Friday, March 25, 2011

My times are in your hands...

The Psalms have been my "go-to" book of the Bible lately (for obvious reasons)...this morning, reading chapter 31, could not have come at a more appropriate time...

"...I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but you have set my feet in a spacious place." vs. 6-8

And, later in verses 14-15 it says:

"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands..." commentary reads..."In saying 'My times our in your hands,' David was expressing his belief that all of life's circumstances are under God's control. Knowing God loves and cares for us enables us to keep steady faith regardless of our circumstances. It keeps us from sinning foolishly by taking matters into our own hands or resenting God's timetable."

LOVE this...and now it is the verse we will read and claim as we walk out to our cars every day...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

a small miracle...and another mountain

God has a funny way of getting our attention-huh?! I'm sure many of you have experienced this...but, it's almost hilarious that, in the middle of God teaching me something, I am surrounded by reminders of what He is doing...whether it be through sermons, words of encouragement from friends, blog posts, songs, happenstance encounters or random visual reminders...I sometimes want to say--"ok! I get it...THIS is what you want me to process through/deal with/pray over." :)

I really thought that I had dealt with the grief of our infertility...but, as I've previously stated, the circumstances of the past month have brought up painful reminders of the difficulty we have had growing our family. When we felt the call to adopt we had such a peace (and still do)...but, I fear that peace and excitement we had of growing our family through adoption may have covered up the lingering pain of our infertility. I was so focused those first few months on steps we needed to take in the adoption process, that I may not have realized I still had some scars related to our infertility. (Can you tell I'm a therapist??!)

However, I do think I need to deal with these scars. I don't want to feel this way, or be dealing with this, but as of late I have become increasingly sensitive to these issues...I really thought the emotions tied to our infertility were long gone...I thought they had left when our hearts desire to concieve was placed with a desire for children to love...which is when the peace to pursue adoption came. Nonetheless, here I stand again...faced with the pain of our infertility...and desperately desiring to be healed of this grief surrounding our current inability to conceive.

Though I feel this has been under the surface for a while, God used some strange things to grab my all started last night as I was reading a magazine in bed (**side note, while it takes Warren two seconds to fall asleep, it usually takes several pages of a book or magazine for me**) and came across a page telling of an LA based sylist who was pregnant. Obviously, I do not know this person (though I do watch her reality TV show), but my heart sank..."How is she pregnant and not me?" All the questions of this being "unfair" surfaced---over a celebrity!!

**here is where the small miracle came into play---I began quoting (in my mind) 1 Peter 1:6-7 which I have been claiming:

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

...and I went right to sleep (usually this would have triggered a night of insomnia)!*** This scripture is really meaningful to me right gives me hope that all of this pain and waiting is not pointless. These things have come to strengthen our faith, make us more Christlike, and bring glory to God!

I then read this blog post from a birth mother and my heart broke. I was convicted. I want to address and deal with the issues surrounding the grief of our infertility so as not to carry them into an adoption situation. It is our heart's desire to have as much of an open relationship as possible with our birth mother...and I do not want anything to get in the way of that becoming a reality.

So, this may be another hill we have to climb...and that is ok. Even though it is painful and difficult, I long for God to work these things out in my heart. So, please continue to pray for us...please pray for the journey my heart is on to find healing and grieve our infertility. I don't want to hide any longer...I want to be someone that is honest and able to say..."This hurts...and I'm not over it yet..."--but, I also want to be a person who continues to work through struggles in order to become a better person, wife,...and ultimately a better mother!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

(Another) Nursery Idea...

Though not in my color palette, I L-O-V-E this idea for a nursery (found here) where to find 26 (or even 13) unique letters...I'm not so sure...but, I'm thinking the search is on!! :)

update, yard sale, and a birthday party...

Let me just begin by saying that God has brought me a long way in one week...and that is thanks, in part, to so many that have been praying for us and who have sent encouragement our way. I guess this is to be expected, but I have become very teary many blog comments and emails I have received in the past week have been read through eyes blurry with tears...and several conversations I have had with others always seem to end with my eyes whelling up. God has used your words to give us renewed strength...I feel like, with each tear, healing has been taking place. Satan wants to use this experience to destroy our faith, to crush the peace we have of our call to adopt, and to wipe out our witness....but, I refuse to allow this to happen. It is a minute by minute battle...but, one I know God will continue to give us the strength, wisdom, and grace to fight. We firmly believe that God will finish the work He began!

