Thursday, June 16, 2016

Summer is here!

It's hard to believe that 12 weeks ago today, we were in Texas loving on a baby and a birthmom that weren't meant to be part of our family.  People have asked us how we're doing and we can honestly say that we're doing well, all things considering.  Of course, we never thought that we'd be here in June, still waiting as a family of 3, after having matched so quickly last November and then again in March. We can't make plans for too far in the future, knowing that we could get a call at any moment that would require us to jump on a plane.

The wait is agonizing and I know that we haven't even been waiting that long when compared to other families that are adopting.  The hopefulness that came along with being matched weighs heavily on our hearts.  We know that we are being prepared in this wait for what God has for us and wouldn't you know that our 4-year old understands this better than we do most days.  We are waiting, some days more patiently than others, to see what God's best is for our family. 

When we were waiting for Bailey to come home, we prayed every time we saw a Jeep and were quickly reminded just how many Jeeps there are in our city alone!  Bailey was looking through her adoption book a few months ago and stopped when she got to the page filled with Jeep pictures and asked if we could start praying for her "baby and brother" (translation: baby brother or sister) whenever we saw a Jeep.  Leave it to her to remind us that we should be praying constantly for our son or daughter and his/her birthmom.  So that's what we've been doing many, many times a day and would love to invite you to join us in praying whenever you see a Jeep on the road.  

I'll leave you with a few pics of our sunshine.  She finished up her first year of preschool and is already itching to go back, although she's loved being able to swim almost every day in our beautiful summer weather (most days!).

Summer reading program at the library

She might've been the only kid who wanted a tattoo on her bicep so she could flex!

Our little fish!

Totally fearless!

Just doing a little shopping

Spidey senses

Typical Thursday with our night ninja ballerina angel

Helping Dada blow out his candles

Our little cheetah


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Big Sister-itis

Hi friends! We're snowed in this weekend (18" so far!), so we thought it'd be a good time to post an update.

Before we go any further, we can't thank everyone enough for the amazing support we received after our recent match fell through. The notes of encouragement and prayers were such a great comfort to us. We're so thankful that the Lord has surrounded us with so many loving people. Thank you!!

Raton, NM

After we received the difficult news that the birth mom decided to parent, we packed up, got some sleep, and headed out of Dallas the next morning. I wanted Jenny to fly home to be with Bailey instead of enduring 12 more hours in the car, so I dropped her at the airport and began the drive. All was well through Texas. I even tried Whataburger finally...not bad...doesn't hold a candle to's not even worth discussing.

As I made my way through New Mexico, the weather turned quickly and I found myself driving in pretty rough winter conditions again. I was able to get behind a plow which helped, and then was informed that the highway was closed in Raton, NM. I was stuck. All the hotels and skeezy motels were completely booked. I was planning to hide out in the breakfast room of the Holiday Inn I found, until I stumbled upon a family that lives in the same town as we do. I noticed the high school logo on the son's shirt and asked if they lived there. They did and moments later, the father asked me if I'd like to crash on the pullout couch they had in their room, since they had a suite. The kindness of strangers! I was so thankful to God that He sent this family past my table at the exact right moment.  He moved in their hearts to make a most-generous offer to a stranger. Needless to say, my wife was a bit concerned about my somewhat blind trust in strangers, but alas, I lived to tell about it!

They were a very nice family and handled the awkwardness of sharing a room with a stranger better than you'd expect. In all seriousness, they were a huge answer to prayer after an emotional few days. The thought of going yet another sleepless night and not being with my family hurt a whole lot less thanks to them. 

Bright and early Easter morning, I got up and started the drive home. The roads were icy but okay. Seriously, as soon as I hit the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign, the roads were PERFECT. Gotta love those Colorado road crews!! 

Since returning home, we received our fees back (all of them except travel expenses, praise the Lord!) and are once again back in the pool of families waiting to be matched. Please pray for that perfect situation to come across our inbox soon!

Big Sister-itis

Bailey is so ready to be a big sister, it's getting ridiculous. She has so much pent-up "big sister-ness" that at times I seem to be filling the role of little sibling. Besides being her sidekick for all of the somewhat dangerous things she likes to try around the house, she's now looking for any chance to tattle on me to her mama (aka my wife). At meal time, she'll lean over and whisper to Jenny to ask if I'm making good choices or not, because she wants to tell me that I'm making bad choices. It's hilarious!! She's so ready to be the bossy big sister. She's recently started to also tell me when I'm not making bad choices, so at least there's a little encouragement sometimes. 

Waiting for you
The sign's back! We realized we've done a less-than-stellar job of photo-documenting our journey, so hopefully we'll be getting more of these pics as we continue to wait. 

