Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 30, 2013

Wishes (Not Resolutions) and Reflections

We are almost through with 2013.  Almost gone! Can you believe it?  This past year has been pretty stable for us.  We’ve had some health scares – most notably with my dad this year as he was diagnosed with the “c” word.  Thank God it was one of the most treatable types though, prostate.  We are hoping for great news when he goes back to the doctor next month for the results of his radiation treatment. 
Jon gave me a scare earlier this year when he woke me up one night and couldn’t talk.  After a weekend in the hospital, it came down to being related to migraines and our wonderful family doctor gave him a couple of tips that would change his life.  One was suggesting that he take 400mg of magnesium oxide daily.  He had heard at a conference that this might help migraines.  He’s tried it and wow has it been successful.  Jon was having migraines almost daily and now rarely has one unless he’s skipped his medicine.  The second thing was putting him on a medicine to help keep his heart from jumping out of rhythm (he would occasionally notice it beating faster, confirmed it on a monitor that he wore, and the doctor thought this might be related to the migraines as well).  This has acted as an anxiety reducer for Jon.  When he takes the medicine, he is a much calmer, happier person.  Believe me, our world has changed (for the better) with these two tips!
I am so thankful that we were able to have a wonderful Christmas with my parents this year.  When you see others losing their parents and loved ones, it makes you thankful for the time you have with your own.  Most of the day was just Mom, Dad, Dakota, me and Jon (when he wasn’t hunting).  It was so peaceful and we laughed like we hadn’t laughed in a while.  The thing that touched me the most of all of our gifts actually happened a few days before (but Dakota opened it on Christmas day).  Mom bought the baby a Christmas present! It made my heart happy that she cared enough and thought enough about our future child that she would buy it a Christmas present before it even arrived. 
The weekend before Christmas, my wonderful, talented hubby began building the changing table.  It is going to be great when it’s finished.  He’s started staining it but needs to sand and stain again.  It’s a great height – higher than the older one so it should be less strain on the back.  Plenty of storage room and some of the shelves have doors that close (his first time adding doors to something!).  He’s so talented but I think he gets frustrated with me asking him to build so much for me.  He’d love to be able to make money at it and every time he talks about it, I start telling him what all I want him to build for us.  I just love that he's so good at it and would love for every piece of wood furniture or cabinets in our home to be built by him.
Several people had mentioned that maybe we would get a baby for Christmas.  In hindsight, I’m glad we didn’t.  Why? Well, for one thing, Dakota ended up being sick the week before Christmas with RSV and our pediatrician told us that if we got a call to get a baby before Christmas Day, that Dakota would have to stay away from the baby.  I didn’t want that.  Then, over the weekend, Jon & I were both sick.  I surely wouldn’t want the baby to come in and get sick right away!
There are a couple of other reasons I’m OK with it, but I would’ve been perfectly fine with these things if the baby had come. I like even numbers.  I was born on an even numbered day and year (not month), I got married on all even numbers, Dakota was born on all even numbers….I just like even numbers. So, in my world of even numberness (I know that's not a word), 2014 seems like a better year for a birthday than 2013.  (See I’m crazy, right? )  Also, I already have one child with a birthday in December and it is rough.  It is too close to Christmas and you feel like the child gets a little cheated because everything is so close, not to mention the financial impact of Christmas being so close to birthday/birthday party time.  With that being said, if I get a call tomorrow to come get a baby that was born on Christmas day, I will be fine with that.  I would be much more concerned with this cold that I still have (or whatever it is) than the year or month of the baby’s birthday.
So, what are my wishes for 2014?  Of course, as I’m sure a lot of women would say, I’d like to lose weight.  I had started losing weight and had gotten down almost 19lbs but then the holidays hit.  Vacation, Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Dakota’s birthday, and then all the Christmas parties hit and I decided to wait until after the first of the year to go back to my diet.
I wish all of my family stays healthy and happy.  I wish my church family stays close and continues to grow.  I love those people and they really are like family instead of acquaintances.    I want to do more for others.  I feel like I don’t do nearly enough when it comes to helping those less fortunate or in need.  I want to get some bills paid off, definitely.  I would like to do better keeping things caught up at home and maybe even give Dakota some basic chores.
I’m sure you can guess one of my biggest 2014 wishes…our baby.  Oh how I hope and wish that 2014 is the year.  Please let our baby be on the way!  The wall in the baby’s room says: “For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart. -1 Samuel  1:27”  Half of that verse is true – I’m so anxious for the other half to be true as well!
Still hoping, praying and waiting...

