What Good Friday Was To Us Last Year

Last year, as Easter was approaching our family was brimming with excitement. We had been matched with a birth mom who was expecting a baby boy in just 3 short weeks!! I had slowly began filling up my nursery closet with green and blue instead of just yellow, we had chosen a name and we were just so excited about “our son!” We had been to several doctor’s appointments with the birth mom and gotten to experience the gender reveal on the ultrasound as well as several other ultrasounds and stress tests… Listening to the baby’s heartbeat we thought would be our son. I was preparing for maternity leave at work and it was getting more real that after 4 1/2 years of waiting and praying we were actually close to becoming parents.

It was such an exciting time for our family.

The day before Good Friday – 2013- my lovely coworkers threw me a baby shower. It was so fun to celebrate and get some fun new baby items too! They helped me load up my car with goodies – the cake and “Baby Boy” balloons included.

When I got into the driver’s seat I looked down at my phone and saw a voicemail from our social worker. I listened to it and something about the sound of her voice twisted my stomach in knots. I called back right away, but she wasn’t available. I called my husband as quick as I could, scared of the worst, but thinking it couldn’t possibly be it. It probably wasn’t anything right? He was nervous too… While we were on the phone she called back.

“I’m so sorry… The birth mom changed her mind.”

What?!? How could this be?? The mom seemed so, so sure. She had tragically lost a child to a full term stillbirth– my huge worry was that, not that she would change her mind.

I called my husband as fast as I could and cried out “she changed her mind!!!” Oh how heartbroken we were. Now here I was… Trunk full of baby items, cake with what was supposed to be his name on it and baby boy balloons celebrating the son that would never be.

After we got home and grieved and cried together, my husband encouraged me to get out of the house with a friend. He was going to unload my car and shove those things in the nursery… Where right now we needed to shut the door tight, it was just too painful.

As I was getting in the car, I saw him pull the balloons out of the back seat. My heart was in my throat. I felt like he was going to pop them (a normal way to dispose of balloons) but I just couldn’t bear it. At the same time my heart wished it, his hands did it– he let them go.

Up and up and up they went.

And I said goodbye to the baby who was not to be. I let him go.

And so our Good Friday was spent mourning, grieving and crying. But not as those who don’t have hope. After going through years of infertility, losses through miscarriage and now adoption loss we knew one thing– God is good and He loves us. And no matter how hard whatever we were going through was, we would make it out on the other side. We really, really would.

Little did we know we would experience personally the emotions that go along with this weekend – loss, disappointment, confusion on Good Friday — and hope, joy and redemption with our son being born on Easter Sunday.

God is so great and good and powerful. He gives and He takes away. Blessed Be His Name.

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God’s Grace in the Form of One Year.

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My heart has a million things to say and I don’t even know where to begin.

Bryan Robert – my dear son – happy first birthday!!

I cry tears of joy when I think about what a privilege it has been to be your mommy for the past year. I still remember walking into the NICU – anxiously excited – just the two of us…

then meeting you minutes later and finally becoming a family (even if we didn’t know it for certain yet.) Oh the change was so instant and so sweet!

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The road to get to you was so long. And so hard. Sometimes all around me and in me all I could see was darkness. It seemed like you would never come.

Yesterday I was holding you on my hip as you were “brushing” your teeth; I was drying my hair and we were singing. You were smiling and giggling. And my heart about exploded. And I wanted to tell that girl – - the girl I was 3 years ago, who was so scared she would never get to be a mommy, never get to rock her own babies to sleep, who worried she would always feel an aching emptiness in her heart – - look at your life now! Your mothering time with come. It will come. And it will be more beautiful and joyful than you can even imagine.

Bryan you give me continuous joy. Motherhood isn’t always easy and you are my wild man, who wears me out and gives me a run for the money. But my heart overflows with gratefulness that I get to be your mommy. And as much joy as I feel in that role and the privilege it is to raise you, my joy is even deeper because you continually point me to the greatest gift in Jesus.

