How We Are Doing

Many of you have been wondering how we are doing after being devastated by Kailee and Peter and their cruelty. Obviously, we are sad, we are trying to adjust to not having “Scarlet” in our family like we thought we would. We are deeply hurt by what Kailee and Peter did to us and we have no idea what to do next, especially now that we don’t have any money left. We are still in shock and can’t believe people like this actually exist in the world.

But, we still have so much hope. My heart has been filled with the most astounding peace over the last few days, and more than anything, I feel deeply loved and highly favored by my God. With this one act of hate, came many, many acts of love and kindness afterwards by our family, friends and even people we have never met in person. People have lavished love on us through encouraging words, prayers, delicious meals, beautiful flowers, gifts for the boys, chocolate, cake, cookies, and more. Some of you who donated to the “adoption” have said you would be willing to help us again with another fundraiser in the future (which totally blows my mind!) There is even comfort in the collective outrage around the world at what Kailee and Peter have done. For some reason, it helps to know that others are just as disgusted and angry as we are.

Not only is there a sense of peace, but there is a huge sense of relief. We did all we could, we truly did our best. We asked God to show us what He wanted us to do and we obeyed. This is His story, and He is writing it and so much of it is out of our control. The relief comes in knowing that I won’t have to have a lifetime relationship with Kailee now. She can never affect my family again, and she won’t be the birth mom or first mom of my baby. The last five months have been EXTREMELY stressful for us as we tried to interact with Kailee on a healthy level, to manage the finances of the adoption wisely, to deal with Kailee’s strange behavior and try to protect the baby through all of it. There was SO much anxiety about whether the baby was ok, since Kailee was taking some serious drugs and not going to the doctor at all. She flippantly told us that it was a high risk pregnancy because of the medications she was on, but that she “didn’t have the gas money” to get to the doctor, even though we sent her gas cards. Also, we were anticipating a long NICU stay (I think the baby might still be in the NICU, probably detoxing.) All of these stressors have lifted, so there is a sense of relief.

I am slowly decreasing my pumping and still storing breast milk every day. I have decided that unless someone just drops a baby in our laps in the next couple of months, I will be donated all of this breast milk to the NICU or to another adoptive mama who wants to give her baby breast milk. The thought of another baby getting the breast milk makes me so happy. I feel happy when I think of the GOOD things that can come out of this betrayal. I am determined not to let evil win. I am even burning the candle I bought for Kailee and had ready in her hospital gift basket right now and it smells so good. I have no idea how I can enjoy it, but I am. I will also be enjoying the calming tea, bubble bath, lotion and book that is in “her” basket. Maybe God knew I would need to be pampered after this ūüôā

One thought keeps coming back to me and it comforts me so much. At least I’m not her. She has to live with this guilt on her conscience for the rest of her life. She used her own daughter as a pawn, a way to make money, and she has to live with that. She lives in poverty and her children have hard lives. I have so much goodness and love in my life and my conscience is clear. I have a beautiful new house, my two healthy boys and a loving husband. We are supported by so many amazing, caring people who continue to show us the love of Christ. Our families are supportive and helpful. God assures us constantly of His love for us, even in this dark time. My boys seriously have the best lives. We are almost spoiled by the goodness and blessings in our lives. At least I am not her.

I think the thing that has helped us survive this loss the most is the enormous amount of prayers that have been said on our behalf. Every one of them makes a huge difference. Every one of you makes a difference. Thank you so much for your love, prayers and support through all of this. You have truly helped us and encouraged us so much.

Before “Scarlet” arrived, I repeatedly reminded myself that a new baby would not satisfy me or complete my life. I knew that if I expected her to do that I would be very let down. Only God can complete me and fulfill my deepest desires. Now, here I am again in this familiar place of loss. My arms are not heavy with the weight of my new, warm baby and I am ok. I am at peace.

 Philippians 4:11-13   for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.

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Today Is Her Due Date

October 27th was supposed to be Scarlet’s due date. This day represented so much hope for me and for my family. I have been anxiously waiting for this day since I met Kailee in May. But here I am, awake since 3am, engorged with milk, unable to bring myself to pump for this imaginary baby of mine. I cannot shut my mind off. Did Kailee wear the nice robe and fuzzy socks I bought for her when she was in the hospital? What about the helpful verses I wrote out for her on notecards, one by one, to help strengthen her for delivery and the hard days in the hospital afterwards. Did she just throw those away? She threw so much away. Money, hope, trust, our dreams for this baby, faith in humanity for some. I think about all the hours and days and months of work we put into this. The fundraisers, the kind donations of so many people, all the time we spent on our home study and our family profile, making sure the wording and the pictures were just right. My mind cannot grasp the scope of this, the enormity of her betrayal. It breaks my heart to see so much hope wasted, to see all the faces that were expectantly waiting for redemption fall with disappointment and hurt. How am I supposed to get through this day? Where do we go from here?