This past weekend, we coupled with Daniel and Lyndsie for another adoption yard sale. It was not as busy as the last sale, but we still did well...we collected $1,100 w/ the sale and a very generous donation!! I still have a few larger items that I am planning on using Craig's list & ebay to sell. We are so thankful for all of the donations we received from friends. We still have tons left over...and I'm trying to decide if I have it in me to have one more sale...

We have been blessed with so many supportive friends here, and my sweet friend Katie is one of those amazing people God has placed in our lives. She spent her Saturday morning away from her children (and a house they are building) to help us...I am so thankful for her!!!

It was so good to spend time with Daniel and Lyndsie...God has blessed me with her friendship as we journey together on the road of domestic adoption.

The girls at the sale. We loved spending time with Daniel's sister (far left)...she is so precious!

After we packed and loaded all of our un-sold items, we headed to my sister's to celebrate my adopted niece's birthday ...It's hard to believe EllaGrace has been in our family for only one year...I feel like she has always been a part of our lives...

My older nieces touched my heart that night...Each one of them either bought (with their own money) or made a present for Ella Grace...they love their little sister and were so proud to share in the excitment of her first (4th) birthday. :) Below is JennahKay with the gift she bought EllaGrace...

Healing is in His hands...We are still weary, but growing stronger in our faith every day. Yesterday, the physicial fatigue set in...but, we are grateful to serve a God who is near to us in our most difficult of times. Please continue to pray for Faith's birthmother as she is facing several challenges right now. She is an amazing young woman and I'm very thankful God has allowed our paths to cross.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm feeling a little numb right now. What a journey this has been. We feel exhausted emotionally, spiritually, and physically...a part of me wants to shut down, crawl in a hole, and forget we ever started the adoption process. However, the bigger part of me knows God is in control, knows this is what He has called us to, knows that the events that have happened over the past month were not a surprise to Him, and knows that He doesn't want to see us in pain...that He is near to us...and that He will continue to give us strength and be glorified through this process. Yesterday at work, I noticed we had penciled in the schedule that this was to be my last week (this was at the beginning of the failed adoption). It brought back a lot of heart ache...Last night I spoke with the birth mother of this most recent situation. We talked for an hour and a was good for both of us (I think). We don't regret that she came across our path...she was trying to do what she thought was best for Faith by finding her a healthy place to be raised...she could not have known or controlled the events that took place a week after contacting us. I go back and forth in my mind with thoughts of "Why" and then I have to remind myself that I cannot stay in that place of is fruitless. I must continue to look up to Him and trust that His ways are higher than mine. I must continue to look at what He wants to teach us through this and how He wants to use us.

I am thankful for the kind blog posts, emails, and messages that have been sent our way by so many. Warren and I have been truly blessed by the thoughts and words that have come our way. We are daily surrendering to God's timing in the growth of our family. For us, adoption was not a selfish decision. I know some couples that have married and both have always wanted adoption to be a part of their family. It was not like that for us. However, we don't considered adoption as a "last resort" or "plan B." God placed adoption on both of our hearts, gave us a peace about growing our family through adoption, and we know this is His plan for us.

A few times since Sunday I have heard from different people something to the affect of, "Once you surrender everything to God and give up your desire to become a mother that's when everything will work out." I know these comments were made with good intentions...but, actually, when these comments are made to individuals in my situation it puts more blame and pressure on there is something we are not doing right. After this comment had been made to me by a couple of (I'm sure) well-meaning individuals, I started to question if God was trying to tell me that we had not completely surrendered everything to him...but, then I was reminded of the truth...we have surrendered our situation to God...We are not out trying to "make things happen"...these past two situations have fallen in our laps. Now, the surrender of His time table vs. ours is a daily battle...but, He knows our hearts. And, as my wise husband put it to me yesterday morning, to pray God would take away our desire to become parents would be to pray something contrary to what we believe is His will for us (to adopt). Also, God is not a genie in a bottle. Just because we are surrendered to Him does not mean the things we want to happen will take place immediately. Sometimes--even when we are completely surrendered to His will and at peace with His plans--we still must wait...and we still must endure painful and difficult circumstances (Job and Paul are biblical examples of this) in the middle of our surrender.