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Process & The Wait

Wednesday, February 8, 2012, was a day that affected our future more than anything had in a long time.  I received an email from one of our local DHR social workers stating that they were in need of foster and adoptive families and asking us to post a flyer at our church. 
Let’s rewind a bit.  Jon & I had begun talking about having another baby.  Every time we’d talk about it or I’d think about it, I’d get nervous, anxious, and basically scared.  I had decided I’d just have to deal with it and accept the risks in order for us to do what we’d always wanted – have another child.  The best way I can describe that feeling was a load.
When I received this email on February 8, I called the social worker and found out that in our area, there is no foster-to-adopt program exactly and that there is no guarantee when a baby is placed with you that it will come up for adoption.  I was also told that most babies are adopted by their foster parents. We felt that it would be too difficult for us and to explain to Dakota if we were to get a baby for several months, become attached and it later be taken away.  I can’t guarantee you that I would never want to do that or that it will always not be the right answer for us, but it just wasn’t at that time.  However, I felt that this email was a sign. 
Up until shortly before Dakota’s birth, my mom worked at our local DHR office. She knew most of the people there and still kept in contact with some of them.  The social worker had told me that she got my email address from someone there – it blew my mind how they would have or get MY email address and not send this flyer to my mom, since she’s the one most of them knew so well.  Why would they decide to send it to me?  I felt like this might be a sign that we should consider adoption.  I talked to Jon about what had happened and how he felt and got the reassurance: he had the same thought – this could be a sign.
Although we decided that perhaps foster care wasn’t the route for us at the time, the social worker did end up sending me a list of approved agencies in Alabama.   One agency on that list seemed to stand out to me. Don’t ask me why, but they stood out.  I sent a request to another agency for information but that agency never seemed to click.  Maybe it was their name – maybe it was my being able to understand and connect with the testimonials on their website. I’m not sure what it was, but this one agency stood out. 
Within a day or two, Jon & I had decided that we wanted to pursue this option.  When we made the decision to try to adopt, the load lifted.  I was no longer nervous, anxious, and scared about risking my life (and leaving the child that I already had) to have another child.  I called the agency and later that day, the social worker called me back.  I stood in Wal-Mart talking to her for a while about the process, the wait, etc.  The first step would be to meet with the agency.  Jon and I planned a trip to Birmingham to meet with the agency.  We met with them on February 28, 2012.  By the time we left the office that day, we KNEW this was the road we were going to travel.  
By mid-May 2012, we had completed our home study.  Those 2.5 months were stressful – FBI fingerprinting, medical exams, copies of birth certificates and marriage certificate, writing autobiographies, gathering pictures of us and the house (because they had to be “perfect”, you know), and completing the application.  We had to answer questions about ourselves and a lot of questions that would help match us to our baby.  Those were the hardest. What race will you accept? What special needs will you accept? What kinds of drugs/alcohol are you comfortable with (coming from birth parents)?  We felt like we were playing God having to answer those questions.
Then the wait began.  Our social worker estimated 2-3 years from the time our home study was complete. The first year wasn’t too hard for me.  I guess because we knew it would be longer than that, I didn’t go into over planning mode.  I didn’t worry about the nursery or being ready for the baby.  I knew it wasn’t time.  It seemed like shortly after that first year passed, my mind went into overdrive.   The baby has nowhere to sleep!  I need a car seat!  We need to finish the nursery!  Is the house ready?  I quickly went into preparing mode.  Finally, by around October of this year, we had the nursery pretty much complete (except a changing table that Jon finally started working on last night!) and a pack-n-play and car seat sitting in the nursery.
I’ve slowly begun buying up diapers and a few things here and there.  Last night, I got some of Dakota’s bottles down and starting looking through what I have.  I think I have officially begun to feel the agony of “the wait.”  Could it be today? Could it be tomorrow? Could it be next month? Next year? I just don’t know.  I’m getting excited, anxious, and nervous all bundled together.  But this wait is hard. 

