Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Remembering Judah

A year ago we found out that the baby we called Judah, was not going to come home to us.  I remember so clearly getting off the phone and feeling like I couldn't breath.  I remember quietly closing the nursery door.  I remember breathing prayer after prayer for him and his birth mom (who he wasn't with but we're praying he's back with her now).  I remember wondering who was holding him and willing him to feel as loved as he was.  I remember the moment I stopped pumping milk for him, and telling my Farmer Boy that I was done as tears ran down my face.  I remember feeling like such a fool for having loved him before we met him.  I remember the shocked emails from the social workers and their apologetic: "We didn't see this coming".  I remember returning to work a week later and a sweet co-worker giving me a white lily with tears in her eyes.  I remember students notes of love.  I remember a few comments that hurt about how we shouldn't have let ourselves hope so big, even when we were chosen for him.  I remember thinking how at least he was very prayed for by us in those weeks leading up to his birth, and how I was glad that I had allowed myself to love him because I knew it meant I would be praying for him for the rest of my life. I remember how waiting for him to be born I felt more like a mother than ever before in my life. I remember how I looked at the ultrasound picture one more time before deleting the files.  I remember waves of excitement being replaced with waves of grief.  I remember wondering how big he was, what he looked like, what kind of baby he was.

I still wonder.  Did he have a wonderful first birthday?  Is he walking and saying a few words?  Does he have a lot of hair?  How big is he?  What does he love to eat?  I'll probably always wonder things about him.  And that's ok.
The announcement we sent to family when we found out we were chosen and he was a boy!

I remember you today Judah.  And I'm still praying for you sweet baby boy.

Please join me in praying that he is able to be with his birth mom and that they are in a safe place now.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Cuddles and diapers and cars and crackers and applesauce ...

I just realized that I haven't written in ... almost 7 months!?!?  What?  So, life with a baby has been a grand adventure and a lot of work, but honestly waaaay more fun than I could have imagined!  (seriously, I love it more than I knew I could love doing anything ever!).  I thought to ease back into blogging I would share a little of what we've been up to these last 7 months!

One of the biggest parts of our life has been MOVING - we moved not only to a different state, but across the ocean!  With a 6 month old!  We spent 2 months staying with family and then moved into our new house (renting from Joshua's wonderful Grandpa!) we love our huge backyard garden/farm where we now have chickens and 2 kittens!  Decorating a woodland nursery for Genesis has been a huge highlight for me.  I often go into the nursery just to relax and enjoy the fact that I have a nursery in my house!!!  Genesis loves to play and look at books in there too - not so much sleeping goes on there but that's ok. ;)  We're super excited to be closer to family and we loved spending time with cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles this summer!

Genesis is growing into such a fun and interactive baby!  We love him more every moment and are amazed by him constantly.  He crawls everywhere really fast, and he loves to sing and dance.  His favorite toys right now are car type toys (a wooden bunny with wheels his great grandma made) and balls.  He LOVES trees which he has loved all his life really!  He loves the kittens and going outside with his Papa and digging in the dirt (and eating it!).  His first word was either "Papa" or "kitty", and he says "mama" but only when he is crying or pooping (which he often does IN THE POTTY!)  We're still nursing which is such a gift and I love having this bond with him!  I wish I could have nursed without a nursing bottle, but I am so grateful that I have any of my own milk to give him! (maybe I'll write a post just about adoptive breastfeeding at some point because seriously it's crazy!).
I may go back to work soon, and I am treasuring every moment (and every blessed afternoon nap which I religiously take with him every day - lucky me!!!) with him just at home together.  It's bliss.  Except for the screaming, and peeing and stinky cloth diapers ... that's not so much bliss but everything else is, oh except the not sleeping well at night part - that is the hardest on me I think ... but everything else is bliss.  I am in love with being a stay at home mom and I will treasure this time we have had forever!

Well, I don't think I am expressing well what an incredible child he is ... so here are some pictures to let you see a bit into our everyday.  :)

Sleeping sweet baby at 3- 4 months

Tummy time with mama

Nursing 4 months

Goodbye Hawaii - 6 months!