I cried when I left my bible study this morning. I love these women God allows me to meet with once a week, but this morning was difficult as we have been reading through a book called "Shepherding Your Child's Heart." Today, unlike most, I had a hard time listening to the parenting conversations. I thought I was doing better this morning...but, I guess my heart is still grieved for these two babies we have had heart connections with in the past month. I know this may be hard to understand if you have never gone through the adoption process, but it is hard to not allow these babies to grow in your heart (even if it is for one week)...there is a part of you that has to open yourself up to this child...even when you know it could result in pain. It is a reminder, though, that He has given Warren and I a heart for parenting. And, until he blesses us with our child to love...we will wait, surrender daily, and trust even when we don't understand.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our journey through (more) pain...

Though my last post was slightly vague, I am now free to be a little more clear about what we have been going through the past week. I'm sorry if this seems long-winded...there are just a lot of details....

Last Saturday morning we were contacted by a birth mother. She found our profile through Bethany's website, messaged us through our YouTube account, and somehow found our blog and emailed us. She told us she was 21 weeks pregnant with a girl. She described a significant amount of unrest and uneasiness she has felt during this process of adoption and told us she felt a sense of peace when reading our profile. She wanted to know more about us and wanted to talk with us about adopting her baby. Long story short, I contacted our caseworker, emailed the birth mother back giving her our caseworker's info, and the birth mother called our caseworker all before lunch last Saturday. Since she lives in another state, our caseworker directed her to her local Bethany office. The birth mother agreed to call them first thing that Monday, but it was not until Tuesday that the birth mother was able to get in touch with her local Bethany. However, we had remained in contact with the birth mother through several emails on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We found out that this child was the result of a rape. We didn't hear from her all day Wednesday and I began to worry but, eventually felt at peace knowing if this was the baby God had for us she would take the necessary steps in the process. Thursday afternoon I finally received an email from her. She had been going to weekly doctor appointments since her pregnancy was considered high risk, and at her appointment Wednesday her cervix had thinned from 2.8 to 1.2 (in one week). She emailed me from her phone at the hospital telling me she was admitted and put on bed rest for two weeks. We emailed a couple of times back and forth and she told me that she wanted to continue pursuing adoption with us but would (obviously) have to wait until she was discharged to follow up with Bethany. My last email to her went out at 3:45PM Thursday. Thursday night and Friday we never heard from her. I started getting a little frustrated and cynical (little did I know that she was in no place to communicate with us)...Warren was encouraging me to allow God to guard my heart...but, I was so angry that she had left us hanging and had not returned my email. Thankfully Saturday God gave me a peace. And, finally, Saturday afternoon we heard from her...this was the email she sent...

jill, i just wanted to give you a quick update. at 330pm on thursday my cervix was totally thinned out and already 4cm dialated with a bulging bag of water. i had lost my mucus plug already. the babys heart rate dropped into the 90s and my bp shot up. they tried to stop the labor but when she checked my cervix a 2nd time she ruptured my bag of water and there was nothing they could do at that point. she was born at 618 that evening weighing 1lb 1oz and just under 11in long. she passed away about 3 minutes after she was born. i am on my way home now. i just got both of your emails on my phone and if you would still like to talk you can call my cell. i think i gave you the number in a previous message. i am so sorry. i feel like i have let everyone down around me, including the precious little girl i just gave birth to. she was absolutely beautiful and perfect in every way, my body just failed her. i hope to hear from you again but if not i understand.

Heartache! We have begun to care for this young woman so much over the past week...she would have been an amazing birth mother...just a precious, smart, cute girl who has had a difficult past. Several months ago she began following the Lord and spoke highly of an old cheerleading coach and some church friends who were her supports. Though nothing was "official" with the agency, our hearts began to love this little baby too. We emailed her back last night and got this response today.

