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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

3 years...

I went to the store last night with full intentions of picking out a "Happy Anniversary" card for my husband. I walked out of the store and realized I forgot to do that very thing. Dang it. It's okay, though, I thought. I'm getting out again in the morning, I'll swing by and pick one out then.

This morning I woke up and looked at my husband laying next to me. He was still sleeping. Happy Anniversary, I said in my head as I rolled out of bed to go feed our sleepy-eyed, starving girl. Feed, change diaper, and back to bed we went. Just a short time later, he was tapping my arm to say good-bye as he was leaving for work. "Happy Anniversary, babe."

I got up, got myself and the baby dressed, and out the door we went with full intentions to pick out a very special card. I pull into the store's parking lot, and the sky opened up. The rain poured, and poured, and poured. No problem, though, I thought. We'll just wait it out for a few minutes. Now cue the infant's screaming. Frustrated, and now with the thunderstorm and a very cranky baby, there was NO WAY I was getting out of the car. So we left, and again...no card.

I know these are excuses, but they're very true excuses. I am also terrible at getting cards for my husband. Really, I suck at it. However, I am determined to not let this day pass on without expressing to him, and to everyone else, what this day means.

Today marks three years of marriage with this man. A very short time, in all actuality, but I'm pretty sure we he deserves a medal. These have been three of the most trying, difficult, and painful years of our lives...but what I want, and need for my husband to know is that

I wouldn't trade a single day for anything.

Marriage is not bliss. Moments of it definitely can be, don't get me wrong, but it is NOT easy. We have faced things that I never imagined would ever be a part of our lives. We are flawed, and very sinful creatures, and without our faith and belief in Jesus, I am not so sure we would've made it this far.

I wish that I could type all about how we communicate so well, we always get along, never argue, never go to bed angry (which I know we shouldn't), and every day just cannot wait to bear hug or something...but it would be a lie. However, what I can say after nearly 10 years of relationship and now 3 years of marriage, is that with letting go of the facade, and being truly honest with ourselves and with one another in the good times AND the bad - that is where true intimacy is found.

Three years ago, I made a choice. Yes I was in love, and absolutely still am with this man. But I stood there in front of God, in front of my man, and many other people, and I vowed to love, cherish, and ultimately to never give up on the love that brought us together.
No matter how many heartbreaks we would go through,
no matter how empty our bank account would get at times,
no matter how much we said hurtful things,
no matter how much weight our my body would gain,
no matter,
no matter,
no matter...we would not give up. And every single day we have to choose not to give up. We have learned that we cannot get through this life, or our marriage on a "feeling". We are two messy, very broken people who love one another very much, and we choose to stay true to those vows, and to the God who brought us together.

We have been so blessed. And I am so fortunate to be married to such a forgiving, committed man.


I freaking love you. I am sorry I don't have a card for you today. But honestly, I don't believe a card exists that could accurately sum up how much you mean to me. The past few years have been rough, to say the least. But I am so proud of the man that you are...for sticking with me, and for your willingness to fight for our love. Our marriage may not ever be perfect, but I know without a doubt that I cannot, and do not ever want to live this life without you. I don't care what we've gone through, or what is still to come our way...You are it, and I will choose you every single time. Thank you for loving me, for loving our daughter, and for striving to be such an amazing man of God. I am a lucky lady. I love you so much, and cannot wait to celebrate our marriage tonight.

Happy 3rd Anniversary!

We are getting closer and closer to Australia!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A beautiful transformation...

My husband and I have been an item literally since we were kids - 14 to be exact. Here we are coming up on 10 years of life together, and as I reflect over our time, I can see distinct moments of transformation in this sweet guy I married. We have been together long enough to have witnessed each other grow up. From driver's licenses to marriage, and everything in between, nothing has brought me more joy that watching my husband transform into a daddy in a split second.

The morning of October 3rd, I popped up out of bed to get to the hospital so that I could be next to birth mom's side as she was preparing for her first operation. Just a few days prior, she honored me by asking if I would be with her during the delivery, so we made plans for me to arrive at the hospital early that morning so that we could work out our anxieties together. Meanwhile, since only I was allowed to be in the OR, Jeremy waited in the waiting room nearby. Parts of me wish sometimes that I could have sat there with him, as I'm sure he was trying to make sense of the thoughts running through his head at the time. Those parts of me wish that I could have seen him pacing the floor, pouring yet another cup of mediocre coffee, and browsing through golf equipment on eBay as he watched time drag on while waiting for the news that our daughter was born.

He was right around the corner from the hospital's newborn nursery, so before he even knew that it was in fact his daughter that he was looking at through a blurry window, nurses wheeled our freshly delivered, chunky little bundle right into his line of sight. Eager to point him in the baby's direction, I came running out of the recovery room to meet him. "LOOK!" I said, as I flipped through photos I was able to snap of her in the OR. I tried my best to stand still and slow down as I ran through all the stats of her weight, length, and time of birth, but the adrenaline got the best of me. So he grabbed my hand instead, and led me to the nursery window where we stood for what seemed like forever, and watched our little girl demand nurses attention. I remember looking at him as he watched his daughter, smiling from ear to ear, and tears glazing his eyes, and I watched my husband transform into a father. Nothing could break his gaze, nor the bond that he felt toward his sweet baby...and he hadn't even gotten to touch her yet. We stood there in front of a window, and we became parents - not in the most conventional way, but in just the way God had always intended it to be.

Hours passed before nurses allowed for us to enter the nursery to be with our girl. They needed some time to monitor her and stabilize her blood sugar (gestational diabetes) before they let us in. We passed the time as we ate, called friends and family, and walked the mall to find her something special to wear for when we would bring her home. Soon the time came, though, and we shook nervously as we approached the bassinet where our baby lay. There in the dark, in a space all to ourselves, we rocked little Selah and got to feed her for the first time. And my heart swelled as I witnessed a new dad love on his baby. We marveled at how beautiful she was, and how distinct and perfect her little features were. A week ago we didn't even know she existed. And now our hearts were ruined with an indescribable love for this tiny being. We rocked, and we loved until we had to say goodnight. It was time for us to go, but we whispered in her ear of promises to return...to always return.

For two months now, I have watched this daddy-daughter bond grow. She loves his voice, and turns her head toward it at the first sound. Her eyes look at him in a way that is different from how she looks at everyone else. It is evident of how she loves him, her daddy. He has the most gentle way with this sweet girl, and it makes me proud to picture the sweet disposition he is helping to develop within her. He reads her books and she listens. She smiles at his silliness. He speaks and she is soothed. I couldn't ask for more.

I have always loved my life with this man. He is more than I could ever imagine. But this... This is different. This is my favorite time. I am blessed to watch him grow in love with her, as he cares for her, and as he is stretched to new places. She has brought a sparkle to his eyes and awakened him to life again. He is a dad to the most beautiful little girl. And I am in love with him.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Selah Moment...

From September 12th: "...Our story here is nowhere near over, and for the time being, I just need to step away. I've tried time and time again to sit down and blog...but nothing comes out. I feel like there's meaning behind it - meaning behind the life silence, and the blog silence. And instead of trying to fill the silence sometimes with a random post, I just need to shut down the computer for a while and let God fill the empty places.
So I'll be back...And hopefully with more to add to our little story here."

I guess from my last post (found here), you could say that I was in need of some time to just step away.  I felt an urge in my spirit to shut off the computer, put away the infertility related self-help material, and let go of the pain & confusion of why we weren't able to have a baby, and instead seek joy and peace in the midst of my darkest days.  I needed a "Selah moment" of sorts - as it meant to me, one that consisted of overwhelming peace while uncertainty surrounded me; a moment to prayerfully pause and reflect on this bittersweet journey that God is walking me through.  I just had no idea why.

