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!