Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bass, books, & bicep curls

Hello, my name is Joshua, and I'm sure you want to know a little bit more about me. I'm 29 years old and was born and raised in Southern California. I was raised by my mom and step dad, who adopted me, and I have two siblings. I have a younger brother who is married, lives in Washington, and is a tattoo artist and my younger sister is in her second year of college.  I've worked for a local hospital doing "Talent Acquisition" for over six years. Don't worry, nobody really knows what that means. Basically, coordinating our contract systems and helping with hospital recruiting. I really enjoy living here, with the beach in one direction, and the mountains in the other. I have a Bachelors Degree in Business and Information Management, and I'm thinking about going back for my Master's soon.
Josh's media room. Lots of books and speakers.
I have a lot of things I enjoy doing on my off time. I really enjoy building up my home theater system. I have a media room with a 7.1 surround sound system that I am constantly refining and tinkering with. Some might call me an "audiophile" when it comes to audio and video. I'm all about the HD these days. Our future kids will be able to watch cartoons in high definition surround sound.  I also enjoy reading, and studying theology and Christian History. There is a fantastic place called the Credo House that I highly recommend visiting.
Reading with Ruby.
They have all kinds of great theological resources. Kristen and I enjoy watching their lectures. Teaching our kids about our faith is going to be very important to us. I also play acoustic/electric guitar, although not as often as Kristen would  like me to. I enjoy working out and staying fit. I workout every day after work.  I've gone through quite a few fitness programs like P90X, P90X2, and part of Insanity. Right now I  am currently going though FocusT25, the new program from Shaun T. After that, I'm going to try Body Beast. A healthy lifestyle is very important to me.

Going to Disneyland is another favorite pastime of mine. It's not too far away, so it's always fun to go down on a weekend and enjoy  the parks. Obviously, this will be fun to do with our kids someday too. I know that adoption is the right path that God has us on. I can't wait to be a dad and get to teach our child all kinds of things. I'm looking forward to playing, watching them grow, and of course, going on all the kiddie rides. :)  Well, that's all for now, but if you have any other questions about me, please feel free to leave a comment and I'd be happy to give you an answer.               

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prayers, pinatas, & potting soil

It feels kind of strange to write about myself so much. A post about Josh will follow shortly, and him I could write about all day, although he'll probably write it. I've been doing research on what expectant moms want to know about adoptive families and the only constant is that they want to know as much as possible. Really, I literally typed "what do women considering  adoption want to know?" into Google. So here it goes:

I'm 28 years old, born in Texas but have lived in California for the majority of my life. I was raised by my mom and step-dad (which feels weird to write because he's "my dad", nothing step about him). I have a good relationship with my biological father who lives out of state. My mom and step dad had my brother who is nine years younger than me and he is currently serving in the Navy (just like our dad did, very proud). I have an AA in accounting and a Gemology Degree from GIA as well. I worked for a local jewelry store doing customer service and appraisals for about six years, briefly at a bank (attempting to use my accounting degree), and then became a homemaker after Josh and I decided to start a family. Since my goal is to home-school our future children (I've already started researching curriculums), we decided we should get use to a single income now. That was three years ago, we're use to it. Now I just need the child to teach! I know homeschooling might intimidate some people but I feel prepared and whatever I can't do, we'll get a tutor for. Our child will have the best education we can provide. I look forward to reading, going on field trips, and watching little knowledge "light bulbs" turn on. Whatever life goal our son or daughter sets, we will do our best to help them succeed. 

I grew up in church and can't remember a time in my life when God wasn't a part of it. Josh and I have attended the same church since high school and are also part of a small Bible study group every Sunday. I am also a group leader for an organization called Bible Study Fellowship that I attend weekly (on summer break right now).
Bible study in bed.
I started three years ago and became a leader last year. I love it! I have met so many wonderful people through this study. BSF offers children's Bible studies too and we will definitely be taking advantage of that in the future.