To recap a bit, my husband and I walked hand in hand into an adoption agency on January 9th of this year.  We were scared in a way that is indescribable.  We were plagued by questions of how we were supposed to pay for an adoption, how long and grueling this process was going to be, if we would ever be chosen or judged "fit" to be given a child, and if this was really what God had planned for our future as parents and the expansion of our family.  However, we couldn't contain the passion in our hearts to pursue this road, and we just knew (despite the games that our minds and emotions played with us) that God was leading us to this place.  We were meant to adopt.

Without dragging it on any longer, I'll just go ahead and tell you that the confirmation that we would ever need about this decision was given to us on September 29th when we heard the most beautiful words:

"You are it.  I choose you.  I knew it from the moment I saw your picture."

These words came late on a Thursday night, through the speaker on our cell phone, while we sat in the parking lot of a Starbucks talking to the birth mother of our daughter.  Just 4 short days later, our baby was born.

To sit here and try and tell you how good God is does no justice as to how good He really is.  I reflect back on our 10 month journey through adoption, and I am overwhelmed by how present and active the Lord was in every little detail:
- At about the same time that we walked into that agency for the very first time, a special woman somewhere out there was about to find out she was pregnant with the child she would later bless us with.
- The money that we needed to begin our home study was given to us at exactly the time that we needed it.  Any sooner, and our profile could have gotten buried underneath newer ones.  Any later, and our home study would not have been completed at the time when birth mom made her decision.
- In every moment when we thought nothing was happening, our daughter was already growing and developing in the womb.
- I read back over my posts since we began this process, and I can see how God was preparing me, preparing our home, our marriage, and preparing our hearts for this child.

There is so much more - more than I can ever wrap my head around, but it is all evidence of a very real God.
He blessed us even in the moments when we doubted Him.  
He answered our prayers even though we didn't know what to pray for.  
He loved us even though we were angry at Him for not working in our time frames.  
He continued to lead us, and speak to us, even though we went our own ways and did our own things at times.  
He went above and beyond what I could ever imagine, and for the first time in my life, I don't just believe in Him... I believe Him.

We were so blessed to get to know this wonderful woman.  She spent a week in the hospital due to a lack of prenatal care and gestational diabetes, and in that week we were able to spend a lot of time together.  Every day we would go and visit, and I will always remember those days as some the most life changing I've ever had.  I have never seen so much courage and strength as it took for her to do what she did for us.  As we sat in that hospital room and listened to the sweetest heartbeat, she rejoiced with us even though her heart was breaking.  When it probably would have been easier to shut us out, she opened her heart to us, even asking me to be by her side as doctors delivered our baby girl via c-section.  She is the epitome of selflessness, and she is proof of God's redemptive power, of how he turns ashes into beauty.  Her circumstances may not be ideal, and she may not have always made the right choices, but she loves this precious baby enough to give her life...and that is something to be admired.  Her story changed me, broke me, as we watched her say good-bye to her baby, and she left in a cab with tears streaming down her face - all alone, and thrown back out there to try and navigate this crazy world.  She is worthy of love & life, and worthy of all things good.  And every day I pray that she knows that.

And now here we are.  Our miracle baby naps in her bed, in her forever home, as I sit here and type.  She is more than we ever dreamed of, perfect in every way, and thankfulness engulfs me when I think of how God brought us together.  I look back on all the painful times, when my heart ached and my body felt broken, and I am glad that God didn't give me clear answers of how everything would turn out.  He just simply promised that He would reveal His glory through our story.  He promised that He meant our story for good, and not to hurt us.  He promised that He would never leave us, and that He knew His plans for us...to give us a hope and a future.  If He had written it all out word for word, or if He had done everything that I was demanding, I can say with all honesty that I would not see it for the miracle that it is.  I would not believe His word, or His power.

But He allowed me to feel that pain..He asked me to wait on Him, to trust, and to believe without seeing.. He stripped away the layers, and broke down a lot of walls.  Then He rebuilt.  He restored.  He filled in the holes, and healed and mended.  And I believe Him.  He is good.

Nearly two whole months have passed since the birth of our daughter, and I have been more stretched and challenged than ever.  Being a mom is not for the faint of heart.  It is hard, but it is the most beautiful time of my life.  I never thought I could love this much.  We are still waiting for a finalization date, so I am not allowed to share pictures yet, but she is beautiful.  As the days go on, I plan to share more of our life over the past two months.   This blog, much like my life, has a whole new chapter added to it now.  I am so excited to share all about the ups and downs of parenthood, pictures, and stories from our whirlwind week that included meeting birth mom, Selah's delivery, Jeremy meeting her for the first time, and more of where we are at in this process.  But right now, I can see the red lights peaking on the baby monitor, so this is my cue...

Her name is Selah.  And she is a miracle.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Taking a break...

This post is probably not even necessary due to my lack of writing lately, anyway. But, to just put it out there and make it officially official, you read it right. I don't have any amount of time in mind, for how short or how long, but my heart is telling me as long as it takes.

I feel like we've been wandering and searching aimlessly for answers. Answers to what, exactly? I don't know. We watch the world around us fast forward through celebrations left and right, and we muster up as much as we have in us right now to rejoice. And our world is still pretty silent. And while I don't intend, in the slightest bit, for this to become some sort of pity party, the fact still remains that we hurt.

Our story here is nowhere near over, and for the time being, I just need to step away. I've tried time and time again to sit down and blog...but nothing comes out. I feel like there's meaning behind it - meaning behind the life silence, and the blog silence. And instead of trying to fill the silence sometimes with a random post, I just need to shut down the computer for a while and let God fill the empty places.

So I'll be back...And hopefully with more to add to our little story here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


It's just a number, I keep repeating to myself. It's just a number. A very large number. I look at it and I feel






Is this really the only thing standing between us and our future child(ren)? I say the only thing, but really there are other things, too. This, though..this number seems the most daunting.


I'm battling against doubt. I'm battling those thoughts that try to creep in that tell me it's impossible. I'm battling those thoughts that try to convince me that we will have to take out yet another loan. I'm battling those torturous feelings that try to remind me yet again that our bodies don't work; those feelings that attempt to rob us of our excitement of adopting.

And even though
My brain is exhausted from brainstorming to come up with fundraiser ideas..
My heart feels heavy from waiting..
And my spirit feels weak from fighting...

God gently and lovingly reminds me that this number is IN FACT the only thing
standing between us and our baby.

And although it might be too big for me, it will never be too big for Him.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wayyyy overdue...

This should have been posted a long time ago (like I said I was going to), but any words worthy of a post have completely escaped me. I have been at quite a loss as to what to blog about, other than just little details here and there, so every time I sit down to write I end up just getting right back up. Not to mention, I've been pretty busy with church stuff, a recent weight-loss journey (which resulted in a gym membership that I've been working my butt off to keep up with), home study visits, and a pretty horrible stomach bug that knocked me down a couple of weeks ago. Not gonna make any promises that I'll be any better about updating in upcoming weeks, either, because I know I'll probably fail you. BUT, I will try my best.

Nonetheless, our journey continues forward, and we have officially completed our home study. If you've been following along, I'm sure you have concluded that my last update wasn't necessarily a positive one other than the fact that we were nearing the end. Since then, we had our last visits/interviews, and our specialist is currently in the middle of finalizing our home study document of APPROVAL!!! All I can say to that is Thank You, Jesus!! Grateful for the experience, but couldn't be happier that that part is over :-)

So where do we go from here? Grants. Waiting. Building our profile. Waiting. Classes. Training. Connecting with other adoptive families.... All of which we are so excited about.