I learned the hard way in infertility that the road to parenthood will let me down. My plans for my family will fall short. And even when I get my wish for a baby, my son is a flawed sinful ball of adorableness and as much joy as he brings me, he alone cannot satisfy my soul. But! This wonderful gift of motherhood and the amazing treasure he is – - they can point me to the everlasting fountain of life… Jesus… the only one who can satisfy my soul forever.

My love, the last year has been the best of my whole life. You have made your daddy and I so, so happy. It brings me life and joy beyond my wildest dreams to get to spend my days with you – playing, reading, going on adventures and just living ordinary life – watching you grow up before my very eyes.

You have brought me so much happiness. And the best part? I am continually reminded of what a gift you are and the joy I find in you continually points me to God the Father where we find immeasureable and innumerable joy! He is the source of eternal life. Bryan, every night I pray you know Him. Your mommy and daddy love you as much as we possibly can, but we fail you… more than I’d like. Jesus will never fail you. Never forsake you or let you down. He loves you infinitely more than your daddy and I do and he will literally love you for all eternity.

If you remember nothing more of what I teach you, I pray you know that.

But if you do remember more:

  • Know we wanted you, prayed for you for years and years before you came to us.
  • Know we loved you from the instant we saw you.
  • Know you are ours through and through – as much as if you would have been born to us.
  • Know that you have been evidence of God’s grace and love and kindness and faithfulness to us.
  • Know that you have been healing balm to your mama’s heart
  • Know you have brought our family joy and have brought so much wonderful loud noise and laughter into our home
  • Know you bring your extended family so much joy and are so loved by them.
  • Know you are so incredibly deeply loved by your mommy and daddy.
  • Know you are perfectly made by the hands of a loving God who knows everything about you and who loves you perfectly

Bryan I am so thankful for you first year. I love you with every fiber of my being my sweet son. God willing, I pray for years and decades more of being family together.

I love you.

Posted in Adoption, Family, Jesus, Our Son, Outpouring of Grace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Countdown to ONE: A Year Ago Tomorrow…

My son was born.

I wasn’t laboring in a hospital or anxiously wringing my hands in the waiting room. I wasn’t even getting text play by plays or waiting nervously by the phone. I wasn’t receiving an “It’s a Boy!” balloon or cards and flowers. I was sitting at home- on the couch watching TV as my son took his first breath, cried his first cry.

I knew there was a birthmom delivering that day. I knew there was a slight possibility this could be our baby. But it was too good to be true, I couldn’t get my hopes up. Those high hopes has been dashed once and I didn’t want to get too excited in case they would be again. So I tried to be normal, not think too much about it and go to bed.

I checked my phone first thing in the morning to see if there was any updates. I figured she probably had the baby by 8am, but maybe not. Three hours later I couldn’t take it anymore- I emailed to know something. Did she have the baby? Did she already pick another family? Would the match happen soon or be days away? And well… The rest is history:)
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So my son- I know you understand I wish I would have been there for those first moments, those first hours. To see you at just minutes old, be the first person to hold you. But we both know – your life from before conception was written by the hand of a loving God. He, in his sovereign wisdom chose the birth parents you would be born to and chose us, the lucky parents that get to raise you. He knew the moment we would gasp in shock and love as we first saw your chunky cheeks and adorable 1 day old face; the heart-stopping, tear-flowing, world-spinning moment as we held you for the first time. And I don’t regret or mourn or even feel like I missed out on a single thing. Of course I wish I could have experienced everything with you, but I didn’t get to and that’s ok. Every single day, every hour, every moment we have together is a gift.

It’s such a privilege to be a family together. Bryan, I love you, I love you, I love you.

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Tomorrow you will be one whole year old. And I feel like the luckiest mama on the whole entire planet.

I will love you forever.

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Posted in Adoption, Our Son, Outpouring of Grace | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Countdown to ONE: The Moment I Became a Mom

I wonder when most people would say they became a mom? Would it be when they first saw their positive pregnancy test? First heard their baby’s heartbeat or first held their baby in their arms?