Josh and I live in, what I think, is a very cozy comfy house close to our church, families, and fun activities. We both enjoy being home. The kitchen is my favorite room. It's always bright and sunny and I love cooking and experimenting with new recipes (which can be a challenge sometimes cause Josh is a bit picky). I generally plan our meals ahead of time for the week on a menu board I have posted and then grocery shop accordingly.  
Love the light through my kitchen windows.

I love baking too. Making beautiful yummy things is very satisfying. Josh often requests my chocolate chip cookies or chocolate cake to bring to work events and potlucks. I enjoy baking for special occasions also. I've made birthday, wedding, and baby shower cakes and cupcakes for friends and family. I look forward to the time when I can teach our child to cook and bake. I can't wait to see a sweet little face and hands covered happily in flour and frosting after helping mom in the kitchen. 
A cake I made for my father-in-law's 50th birthday.
I love to host and help with parties. Contributing to a special event in my loved ones lives or celebrating a holiday with friends and family is pure joy. In the past Josh and I have hosted several dinner parties, Halloween parties, baby showers, and birthday parties. I love making decorations and planning activities. The events hosted in our home are my favorite. Helping friends with their events is a very close second though. I'm currently planning a wedding cake with a tangerine and turquoise color scheme (great colors!) for a very sweet couple. Could not be more excited for them! 
I've enjoyed helping my friends celebrate baby showers and their children's birthdays. I'm looking forward to planning my own adoption shower and then our future child's birthday parties. I have a Pinterest board already dedicated to it!
Pinata made for a friend's daughter's birthday.

Diaper cake made for a friend's baby shower.
  In addition to cooking and party planning, I love gardening. When we had our backyard redone after moving in I had a raised garden added to the side yard where I grow herbs and veggies. It got so hot earlier this summer that only my bell peppers, basil, and yellow squash survived but in the past I've also grown zucchini, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, rosemary, and strawberries.
Grown in my garden!
 It will be fun to teach our child about gardening and watch them learn and appreciate food they've grown themselves. Josh and I try to incorporate as many organic fruits and vegetable into our diets as possible. I can't wait to make our own baby food with homegrown veggies. 

When It comes right down to it, my main interests are my faith and my family. Enjoying family and supporting them. Taking care of Josh, our home, and our puppies brings never-ending satisfaction to me. Being a wife, daughter, friend, and soon to be mom is the best job in the world in my opinion.

 Click here to see a slideshow of our family.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two feet

A fellow blogger (WaitingForBabyBrown) and future adoptive mother was recently nice enough to share our blog on her Facebook page. In the description of our blog she said we're "praying to grow our family by two feet." I think that is just the sweetest little phrase! It fits us better than she even knows. Our family has a tradition of taking pictures of our feet. I know it sounds silly but we like to document vacations and holidays with our feet. Call us weird but its fun. It started when Josh and I were dating and we bought matching Paul Frank flip flops and my mom thought it was so cute she took a picture of us wearing them. Its spread to the rest of our family too. My parents and brother even incorporated their feet into their Christmas card one year. We are going to have so much fun "adding two feet" to our family.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Generosity and a teaser

I mentioned Open Adoption, Open Heart in my last post. Well, another one of the adoptive moms from that site, Jammie, has offered to feature us on their Facebook page! I am just so amazed and touched by her willingness to support our adoption journey. She has asked me to write a little post that will show on their page and then we'll follow it up with a Q&A post (she asks, we answer). Cool huh?! So here is the post I wrote. It's kind of a combination of a few of my older posts condensed into one. Consider it a teaser for the Q&A. To see that visit their Facebook page in a few weeks, or right now, cause it's great! Enjoy!

