When the Leaves on the Trees Turn Scarlet

On this day one year ago a little girl was born at 37 weeks and six days. We had been praying for this baby and waiting for her birth for months. She was going to be our rainbow baby, our hope and redemption after the storm. Scarlet Mae. We had stared at her ultrasound pictures and fawned over every detail. On this day one year ago, I woke up like any other day. I worked on Scarlet’s nursery, I pumped milk every three hours for her. The boys rejoiced because the leaves on the trees were finally scarlet and that meant their baby sister was coming soon.

IMG_4684 1IMG_4677

We went about our day like normal, making sure our phones were close at hand in case “the call” came. I made sure her diaper bag was ready and her clothes were all washed and folded. I published a blog post and planned what to make for dinner. I texted Kailee like usual, just checking in on her and asking if she wanted to get in on the fun and make a prediction about when the baby would arrive. She never texted me back. EVER. She never answered another one of our calls or emails. EVER. Because she was giving birth at that very moment and instead of calling us to share the exciting news, she called two men in California. She had gotten what she wanted from us…emotional and financial support for her, her husband and her two children for almost the whole pregnancy. She discarded us like a used piece of trash. Instead of placing that baby in our arms that day, she placed the baby in the arms of two men who we knew nothing about. We went about our day and we had no idea that the thing we feared the most was happening at that moment. We had no idea we were being betrayed. There was no Scarlet Mae. She became Ava Mae that day.

My journal entries from last fall:

10-13-14

Kailee is 38 weeks pregnant today. She still has had no prenatal care. I feel frustrated, helpless and antsy. I don’t know if Scarlet is ok, or if Kailee will follow through with her adoption plan. I feel like I’m going crazy waiting and wondering what will happen. I don’t know how to prepare for this. I don’t know what to expect. This is one of the weirdest places of my life.

Oh Lord, please be with Kailee and Scarlet today. Protect Scarlet and keep her alive and healthy. Please let her be OURS. Let us give her a happy childhood and a beautiful life. Please let us teach her about you some day. Please prepare our hearts and minds for what is going to come over the next 2-3 weeks. Also, I feel such a clear prodding of the Holy Spirit to do a miracle in my body. Come, Lord, do a miracle in my body. Show your awesome power through me. Do a miracle in my body.

10-14-14

Still anxious. Still no word from Kailee. Still fearful and doubtful. I like this prayer by Amy Carmichael-

“My Father, all that has gone cold and lifeless in me…is it just your planned stillness before new life flows? Are the hands I’ve clenched in troubled prayer like tight leaf-buds, about to spread into open-handed praise, because your Spirit comes again? I believe, Father, that the joy of a new season in you is warming me right now…”

Please, Lord ❤

10-19-14

I am completely overwhelmed with anxiety. Kailee and Peter are not communicating with me, completely ignoring my texts. Tomorrow she will be 39 weeks pregnant. I have no idea what to do. I feel so rejected, tricked, conned…what if this was her plan all along? What if we don’t get our Scarlet? The thought is too heartbreaking to fathom. How can I tell the boys that they’re not getting their baby sister Scarlet?

I can’t.

Oh Lord, PLEASE be gracious to me and come to my aid. Where are you? I don’t understand what is happening or how I should respond. Did I do something wrong? Please open up the lines of communication between us TODAY. Please Lord, DO something. Open your heart to my cry. Let us give this baby a wonderful life. Don’t let this end in another tragedy. Please give us this baby. We already love her so much. We are so ready for blessings instead of heartache. We are so broken. Will you allow us to be destroyed even more? We need you. Our lives are in your hands. You hold our lot. Please be gracious to us and show us your bountiful love. I love you.

10-24-15

Still waiting, wondering and worrying. This morning I woke up incredibly angry at Kailee. How can she do this to us? Why is she ignoring us day after day? I am beyond frustrated with her and with this whole situation. I just want my Scarlet, in my arms, home and safe. This passage from Amy Carmichael is good for me today-

“Would I merely endure it, praying for the grace not to make too much over my poor circumstances? Or would my soul willingly enter into the iron of this new and difficult experience?…So there could be nothing but peaceful acceptance. And when one accepts, then all that is included in the thing accepted is accepted too- in my case, the helplessness, the limitations, the disappointments of hope deferred, the suffering. My Father, I will say- no matter what shadows of circumstance blow across my way- you are my Father of Lights. Coming down from heaven are good and perfect gifts to me…All the promises of your love and goodness are still…Yes! and Amen!”