To be honest my motherhood has felt very fluid. In a way, I became a “mom” when we adopted our embryos and they lived for a short time in my womb. Then again, I felt a little more like a “mom” when we got matched and I had a baby shower, saw a baby on ultrasounds, heard a heartbeat and planned for his arrival.

But none of these babies were who would come home with us, who I’d get to mother and raise every day, who would join our forever family.

My moment?

When my son was placed in my arms for the very first time.

I hope I never forget that moment for as long as I live – - even when I’m old and senile, I hope that single memory is clear as day. The way he fit perfectly in my arms, the way his 1 day old eyes were open bright and zoned right into my eyes, into my soul; how everyone else in the room faded away and it was only him and me – alone, together. How finally, everything felt right.

Hi. I’m your Mommy,” were the first words I told him. And finally. I was one.

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Countdown to ONE: Reflecting on A Year of Babywearing

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I wanted this post to include “a few” of my favorite babywearing pictures. 65 pictures later, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I think I settled with 8. But WHEW was it hard.

Babywearing has been one of the sweetest and most tender parts of mothering for me. One of the reasons choosing pictures to share is hard is because I cherish all those pictures of my son wrapped in the moby, tight in the sling or close to me in the ergo. They speak something unique.

Babywearing has changed – it’s a lot different with a newborn than with a 9 month old, but some of the reasons stay the same. Here’s a reflection of one of my favorite things a year in.

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When you were a newborn…

I wore you, skin to skin, so you would learn who your mama was. I wanted you to know my smell, my voice, my kiss, my walk. I wore you close, tight on my chest, lulling you to sleep by the rhythm and movement of my breath. I wore you in a hospital room, I wore you on our first day outside of its walls, walking around the block, eating dinner with a little Chipotle falling on your head… the pitfalls of a worn child. I nervously put you in the sling for the first time as I ran out of options during the “witching hours,” walked outside in the warm april night air, bouncing and shushing and listening in awe as the combination of all those things began to quiet and calm you. Thus began our nightly ritual.

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Three months in…

I started getting more confident as your mama… realizing that babywearing was becoming a part of the fabric of the relationship between you and me. You started sleeping a little more. You were sleeping in your crib at night although in the day we often took sling naps. I didn’t mind. I could still bake or clean or eat lunch. I wanted you close to me. You loved being near me, being held. The feeling was mutual. I wore you during church, rocking back and forth as I worshipped, singing you to sleep. I wore you while grocery shopping. You absolutely loved to look all around and everyone always commented on you having “the best seat in the house.” I never left home without my sling. When you were having trouble sleeping or teething or anything really, the sling was our best friend. I’d wrap you up, pull you tight and we’d both breathe a sigh of relief. We were home.

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Six months already?

You’ve gotten so big! Our trusty linen sling doesn’t seem to be cutting it for 2 hour long trips out of the house anymore. It’s my favorite so it’s a hard pill to swallow. I started using the ergo and it took a couple times for me to get used to it, but the first time I put you in, I could tell you were as comfy as could be. This is our new “long trip/ grocery shopping” way to wear. The sling is still our go to for short trips/ easy pop-on wears or for sleeping troubles. You started crawling at 6 months and immediately were a man on the go! Over the next couple months you wanted me to wear you less and less. It was a little sad, but I knew that since I had carried you close, you knew you could depend on me and our bond was so strong that now you were free to explore the world on your own.

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As nine months rolled along…

You only got bigger and bigger… and bigger! Fortunately for mama though, those babywearing days were not over. The reasons though, were not happy ones. In January you were sick almost the entire month and had near constant sleeping troubles. I continued to try to put you down for naps and night as usual, but often you would end up in the ergo or the sling, being rocked by the light of the moon… sometimes for 30 minutes… sometimes for 2 hours. Those were rough nights. You were tired and felt so bad, I was so tired. My poor single layer linen wasn’t cutting it for your 24 pound chunkiness anymore. But beside the sickness, I started wearing you on my back in the ergo to clean the floors and make dinner – and you LOVED it! You loved to bounce and play and see what was going on… especially when I was vaccuming and cooking! You are an explorer man and it was so convenient for me when I needed to get things done and wanted you to be content but needed you to be safe.

