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

Why are you adopting if you can’t afford it?

Someone asked me this question on my blog a few months ago. I think a lot of people wonder the same thing. Why are we adopting if we can’t afford it? I know that it bothers some people to see others asking for money. After we lost Lucy we were given the option of doing IVF. We still have the choice to do IVF and implant a kell negative embryo and have a normal pregnancy, but the cost is outrageous. I was shocked when we found out how much it would cost us. It was almost $500 just to go talk to the reproductive endocrinologist about our options (without any testing done.) Almost $500 for a conversation. Actually, all of our options after losing Lucy have been very expensive ones.

People who suffer with infertility issues are faced with this problem, and many of them don’t have any children at all. What if it cost you $20,000 just to have one shot at a pregnancy? People with money are not the only ones who deserve to be parents. It is heartbreaking to have to face infertility or baby loss, but the added financial strain is extremely difficult and adds to the stress of the loss.

We have always wanted to adopt, but haven’t pursued it before now because of the cost. After we lost Pax in October we asked God what He wanted us to do. We were so heartbroken and tired of losing babies. We felt like He was telling us to adopt. I pretended I didn’t hear Him. How could we possibly afford a $22,000 adoption? So we waited and prayed some more and God told us again that we were supposed to adopt a baby. It took about three months for me to finally decide to just trust Him and go for it. When we sent in our adoption application we had $100 in our adoption savings account! Talk about a leap of faith.

Now I am embarrassed when I look back and see how hesitant and fearful I was at first. I never doubted that God could provide the money for us, I was just too proud to do what it took to get the money. I am very independent and I don’t like asking people for help. I COULD NOT FATHOM even asking people for donations for our yard sale, let alone starting a Go Fund Me account. If it were up to me, I would not ask anyone for anything and I would keep most of our adoption process a secret and after we got our baby I would say, “Hey guys, we adopted this beautiful baby! Isn’t God good?”

But God’s way is better, even though it’s often harder. If our adoption story played out the way I wanted it to, we would have missed out on so much, and other people would have missed out too. And by the way, if your adoption story has worked out like I wanted ours to — completely self funded and private, there is nothing wrong with that at all. It is just not what God called us to do. God has taught me many lessons over the past six months since we started the adoption process. He has humbled me with His generosity and with the generosity of others. He has used the kindness of others to confirm that this is His will for us and that this baby is such a special gift. Here are some of my thoughts on adopting, even when you can’t afford it:

BEING ABLE TO AFFORD AN ADOPTION IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING ABLE TO AFFORD A CHILD

We can easily afford another child or two right now. The cost is spread out over a lifetime. We basically have everything we need for a baby besides the diapers and wipes. Affording an adoption is different because all of the money is required in a very short amount of time, and it is usually a VERY big chunk of money. Just because you can’t afford the adoption, it doesn’t mean that you can’t afford a child, and it doesn’t have to keep you from completing your family.

THE MONEY IS NOT FOR YOU, IT’S FOR YOUR BABY

Before I could muster up the courage (or rather humble myself enough) to ask people for donations, I read someone else’s blog discussing this very problem. She said that she struggled with the same thing and finally was able to ask others for help when she realized that the money she was asking people to donate was not for HER, it was for her baby. She felt like she would do anything for her child, so it became easier for her after that. I realized, YES, I am not asking people to give me money, I am asking them to help my baby, to help give our baby a beautiful life. And I will do anything for my children, even if it’s scary or extremely humbling.

LET GOD BLOW YOU AWAY WITH HIS GENEROSITY AND PROVISION

God wants us to depend on Him, every step of the way, and when we do, we are always glad that we did. I LOVE giving my kids gifts and seeing their eyes light up, and so does God. God has provided the EXACT amount of money in our adoption savings account for the very next step in our adoption process, EVERY TIME. He never gives us more or less, which I think is amazing. He is providing, but not so much that we can slack off and stop depending on Him. Right now we have exactly enough money for our next step forward in our adoption, nothing more. We will have to trust Him to provide the next step after that (which is an expensive one.) There is something so amazing about taking a leap of faith, asking God to provide and then seeing His provision. It is a tangible reminder of how much He loves us.