The not knowing is the worst part.  With a pregnancy, you have a light at the end of your tunnel.  With adoption, you can't really see that light.  You have no idea have close you are to the end - all you have to go on is faith, hope, and lots of prayers.
If nothing else, adoption teaches you to have patience.  There’s no other option.  You have to have patience.  I looked up the word patience on dictionary.com and here’s what one of the definitions said:
An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay
Wow.  Well, I (and I’m sure Jon would agree) may not be doing a very good job of suppressing my restlessness, but we don’t really have a choice.  There’s not much we can do on this end except hope, pray and wait. 
Our agency sent a video for us to watch.  It was a couple who’d struggled with infertility for something like 9 years and they were meeting their son for the first time.  In the video, the new dad talked about how they had not waited for 9 years for a baby but rather were waiting for THIS baby.  That’s what I have to remember – we’re not just waiting on a baby or any baby.  We are waiting on OUR baby.  And we have to remember that it depends on God’s timing, not ours.
Still waiting, hoping & praying…

Sunday, December 15, 2013

On Time

We had an absolutely wonderful church service this morning.  There was so much encouragement and such a good, peaceful feeling there. A good friend of ours started a song and probably about 1/2 through it, I started realizing just how appropriate the words of that song were:
You can't hurry God.  You'll just have to wait. 
Trust in Him.  Call on Him.  No matter how long it takes.
He's a God that you can't hurry.  He'll be there so don't you worry.
He may not come when you call him but He'll come on time.

After this song, Dad started talking to the church and really focused on Galatians 6:9:
Be not weary in well doing: for in due season, we shall reap if we faint not.

Dad started talking about how this relates to prayer.  He talked about how we shouldn't get discouraged if our prayers aren't being answered right away but instead remember that our prayers ARE reaching the Throne! The service was such a good reminder that regardless of our prayers and needs, God hears each one.  He even hears the ones that feel like they are leaving our mouth and hitting the floor in front of us.

Last night was our Christmas play at church.  I get so stressed before the play each year and each year it turns out fine.  After being so stressed and worried, the play was finally over.  Everyone (for the most part) did their parts and the hard work payed off.  But my prize came after the play.

If you've read many of my blog posts, you've seen that I have struggled at times with people making comments that hurt me related to our adoption.  As much as I'd like to not care what people think, I sometimes do.  It helps when you have encouragement instead of discouragement.  My mom tries to tell me to focus on the good things that happen and not those that make negative comments. The more good things that happen, the easier it becomes to focus on those.

After the play was over, I was sitting in the kitchen holding my friend's baby that she is hoping to soon adopt.  A sister from our church came up to me.  Her words went something like this: "I've really had y'all on my mind lately.  I've been trying to pray for you and have felt God.  I really feel like it could be any day that you get a call to go get a baby." I almost cried.  It helped me SO much to know that this dear sister cared enough about us to pray for us and was happy and excited for us!

I don't know when we'll get the call - it could be 3 months, it could be 6 months, it could be another year.  But regardless of when, I know God hears our prayers.  He hears each one of them. He knows our hearts, our desires, and our needs before we even pray.  As the song says, "He may not come when you call Him but He'll come on time!"

I have one request before I go today.  The closer we get to our baby, the more I realize that his or her birth mother could be expecting NOW.  She chose / is choosing to give this child life and to do what she feels is best for this child. If you believe in the power of prayer, please help us pray for our baby's birth mother/birth parents.  This has to be a difficult time for her/them.   Please help us pray that she (and he if involved) makes wise choices for herself and the baby and that she finds peace and contentment in her decision.

Still waiting, hoping & praying.....

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Opinions & Bloodlines

It amazes me how different people have such different views when the word "adoption" is brought up. Its also kind of funny how you can read people without them really saying what they're thinking.

My mom and I had lunch today and ran into someone we knew.  The person asked me if we were ready for baby #2.  I explained that we were trying to adopt (and why, although that's not really any one's business).  The person answered with something like "Oh really? Maybe everything will work out."  While the person was cordial and nice, I could get from the conversation that adoption was a bit of a taboo subject. 

Yesterday, I took Dakota to a birthday party for a classmate.  The child's aunt sat down by me and the fact that we were trying to adopt came up.  She started telling me how she had wanted to adopt at one point herself.  I felt comfortable talking to her about the whole process probably because I felt like she understood - at least on some level.  I didn't feel like she was judging me or discouraging, but rather a supportive ear. When you start talking to someone about it for the first time, you never know what kind of reaction you will get, so one like this is always welcome.

When thinking about these two experiences, I've realized there are generally three types of opinions related to adoptions: those that immediately try to discourage you, those that may not say anything but you get the impression they're not pro-adoption, and then those that support you whole heartedly.  I have had experiences with all three types of opinions throughout our process.

If you've ever been pregnant, there's a good chance you've had problems with people thinking that your stomach is public property.  Similarly with adoption, people sometimes think that your decision is up to them or fair game for their opinion.

I've always thought adoption was a very neat thing.  I never realized there were so many negative opinions out there, especially when it comes to infant adoption. It blows my mind that there are people that think you can't love a child properly if their bloodline isn't the same as yours.   I just can't fathom this.  I don't love Dakota because he shares the same bloodline as me.  I love him because he's my child.  It also blows my mind that anyone, especially a Christian, would think that you shouldn't give a child a loving, Christian home just because their bloodline is different.