Many of you have probably seen this, but I ran into Gwyneth Paltrow at the United Club in Chicago last week! Instead of a picture, I thought a video would be so cool, so I shared a little bit about our recent adoption that fell through and asked her to do a video to make Jenny smile. She asked a few questions, gently corrected my selfie form (making me suddenly feel very old), and then so kindly made this encouraging video for us. A reminder from God that He is good and His plan is perfect from an unexpected source!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Strike 2

I expected this post to go much differently 24 hours ago. 

We went to bed Tuesday night so excited for the coming days. An easy flight to Dallas, a reunion with In-N-Out, and a good night's sleep before Thursday's early start. 

We woke up Wednesday morning to blizzard conditions, cancelled flights, and unexpected surprises. 

One thing was certain: nothing was going to stop us from getting to Dallas in time for our birthmom's scheduled c-section. We weighed our options - wait for our rescheduled flight that night in hopes that the storm would clear or drive. The storm was moving south quickly so time was ticking. We decided to make the "12-hour" drive, packed the car up and headed out into the blizzard. 

The next three hours were some of the craziest driving conditions I've ever experienced. Driving through that storm was probably one of the most ridiculous decisions we've made but it was a no-brainer. Our baby was coming soon.  

I can't even do justice to just how undriveable (I don't think that's a word) the roads were. Slowly but surely, we were making progress, trying to traverse the hilly snow-packed roads, gusting winds, and limited/zero visibility. There were moments when the hood of the car was the only thing I could see. Jenny kept checking the road closures and all of the reports said the sections we were on were closed. But we kept on trucking. Near misses by other cars, big rigs stopped everywhere, accidents, cars that couldn't make it any further...just some of the things we witnessed as we kept moving slowly through the blizzard. It makes no sense that the Feisty Ford (Jenny's old Explorer) made it through the blizzard. It's an old Explorer with rear wheel drive (a complete disaster for snow/ice) that's been known to struggle at the sight of snow.  

God heard our prayers and the prayers of His children. Our friend's kids prayed that God would bubble wrap our car. I love that! And He answered those prayers. It was an exhausting drive and there were moments when we almost gave up and waited it out, but God cleared our path, weakened the wind and got us through. After we got through the worst part of the storm, we still had over 11 hours to go. The conditions were rough for the next few hours while Jenny took the wheel but we kept moving. We finally made it to our hotel in the Dallas area at 3am. We were scheduled to be at the hospital shortly after 5. Ouch. Welcome to life with a newborn, right??

Aided by caffeine and adrenaline, we were able to spend a little time with the agency's case workers (who are amazing) and the birth mom. Shortly after 8:30, we were called out of the waiting room to meet the baby. Finally! Laying there in all her swaddled glory was this precious little girl.

Full disclosure #1 - I don't know a lot about the birthing process and I've never seen a black newborn baby before. Well, evidently some (most/all, I don't know) are born white. We want Bailey to have a sibling that has beautiful brown skin like her. I'd be lying if I said Jenny and I weren't a little surprised at the skin color of the baby looking back at us and quickly tried talking to each other with our eyes, wondering if someone was playing a trick on us! It was hilarious and quickly the agency workers were whispering about it too. We finally asked the nurse about it. I never knew!!

The rest of the day was spent loving on the precious little human thrust into our care. 

Full disclosure #2 - When friends and family have babies, I'm not typically in line to hold them. I'm so afraid I'm going to break them. That's a quick way to lose friends, dropping their precious cargo. So instead I smile from a distance.

Well, this one was mine. I've never really been around a newborn baby so this was all brand new. At least for yesterday, we were responsible for this baby, so I was all in. I was trying to do all I could to understand the needed care she needed. After the first match fell through, I know we needed to be careful with our hearts but I couldn't help it. This precious little baby was mine. I wanted her to know and feel love. We held her, fed her, were fascinated by how she slept (and slept and slept...). We agreed on a name, shared the big news with family, and on and on. We spent about half the day in the NICU with her but were moved back to the regular baby floor in the afternoon.  Late in the afternoon, we heard that the birth mom's family was trying to pressure here to parent the baby but she was holding firm to her decision. I had to go run some errands for us and while I was gone, the birth mom asked for the baby to be brought to her so she could see her. The baby was returned an hour later and we thought that things were going to settle down. The nursing staff offered to watch her so we could get some much-needed rest and we were so grateful.

The baby was brought back in to us just after 6am and we had a few hours with her. She was more awake today and we enjoyed that time with her. Little did we know that was the last time we'd see her.