GOD’S PROVISION BECOMES A REALLY COOL PART OF YOUR BABY’S LIFE STORY

I can’t remember where I read it (somewhere online), but one woman had the opinion that you were doing your future child a disservice by asking other people to give you money for your adoption. She thought it would make your child feel “cheapened” somehow. I feel just the opposite. I can’t wait to tell my baby how SO many people loved her before she was even ours, before we even knew about her, that they gave money, time, prayers and donations to help us bring her home. I can’t wait to tell her how God laid everything out for us, how He prepared people’s hearts ahead of time to give to our adoption, how He did a miracle in providing all of our funds, and it was all for HER. I hope she feels loved and important and extremely valuable. It is more confirmation that God intentionally planned for this baby to be in our family, that she was meant to be a Weathersby. Our baby will start her life off with a really cool birth story, and it is all saturated with God’s love and goodness. When you trust God and let Him provide, you are giving your child an amazing piece to his or her life story that a lot of people don’t get to have.

DON’T MAKE MAJOR LIFE DECISIONS SOLELY BASED ON MONEY

This is something my grandfather always said. I know some people will probably disagree with this but we have found it to be good advice. Money is very important and affects almost every area of our lives, but it should not be the main deciding factor when making a big life decision. I doubt people on their death beds look back and say, “I’m so glad I invested that money, saved that money, worked so much.” I think most people surround themselves with their family, their siblings, parents, children, spouses or friends and say, “I love you so much. I am so thankful I got to spend my life with you. Remember when we __________________? That was so much fun! I’m thankful for you and I love you.” I think it’s also important to remember that you only have a certain season in your life when you can adopt. Time is not an unlimited resource. If the only thing holding you back from adopting a child is money, I think you should strongly reconsider.

IT ALLOWS OTHER PEOPLE TO PLAY A PART IN A BEAUTIFUL ADOPTION STORY

After we lost Lucy we were devastated and depressed. I have never felt so low in my life, like my own heart had stopped beating when hers did. I remember the first time I smiled after losing my baby. A family in our church was adopting two boys from Haiti. A few months before, they had asked if anyone had toddler boy clothes to donate to their boys. This family already had six girls, so they were pretty low on the baby boy clothes 🙂 We gave them some of Liam and Asher’s clothes. It was several days/weeks after Lucy died (I can’t remember exactly, it is still a blur) that I was brave/stupid enough to venture onto Facebook. I saw some pictures of the family’s trip to Haiti to meet their boys and there on my screen was this cute little boy in Haiti wearing Liam’s clothes.

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The biggest smile spread across my face and it felt so strange and wonderful because I hadn’t done it in so long. I had almost forgotten what it felt like. I know our donation was small, but it brought us incredible joy to be able to play a tiny part in helping those two sweet boys. Giving others the chance to be a part of your adoption story is an amazing gift, even if it is humbling for you. When you are too scared or proud to allow others to help you, you are not the only one who misses out.

So, if you are considering adoption and money is the only thing holding you back, I think you should really consider just GOING FOR IT! With a lot of prayer, hard work, humility, and a good support system, it is totally possible. I also strongly recommend you read “Adopt Without Debt, Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption” by Julie Gumm. I just got it on my Nook for $8 (I think it’s more expensive in print) and read almost the whole thing in one sitting. You can also check out their website for great advice and fundraising ideas. Your family size does NOT have to be determined by your fertility or your bank account, and as Julie Gumm says in her book, “The cost of adoption should never stand in the way of giving a child a family.”

Shattered Dreams

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Our baby Pax’s due date is coming up on June 15th. I feel like there have been so many pregnancy/birth announcements lately and each one is painful, especially now so close to my own due date. A lot of these birth announcements are my answers to prayers for other people, and I am thankful for God’s goodness, but they are still reminders of my shattered dreams for my life. Each announcement usually takes me about two days of extreme sadness to accept and move on. I used to be frustrated with myself for feeling this way. I felt guilty and tried to fight it, but now I have learned to accept it as part of my grieving process and I just get through it and then move on. I am also painfully aware when I go out in public that my two sweet boys are probably someone else’s trigger, a reminder of their own shattered dreams. Lately, I have been working less while my students are on vacation, and Josh is home more to help with the boys, so I have more free time to think and remember my many losses.

