednesday was a particularly hard day. At one point, she invited us up to meet her and then changed her mind. Her mom was visibly upset, which made things harder for us. We also couldn't visit baby because it just wouldn't  have been the best decision for birthmom at that point. We left the hospital weighted down with worry and anxiety. She had been going to sign at noon, pushed it back till 5PM and then told us she wanted to wait and sign Thursday. Each time I got a text or call, my heart sank. To distract ourselves a bit and to get some "air" literally and figuratively, we drove out to the Great Salt Lake. Now, the lake gets a bad reputation for stinking, but it was a windy day and we didn't notice it too much. It was beautifully overcast with just a hint of rain and we hiked out to the water and just stood there looking at God's creation. I felt like things were so out of control, but God reminded me there that I had never left His hands. He knew all of these things were going to happen and they were not a surprise to Him. I just stood out on a little sand bar, pouring my heart out to him and basking in His glory. Kurt captured this amazing image. 

After we left the Salt Lake, we went to dinner. I was typing an email update and asking for prayer, when my phone rang. It was our social worker. My heart started beating about a thousand miles a minute. However, her news was not bad. Our birthmom had gone ahead and signed the papers that evening. We were offically parents of this sweet baby boy!! Our sorrows and worries turned to joy and dancing. We were in awe of the miracle of adoption and so thankful for our own adoption in to God's family. 

Thursday was a busy day. We were finally able to meet our sweet birthmom. It felt so good to hug her and see her face. We couldn't thank her enough or tell her how much we already loved this boy--and her! Afterwards, we got to see baby M for a short time before going to sign our own paperwork. Once that was all done, we were free to be with our boy, and that's where we've been most days since. 

Baby M spent 4 days under the lights in his shades for Jaundice. 

Snuggled up and ready to sleep! 

Second try off of O2 and hoping he doesn't have to go back. Apparently, the altitude makes it harder for babies here! 

I've had many people ask us why he is in the NICU and while he does have problems feeding, these probably stem from the fact that his birthmom was taking a medication (under the care of her doctor) that can cause NAS (neonatal abstenince syndrome). Baby M has been having various signs and symptoms of this and it is being managed with two different medications. One medication he can come home on, the other he needs to be off of before we are released. We knew this before he was born and tried to prepare ourselves as best we could. Being in the NICU is hard but we have received such encouragement from others that have walked this road and we are truly grateful that he is healthy otherwise! Today, Baby M is feeling better and is eating better! He needs to eat 80mL on his own and he did 58mL this morning--much better than just 5mL a few days ago! We also think he has some reflux and he started a med for that. How long will he have to stay? We just don't know at this point. He needs to meet a few milestones in how he is feeling/eating and in medication before we can leave. We are also waiting to meet with a judge for finalization and we need our ICPC to be completed so we can travel out of state. While we are hopeful that he is on an upward trend and will be home soon, we are also preparing for being here longer than expected. K has plans to come home next week to stay with our girls and will then return depending on what's going on with Baby M. It's very hard for me to be away from my girls and I can't even begin to express how much I want all my babies in the same place. 

Please pray that Baby M will continue to improve daily and that he will be discharged soon. Pray for Kurt as he travels, our girls, and for me here alone--for safety and stamina. If you haven't donated to our adoption and would like to, you can still do so through our Adopttogether account here:
We are so thankful we had savings and loans to pay for our adoption, but we will still be doing some fundrasing to pay off those loans and the additional cost of travel, hotel stay, and our birthmom's c-section. 

Thank you for traveling this journey with us! 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting ready for Utah and a BABY!

I took the above photo on the plan ride home from Utah on our honeymoon almost 10 years ago. Little did we think that the next time we'd be returning would be for the birth of our son! Frankly, I can't wait to see these mountains again! Between packing and my crazy nesting instinct (yes, it feels just like it did when I was pregnant only I am far more mobile!), it has been a busy couple of weeks. 

We are down to home stretch of meeting our boy and I think we grow more excited and nervous each day. Right now, we have plan tickets out on Saturday evening and will hopefully spend Sunday resting and getting to meet our birthmom's mother. On Monday morning, our birthmom will go in for an induction and our little guy will make his appearance sometime Monday/Tuesday depending on how fast things go. Our birthmom has expressed that she'd like to meet us, so we hope that we'll do that Sunday or while she is in the hospital. We also hope that we'll get to meet our SON! The timing depends on several factors, including if we get to meet her and the hospital protocol on these things. She should sign paper work within 24 hours and then we will become baby's legal guardians with full access to him at all time--essentially he's ours but the adoption isn't 100% final yet. We can't wait to be able to be with him! 