I was born to my parents 31 years ago.  Nineteen and a half years ago, I was adopted as a child of God.  I am so thankful that God didn't care about bloodlines.  What if He had decided that Jesus was His only heir since Jesus was His only "biological" child?  What if He had decided that we weren't His "biological" children so He didn't need or want us? I'm thankful that He saw differently and adopted me as one of His children.

While I am learning that not everyone is supportive nor does everyone need to be, it still catches me off guard sometimes. But I am truly thankful for those people who are supportive and behind us 100% of the way.

Still waiting, hoping & praying...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Big Brother

We have tried to prepare Dakota for being a big brother. Sometimes, I think he gets it. Other times, not so much. I'm trying (at advice of others) to make sure he does not feel "left out." He hears us talk about the adoption, baby, and his brother/sister quiet often though. I don't want him to worry about what life will be like after the baby gets here. I don't want him to think we will love him less because there's a new baby around. I want him to "get it" but he's just 4.
Our church believes in praying on our knees. When we have prayer at church, everyone will get on their knees and pray together. One night a few months ago, Dakota and I were kneeling down at church. I told him to not forget to pray for his brother-sister. This is what I hear:
Lord, please send me a brother-sister. Please send the right one. We'll take good care of it.

Now, you can imagine what this did to my heart. It almost makes me cry just typing it. Maybe he does get it. Maybe he understands it ALL. What better prayer could be prayed? We do want the "right" one - the baby that is meant to be in our little family, that will flourish with us, and that's meant for us. Sometimes we get greedy and want things to happen NOW. I want my baby NOW. I want my family to be complete NOW. But this isn't really about what I want. This is about His plan. We want the right one at the right time and only He knows that.

If you could tell from the picture of the nursery, I am decorating with giraffes. There's not some poetic meaning behind it. I just like giraffes and thought they would go well with that color (Tinkerbell green). I had found a Melissa & Doug stuffed giraffe that was about 5' tall and I loved it - it would be the perfect addition to the nursery. The only issue is that it was VERY expensive. I could NOT make myself pay that much. This week, Amazon offered a deal on that very giraffe for about 46% off plus free shipping. I decided to go for it because I figured I would regret it later if I didn't. No where was selling it that cheap and even if they did, would definitely not offer free shipping with it.
When I got to Mom's that night, I told Dakota about buying the giraffe for the baby's room. I said a little bit about maybe it could be the baby's Christmas present because I didn't want him to feel bad for the baby's room getting a new addition. A little while later, he walked into the kitchen with a little giraffe toy and said, "This is for the baby's room." Then, a few minutes later, he had a tiny little stuffed giraffe that he also wanted to take home for the baby's room. When we got home, he took those two little animals and placed them next to another stuffed giraffe that I had placed in there. He was so proud that he got to help put something in there and "finish" it.

I am dreaming of the day that we can do the "big brother/little brother" or "big brother/little sister" pictures and my family will be complete. I'm sure we'll have at least some jealousy and as they get older, they'll argue and fight, but overall, I believe Dakota will be a good big brother. But for now, we'll just keep waiting and preparing...

Baby EJ - Mommy, Daddy & Big Brother are waiting for you!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day

A while back, I read about an Asian-American couple that were living in the Middle East (I don't remember the country but they were there for his job).  The couple had adopted three children from Africa.  The little girl had a disease that was a result of malnourishment before she was adopted and ended up passing away.  As if this family didn't have enough to deal with, the government in the country they were living in said that there was no way the couple would want to adopt "unattractive" looking children who did not look like them and were not related to them.  They MUST have done it for human trafficking and obviously they murdered the little girl. This upset me so badly.  I have lived such a sheltered life in the US that I didn't realize that this kind of thinking even existed.  How dare someone think a child doesn't deserve a home because they're not "blood" related or because they look different?

I was thinking about this today and what today represents.  Men and women fought for our wonderful country so that we could be free - we have freedom to worship as we please (for the most part) and say what we want (again, for the most part). I was able to marry my husband because I loved him - not because someone "arranged it."  I don't agree with most of what our government does today and am not completely happy with the shape our country is in today.  However, as bad as things seem, we still live in a FREE country and for that, I am thankful.