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For my birthday, my in-laws got me a double layer silk sling…. it’s so gorgeous and it really felt like a labor of love. I put my chunky guy in it for the first time and he felt like half his weight. It’s been amazing to pop him in on those hard nights and not to have my back pay for it.

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So here were are… 11.5 months… so close to 1 year we can taste it...

And we are baby wearers. Soon to be toddlerwearers. It’s an important part of the culture of our family.

Babywearing is sweet, tender, and provides take-your-breath-away closeness; it’s fun and allows you and your baby to share experiences in a unique way that’s unlike any other; it’s efficient and lets mama get things done while still nurturing and interacting with your baby – the ultimate multitasking!

I wear my son because I love to hold him close.

I wear my son because I want him to know I’ll always be here for him.

I wear my son because I want him to become independent.

I wear my son because it makes doing tasks of daily living so much easier.

I wear my son because it gives him a different vantage point in life.

I wear my son because I love it.

I wear my son because he loves it.

I wear my son because I love him.

We are babywearers. It has been a joyful part of our first year together and I know will continue to provide helpful and joyful memories. I love babywearing and am so thankful for it.

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Countdown to ONE: A Grateful Heart

My sweet, long awaited, long prayed for son is turning ONE at the end of the month. I thought it would be kind of fun to post a few thoughts throughout March as a “Countdown to One.” These may be short or long or silly or serious or no big deal or total tear jerkers. Here’s the first one:

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There have been so many thoughts running through my mind as my sweet son is flying closer to one year old. I thought I would be so sad and the word “bittersweet” would constantly run through my mind. It is bittersweet in a way, don’t get me wrong. I am SUCH a squishy, cuddly newborn person; I love those early months and cherish those itty baby baby snuggles.

And I do feel like around 7-8 months when I wrote this post, I was experiencing that bitter part of the bittersweetness a little stronger. My baby was a long way from that squishy newborn or even the roly poly 3 month old…he was working his way closer to a little person. Around 9 months old, he came in swinging, “Mom – I’m becoming a toddler soon. This is happening. It’s gonna be awesome.”

Instead of bittersweetness being the word I resonate with, the word my heart sings is “grateful.” I am so insanely grateful. In no way do we deserve to have this bubbly, bouncing, sweet, happy, healthy, almost one year old boy.

There are just some things about infertility and miscarriage that change you forever. Even sometimes when I think I’m “past all that” I’ll have a hard day that comes out of no where and I remember that is a part of me forever.

One aspect of infertility and loss is that I know my son was never promised to me. I’ve had babies given and babies taken away. Five as a matter of fact. Three in my womb, one that never made it there, and one failed adoption. I was technically a mom years before the world would consider me one. That changes you. And as for Bryan? I held him in my arms… I fed him, I changed him, I introduced myself to him as his mom… knowing that there was a chance in 72 hours I could have no legal rights to him and have to walk away. Living under fear like that as a mom…wanting to make the most out of every second you get… that changes you. And I know I’ve only mentioned it a couple times, but my son was in the NICU for a month for some health issues. There aren’t a ton of long term complications they know of for sure but two. Developmental delays and SIDS. Yes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. My baby had a higher risk of SIDS. Now we know the Lord is sustainer of life – so I was a nazi about sleep environment, him sleeping on his back and got a SIDS monitor which are things I would have done anyway – but we prayed, asked for God’s protection all the time and tried not to give way to fear knowing full well He held Bryan’s life in His hands.

