Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Music in Her Head

I wish I slept this peacefully...

We got together with some other families from our agency that have recently brought home their children from DRC - we had a fun day at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It was fun to see Bailey with some of her old friends from the transition house!

The museum was fun, although with a 14-month old we pretty much stayed in the toddler section and hung out with Mr. Bones (a "paleo-puppeteer").

Bailey had fun looking at this bear...

...and herself in the mirrors.

But more than anything, she enjoyed dancing, this time to the music in her head.  We've seen her do this more and more, so I consider this a new learning - Bailey loves dancing to the music in her head (#103). The music may stop, but Bailey just keeps on dancing. We got some good video (see below) until the girl at the end of the video decided to video-bomb Bailey. 

It's amazing how much she's grown in the 45 days or so since we posted a video of her first steps! I knew that she would grow quickly but I guess I never comprehended just how quickly the progression would be. She is walking consistently without needing help, she's hopping a little, and moves so quickly!

What's really surprised me is how much she understands (#104). I think Jenny and I were a little concerned at first because it seemed so difficult to communicate with/to Bailey. Now she seems to understand so much - so many words, signs, emotions, expressions. I'm blown away as I just watch her observe and learn. She is a very curious little kid.

She's starting to love books (#105)! We joked that she just loved to chew them but now she'll grab one and find the nearest lap. It's easy to forget that Bailey may never have seen a book until we showed her one.

She's figured out how zippers work (#106). This is how Jenny found her this morning!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Making our mess His message

Last Sunday, Jenny and I decided to go back to church - we had not been since bringing Bailey home, except for the Easter service. We decided to try dropping Bailey off at the nursery to see how that would go. She did great!

Of course we (and by we, I mean God) picked this day to go after a few months away. Wouldn't you know it, our pastor's brother (and his wife) delivered the sermon, sharing the story of how the Lord grew their family through cancer, infertility, successful and unsuccessful IVF attempts, miscarriages, etc. - you get the point. The theme throughout their story was "Making our mess His message".

While there are many differences in our story, it is shocking how similar the emotions were as we navigated through treatments.  And it's amazing how quickly some of those same emotions can be stirred up. As a man, I'm GREAT at compartmentalizing, so infertility isn't on my mind it might be for Jenny.

You see, the pain from infertility doesn't go away. It's another one of those things that make you/us wonder what God is doing, and why. Why can't we experience the joys of physically having a child. Why do irresponsible 16 year olds all over the world get to experience it and we (so far) don't get to? Why do some couples just look at each other and somehow reproduce?? 

These questions suck. But they're a part of our story. We'll never exactly know why, and we're not giving up having faith that if God so chooses He'll bless us with the chance to have a biological child.

I do know that our story up to this point has resulted in Bailey coming home to us. Perhaps if we had tried more testing or invested more resources into other treatments, then we might've disrupted the plan for us to be united, or maybe we would've just delayed it months or years. We could have gotten in the way. Maybe we still did, but I'm confident that God was directing our thoughts and our steps throughout the process, no matter how much it hurt, and still hurts.

God planted the seed of wanting to adopt in our hearts early on in our relationship. We knew that our family makeup would include adoption. We just never knew when. It was a tough pill to swallow when we were unsuccessful, and it got even tougher as we began treatments. Jenny and I agreed that we'd exhaust our options up to a certain point (or by the time we had to declare bankruptcy, whichever came first!). Those treatments came and went, and as we were nearing the last treatment, I'd be lying if I said despair didn't set in a bit a lot.

I still remember the Sunday morning when Jenny took the pregnancy test and came out of the bathroom, obviously crushed. We both lost it regularly that day...of course we had to be at church in an hour to volunteer with the 2-3 year olds. OF COURSE WE DID.

I look back at those days and it still stings. The emotions never go away, they just lessen in time.  We had to grieve and move past the hurt and frustration so that our hearts would be ready for adoption.  We signed with an agency when we thought it was time and the rest is history. 

We are so incredibly blessed. I get to experience seeing a child not born of me light up like Christmas when I walk into the room. It is beautiful. I'm spoiled - I get to see this every day I'm home and it is quite possibly the most fulfilling thing I've ever had the joy of experiencing.  She is attaching well to us and we can not remember what life was like before her.

So, going back to the subject line "Making our mess His message" - this is the goal of our lives, why we share so openly this journey we're on. The good, the bad, the ugly. The clean and the messy. Infertility is a part of our journey. It's a part of our learning how to trust God when it doesn't go according to our plan. When it doesn't go how we want it to go in our narrow view of life. It is part of our story to Bailey and the growing of our family. It has played into our passion for adoption and for living lives that glorify God. I hope that we can use our story to point people to the truth and hope found in Christ. Not by our doing but by His. If I was left to navigate this life on my own (these last few years especially), I'd be a train wreck.