As I'm writing this, I think back to a few days ago.  Dakota was asking me about the wise men and why they brought gifts to baby Jesus.  He sat down in my lap and we had a conversation about King Herod, the wise men, and their gifts to baby Jesus.  I realized while writing this post that being able to have that conversation with my son is something many mother's do not have the privilege of having. Jon & I have the RIGHT and the FREEDOM to tell our son about Jesus - His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection. 

Dakota sings a song called "God Likes People."  In the chorus, it says "God likes people, any shape, any color, any size.  You don't have to be an angel to be really special in his eyes."  God has adopted us as his children.  He doesn't love us because we are blood or because we resemble His looks.  We are His children and He loves us regardless of our shape, color, or size. 

I know there are people out there who sadly think that you can't love someone who isn't your blood - at least not the same.  There are people who don't believe adoption is a good thing.  But I'm thankful that overall - this country is pretty accepting of the idea, especially compared to that country in the Middle East.  For my freedom to live, worship, pray, be happy, love, and even freedom to adopt, I would like to say thank you to all of the Veterans out there.  Happy Veteran's Day!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Being Thankful

The closer we get to our miracle, the more anxious I get.  I think I've started nesting a bit - wanting to get everything "ready."  We cleaned off our front porch this weekend and pressure washed it.  I've been trying to stay more "on-top" of things like the dishes in the sink or the laundry to be done. I want to make sure I'm as ready as I can be when we get "the call."

Very recently, I've begun day dreaming.  It sounds like such a childish thing to do, but i must admit it - I have "dreamed" about getting "the call."  How will I react? What will they say on "the call?"  How much will I know before we leave?  I can't help but think about those things and more.  I'm trying to be patient and wait.  But as much as I know we will get the call when it's THE baby that God has picked for us, I still get anxious and excited.

This month, I started the 30 day thankful challenge on Facebook.  Some people have commented that they don't want to participate because they feel you should be thankful year round.  While I agree with that, I enjoy this challenge each year.  It's not that I'm not thankful on the other 335 days in the year.  However, I believe that, at least for me personally, it's good to take a step back and just think about all that God's done for me.  Sure, it's easy at first - thankful for my salvation, my son, my husband, my parents.  But once you get to day 20, it's not quite so straightforward.  It's not that you don't have anything to be thankful for but sometimes we fail to realize exactly what ALL we should be thankful for.  I think it's a good idea to force yourself to look at your life and see the little things (and maybe some big ones that you don't think about everyday) to be thankful for.

Once thing I am very thankful for that may not be discussed fully on that Facebook challenge is that God picked this road for us.  When we first started this process, adoption was almost a 2nd choice.  I would have loved to have biologically had another child, but I was scared to death to go down that road.  The first peace I had about a 2nd child was when we decided to adopt.  Almost 21 months after making that decision, I have fallen in love with this road.  Shows like "I'm Having Their Baby" helped me better understand what birthmothers likely go through when making the decision to make an adoption plan.  I honestly believe watching this show will help me have more compassion and understanding for what our miracle's birthparents might go through.  I've also joined an adoption forum where I have the opportunity to read posts and suggestions from others who have been there/done that.  While the path to adoption is hard, emotional, and puts you on a different road than almost anyone else you know, I know in the end, it will all be more than worth it.

This journey has taught me to trust in God - that He knows what's best for our family.  Its taught me patience (althouth I'm still not very good at that sometimes).  Most of all, this journey has taught me a lot about faith.  Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) says "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  FAITH caused us to begin this journey.  FAITH helps us make it through many many days spent waiting.  FAITH helped us get the nursery setup.  And most of all, FAITH keeps us from getting discouraged along the way.  We have FAITH that our baby is either on its way or will be on its way to us when HIS timing is right.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting things done...

This will be short - I need to get my little man settled down for school tomorrow! Since the past week has been so successful, I wanted to share a little bit about what all we've managed to get done.  Some of you may know, but a few weeks ago, I started stressing out over not having things done - WHAT IF I get the call and don't have the necessities?

  • Ordered Pack N Play on Friday.  Scheduled to arrive tomorrow!
  • Ordered the car seat I had picked out from  Babies R Us. 
  • Successfully removed old spit up stains from several articles of clothing that had been given to me free.
  • Hang/folded baby clothes.
  • Got crib ready for assembly...amazing how dusty something can get lying under your bed.
  • Crib is assembled and in place!

I know all of this may sound minor and like no big deal to most people - but to me, it's one step closer.  I don't have that cloud over my head of "what if I get the call and don't have a car seat?" or "where will the baby sleep if I have no crib or Pack N Play?"  Inch by inch, step by step, hour by hour and second by second we ARE getting closer to bringing our baby home. 