We were devastated on October 25th when we found out that Kailee had tricked us and lied to us; when we had to tell the boys AGAIN that their little sister would not be coming home; when we had to clear out her nursery and pack away all the baby girl clothes. It seemed incomprehensible that this had happened after losing three babies the year before. We felt betrayed by God, forgotten and mocked and hopeless.

11-03-14

Well, the thing we feared so deeply has come to pass. On October 25th Josh came upon an adoption page on Facebook and there he found pictures of “Scarlet”, already born and already adopted by two gay guys named Adam and Gary. They named her Ava Mae, even using the middle name I picked out in honor of my Mama-E. How cruel. We have no more money and very little hope left to try again. We are so sad and discouraged. This is the first time I’ve been able to bring myself to sit down and meet with God. I am still a bit numb and in disbelief at what has happened. I’m sitting in her empty nursery right now, thank goodness we never had time to set up the crib. All those beautiful, precious baby girl clothes, packed away again, unused, collecting dust. My heart just aches.

Lord, I don’t understand how you could allow this. How much heartache do you think we can take? We are so broken. We are so tired of loss and grief. Please heal us and bless us with a third child we can keep. Help me trust you again. I want to drink you in and be filled up with YOU. Take away my bitterness, guilt, anger and hurt and help me to forgive Kailee and Peter.

Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Lord, what do you want from me? Why do you allow all of this suffering in my life? Please don’t take my boys or Josh next.

I was at one of the lowest points of my life. We had no idea that the very next year our own baby would be born at exactly 37 weeks and six days. Instead of waiting for the call, we would be the ones calling our family and spreading the news that our miracle girl had been born healthy.

Today I am not celebrating my daughter’s first birthday and it’s ok. In fact, I’m thankful that I’m not throwing a first birthday party and that I get to celebrate the three month old miracle in my arms instead. I’m rejoicing in God’s faithfulness and I see now that He didn’t betray me on this day one year ago. He was getting ready to redeem our pain and loss in the best way ever.

When we found out we would not be adopting Scarlet I was tempted to give up on God. I doubted everything I had ever heard Him tell me. The events of our life did not seem to match up with the promises He had made me. But I decided to cling harder to Him instead of giving up on Him. When you feel like everything is spiraling out of control and God has turned His back on you, give Him one more chance. When it feels like He has abandoned you and your world is nothing but heartache, CHOOSE to trust Him. I know I have said this many times but I will say it again because it seems to have become the theme of my life… step out of your comfort zone and into His plan for your life, even when it seems absolutely ridiculous because that’s when He will reveal Himself to you. He can use even the deepest loss and sharpest pain to create something beautiful. I’m so glad I chose to give Him one more chance.

FullSizeRender-45

The leaves on the trees are turning scarlet again and last year when we lost “Scarlet” I thought the changing colors would always be a bitter reminder of the pain and failure we felt. But this year it feels like redemption is blooming on those trees. When I see the colors of fall all around I see God’s goodness and I thank Him for all that He has done in this past year. When I prayed and begged Him to give us our daughter last fall HE DID. Nora was conceived when the leaves turned scarlet and the boys’ little sister did arrive, just in a totally different way than I was expecting. And His way was better.FullSizeRender-44

Advertisements

Provision

A few weeks ago Liam asked me what his baby sister’s name was. I spelled it out for him “N-O-R-A, can you remember what that spells?” And he said, with frustration in his voice, “No, Mom, not Nora, my other baby sister.” My heart dropped and I said, “Lucy, remember? She’s in heaven.” And he said, again, with frustration, “NO, my OTHER baby sister.” It took me a minute to figure out who he was talking about. “Her name was Scarlet.” “Yeah, Scarlet! I really miss Scarlet. Why couldn’t we keep her?” It was a difficult and sad conversation that didn’t really clear things up for him. He said, “Why couldn’t we keep all three baby sisters? I wanted all of them.” He even cried himself to sleep that night thinking about his missing baby sisters. Today he asked me if Scarlet was in heaven and I said no. He wanted to know why Lucy was in heaven but Scarlet wasn’t. He asked again why we couldn’t have all three baby sisters. I wanted them all too, including Jude and Pax. Our hearts still mourn for our missing babies. Liam’s words brought me back to last year. I told the boys that when the leaves on the trees turned scarlet, our baby Scarlet would be here. Liam and Asher watched those trees religiously and when the first scarlet leaves came, they got SO excited, dancing around, waving their scarlet leaves in the air.