Now that our home study is complete, we can begin applying for grants to help with some of the cost of the adoption. It's been a while since I posted anything about where we stand financially, so I figured it is about time for that again. If you know me at all, you know that this is not my favorite topic of conversation..but it's a necessary part. When we knew that this was the path we were going to take to have children, we also knew that it would be impossible without reaching out for help from people around us; partly financial help. We have been blessed beyond measure already, and God has been completely faithful to see us through to this point. Thanks to those of you who have donated, we have been able to pay for all of our application fees & our home study in full. The fact of the matter, though, is that it is not over.

Our hope and prayer is that the two grants that we are applying for will come through, potentially covering a lot of the upcoming costs. About a month ago, we signed an updated financial contract. Although it doesn't minimize the total cost of the adoption, it did provide us with a new breakdown of fees, which over time, will help alleviate some of the stress of huge chunks of money being due at once. You can find the old breakdown HERE. The new breakdown is as follows:

1.) Formal application fee (due at application)......................$550.00

2.) Adoptive home study fee (due prior to assessment interview)....$1,000.00

3.) Education Fee (due at domestic infant training in October).......$750.00

4.) Support Services Fee (due at time of home study approval)........$750.00

5.) Birth parent services fee (due at first match).................$5,500.00

6.) Post placement supervision and services, finalization fees,
and post adoption services (due at term. of parental rights)...$6,000.00

7.) Placement/Legal fees (due at child's placement)................$7,000.00

All of that to say, in addition to applying for grants, we are opening it back up to anyone who would like to donate towards our dream. Just like before, there is a box on the right hand side of this page where you can "chip in" to help bring our baby home. I hate asking people for money, and so much inside of me wishes that we just had the money laying around to go ahead and pay it and get it over with. But that's not the case. God has led us down this road with many unanswered questions of how this will be possible financially, but He is also requiring us to just trust that it will. So we move our prideful selves aside, and we open ourselves up to anybody who may want to help. So I ask. I ask you to give if you are moved to do so. No amount is too small. I ask you to pass our story along. I ask you to pray.

I've also been throwing around some talk about fund-raising opportunities outside of the blog, and I just want to assure you that these things, although still under-wraps, are in the making!! So keep checking back as we enter into some cooler weather, and as we get further along into the process, for info on how you can be a part of that as well! It's exciting stuff.

And I say THANKS. Again, and again, and again..thank you. We have both been completely humbled by so much generosity, and we have witnessed the love of Christ through each person who has given. This process, already, has changed us. It has changed our lives. But I also know that whichever child we are chosen to be mommy and daddy to will have the greatest impact. This child that you have so kindly chosen to give a great life, home, and family to is going to change lives. My life. My husband's life. My family's life. And yours, too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dark clouds...

Home study visit #2 is officially completed as of two days ago. I know I previously blogged a little bit about it, but with each passing day since we began this part of the process, it has taken on a whole different feeling. I realize that it could be due to many different reasons like a) the fact that it is seeming more and more real, b) it continues to define the "bittersweet" portion of the title of this blog, and c) satan is really trying to have his way with my thoughts and feelings the further we dive into it all... because this "whole different feeling" I speak of is not the warm and fuzzy kind.

Home study visit #2, metaphorically, has just left us with this looming dark cloud overhead. It was a lot of focus on the negative things in our pasts individually, and as a couple, that the agency feels could potentially affect our roles as a mom and dad to an adopted child. Even just rereading that sentence after typing it, gives me the feeling that an outsider could read it too and get the impression that I'm talking about some absolutely horrific circumstances. But the truth is, I'm talking very real, but very common, and truthfully, very normal circumstances that have since become a part of our testimonies and have proved God's power and love of redemption, restoration, and grace. I've mentioned them here on my blog before, so I'm not ashamed of mentioning them again, but I'm talking about my husband's past addiction and struggle with pornography, and my unfortunate experience of being raped as a young teenager. These two things, clearly, are not pretty by any means, or easy to talk about, so you might be able to imagine sitting there with an almost complete stranger, rehashing every little detail as vividly as possible, and trying your hardest to keep from screaming out at them, "I promise you I can still be a great parent!! Please believe me."

From the beginning we both questioned and went back and forth about whether or not we wanted to divulge this information to them, but ultimately decided that transparency was the best way to go. We questioned it only because we both knew that these two things could be cause for concern as far as their own judgment goes. We just knew that being open and honest about it would mean more questioning, more investigating, and knowing that it would take a lot on our part to "convince" them that even though my husband struggled with this type of addiction, that he has overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. We knew it would take a lot on our part to "convince" them that even though this terrible thing happened to me, that I am very much mentally stable, and even more so, thanks to an amazing Heavenly Father, that I have forgiven. Regardless of how messed up and ugly, we chose to tell, and to feel empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak boldly and confidently about it all as over-comers.

Even still, I can feel the fight swell up inside as I write about it, because I know the truth and the power and beauty that has come out of ugly pasts and unfortunate circumstances. But the lady sitting across from us doesn't necessarily know that about us. As she sat there poker-faced and typed out our answers, resembling a court reporter, as we poured our hearts out trying to remain confident, this haunting dark cloud drifted over our heads, and satan began scheming. And the ugliest part of it all? He (satan) is so very good at what he does.

For days now, that cloud of shame, guilt, and regret has poured out scattered storms that have left us feeling so defeated and unworthy of the call to be parents. It has clouded our view of the joy that is the sunshine in the otherwise absence of this cloud. And through it, I know satan has rejoiced as he whispers discouragement in our ears: Just give up.

It's H.A.R.D. And as we fight to stand on the truth of the Word of God - and we are fighting for our children, here - satan works his way in to remind us of how good he is at these kinds of attacks.


God reminds us of how He is even better at what He does. His words cannot come in a more timely manner. As I was doing my Breaking Free by Beth Moore Bible study the other day, a perfect message from God was waiting for me. I have put the words of this message verbatim as it comes from the study book, and as you read it aloud to yourself, put your name in every blank line. As applicable and meaningful as it is to me when I read it, I know that there are others out there who are in need of some serious comfort, and encouragement from the Best. I couldn't NOT share. I read it, and I feel the fight inside come alive again. I realize that mine and my husband's dream to have a family is dependent upon our faith and our willingness to stand against any attacks, and not determined by what we have done or what's been done to us in the past. Because the truth is, no matter how big and bad this looming cloud has seemed, God has already gone before us in this battle. He knows what is waiting on the other side of this. He has hand-picked every specialist who crosses our path, and regardless of what our pasts hold and what insecurities we felt during our interviews, He is holding the outcome and decision safely within His grasp. It's not easy at all, but we have to trust that the One who has called us down this road to adopt will not forsake us. We are sheltered from this haunting cloud in the arms of a Loving, Faithful, and very Trustworthy Lord. He's got this.

My child,________, I loved you before you were born. I knit you in your mother's womb and knew what your first and last words would be. I knew every difficulty you,________, would face. I suffered each one with you. Even the ones you didn't suffer with Me. I had a plan for your life before you were born. The plan has not changed,________, no matter what has happened or what you have done. You see, I already knew all things concerning you before I formed you. I would never allow any hurt to come into your life that I could not use for eternity,________. Will you let Me? Your truth is incomplete unless you view it against the backdrop of My truth. Your story,________, will forever remain incomplete...until you let Me do what only I can do with your hurt. Let Me perfect that which concerns you.

I remain,
Your Faithful Father

Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins,
raise a new city out of the wreckage.

They'll start over on the ruined cities,
take the rubble left behind and make it new.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Unintentional blogging hiatus...