But the reason I say all of this is because I know not a day, not a minute, not a second of my son’s life is promised to us. Just because we went through a hard season of infertility it’s not like “we’re due” for good things or something like that. It is ONLY out of God’s grace and goodness and love.

And man he is lavishing it continually upon us.

As Bryan nears one, I am overwhelmed with gratefulness

  • at being a family
  • how much I love being a mom
  • how happy our son is
  • how he’s not only NOT delayed development wise but is on target or a little above in everything
  • at Bryan’s health. He was in the NICU for 25 days. And has had ZERO follow up since (other than regular well visits at his pediatrician). That’s how well he’s done. It is insane to me. Puts his ear infections and antibiotics into perspective :)
  • at God sustaining my baby’s life. I have breathed this prayer over Bryan so many times over the past year. When you haven’t experienced loss, you forget how miraculous it is that God sustains life. But it really is. And I am so utterly grateful he has sustained Bryan’s and I pray he will continue to.

Thank you Jesus. You are so good to us.

Posted in Adoption, Infertility, Our Son | 4 Comments

Crockpot Potato Soup

Crockpot Potato Soup from Hoping in GodThis picture is kind of yucky but this soup is really good!!! I’ve been changing a lot about the way I run my home in 2014 (cleaning calendar, cooking more often, staying in budget)  and it has been working out so well! I hope to write a few posts on all that in the near future. I feel like I often try new things and they flop 75% of the time. Which happens you know? So it’s okay. But it just makes it all the more a miracle when 75% of the things I’ve been trying since the new year have WORKED! It has been so encouraging to me! One of the biggest shifts for me has been the budget. My husband and I have basically spent 6 years of our marriage having 2 incomes. Even after Bryan was born and I stayed home, since I was paid on a school year, I continued getting a paycheck for about 6 months (it was a huge blessing!)

But that’s the case no longer. And man it has been a huge paradigm shift going from a loosey goosey budget to having to count pennies and not being to able to buy things you want or need because you’ve spent your money this month. NOW! Please don’t get me wrong. We are super blessed financially and are able to eat well and go out to eat some and buy some non-essentials… we are not struggling. But compared to living with two incomes and no kids? One income for 3 people (and 2 people staying home and eating at home all day!) is rough!

I’ve been cooking a lot more since I’ve been staying at home and two things I’ve been doing are

  1. Cooking big portions that my baby and I can eat for lunch for days and
  2. Trying to start cooking a few “meatless meals.”

The second one is so hard!!! This was my first successful one that I felt was filling enough for my meat-loving hubby. And it was YUMMY!!! I’ve made it twice since then. It’s super filling and makes for great leftovers! And is delicious with bacon on it… meat free… or maybe just not mainly meat:)

But help me out!! What are your favorite meat less? Or what are some of your favorite cost effective meals? 

Crockpot Potato Soup

slightly adapted from I Heart Naptime

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced in 1/2 – 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cans cream of chicken
  • 1 can cream of celery
  • 2 cups half and half (could also do milk, if trying to be healthier)
  • 6 T butter
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1/4 t. cayenne
  • 1/4 t. thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (plus additional for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup -optional, for serving)
  • 4 strips bacon (optional, for serving)

Instructions

  1. Place potatoes, soup, half and half, butter and spices in crockpot. Stir. Cook on low 6-8 hours (or high 3-4). Check potatoes about an hour or two before you want to serve and make sure the potatoes are cooked through. If not, turn up to high, or if already on high, cut potatoes smaller.
  2. About 15 minutes before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees and cook bacon in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes or until crispy. Let cool briefly and crumble bacon. Set aside.
  3. Stir cheddar cheese in soup. Taste and adjust spices if needed.
  4. Ladle soup in bowls, sprinkle additional cheese on top with green onions and bacon and a dash of extra pepper.

Note: This can EASILY be made on the stovetop in about 30 minutes. Chop potatoes and add all ingredients in large stockpot or dutch oven. Boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked throughout. You may find they will fall apart and you will have smoother, less chunky soup in this method. 

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