Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Inadequate Vocabulary

I wrote and rewrote my next post about the days between our daughter's birth and the six day wait until she was finally home. I just couldn't get it the way I wanted. I guess I don't have the vocabulary to describe it. Maybe some of the adoptive parents out there will understand. The rest of you will just have to use your imaginations. Think stressful, beautiful, peaceful, heart wrenching bitter-sweetness and you'll be close.

While not being able to take her home for six days was INCREDIBLY difficult, I tried to see the silver lining. Waiting those six days prepared us mentally and relationally. Josh and I went to Disneyland (a fun distraction and it might be a little while before we can go again) and I was able to work on preparing her room (pictures coming soon). Fitting nine months of nesting into six days was incredible. Decorating and organizing at the speed of motherhood! Haha! 

I will tell you our daughter's birth parents are lovely and we are so blessed to have been able to spend a whole day at the hospital with them. Birth mom and I exchanged cell phone numbers and I have been so unbelievably blessed and humbled by her text messages. I pray that my responses and the pictures I've shared with her have been soothing to her heart. 

God has truly shown Himself. Not just hints. He has left His finger prints so deep in our daughter's life she's practically a heavenly Grauman's Chinese Theater! I can't wait to tell her these stories. Tell her about her birth family's love for her. Show her how God made Himself so clear through her life. People have told us she is blessed to have us as parents but we feel beyond blessed to have her as our daughter.

Josh holding his daughter at the hospital. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Call

So there we were. In our PJs. Watching Duck Dynasty. Lounging on the couch at 10:30 at night. Oblivious. Little did we know, our daughter had been born that morning.

I had it in my head the way it would go. The ring tone I had assigned to our agency director would sound and my heart would race. She would tell us about an expectant mom who had chosen us from a stack of profiles because of a small detail. Maybe she liked that we were going to homeschool, or that we had three dogs, or that I was going to stay home with the baby. Some little detail that had confirmed her choice. She would be in her second trimester maybe. Plenty of time to plan, finish the nursery, get to know the woman who would change our lives with a new little life. Maybe she'd let me be in the room when our child came into this world. I would be prepared with a "going home outfit" for baby and a memorable and meaningful gift for birth mom. Baby would be born and come home the next day. A nice neat package. 

But where's the fun and excitement in that? God's plans continually blow me away.

10:30 at night last Wednesday. Michelle, our agency director, calls from a number I don't recognize and my phone is on vibrate so I just barely notice the screen light up out of the corner of my eye. I answer and immediately my heart races (I don't think that part would change in any scenario) as Michelle tells me she's at the hospital and a beautiful little girl had been born. I put her on speaker for Josh. She gives us all the info she can and asks if we would like our profile shown to the birth parents. No matter how long you wait, how much you want it, the idea of IMMEDIATELY having a child that you didn't even know existed that morning, it's a bit of a shock. We asked for ten minuets to pray, talk, think, and call back. Fear is a powerful thing. I sat and watched my strong wonderful husband guide me and display immeasurable faith. We called Michelle back and confidently announced "she's ours!!"

Michelle called back in less than twenty minutes. They had picked us and the ride of our lives began. She gave us the hospital info and told us to be there at 9:00 the next morning. 

Longest. Night. Of. Our. Lives.

Josh brushing up on his parenting skills after we got the call.

We were up hours before the alarm. Have you ever been up so early that the only other people in Target are the employees? We rushed around the store buying baby "essentials" for the day and small gifts for the birth parents. I say small, because nothing could ever be sufficient. Not much point in even trying to compare. There aren't many things as humbling as buying lotion and body scrub for the woman giving you her child. On to the hospital.

Waiting outside Target for the store to open.

Longest. Drive. Of. Our. Lives.

45 minutes later we were there. We walked into the waiting room and met Michelle. This hard working, compassionate woman had been there all day Wednesday, driven two hours home, and then come all the way back early the next morning to meet us and bring breakfast to birth mom. We waited outside for birth mom to finish eating and then Michelle lead us back to her room. 

This is where I stop for now. I still haven't completely decided what details of this week to share and what to keep for ourselves. Plus I have my newborn daughter in my arms and I'm blissfully exhausted.
I'll leave you with the first picture we ever saw of our daughter, texted to us by Michelle the day our girl was born. 6lbs 13oz and 19 inches of perfection.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Motherhood Monday: Bright

First Motherhood Monday of a new year!!! Hoping and praying this is the year we meet our miracle.