Woah. A whole month has passed me by without a single update here. Why? You ask. Two words:
Home Study

As of today, we are half-way through our home study part of our adoption process. There are a total of four home visits that our adoption specialist is conducting, and we are practically done with two. I will explain the "practically" in the following break-down:

First visit: Mini joint interview, paperwork overview, and safety checklist walk-through

Second visit: (Today) Individual interviews...I had to leave the house this morning while she came and interviewed Jeremy. Two and a half hours later, I came home for my turn, but she had to leave an hour after that. So she'll be returning on Wednesday to finish my interview. "Practically" done.

Third visit: Long joint interview

Fourth visit: Something about "wrapping it up". (I'm forgetting something here, but my adoption folder is not next to me and I don't feel like looking it up.)

After our first visit, we both felt on top of the world. All of the questions were great, and sitting there with my husband really made this whole thing feel completely real. It was all good. Being honest, I cannot say the same about today's visit. It was different. Hard, pressing questions about our pasts, family histories, and such, kind of put a gloomy spin on things. I've said it before, but our specialist is amazing. She is exactly what we need for our process, so it was not by her personal fault that things felt a little downcast as she walked away from my house. Hard to explain, but to sum it up a bit, I guess I am just battling these conflicting feelings about this decision being in the hands of other people.

Filling out self-assessment questions, digging up the past, and feeling like our answers have to somehow convince this person that we would be great parents is a hard thing to face. I keep wondering if a multiple choice-like questionnaire is really enough to say whether we really "qualify" or not to be parents to a sweet baby. I wish they could just SEE my heart. I wish they could replace all the questions with spending a comfortable day with me, in a real-life environment, so that they can SEE how much this means to me. I wish they could see how tender and wonderful my husband is with kids. It scares me a little, deep down, that this decision, or home study "approval" is within their own judgment.

On the other hand, I am grateful for this part of the process because it is such a learning experience. But then I selfishly wish that every parent had to go through this before having children. It seriously might change some things. But then I also understand that they are just doing their job to make sure that the right families are matched together. These babies are the priorities, not the adults. But see what I mean? See the conflict?? Back and forth, back and forth. It's crazy.

We appreciate every bit of encouragement we have received thus far. Beside the grace and love of God, it is seriously carrying us through. I guess it comes down to keeping the right perspective. Knowing me, I could sit here all day long and pick apart and analyze every single one of my answers thinking it's not enough. But all that is is an attack of satan. (I won't even capitalize his name because I don't feel he is worthy enough of such fame. Lowercase it is!) He knows that things are going well, so it's just like him to come in and try to tempt us to discouragement. So yeah. Keeping the right perspective. Focusing on the truth, and shooting the head off of every single lie!

God is bigger. He is more powerful. He is higher. He is faithful. He holds the outcome of this journey right in the palm of His mighty hand. And there is no other place I would rather it be.

Please continue to pray. We appreciate the support and encouragement. We cannot do this without you.

**Side note** Check back soon for a financial update. We still have a long way to go, but we have gotten closer since I last updated.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sweet, sweet man...

He doesn't know it yet, but he is a father.  He exudes it in the way he lives and loves.  It is written all over him, and that excites me for our children more than I can say.  I know he will be the best for them. 

He is a gentle spirit, caring and sensitive with love.  He takes his role as husband and soon to be father very serious, as he strives, and succeeds to honor the covenant he has made with me and our God.  He is the epitome of a man and the definition of a servant.  

He is faithful to his commitments, always providing, always comforting.  Not afraid to dirty his hands as he leads and takes care.  Passionate in faith, his eyes are focused on the One above us, and his heart is strong and steadfast in seeking, listening, and learning to live and lead a godly life and home.  

A sweet, sweet man is what I typically mutter to describe him, and what a truth it is.  This man, my husband, and the father of our someday children, is the love of my life.  What an honor it is.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's the little things (cont...)

Here we go again...take #2 of the little joys that are being revealed to me every day. They're those little tid-bits that bring a smile to your face, touch your heart, or even make you wanna dance like a kid, as they shed light in rather dark seasons of life, helping to change your perspective and live a life in a constant state of thankfulness. **No matter how trivial or important, "the little things" are things meaningful to you.**

It's the little things like...quiet time. It's good for the mind, body, and soul. Take some for yourself.

It's also things like sunshine & suntan lines - which could be surprising to some who know anything about me, especially because this is coming from a non-outdoorsy kind of girl. A negative self image trapped me indoors for many many years, causing the sunshine to become my enemy, burning my flesh with the tiniest of UV ray exposure. With lots of encouragement & love & grace from my husband, friends, and family, my love for sunshine began to return to my life (in more ways than one), and some brown pigment is returning to my skin. Finally.

Which leads me to this:

It's little things like learning to embrace and love the person you are today. For way too long, I let trivial things like weight gain & stretch marks define me, and hold me back from really living. I was consumed. I was miserable, and often times made others around me miserable because of my insecurities, as much as I hate to admit. When I say these things are trivial, I mean that they are trivial. They do not define who we are, and although some days it is still a struggle, I have to decide to fight insecurity, and own the FACT that I am worth more than a couple extra pounds. I totally believe in a healthy lifestyle and staying active...but I no longer believe in striving to portray a certain image or reach a particular standard. My new life mantra includes a cute swimsuit and lots of pool time, while the old sweat suits and layers take a much needed break at the top of my closet. Extra pounds or no extra pounds, I am still a daughter of the King - treasured, sacred, and His...yet curvy, and owning it!

Looking through old pictures.

It's the little things like family weddings,

...and learning.

It's helping someone,

...it's someone helping you.

It's allowing yourself to dream.

Things like meeting sweet neighborhood kids, and finding the good in the not-so-sweet ones...even if the only good you can come up with is how fast they can run.

It's the little things like being genuine,

Being kind...

And practicing grace & mercy...

And having someone do the same to you.

It's learning to be slow to speak, and quick to listen.

It's the little things like a sweet little old mail lady, whose presence is amazingly infectious.

It's growing...

It's resting...

It's changing...
and being changed by all the little meaningful things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A longing fulfilled...

I am excited to report that our first home study visit has been scheduled!! As of June 27th, we will complete this next phase of the process within 6-8 weeks. I dropped off the last of our formal documents yesterday, got to chat a little more with our adoption specialist, payed for our home study (thank you generous, kind-hearted friends and family), and finally got to put the first home visit date on my calendar. It was a short, brief little visit, but nonetheless, I left there feeling much relief. I find myself thinking we are one step closer...one step closer...

I try my hardest not to wish myself out of this season that God has us in. I know He is doing some serious work within, and I commit to be obedient to what He is doing, and where He leads. I know everything happens in His timing, not mine, so whether I wish myself out or not, God is gonna do what God is gonna do. I truly get it. I understand. I surrender my wants to His. ...But it would be a lie if I said that I am not looking forward to the day when the silence of our home is filled with the beautiful chaos of a life with children.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12 NLT

...We strive to grab hold of that second part. So we grudgingly unclench our fists and let go of the heartaches and pains, and surrender it to the hope of that longing fulfilled. That tree of life. We take it day by day, and step by step.

Financially speaking, we are definitely getting closer. Several beautiful people have donated outside of the blog, putting the donation percentage right at about 14%...which is amazing!! We are working on being able to get that to show up on the little meter :-). Still, all I can say to any of you who have sacrificially given, is THANK YOU. Your gifts and willing hearts are helping to make this dream a reality. Every single gift has touched us so deeply, and often just brings me to tears. The generosity has humbled us, inspired us, and motivates us to give of ourselves. We thank God for every one of you!

To those would still like to donate - there is still time!! This is a very lengthy process, so there is much time for many opportunities. In advance, we are so grateful for your gifts, your thoughts, and your prayers! We cannot do this without any of you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's the little things...