Mama's teacher's aide in the high school 6 months!

Add caption

Pumpkin and Papa

Can you find the baby?  In our fall garden 

He loves books!

Well - there's a look at what we've been up to these past 7 months!  Not sure if it will be that long before I update again - but if it is you'll know it's because I have the cutest little buddy to hang out with these days!  We feel very grateful!

Friday, April 24, 2015


I have had  a long history of being stubborn and trying to be independent, and to NOT need anything from anyone.  I have had almost as long of a history of being humbled, shown my weaknesses, and NEEDING others in my life.  It's been an uncomfortable journey, but I am learning how God never intended us to walk alone on this journey of life.  He created us for community, and to be there to help each other.  Somehow I feel like I have been on the receiving end way too much - but again it's humbling (which apparently I need).

We knew when we set out to adopt, or pretty soon after, that it would be a hard road, we had NO idea how incredibly hard.  I had heard adoption was expensive with all the fees and such, but I had no clue how expensive it was going to be for us.  Most people that I know who have adopted outside foster care, have had auctions, fundraisers etc. It's uncomfortable.  The apostle Paul talks about helping others in Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burden's and so fulfill the law of Christ."  The Bible also says that if one doesn't work he shouldn't eat - alluding to the fact that no one who is unwilling to work should be mooching off of those who ARE hardworking.  It's a balance that is often misunderstood and uncomfortable.

When I came home from surgery that December 10 years ago I was given the first gift toward our adoption fund by my sister.  She had knitted me a baby sweater (which is pink so I guess we need to adopt a girl next!) and the money was enclosed in the gift.  It was only 10 days after my major surgery, and I broke down crying when I saw her loving thoughtfulness and the hope she had for my someday babies, even before I could fully comprehend what I had lost in that operating room.  After that I started saving all my change in a jar marked "For the Babies".  

The gifts started slowly coming in as people heard that my dream was to adopt.  Some of the girls in my Bible study would save their coins too, one day we found $500 in my car after church ... When my Farmer Boy and I got married, we decided to ask for gifts toward our adoption account instead of registering for tons of household gifts.  

We have been overwhelmed time and time again by the generosity of our friends and family.  We had one friend offer to give us a huge amount which was a part of an inheritance.  We were floored.  There is NO way we could have adopted baby Genesis without her generosity, without every one of the dollars given to help us get here.  We had another person offer to give us a private loan for the lawyer and birth mom fees that were due the day we found out he was going to be ours.  Again, without that we would have had to walk away.  When we began getting closer last year I started 2 extra home jobs on top of both of us working 60+ hours a week teaching to try and earn the money needed to adopt.  We wanted so badly to be able to afford this adoption without any more help!

We took out 2 loans on top of all the money we were given, and still that wasn't enough.  Since we lots baby Judah after we had entered into an adoption agreement we lost a hefty lawyer's retainer and birth mom expenses (almost the entire first loan amount), we literally had no idea how we would be able to cover this adoption.  We thought about the potential of not being able to cover the adoption and considered saying no (shudder), but we just felt like he was placed in our radar for a reason, and we should step out in faith that all the details would fall into place.  

On his one month birthday we were flown via private jet to a bigger hospital because he was in respiratory distress from the RSV virus.  His insurance hadn't gone  through yet - but we prayed and filled out the insurance formed.  Thankfully his insurance went through, but the co-payments for 5 days in the hospital plus emergency services were enough to push us over the top with absolutely no way to even make payments on top of the loan payments.  Again, we were given gifts to help cover many of the fees and we are so grateful!

I guess I just wanted to take this opportunity to shout out to every person who has given from $5 to thousands!   It is uncomfortable and brings us to our knees in gratitude to accept the help for what we COULD NOT do on our own.  You have (and are) helping make our dream of having a family come true.  You are part of our miracle!!!  "Thank you" doesn't cut it, but it's what I will be saying until the day I die.  THANK YOU!!!  Every morning I wake up and see the smile of the most beautiful child on earth - because of YOUR faithful sharing and loving!  We are overwhelmed.  

