The end of the story?

Well, I’m not dead, so no, it’s not the end of the story.

But for now, it might just be the end of the blog and every day computer time.

(Except for pictures and stories of my kids here and there because otherwise the family will go ballistic.)

Today I read this post. And this post. And this post.

Coincidence?

I think not.

I’ve been struggling lately with the facebook and the blogging and what really is the purpose and am I wasting time or am I building relationships and connecting and drawing others to Christ or just drawing myself away from my kids and my husband and my Lord?

I don’t know.

But I do know that I will be ok if I step away. And that maybe I do need to step away because the highlight of my day shouldn’t be that I had 250 views on my blog but that I got 250 kisses from my babies and hubby.

And maybe I’ll really really really clean my house. Because it’s gross and it needs it. Or maybe I’ll actually scrapbook. Like a book with pages. Or maybe I’ll just read a hundred books with the kids (and by myself) and play with play dough and cook and do sit ups (not) and have play dates and tea parties and play dress up or cuddle, talk with and kiss my husband.

And maybe I’ll be back to share a little with ya.  Or maybe not.

…and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God…. Ephesians 3:18-19

The wonder of it all

Yesterday we shared our story. I was dreading it. I’m not sure why since I’ve shared it here, I’ve shared it with women at our Women’s Retreat. But I was so fearful and ashamed and I didn’t want to. But Pat was confident – not in himself or us, but in the healing power of Jesus and the work He’d done in our life. And I am too but still I dreaded it.  Of course it went great. Our group was smaller which perhaps was a blessing. We shared and had open, honest conversation.  And hopefully encouraged and drew nearer to Christ.

Every day it comes to mind. And every day I marvel at the love of Jesus. I know I talk of it alot, perhaps too much and it gets old but it will never get old. To be rescued from a pit of despair and hopelessness? I will never forget. Lord, let me never forget.

Beginning today I’m counting towards 1000 gifts of thanks along with others at A Holy Experience.

1. the love of a Savior, especially when I least deserve it

2. a husband I cherish and fall more in love with every day

3. playing tea party with Angel

4. advil for Pat’s awful headache

5. birthday supper with Grandma Barb

6. the feel of warm laundry out of the dryer

7. sharing chocolate malt o meal with Pat

8. a little boy and girl potty training and running around in underwear

9. snuggling under covers

10. bubbles in the tub

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  Psalm 9:1

Indescribable

I don’t want to move through life so fast that I miss it. The indescribable.

Nothing of course, comes close to the indescribable love of Jesus. The freedom that’s found only through Him. Hope for today. Peace that passes all understanding. A love so great that it overflows into all I do, say, am. (Or it should anyway.)

But when I slow down, when I open my eyes and take in each moment, I’ve been blessed with so much more. The love of Jesus would be enough. But He gives more. Moments that are indescribable…

…a beautiful bright orange sunrise

…big tight squeezes from babies

…a shoulder rub and whispers of I love you

…friends who care and love and understand, even when the worst is revealed

…laughter

…nap time cuddling with babies

…swinging in the back yard

…stars that shine bright

…the sound of babies saying “mama”

…snowmen in the front yard

…the gentle fall of snowflakes

…chocolate cake with a glass of milk

…the intimacy of husband and wife

…the blessing of 5 children, still unbelievable after so many years

I want to soak it all in. I’m in awe of my Savior. Every day I marvel at His greatness. His love, mercy and faithfulness.  I don’t want to miss a moment, even a small one.  Because it’s all from Him.  And it’s indescribable.

Guess what I did

I kicked the unmotivated, undisciplined, lazy me to the curb.  I put on my running gear and even though the wind was blowing it was a beautiful day and I ran my 2.5 mile course and yes I did walk a little bit but I ran!

My knees hurt. My lungs screamed and I probably ran a 14 minute mile pace which is fast walking for most people but I don’t care.

It felt awful. But it felt amazing. The new healthy fit me that took a 8 week eat everything do nothing vacation is back. Hopefully to stay.

Our Angel

Kelly at Kelly’s Korner hosts “Show Us Your Life” every Friday. Well today the topic is adoption and even though many of you know our story, I had to still share about our miracle girl!

“But these things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.” Habakkuk 2:3

Pat and I were married in December 2002. I was married before and had struggled with infertility for about four years so Pat and I figured we would have problems conceiving. After about 6 months we decided to seek medical help in hopes to conceive.

In the Fall of 2003 I had surgery. I’ve had a history of ovarian cysts and had had previous surgeries for this and so had alot of scar tissue on my ovaries. Otherwise the doctors couldn’t determine any other reason for not getting pregnant. In the Fall of 2004 I had another surgery, this being my 4th so far. We were never led to pursue IVF. I’m not sure why. I just always felt that if we couldn’t conceive naturally I would rather spend the money on an adoption.

In the Spring of 2005 we decided to talk more seriously about adoption. At this time Pat had a 14 year old daughter and a 16 year old son. Even though we were trying to conceive, the process of adoption made him think hard about whether or not he really wanted to start over and have more kids. Unfortunately he wasn’t sure. This became a constant struggle for us and my heart was broken to think that I’d never be a mom.

In June of 2005 we were still talking about adoption and researching adoption agencies. My sister called one night and said she knew of a little boy that needed a home. O was 1 year old and his mom and my sister had just met. His mom was struggling with addictions and had asked my sister to take him. My sister wasn’t able to care for him though either so that night we went over to my sister’s house and picked O up. We had absolutely nothing for a little 1 year old but family and friends from work and church helped us out. We eventually communicated with O’s mom and she was considering adoption. We loved O so much and we prayed that we could be his forever family. But regardless of what happened we felt the Lord directing us to care for O as long as he needed a family.

