Archive for April, 2011

  • Uncertainty Overcome by God’s Grace

    Date: 2011.04.11 | Category: Benjamin, Family Life, Grace, Maisey

    We have been praying about it and we feel like God is leading us to adopt another child along with Mei-Lyn. We aren’t getting any younger and if we are going to do it, we should just do it. I’ve had this feeling before, the feeling that God is asking me to do something. Something that may not seem logical, but God is asking me to trust Him. I felt it with Hope. Dan just knew we were supposed to adopt her. Her adoptive parents backed out when they found out about her heart defect and Dan just knew even before she was born that he was supposed to be her daddy. He couldn’t explain it, but there he was in the hospital buying her booties & stuffed animals. He wrote a note in her chart that nurses had to rock her. She was his daughter without reservation. He called me to ask how I felt about adopting. We all agreed and Hope became part of our family.

    Later I had that same feeling, when at the age of 40, I felt like I should have a tubal reversal and try again to get pregnant. Why would I do that? I had adopted 5 years before. I know how wonderful it can be. There are many children who need to be loved and need a home. But Dan had exactly the same feeling so we proceeded. We went to a fertility specialist who told us my eggs were still healthy. I had the surgery. The doctor had warned us that the odds of me getting pregnant were slim to none. I was 40, my tubes had been tied since I was 28, and there was a lot of scarring. But I knew who was in control and if this feeling was truly from God, then I would become pregnant. I was totally at peace with whatever was God’s plan. I was pregnant the very first month.

    5 weeks early, at a routine ultrasound scheduled because I am an older mom, they notice that there is a ton of blood in my amniotic fluid. They rush me for an emergency c-section. The doctor knows that we wanted to try again after this baby, but because of the complications we decided to have a tubal again. I’m not sure I can go through that again. (We had already been through a lot with my first c-section with the twins at 28 weeks. Kyle died 5 days later and Codey wasn’t released from the hospital until he was 14 months old.) The doctor informs me that it is good because he has no idea how I got pregnant anyway. The first tube is unbelievably scarred and the second doesn’t even look like it’s hooked up. But we know who is in control and for that reason we name her Grace.

    Now I’m presented with adopting a second child from China. China has just made this available for really sick children. You can adopt them with another special needs child. We pray about it and decide that is really want God wants us to do so we tell the agency. They ask us to fill out another Medical Conditions Checklist. We fill it out and we mail it back it.

    Hope asks for a little boy with a heart defect like hers. We explain it can’t be as major as hers because most children don’t live past the first few weeks if it isn’t fixed. Dan says the new baby’s nickname will be Tigger. We all laugh because we know what happened when he nicknamed Mei-Lyn.

    We get an e-mail from the agency telling us that they got our checklist and they will try to match us, but please check their web-site for a list of “Special Focus” children. We start looking at children and there he is, a 2 and half year old little boy, with a major heart defect, standing in his crib, and holding Tigger. I can’t explain it. He is just mine. We write the agency and we wait for the next morning. I can’t wait any longer so I call. Could we please see the information on this little boy? Well, they would love to but another family is looking over his medical history and trying to decide.

    So I shop with my girls and I pray and pray and pray. I know that if God intends for this child to be mine, then they will say no. I know that. I truly know that, but I’m having a hard time. I get the e-mail on my Blackberry that Dan had me buy. (Sidenote: I thought it was ridiculous to have your e-mails sent to your phone. Hahaha….not anymore!) The other family has said no and the agency will send his medical information right away.

    I cry. I turn to Cassie and say that I can’t explain it. I feel exactly like I did with Mei-Lyn. He is supposed to be my son. What if it’s not fixable and Daddy says it’s not logical? What if I have to say no. What does God want me to do?

    Dan sends out the report to one of his cardiology friends. Have I mentioned how nice it has been that Dan is a doctor? He knows just the right people to ask and we get information that would be hard to come by quickly. I walk into Dan’s office when we get home and I just know. He’s upset, tears are in his eyes. He tells me it is not fixable. It would have been in the first few weeks of his life, but he’s too old now. Tigger’s heart is enlarged and his blood vessels thickened. Surgery is no longer an option. I cry. He looks at me and says, “I can’t explain it, but I feel God wants us to still do this. He may have 6 months. He may have 10 years. I don’t know. What do you want to do?” I say I want to proceed even though it doesn’t make sense. I’m pretty sure people will think we have completely lost our minds, but I just don’t care.

    I post Proverbs 3:5-6 on my Facebook because that is how I feel. Dan jokes that at this point in our lives we should maybe have it tattooed on us. He can always make me laugh.

    We send back a letter telling the agency we want to proceed and we will send our Letter of Intent in the morning. We spend an hour talking about what God wants us to do. Why is he asking us to do this? We talk about our other children and how they want to proceed. We are so proud of their open hearts and their willingness to love this little boy. We talk about how Tigger will always be ours no matter how much time we have with him. We talk about how we don’t know how long any of us have. There are no guarantees. We talk about how all of us have been adopted into God’s family and how God must feel. I wonder if God feels this way knowing that we could be His, but waiting for us to make that decision. We are as broken as Tigger, if not worse, and God just patiently waits. He waits for us to become His children.