This has been my mantra lately...and now, it's my new blog "series" thing. Not sure if that's what I should call it, and I can't put a time span on it, because there are way too many to fit into one post. I will continue to share as they continue to reveal themselves to me. So welcome to

It's The Little Things.

I find myself saying it a lot, and I feel that by choosing to find the goodness in these types of things, and appreciate the joy they bring in the moment, it really is helping me to change my perspective. It causes me to look at situations differently, seeing the positives rather than negatives (or seeing the positives in the midst of negative pregnancy tests.) Not gonna lie, I've felt a bit downcast for a while...sometimes I can pinpoint why, other times it seems unexplainable. But nonetheless, I am blessed. Some might think I'm in need of an anti-depressant, but to that I say the following have been just that to me.

It's the little things like a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning, while my hair is still messy, teeth still un-brushed, and bed not made. Every morning I relish in this moment, looking forward to the next one...

It's the little things like reading my Bible in the dark of the early morning. Mom always said I shouldn't read in the dark, but I love these moments when I am too entranced in the passage I'm reading to give my eyes a break from squinting...

It's the little things like surviving through the day only on massive amounts of fresh seedless watermelon and cantaloupe, just because they're my favorite...

It's the little things like trying a new recipe...and succeeding at it...

It's the little things like going on a date to Sam's Club with my husband, just to see him enjoy a Nathans hot-dog combo. I'll have a salted soft pretzel to dip in mustard, please. Then we load up on more watermelon and cantaloupe while we're there...

It's the little things like driving across town just to see my nieces perform in their school plays, whether they have a solo or not...

It's the little things like driving a couple hundred miles to see my nephews play ball =) It's only the little leagues, but I think they're pro...

It's the little things like feeling a warm little fur ball pup cuddle up next to me late at night on the couch...

It's hearing my friends kiddos call me by name...whether "Sissy" or "Jess" or even "Johnny" (haha), they will never know their love has helped me heal...

It's the little things like a coffee date with a friend, or having a meal with family...

It's the little things like swimming till you're wrinkled...

It's the little things like singing at the top of your lungs, whether it sounds good or not...

It's a beautiful card in the mail...

It's skipping dinner for dessert instead...

It's rocking your best friend's baby to sleep...and thanking God that you still get to be a part of her life.

It's giving a dollar to the man or woman on the corner...

It's being prayed for...and feeling those prayers...

It's praying for someone...

It's singing happy birthday to someone, and recognizing their importance in the world...

It's watching the Biggest Loser...

It's the little things like SPANX...that seriously can make all the difference...

It's the little things like leggings...

A new pair of socks...

A free panties card from Victoria's Secret...

It's giving a gift for no special occasion...

It's staying in your pajamas all day...

It's a hug from your significant other...

It's a new book...

It's a new song...

The little things can be so much more than little things. They can lift you up, make you smile, and teach you what's important.

To be continued...

Monday, May 23, 2011

No title...

I guess one post a week is my new normal. That seems to be all I can muster up for blogging lately. But really, I'm okay with that. Life here with the Moore's is a little melancholy, but we are just taking some time to figure some things out, to heal, and just...hear from God on all things life. Priorities :-)

We are still moving forward with the adoption, and with that comes a million waves of emotion, that sometimes we just don't even know what to do with. Overall, though, excitement stands at the forefront because we are coming up on our home study - soon to be scheduled...like next week. (I know I feel, and maybe you too, like I've been saying the same thing over and over again. That probably is the case, but the key word here is patience. This is a lengthy process, and our adoption specialist keeps saying we are right on "schedule". All that to say, it really is about to happen - the home study, that is.) Some more donations have generously poured in since I last updated on finances, and it puts us at around 7% of our total goal. We are so extremely thankful! The generosity humbles me.

Speaking for myself, and somewhat my husband, too, life just feels heavy right now. I just feel burdened by so many things, and its difficult to hide anymore. But we are okay. We are working through a lot, and reaching deep within to find joy and peace in the midst of it all. Circumstantial? Not really. Circumstances are pretty good right now. These things, I know are matters of the heart. Spiritual things. And not always the easiest to navigate through. But we are trying. And we are so thankful for a handful of people who stand by us regardless. The unexpected cards in the mail, the willingness to just sit there and listen and cry, the heartfelt prayers...it has, and will continue to help carry us through. We are blessed to know you. Thank you for loving us, not just tolerating us.

Sorry for this weird, sentimental-Debbie-downer-ish post. But we gotta keep it real ;-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Heart cries...

Lately I've just been tired...tired of a lot of things. For starters though, I pray that you can hear my heart through this post, and try to understand that although some things may sound harsh, I am just being honest. And if we can't be honest, then what's the point? Life isn't always "my cup is always half full, unicorns and rainbows, sweet as pie, perfect & happy...". At least here it's not. And if you not prepared to read into a life that's very messy, lately painful, and never perfect, then maybe you should stop here. Now, enough with the prefacing.

I try my hardest and pray constantly for God to help me to keep the right perspective. But lets face it: some days most days are extremely painful, and leave me feeling like I'm just putting on a show by pretending like my heart isn't breaking, for the sake of not coming across as doubting God, or lacking in faith. And truth is, unfortunately, when I get honest with myself and with others about the reality of the hurt I'm struggling with on any given day, someone decides that I am doubting God and lacking in faith, and that I am in need of a pep talk. Like I just need a bear hug and a one line picker upper. But let me let you in on something...

I accept this journey God has me and my husband on.
I fully acknowledge His power and capabilities to change our circumstances.
I 100% believe that someday He will.
I also believe that there is a bigger picture here for us, and I believe it goes beyond just achieving a pregnancy, or adopting an infant.
I know that God is stirring and moving and doing things beyond anything we can ever comprehend.
I accept the good days, and I'll get through the bad days, because I know it's all for God's glory that we go through this.
And although it's never fun, I thank God that He has chosen us to go through what we are going through, rather than you or someone else.

I would do it all over again if it meant that another couple didn't have to lay their heads down at night wondering if they will ever get to witness what God could create from equal parts of each other.

Wondering if they will ever get to see their spouse transform from just a regular person into a mother or father in a split second.

Wondering if they will ever be able to look at their child and say, "you look just like your mommy", or "just like your daddy".

Wondering if they will ever get to feel those kicks and flips and hiccups from within.

I would absolutely do it all over again if it meant that another husband didn't have to witness his wife break down as the world around her shouts for joy over positive pregnancy tests, growing belly pictures, birth announcements, and pregnancy symptoms.

I would do it all over again if it meant that she could, too.

I would do it again if it meant another husband didn't have to feel like he has been robbed of his manhood, or the opportunity to be the father he never really had. I would do it again if it meant he could stand in awe of a part of his life growing inside his wife's belly, or see that little flickering heartbeat for the first time. His child's heartbeat.

I would abosolutely do it for that.

I know in light of the adoption, one might think that we've moved on from this kind of pain. Like magically these feelings just disappear because we've moved on to a different "solution". But adoption is not a solution to this journey we're on. Part of the journey, yes. But a solution, no. We have to keep it separate, otherwise we will have placed an expectation on our adoptive child to live up to something that he or she will never be able to. We will love our child wholly and completely as if we conceived them ourselves, but in my heart, I will always long for the things above. Who wouldn't?

That said, the pain we are going through is still very real and very fresh for us, and all around us, the world moves on. We are still healing and dealing, and I am tired of feeling like we have to be strong and put on a face for people just so that we don't come across as selfish or ungrateful for the blessings we do have, and partly in effort to avoid all different kinds of advice and sweeping statements. People mean well, we know that full well. However, what others, and myself included, deem as encouragement isn't always encouraging. The world is always offering a solution or suggestion as to how to grieve, or we put a time stamp on how long is too long, making trials and healing from them seem insignificant compared to the latest news. Healing takes time. Sometimes a lifetime. And no one wants to feel alone in their pain. Thanks to God, because of what I've gone through, I long to be available to people in their pain and heartache...however they need me to be. No matter how messy, no matter how gut-wrenching, no matter how confusing, or stressful, or how long it takes.