Only God knows what the future holds. Maybe we'll try some treatments again some day. Maybe we won't. Maybe we won't need to. Maybe we'll adopt 2 more kids. Or 3. Or 13. Our goal is to be open to what God has in store and to not get in the way. And on the journey, make our mess His message.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

United We Stand

It seems that daily we hear of another senseless act of hate. What more is there to say? This world is so lost. I may be definitely am tagging myself as a nerd here, but it reminds me of a scene in the second Lord of the Rings movie when the king ponders the question, "What can man do against such reckless hate?". Of course, he's referring to crazy non-human beast-men that enjoy feasting on man-flesh, but still...

The Aurora theater shooting, Sandy Hook, kidnappings, mall shootings, murders of law enforcement and politicians, bombings at the Boston Marathon, poison-laced letters. And this is just within our borders.

What is this world in which we find ourselves today?  What kind of world is Bailey going to grow up in?

We could debate the roots of it all until we're blue in the face and it won't get us anywhere. I can be doing more to make my community even a little bit better - love, care, help. I need to start with my own family, my neighbors, those in my community and town. I can't control other people, but I can control me. I can smile at the people I walk past. I can hold the door for the lady in front of or behind me. I can pause and ask the Lord to use me to show love to the waiter, the flight attendant, the grocery store clerk, the guy I so badly want to honk at in front of me.

If we continue on this downward spiral as a society, soon we'll all be so terrified to go outside the walls of our homes that any semblance of community will cease to exist and all interaction will be behind a touchscreen or computer. Perish the thought...(so I say from behind a touchscreen, with my headphones on to avoid conversation with those next to me on the plane)...who am I to even write these words. I fall so short.

Pray for Boston, pray for DC, and pray for the next community that will soon deal with the next tragedy.  

I love this cartoon from Huffington Post - I know it's just about sports, but portrays our country's spirit in times of tragedy. United we stand.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

102. Thumb

Bailey sucks her thumb.  We figured this out about 30 seconds after meeting her.

102. She sucks her thumb so much that it is permanently pruned and discolored. I'm not gonna lie - it's a little gross. See for yourself.

Update on her relationship with Harold: Bailey is now smitten with Harold, so much so that she gets bashful and giggles every time she looks at that balding, butler statue. Another boyfriend...

Update on Zia - Zia received her exit papers so she is on her way home to the US! Her health is improving and will be in the US soon to receive the care she needs! Thanks to those that have been praying for this sweet little girl.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Some more firsts for us as a family of 3 as we celebrated Easter:

  • Back to church for the first time. Bailey lasted through a couple songs before she started making her restlessness known. She and I instead enjoyed some time outside until the service ended. Baby steps...the next step will be taking her to nursery. This seems like a HUGE step but we're getting more comfortable with the idea...
  • Bailey's first experience with the Easter bunny - no problem! I was expecting her to be afraid but she didn't seem to mind. We even managed a partial smile!
  • Bailey experienced her first (and second) Easter egg hunts - one with our church which included eggs dropped from a helicopter, and one with the family.

Yes, that's Bailey stealing an egg from her cousin's basket.  She DID return it shortly after. :-)

98. Bailey makes some HILARIOUS faces when she's waiting for the next bite at meal time.

99. For a 1-yr old, Bailey has some guns! Look at that left bicep! :-)

100. Bailey loves basketball. I'm pretty sure she's more interested in dancing to the song that plays after the ball goes through the hoop, but I'll take what I can get!

101. It's hard to believe that we've been home with Bailey for over two months.  It feels like she's been with us forever, yet it also seems like we just got home. It's wild to look back and see how far we've come in two short months, and how much she's grown and developed.  She is taking more steps, understanding more of what we say, and getting bigger, stronger, healthier each and every day. As my travel schedule begins to pick up I cringe at what I'm going to miss. These moments just come and go so quickly and it's way too easy to let competing priorities distract us from what's important. Before we know it she'll be running around the house and talking! It truly is amazing to witness how quickly children grow and change in these early months/years.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Those of you that have been to our home have had the pleasure of meeting our butler, Harold.

Harold, a gift from Jenny's brother for our apartment when we lived in CA, has been with us since the early days of our marriage, diligently holding our mail day in and day out.

For the last two months, Harold and Bailey have been peacefully coexisting. Or maybe, just maybe, Bailey never really noticed him.

That all changed two nights ago. As we were enjoying a quiet night at home and wrapping up dinner, Bailey spotted Harold out of the corner of her eye. After innocently asking Bailey to wave "hi" to Harold, Bailey LOST it. Instant meltdown. Jenny calmed her down but every time Bailey would look at Harold, she'd wimper and twitch a bit. 

So let me get this right...Bailey has NO PROBLEM with our furry little creature on four legs (Abby, our 14-yr old bichon), who has no concern for personal space and regularly tries to lick/nibble/chew Bailey's fingers, toes, or face. She has no problem with a person in a large bunny costume holding her (Easter pics coming in a future post). But Harold, the 3-ft statue butler, freaks her out. There I go again, trying to rationalize the mind of a 1-yr old.  

My guess is that she just never really noticed Harold before, and my telling her to say "hi" as I do with humans made her think he was a human who had somehow snuck up on her without her noticing.

We were hoping this was a one-time meltdown but it happened again tonight, though the reaction was very delayed.  We'll see what tomorrow brings! Poor Harold...