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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ASHER

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LIAM

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LIAM

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.

We have BREAST MILK!

*For those of you who feel weird about lactation, breast feeding, etc. now is your chance to turn away. You have been warned.

I am proud to say that we have a growing store of breast milk in our freezer for our baby girl and it was produced by ME! I am lactating! How cool is that?

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I have been surprised by my body over the past few months as I have been working on inducing lactation so that I can breastfeed my daughter when she arrives. I honestly didn’t know if it would work. I had heard that some women can start producing milk if they simply start pumping regularly, so I tried it. I thought it might be easier for me since I breastfed Liam and Asher for a year each and after I lost Lucy my milk didn’t dry up for MONTHS. So I started pumping every 3 hours around the clock and taking herbs to increase milk supply and all I got was one single drop. It was a really depressing time for me because every time I pumped and got nothing it reminded my of my losses and the fact that I can’t just get pregnant and have a baby and breastfeed like most women can. I almost gave up completely on the whole lactation idea. I decided to try the Newman-Goldfarb protocol to induce lactation, but I really had very little hope that it would work. A lot of women lose confidence in their bodies after they lose a baby because it feels like your body failed at it’s most important task. My own body actually attacked and killed Lucy so I had very little trust that it would succeed in producing milk for a baby when I’m not even pregnant. Fortunately, it has proved me wrong and I am gradually gaining confidence in my body again. I love being able to produce healthy breast milk for my baby and I can’t wait to breastfeed her. I missed that so much with Lucy. What an incredible gift.

So how does it work? Basically you trick your body into thinking you are pregnant by taking birth control pills for several months before your baby is due. I think the protocol suggests starting at least five months ahead, although you can start pretty much whenever you want. As well as taking birth control, you take domperidone, which is an anti-nausea medication that has lactation as a side-effect. It is NOT champagne, like I thought 🙂 Anyway, during the months that you take the birth control and domperidone ahead of time, your body is preparing your breasts for lactation, just like it does when you are pregnant. Around 6 weeks before the baby is due you are supposed to stop the birth control pills so your body thinks you gave birth, and then start pumping every 3 hours. This is when your milk should come in and you should have a good supply by the time the baby arrives. I was only on the birth control for about two months when my body just started producing milk anyway, even before I stopped the birth control. Apparently my body reacted very well to the domperidone and I was getting uncomfortably full of milk, so I decided to stop the birth control early and start pumping. I now pump every 3-4 hours and freeze the milk for when baby girl arrives. I take fenugreek and blessed thistle, which help with milk production.

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I try to eat oatmeal every day and drink lots of fluids, including mother’s milk tea, which also increases milk production (and tastes great too!)

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I have also recently discovered lactation cookies, which are healthy and delicious and help with lactation (and NO, they aren’t made with breast milk like I first thought, haha!) I remember being exasperated at times with breastfeeding Liam and Asher because it was so hard and exhausting. Breastfeeding is a lot of work! It is difficult to find time to pump every 3-4 hours while caring for 3 and 5 year old boys right now. It’s hard to remember to take all the supplements and it is expensive (although not as expensive as formula.) I’m also taking a risk since this baby isn’t technically mine yet. K and P have the right to make whatever decision they want regarding parenting, and they could still choose to parent, which would leave me with a lot of breast milk, tears and no baby (although I don’t think they will.) But she is worth the risk. I recognize how blessed I am to have the chance to breastfeed. After losing Lucy and my ability to have live babies, I thought I would never get to breastfeed a baby again. It feels like an amazing gift and I am honored to be able to do this for my daughter. It felt like Christmas morning when I went up to get my breast pump out of the attic and go searching for all my bottles, nursing bras and nursing tank tops that were packed away. How fun! I am loving it and I don’t even have my baby yet. I can’t wait to experience breastfeeding again with my new baby.

A Slight Change in Plans

We have a slight (maybe not so slight?) change in our adoption plans. There were A LOT of factors going into this decision, that I won’t share here, but we are going to complete our adoption through a private attorney instead of Bethany Christian Services. After a lot of prayer, discussion and input from both the agency and K and P, we think this is the best decision for everyone (including the baby.) K and P are totally on board and pleased with the decision, as are we. Our attorney is wonderful, and we all feel more comfortable working with him.

