Waiting For Our Baby S

Sometime in the next month or so our lovely baby “S” will be born. Our bags are pretty much packed, her hospital bag is ready, all of her clothes and blankets are washed and ready, we have everything we need for our new baby girl. I have done this before with Liam and Asher, waiting impatiently as the anticipation and excitement grow day after day. The months turn to weeks and soon they will turn to only days left before she arrives. This wait, though, is very different from my previous ones. It is a strange and new feeling for me. I am not waddling around with my big round belly weighing me down. I feel no sweet baby kicks or contractions like I did with the boys. Strangers in the store aren’t asking me when I am due or what we are having. I don’t feel the intense nesting urge to clean every inch of my house before she gets here. I can breathe just fine with no little feet or elbows pressing into my lungs. At night I sleep undisturbed and comfortable in my bed. I am expecting a baby but I am not pregnant. How bizarre is that? I pump and store milk but there is no baby to drink it yet. The boys talk about S constantly, imagining what she will be like, look like, sound like. They already have a list of cute nicknames picked out for her. They get SO excited when they see the leaves on the trees starting to change color because we told them when the leaves turn red our baby S will arrive. They have never laid their cute little hands on my belly to feel S kick. Sometimes it feels like I am a little kid again playing dolls and pretending that I have a baby but she doesn’t really exist. Technically S isn’t even our daughter yet. She belongs to K and P and I want to respect that fact. S is not ours until they make the final decision after she is born. They have the freedom to change their minds at any moment and decide that they will, after all, parent this baby. It is hard to prepare for the baby emotionally while respecting the fact that she is someone else’s right now. It is hard to actually trust God with our baby S since we trusted Him with Lucy, Jude and Pax. I still haven’t completely allowed myself to let go and really believe that we are getting a baby in a month.

The other day the baby’s adorable carseat cover arrived in the mail. I brought the carseat down from the attic and got it all ready for her. It was kind of shocking to see the carseat there waiting for her. It looked like there was a baby already in there, covered up and napping.

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Seeing carseats like this have been a huge trigger for me since losing Lucy. I avoid them as much as possible when I am in public. I almost had a panic attack when a woman at church brought her newborn baby, Lucy’s age, into Sunday school in his carseat last year. Now, I am going to (hopefully) be carrying around my own living, breathing baby in a carseat. I tried to fathom the thought that she might be sitting in that carseat in a few short weeks. I am almost too afraid to hope. I’m sure K and P are feeling the strain but for all the opposite reasons. K IS feeling those sweet baby kicks and struggling to sleep well at night. She is throwing up and feeling giant and pregnant and I can’t imagine how hard that is. She is also probably trying to prepare emotionally for this upcoming month and all that it holds.

As strange as all of this is, I don’t think I would change any of it. I believe that God has grand plans for baby S and all of this is just the beginning of her amazing story. I believe that she was created for our family and if things were different we might be missing out on our precious daughter to be. Our family would be missing out on knowing K and P and their beautiful children. If things were different I wouldn’t be learning how to trust God again and I wouldn’t be relearning how to give Him my children in faith. We would be missing out on so much.

Will you all pray for K and P and our family as well? This is going to be a very emotionally exhausting (but wonderful) month and we will need your prayers, especially K. Please pray for a safe delivery and peace and healing for K and P. Thank you so much!

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Jesus was Adopted

In my opinion, the greatest story ever told is the gospel. I love to look at the Bible as a whole; as one story. God created the world and it was perfect. No babies died, infertility did not exist, and there was no pain or sin. It was beautiful…exactly how the Creator had imagined it. He gave us the gift of free will so that we could CHOOSE whether we wanted to love Him or not, because forced love is not real love after all. Unfortunately, with free will came the danger of sin, and we chose sin over Him the first chance we got. When sin entered the story, it ruined God’s perfect world. It brought pain, shame, death, and tragedy. The rest of the story follows God’s sweet plan to pursue us and save us and bring us back to perfection. His plan centered around His one son, Jesus, who He sacrificed to save the world. The Bible follows Jesus’ genealogy from the beginning, generation after generation, all the way up to Joseph. I love that the genealogy leads right up to Joseph who was not Jesus’ biological dad, but his adoptive father. Why have I never thought of this before? Jesus was adopted and raised by Joseph. God had only one son, one offspring on earth, one example of His family on earth. God could have created any family situation for the perfect God-man, and the one that He chose was adoption. He could have planned it any way He wanted and He chose to include adoption in His son’s life story. How cool is that?