We're Josh and Kristen and we want to adopt. It's a simple sentence with so much emotion, so many experiences, and tons of prayer behind it. We decided to start our family five years ago. if we had any control. We know now that building a family, for us, takes extreme reliance and trust in God's timing. We tried for quite awhile on our own and then sought medical help at the hospital where Josh works. We did two years of IUIs and assorted cocktails of fertility medications and tests. Then at the end of 2010 we tried for the big one. IVF. This was a one shot deal for us since it's so expensive so all our "eggs" were in one basket. As it turned out though my eggs weren't up to snuff and after our IVF failed I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. In other words I produce eggs like a woman close to menopause (I was 26 at the time). This was a heck of a blow to my self-esteem and our marriage. I'm a very determined person though so after my diagnoses I was ready to move on to adoption. The goal is not pregnancy, it's a family, children to raise into Godly productive members of society. Josh took a little more time though. What finally set his heart at rest about adoption was his relationship with his dad. His dad adopted him when he married Josh's mom. Josh and his dad have a loving, respectful, open relationship that a lot of biological families would envy. If Josh could have this relationship with his father, why couldn't he have the same thing with his adoptive children? Adoption it was, and as we proceeded, we became more and more at peace knowing that this was the path God wanted us on. After all, we are all adopted into His family through Christ. Adoption is just another word for grace, love, and acceptance. The peace that came with the decision to adopt was amazing. Our marriage was strengthened, we felt confident in our future, and infertility was a distant memory.
Three months later I was pregnant. Shock! Our first thought was "now we'll have two!" The only way I can describe it is kind of like what I imagine expecting twins would feel like. We prepared for two because they were both wanted, both loved, both equal. When we called our agency to tell them the good news the agency director told me being pregnant would probably prolong our adoption and putt off a lot of expectant moms. She said they usually want their child to be the focus. We were sad and kind of shocked. Since we thought of our children as equal, it never occurred to us that anyone would think otherwise. She was right though. Months of being pregnant passed without any potential matches. Unfortunately, at 26 weeks our daughter was born already in heaven. The grief of losing a child is not something we would wish on our worst enemies. It was equally balanced, though, with the hope that we had another child out there somewhere. Our daughter didn't need us anymore. She is with the God who blessed us with her to begin with. Now we are more anxious than ever to meet the other child He has for us.
Loving this child that we don't even know is effortless. The adoption itself, is not. It's a lot of work, takes a lot of time, and  a lot of money. But it will absolutely be worth it. This process has grown us closer together as husband and wife, and as friends, closer to our families and friends, and most importantly closer to God. His plan is perfect, His grace is endless, His strength is all we need. We are convinced that this process will end with a beautiful beginning. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yay for spreading the word!!!

About a month ago I was browsing through the adoption boards on Pinterest when I came across something that has totally changed my world since I saw it. I found a YouTube channel called OurAdoptionOption done by a woman named Candace. The video I watched first was about how Candace had found breast milk donors for her adopted son through social media. I got lost in her other videos too. She has adopted two boys and has open adoptions with both of their birth families. Its a beautiful thing to watch and her family is so sweet. At the time I saw this I had a Facebook page but that was the extent of it. Then it hit me. If she can find breast milk, I can find our baby. I immediately looked into starting  a YouTube channel and discovered it was easier than expected (remember how determined I am? See blog post here and here.) I was so enthusiastic about the process that I contacted Candace through her YouTube channel and told her she had inspired me. She asked if I had a blog. Me? Blog? I've never considered myself a writer, but she said it was a great way to spread the word. Yet again, I became determined. 
Now here we are, about a month into YouTube with 13 videos (and climbing) and over 50 subscribers. After two weeks of blogging we've had over 2,500 page views by people from all over the world and I am having so much fun!! I'm excited about the responses to our story. I'm excited to see how this will all work into finding our child. I'm just dang excited!!! This has all been very therapeutic for me. Putting into words the events of this last year and a half has lifted a weight off my soul. I feel encouraged, supported, and enthusiastic about our future as parents. For anyone out there who has experienced hardship, not just from infertility or loss but anything, I encourage you to write about it. Write about how you have persevered, how God has grown you, how you've come out the other side as "gold" as my mother would say. We are not totally on the other side yet. We are on a journey. A journey I am convinced will end with an incredible beginning. 
Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us, shared our videos and blog posts, and prayed for us. It means more to us than we could ever say.