When we made the decision to change plans, we weren’t really thinking much about the money, but we soon realized that the adoption would be much cheaper this way (which is kind of the icing on the cake.) God has, once again, provided just enough money for what we need next. I was starting to get really concerned about the financial part of the adoption since we still were missing about $13,000 and the baby’s due date is fast approaching. Well, as always, He knows what He is doing. It looks like, if we go with our lawyer, we will have just enough to complete the adoption, no more, no less. I am so glad now, that we didn’t raise all of the money we needed for the agency fees because if we had, we would now be left with an awkward overflow of money that we would somehow have to return to the donors. But as it turns out, we have the perfect amount! Also, we didn’t really lose any money by leaving the agency when we did, so we feel like it was a good decision. Thank you again for all of your prayers and support. Please continue to pray for K, P and the baby. Only two more months!

Our Rainbow Baby is a…

…healthy, beautiful, chubby cheeked GIRL! Woohoo! Let the crazy baby girl shopping continue! Yesterday K and I went together to get a 3D ultrasound of the baby. We got confirmation that it is indeed, for SURE, a baby girl and we are SO excited! It was really nice to be able to spend some alone time with K and it was fun to have this experience with her. I loved looking at our girl together and hearing her heartbeat (the most beautiful sound in the world.) It makes me happy to think of telling my daughter these sweet memories of her mommy and her first mom doing things together for her and doting on her before she was born. I truly am so thankful for K. Her willingness to include me in everything has been so gracious and generous, and I am forever grateful.

During the ultrasound, baby girl was being stubborn and putting her hand in front of her face, or turning her face away almost the whole time. The ultrasound tech tried lot’s of different things (and made poor K shift around so much) to try to get the baby into a better position, but we never got a clear shot of baby’s face. This is the best we have:

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Baby Girl sucking on her bottom lip

Even thought K is barely into the third trimester, the baby already has some substantial chubby cheeks, which I CANNOT WAIT to kiss! She was absolutely perfect. We are overwhelmed with love for this baby. We are smitten already.

We are EXPECTING!

This is so exciting…the post I’ve been waiting to write for so many months now.

We are expecting a baby in October!

No, we are not pregnant, but we are still expecting our third earth baby to arrive in October. We have been chosen by the most amazing expectant mother (“K”) and father (“P”) who’s baby is due at the end of October. K is such an intelligent, strong woman and we are so blessed to have her in our lives, for the rest of our lives. P is also great and we are so thankful that he is supportive and on board with everything. We can’t wait to meet our baby too! K actually found us through the internet, not through our agency, and she just happened to live in Alabama! She is now working through our agency. We only had our online profile up for about a week before she contacted me in May, so our wait was extremely short compared to most. That was a huge blessing for us! Almost immediately, Josh and I agreed that we felt a connection to K and to this precious baby. She told us right at the beginning that she didn’t know the gender of the baby yet, so that was a hard decision for us. We had decided at the beginning of the adoption process that we would try to wait for a girl. We had our hearts SO set on a girl, but after meeting K, we started to feel our hearts change. It was harder for Josh, surprisingly. He was adamant about having a daughter but I just wanted a baby. We talked about it and prayed about it a lot. Meanwhile, K and I were emailing back and forth, getting to know each other. The more we emailed, the more I liked her and fell in love with her and the baby. The more we prayed about it, the more we felt peace about K, P and the baby, regardless of gender. Finally, Josh and I agreed that we loved this baby already and would be open to whoever God wanted to give us. From the very beginning when I have asked God to tell me what to do and how to proceed (Should we do IVF? Should we try naturally? Should we adopt? Should we stop with two?) I have heard Him say, “Let me redeem it.” Well, if He wants to redeem it with this sweet little baby, boy or girl, we want Him to do it His way. So, we are on board, regardless of gender, and we are SO excited and in love with this baby already. After we decided this, K had to go to the emergency room for dehydration and while she was there they did an ultrasound to check on the baby. They said that the baby looked HEALTHY (woohoo!) and they made a guess at the gender. The ER doctor thought the baby looked like a GIRL 🙂 but we still aren’t 100% sure. K will hopefully have confirmation on the gender in the next few weeks, and we will update you when she does!