Because of a prescription medication that our birthmom has taken her entire pregnancy, our little one will likely have some withdrawals from the medication. Thankfully, it isn't linked to any other long-term side effects. He will probably be in the NICU a bit for observation. We are praying this time is short and that he surprises everyone by doing great! We are so thankful that our birthmom chose life for him and that we get to parent him! We're also glad that the medication allowed her to be safe and healthier throughout her pregnancy than she would have been without it. 

Several people have asked us when we plan to be home and the answer is....we don't know! :) Our social worker has told us to prepare for at least 2-3 weeks, though we hope that it might be a shorter time period! Thankfully, our parents are graciously helping take care of our girls for the first two weeks and then K will come home to stay with them if it seems as though we'll be there longer. We are so thankful for K's job and the fact that they have been wonderful about adoption and the fact that he can "work from home" anywhere we go! 

We are also super-thankful that we will get to stay part, if not the whole, time we are out there with an adoptive family who hosts other families who are adopting in the area. What a blessing not to have a as much of a hotel bill or one at all! Between plane tickets, hotel bills, and a rental car--the bill gets steep pretty quickly. We are thankful for this gift! 

What will it feel like to see him for the first time? What will he look like? Will we ever be able to put him down once we can hold him? Each morning I wake up and ponder these questions, imagine situations both pleasant and some terrifying. These times always end with the best and only thing I can possibly do--surrender these thoughts, concerns, and cares to the One who already knows the answers, to the one who knit this sweet baby together, the one who knows and loves him so much more than we ever could! We are not particularly brave or strong at all, but we know who is! 

So, how are the girls? They are doing great. They are very excited about meeting their brother and understand the situation as best I think they can at their ages. H is looking forward to being able to spend time with grandparents and cousins, while M is more apprehensive about us leaving. These responses are totally typical of their personalities. I think my little mama heart just realized the reality of being gone so long when the social worker said be prepared for a longer stay. I knew it was a possibility, but I think the somber reality just settled when we packed those first bags. Oh how I love these girls! How they make me laugh and smile! How they try me and test me each day. How I will miss them! I know in the long run this is a very short time but it seems very long from this side. 

Last week, we celebrated H's 7th birthday. I have a 7 year old?!? How did that happen? Just yesterday, she was an adorable baby asking to go to the "backieyard" and reading "Moo, Baa, La La La!" with much gusto. H is a fabulous girl and it is a pleasure to watch her grow. I love her quirky personality and her zest for life. She had a great "Minion" party at a local bouncy place and has been working on her new collection of legos since. Her grandma, cousin, and aunt also came down from STL last weekend to surprise her with a hotel stay about an hour from our house. She felt so special! I know she'll always remember that! 

Below are some photos that I took for the girl's birthdays (I am running late on M's so I just did them both together). I think they turned out really well. How can these beautiful girls be mine? And how can they be so big?

M at 4

M (4) and H (7)

H (7) 

H opening the gift M got her! 

H's Minion cake made by me! 

H enjoying her party! 

I will try to update this blog on Sunday after we arrive and I will certainly share photos of our little one as soon as we have permission! I also have an update to post about our Both Hands Fundraiser! 

Please pray for safe travels, for our birthmom as she delivers and that she would have peace and comfort with her decision, for our little one's health, and for our girls as we are separated. We are praying for opportunities to share the gospel and to glorify Him through this incredible journey. We wouldn't not have been able to take one step on this journey without Him. 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Quick Update

We found out a few days ago that our birthmom will be induced on August 3rd, if the baby doesn't make his appearance before that date! Both birthmama and baby are looking healthy, so that is a huge praise too! It looks like we will be meeting our little boy even sooner than we were imagining! 
Also, another huge blessing is that there is another FAC family who graciously hosts adoptive families in their area while they are waiting on ICPC to travel and they have offered to have us stay with them for part, if not all, of our time in Utah. This is a huge blessing, as hotel bills can mount up quickly! If we could only have to pay for a rental car while we were there, that would be so amazing! 