And not only did God use adoption to tell the greatest story in the world, He used infertility as well. Many years before Jesus was born, his forefathers struggled to conceive and tasted the despair of infertility. Jennifer Saake writes in her book Hannah’s Hope:

Infertility took center stage in God’s account of history as the establishment and continuation of the Israelites seemed to be in question. Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety when their child of promise was finally born (Gen 17:17). Isaac, in turn, prayed for his barren wife, Rebekah, before God placed twins within her womb (Gen 25:21). One of those boys, Jacob, also went on to taste fertility challenges. While he had twelve sons, only two came from his beloved wife, Rachel, who struggled through years of infertility, both “primary” (never giving live birth) and “secondary” (unable to conceive or carry to live birth after at least one prior successful pregnancy.)

God used the struggles of infertility and the beauty of adoption in His most important story, His son’s story of redemption. If you are struggling with infertility, working through an adoption, or placing your baby for adoption, He SEES you. He sees your pain and your fear and your doubt. He is using it to create an amazing story of redemption in your own life. He is orchestrating it right now, working for you, gradually restoring your hope. Don’t give up! Be courageous and let Him work out your story like He worked out His son’s. After all, the best story in the history of the world started out a lot like yours and it ended with triumphant life.

Dreams

I have had vivid dreams since I was a little girl, and often my dreams come true. This may sound crazy and ridiculous to some people, but it’s true. As I grew up I realized that God was using these special dreams to tell me things or prepare me for something in the future. Sometimes I think He uses them to tell me that He knew back then and He knows now and all of this is part of His plan. Often, I don’t know why He gives me certain dreams and A LOT of them are meaningless and random. Many of my dreams don’t come true, but some do in amazing ways. I think it is so special that He occasionally uses my dreams to communicate His love to me.

Sorry if this is a repeat. I think I’ve mentioned this one in my blog before. About two years before I met Josh I had a vivid flash of a dream about my son. He was about two years old with white blonde hair. He had his shirt off and was standing on a curb. I felt like God told me that I would have a son. He looked just like Liam and Asher when they were little.

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I had a few more dreams about my future baby boys, and many of them came true. I always thought it was strange that God only gave me one dream about my future daughter, and it was a baffling one. Years before I met Josh or even dreamed about my sons, I had one dream about my baby girl. I was lying on the hospital bed, giving birth. When she came out her skin was a strange reddish brown color. I was thrilled to have a daughter, but there was a sense of something being very wrong in the dream. Then I woke up. I had a passing thought that maybe I was going to marry someone of a different ethnicity and my daughter would have darker skin. Now I know that the dream was about Lucy; my daughter that came out with reddish colored skin because she should have still been developing in my womb instead of being born when she wasn’t ready. How strange that He knew all those years ago about the tragedy that I was approaching, closer and closer every day. I wonder if His heart ached back then for the pain that I would go through. I’m thankful that I have such a strong God, who is able to shoulder the grief of the world. I whine about not understanding His ways, but do I really want to know all the things that He has to know? I couldn’t bear it.

There are some dreams that are yet to be fulfilled, but I am expecting them to be one day. These dreams bring me so much joy and hope. While I was pregnant with Lucy I prayed all the time that God would tell me if she was going to live or not. One night I had a quick flash of a dream. Josh was facing me and was holding a baby out in front of him. The baby was facing Josh, so I couldn’t see the baby’s face. I couldn’t tell if it was a boy or a girl. Josh’s eyes were alight with joy and he was smiling into the baby’s face. He was absolutely in love with that baby and his face was full of pride. The baby had such a cute bald head that was covered with the finest layer of blonde peach fuzz. The dream made me so happy. I hoped it was Lucy, but never felt confirmation whether it was or not. Now I know that it wasn’t Lucy, it was some other baby. But that dream is so amazing to me now. God used it at the time to comfort me because He knew I needed to see that we would have a healthy baby. He knew that when we lost Lucy the doctors would tell us to never try again, that we should just be thankful that we got two. God knew how much it would mean for me to have that promise, that we WOULD have another baby one day, even if it wasn’t Lucy. And He had the wisdom not to show me back then that the baby Josh was holding in the dream wasn’t Lucy. I couldn’t have handled that knowledge while I was pregnant with her and fighting for her. He knew exactly what I needed two months before losing my daughter.

After I lost Lucy I had a very vivid dream of my future son. He was tiny and was swaddled in a blanket. He was looking up at me and his forehead was all crinkly with concern. He had a tube down his nose and taped to his face, but other than that, he seemed healthy. He was so cute and his name was Ransom (not saying that will be my son’s name, but it was in the dream.) He had a small face, like Liam does, but his features were more like Asher’s, big downturned eyes. I can see his face right now, clear as day, and I believe one day I will hold him in my arms. I can’t wait.