IMG_4677IMG_4684 1

I remember June of last year when we were getting everything ready for our baby Scarlet and counting down the weeks until she arrived. I was starting the process to induce lactation to breastfeed Scarlet (a long, intense and expensive venture.) We started collecting baby girl clothes and we got out all of Lucy’s outfits that were never used. We bought a glider, a brand new crib and bassinet, and other furniture items for her room. I painted things pink, white and grey for our coming girl. We bought a van since we would need a bigger vehicle for three carseats. We even bought a house last October so that we would have more space for our family of five. There was so much preparation and so much money spent on “Scarlet.” I could not believe it when we had to pack up her entire pink, grey and white nursery and put it in storage. All of those adorable baby girl outfits freshly washed and hung in the closet had to be packed away in boxes and stored in the shed. I felt silly driving a big van around with only two kids and a completely empty back seat. The hours and hours of pumping milk, the hundreds of dollars spent on medications and herbal supplements to bring in the milk and even the nursing bras and tank tops seemed wasted. I felt so stupid (after we learned about Kailee and Peter’s betrayal) when I had to continue pumping to wean down my milk supply. (You can’t just suddenly stop pumping once your milk supply is established or you could get engorged.) I remember holding a freezer bag full of breast milk and fighting the urge to pour it all down the drain. It was too valuable to waste but there was no baby to feed. I wrote the date on the bag and put it in the freezer dutifully, for whom, I had no idea.

IMG_6707

There was so much preparation last year for our “rainbow baby.” When Scarlet never joined our family I wept at the thought of all that was wasted. It felt like even our hope had been a waste. But all that hope and preparation was not wasted. God has been showing me over the past few months that He was using last year to prepare us for our REAL rainbow baby, Nora. He looked ahead at our future and He knew that I would be in Houston for the majority of my pregnancy and none of us would have time to prepare for Nora. He knew I wouldn’t be home to paint the nursery, to gather the furniture or baby girl clothes. He knew we wouldn’t have time to buy a van or move into a new house while our family was split up and I was fighting for Nora’s life in Houston. To get Nora’s nursery ready we basically just had to move everything out of the shed and into her room (besides some fun little projects.) And all that money, time and energy spent on pumping breast milk for Scarlet? Not wasted! Since breast milk is good up to a year after being frozen (in a deep freezer) we can give all the milk to Nora. While she is in the NICU I won’t have to worry about how long it takes my milk to come in or try to keep up pumping enough until my supply is established. We will have bags and bags of her Mommy’s breast milk ready and waiting for her when she arrives. What a huge blessing!

IMG_6706

As I’ve said before, we have had to spend all of our extra money this year on medical bills, and gas and living expenses while in Texas. We have barely had enough money to pay for everything. If we had to buy all the things needed for a new baby, it would have been impossible. Wasn’t it kind of God to help us store up everything we needed ahead of time so that we don’t have to worry about any of it now? We have also been so blessed by the money donated through the T-shirt fund raiser that was organized by two sweet ladies who I barely know. They said that they felt like God wanted them to organize it and they just wanted to help. I am amazed by their kindness (thank you Michelle and Joy!) and by everyone else’s generosity. The way God has provided for us this year has been incredible.

Psalm 68:10 In your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

I am reminded yet again that when things seem bleakest God is often working behind the scenes for our good, to provide exactly what we need even if we don’t understand or appreciate it at the time. Thank you, Lord, for your provision.