I forgot to mention in our last post that we were able to do a small yard sale over the 4th of July weekend and made $200 to add to our savings for travel expenses. We've also been blessed to be accepted to participate in a "Both Hands" Fundraiser--I'll share more about that in another post but you can watch this video of another family's project to get an idea of how neat it is! We'll be doing our project after baby is home in the Fall! Both Hands Project Video

We've also raised $3,550 through our Adopttogether account! We can't even begin to express how humbled and thankful we are! If anyone else would like to make a tax-free donation, you can do so here: Johnson Family Adopttogether Account

Please continue to pray for our birthmama and our sweet baby boy! Pray for us as we organize travel and arrangements for the girls! Pray that we can love our birthmom big and be the hands and feet of Christ to her! Thank you! 

We're Matched: Week 2

And...more waiting! Only, this time we are waiting for our son to be born! Our precious baby boy's due date is August 10th, which, as I mentioned before is the same due date our oldest daughter had. She was born at exactly 37 weeks on July 23rd. It's crazy to think we could have a baby this month! We hope he bakes as long as possible though...K totally wants to share his birth month with his little boy! Yesterday, I counted the days till the due date and surprised myself by counting only 34 days. What?!?! 
You may be wondering what we've been up to during the last two weeks... Well, it's probably best described as a cycle of rejoicing and praying! Oh how my heart aches for our precious birthmom! How I am praying for her safety, health, and salvation and for the health and safety of our son! We are so excited and yet our excitement is tempered by the knowledge of our birthmom's pain and sacrifice. We are humbled by the fact that she loves her son so much that she is going to trust us to parent him, love him, and care for him. We are so thankful she chose life for our boy! Just yesterday, I read a bit of an article documenting some legistlation to try to allow a very late term abortion and every fiber in me screamed out...NO! That could have been my girls...
You see, I feel that despite the fact that I have led a very different life than our birthmom, we are  the same. We are both girls in need of a rescuer, a hero. We can't rescue ourselves and were it not for the fact that I asked my rescuer to pick me up and carry me out of the pit when I was a young girl, I'd be our birthmom. So, I love her. I pray for her. I understand her sin, because I have sinned and really, it's all the same--it puts us in a place where we need a hero. 
Last week, I went out to shop for a care package for our birthmom. Right now, she doesn't want communication through texting, email, or phone conversation, but we were encouraged to send her something. I went to Target alone and with my little red basket, I traversed those familiar asiles (all mom's have Target memorized, right?!) with new eyes. My fingers ran along the spine of a journal, eyes squinting through the bright lights of the makeup asile, socks, robes, waterbottles... How do you shop for someone you've never met? Someone with whom you've only had one, brief phone conversation? Someone who had chosen to give you her child? I felt so silly and so very heartbroken. Tears welled up in my eyes while I stood in that asile, watching others cheerfully shopping, kids laughing, moms scolding. I looked down at that basket of meager items and thought what a paltry offering for a woman to whom I wanted to say so much, give so much. Instead of waddling through the asiles with a pregnant tummy of my own, shopping for delicate baby clothing, I was trying to sort through the thousands of emotions that come with adoption--emotions that make buying a waterbottle and a canvas bag a marathon of feelings. I wrote a letter to her that night, trying to convey love but probably sounding kind of insane talking about the weather and our dog. I packaged up the items with brighlty colored tissue paper and took them the the post office. While the box felt full, it didn't contain the thing that I desparately wanted to send her and have her receive. It didn't have Jesus inside. Oh, that's what I want to give her, to show her--a love that never fails, never gives up, a love waiting for her. 
We're not sure if we will get to meet our birthmom or what her "birth plan" will end up being, but hopefully we will find out more details in the coming weeks. I hope we get to meet her, but even if we don't, I hope she understands how much we care about her. 
With hope and expectation, we have been gathering baby items that we need and are starting to make some preparations for travel. I washed my first load of little boy baby laundry after going shopping for some boy things. I wanted to cuddle each of those pieces of clothing, imagining the little one who will wear them. They seems so precious, small, and delicate. H was thrilled with a sleeper that says "Little Brother", especially since she could read it herself.

We're anxious to hold our little one and to see his face! It's getting closer each day! 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

We're Matched: The Story

Here's the story of how we were matched: 

On Wednesday, June 24th, we woke up to two emails that let us know that we were not chosen for two baby boys that were already born. We had been waiting on news from these two cases since Saturday and I was pretty weary with waiting. I keep two lists on my phone: one of cases we've seen/presented on and one of the current birthmothers who were seeing our profile. That morning the total number of cases we had seen stood at 33 and I deleted the last two birthmoms on our list. At the moment, we weren't presenting to any birthmoms. 

