FINALLY – The New Blog Reveal!

So click on over!!!

www.hopingingod.com

:)

Posted in Family | 1 Comment

When Mother’s Day is Painful

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I know I’m supposed to be taking a blog break right now but I can’t NOT post on Mother’s Day. The reason I can’t stay is away is not because I need to wish mothers a wonderful day and tell them how great they are– those things are true, but there are plenty of other placs that will do that! My Mother’s Day post today, like often, is for the broken, the tearful, the hurt.

By the grace of God and the selflessness of his birthparents, I am now the happy mother of our son. But I spent years dreading this holiday for weeks, my empty womb feeling like it was on display for the world to see. My heart would sink, blinking back tears as the cashier at the grocery store would non chalantly say “Happy Mother’s Day!” when I walked out of the store. No, I would think to myself as I tried to catch my breath “it’s not a happy Mother’s Day for me.”

My almost 5 years of infertility, culminating with 2 miscarriages were the reason for my painful Mother’s Days… but what are yours? It could be the similar ache of empty arms and month by month passing with negative pregnancy tests… wondering if you’ll ever hear a sweet baby voice call you ‘mama.’ It could be you felt the joy of your baby coming only to hear she was no longer growing. Or they were born too early – you saw his sweet little face and held his tiny body tight, but living outside the womb was just too much for him and you wept and wept as you said goodbye. Perhaps your child ran away, is estranged or isn’t talking to you and you feel an ache over the relationship that could have been. Maybe your own mother is no longer with us… and every year on Mother’s Day, she’s all you think about. For a mama, it doesn’t matter if she passed when you’re 10 or 60… it will always stay with you. Maybe your mother was neglectful or abusive and Mother’s Day brings about memories of your trauma and at the same time grief over not having a safe, loving bond with your mother. Maybe you’re a birth mom who knows you made the right decision, but that doesn’t make you miss your child any less.

And you know what? Mothering is hard and there are lots of things that can bring pain. Maybe your child has a severe disability. You see other children make their Mother’s Day crafts on Facebook, but look to your child in their wheelchair and know he may not be able to do something like that for years. Perhaps you’re a single mother of 3 and work 2 jobs just to keep afloat, frustrated that your kids’ dad doesn’t help out and sad that you don’t get to spend as much time with your children as you wish you could. Maybe you’re a stay at home mom who feels stuck in the mundane every day and asks “is this all there is?”

There are thousands of other stories like these people are experiencing today. To each and every one of you I say: Jesus is with you. Run to him in your sorrow, your pain, your frustration, your grief. Cry out to Him!

“Cast all of you anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

Jesus cares for you. Deeply, abundantly, fully cares for you- every single bit of you. I know suffering can be confusing, even maddening sometimes, “why in the heck could this be happening to me? There’s no way in the world this could make sense!” His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8.) God sees everything that has happened in the past, the entirety of what is happening at present and every bit that is to come. He is smoothing out and viewing the entire tapestry for his glory and for our joy. We only see a few threads. And in some seasons – perhaps in your life right now – the threads are all black as night. It looks ugly and dark and meaningless to us. But trust the Creator, the Author, the Artist. He is making your darkness into something beautiful.

 

 

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Posted in Biblical Womanhood, Holidays, Infertility, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Spring Update & Blog News!

 

Glorious Spring is Finally Here!!!

We’ve been out enjoying the weather with my little walking man who is OBSESSED with going “ow-si” (outside, in case you don’t speak 1 year old.) I seriously have about 30 posts that are running around in my mind or that I have been wanting to post that I just haven’t gotten around to it because we’ve been busy living life! And sometimes I’m okay with that :-) BUT in the past month my baby turned one and we threw an awesome, super fun book – themed birthday party which I would love to blog about the details, share new recipes I’ve tried recently and about how I’ve made the switch to all homemade tortillas, making wheat sand which bread weekly and how I’ve found a new pizza crust that is amazing! I also haven’t even shared Bryan’s 12 month milestones or his official year post! Such a big deal for me! Alas all those will have to wait for a bit because….

I have decided to upgrade my blog into something brand spanking new and fabulous! I have been working on it, but… I’m not very good with technology and it is taking A LOT of time and energy and work trying to figure out all the shenanigans:) And every time I post here it makes more work for me to transfer things over to my new blog:) SO! I will be taking a short hiatus.