25 Weeks

On Monday I had my 25 week check up. I expected everything to be perfect since Nora had been kicking and moving like crazy ever since her transfusion. The doctor did an MCA scan and it was somewhere around 1.6! That means (supposedly) that Nora is quite anemic even though she just had a blood transfusion a week ago. Dr. Moise did say that MCA scans become unreliable after transfusions start, but we were still expecting to see a lower number. Other than the high MCA scan Nora looked great. She was very active during the ultrasound and there were no other signs of anemia. Dr. Moise was out of the office when I was there so they said they would talk everything over with him and then call me with their decision. The doctor was surprised at such a high number on the scan and was confused because she wasn’t acting anemic. I was told to prepare for the possibility of doing an IUT on Wednesday (yesterday) instead of next week. I felt stressed out and anxious after the appointment.

I remember when Lucy had her IUT and the doctors were so happy because they thought it had been a complete success. We all sighed with relief and praised God for the miracle He had performed. We thought she had been saved. I never felt her move again and she died a week later. I wondered if something similar was happening with Nora, although she was being very active. Why was her MCA scan so high? After a few hours the doctor called and said Dr. Moise had decided to stick with the original plan and transfuse next Tuesday. He wasn’t alarmed by the high numbers from the scan and thought she would be ok for another week. I feel uneasy about it (and I would feel uneasy about transfusing this week too) but I have to make a decision, again, to trust Dr. Moise with my daughter’s life and to trust God at every turn. This whole pregnancy is an exercise in submitting my will to God’s plan and laying my fears at His feet, over and over again. I am really tired of worrying about Nora and wondering if she is ok. There is a constant uneasy feeling right under the surface, probably the same feeling a parent has when their child goes off to war. My baby is living in a very unsafe environment and she is so vulnerable. I have also noticed that her movements seem to be getting more sluggish, especially compared to the week after the transfusion.

I got some 3D ultrasound pictures of Nora at the appointment. Oh, how I loved seeing my girl!! But to be honest some of the pictures kind of looked weird…her face was all lumpy and her nose looked weirdly gigantic (I think most 3D ultrasound pictures look a little distorted.) The main thing that stuck out to me, though, was how small and premature she looked (because she is!) Most doctor’s offices won’t even do a 3D ultrasound until after 28 weeks because the baby looks chubbier and more developed in the third trimester. The pictures reminded me how much longer Nora still needs to stay in the womb to finish “cooking.” She is not ready to come out and would be severely premature if she was born anytime soon. That stressed me out since it happened at the same time as the high MCA scan. She needs to get out of the dangerous environment of my womb, but she also needs to stay in and finish developing. I just want my daughter to be safe. Please pray that Nora gets through this week ok and still looks good at her pre-op appointment on Monday. Also pray that I will know if and when I need to go back in and have her rechecked if her movements continue to decrease.

Despite the stressful appointment on Monday, there are so many things I am thankful for. I am ecstatic to be at 25 weeks! Here’s the 25 week bump:

imageAlso, Asher loved being able to see his little sister in 3D and picks up her pictures everyday and kisses them (they’re starting to get sticky) and says, “Oh my baby Nora! Look Mommy, it’s baby Nora!” He can’t wait for her to be here.

imageWe discovered that Nora got her Grandbarry’s nose:

image

Can you tell that my Dad misses my Mom?