Of course I am still mourning my Lucy every day. Yesterday I felt especially sad and was missing her so much. I had to go to a doctor’s appointment and I cried all the way there. I finally pulled it together enough to wipe off my face and clean up my smeared make-up, walk in and put on a fake smile for the other people in the waiting room. I decided to look at a magazine while I was waiting and when I picked it up I noticed the date on the front “July 2013.” It made my heart sink. Anything that has to do with July 2013 makes me instantly sad. I remember after losing Lucy I dreaded that month like the world was coming to an end in July. I remember I almost couldn’t eat or drink anything that had an expiration date of July 2013. Fourth of July decorations still make me feel sick to my stomach. That was the month I should have welcomed my sweet daughter and now I should be planning my girl’s first birthday party. I fought back the tears and quickly put the magazine back on the table. I reached for another one to try to distract myself and immediately noticed the date on the front “February 2013.” You have to be kidding me. That was the worst month of my life, the month I lost my baby and my hope of any more healthy pregnancies. I basically threw the magazine back on the table like it was contaminated with the plague. It was so hard to hold it together for the whole appointment. I cried as soon as I got back into the car. I still miss Lucy every minute of every day.

I am just realizing, though, how deep of a loss it was for me to lose my ability to have healthy pregnancies. I think most of my emotional focus over the past year and a half has been on mourning Lucy. Now I am feeling the deep pain of the fact that I will never be able to just get pregnant and have a live baby. Almost all of the women who lost babies last year now have big, round bellies stretching with the life of their rainbow babies (which is what I have prayed for them.) How wonderful and hopeful that must feel. I can’t even fathom how amazing that must be, to get to the age of viability, to feel your baby kicking every day, to feel your breasts swell in preparation for the baby that will come. All of that is lost for me, and I am still mourning it now.

Adoption is beautiful and full of hope, but it is not for the faint of heart. It means putting your hopes in God’s hands. It means you don’t get to have nine months of bonding with your baby before you meet them face to face. You have to wait for that paper to be signed before you can allow yourself to love freely and give your heart to the baby, because that is when she is actually yours to love. It is hard to wait and not know, to keep releasing your hope and giving it back to God. It is hard to trust Him with your new dreams when you trusted Him with your former dreams but now they lie shattered all around your feet. I often think about how hard it would be to go through a divorce and see your dreams for your marriage shattered. I think about how hard it would be to lose someone you love and have had with you for years, like your spouse, your sibling, your parents. Shattered dreams.

As I said in a previous post, I am currently reading “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb. I had low expectations for this book since my friend randomly bought it for me from the Salvation Army and we both knew nothing about it. It has been surprisingly insightful and encouraging. If you are struggling with your own shattered dreams, I highly recommend you read this book. I’m still not even half way through it, but I’m learning so much. I’m learning that the dreams I had were good, but God has a plan for me here on earth that is better, and He has a life, waiting for me in heaven that is the BEST (and it’s sweet in a way that Lucy, Jude and Pax got to skip right to the BEST.) Sometimes my good dreams have to shatter in order for me to realize my deep need for God and to see His plan for me that’s better.

It’s harder to discover our desire for God when things go well. We may think we have, but more often all we’ve found is our desire to USE God, not to ENJOY Him. Shattered dreams are the truest blessings; they help us discover our true hope. But it can take a long, dark time to discover it.

-Larry Crabb

It is taking me a long, dark time to discover God’s truest blessing for my life and even when I stand here surrounded by the shards of my broken dreams for my life and for my children, He is working on my behalf. None of my pain will be wasted.

Dreams for good things may shatter, but our pain will always have a purpose. It will not go away, but it will do its work. It will stir an appetite for a higher purpose- the better hope of knowing God well enough now to love Him above everything else…and trust Him no matter what happens…We will not suffer in heaven. Every imaginable dream, everything from good parking spaces to good health, will come true. Pain will have no purpose then, so it will not be allowed….For now, while we still have such a hard time realizing that what’s good is not always best, suffering still has a function. As nothing else can, it moves us away from demanding what’s good…toward desiring what’s better…until heaven provides what’s best.