We had O for one year. During that year we continued to communicate with his mom, going back and forth about adoption.  She eventually moved 800 miles away to a half way house and was able to get clean and healthy.   We were very close with O’s grandparents as they lived in the same town and they too struggled with O going back to his mother or staying with us.  We all eventually came to realize that God’s will was for him to go back to her.  At the end of May 2006, almost exactly one year since he came to our home we drove O 800 miles to his mom. It was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to endure.

God is good and has allowed us to remain close to O, his mom and his grandparents. We are O’s God-parents and we get to see him and his family often. Although it was hard we are so thankful that God brought them into our life.  A huge blessing that came out of this experience was having O caused Pat to realize that he did want to have more kids. Praise God!

We were ready to dive into adoption. I was going to be a mom! Well, God had other plans. I sensed God telling us to wait one year before moving forward with adoption.  I remember sensing this but I didn’t want to admit it. I layed on my bed one night crying. I prayed and asked Gd to make it very clear that this was His will. I went out into the living room and asked Pat what he thought we should do about adoption. And he said, “I think we should wait a year.”  What!  I broke down crying. Not because I was devastated but because I had such peace knowing that this was in fact God’s will.

One year later, in June of 2007 we started the adoption process through CWA, Ethiopia. I had always been drawn to international adoption. We were praying for two children, at least one infant, preferably twins.

In August of 2007 we again sensed God telling us to wait to adopt, specifically to wait to adopt through Ethiopia.  Even though we had already paid $2500 to this agency we had such a strong sense that we should not move forward.  I was devastated because I thought this was His will and that finally Pat and I would have kids together.  God didn’t share any specifics about why or what agency we should use so we tried to trust and withdrew our name from the agency.

In September of 2007 we were contacted by a friend that told us that a family had heard about us and their teenage daughter was pregnant. With twins! A boy and a girl. She had chosen us to adopt her babies. We were so excited and thought this was why God had directed us to wait to adopt through Ethiopia.  When the twins were born at the end of September we were told that the family had changed their mind. The birth father and family preferred a bi-racial family since the babies were bi-racial. We went through intense mourning and then two days later received a call that they had changed their mind and were considering us again!  We thought this was an answer to our pleas to God. It wasn’t meant to be though as we received word a few days later that they had decided to go with the original family. We did learn that the birth mom wanted us to have her babies but the rest of the family and birth father did not. Again, we were devastated. Words can’t really describe our pain at this point but we continued to try to trust in God’s perfect timing.

In October 2007 we moved forward with another agency. A friend of mine was a social worker and she had given me her card in 2006, shortly after O had went back to his mom. I had told her at the time we were waiting but would consider her agency when we felt God leading us to adopt.  We trusted this friend greatly and in October when we researched their company both Pat and I felt complete peace.

We also sensed God directing us towards domestic adoption of an infant. I struggled with this at first… wanting an infant…but came to peace about. I wanted to experience being a mom from as early in the child’s life as possible – at least with our first – and was finally able to convince myself there was nothing wrong with that. We completed orientation with this new agency and started our home study process.

On November 26th, 2007 we finished our home study.  We prepared ourselves for the wait that would probably be at least a year.

On December 7th, 2007 (a week and 1/2 later!) we recieved an email from our agency regarding a 5 week old little girl named Angel. She had been in foster care since birth. She was considered a “high risk” baby because of her birth mom’s history.

That day and the next day Pat and I prayed and prayed and talked and prayed some more. My heart had said “yes” when I first heard about her although Pat had some concerns because she was “high risk”. I kept my mouth shut and prayed (which might be a bit unusual). Pat said “yes” on December 8th. He said God told him, “Why not this baby? She needs a family too.” and on December 9th we called our social worker. She couldn’t get in touch with the baby’s social worker so we assumed that she was ours but still hadn’t heard for sure.  Late on December 9th we received the call we’d been waiting for. Angel was ours!

This entire time of looking into adoption, Princess (Pat’s daughter) struggled a little with having another sibling in the house. She asked her dad if just she could be “Princess”. It was so sweet and we knew that she would indeed always be our Princess.  So when the email came to us about “Angel” I started crying because it was something so simple and almost silly, but God knew the desires of our heart. We already had a Princess, now He was giving us an Angel.

Another huge miracle was the finances. Because we expected to have to wait a year we only had about $2000 saved up. We said yes in faith knowing that God would provide the money. We just had no idea he’d do it so quickly. That night that we said yes to Angel we called all our family – immediately over $8000 was promised to us. We then sent an email to family and friends and another $3000 was raised within a matter of days. If anyone says to me they can’t adopt because of the finances I tell them that they are putting a limit on God! If it’s His will, He will provide!

On December 14th, 2007 we drove four hours to meet Angel for the first time. It was so amazing! We were able to spend an entire weekend with her at a hotel. Unfortunately because she had been in foster care for 5 weeks our agency required her to stay with that family until her paperwork was final.

December 17th, 2007 was the court hearing in which Angel’s biological parental rights were terminated and we were declared Angel’s parents! Now we just had to wait for the interstate compact. She was in a different state so we couldn’t bring her home until the approval goes through her state and our state. It’s Christmas season and there is new staff in her state’s office. Our social worker tries to be encouraging but is also honest in telling us we probably won’t get to bring her home until after Christmas.

On December 20th, 2007 at 10:30 am we got the call. Everything was done and we were able to go get our baby girl!  The next day, December 21st, 2007, we drive the four hours to pick up our Angel. It’s a Christmas miracle in so many ways and we praise God for His many blessings!

Here she is, our precious miracle Angel a few weeks after she came home.

Our baby girl is now 3 years old and an angel in so many ways! We are so thankful for the long wait we endured because without it we wouldn’t have our Angel.

And click here to read “the rest of the story!”

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