I’ll end with a quick story from this past weekend. A few weeks or maybe months ago I got a message from a woman named Amanda who had read my blog. She also had two kids and had decided to adopt their third baby. I think I’ll share her whole story later on my blog but basically she and her husband went through four failed placements in about a year. FOUR! I cannot imagine. Anyway, she said she lived in Houston and her husband was a pastor at a church here and she invited us to come to her church. This past Sunday we finally tried it out and it was wonderful! Right when we got there Amanda found me and introduced herself and was so kind. After we found our seats I decided to get some coffee and on my way there I passed a familiar looking woman. It took me a minute to figure out how I knew her…she is one of Dr. Moise’s ultrasound technicians, the one who always does the MCA scans on Nora. It was fun to actually run into someone I knew. So I went to get the coffee and there in front of me in line was another really familiar looking woman. I thought, “Where do I know HER from?” and I could NOT figure out how I knew her but I felt like I was looking at an old friend, someone who made my heart feel warm and happy. Then I realized it was Beth Moore! (Definitely google her if you don’t know who Beth Moore is, or even better, do one of her Bible studies!) I wanted to be really annoying and tap her on the shoulder and say “Oh my goodness, are you Beth Moore? I LOVE you!” But I swore to myself a long time ago that if I ever actually ran into someone relatively famous in real life I would not intrude in their space and bother them, so I didn’t. I just left her alone and got some coffee and went back to my seat. The service was awesome and refreshing. Afterwards, my Mom and Asher and I were walking back to our car when Amanda came running after us. She said, “Hey, I was hoping to catch you before you left. Would it be ok if my mom prayed over you and Nora?” So I said it would be great and guess who her mom was? Beth Moore 🙂 What a surreal moment! We met her and her husband and Amanda’s kids (who are so cute) and Beth Moore put her hands on me and prayed for my little Nora right there. It felt like a direct gift from God, an anointing on Nora’s life, the sweetest blessing for my baby girl. If someone asked me, “If there was any one person in the world who you would want to pray over you and Nora, who would it be?” I would probably have said Beth Moore. I respect her so much and her work has had a direct impact on my spiritual growth since I did my first Beth Moore study in college. How amazing, that God went to all that trouble to give us this precious gift! And how kind of Amanda and her mom, to welcome us and pray for Nora even though they don’t know us. It was definitely the highlight of my week.

Some people have asked that I re-post the information about our Team Nora t-shirts. If you are interested in buying one just contact Michelle Moss:

Cell Number:  (205) 765-1080

Address:        PO Box 861345, Tuscaloosa AL 35486

E-mail and Paypal address: mmoss610@yahoo.com

I hope you all have a good weekend! I’ll update after Nora’s appointment on Monday.

Guess Who Contacted Me?

So, you’ll never guess who contacted me this week…Kailee and Peter, baby “Scarlet’s” birth parents. The last time one of them contacted us was October 11th before the baby was born. After that, they completely cut off communication with us and ignored all of our attempts to contact them. Apparently they just now read my blog and the only reason they contacted us was to threaten to sue us if we didn’t immediately take down their names. I’m not surprised that they don’t want other people to know what they’ve done.

This post isn’t really about whether I took their names down or if they are going to sue me (they can’t, legally.) This post is about what I’ve learned from Kailee and Peter’s betrayal and how God has brought good out of it.

It was hard not to respond to their emails out of anger and disgust. I wanted to defend myself and point out all of the terrible things they did and completely lash out at them. I ALMOST wrote that email, but right as I was about to I heard a quiet voice telling me to sit and listen first. It’s hard to sit and be still and listen to God when your blood is boiling with “righteous” anger. I did, though, and I read these verses and they quieted me:

Psalm  37:7-9  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret- it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.

Proverbs 29:22,23  An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.

Do not fret. Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. What a burden lifted, what peace I have, knowing He will defend me. Revenge usually feels like the best choice, but forgiveness is so much sweeter. I forgave them already and because of that I am not eaten up with bitterness or hurt. Honestly, until this week, I have barely thought about them since last fall. I can focus completely on my family and give Liam, Asher and Nora the gift of a peaceful, happy Mama.

Not only have I realized how much peace comes with forgiveness, but I have also been able to see God’s providence clearly this week. When we first found out “Scarlet” would not be ours we were devastated. I not only felt betrayed by Kailee and Peter but I felt a bit betrayed by God too. Even though I was shocked at the evilness and cruelty of K and P, I could rationalize that they WERE human which means they are sinful and have the free will to do what they want. But how could I rationalize God allowing more tragedy in our lives, especially when we were just trying to obey Him and help people? I chose to trust Him anyway, a hard thing at the time. I still don’t have all the answers to my questions, but this week, after listening to Josh (the gentlest, kindest man I know) tell me about Peter’s angry voice mail on his phone, and after reading Kailee and Peter’s barrage of emails, I found myself thanking God that my family is not tied to these people for the rest of our lives. I am so relieved that I can just ignore them and that I don’t have to deal with them anymore. I have realized how grateful I am that God allowed our adoption to fall through. If we had adopted that baby, Nora would not be here today, kicking and growing and showing us all the power of God. If the adoption had worked out I would have continued breastfeeding and Nora never would have been conceived. We would have had to interact and communicate with Kailee and Peter for the rest of our lives. THE REST OF OUR LIVES, and the fact that I can now move on and our family never has to be affected by them again is a gift from God. Is it possible that all of those prayers that I prayed leading up to October, begging God to be good to our family, to BLESS us and to give us our baby girl might have been answered with a “yes” all along? When I was asking Him over and over again to protect our family from more tragedy, He knew the hearts of Kailee and Peter and He knew the best thing for our family was to break our ties with them. And maybe the very moment I thought God was betraying me was the moment He was giving me exactly what I asked for.