There have been so many times throughout this experience, and I'm sure many more will come, when I have needed to hear the following: It is okay to be broken. It's okay to take a step back, or need some space to allow for healing. It's okay to not want to go to a baby shower, or other event. Its even okay not to go because your heart literally feels like it weighs too much, and the lump in your throat feels too big. Heal how you need to, not how it's convenient for others. Surround yourself with whoever you need to...with people who will pray over you, even out loud..people who will ugly cry with you, and who will physically hold you. Do not allow for others to make you feel guilty about doing whatever is necessary to heal. Even if it means walking away from some things. It's okay to worship through pain. We don't have to have it all together before The Lord. His heart breaks for us. We can go through what we are going through, no matter what it looks like, and still lift our hands to him. Crying out to Him, regardless of, or because of our circumstances, is okay. As long as it's Him we are crying out to, right?

The cry of my heart right now is for healing...Healing over our bodies, but more importantly, healing from the hurt and pain. The cry of my heart is that people have grace with us as we do whatever is necessary to protect our hearts from growing bitter. The cry of my heart is that people will have compassion, and not just for us, but for people to the right, and to the left. Neighbors, strangers, whomever. I pray that compassion, the kind that brings you to your knees because you hurt so badly for someone, I pray that it completely overtakes us. There are people all around us who are breaking inside, hoping that someone will come alongside of them and stand and fight with them, just because they can't stand not to.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A mother's heart...

Mothers Day 2009: I remember at this time, I was sitting in church, and I let myself cry for the first time since we made the decision to begin trying for a baby three months prior.  I remember feeling very vulnerable, confused, and isolated as so many woman stood to their feet as the congregation honored their presence and beauty of motherhood.  Yet, I was hopeful, and even let myself go to that place to fervently believe that by the same time next year, I too, would be standing.

Mothers Day 2010: I was in Jacksonville, FL, visiting with my sister and family.  Days before, I could feel the sadness beginning to surface again as I reminded myself that there was still no baby a year later.  The trip, however, was a nice distraction to the loss I was still grieving.  I pushed it back down as I stood in my sisters kitchen, making breakfast for the family.  Text messages from friends began to come through, pouring words of encouragement and prayers for a miracle baby through the screen of my phone and into my heart. Once again, I let myself go to that place of letting it all out, as I stepped out of the room and escaped for a while to cry.  The pain left me unable to describe my emotions as my husband tried to comfort me.  I fixed my makeup, gathered myself, and reclaimed my position at the stove, letting hope rise once again as I stirred gravy.  "Next year," I told myself, "Next year."

Mothers Day 2011:  Still no baby, and the pain is still present...fresh and raw as ever.  Being honest, it's not just the DAY thats been difficult, but rather every day for the past couple of months leading up to it.  I don't even know how to describe it.  It's just hard.  My heart feels heavy, and I constantly have a lump in my throat.  The thought of sitting in another service while tons of mothers stand while we clap and cheer and honor them as they should be honored, it almost motivates me to keep my sweat pants on and have church at home. New pregnancies are being celebrated, husbands are extra sweet, and beautiful little ones are adorning their mommas with handmade cards, flowers, and tons of love...just as it should be.  At the same time, hearts are breaking, and the pain of longing and waiting becomes a little bit harder to choke back for so many of us.  I've tried to tell myself that it's getting easier.  But it's not.  In fact, although there are good days and bad days, it gets harder.  

But...(yes, there's a but)

I'm still hopeful.  Although my arms are still empty, my heart is not.  Thank God for His grace and mercy, because only He knows how much of it I need to get through this.  I'm thankful for His love and His word, both of which literally carry me through and give me hope for the next day.  I am thankful for the desire He has placed in me to be a mother, and for His faithfulness to see it come to fruition in His timing.  I am thankful for the people He has specifically placed in my life to walk through this with me, who truly understand this kind of pain, who pray for me, and whose faith rises up when mine is lacking. These things make the pain seem worth it.  These things give me the strength I need to face every situation that is a fresh reminder of the hurt, loss, heartbreak, and wait.

If you are a mom reading this, Happy Mothers Day from the most sincere part of my heart.  You deserve to be honored every day for the sacrificial love you have for your children and family.  You are beautiful, and you are blessed.

If you find yourself hurting on this day, I pray peace, comfort, and healing for your spirit.  Although sometimes it can sound cliche, I find comfort in knowing that I do not face these trials alone.  You are not alone in your pain, your heartache, your longing, or suffering.  We serve a God who loves the heart of a mother, whether physical evidence of motherhood is present yet or not.  So, Happy Mothers Day to you.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fundraising update...

If you look to the right, you will see that people have been SO generous, and SO incredibly loving to help us cover the cost of our upcoming home study! It is such a blessing! We are one step closer to bringing home our baby :-)

As I have said before, there is no way I could ever adequately express the amount of gratitude that overwhelms us. We are working on a few different ideas for proper "thank yous", so hopefully very soon I will be getting those out. However, for now, to those who have donated, I just want to say a big THANK YOU! You have a very special place in our hearts, and no words could ever do justice to the gift that you have given us. Because of your generosity, we can move forward in this process. We thank God for your heart, and your presence in our lives, no matter how close or distant. Thank you for this gift, for your support, and loving our little one so much already. Thank you!

We are going out of town this week to visit some family, but once we return, we are expecting to get on the ball with the home study. Once that part is out of the way, we can begin preparing ourselves for the "selection" part of the process, where birth parents choose us as adoptive parents. Financially speaking, this is the next big phase. We are hoping to be able to apply for some grants, which could potentially cover much of the cost of the adoption. I still encourage and ask that people donate, though. Nothing is set in stone, as far as the grants go, and there is no way of being able to tell if we will be granted any money. We still have a long way to go to reach the total cost, but just as this first week of fundraising shows, nothing is impossible! God is good.

We are also working on some other fundraising opportunities outside of the blog. I will reveal the details of these events as they begin to unfold. Continue to check back here to see what is happening.

Again (and I'll say it countless times more), thank you for investing in our story. Whether monetarily, emotionally, physically, or spiritually, it means more than you know!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bringing Baby Moore Home...

We are calling on you. Yes, you. If you are reading this, you are either a frequent visitor here at this blog, or you have stumbled upon it via shared links on Facebook, recommendations from someone, or maybe even a Google search for something random or not so random...I don't know what reason has brought you here, but I am glad you are, nonetheless. Especially today.

You may or may not know us, my husband and I, and you may or may not know our story. We are on a journey and have been for a while. We've probably been on this journey far longer than our minds may want to wrap around, but we count it as "going on 3 years now". It's a bittersweet journey, hence the name of this blog, but it's one that has taught us about God, about who we are, and about the strength of our relationship with one another, more than words can ever describe. I'm talking about our journey to parenthood.

I'll refer you back to this post if you would like to know all the details, but basically, our image of parenthood looks much different to us now than it did in the beginning. What we once perceived as crushed dreams of becoming parents, we now know as the rebuilding of our faith in God and the birth of a brand new passion within our hearts. Although we are not giving up our dreams of someday conceiving naturally, we know without a doubt that no matter how different it looks to us now, this is where God is leading us.