The past two weeks have been an excruciating wait for us as Kailee just suddenly cut off all communication with us and we had no idea what was going on. I have been praying this verse fervently over the past couple of weeks:

Psalm 17: 6,7 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand.

I begged God to wondrously show me His steadfast love by giving me this baby as my daughter. I cried out to Him as deeply as I cried out for Him to spare Lucy’s life when she was dying in my womb. It felt like every other breath I drew was exhaled in a prayer for Him to give me this baby and prevent another tragedy. I don’t know why His answer was NO again, but this morning I read this verse that brought me comfort:

Psalm 31:21-24 Blessed be the Lord, for He has wondrously shown His steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, “I am cut off from your sight.” But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the Lord, all you His saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

I think, somehow, He is going to wondrously show His steadfast love to me even now when I am in this besieged city of hopelessness. He is going to show His deep love for me without giving me this baby, even though that is hard for me to fathom right now. Please pray that I have the strength and courage to get through this horrible day and still feel His love for me.

Devastated

This adoption story does not end well. We have lost our “rainbow baby” yet again. I cannot believe I am writing this post. What I envisioned was a beautiful post about God’s amazing redemption and love for me and our beautiful new daughter, Scarlet Mae Weathersby. Instead, I will be telling the most heart wrenching story of how this adoption failed and how our hearts were broken, yet again.

The birth parents, Kailee M. and Peter M. picked us in May and have been telling us since then that we would be Scarlet’s parents. Kailee kept in pretty regular communication with me, often texting several times a day. Since we met her through the internet, Josh and I were very careful of making sure it wasn’t a scam and that she wasn’t just trying to get our money. She had placed a baby boy for adoption last year, so that put our minds at ease some. She seemed sincere and we had a good relationship. We drove the four hours down to Dothan several times to hang out with Kailee, Peter and her two children that she parents. Our visits always went well. She convinced me that she had looked long and hard for “the perfect family” for this baby and was so glad she had found us. Even the last time we were down there at the end of September (my parents came down to meet her with me) she told me that she wasn’t very nervous about the birth part or signing the papers, but the hardest part was finding the perfect family. She told me again how glad she was that she had found us. Several times she also told me she was afraid that we would change our mind, and I assured her that we wouldn’t. I told her I was afraid that she would change her mind and her exact words,”I can tell you till I’m blue in the face, I won’t change my mind, but the bottom line is you just have to trust me and I have to trust you.” Yes, we trusted her. We took the leap. We prayed long and hard for God to show us what to do. We knew the risk and we felt like Scarlet was worth it. This baby needed to have a chance at a beautiful life with us. I feel good that we gave her that chance and we did all we could for her. But back to the story. Kailee basically took all of our money, although we never gave her money directly. She didn’t work (not sure why) and so we were left with all of her bills to pay- rent, utilities, food, gas, etc. All of this is legal in Alabama, by the way. We ordered her pizza when she wanted it. We gave her so much of ourselves. We gave her so much love and we trusted her. I thought we were close. She even asked me (not that long ago) if I would be the godmother of her two children and I said of course. She was the ultimate con artist, apparently.

Kailee told us from the beginning that she was going to go to the OBGYN, but she never went. Every week that went by we stressed, we worried and we prayed for the baby and wondered if she was ok. After having a high risk pregnancy and stillborn baby, it was hard to stand by and do nothing when Kailee would not go to the doctor. She only went a few times to the ER when she was throwing up. I took her once to a 3D ultrasound to see the baby and confirm the gender. Besides that, she had no prenatal care, or if she did she never told us about it. It was so hard to pray and ask God to take care of Scarlet for us and just trust that He would. It reminded me so much of when I was pregnant with Lucy and prayed and begged God to take care of her. It was frustrating to know that Kailee COULD go to the doctor, but just wouldn’t. It was out of our control as was most of this “adoption.”

Everything was going fine as far as we could tell and then after October 11th we got no more texts from Kailee. It worried us. I felt deep down that something was very wrong. I tried to give her space, thinking maybe she was just working through all the emotions and dealing with the last hard days of pregnancy. I didn’t want to pressure her or overwhelm her. But the days went on and on and she never contacted us. I texted, I called, I emailed, but no reply. I even sent a card in the mail begging her to just let us know if she was ok. We never heard from her again. Josh finally got in touch with Peter and he said they had had some marital problems and he hadn’t heard from Kailee either.