Here's Candace helping us spread the word. She has over 4,400 subscribers! Thanks Candace!!
Candace is also a part of a group of adoptive parents and birth parents who have come together to write about their experiences with open adoption. I highly encourage you to check out their Facebook page Open Adoption, Open heart.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Holy paperwork Batman!!

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that there is a lot of work involved in adoption. That's an understatement. Anyone who has gotten very far in the adoption process will tell you it can be a little overwhelming. We started this process over a year ago, which means we have to redo our home study now because they expire after a year (in CA anyway, not sure if that's the case everywhere). At the beginning of this process we had to make our adoption profile (20 copies to be handed out to potential birth moms), write our autobiographies (this is not an exaggeration), get fingerprinted, have health physicals done, submit our bank records and employment verification, go through an FBI background check, be interviewed by a caseworker, and our home had to be baby-proofed and inspected. We attended an adoption orientation, took CPR and first aid classes, prepared an emergency kit and "escape" plan, drew up a layout of our house with utility shut offs, fire extinguisher, and smoke alarm locations labeled. Our case worker interviewed us about our marriage, asked about family member's backgrounds, our disciplinary style, our struggles with fertility, and tons of other questions. Don't even get me started on the cost. Now that it's been a year we need to redo the majority of these things. Not sure why we need to get finger prints done again since those obviously can't change and why we need to reconfirm things like where we went to high school and college. We're doing it though. The way I feel about the "business" of adoption is similar to the way I feel about the fact that restaurants have to label coffee cups with "caution hot" stickers, baby formula instruction contain the words "add water", and that blow dryers have little tags with pictures warning of electrocution if you try to blow dry your hair while still in the shower. There is someone out there in the world who warranted these warnings, and someone out there who made all of these precautions the government takes with adoption necessary. Thanks for that whoever you are. We are not those people, but again, we're doing it. There isn't a doubt in our minds that it will all be completely, entirely, overwhelmingly worth it. There isn't a government form or fee that's going to keep us from having a family! 
We are parents!!! Hear us roar!!!! 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dear Expectant Mother,

There is so much we want to say to you. When we think about what kind of person you are and what the future holds for our relationship with you, the possibilities seem endless. I'm sure you've heard a number of phrases repeated over and over by other potential parents. While those phrases are probably completely true and heartfelt, I would imagine it can get a little frustrating. We're not going to say thank you, we respect you, you're so brave. We will show you how thankful we are by never taking for granted the gift you are entrusting to us. We will show our respect for you in every discussion we have about you with our child, our families, and our friends (while respecting your privacy as well). Your bravery will be clear to everyone our child meets and every life that is blessed through them. The fact that the best day of our lives is also possibly going to be the hardest day of yours, is not lost on us. We're not going to pretend to even grasp what this choice has been like for you. The number of people affected by your life altering love for your child extends in both directions. Our family will rejoice and celebrate with us, but we also know this child has another family. You might have people in your life who are struggling with your decision, who love and will miss your baby just as much as you. This child will know who they are. He or she will never wonder about where and who they came from. This child will know you. We know you will never stop being a mother, you will never stop loving your son or daughter, and you will never stop thinking about them. We know this because we already feel like parents, we already love this child, and we think about them all the time. We are together on this road. We pray for your peace, health, and strength. We pray that God blesses you above and beyond the blessing you're giving us.
Every family that tries to adopt wants to put their best foot forward. We are no different. But we would also be the first to admit we are not perfect. We argue, our house gets dirty, we live in the same world everyone else does. But we would also tell you every arguement ends with us still in love, the house is cozy and comfortable even with dishes in the sink, and we try everyday to appreciate the beauty and unpredictability of life. Our child will be loved, so incredibly loved, and given every opportunity. This does not mean they will get everything they want. Loved and spoiled rotten are not the same. There will be boundaries and appropriate behavior will be taught. Manors, respect, and moral fortitude will be expected. Fun will be had, laughter will be heard, and forgiveness will be readily available at all times. We look forward to the challenges of parenthood. We look forward to watching our child grow and growing with them. We look forward to starting this incredible journey with you. Whatever expectations you have of us, whatever hopes you have for your child's future, we will do everything in our power to make them come true. Know that this is not the end of anything. It is the beginning of something that is nothing short of miraculous. 
-Love, Josh and Kristen