I was told this morning that some people call today "blue Monday". It's the first Monday after the holiday season. Christmas has been boxed up and put away and everyone goes back to work. Apparently, this makes a lot of people feel "blue". I was kind of disappointed when I heard this. It's the first Monday of a new year! Time to be thankful for the calm after the rush. Time to be thankful for the gifts we now get to enjoy. Thankful for the job to go back to. Thankful for the memories made. Excited for the future! It's time to embrace ambiguity. A new year, soon to be our second year of waiting, brings so much hope! The longer we wait, the closer we get. 2014 is logically, more than likely, hopefully our year!! The possibilities are endless! Just one day, even one minute, can change our lives. Now we have a whole year of that possibility and uncertainty. How about instead of "blue Monday" we celebrate "bright Monday"? Our future is bright! I am trying, with everything I've got, to remember this. 

Josh and I got a juicer for Christmas! He technically got it for me but we'll both use it. Awhile ago we watched a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The guy in the movie loses tons of weight by going on a juice fast. He juices fruit and veggies for sixty days, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As a bonus to losing the weight, a lot of his health issues completely disappear. Josh and I don't need to lose weight but I do like the benefits for overall health. We'll only juice maybe one or two days a week but I highly recommend this documentary. Even if you don't act on it, it's just fun to watch!

Thoughts about our child:
I'm getting that familiar creativity itch. Our nursery is begging to be decorated. Every once in awhile we add a little something but, I'm in the mood to get movin'! I'm thinking about maybe a chevron pattern painted on the ceiling (like this), or maybe something interesting painted on the wall where the crib will be. I did make some updates to the dresser that I'll share later (it's a thing of beauty and deserves it's own post).

Thoughts about our expectant mom:
What does this new year mean to you? Hope? Promise? Fear? Peace? We're ready whenever you are.

This week God:
Tested me. I failed. I didn't start the year off in the best of moods. There have been multiple small uprisings of impatience, anger, and frustration. My vision of where I would be at this point in my life looked a lot different in my head. Did you catch that? My, my, my... If I were God, I woulda gotten sick of me a long time ago. Thank you God for your patience.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." 
-2 Corinthians 12:9

"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow." -Helen Keller

Read about why I started Motherhood Mondays here.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Bucket List

I've never made New Year's resolutions. Never had the urge. I set goals a lot and generally don't have trouble completing them (exercise and pregnancy not included). I am a list lover though and the idea of a parenting bucket list, something that could possibly be life-long, satisfies me. Now, I know what you're thinking, "she said she didn't want to do too much planning!" Well...I'm not. Some of these are goals, some are things I look forward to, some are hopes and prayers, and some of these things I will do unless God says otherwise (which He could). I'll be adding to this over time as I think of new things and then cross things off as we accomplish/attempt to accomplish them. Some of these goals though are a little too broad to "check off" the list but they are goals nonetheless. Here it goes, in no particular order (except the first one).
 *Accomplished goals are crossed out. :)

1. COMPLETE the adoption process (obviously).
2. Adopt again.
3. See our children accept Christ.
4. Collect every children's book Dr. Seuss wrote (like this lady).
5. Restore a classic car together.
6. Learn Greek and Latin, and then teach our kids.
7. Homeschool (and then, when they're mature/old enough, give our kids the option to attend traditional school or continue homeschool.)
8. Make our own baby food from veggies grown in our garden.
9. Take a cross country family road trip.
10. Take a family vacation to Disney World.
11. Feed exclusively with breast milk (mine or donated) for at least the first six months.
14. Practice baby wearing.
15. Start a family Bible study.
16. Teach our children how to serve others.
17. Teach MANNERS!! Please, thank you, respect elders...all that good stuff.
18. Set a good example of and teach good stewardship. Budgeting, saving, investing, etc.
19. Encourage creativity through art, dance, and/or music.
20. Encourage relationship skills through team activities/sports.
21. Let them decorate and redecorate their bedrooms themselves.
22. Make homemade Halloween costumes.
23. Start a journal with our kids like my mom did.
24. Teach our kids to cook and bake for themselves before they leave the nest.
25. Encourage generosity of time, money, and spiritual gifts through volunteering.
26. Set up an allowance system and have them save up for wanted (not needed) items.
27. Encourage appropriate pride in being adopted (by us and their Heavenly Father). It's a blessing!!
28. Encourage appropriate pride in ethnic heritage (especially if we adopt outside of our ethnicity. P.S. Kristen is Norwegian (oofta), and Josh is Dutch.)
29. Sew children's clothes (that actually look good) and teach our kids to sew.
30. Praise God for the sleepless nights, temper tantrums, diaper blowouts, runny noses, sticky fingers, "terrible twos", and every other blessing/trial of parenthood. 

So what's on your parenting bucket list (or grand-parenting bucket list)?
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