Now, we continue to play the waiting game...

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Sometimes its pretty amazing how many times God has to remind me to trust Him and have faith in Him. 

We began this journey a year and a half ago.  At that time, I felt like I had my answer as to what was the right direction to take.  As I guess is with anything that requires a long wait, my faith has been tested.  First, it was people putting their two cents in where it wasn't necessary or required causing me to doubt and absolutely tearing up my mind and heart. For those of you who have been through the adoption process, I'm sure you know the people - those that say "I don't think you should adopt. I don't have the right feeling about it. I've heard of too many situations that didn't turn out well." 

I finally began getting over that one but the most recent one was my own doubt.  What if it never happens? What if no one wants to pick a family that has biological children (or a child)? What if we sit on that list FOREVER!?  My best friend (who has been a rock for me to lean on/talk to through this whole process) reminded me that someone may want the child to have a sibling.  That's true - but you still can't help but doubt - what if it never happens.

I continue preparing.  We have painted the nursery, I've picked out a car seat, and picked out a pack-n-play.  I'm trying to have faith and believe that continuing to prepare is my way of having faith.  Fast forward to today.

We had a yard sale for our church during a mile-long yard sale at Grant.  The money we raise usually goes to the church kitchen.  Since our kitchen fund didn't really need the money this time, I decided to setup my own section and sell some of my stuff to try to raise money to get things like the car seat and if any extra, to help add to the adoption fund.  A young 14-yo sister from our church (who just received salvation a couple of months ago) went with us to help.  Shortly after the yard sales started, the young lady started going around visiting other yard sales.  She started bringing back baby outfits - FOR ME!  And she kept doing this - this 14 year old girl was spending the money she had on my future baby.

Now, let's go back for a moment.  Remember I told you about the people putting their two cents worth in? Well, I guess I had told myself that no one (other than my parents) really supported our decision.  I shouldn't say no one, but that not many did - they didn't know about adoption, didn't think it would really happen, etc.  That was all (or mostly) of course in my mind.

My aunt arrived at the yard sale a little late and started getting stuff out of her car.  I explained that the section on the left was separate from the church stuff and the reason I was trying to make the money.  She immediately tells me that I can have her stuff to sell for my side if I wanted.  That touched me because it let me know she wanted to help.  A little while later, she and another sister from our church had gone to visit the restroom and passed a yard sale with a bassinet.  They thought of me and my aunt practically begged me to come over and see it.  It was in great shape and we ended up getting this $80-90 bassinet for $25.  Now, baby "EJ", as I've been calling him/her since the girl's name we have picked starts with an E and the boys name starts with a J, has a place to sleep at Mamaw's house.

Ok - fast forward to the end of the yard sale.  I made over $100 - which thrilled me because I was worried about making much of anything.  As we were picking up the church's yard sale stuff, the young lady I spoke about earlier decided to take some of her sister's clothes over to the lady that had sold us the bassinet.  The lady had found out earlier about our plans to adopt.  She asked the young lady if her friend would like more baby clothes.  They called me over and this lady GAVE me a box full of baby clothes.  The young lady that had helped me get these clothes was SOOO happy! 

I was thankful, but it didn't really hit me until I got home.  I sat down and started going through the box of clothes.  About 1/2 way through, I realized that there were a LOT of clothes (over 125 total in that box).  All of sudden I realized - "This is stuff I would've picked out had I been shopping for baby clothes!" 

Then, when I showed it to my husband, he gave me the most encouragement I could have received.  His words, encouraging me that he didn't think it would be long and how he felt about it, gave me my faith right back.

Sometimes, God works in mysterious ways.  Who would've thought when I got to that yard sale around 5am this morning, that my faith would be restored before night.  Thank you God for encouragement and helping me have faith!

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Miracle Song...

Sometimes, I believe a song can speak to you like people can't.  I saw that first hand a few months ago and would like to share.

For starters, back in late summer/early fall, someone made a comment to me about the adoption.  To them, I'm sure it was mostly a fleeting thought and they spoke their bit and went on their way.  That day and for many days and even months afterwards, those statements haunted me.  They actually kind of crushed me.  I dealt with them day in and out.  How dare this person say something to me that affected my whole world like that? I dealt with emotions related to that for a while. 

Earlier this year, we went to a concert where the Mike Bowling family performed.  I ended up buying a couple of CD's.  At first, this particular song didn't stand out to me.  However, later on, I started to actually listen to the words and, in my mind this song almost became my adoption anthem.  Listening to the words of this song helped me understand that I don’t have understand everything, but I do believe this is the path that God has chosen for our family and I am ok with that – actually, I have even become happy about that.  This song now has a special place in my heart.