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The room across the hall

The room across the hall from our bedroom has changed more times than any other room in our house. When we moved in it was made into a guest room. When we decided to adopt we moved the guest bed up to our family's cabin in preparation for a nursery and for a few months the room was empty. Then it had just our car seat and stroller in it and then one little onesie hanging in the closet. Then when I was pregnant with Evelyn I got ahead of myself and set up the Pack'n Play that we would use as a bassinet. After Evelyn passed there were a few months when the door never opened.
First little onesie.

Then the day before Valentines Day we got a call about a 15 year old who was pregnant with a little girl. I'm going to call her Joy just in case someone tries to connect the dots and because that's what we felt when we heard about her. Joy was living in a group home when she found our adoption agency. She had run away from home when she found out she was pregnant. Our agency's director told me only a few details about her but she said that, when asked what she wanted from an adoptive family, she answered "I want them to have a full refrigerator, clean clothes for the baby, and I want them to go to church." Such small requests and all things Josh and I are beyond willing and able to provide. These were big things for her though. She had picked us out of the stack of profiles and told our agency director "I want them to adopt me!". She told me more background information needed to be gathered, but after that we would get to talk to Joy and then meet in person. I got off the phone and fell flat on my face in the middle of the floor and cried praising God. I felt such hope and relief and I was so grateful that this young girl had chosen life for her child. After I pulled myself together I called Josh. He was at work so he couldn't get too excited but I could hear the relief and happiness in his voice. Next I called my mom and mother in law. Both cried.
Window treatment I made.
The room across the hall started to change again. I hung some pictures my dad took, made some window decorations, and refinished a dresser that was mine when I was little. I will always be grateful for this fresh wave of hope and peace that came over our family at a time when we desperately needed it. A few weeks later though, Joy stopped returning calls. We never did get to talk to her or meet her. We never got to tell her that we pray for her and her child. I still do. Her due date came and went. I thought about her constantly that day. We pray she has peace, a good support system, and happiness with her daughter. We're not mad at her for keeping her child. We are sad for the loss of the future we imagined with her and her little girl. So the room across the hall keeps changing. I can't wait to meet the little person who will change it forever and make it the most beautiful room in the world. 
 Click here to see a little tour of our home.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

After lots of prayer...

There are quite a few options when going about the adoption process. Domestic, international, open, closed, through an agency or lawyer, age and ethnicity of the child, etc. Josh and I have prayed separately and together about all our choices and have been led to the following decisions:

Domestic adoption through a Christian agency-Adoption Center of Hope
We chose this agency through a recommendation from a family friend. They take very good care of their families, offering them support and counseling to be sure adoption is right for them as well as support in other aspects of their lives. The agency director is one of the sweetest and most compassionate people I've ever met. We are very happy with our choice. 

We want to adopt a newborn.
Our agency matches expectant mothers with adoptive families no earlier than their third trimester (again, to give them time to be sure of their decision). Ideally we (or at least I) would like to be present at the birth. That would be an incredibly beautiful gift, but not a deal breaker. We want to respect everyone's privacy.

We are good with open or closed adoption but would prefer at least a little open.
We want our child to know where they came from. We want them to know that your decision to place them for adoption was made out of love. We understand that every situation is unique and the level of openness in this adoption is up for discussion between us and our future birth family. We will respect our birth families desires.

This is a subject that seems to bring up a lot of opinions no matter how we answer. There are people who think adopting outside your own ethnicity is asking for trouble and those who say only adopting within your own ethnicity is selfish. We have decided to keep this part of our adoption private. It is between us, God, and the family who chooses us to raise their child. We will follow God's lead. 

Baby and expectant mom's background and health. 
This we are going to take on a case by case basis as well. However, after the loss of our daughter we do not feel emotionally prepared to handle severe health issues.
We would be equally happy to have a son or daughter. 