Currently, we are working with Bethany Christian Services and we are pursuing a domestic infant adoption. Basically, what this means is that we will be adopting within the United States. Soon there will be a woman, if not already, who will find out she is pregnant, yet selflessly decides that it is in the best interest for her baby to be raised and cared for by someone else. Once she comes to that conclusion, she will begin searching for that adoptive family for her child. She will scour pages and pages of biographies, photos, and stories until she is confident in her heart of hearts who she will choose. Our hope and prayer is that we are those parents. Once we are "selected", we will wait out the duration of the pregnancy, and once the baby is born, God willing, he or she will go home with us.

And this is where you come in. We need your help. Desperately. Fortunately, and unfortunately, adoption costs money. A lot of money. $21,000.00 to be exact in our case. Looking at that number terrifies me and inspires me all at the same time. It terrifies me because obviously it's a huge number for any one family to come up with in a short amount of time. I am convinced that numbers like these are often times what turn many families away from adopting. For Jeremy and I, the "how's", as in "how is this gonna happen", or "how are we gonna come up with that much money" go unanswered. But consistently, God has challenged our faith. He has challenged our trust. "How?" God asks. "Me." He answers. However, this number inspires me...because I know its the only thing standing in the way of us going from just "Jessica & Jeremy", to "Mommy & Daddy".

We have to believe that God is so much bigger than this mountain of money we currently face. We have to press on, and trust that where God leads, He will also provide. So we're going for it, and we are excited to see what God is about to do!!

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible." Matthew 17:20

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. Psalm 65:5

So here I am, asking for your help. Whether your help comes in the form of financial donation, or in the form of praying for and encouraging us through this process, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Please understand, that this is not for us. Of course we desire to have a baby, but above that, we desire to provide a life, a home, and a lot of love to a baby who might not have these things if not for adoption. Above all, we desire to be obedient to the calling that has been placed on our lives to adopt whatever child God has planned for us, no matter the gender, race, or ethnicity. We cannot do this without you.

We want to be very transparent about where the money is going, so below you will see how it is broken down.

*Application fee......$550.00 (we already paid)

*Home Study fees...$1,000.00

*Support Services fee (Case management, education, marketing/networking, profile presentation, birth parent expenses, etc.)......................$6,000.00

*Placement fees (Counseling, adoption consents, legal fees including finalization, post placement supervision, etc.)........................$14,000.00

There it is. I know it's a lot, but I also know that it is completely possible. Obviously finances are the biggest obstacle right now. However, we also understand that not everyone can give monetarily. What is not so obvious is the emotional roller coaster that we are about to experience. Adoption can be such a long and trying process. That is why it is so important to us to have people praying for peace, strength, patience, and so much more, not only for us, but for the birth parents as well. If you have children, I'm sure you can imagine how difficult it would be for you to choose an adoption plan for your child. Imagine the strength it takes preparing for the day to hand over your child, sign away your rights, and live the rest of your life knowing that someone else is raising your baby. Your prayers throughout have just as much impact and are just as important and needed as the money. I hope you will prayerfully consider helping in whatever way you are led to. We are forever grateful for your loving heart!!

So let's do this!! There is a grey box in the right margin where you can donate your money. As people donate, that box will continually update so that we can track the progress. Please feel free to pass this along and share with others who may want to help. If you would like to contact me, visit this link to send me an email, or you can leave your questions, words of encouragement, or comments below. I will continue to update as the process changes and as we get closer to our goal.

In advance, your generosity means more than I will ever be able to express here. I cannot adequately describe what this adoption means for myself, and for my husband. We have prayed and waited for so long for a child, and we are so grateful for your willingness to help us. Your act of generosity is two-fold, you see. Some day we will have the privilege of looking into the eyes of our child and telling them of how many wonderful people were faithful in seeing this miracle through. Not only are you giving a child a home, but you are helping to fill a very empty space in our hearts. My heart swells with gratitude and love for every soul who has invested in our story.

Much love, blessings, and thanks to you!!

From the bottom of our hearts!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stay tuned...

This adoption process is moving along more quickly than I could have ever imagined!! We are currently gearing up for our home study. We need all the love, prayers, and support possible to make this happen! Please be on the look out in the next few days here on the blog for some ways you can help, and get involved to bring our baby home. We can't do this without you! Thanks =)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waiting Here For You...

Came across this song the other day, and I completely stopped, mesmerized. What a beautiful lyrical picture of this waiting thing. Waiting on God. And being faithful while doing so.

Faith seems to be a true test right now for myself, and so many others around me. It's especially hard to have faith when time lines surround you. How many years now? How many miscarriages? When is this bill due? How long did the doctors say they will live? How long since you've been employed? The How's, the Why's, and the When's take their toll on a person's faith. Especially when there are no answers.

1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability
2. Belief that is not based on proof

You won't find this post jam packed with earth shattering answers or explanations. I feel like my faith is tested every day. I struggle so hard sometimes knowing that I serve a God who everyone claims to be so faithful, so loving, so BIG, and all these things, but at the same time allows some of the most painful circumstances to wreak havoc in so many lives.

I may or may not know what you are going through. You may or may not have any answers, or closure, or maybe haven't been given any hope for the future from the world's standards. You may not see any light at the end of the tunnel right now. You may feel alone, deserted, punished, forgotten, defeated, crushed...Maybe you're even questioning if God is even really there. Let me just tell you, you are in good company here. In a lot of ways, I'm right there with ya. I don't have many answers. So many questions still remain unanswered.


I am waiting for God. I am still working through life's circumstances, and days still exist when I just wanna give up on God, but truth is...giving up on Him still doesn't give me answers. You may feel like God isn't there, but I can assure you that the world will never be able to fill that void that He can in just a matter of timing. Tap into your faith. God wants for us to just BELIEVE. Believing even though there is no proof. Worshiping through it. Praying through it. Crying through it. I know it is hard, and I am so sorry for whatever it is you are facing. I know you feel like you can't do this anymore. Let yourself believe. Let our Sovereign God carry you through. He loves you. He knows your pain. He is the only One who can heal your heart, and make beauty from your ashes. He is worth believing in...He is worth trusting in...He is faithful if we just believe.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here we go...

It's funny how things start to really feel real just by turning in a huge packet of paperwork. We've been working on this paperwork since the beginning of January. Like most people, I'm not one who enjoys the tediousness and repetitiveness that comes along with filling in what seem to be endless blanks. Hundreds of questions, and empty printer ink cartridges later, it's complete. We've answered self assessment questions, revealed our financial information, and over analyzed and picked apart our deepest desires to become parents. You'd think by now we would be overly confident in our readiness due to the amount of paperwork we've pondered, and number of checklists I've scoured. But the looming question still exists: Are we ready for this?

In our preparations, we've agreed, disagreed, argued, compromised, laughed, cried, comforted, and interviewed one another, just to name a few. We are barely into this process of adoption and we can already see what a beautiful and messy journey this about to become. And now that it's beginning to seem very real, and we are about to experience another phase/step in the process, we are becoming more and more invested and attached emotionally than any one person could ever prepare for.

There are not many absolutes right now. We are not absolute in our parenting styles yet, nothing has been "approved" about us yet, we haven't been chosen by a birth family yet, we don't know if we will end up with a baby boy or baby girl yet, and we absolutely don't (despite any amounts of paperwork or training classes) feel prepared yet. I don't know if we'll ever feel "prepared".

But the things I do know for sure:

I want this so badly. My heart is 100% in this.

My husband wants this so badly. His heart is 100% in this.

We may not have it all figured out, but we are willing to take any risk necessary to look into the eyes of our child every day. We are ready for that kind of love.

Whether we feel prepared or not, we know that we serve a loving, merciful, graceful and very faithful God who will give us every quality we need to get through it.

So...here we go. Next up is our home study. Pray for us =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A cycle?