I feel like I just cant say Im sorry enough. I guess that in my eyes I did let you down. From the first email I recieved back from you I have not thought of this little girl as mine, but as yours and Warrens. For the past 22 weeks I could not understand why God let me get pregnant and when I found you and Warren I knew exactly why.. I felt like God got me pregnant and led me to you to raise this precious gift. I just cant believe that she is gone. I cant believe how fast it all happened and how there was nothing that could be done to spare her one more week. I feel like this cycle has just been so unfair and I am so confused right now. I just dont understand why. I know and believe that God does work all things for our good but at this point, I cant find any good in this situation.

Im so sorry, Jill. Im so sorry that I let you and Warren get involved and then let you down. You have been so amazing to me and I think you are one of the strongest women I have ever known. I thank you so much for being willing to talk to me and being willing to open your home and your heart up to this little girl. I know she would have been so blessed to have you both as parents. I miss her so much already, but I feel like I miss her in a different way. I dont feel like she was mine. I feel like she was yours and as my heart breaks right now for myself, I think it breaks even more for letting you down :(

I really would love to stay in contact with you. I am so glad that you emailed me back. I was so nervous that I would not hear from you again. If you are up to it (and if not, I totally understand) I would love to talk to you over the phone. I pray for you and Warren. I pray that this journey does not cause you anymore heartache and I pray and am believing for a beautiful, healthy child to be in your arms. I am not sure how you feel about this, and if you are not up for it that is totally okay with me, but I do have some pictures of the baby that I could send you. Also, she does not have a name and I hate that I continue to call her "the baby". I definitely am not up to being on baby name websites or anything like that right now, so if you find a name that you feel is fitting, I would love to give you the opportunity to name her.

I love you, Jill. And I thank you once again for everything that you have done. I, too, feel like you are the big sister I never had and I want nothing more than to be able to stay in contact with you.

She is an amazing young woman. We really think a lot of her. I saw the picture of the baby (Faith) was the sweetest/most sad picture I have ever seen. We are grieving again...another loss. I do not know why God connected us with this birth mother a week before this baby passed away...just like I do not know why Sarah (the other birth mother) chose us one week before she delivered and then changed her mind. I do know that God is in control...and, for some reason, He has called us to a refining process that we can't understand right now. Though it has been a painful journey, I just pray He is glorified through it all. My heart is so heavy for this sweet birth mother...she has been through so much...and I don't want her to lose hope or lose sight of God during this process. Please pray for her...and for us.We know God is working out His our life...and in this birth mother's life.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


In light of the events of the past few weeks, I still stand in awe of all God has done. We have been healed, our faith has been strengthened, and we have a renewed life perspective. However, there is one thing I have not been able to let go...

This past week we have been involved in a situation that I can't really go into detail about quite yet. I have felt times of peace in the middle of this situation and I have been at extreme unrest this past week (I'm sorry I'm being so vague). Last night Warren said something to me...something I believe God wanted me to hear...He said, "We have to trust God to guard our hearts." ---This is not an easy concept for me to digest. I see now that I have been trying to guard my heart (especially right now with what we are going through)...and the way I guard my heart is by shutting down, shutting people out, and trying to "move on" (in an unhealthy way) in order to "save" my emotions from being shattered (yet again). This is my defense. I don't want to get hurt again. And, in "my way" of trying to guard my heart, I don't want to let another birth mother in. Now, obviously I do want to allow another birth mother into our lives and heart, but the pain we have been through makes me want to protect myself from feeling anymore much so to the point where I feel I am now shutting myself off to potential situations. This is not good...this is not healthy...this is not what God wants.

I have to, somehow, learn to let go of the control...I want to learn how to let God guard my heart. I know God is completely capable of guarding my heart, but right now (I feel terrible saying this) my trust level is not so high.

I think what He is trying to teach me through this is that guarding my heart is not the same as keeping me from every difficult trial that may come our way. A sweet friend of ours sent us some wise words after the failed adoption...and I think the truth of what he said applies right now just as much as it did a few weeks ago...