I have had a couple of dreams about our next baby. I started having them before we decided to adopt. Several times I dreamed of breastfeeding my new baby and it was always a peaceful, comforting dream. About a year ago I dreamed that I was in a hospital meeting my new baby. Instead of being in the hospital bed, I was in a comfortable arm chair and a woman gently placed my baby in my arms. It was a girl and I was SO excited. I shouted out, “It’s a GIRL! And she is BREATHING!” Then I was in the hallway talking to every single person that walked by, calling out, “Come look at my new baby. It’s a girl and her heart is beating and she’s breathing and she is ALIVE!” My heart could have burst it was so full of pride and joy.

There are several other dreams that I am waiting to see come true. I am truly thankful for a God who cares so much about me and my future. All of the worrying I do about my future is in vain. He already holds all of my days in His hand. He has it all planned out and the best part is that He will be with me every step of the way.

He IS Working For You

Almost six years ago, Josh and I arrived in America with hardly any possessions and a baby boy about to be born. We had just finished our two year teaching contract in South Korea and we had no jobs lined up, no health insurance and no home. We prayed for God to provide for us. We asked Him to give us a house, health insurance, good jobs, a good church, the list went on and on. God slowly answered all of those prayers over the last few years, but He has still been working on the house one. Since we came back from Korea we have lived with my parents (briefly), in two different tiny apartments, in a giant old home that belonged to some friends (briefly) and in our cozy townhouse we are in now. I used to pray fervently for God to give us a good house that we could afford with a fenced in backyard. I begged Him day after day to make my dream a reality. It never happened. Lucy died and I stopped asking God for that house because I had much bigger problems. I gave up on the house prayers and thought it just wasn’t going to happen. The beautiful thing is that God did not give up, even when I did. All this time He has been working on my behalf and planning on answering that prayer with the perfect house at the perfect time.

Our oldest son, Liam, just started kindergarten this fall. He has the most unique brain (he is gifted and has sensory processing issues) which means he needs to be schooled differently than most. We realized soon after he started school that he probably needed to be in a different school zone, which meant we needed to think about moving AGAIN. About a month ago our landlord told us he was probably going to sell the town home that we are renting and that we might need to look for a different place to live. A couple of weeks later my parents told us about a house that was for sale in their neighborhood that looked perfect for us. They said it had been on the market for a while and the price had been reduced. It was in the perfect school zone, the one where we could pick from the two top schools in the city for Liam to go to (Verner and the Magnet School, for those of you in Tuscaloosa.) We doubted that we could get a loan for this house since I still have a lot of school loan debt and we don’t have a large income. After looking at the house (and loving it), we decided to just see if we could maybe get approved for a loan. We found out the next day that we WERE pre-approved for a loan for the exact amount that the house was being sold for. We got a special loan that was only available for us because of the huge tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa in April of 2011. We were so excited to get the loan approval. We put in an offer the same week and our offer was accepted! We are still in shock at how quickly we bought a house, the perfect house for our family. Two weeks ago we weren’t even looking for a house! And it is SO cute, we love it so much. It has a huge backyard for the kids, a screened in porch, a wood burning fireplace and beautiful hardwood floors. It’s in the same neighborhood that my parents and my sister and her kids live in. The prayer that I prayed day after day in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 was answered last week in the most fantastic way. We will be moving into our new home the week after our new baby arrives!

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We don’t have many pictures of the new house yet so this will have to suffice. Besides the fireplace, this is my favorite space in the house. I plan on transforming it into a playroom for my three favorite little people on earth. By the way, the cute girl in the picture is my niece Lily.

After we met K and P things didn’t go perfectly smoothly like I thought they would. There were some problems with the adoption agency and K. It was stressful for all of us and I was frustrated with God. I was annoyed because I had had so much heartbreak trying for a biological baby that I thought trying for our adopted baby would be easier and safer. I remember saying to Josh, “After all the suffering He has allowed, you would think that He would at least give us a break with this adoption.” Eventually the unrest led to us leaving the agency and going with a local adoption attorney. Looking back, I am SO thankful that God orchestrated that. If we had stayed with the agency we never could have afforded this wonderful new house and we would be going into debt to finance the adoption. I think God allowed the strife between K and the agency because He wanted us to go with the lawyer. He wanted us to have this house and He wanted K to be better taken care of by us directly, rather than through the agency. That whole time I thought He was turning His back on our adoption, He was masterfully creating something better. He was working on my behalf, even when I couldn’t see it at all. Even when I complained and blamed Him and doubted, He patiently worked for me, answering my prayers in the sweetest way ever and blessing my life with good gifts. He is such an awesome, loving and patient Father. Ask Him to be in charge of your life and then let Him work. He will do far more than you ever could have imagined. And for goodness sake, be PATIENT (unlike me.) Your blessings ARE coming. He IS working for you behind the scenes.

 Psalm 147:5 Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.

Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him; to the soul who seeks Him.