Thank you all for your prayers and support on our journey so far. We honestly don’t think we would be where we are today without all of you. Would you continue to pray for K, P and this sweet new baby? Please pray that the rest of the pregnancy and the delivery would go smoothly, and that K would have peace and strength to get through this. Pray that P would have peace and strength as well, to be a loving and supportive father and husband. Please pray that God would provide in an amazing way for K, P and their family. Pray that God would show us how to support K and P well and that our hearts would be protected from more heartache. Pray for our sweet new baby- that (s)he is safe and healthy and will always feel loved and confident in who he/she is. I think it’s so amazing that this baby gets to start life off with not two, but FOUR parents who love him/her so much already. Thank you in advance for your prayers and support. We will keep you updated!

Swimming and Praying

I’ve been swimming laps this summer in the same pool I swam laps in two years ago, in the summer of 2012. That was the last summer our family and my heart were whole. I swam laps every day to try to lose my Asher baby weight and to prepare my body for my next baby. We were meticulous about planning and timing our next baby “perfectly.” Josh especially wanted to be wise and wait for the right time. We wanted our kids to be close in age but Josh was about to start grad school that fall. We didn’t want to be having a baby in the middle of his first year in grad school, so we waited (even though my heart already had begun aching for our next baby.) Our plan was to time it so that the baby would be born in the summer of 2013 when Josh was out of school and could help and be home more.

My heart was so content that summer, and as I swam in that clear pool, lap after lap with bubbles frothing all around, I prayed for God to bless us with another baby. On my calendar I was counting down the days until we could start trying for our third baby. Some days I felt like I just couldn’t wait and I would try to convince Josh to let us start trying earlier than we had planned (like I tried with all of our babies.) He said no and so we waited. When the weather started to turn cool my heart leapt because with the cooler weather came baby making time! On October 25th we found out we were pregnant and due in July, just how we had hoped.

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                                                                  -October 25, 2012

I’M PREGNANT!

I can’t believe it! I’m so excited. This never gets old. A new baby for me to love for eternity. It feels totally unreal. How can there be new life so recently created in me right now? I feel like there should be fireworks or at least some applause!

THANK YOU, my sweet Father,

You give me so many beautiful gifts. Thank you so much for this new baby. I can’t believe you’ve trusted me with another life to nourish. Another heart to teach about you. I don’t deserve any of your blessings, yet you lavish them on me continuously. I love you. Thank you for my new sweet baby. I wonder who she/he is, what will she be like? Look like? I am ecstatic. (I also have A LOT to do.)

 

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At the pumpkin patch right after I found out I was pregnant 🙂

How could I have known that our summer baby would indeed be born in the middle of Josh’s second semester of grad school and in the middle of our move to a new house, at the worst time possible? How could I have known that she would be born dead? How could I have possibly imagined that two years later I would be swimming laps with only two children and a broken heart?

Today when I went outside for my swim, the weather was surprisingly cool and it didn’t feel humid at all. It felt like fall, and as I stepped into that same sparkling swimming pool, I remembered the summer and fall of 2012 so vividly. It felt like it had happened yesterday. The all too familiar feeling of emptiness that follows me now, enveloped me and reminded me of the deep and devastating loss that has marked my life forever. That baby that I could not wait to conceive now lives in heaven with her two younger siblings. I swam lap after lap in that same pool today, but I prayed for a different baby. With the cooler weather this year will come the possibility of our third earth baby, who we already love with all of our hearts. I prayed for this baby and her birth parents today as I swam and it felt so much like that summer two years ago. Intense longing and hoping for our third baby and the feeling like I just can’t wait. I have learned that we can plan and pray and hope, but God has the final word. So, I will plan for this baby, but I will hold her (or him) with an open hand, and I will trust that God’s plan for my life is perfect and good, whether it includes a third baby or not.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  Psalm 16:2, 5, 6