Over the weekend and beginning of the week, I was really struggling with how to deal with ALL the emotions that adoption brings. It wasn't that I was necessarily sad per say, but I felt a jumble of about 100 different emotions: sadness that we hadn't been matched yet, happiness for families who were, weariness of the journey/roller coaster of hope/disappointment,... We had finished painting the baby's room over the weekend and actually assembled the crib. Strangely the room gave me hope, not sadness, though I did close the door on Wednesday morning. 

Normally, on Wednesdays I babysit but this week I wasn't because M had had a tummy bug Sunday/Monday and we didn't want to risk spreading germs. She was feeling better on Wednesday and I decided that she'd be ok to go to the pool for a bit for H's swim lessons. My best friend and the girls' "Auntie" usually goes to the pool with us. We left a little early because I was taking a baby seat to a friend to borrow for her little guy who wasn't sleeping well. Just looking at that little empty seat tugged at my heartstrings, as I loaded it in the van. 

On the way to the pool, my phone rang. I usually try not to answer my phone while driving but I saw that it was our adoption consultant J. My first thought was that she was calling to encourage us after we hadn't been chosen for the other two babies. I almost didn't answer the phone! J called to say that we had mistakenly been told that one of the birthmoms we had chosen to present to a couple of weeks ago had chosen another family. Apparently, she hadn't chosen yet and now wanted to have a phone conference with us later that afternoon. I'm pretty sure I should have pulled over and that Auntie was afraid for her life because of my driving! 

I quickly called Kurt and made sure that he'd be available. We weren't sure if the birthmom was actually talking to other families or if she just wanted to talk with us alone. I was just so happy that I would actually be able to talk with her and to be able to tell her how much we cared for her and the baby, instead of just depending on our photo book. I'm pretty sure I could have swam a million laps at the pool with all the nervous energy I had! We left swim lessons around 5:05 and I needed to be home by 6:00 for the call. I have never been more prone to complain about traffic in our city as I was at that point! 

I made it home with time to spare, got the girls settled with a snack and a movie and pulled Kurt off a work phone call because I just knew that he'd keep talking till 6! We went over a few things that our consulting group had given us to help coach us on a phone call with a birth mom. Within a few minutes, the phone rang. There was a social worker on the call with us the entire time and she helped to break the ice a bit. The birthmom had such a sweet voice. She asked us a few questions about our children, our ages, and where we lived. We chatted about Utah, our honeymoon, and about our family. We laughed when she wanted to know how old I was because I "looked younger than her!" I assuered her I was 31:).  It was such a surreal conversation. I told her we were glad to be able to hear her voice and we were both able to express how much we wanted to grow our family and how much we did care about her and the baby--that we were praying for her! I asked her what she liked about our profile book and she said that she thought our family "looked so happy." We were able to share why we had wanted to adopt for a long time and about the fact that biological children were no longer a possibility for us.  The phone call was about 25 minutes long and we ended it by letting her know that if she thought of any more questions, we'd love to chat. 

What do you do after a phone call like that? What do you begin to do with the waiting that now commences? Well, I flew to the bathroom, got dressed, and went out with two wonderful gals! Ha! I had plans to go out with two dear friends to celebrate one friend's birthday and I was pretty thankful for such a distraction. Honestly, I thought we were in for another long wait. Even if she said "no", I felt this strange peace that at least we had been able to talk to her and share our hearts. Around 7:00pm, I got a text from K asking when I'd be home. He often texts me that when I am out, so I didn't really pay attention to it. We were eating dinner and doing what girls do best--talking, when my phone rang around 7:30pm. K was calling and though I didn't want to get my hopes up, I thought maybe he had "heard something." When I answered, I could hear the girls saying, "Roses are red, violets are blue, we each have a sister and now we're getting a brother too!" For a second, I was just plain confused/shocked/unsure of what I had heard. Kurt picked up the phone and said that he couldn't wait to tell me--the birth mom had chosen us as the forever family for her baby!! My friend D, started taking pictures during the phone conversation, so you can see how shocked and surprised I was. I think I sat through the rest of that dinner and ice cream in a daze. I didn't cry or scream, but I couldn't get this crazy grin off my face. I wanted to jump up and down. I wondered why the whole world hadn't broken out into song like a Disney movie?! 