    This morning (4/21/11) I wake up and read my devotions that are sent to my e-mail. The Parenting by Design devotion from Crosswalk and what does it say? “Uncertainty” and the verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. I laugh out loud. Yes, God. I am listening. Here is the devotion: How comfortable are you with uncertainty? Many parents agonize over decisions because they are afraid of making a mistake, but God doesn’t promise to give us absolute certainty. He invites us to know and trust Him in the midst of uncertainty. That’s what faith is all about! If you constantly worry about your children, surrender your fears to God. Instead of being determined to figure out what God wants you to do, focus instead on who He is. As human beings with finite minds, we do not always understand the eternal purposes behind events. Faith is trusting that our story will fit perfectly into His story. Trust God’s character in the midst of uncertainty and embrace the wisdom and goodness of God.

    And so I trust. I wait, while wishing I could just jump on a plane, but still I trust that God’s timing is perfect. He has brought me to my new son and daughter. I rejoice. I wait. I trust.

  • Cupcake

    Date: 2011.04.02 | Category: Maisey

    Ok. I can’t keep it inside anymore. A little more screaming from the rooftop kinda of information. On Thursday night Dan and I went out to eat. We were talking about all the changes in our life and how exciting they were. He proceeded to tell me that he had his nickname picked out for our new baby, where ever she is. He told me that now we were ready. She would be called “Cupcake”. He has given all his girls a nickname and his newest one had hers.

    We have been told that it would be up to a year before we heard about the baby we were trying to adopt. We were on a very long waiting list. So we started to pray for “Cupcake” and were excited about the prospect of her being somewhere or waiting to be born. We know God is in control and He has her under His care.  His timing is perfect and we were ready to wait.

    Yesterday, not even a full 24 hours later,  we received a call from the agency about a little girl, who is almost a year old.  They sent us pictures and asked us to try and decide.  I cried.  Who can say no to a baby?  But we have to make a decision that is right for the whole family.  She was beautiful, but had special needs.  But God is good and suddenly Cassie’s begging to take ASL last year made sense.  The baby is deaf and Cassie says she knows we can handle it.

    She is so beautiful.  When I looked at her, I knew she was my daughter so we have decided to adopt Cupcake and make her a part of this family.  I’m so excited.  Now I just have to wait for all the paperwork to be done and to fly half way around the world.  But I can see her face and I (and all my family and friends – hint, hint) can pray for her too!

  • What brought us to adoption?

    Date: 2011.04.01 | Category: Adoption

    The very first time it  happened without much thought beforehand.  We had discussed adopting a little bit.  I must admit it wasn’t a priority at that time.  We could barely afford to eat.  But when it presented itself we were on board with all our hearts.

    Dan was so moved by Hope’s birth that he couldn’t even bring himself to go to her delivery.  The adoptive parents had backed out when the second ultrasound showed a major heart defect.  The birth mother had decided not to do surgery and had signed the papers for stopping Hope’s medications that were keeping her alive.  Dan’s heart was moved before Hope was even born.  Within hours of her birth, he had fallen in love with her little toes.  Isn’t that just the sweetest?  I love that. He feel in love with her toes. He had written orders for the nurses to hold her every hour.  He hated that her bassinet held no toys or signs of a baby being loved.  He went to the hospital gift shop and bought her booties for those cute toes and stuffed animals (a bear, a dog, a bunny, and a lamb – the nicknames he had given to our other children).   He called me and asked me what I thought.  We then decided a baby should not die alone in a hospital without a name.  We made the decision to take her home and love her for as long as she lived.  After that, the surgeon told us if we chose to proceed with surgery, he would do everything in his power to save her.  Adoption became part of our lives, but not much planning beforehand went into it. God had graciously blessed us with a gift right out of left field.

    Years later Dan thought we should adopt again.  He had read Max Lucado’s book Outlive Your Life.   In that book Max asks some hard questions?

    “Had you been in Germany in WWII, would you have taken a stand against Hitler?”
    “Had you lived in the South during the civil rights conflict, would you have taken a stand against racism?”
    Easy questions to say yes to because they are hypothetical.  But the next question was about now….
    “We are the wealthiest group of Christians ever.  When your grandchildren discover you lived during a day when 1.75 billion people were poor and 1 billion were hungry, how will they judge your response?”

    Dan wanted his children and grandchildren to remember him doing what he could.  He wanted them to understand his love for God and know that he followed His commandments.  He wanted to be remembered as a man of integrity, honor and a man who cared.  I drug my feet.  Why?!?!  Because I was old or what I perceived to be old (46).  I really gave too much thought to what others would think of me.  I gave too much thought to not being there for years for my new children. I hate using the word worry because I didn’t really sit around all day worrying about it.  I just gave way too much thought to what others thought and what might happen in the future.  But then I read Mary Beth Chapman’s book “Choosing to See”.  In that book she talks about her daughter asking her “Is it better for an orphan to have an older mother or no mother at all?”.  I cried and cried.  That was what it took.  Some where there was a child that God had all picked out for me and I was dragging my feet because someone might think I was too old. Their lives would be forever changed whether I lived for another year or 40 years.  They would know love.

    We proceeded the very next week with looking for an adoption agency.  When God is speaking to your heart, it starts as a small thought that keeps growing bigger.  Words, things and people will come into your life and show you the way.  Listen carefully……is He talking to you?