The Risk of Adoption

Many people have expressed their outrage and disbelief at Kailee and Peter’s actions. LOTS of you have asked that we share Kailee and Peter’s information on my blog so that people will be protected from them in the future (which I plan to do in an upcoming post.) Others have asked what kind of legal action we can take against them for their adoption fraud or breech of contract or whatever you want to call it. Theft with malicious intent is what I would call it. Some of you have suggested that we show up at her door and tell her exactly what we think of her. Another suggestion, since we always ordered pizza for her, was to have a pizza delivered to her door with a special message (that Josh strongly advised me not to share on my blog) spelled out in pepperoni (especially meaningful since she is a vegetarian.) Some of you have suggested that we get a good lawyer or go with an agency next time. The truth is, we have had a good lawyer this whole time and even if we had stuck with the agency, Kailee could have done the same thing to us. All of the bills and expenses we paid for her and her family were legal in Alabama, as long as we knew they were considered “charity” and were not given in exchange for the baby. We never gave her cash and we were careful to only pay for the things we were supposed to pay for a birth mother. There are lots of laws in place to protect the birth parents, but not many to protect the adoptive parents. We knew the risk. Many people, including our lawyer, told us over and over again that she could change her mind in the end and choose to parent the baby. We were fine with that risk and we wanted Kailee to make the choice she felt comfortable with. It was glaringly obvious to us, though, from the beginning, that she would not parent this baby. I never doubted that she would place this baby for adoption. Not once did anyone warn us that she could end up placing the baby with another couple right at the end. It never crossed our minds that she would be texting me one day and literally giving birth the next day and handing Scarlet/Ava over to someone else. We were not prepared for her to just completely cut off contact with us and leave us hanging.

Any time anyone decides that they want to be a parent, they put themselves at great risk, whether it is a biological baby or an adopted baby that they are trying for. We knew that we were putting ourselves at risk when we decided to pursue adoption. I still think she was worth it. I feel good that we gave her a chance and we gave Kailee a chance to place her baby in an amazing family. There are no legal actions we can take against Kailee and Peter since we can’t PROVE that they were getting money from anyone else while we were paying all of their bills and living expenses. There are no contracts signed in an adoption agreement before the baby is born (unless the birth parents say they want to sign the adoption papers ahead of time in front of a judge, which they didn’t.) Even if Kailee and Peter had signed the adoption papers before she was born, they had up to five days after the birth to change their minds. They weren’t bound to us by the law just because we were paying their bills. The thing they were NOT allowed to do was lead on several families at the same time and promise them all that they could adopt the baby while receiving money or gifts from them.

Even if we could sue Kailee and Peter, they have no money to give us. I know we all want to see them pay for what they have done. It is natural to want justice, but trust me when I say that their life and the guilt that they have to live with is punishment enough. They live in poverty and they struggle mentally, emotionally, socially, physically, relationally, the list goes on and on. Can you imagine what a depressing life you would have to have to spend so much time and energy deceiving other people and using your own child to make money instead of just getting a job? It truly is a sad existence. More than anger, disbelief or disgust, the main feeling I have towards Kailee is pity.

I don’t want this horrible story to deter anyone from adoption. I know there are even worse horror stories than ours when it comes to adoption, but there are so many more beautiful adoption stories that end with joy. All you can do is your best, which is what we did, and understand that opening yourself up to a child also opens you up to risk. And aren’t these babies worth it? I think so.