After dropping my friend off, I was finally in the car alone on the way home. I just had to let out one giant, praise-worthy scream! How wonderful that God could take the grief of the morning and turn into into utter joy and thankfulness 12 hours later! How amazing that even when we thought we had no more possibilities, that He brought about such a surprise! How He must have smiled at my closing the door to the nursery that morning when He knew I would fling it open with joy later that night! 
After calling friends and family, K and I lay awake for a long time, talking about and praying for our SON! Yes, he no more belongs to us than our daughters do--they belong to God, but how precious that we are going to be able to parent this little boy and have a relationship with him. We prayed for our sweet birthmom, for her grieving heart, and we thanked God that she had chosen life when so many others would have chosen death for this baby. We pray that we can have some relationship with her--that we can share the eternal hope we have in Christ with her. 

This morning, I am writing on the other side of  two long days of figuring out how to pay our match fees and getting all of that taken care of. Even in the past two days, with our joy, we struggled when we realized our original loan wasn't going to work the way we'd thought (and our match fee was higher than we had anticipated) and we watch as God provided us with another opportunity for a loan that ended up being better than the first and working out perfectly. What a miracle! 

One of the best moments might be H's reaction when we told her that we are hopefully bringing home a baby BOY in August! Her eyes lit up and she said "Really, a brother?" I could see her little brain going through the months of the year, realizing that August comes after July, her birthday month, and that it was soon. M was originally adamant about still wanting a sister, but she came around after a few minutes and decided a brother would love her toys and her Jesse (from Toy Story) hat! She did say she wasn't giving him her Frozen room! Ha ha! 

How soon and how far away August 10th seems! Another beautiful little irony that God worked out is that this baby has the same due date that H had! We have a lot to do before our little one arrives! We have fundraising to complete, travel to Utah to figure out...but I know the most important thing we have to do is to pray for our baby and and to pray diligently for our birthmom and love on her as much as we can! Please keep our family, our birthmom, and our baby boy in your prayers. We also have a long way to go financially, so please pray for provision there. 

Psalm 139: 14
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.1
gWonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15  hMy frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in ithe depths of the earth.
16  Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your jbook were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a]and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We're MATCHED: Week 14

We got the phone call yesterday evening, saying we had been selected by a precious birthmother, whom we'd had a phone conference with a few hours before! We are over-the-moon excited that a baby BOY will be joining our family on or around August 10th! 

I will update the blog later with the full and wonderful story (to God be the glory!!!) but I wanted to post the news and share that we are in need of your prayers and help as we move forward. This adoption is right at the top of our price-range and, while we are thankful to have a few no-interest loans we can use right now, we have a long way to go to be able to pay for everything. We know that God will provide 100% for our needs and we are excited to see how He accomplishes, what in our eyes seems, such a daunting task. 

Here are a few ways you can help today: 

The "best" way to help is to make a tax-free donation to our Adopttogether account! This is a wonderful program where adopttogether can directly pay our adoption agency (we never handle the money) and you get a tax-free donation! Even if you can only donate a few dollars, it would be much appreciated in bringing our son home! Here is the link: 

Another way you can help is to purchase a t-shirt through our Bonfire Funds fundraiser. These shirts are the same ones we did in a previous fundraiser and we love them. The quality is great. If you are ordering a Ladies Fit shirt please order up a size. Otherwise, please order your normal size. They are true to size other than the Ladies Fit. The kids shirts seem to run a bit big, but kids grow!! We receive a portion of the funds from the t-shirt sales. 

To purchase use this link: 

More than anything we appreciate your prayers for us, our birth mother and our precious son! Thank you! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Week 13: We're Active

For me, it has been one of those antsy weeks when I feel totally geared up and wanting to "do" something. Usually, that manifests itself in some household project followed by not sleeping as well. The project this go around has been to paint what will be the nursery. I finished everything except near the ceiling, which I will leave to K, mainly because (a) I am afraid of heights and ladders make me dizzy (b) I am too messy of a painter to do that well! As for the not sleeping well, I did have some nights of tossing and turning, but nothing too drastic. Since I have the world's smallest bladder, I usually wake up, go to the bathroom, and then lie awake thinking of a million different things--adoption, paint colors, new sheets, what I'll cook for dinner...typical stuff, ya know?! 

Since our update last week, we presented to two birthmoms whose babies had already been born. One of those mothers really wanted a very diverse family for her child, so we can understand why she didn't choose us. The other birthmom changed her mind after deciding to present based on a religious specification--she decided wants an LDS family for her baby. I've had her on my mind a lot today, as K did a bit of missions work to LDS in the past. My heart is heavy for her, as I pray she will truly seek Christ and that her baby will have an opportunity to hear the gospel when he grows older. 
Two other birthmoms have our book right now and we are praying that they are able to make the best decision for their babies. 