Today, Josh decided to try to see if there was anything he could find out on the internet. He found his way to an adoption page that Peter or Kailee (whoever was on Facebook that day) had liked. It was a gay couple from California who had just adopted a baby girl “Ava Mae” from Dothan, Alabama. And there on the computer was the baby I had fallen in love with on the 3D ultrasound. She looked just like Kailee, we knew it was her. Her two dads were thrilled to have her, cuddling her and posing with her for lots of proud pictures. Apparently she was born on October 12th, the day I stepped out on a limb and posted this post, making predictions about the baby’s birth date and weight. Peter confirmed later that yes, she was born on the 12th and Kailee had picked a different family. We have no idea if she picked them at the end or at the beginning of the process. We have no idea if she had other families out there who she was deceiving into thinking they would be adopting this baby. She always did seem to want stuff from us to handle her life expenses, but¬†never seemed particularly¬†concerned about the baby. It was shocking, really, how little her adoption plan seemed to be about the baby and how much it seemed to be about what she could get out of it. It is shocking also, to see that the baby kept our middle name, Mae, which I picked to honor my grandmother, the one who’s mother I had honored with Lucy’s middle name, Dair. They could have at least come up with a different middle name. I am livid, honestly. I probably should do a better job in this post of being loving and forgiving, but right now I feel so angry and hurt. If she truly just changed her mind she could have at least told us so we wouldn’t have been so worried this whole time. I have been pumping breast milk every 3 hours around the clock to make sure I’m ready for this baby when she arrives. Kailee could have at least had the decency to explain to us that she had made a new decision and it did not involve us being Scarlet’s parents. How cowardly. I shudder when I think about all the money that we lost, all of YOUR money that you donated to a baby that we won’t get. To everyone who donated in order to make this adoption possible, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. We appreciate every one of you and we are praying that God will bless you for your generosity and kindness. We are so sorry that we lost the money. We are embarrassed and heartbroken. We truly prayed through every decision along the way and felt like we did everything God wanted us to do. We did our best. We took a leap of faith. We knew the risks of trusting someone else with the deepest longing in our hearts. It was a risk for me to induce lactation, knowing the baby might not be ours in the end. It was a risk to tell the boys that when the leaves on the trees turned scarlet, their baby sister Scarlet would be here. It was a huge risk to buy a van for our third child, to set up her whole nursery and buy a Halloween costume for her. Everything is ready for her. Her bassinet is ready and waiting next to my bed, all of her clothes are washed and hanging in her closet. Our freezer is FULL of breast milk I pumped for her. The gift basket for Kailee is all ready and sitting on our dresser. We filled it with so many sweet things so that she wouldn’t leave the hospital empty handed and would feel loved and important. We ordered this beautiful necklace for Kailee and dog tags for Peter that say, “Forever in my heart, Scarlet” and a cute baby bracelet for Scarlet to remind her of her first parents.

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I could go on and on about all the sad reminders we are left with, all the empty spaces where she was going to be, but I’ll stop here. I have no idea how to end this. I don’t know how to move on from this new heartbreak. I don’t know how to trust God after this and it will take a long time for me to forgive Kailee for her deceit, her dishonesty and her cowardice. I do know that we are not giving up. We will keep trying, we will run hard after our God and we will continue to praise Him, even when it feels like He has let us down.

Full Circle

I feel like I have come full circle and I’m back where I was a year and a half ago, clinging to God in desperation. After Lucy died and all of our dreams of future children died with her, I struggled to breathe, to even exist. Every minute was painful. I wrote a very simple sentence on my hand that reminded me that I could keep living and that I was indeed, safe.

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I TRUST HIM

I found myself writing this same sentence on my hand this morning, for the first time in over a year. It was kind of a big step for me because I’ve struggled to trust Him for the past several months as I work through my grief and anger. But now, here I am again clinging to Him in desperation, begging Him for help. Things with the adoption are not going quite how we planned. We are kind of in the dark right now and don’t exactly know what is going on. Part of me wants to completely freak out and lose my mind in worry. It is important for me to remember a few important facts, though-

This is not my baby (yet.)

This is K’s baby and she can decide whatever she wants.

It is my job to support K in whatever she does decide.

God has K, P and baby S in the palm of His hand.

God has it all under control and He is still at work.

I TRUST HIM.