-Larry Crabb

Having Lucy alive and with me right now seems right and good, and it is. Being able to get pregnant easily and have live, breathing babies seems right and good, and it is. Healthy marriages, good jobs, siblings who are alive, they are all good and right. My instinct is to cling tightly to what is good and scream at God, “It’s GOOD, it’s RIGHT! If you are good you should let me have what is GOOD!” But it is only when my dreams for what is good shatter that I am able to see God’s dream for me, something even better. I know that God is saving the best for last. My story will end with the best. And for the mothers who lost babies, our stories will end with a beautiful beginning- the beginning of our eternity with our babies, and that is one of the few dreams that cannot be shattered.

Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Our Adoption Family Profile

Our family profile is now up on the Bethany Christian Services website. Here is the link:

http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/alabama/josh-and-bethany

We would love for you to share this link with anyone you want and especially if you know of a couple who is considering making an adoption plan for their child. You could be the link that connects us to our precious baby!

If you would like more information about our family you can contact our agency at (251) 621-5440 or email them at bcspensacola@bethany.org  Thank you again to all of you who have supported us and prayed for us so far. You guys encourage us more than you know. My heart races when I think about our baby out there somewhere possibly right now, growing into the little person who is going to rock our world. I CAN’T WAIT.

Adoption Update

So, I just wanted to give you all a quick update on our adoption. It has been almost five months since we started the process and we are now home study approved! We also recently finished our family profile book and received a copy in the mail for us to keep. We love it so much. This is the book that our agency will show to the birth parents when they come in to possibly make an adoption plan. The birth parents will look through several different families’ profile books and choose the couple that they feel a connection with. Here are a few pictures of our profile book:

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Our agency will put up our online family profile soon, and I’ll share that here on my blog when they do. Now, there’s not much more for us to do but wait to be picked and pray for patience. Thank you to all of you for your support and prayers so far. We will keep you updated!

Who I’m thinking about on Mother’s Day

Most of my life I have thought about my own wonderful mom and my two amazing grandmothers on Mother’s Day. As I got older I dreamed of the day I could celebrate it as a mother myself, and after I got married I always thought about how much I appreciated my beautiful mother-in-law on Mother’s Day. Then last year, my world was turned upside down and motherhood was forever tainted with the deepest pain and loss of my life. Last year on Mother’s Day I ached for my baby girl and for all the women who were mothers living on earth without their babies (and I still ache just as much now.) I also thought about all the women who wanted so badly to be mothers and were never given that gift. I’m still thinking about all of those women this Mother’s Day, of course, including my mother, mother-in-law and grandmothers, but there is one woman who has captured my heart especially this year:

OUR BABY’S BIRTH MOTHER

Even though I haven’t met her yet, my heart beats for this woman today and I have been praying for her so much lately. I wonder if she is even pregnant yet with the baby that will change her world and will complete ours? This woman is my hero. She embodies the very essence of motherhood — a willingness to sacrifice in order to give her baby the best life. Isn’t that what motherhood is about? Giving yourself and everything you have, being willing to lay down your life for this little human.

Can you imagine carrying your child inside you, feeling her sweet kicks, knowing that your baby will call someone else “Mommy” one day? This woman is strong, brave, courageous, determined to give her baby LIFE. She has to live with ridiculous stereotypes and seething questions asking her why she “gave up her baby.” She did not give up her baby. She did NOT give up on her baby. She believes in her baby and she believes God has a plan for her baby. She sees ahead and makes the hardest decision of her life with the wisdom of a mother who loves her baby unconditionally.

This birth mom has so many hard decisions ahead of her. Will you pray for her today? Here are the things I would love for you all to pray for our birth mom:

  • That she feels God’s love for her and her baby, and feels His protection over them both.
  • For a safe pregnancy and birth, and courage to face the fears that come with childbirth.
  • That she knows without any question that we are the right family to raise her child, and that she feels secure in her decision.
  • For her heart to be protected through all of this, and for God to heal her and fill her with hope and peace.

And we have been praying this verse over her specifically. Would you do the same?

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What our adoption process looks like

A lot of people have asked us how the adoption process works, so I want to explain the basics. There are many different ways to adopt- through foster care, internationally, domestically through an agency or privately through a lawyer. Some people adopt relatives or step children. There are lot’s of choices and we decided to do domestic infant adoption. Originally, we were going to adopt from Korea, but after looking into it we realized that it is more expensive, the wait is longer, it is very hard to adopt a girl, and the baby is usually a toddler by the time he/she comes home. Since we have missed almost everything with Lucy, we don’t want to miss anything with our next baby. How strange that the few things we will miss out on with our adopted baby (conception, pregnancy and birth) are the only things we got to experience with Lucy. Anyway, the adoptions are also different depending on the agency you choose.