A Miracle Today as sung by The Mike Bowling Family
You see the puzzle not the piece.  
You see the forest not the trees.
You know what's best for me.
Lord, you have bottled up my tears.
You see my questions and my fears
And the way it has to be.
I know that there are others more deserving than I.
I know that I'm not worthy but you listen when I cry.
So if this cross is mine to bear, I'll praise you anyway.
Lord, I could sure use a miracle today.

Lord, you are faithful more than words.
You feed the lilies & the birds
You catch the sparrow when it falls.
You know exactly where I am
So I'm not questioning your plan
There's a reason for it all.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Making the Decision...

I'll apologize in advance for such a long post -

A little over 5 years ago (May 2008), I found out I was expecting a baby.  We were so happy!  I was due January 14th.  The first two trimesters went relatively smoothly.  There were no major issues, although I was nervous during each doctor's visit.  My blood pressure was a little high but no other warning signs indicated issues so they just kept an eye on me.

In August, we found out we were having a baby boy!  Things continued progressing smoothly.  I went to my checkup on November 6th.  I had gained 13lbs in two weeks.  My doctor said that wasn't normal and was more than likely fluid.  He put me on bedrest for the weekend and told me to come back in on Monday.  When I went back to the doctor on Monday, I had lost 6lbs over the weekend.  I was expecting him to put me on a restricted work scheduled, but instead put me on full bed rest.  During the next visit, he set me up to begin having non-stress tests done twice a week.  At some point during this time, I began having what seemed to be severe gastric pains.  The doctor thought it sounded like my gall bladder so I assumed that's what it was.  I had been getting a call each trimester from a Baby Yourself nurse, a program through Blue Cross Blue Shield.  She mentioned that the pain I was describing could be related to pre-eclampsia.  I assumed my doctor knew more than she did.

My pain continued to get worse.  My mom was planning to retire at the first of the year so that when I went back to work, she could keep Dakota.  She ended up taking off early because I was in so much pain, I didn't need to be left alone.  I remember a day (probably December 2 or 3) that she had wanted to go to the doctor because she'd been battling a cold and I was in too bad of shape for her to even do that much.  I'd tried watching what I ate and it didn't matter.  I was hurting so bad, I (who had not thrown up once during morning sickness) began throwing up.  It was very difficult to be on bedrest and be still when hurting so badly.

I had another NST and doctor's visit on December 4th.  Mom took me and I took my hospital bag with us because we halfway expected them to decide to keep me because of the issues I had been having.   Before or shortly after the NST, the nurse that had collected my urine sample came back in and asked me if I was sure I wasn't swelling.  I told her I wasn't (I had stopped swelling once they put me on bedrest).  I knew from that question that more than likely, I had protein in my urine.  I had had an ultrasound on my gallbladder a day or two before. I went to the doctor's visit where the nurse practioner told me that the ultrasound showed my gall bladder was fine.  What was wrong with me then?

She checked me and told me I was dilated to 3 and 30% effaced.  She sent me to the hospital to meet with the doctor.  They decided to keep me and induce me. After doing bloodwork, things started changing.  I found out my pain was from pre-eclampsia that had gotten so bad, my liver was causing gastric pains.  The nurse later told me if I'd been one more day, I would've started having seizures.  They turned the lights down, the TV off, limited visitors, and then told me what, at the time, I thought was one of the worst things: no epidural and no spinal. 

After several hours of painful back labor, they decided the nurse and doctor had been wrong - that wasn't a head.  It was a butt!  So I ended up having to have a c-section. The doctor or nurse told my family I would likely come out in ICU on a ventilator.  I was so out of it, I didn't really comprehend what was going on.

This was on a Thursday night, the night of our church services.  A young brother at church gave the oil (we believe in annointing with oil) to my brother-in-law to bring to the hospital with him.  He did and God made a way for him to be able to annoint me.  Shortly after that, I started improving.  Dakota was small but fine.  He weighed 4lbs 6oz at birth and other than some small, normal issues, he was fine.  He had a light case of jaundice and had a little trouble gaining wait.  He was in the hospital for 1 week.  He came home on Friday, December 12th at 4lbs 2oz.  I still had issues with my blood pressue, but I ended up being fine.  The doctor said I had a 25% chance of having the same thing happen if I had another one.

