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!