At 9am, a nurse came in and told me that the birth mom had asked to see her again. I put her down, gave her a little kiss and they took her away. Over the next couple hours, we tried to keep busy/distracted, and then the case workers arrived and updated us. More of the birth mom's family had come and was continuing their pressure on the birth mom. We prayed hard - for God's will to be done, for wisdom and clarity for the birthmom, for her family, for the baby to be blessed, for our hearts. We just wanted the emotional tug-of-war to stop and for an answer one way or the other.  At 2pm, we were finally told that the birthmom had decided to parent. The baby wouldn't be coming home with us.

The way things were going this morning, we kind of expected that answer but nothing prepares you for it. Our hearts are broken, again. It doesn't make sense but it doesn't have to. God has a baby for us. We are one day closer to our future child than we were yesterday.  I do pray that the Lord blesses the baby, the birthmom and her other children. I pray that that baby girl experiences the loving and saving grace of Jesus and enjoys a life full of love and purpose. I pray that God was glorified in how we've conducted ourselves and how we tried to love that baby and the birthmom.

Adoption is hard. It is messy. To have to say goodbye after a day is hard. Maybe it made me realize how difficult the decision has been for the birthmom (and for all birthmoms). What we're feeling right now we wouldn't wish on anyone. But we'll do it again. And again. And again. God is good. His plans are perfect. He's growing us through this. He's showing me that He wants me to love completely, no matter the cost.

"Funny" that the first match fell through shortly before Christmas and this match fell through on Good Friday and shortly before Easter. Today we remember Jesus crucified on the cross. Thank you God Almighty that that isn't the end of the story. In a few days we'll celebrate His glorious resurrection. He is risen, indeed! He's alive, He loves us, and He has invited us into His family. It's the best outcome, ever, and the story keeps being written as more of His children accept His offer to be adopted into His family.

This chapter may not have a happy ending for me today but the story does. In that, I take comfort and find peace.

In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Round 2!!

Hi there! Thanks for taking a break from your unsuccessful quest to figure out how in the world The Donald continues his tear through the primaries to catch up on what's going on with our little family! 

It's been a nice but quiet few months for us. We enjoyed Christmas and New Year's festivities and the Broncos won the Super Bowl!! 

Around Valentine's Day, I had the privilege to get all dressed up and take my little girl to a Daddy Daughter Ball. It was such a fun night together. Bailey wore a beautiful red dress and was so excited to present herself to me as she walked down the stairs. Her face lit up as I told her how beautiful she looked and she was so excited as I put on her little corsage. Even at 4, her heart so badly wants to hear such words from her father. If I didn't already know it, it is so clear how important my words are and how powerful they can be in speaking life into her. 

Here's a picture of us from the night...

We had a nice dinner, enjoyed dancing at the ball, and ended the night with a frozen yogurt dessert. Such a fun night and precious memory we'll share. 

On the adoption front, things seemed to slow down quite a bit leading up to Christmas and into mid-January. Last week we realized that it had been 2+ weeks since we had even had an opportunity to show our profile book to birth moms, which was quite very much not the normal since we went active with our agency. 

Jenny recognized that we weren't praying with the confidence and urgency that we ought to be praying. So she wrote 5 big, bold prayer requests and we prayed those with much more intentionality. God heard those prayers!! 

Isn't that how it goes? God asks us to talk to Him and He's just waiting to hear our requests so He can show His love and power. Yet so often, it's my last resort when it should be my top priority. 

Last week our profile book was shown to 4 birth moms. And today we were informed that a birth mom chose us...we've been matched again!! 

It's a girl and she is due in late March! We are so excited to love on a new baby and her precious birth mother. We are (cautiously) optimistic that this will be the child we've been praying for but know that there is always a possibility that our birth mother will choose to parent her child. We are praying for God's will to be done either way, and that we will be able to show our birth mom His incredible love in the process.

Please do not mention anything to Bailey about this as we are trying to protect her heart in case this doesn't work out. She knows that she will be a big sister when we adopt again and we know that she'll fall hard for whichever baby God has chosen for us.

God is so good! Thank you for walking beside us, especially in prayer. Here are our prayer requests for this next stage of our adoption process: 

1) For our expectant mother - for clarity in her decisions and continued good health.

2) For her precious baby - for continued growth and development.

3) For our relationship with our birth mother - one of the reasons we chose our agency is because they emphasize loving birth families BIG and WELL. Pray that we will be able to do that - with our thoughts, our words and our prayers. We will likely have an initial call with her next week. Please pray for a very positive, encouraging call. 

4) For Bailey - that God will prepare her heart to be a big sister and that she will have a smooth transition from only to oldest child.