Fast forward to last winter.  Jon and I were talking about having another baby.  We both always wanted more than one child.  I had decided I was just going to have to risk it, but everytime I would think about it, I had a fear - almost panic come over me.  During this time, one day at work I received an email saying "We need adoptive/foster parents. Please post at your church." It caught my attention because a) I had never received an email from this person before and b) my mom used to work at DHR so I didn't understand why they would have my email address and not hers.   In my mind, I thought "this could be a sign."   I talked to Jon and he felt the same way.  We had talked before about adoption but had forgotten about it.  We began talking about it again and felt like that the email was God's way of telling us we should look at adoption again.  We went to Birmingham to meet with what would later become our adoption agency and made the decision to persue adoption.  The weight that I had when thinking about another child lifted.  My burden was lighter.  I felt like that was my second sign that we were making the right decision.

Not everyone may agree with our choice, but its not their choice to agree with.  Jon and I have to do what we feel God wants us to do and what is best for the two of us and Dakota.  We have now been on the 3-year waiting list for approximately 1 year.  I have recently been reading a lot about adoption and other adoption stories.  I am so excited.   I am honored and thrilled to think that Jon & I might be able to give a child a loving, Christian home that otherwise might not have one.  I just hope and pray that God sends us the right baby and that we raise it in the way He would have it go.  Whether its one more year, two or three, I believe God will send us the right child when the time is right.

Sorry for such a long post! If you've made it this far, thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Learning Me...

Welcome to my blog! I've been wanting to do a blog for a long time but just never got around to it.  Well, we've lived in our current home for about 5 years and just got internet for the first time....so what better time to start? I figured I would start out by telling you 25 things that you may or may not know about me. So here goes!

1. I've been married to Jon for 9 years.
2. We have 1 son, Dakota.  We are currently trying to adopt our second child.
3. I love to play piano and sing.
4. Although I like different types of music, I love Southern Gospel and Country the most.
5. I am a conservative Christian.  I don't believe that I should force my views on anyone else, but I do believe like most typical conservatives. 
6. I love my family. This may sound silly, but so many people aren't close to their families.  I'm thankful for mine.
7. My very best friend and I have been friends longer than we can remember.  We've been friends since before kindergarten and continue that friendship to this day.  I was her maid of honor and she was my matron of honor. 
8. I love college football.  I rarely miss watching an Alabama game in the fall (even when its on pay-per-view).  I love watching and discussing college football with my dad.
9. I am a Disney fan - I love going to Disney World.  I missed part of the SEC Championship game (see #8) last year because we were at Disney - that's a big deal in my world.  I love the rides, the atmosphere, and the "magic."
10. Some of my favorite movies of all time are Facing the Giants, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and The Blind Side.
11. I am an only child.  Although there have been a few times I was ok with it, now that I'm older I understand the need for a sibling.
12. Bugs love me - I have trouble staying outside over a few minutes during the summer because mosquitos eat me alive!  I hate having to put insect repellent on to be outside for just a few minutes.
13. I love reality shows. Some of my favorites are: American Idol, The Voice, Big Brother, Survivor, and The Amazing Race.
14. I never watched Duck Dynasty for over 2 minutes during the first two seasons.  Jon made me watch an episode during season 3 and now I'm addicted!
15. I'm a closet worrier.  I tend to hold it in and not show my worry so much, but deep down, I worry.  Sometimes, I think holding it in makes it worse.
16.  My birth middle name was a combination of my mother's first name and my paternal grandmother's name.
17.  Both my husband and I were named after characters on soap operas.  My mom got the name "Holly" from Guiding Light and Jon's name came from "Jonathan" on Hart to Hart.  If I spelled that wrong, please overlook me and remember, I'm talking about a show that was popular when I was born!
18. I absolutely hate snakes. As a comedian once said, they move without legs - they are OF THE DEVIL!
19. I love to laugh.  I know everyone enjoy laughter, but I really love to laugh. I love a good, clean comedian or just watching funny game show moments on YouTube.
20. I fall - randomly.  I may be just walking along and all of a sudden fall down.  I can't help it - I must have weak ankles or something. 
21. I've lived within a 5 mile radius my entire life.
22. I go to and love a small church.
23. My favorite TV show of all time is Friends.  Sometimes situations arise and all I can think about is a quote from Friends that is relevant.  For example, if I suddenly understand something, in my mind I'll think "I su-stand."  If something is irrelevant, I'll think "that's a moo point." 
24. I help direct our church Christmas play.  This past Christmas was our 3rd program and all three years I wrote or helped write the main play.
25. Growing up and even once grown, part of me always wanted to be a teacher.  But I'm not - I work as an IT Analyst.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading the 25 things you may or may not know about me!  Until next time, America!