The basic steps are:

  • Apply to the agency, get accepted
  • Complete infant adoption training classes
  • Complete the home study, get approved
  • Decide on our preferences (gender, race, age, drug exposure, etc) for our baby
  • “Go Live” which means our profile is available for birth parents to look at
  • Be “matched” or chosen by the birth parents to adopt their baby
  • “Placement” happens when the baby is born and the parents sign the adoption papers
  • We bring our baby home and celebrate!
  • The adoption is finalized several months later

Some Common Questions:

How much does it cost?

It will be about $22,000 for our adoption. You can see the exact fees here.

How long is the wait?

I was told the wait, with our agency, is about 10-12 months, but I think that means after we are home study approved. The home study can take several months. We are hoping to have our baby by 2015 (but would love to meet her sooner!) For some people the wait can be days, and for some people the wait can be years.

Are you adopting a girl?

The option to choose the gender of the baby also varies by agency, but with Bethany Christian Services, we are given the choice. At first we thought we should just leave it up to God and let Him choose, but after thinking and praying more, we have decided to adopt a girl. It is very important for us for many reasons (and NO, we are not trying to replace Lucy, as if that is even possible.) Out of all the choices we have regarding our baby (race, special needs, drug exposure, open/closed adoption) the most important one, by far, is gender, and we ache for a baby girl. So, we are adopting a baby girl. This could make our wait much longer since some birth moms make their adoption plan and choose their adoptive parents in their first trimester.

Are you adopting a caucasian baby? African American? Asian? Hispanic? 

Like the gender choice, our first instinct was to be open to all races and let God decide who our daughter is. We would actually love a baby of color (any color!) I feel a connection to African Americans, since I grew up in Africa, and Josh and I have a deep love for Korea (and Japan, China and Thailand too.) But, the more we learn about it, the more we see that it is much more complicated than we think. We don’t see color in our family (our boys have still NEVER noticed that some people have different colored skin), but most of the world does, and Alabama does especially. We have to make sure we are committed to teaching this child how to live in this country as a minority. We have to give the child a rich, diverse community to grow up in. We have to support her cultural background. We ultimately have to do what is best for the child. We are still praying about this and will do what we think God wants us to do, but right now we are open to all races.

Can the birth parents change their minds?

The birth parents have five days (in Alabama) after the birth of the baby to change their minds about their adoption plan. This is often a very scary time for the adoptive parents, knowing the birth parents could choose to parent and break their hearts. It is important to remember that this is THEIR baby to begin with and I do not want to adopt their baby if they are not completely sure about their adoption plan. For us, adoption is much lower risk than trying to have a baby naturally. No one will be dying. The “worst” thing that could happen is the baby ends up with her own parents, so it’s a win win for us.

What is an “open adoption”?

Most domestic infant adoptions today are considered “open” adoptions. This means that the biological parents have some type of contact with the adoptive parents and baby. Usually, the adoptive parents and birth parents discuss the level of “openness” they are comfortable with and make a plan before the baby arrives. Sometimes the birth parents feel like it’s too painful and they don’t want any contact, and sometimes they want regular updates and occasional visits. The ideal situation for us is whatever our birthparents want. More than anything, we want them to feel comfortable with the adoption plan that they choose, so we are open to whatever they decide. We love these people already, and they will always be a special part of our family, whether they choose an open adoption or a more closed one.

Will it be harder to love this baby than it is your biological children?

Absolutely not. God chose this baby for us and knew that this baby would be a Weathersby before we were even created. We love this baby already so much. I cry every time I think about meeting our baby for the first time, just like when I was pregnant with Liam and Asher and Lucy. I would cry every time I thought about giving birth and meeting them. I have even heard some adoptive parents say they have a hard time loving their bio kids as much as their adopted child because they actually “chose” the adopted kid and they were “chosen” for him or her. Of course, we will love all of our children equally, unconditionally and without effort.