Multiple births.
Obviously we want at least one child but would also love twins!

The possibilities of who we will meet through this process are so exciting to me. We could be chosen by almost anybody and our lives and their lives will never be the same. I am buzzing with anticipation. Literally, I think my teeth might be vibrating! Haha!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our profile

This is the adoption profile I made for our agency to hand out to expectant parents. Enjoy!
(For mobile devices click Adoption Profile)

We made 20 copies to be sent out into the world!

I am prepared

I'd like to think I have no delusions about parenting. I'm sure I do though, cause I've never done it. I understand I won't be the perfect mother, Josh won't be the perfect dad, and we will not raise perfect children. I'm sure gonna try my hardest to be a good mom, and in my opinion, Josh will be a fantastic dad, and our children will have every opportunity to lead happy, fulfilling lives. Like I said before, I'm a pretty determined person. 

Having to place a child for adoption is not a perfect scenario. I can't imagine the stress, pain, and uncertainty that comes with that decision. When you think about it though, with pregnancy you have nine months to prepare, but we've been waiting for our child for almost five years now. When you choose adoption you're placing your child with a family that has planned, worked, dreamed, and prepared for that child for years. That's one blessed baby. Placing a child for adoption isn't giving up on a child. You are a mom, and will be a mom forever. This child will know you. We never want this child to wonder where they came from. We understand that choosing adoption does not mean you don't want that baby. It means you want the best for that baby. Adoption doesn't mean you'll never see them again. Our child will always know how blessed they are to have not just one family but two families that will always love them. You chose to give them life and now you're putting that life in our hands.

When it comes to preparing for this child I think Josh and I are more than ready. Emotionally, physically, financially, mentally, every way you can be prepared, we are. Because of our Evelyn Rose, I was able to prepare in a way that the average adoptive mom can't. Two days after she was born, my milk came in. I immediately started going through all the bereavement paperwork we brought home from the hospital looking for information on pumping. There was nothing though, only information on how to help it dry up. I guess this isn't the normal response after losing a child. But she isn't my only child, and while she doesn't need me anymore, our other child does, and I want this child to have the best I can give, including what they eat. After all the research I've done about pregnancy, Josh working at a hospital, and one of my best friends being a labor and delivery nurse, I know the benefits of breast milk. I have nothing against formula feeding, and I was prepared to do that. God gave me the option to choose otherwise. I called my friend. As an L & D nurse she was able to help me start pumping and showed me the proper way to store the milk. I started pumping just as if I was feeding a baby every few hours.
Starting to fill up!
It didn't take long to fill up our freezer in the kitchen so Josh and I went out and bought a chest freezer for the garage. I filled bin after bin and soon they were stacked three bins high in the freezer. It was a lot of work and I'm not going to say it wasn't emotionally challenging, but in the end I'm convinced it will be worth it. I look forward to the day I can thaw out my first bag and use Evelyn's milk to feed our adopted child. Talk about coming full circle! I just hope it's soon. We're coming up on the deadline for when frozen milk starts to degrade. In a few months, the first milk I pumped won't be as nutritious as it once was. The thought of throwing it away makes me sick so the only other option is to donate it before the deadline passes. Ugh! This is a big reason I'm a little pushy about people sharing our hopes to adopt. I want the world to know we're ready and waiting! And so we keep waiting. God's timing is perfect and if I'm meant to donate this milk then so be it. Time to do some more research.
*UPDATE: Click here to see how God answered this prayer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I am amazed

 What a beautiful feeling, the relief of starting the adoption process was. We were excited, relaxed, and enjoying what we were sure would be a wait of no more than eight or nine months (The average wait time for our agency). There is no doubt in my mind that every adopted child was absolutely planned for and wanted. You can't go into adoption halfhearted. The background checks, fingerprinting, stacks of paperwork, phone calls, home inspections, it can all be a bit overwhelming. I was excited to begin though. I got right to it. 
Making our profile for our agency to give to birth moms.