First I want to encourage you and Warren to be strong and to keep rowing. The storm swallows many people up that bail out in desperation or cannot endure. This weather will pass. Lean on him to keep rowing, even if you have nothing left personally. Pray when you don't feel like it, even if all you say is "I don't want to pray and I'm tired. I need You." Just know that in the midst of a dark spiritual battle, your faith and your attitude can be a form of worship, and can therefore be a weapon. Sometimes all we can offer is a broken heart, but that is what is asked of us. 
In the end, all people that are honored when they die are honored because of their discipline. All the great Saints I read about have one thing in common. They are from all walks of life and all points in time and so very different as individuals. The common thread is that they all endured incredible, unimaginable human suffering. At some point, realizing that this is part of your vocation and your calling at this point in your life becomes a point of strength. Although it unfair, God has asked this of you and Warren now, and may even ask it of you again and again. We are never promised that we won't suffer, but we are promised that we will never be abandoned.
I love that..."we are never promised that we won't suffer, but we are promised that we will never be abandoned." So, here I am...learning to trust God in a new way. I'm learning to let down my guard...learning to not shut out people or situations just to "protect" myself (in this "protection" I think I'm really the one missing out)...Learning to let Him guard my heart...which does not mean He will keep me from trials...but does mean that He will carry me through.
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped." Ps. 28:7
"...but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him." Ps. 32:10
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Prov. 3:5
"To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God." Ps. 25: 1-2
"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long." Ps. 25:4-5

Sunday, March 6, 2011

All in a weekend...

Though we live about an hour and a half from each other, it is rare that Warren and I get to spend a whole weekend with my sister, brother-in-law, and four precious nieces. Usually, I blame it on our crazy schedules...but, thankfully this past weekend nothing stood in our way...and what a weekend it was! I'm pretty sure you will be able to tell from the pictures below how much I adore these four little cuties!

They played dress up...

Played on the swing set...

Spent time with Marley...

Became entrepreneurs...(one penny per pine cone)

Enjoyed a bonfire w/ s'mores...

The grown-ups enjoyed painting the nursery... :)

 and watched an original play entitled "The princesses and the popper"...(with lines fed by my oldest niece/"director")

(the final bow)

Such good memories! Love these girls and so thankful that my sister and brother-in-law would take time to help us paint the nursery!

(Marley is thanking them her dreams...)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Songs for the Journey...

Music is a big part of our lives. I wouldn't quit say Warren and I are "gifted" musicians (we quit guitar lessons after two weeks-ha!) or singers (love my husband, but even he will admit he is "tone deaf") but we sing and have music playing all of the time! If you have read our adoption profile (there is a link for the online version on the right side bar), you know that Warren has a habit of making up the most ridiculous, hilarious, songs in order to make me laugh. He will sing them over and over...until tears are literally streaming down my face!!

A few people have sent me some songs over these past couple of weeks that I wanted to share...the first one was coupled with an email from a sweet friend and amazing woman of God. God laid this scripture on her heart when the hospital was giving us a hard time about meeting with the birth mother:

"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declares the Lord. Is. 54:17

...It was not until later that she figured out what God was trying to say...that the enemy wanted to use this experience as a weapon against us, but that it will not prevail...that God would refute every tongue that accused us and every lie that came our way would not stick...that God would have the glory and would grow us through this. She then sent me a YouTube clip of Hillsong's Desert Song. To be honest, I did not listen to the song right then b/c I had practically worn it out on my iPod this past year. But, yesterday, I listened to it on my way to it is...

I had chills..."no weapon formed against me shall remain." Wow...I'm continuing to praise Him for what He did and that the weapon that Satan tried to form against us did NOT remain!

This song was also sent my way. I had never heard of the group before, but really love this message!

..."for in the pain our God draws near"..."and there His faithfulness is told." Such great lyrics!

There are so many more songs that speak of God's faithfulness in trials! But, my heart song really resonates with these two in particular. Who knows...maybe one day I will be able to add one of Warren's songs to the list ;) But, until then I will be cranking these on my iPod!

I will end with the song I literally played over and over again on my 45 min drive to work (two days a week) following the events that took place two weeks ago...I knew I needed to keep my eyes on Him, even though there were times I just wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear. God really used this song to give me strength in the darkest of moments...Reminding me to keep my eyes on Him and trust in His unseen plan.