 

Square One

We have been so disheartened and discouraged lately, it is hard to believe we are back at square one. I still can’t believe all of the work we did and all of the money saved and donated did not end in our rainbow baby. Four times in the past two years we have opened our hearts to another baby and every time we have been bitterly disappointed. It is hard for me not to compare my story with other people’s stories. Most of theirs seem to end with a live baby. I wish that God could have put me on a forward moving track like all of the other baby loss moms. A track that leads to rainbow babies and healing and joy after the loss. Instead, it seems like He has us on this nightmare circle track that goes around and around with loss, loss and more loss. I am afraid of what He has waiting for me around the next turn. I feel skittish and nervous when I ask Him what He wants us to do next. I hate that. I wish I could hear Him clearly and know exactly what He wants us to do and then go do it with courage.

We were so close to our rainbow baby. I was so close to that healing feeling of a warm body nestled on my chest. Josh has recurring nightmares of working and working to build a high wall and right when he is about to put the final brick in the wall, someone comes and smashes it to pieces, the rubble falling all around his feet. I feel the same way, except now we are left with no more bricks and no way to build the wall up again. Kailee took them all. We feel incredibly low and defeated but we are not giving up. We are trying to decide what to do next in our family building journey. Our options are:

  • stop with our two on earth
  • become foster parents
  • try again naturally with a 50% chance of stillbirth
  • IVF with PGD
  • give adoption another try
  • use a sperm donor
  • try embryo adoption

How I wish I could just get pregnant again and have another baby. Each one of these options comes with a hefty price, some financial and some emotional. Each one comes with some amount of risk. We have looked at all of them extensively and we are praying a lot. Honestly though, right now we don’t have much confidence in our ability to hear what God is telling us since it seems like He leads us into disaster again and again. The IVF with PGD could bring us a healthy, biological baby, but it would end up being at least $30,000, so that is not an option for us. We don’t feel good about the sperm donor idea and we aren’t even sure if they could track down the sperm donor to test him for kell (kell positive blood type=stillbirth, kell negative blood type =normal pregnancy.) I don’t think we are willing to try adoption again since a birth mother could do the same thing to us again legally and there isn’t anything we can do to prevent it. Kailee has made it hard for us to ever trust another birth mother again. Thinking about it makes me feel sick. I don’t think I would be able to support a birth mother well through her pregnancy and birth. I would always be suspicious.

So, what we’re left with is stopping with our two, trying again naturally with a 50% chance of stillbirth, becoming foster parents or trying embryo adoption. Right now we are leaning towards embryo adoption, since we still have a home study and family profile that could be salvaged. I spoke with a woman from the Nightlight adoption agency last week. She was so kind and she prayed with me over the phone. She said it would be easy to test the genetic parents for kell and that Josh and I sounded like good candidates for embryo adoption. I could have a normal pregnancy and be pregnant with my adopted child. How amazing does that sound? The only problem is that it would cost around $11,000 (which we don’t have.) I don’t have the heart to fundraise or ask anyone to donate since I still feel tremendously guilty about losing everyone’s money on our “adoption.” We will probably try to save up the money to try embryo adoption in the future. In the meantime, we are considering foster care. It is the one option we have never even looked into before now since it comes with such a high emotional risk. I don’t know how I could love and take care of a baby and then give her back, especially after losing Lucy. But lately we have been drawn to the idea. We have EVERYTHING we need for a baby- a complete nursery, baby girl and baby boy clothes (I still have all of Liam and Asher’s clothes) carseats, a van, two stable parents and so much love to give. It wouldn’t cost us anything except courage. A foster baby could end up being our adopted baby, but we would first have to do everything possible to reunify that baby with the birth parents. We are still praying about what to do.

This morning I was so sad and disheartened and completely overwhelmed with my life so I decided to run to God with my fears and questions (even though part of me wanted to just run away from Him.) I read Isaiah 41:10. If there ever was one verse for my life it is this one. God has brought it back to me again and again during scary times in my life. I remember reading this verse over and over when I was lost for three days in Tokyo and Osaka (long, ridiculous story.) I had this verse written on a notecard with me when I was laboring and giving birth to all three of my children. It has strengthened and encouraged me so much.