Today, I was reading an adoption story where the adoptive mom mentioned that she found such purpose in waiting for a match because she was able to pray for each of the birthmoms that they presented to, and even though they didn't match with these moms, that God had clearly called her to pray for them and that mama and baby needed her prayers. Even though we are anxious to be matched, I too have found a joy and a deeper understand of the desperate reality that many of these birthmoms are living through in being able to pray for them and their little ones. Each situation tugs at my heart in a different way, but all make me strongly desire to not only become an adoptive mom but to also do something to help these women--prayer, service, donations....I'm not sure what that will look like but I am praying that God will reveal a way that He can use me to aid these women in their hour of desperation. I am also extremely hopeful that we will be able to form a relationship with our birthmom and show her God's love. If adoption is about anything, it's love. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Weeks 11 and 12: We're Active!

Week 11: I missed posting last week because we had an impromptu visit to STL for K's job. Since the girls didn't start swim lessons until this week and they have those for the rest of June, we decided to take the opportunity to visit family there! 

While we were out of town we were able to get our new profile book done and get a final copy. It looks fabulous and we were very pleased with the results! Other than finishing our book, we had a pretty quiet week adoption-wise. We heard one "no" from a case that we'd found out about the Saturday before we left (which never gets easier to hear) but otherwise we had no new presentations on the table the entire week we were there. 

In a way, it felt like we were able to take a breather and almost start again with a new book--and new hope. We haven't been waiting long in comparison to other couples and we are not blind to that fact, but I am sure any adoptive parent would say that no matter how long the wait, it was very hard to bare and yet 100% worth it! We don't know how long of a wait we have to be matched or to have our precious baby in our arms, but we know it will be worth the wait! 

While we were in STL, we were able to spend lots of time with family. We had a busy week celebrating M's birthday with family. She helped grandma make a special birthday cake and had fun blowing out the candles again! We also had lots of fun with cousins and we were able to go to the Zoo and have a special girl's cousins night. 

While the girls were busy with cousins, I was able to spend time with two of my best girl friends and it was so refreshing to be able to go out for some "mommy time" with them! 

Here are some photos from our trip: 

 M didn't want to take her eyes off the seals! 

This might be my favorite photo of the girls! M, of course, had a rock in her shoe and missed it! 

Week 12: We started out the week with swim lessons for M and she is loving it! She has the same teacher she adored last year and this year is not at all shy! H will start lessons during the next two week session but she's enjoying going to the pool every day. I have to admit that I am already kinda tired of going every day! Ha ha! 
Adoption-wise, we have three new precious birth moms to present our new book to this week. One of those moms has a little one who is already born. The other babies are due later in July/August. We should hear back from these by the end of the week/early next week. It's so much harder for me to wait for an answer after reading the birthmom/baby info and saying "yes" to presenting. I know there is a real possibility that one of these birthmoms will choose us and that is exciting but it's heart wrenching to wait and to know that "no" is a very real possibility too. At this point, I think "no" seems to be the answer we almost expect to hear. However, we have a new book and, of course, bigger than books or anything else is God's plan and how it is unfolding according to His purpose, in His time. 
Please pray for these birthmoms. They have chosen life for their sweet babies and are in the process of making one of the most difficult decisions they may ever face. They are so brave and selfless. Please pray for the little ones--for health. for their futures with their forever families. Please pray for us--for patience, peace, and the ability to love our birthmom in a big way when the time comes. 

Today, I overheard the girls talking about "our new baby". H was diligently trying to convince M that a brother would be the best. She was selling it by saying that they'd have a "boy room" in our house with lots of boy toys (now these girls play with bugs, trains, trucks, and cars too!). M wasn't having that and was adamant about needing a "little sister". It was so funny to hear them talking, but it also brought tears to my eyes too. They have so much love to give as sisters and they are anxiously waiting for "their baby" to come home too! As much as my arms ache to hold our next precious little one, I know theirs are aching to wrap around their new brother or sister as well. I guess it never occurred to me that they might be also feeling the anxiety of waiting and the unknown right now--in their own childlike ways. Please pray for H and M, as they prepare for a new sibling and for their precious hearts as they wait too! 

Thank you for praying for us.