  By Easter we were ready to announce our adoption to our entire family. I will never forget Josh standing up in front of everyone and reading from Ephesians chapter one about our adoption into God's family through Christ and then telling everyone we were adopting. There were tears, applause, and excitement from everyone. It was a beautiful day. Our families could not be more supportive and happy for us. There hasn't been a baby in Josh's family in 16 years. There are members of our family who have placed baby items for both genders on layaway just to be prepared. Both of our parents were eagerly anticipating being grandparents for the first time.
Josh reading from Ephesians 1.
We were at peace. No more pills and injections, no more tears every month we weren't pregnant, no more anxiety about the cost of fertility treatments. I was amazed at how easily we slipped into the hope of adoption. We began to enjoy just being married. We knew this would be the last time it would just be Josh and I. Soon our child would be our focus. I began to nest. We removed the queen bed from our nursery to make room for a crib, bought a car seat and stroller, I even bought a little gender neutral Dr. Suess onesie. It was such a relief to walk through the baby department at the store and not feel a pit in my stomach. 

I will always be amazed by God's timing.

Three months after starting our adoption, I was pregnant. Yep. The feeling of complete shock and awe does not even begin to describe what it was like to take a positive pregnancy test. What the heck!? Our first thought was "now we'll have two!" I felt like God was kind of putting us on the parenting fast-track to make up for the years of waiting. Both of our children would be loved beyond words. Both were equal. Both were ours. When I called our agency to tell them the good news, the agency director told me something that hadn't once occurred to me. Woman considering adoption want their baby to be the focus and the fact that I was pregnant might put some expectant moms off. It would prolong our adoption process. While I was sad and disappointed, I was understanding too. We were given the option to put our profile on hold but that didn't feel right at all. We were sure some special expectant mom out there would understand how we felt. They were both our children. So we waited.
20 weeks pregnant.

Pregnancy was beautiful. I had times of paranoia that I think comes with every first pregnancy and years of trying to conceive. Things were going really well though. We enjoyed early pregnancy and waited eagerly to hear from that special mom we knew was out there somewhere. Then at about 18 weeks, we went for an ultrasound, and they told us the baby was on the small side and my fluid was a little low. We were reassured by friends and family that these weren't major problems and after more testing our doctor confirmed that blood flow to the baby was normal so she wasn't too worried. Josh and I aren't big people so a small baby was expected and Josh, working at a hospital, heard about women delivering babies with no fluid at all.  I tried not to be paranoid.  I am not amazed that I still was, especially considering what was about to happen.

The day after Thanksgiving, on the day I turned 26 weeks, Josh and I decided to go get a 3D ultrasound. We still hadn't been able to get a clear look at the gender and my heart felt anxious. I felt like seeing the heartbeat would ease my nerves. We made an appointment for 5:30pm and went about our day. We left for our appointment excited to finally find out if we were expecting a girl or boy. The ultrasound tech had me lay down and after what felt like an eternity of silence she spoke. "I'm not a doctor, but I think you should go to the hospital. I don't see a heartbeat." We ran out the front door. 

The next day, Saturday, November 24th, 2012, our daughter, Evelyn Rose, was born already in heaven. I am amazed that I got to be part of this amazing little miracle. I don't know God's purpose in bringing her to us when He did and then taking her home, but I know she was important. While pain and grief are an obvious reaction, we strive every day to remember our daughter as the gift that she was. I may not know God's purpose but I'm confidant in His plan and His love for us. The grief of our daughter's passing was balanced with the continued anticipation of our adopted child's arrival. We still have another child out there somewhere. Even before Evelyn, I felt like a mother, and after her, I still do, if not more so. I will have the greatest compassion for our future birth mom on the day our child is born. I have felt the pain of leaving the hospital without your baby. The woman who chooses us can rest assured though, her baby will be coming home with a family who will love them beyond comparison. We will do everything in our power to give her child a full, happy, and complete life. Her child is expected, planned for, and wanted more than words can say.
Evelyn Rose

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