My plan is to work hard to get my new blog in tip top shape and to roll it out to early-mid June. Hopefully about 4-6 weeks will be enough time to be able to get things done with the demands of every day wifedom and motherhood:) I will pop back on here to let you all know it’s ready and direct you to the new site! It’s really pretty and I have a renewed vision for the direction of my blog and some neat things I want to do for the upcoming year. I really hope you continue to join me for this journey (and for my favorite cupcakes ever that I have yet to post!!)

Enjoy your spring!!

Bye bye for now,

Jackie :)

Posted in Friends | 3 Comments

Healing From Loss

IMG_3513One of the most valuable things I learned through going through infertility and our miscarriages was what real loss felt like. This has been so valuable for me because it taught me how I desperately need Jesus. Now only that, it showed me what others are going through and how to better love them through it.

I wanted to share some practical tips on how to cope with and heal from loss, from my own experiences. I am being intentionally vague here because grieving and healing from grief is much like a winding river that takes many unknown twists and turns – – each different and unique for every individual. However there are some underlying themes that I have found often to be similar and I hope these can be helpful.

 

Practical Tips on Coping with and Healing from Loss:

Know it takes time. Months, years, decades… who knows? Different people experience things differently. Try not to have too much expectations on when you’ll be “over it.” Be patient with yourself.

Know that people are just trying to help. They may say stupid things or never ask about it or talk about it too much. They mean well. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. You’ll protect your own heart if you don’t take things too personally and also know people are just trying their best!

Try to find people who can empathize with you. It’s so healthy if someone else has been through a loss and can identify with what you’re going through. You’ll never find someone with the exact same situation and its not necessarily wise to try– but you may be surprised how many people have gone through something similar.

With that being said, don’t cut people out who have no clue. Even if they can’t identify with your particular suffering or have NEVER had something hard yet in their life, they can still be there for you! They can love and care for you, encourage you and challenge you. Let them. Give them permission. They may be a little bit tentative.

Let your heart feel what it feels. But don’t stop there- cry it out to God. Feel angry? Doubtful? Faithless? Don’t run from Him- tell him!! And then listen. Let him speak balm to your heart.

Read the Psalms. I know I said I wouldn’t be too prescriptive but just try it. Psalm 6 is a good start. Do you cry yourself to bed each night? So did the psalmist. You’re not alone. God is not afraid of your big emotion. Let the psalmist speak for you when your words cannot.

Try to find a healthy balance in your life. A balance between being by yourself and being with others; resting and working; pampering yourself and being there for others. Often in suffering, we get unbalanced in one of these ways or the other.

Know yourself. Know what you need. If you’ve been out of touch, suffering can be an incredible time of self reflection and self discovery because it’s incredibly hard to hide and pretend when we’re grieving. This is a life changing process. Dealing with both at the same time can be really, extremely challenging and can actually exacerbate your grief (trust me, I’ve been there) but don’t fight either – bring them to the surface.

Stay with me here friend – I have something I think easily gets passed up. When you’re suffering, your whole world feels like it is imploding. There is often a time when you can barely go about your day, when just getting out of the bed in the morning feelings like a monumental task. But as the loss gets a little farther along, life continues. And often our brains are still solely focused on our loss and our emotions and our heart. Ourselves feel so big. It can be so freeing and life-giving to serve others. Suffering makes you turn inward towards yourself and we often have to force ourselves to curve outward and serve others, be there for them. It can be hard. We can feel like we’re “not ready,” or “not up for it” or whatever. And you know what? You might not be. That’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect to serve. Serve imperfectly. For them. For you. Not necessarily right away in your suffering. But later on. Absolutely.

Cling tight to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Trust Him that He CAN and He WILL heal you. He is big enough for your sorrow, He is big enough for your pain. He is good and He knows you fully and loves you deeply.

Posted in Infertility, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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.

Posted in Adoption, Family, Infertility, Jesus, Motherhood, Outpouring of Grace, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Grace in the Form of One Year.

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.

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.

 

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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Related Posts:

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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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Posted in Adoption, Family, Our Son, Outpouring of Grace, Pictures | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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