Do not be afraid for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I have always focused on the “do not be afraid” part because I am usually in the middle of being afraid of something. Today I noticed “do not be dismayed for I am your God.” Dismayed is EXACTLY how I have been feeling.

DISMAY– To break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly; daunt. To deprive a person of courage or the power to act as a result of fear or anxiety. A sense of helplessness caused by an awareness of the enormity of something.

Even though we have an underlying peace, we are feeling more and more dismayed with our situation as we try to decide what is next. God tells me not to be dismayed because He is my God. We are trusting Him to strengthen us and help us yet again while we deal with this new loss and all of the hurt that comes with it. We still feel strongly that God has more children for us. We are not going to let Kailee’s act of evil determine how our family growing journey ends. Please pray that we can trust God again and do what He wants and if it is embryo adoption, that He would show us how to fund it. Thank you again for your many prayers and kind words of support.

Dear Kailee

Dear Kailee,
Since you so abruptly cut off all communication with us I feel like I am lacking closure. I am hoping to find some with this letter to you. Since I’m pretty sure you are not checking my emails to you, maybe you will find your way to this letter on my blog. I have so many questions. Was this your plan all along? Did you pick Adam and Gary at the beginning or at the end of your pregnancy? Were you lying to us the whole time? Did you see our deep love for your baby and take advantage of our vulnerability? Did you see all of our pain after losing our babies and think, “They look like good targets”? Did you do this to another loving family last year with Ben’s adoption too? Are you going to do this again with a different, trusting family next year with another sweet baby? Did you make this rash decision to pick another family after I finally set up some boundaries and told you that no, I would not be able to buy you $40 worth of pizza at the end of September because we didn’t have the money. We had just bought a van and a house that month. We didn’t have money to spend on frivolity. Do you know that we don’t even order pizza like that for ourselves because it’s too expensive? We go get a frozen pizza from Walmart and cook it at home to save money. Was that the reason you picked someone else to adopt “Scarlet”?

It is interesting how different Gary and Adam are from our own family. It is hard for me to believe that you just suddenly had a change of heart right at the end and decided to go with a family that was the opposite of ours. If you wanted your daughter to be raised by Adam and Gary, why didn’t you just go with them from the beginning? What was the point of dragging our family into it? Was it worth a few months of free rent and gas money to you? Why did you want to meet my children and my parents if you knew they weren’t going to be Ava’s grandparents and big brothers? Thank goodness I never let my boys meet you.

Were you actually going to the doctor the whole time and sending Adam and Gary the ultrasound pictures and updates while I stressed out week after week about the baby’s wellbeing? Do you understand how many people you have hurt? You have made people question the goodness of humanity, the existence of God and the very practice of adoption. Why did you give Ava the middle name that I picked out to honor my Mama-E? I cannot wrap my mind around that one. Part of me hopes that every time you see Ava’s middle name you are overcome with guilt and your heart burns with remorse for what you have done. I have so many questions, so many. I know they probably will never be answered.

Words are powerful. Part of me wants to rip you apart with my words right here for everyone to see. I could. I know things about you that no one else knows since you confided in me and leaned on me for emotional support all those months. People want justice. They want to see you punished for what you have done. They want to see you hurt. But I won’t tear you down with my words because I serve a loving God and He tells me to LOVE people like you.

If there is any one thing you remember from this letter I hope it is this:

I FORGIVE YOU

I forgive you for all the money you wasted and all the pain you have brought on my family, on my friends and on all the hopeful people around the world who have followed our story. I forgive you for all the ways you hurt me and my sweet husband and my little boys. I forgive you because God forgave me when I was nothing but a horrible sinner. I will pray for little Ava for the rest of my life, because that is what my Mama-E would have wanted me to do if she were alive today. Every time you see Ava’s middle name, Mae, I want you to remember that I forgive you and that God will too if you ask Him. I hope Ava grows up to be like my amazing Mama-E. I still love your children, J and A. They are so sweet. I will pray for them also for the rest of my life. And lastly, I will pray for you to find God’s peace and forgiveness in your own life. There truly is nothing like it. If all of this heartache ended with you turning to God and knowing Him and understanding His love for you, then it was worth it for me.

With love and unbreakable hope,

Bethany