We are still kind of new to all of this and we are still learning about all of the details. If you have any questions about our adoption, please ask! Just like my losses and anti-kell antibody issues, I feel very open about it and actually love to talk about it. Adoption is such a beautiful, fun journey and we are so thankful God has led us to this.

Yard Sale Fundraiser

This past weekend we had our yard sale fundraiser for our adoption. It was so much work and it was so much fun. I don’t think I have felt this encouraged and hopeful since losing Lucy. Josh and I had been saving things we didn’t need for a few months, but it only amounted to a few boxes of items to sell. We asked our friends if they wanted to donate anything to our yard sale and we were OVERWHELMED with donations. Boxes and bags of donations piled up all around us. Every single donation felt like a little message from God, “I love you, I am providing for you, your baby is coming.” I am still in shock. A couple days before the yard sale, a woman from our church told us that she had been saving up her extra things to have her own yard sale, but decided she didn’t have time to do it. That day she brought over a trailer FULL of donations.

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The first day of our sale, a friend texted me and asked if I wanted some more donations. She was moving and was going to have her own yard sale as well, but decided to just give us everything. She donated truck loads of the most beautiful furniture, tools, clothes, etc. They were all sold within an hour of being unloaded.

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Just some of the clothes we had for sale

Not only were we extremely blessed by the people donating items to sell, but we were so blessed by the people who came to our yard sale. I would guess, 90% of the people who came didn’t know us. We only priced a couple of the really large items like a roll top desk and table and chairs. Nothing else was priced. We told everyone that they could donate whatever they wanted to our adoption in exchange for the items they wanted to take. Not once did we tell someone that their price was too low. In fact, the majority of the people absolutely amazed us with their generosity. Several people came and didn’t find anything they wanted, but still donated to our adoption. One couple got several toys and come kid’s clothes and gave us $300. I cried, my Mom cried, we could not believe the generosity.

I put a sign up at the sale mentioning our stillbirth and miscarriages in 2013 and our adoption in progress. SO many people came up to me and told me about their own losses. One couple had also lost three babies, another woman told me she had 5 boys, but her one baby girl had been stillborn. Another woman said she lost her son and he should be 41 years old today. Story after story of babies lost, and in the sharing of the heartache there was great peace and healing. It helps to know you are not alone in your suffering.

On our yard sale signs (made by a sweet family who just adopted last year) it said “Adoption Yard Sale.” SO many people came by and told us their story of adoption. Some had been adopted themselves, others had adopted children, some were in the process of adopting. Many of them stopped just because the sign had said “adoption” and they wanted to support someone else’s adoption. All of their stories were hopeful and encouraging. I think it is a testament to how wonderful adoption really is. Many of the people who have supported us the most have been people who have experienced adoption in some way themselves. Once you see what a beautiful thing adoption really is, you want to promote it and support it any way you can. We feel so blessed to be able to adopt and hopefully support others in their adoption journey in the future.

Another sweet thing about the yard sale was that it felt like a tangible sacrifice we all could make for our baby girl who is on her way. When I was pregnant with my first three kids I suffered greatly during pregnancy. It was excruciating, and my all day sickness was so intense. The pain of childbirth was nothing compared to the pain and sickness of the first half of the pregnancy. But it felt very natural to be able to suffer for my babies, to work hard for them and know that they were worth it all. With this baby, some other amazing woman is doing the suffering and I can’t take it from her, even though I would in a heartbeat if I could. I feel like I’m not doing enough. But throughout the yard sale, I kept having this wonderful realization that all of this sacrifice (hours and hours of backbreaking work and sleepless nights and my kids being ignored and people giving pieces of themselves) was for HER. I know it is still not much of a sacrifice, but it was nice to be able to at least do SOMETHING. All of this was for her, and she is worth it all. One day I will tell her about this past weekend, how Grandbarry, Grandmama, Auntie Jessica, Shelly and Mommy and Daddy all worked so hard for her. How so many people donated their own things and their own time for her. How strangers gave their own money for her, even though they didn’t know who any of us were. She is going to know how special and loved she is, and that God has a beautiful plan for her life.

Thank you, to all of you who donated your storage space, your things, your time and your money. Thank you to everyone who prayed for our sale and for our family. We made over $3,000 in only two days (one day was rained out.) We hope that because of your generosity, God will prosper you and refresh you. You have certainly refreshed our souls this weekend.