Last year when I wrote that simple sentence on my hand in an act of pure desperation, it was because of the tragedy that had just happened, the loss of my daughter. Today I write it in anticipation of what will happen over the next couple of weeks. Baby S is not my daughter right now, but my love for her has grown in my heart for months and months, and in Josh’s heart and the boys’ too. We love her so much, we WANT her so much, but she is not ours (yet.) It is a really weird place to be and we don’t really know how to act right now. Please pray for us, for baby S and especially for K. We all need your prayers so much.

A Little Bit of Fun

*Possible Trigger

Whenever there is a new baby coming in my extended family, we make predictions about the baby’s birth date, weight and length. I think I started it with Liam and we’ve done it with all the babies that have come since (and there have been a lot of cousins since!) It is fun to see who gets their predictions right and sometimes it’s funny to look back and compare what we THOUGHT the baby would be like to the ACTUAL birth date and size. Since I was a big baby, we thought Liam would be big too, but he was a “meager” 7 pounds 3 ounces and 19 1/2 inches long ūüôā On the flip side, we assumed Asher would be like his brother and be a normal size but we were way off!

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I have put off making predictions about this baby since the whole idea is kind of a trigger for me. We never made predictions about Lucy. Who could have guessed that she would be born in February instead of July? Who would have predicted 1 pound and 9 inches long? And why did any of it matter when she was born with a heart that was no longer beating? What I really would like to know about our sweet S is not her birth date or her size. I want to know if she will be born breathing, if her heart will be beating. I want to know if she is going to be healthy, if she will be ok. I want to know if I will get to be her Mommy. I want to know if our hearts will be facing another tragedy in a couple of weeks.

My small group leader just adopted a baby last year and she advised me to try to enjoy this waiting place that we’re in. She looked back at her own time of waiting right before her son was born and wished she had savored it more. That was just what I needed to hear. This baby deserves to be celebrated like the others and it’s ok to hope. It’s wonderful to hope. So I am stepping out on a limb and we are trying to have fun during the last few days of our wait. We are making predictions about our sweet girl and we would love for you to make predictions too! I wonder if anyone can guess all three right? It will be especially hard since none of you know her exact due date (K’s information, not mine to share yet.) I can say that she is due at the end of October. So, here are our predictions for baby S:

Me:               Oct. 20          7lb 1oz          19 1/2 in

Josh:            Oct. 21          6lb 8oz           18 1/2 in

Liam:            Oct. 18          3 lb                  2 in

Asher:           Nov. 3            10 lb               4 in

Let’s hope Liam and Asher are way off! I won’t share my extended family’s predictions since there are so many of them. What do you think? Any of you want to make a prediction?

A Long Pregnancy

After I lost Lucy I was shocked and devastated by my loss, my empty arms and the abrupt end to my pregnancy. The bleeding, the milk coming in, the hormones, the painful recovery after childbirth- all of it without a baby to fill my arms. It is completely unnatural to end a pregnancy without a baby in your arms. I cannot describe to you how deep the pain is, knowing your baby is dead and you have to live the rest of your life without her. It helped some to know that she was ACTUALLY alive in heaven and that one day I would meet her and get to live the rest of my life with her. I just had to wait. It almost reminded me of pregnancy. When you are pregnant you know your baby is alive inside you, but you don’t have her in your arms yet. You know (or you think) one day several months from now you will meet your baby and keep her for the rest of your life. Those nine months are hard. It feels like the longest wait ever, like your due date will NEVER come. The day you meet your baby face to face is one of the best ones of your life (my FAVORITE day for sure.)

I try to imagine that I am still pregnant with Lucy, except that she isn’t due in a few months, but more than likely YEARS. She is alive and I will get to see her face to face one day and keep her for the rest of my life except that I don’t know when her due date is, or I should probably say, MY due date. I have no idea when my life here on earth will be over, when my delivery date is. I have no idea which trimester I am in. I could be at the end of my first trimester or the middle of the pregnancy or right at the end of my third trimester. Tomorrow could be the day that I meet Lucy face to face. I have no idea. But I am so thankful that I know I will see her again and get to keep her. Just like when you go through the intense pain of childbirth and you see your baby and the pain just vanishes when the joy floods in, so it will be in heaven. Right now I can’t imagine this pain, anguish and anger ever being REPLACED with joy. I do have so much joy in my life and I am thankful for my blessings, but that joy comes alongside the grief and pain and is present WITH the anguish, but look what God promises-

I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.  Jeremiah 31:13 

I am promised joy instead of mourning and gladness instead of sorrow. Thank you, Lord, for your promises and your faithfulness. Now, I will wait here on earth enduring this relentless sorrow but knowing that it will not last and it will be replaced with joy. While I wait and my “pregnancy” with Lucy progresses, I will glorify Him with my life. One day when I get to heaven I want to say

I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence.  John 17: 4,5