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!