Proverbs 11:24,25

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

 

 

TTC goes on hold, HOPE slowly grows

So, we have decided to stop trying to conceive a baby naturally for right now. We have tried for 11 months which meant 9 negative pregnancy tests and 2 positives that ended with miscarriages. That is a lot of heartbreak, discouragement and hope deferred and all of it has happened right after the death of our daughter. I had negative pregnancy tests before losing Lucy and they were very difficult to handle, but getting a negative after losing a baby is far more devastating. With Liam we got pregnant the very first month we tried, Asher took five months of trying and Lucy only took two months. Throughout this past year we have been praying that God would show us clearly how He wants us to proceed with growing our family. We think He has shown us clearly that our next baby will be our adopted one. Trying to conceive is also expensive for us with the supplements, ovulation predictor kits, pregnancy tests, blood work, etc. We feel like all of our money needs to go towards our adoption right now, especially if people are donating their hard earned money to our adoption account. Also, I will probably try to induce lactation and breastfeed my adopted baby, which means going on birth control pills as part of the protocol. Another reason we are putting the TTC on hold is because every month that we try for a baby, we are opening ourselves up to a 50% chance of having another stillbirth. That takes a tremendous amount of courage and emotional energy. We are emotionally exhausted from it, so I think it is a good time to stop and wait.

Even though it goes against every fiber of my being to not try for a baby, it is very freeing to know that we WILL be meeting our baby girl next and we won’t be experiencing a stillbirth.  We are almost finished with our home study and were told to start working on our profile book to show the birth moms. This means that there is a (very small) chance that we will be getting our baby in the next few months. Josh and I realized the other day that we don’t have any names picked out yet! With a pregnancy you pretty much know how long you have to pick the name, but with adoption you have no idea. We could get a call soon telling us that a baby has just been born and the birth mom has picked us, or it could take over a year. The last couple of days have been full of hope for us as we look up baby girl names and ask the boys what they think about them. We finally told them about the adoption and that they will be getting a baby sister, but we don’t know how long it will take. We told them all about the baby’s “Belly Mama” and it all seems very normal to them because everything sounds normal when you are 3 and 5! Liam even wrote a sweet (kind of awkward) letter to Belly Mama the other night:

Please, I know you are having a baby.

Dear Belly Mama, thank you.

Love, Liam

Liam suggests on a regular basis that we name the baby Lucy, and that is always a stab in the heart. It is hard to explain that we already used that name for his baby sister who isn’t here. He wants his baby sister Lucy so much, and we do too. But lately I have noticed that when the boys talk about their baby sister they are referring to our baby girl who is coming next, and that is hopeful. Liam’s name choices for his new baby sister are, “Frontsteve, Flashy, Lil-Star and Rosie.” All good reminders why five year olds should not be allowed to name other humans. Occasionally he asks, “But can we PLEASE just nickname her Lucy?” And I have to tell him no. Today Asher told me that he really wanted to go to his baby sister’s house. They are ready to meet her.

Since Lucy died, it has been extremely painful to go to Target for some reason. I think it’s because I usually buy most of my baby stuff/maternity clothes there. I always used to walk through the baby girl clothing section and touch the pretty dresses and dream about having my own girl one day. I also see at least one or two pregnant women EVERY time I go there. While I was pregnant with Lucy, I went to Target one day, still unsure if I was going to be able to keep the sweet baby I was carrying inside me. I decided to celebrate my girl whether I got to keep her or not. I bought the cutest baby skinny jeans and an orange shirt with white flowers on it. I was so excited about seeing my baby Lucy in that outfit. I never saw her in it. Target brings up lots of heartache for me. But today, I went to Target with my boys for a few things and found myself walking through the baby girl section again, with HOPE and JOY, trusting that my new baby girl is coming. The boys were so excited about the baby girl stuff and kept asking, “Can we buy THIS for our baby sister?” It made me so happy. I splurged and got her some cute little shoes and hair clips and Asher insisted that he pick out a “pappy” for his baby sister. He only just got rid of his night time pacifier, so he was excited about getting one for her. As I left the store I realized I got through the whole shopping trip without feeling depressed or anxious. I felt hopeful and excited about the future, and the boys did too. What a delicious feeling.

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