5) For our finances - we are trusting that God will continue to provide the finances we need to complete this adoption, just as He did with Bailey's. Thank you to everyone who has supported us thus far.

6) For Jenny and I - that God will be glorified in the way we engage with all the different people involved in this process. Pray that we will have peace, no matter what happens. Pray that we will not let the failed match make us overly cautious or worried about the days ahead. Pray that we are sensitive to Bailey's needs so that she's ready for the changes coming her way. 

Guess it's time to get the nursery finished...lots of USC-themed and Pinterest projects happening over in there!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Next Steps

We want to provide a quick update on our situation with the adoption. Since being informed of our failed match last week, we've been processing what happened, healing, and moving forward. We don't know why it happened but we have faith in God's perfect plan and timing.

We've been working through paperwork and discussions to close out the contract and get unused funds returned to us. We were liable for the living expenses, counseling and legal work that had already been completed/paid out. We were concerned that we'd be out close to $10,000 but we thank the Lord we're only out $1,700.

That was still a financial blow to us but once again, God provided! A few days before the match fell through, we were notified of a $1,000 grant and others have blessed us with ~$600 this week, so we've almost recovered all of the funds lost to the failed match!

Today we were added back on the "active" list and are eligible to be matched again by having our profile shown to expectant moms. Please pray that we will be matched again quickly! Thank you!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Change of plans

This morning we received some terrible, horrible, no good, very bad news (for us, anyways) - the birth mom we were matched with delivered her baby boy almost a month early and decided to parent. So, our match has fallen through and we're back at step one. This has been hard news to swallow for Jenny and I. Lucky for you, I process hard news by talking, while Jenny processes more internally. After 10 years, I think I've finally learned how to give Jenny space, at least for a few minutes. So, you're stuck with me. 

When bad news hit so suddenly as it did this morning (I was sleeping), I found myself in a state of shock. Unsure what to do or say, I tried to distract myself by staying busy. But as I was left alone with my thoughts, clarity and our new reality set in. We were just a few weeks away from having a baby in our arms and now we're back on the waiting list.

As I informed family, friends and colleagues, articulating our new normal to those closest to us, the burden of this unexpected loss grew heavier. 

This is a loss I didn't expect to have to grieve today. I knew there was a risk, but I had convinced myself it wouldn't happen to us. I was so confident that this was our baby boy and the process was going to be as "rainbows and unicorns" as any adoption process could be. You'd think I would've learned by now...rookie mistake. 

So, here's my heart today - I am grieved for Jenny, Bailey and I. We long for our baby boy or girl, we long for Bailey to have a baby brother or sister. My heart aches that we had gotten so close and now have to start over. I pray that God will bless and provide for this little boy. We trust His perfect will, and trust that this baby was meant to remain with his birth mom. I trust that God has prepared us for the baby boy or girl He has for us, and it's just a matter of time.  

I have been overwhelmed by the encouraging words and prayers of our friends and family. Jenny posted a prayer request on Facebook 11 hours ago. In those 11 hours, we've received over 125 of the kindest comments offering prayers, thoughts, encouraging words, tears, and love. In a week when our feeds are packed with posts about how much of a cotton-headed ninny muggins Trump is (he is, obviously), debates about guns, violence, ISIS, politics, how awesome the new Star Wars movie is going to be, and so on, the response to our request for prayer and support has reinforced my belief in the power of social media for GOOD. Every 5 minutes or so, we were blessed with another encouraging word! It's like a viral prayer chain and it helped us throughout the day. To those that commented or just commented in your hearts, thank you. Thank you for carrying us through today. Please remember us tomorrow, because we'll need it. We love you and are so blessed to be on this journey with you.  

In good times and bad, we must cling to God's promises. It sure is easier to go there when my heart is in turmoil. Today, through prayer and through the encouragement of others, I'm reminded that:
  • When I delight myself in the Lord, He gives me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4)
  • He knows the plans He has for me - plans to prosper and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. He has a better plan for my family than I could ever conjure up. What a beautiful truth. (Jeremiah 29:11
  • The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength...but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
  • I should not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
As I get concerned about timing, frustrated that we have to start over and that this suddenly isn't going according to my plan, I remember Abraham and Sarah and God's promise to them in their 90's - Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. Hannah, Elizabeth, Zecharias, and on and on. God's timing may be vastly different than mine, but His is perfect. I choose perfect, even if it hurts right now.  

As we near Christmas, I can't help but think about Mary and Joseph. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this wasn't how Joseph expected to begin his life with Mary. Probably not the order of operations he had imagined! Turned out pretty well for him.  

So we grieve, we heal, and we wait upon the Lord. We pray for the baby He has for us and pray that we are united soon.