Here are some pictures to let you see how you have helped changed our life!

Here is a link to see the beautiful giving record:  Adoption Fundraiser

Monday, March 16, 2015

Smiley Baby

Sweetest Little Baby,

Three months ago right now we were about to board a flight headed over the wide vast Pacific ocean to meet you.  We hadn't even known you were ours for 8 hours yet and we were about to have you placed into our arms.  What a three months this has been!  We have learned and grown so much in the last three months, and experienced a lifetime full of joys, sadness and awe.  We still feel like this is a wonderful dream and we still feel like we are the most luckiest of all people to be YOUR parents, Genesis Evan.  We love you more than we knew it was possible to love.  You are our son, and our lives will never be the same.  Here are some of the moments (joy filled and tear filled) we have been having over these three months:

(photo by Constance Starks)

* Seeing your cousin Evie hold you for the first time you were just a little over 2 weeks old - her 2 year old reaction was the reaction I think we all have had on the inside when we realize all that God has done in giving you to our family.  As soon as I placed you in her arms you she said: "CUUUTEEE!" and then let out the most joyful belly laugh!  She kept looking at you and then laughing and she was positively shaking with joy at the amazing miracle that you are.  You are so loved sweet boy - but all your grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, friends ... I often tell you that you are the most loved baby in all the world.

* Carrying you into our home.  Being home with our sweet baby at 3 weeks old - just the three of us.  Absolute bliss.  We just stared at you and cuddled you and I nursed you and your Papa took pictures of you and laughed as you tried to suck your thumb.  We became a family.

* Your first "cold". The first night we were home you started to seem sick - we all had a cold, but yours progressed into trouble breathing so about a week after coming home we took you to the ER where they got worried because you were so tiny and your cough was so bad and your oxygen level was too low. So they sent you and me on a medical jet (a jet so small they were afraid I might not be able to go with you - that was some of the worst fear of my life thinking they might take you away and I would have to follow on the different flight!) in the middle of the night on your first month birthday to a bigger hospital.  We were stuck an island away from the Papa and without family or close friends - but God sent some angels to us who brought me coffee, and clothes and brought you cuddles.  The morning after we were flown you were so weak and I leaned over the crib where you were tethered with tons of wires and tubes.  You let out a weak whimper and I said: "Baby, I know you feel horrible, but you are strong and you need to fight hard to keep breathing, you can make it through this. FIGHT hard baby, don't leave us."  The doctors kept saying how babies with what you had stop breathing and how dangerous it is - you had RSV.  We spent 5 days in the hospital.  Such a hard way to start our life together, but it bonded you and I even more I think.

* Hearing your Papa read to you, and hearing how you love to coo and "talk" to him.  You love interacting with your Papa.  You turn to Mama for comfort and going to sleep, but you enjoy your Papa for just handing out and being buddies together.  I love seeing his huge hands holding your tiny self.  You are protected so well by him Genesis.

* The day I went back to work, I always wanted to be a stay at home mama - and someday I will be, but for now we need me to be working.  So I went back after just 6 weeks with you.  The first day I dropped you off I felt like part of me was missing.  As I drove away from the babysitter's house I glanced in the baby mirror reflected in the rear-view mirror and my heart dropped when I didn't see your little face.  I hadn't left you for longer than a few minutes since the moment I laid eyes on you - and it felt so wrong to be without you.  It's been about 6 weeks working now and I still feel like a part of my body is missing when I'm away from you.  Hardest thing by far of being your mama up to now.

* The first time you reached up and touched my face - and left your little fingers on my chin.  I melted.

* The day when I came home from work and you smiled and got soooo excited to see me!  I felt like the most popular person in the world!

* Your laughing in your sleep - you've done it almost from day one, and you just started doing it when you're away over the past week.  It's THE BEST.

Thank you sweet boy, for making our lives so full.  We love you.

~ Your Mama