This is the week I say good-bye to my kiddos. I have two days left with them before they hit the road to GA. It's bittersweet to say the least. While I scramble at the thought of what I will do with myself every day without them here, I am also looking forward to some free time. But knowing myself, I give it a few days before I'm ready to drive to GA to pick them up from school and kiss their sweet faces. They gave me some sweet gifts in preparation for our parting. I now have a beautiful picture of the three of us adorning my media console. Catherine asked me yesterday what I'm going to do on Monday instead of watching them. I told her I will probably lock myself in the house and cry all day. Her response? "Well at least you can look at our picture while you get depressed." Little booger. I love them.

Yesterday I woke up to a very welcomed surprise. **Disclaimer** Before I go any further into this paragraph, I just want to remind you that this is a blog all about our ups and downs to parenthood. This paragraph may or may not consist of a detail or two that you may or may not want to know. While I am not an advocate of going too much into detail, I do feel that some biological details are necessary to fully tell our story. If you shudder at the word period, then stop reading. Before I woke up yesterday morning, I had been on a cycle of 332 days. Basically, it had been that many days since I last experienced a period. That last period, nearly one year ago, happened because it was medically induced by synthetic Progesterone. After that "menstrual induction", since it was ineffective, we just kind of let it go. Okay, we completely let the issue go. We just figured that it was better left in God's hands. So, 300+ days went by with nothing. Not a symptom to be experienced. I felt fine, I functioned daily, and just went on with life as normal. Then all of a sudden, yesterday morning, it happened. Out of the blue. I spent the day reintroducing myself to the feeling of cramps, relocating all of my "supplies", and rejoicing for the first sign in a very long time that my body works.

For all this time, my prayer to God was just that He would move my body in His perfect timing. All of this, medically points to something being wrong. This absence of a period has obviously been the result of my body not ovulating, which we all know is one of the main keys to getting pregnant. So doctors were always on the hunt for that reason why it was not happening. Between me and God, I just knew that He had something to do with it. Although I've always been gravitated towards the world's reasons of why, I knew deep down that God had this. And I can say that because with my DEEP desire to have babies, there is no earthly way I could have gotten through this past year with absolutely NO answers, had it not been for God's presence in my life. Only He can bring a calming peace like the peace it has taken for me to get through the past year.

So you can imagine the excitement that came over me when I realized that my body was doing what it is supposed to yesterday, AND all on it's own. At the sight of it, I was more convinced than ever that prayer works. Just the other night, a woman prayed very specifically over my body. I'm talking very specifically for me to have a period. Hello!! Prayer answered.

Slowly but surely as the day rolled on, however, the cramping began to lessen until I couldn't feel it anymore, despite my choice to refrain from pain relievers. Those cramps were a sure sign to me that it was still happening. But, soon they were gone, almost as suddenly as they arrived. And whatdoyaknow, the bleeding subsided as well. All in the same day. Weird, I know. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and let discouragement and pity have its way with me. But the other part of me still rejoices. There are so many questions, but there is only one answer in our situation. We've been praying for this to happen, and God made it happen. Sure I wonder why for only one day, but we also did not pray for a specific number of days. I was just yearning for a sign that God's hand is in this. And He showed up in the very way I hoped that He would. That was enough for me. At times I have struggled with the fact that I felt like my faith for God to do something miraculous here was all for nothing. But I feel so strongly like this was just a small way for Him to show me to keep the faith. To keep believing. To keep praying. To pray specifically. And maybe, just maybe, He knew that I needed a fresh reminder that He is still here and still in control. Does yesterday's surprise mean that I ovulated? I don't know. Does it mean that I will ovulate or have a regular cycle again? I don't know that either. But it did remind me how powerful He is. How loving He is. And how good He is.

We are also gearing up for a training meeting with the adoption agency on Monday night. The more I look at the bigger picture, the more amazing things look to me. I mean, could all this period stuff happen at a more ironic time? Here we are pursuing adoption, and God says Oh hey, here's a new cycle for you! He is so much bigger than we are. There's no irony with God. He has it all figured out, we just think that we do.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My kiddos...

I sat across from him tonight at the dinner table while he tried everything in his power to get me to do an impression of a chameleon lizard. He told me that this type of lizard "points one eye up, and one eye down." I told him that this would be very difficult for a normal human being to do. His response? "No it's not". Then this 5 year old did his best impression.

She just scarfed her chocolate cupcake down, in typical 7-year-old-insulin-dependent-diabetic-starving-for-sugar fashion, and bluntly reassured him that what he thought he was doing, he was in fact, not doing. Just what a big sister is good at.

This, of course, crushed him and made him cry. He wanted so badly in that moment to be a good chameleon impersonator, but she crushed his dream. So I told him that he is the best lizard that ever lived, and made her apologize even though her observation was correct. He dried his tears, accepted her apology, and then challenged her to a game of Toy Story Memory. She accepted.

In this moment, I realized that times like these, of me helping to resolve conflict between brother and sister are soon to be over as they make their way to a new home, in a new city and new state. Seven years of memories flash before me, and it makes me emotional. I'm their favorite "babysitter", although I prefer to use the word "nanny". I have watched them grow up. I have taken care of them. I was there to pick them up from their first day of school. I was there when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and we learned together the scary highs and lows of blood sugar levels. I went to the hospital on the day he was born, and marveled at the miracle before me. I have disciplined, comforted, entertained, and loved them, and I know that by having the opportunity to do so, the past seven years with them has confirmed within myself how badly I want to be a mother.

We've been through a lot together. All these years have made for some tough times, but we have been able to learn together. It's been quite the experience for myself, and for them as well. I've learned how to be patient, and I've grown to appreciate the beauty behind their imaginations and playful spirits. I can't count the number of times they've begged me to be the horse in their make-believe stories. Numerous times I tried to pawn them off on one another because I didn't feel like "neigh-ing" and crawling around on all fours with a child on my back. But they never let up, expressing how much it would mean to them if I just tried. They've helped me to realize the importance behind making them a priority, even if it just meant a few minutes of my time devoted to "just for pretend" games. They have learned to trust me. They already have a mommy and daddy who they adore, and I had to recognize, especially in the beginning, that it is difficult for them to be away from their parents. There was a time when they cried for what seemed like forever after their parents left for a night out. But with time, and consistency, they allowed me to wipe away the tears and help them gear up for Nerf gun wars (with the help of my husband), and endless rounds of hide-and-go-seek. And I'll never forget when they began to tell me they loved me. Their walls came down, and they opened themselves up to me. They began to trust me with their feelings, their little tiny secrets, their dreams, and even their lives. A day came when mommy and daddy weren't always available, but I was. And they were okay with that. After their "Momma" of course, I was the next best thing.

What began as a simple way for me to earn a few dollars on the weekends when I was in high school, has become a part of my everyday life. It has become so much more than just a job to me, being their nanny. I don't know what the heck I'm going to do with myself after they're gone at the end of the month. To be honest, I cringe a little at the thought of a new "babysitter". I secretly hope she won't be very interesting, and that their time with her will be spent wishing they could be with me. I am tempted to make them pinky promise me that they will not love her. Although, despite my fears of them forgetting or not missing me, I know deep down, they will always remember. They are my kiddos, after all.

Monday, March 7, 2011

God Be Praised...

Not gonna lie, things have been rough lately, emotionally speaking. I've just felt drained, and I'm sure it has something to do with the 5 million things going on at once in my life. Complaint is my first instinct, but I'm working through it and adjusting the way I react. I guess I'm just in a rough spot right now, but I know underneath everything, God meant for it to be this way. He's growing me, and if I'm gonna live it out that He really is my everything, and exactly what I'm living for, then I'm gonna have to see past any circumstance and praise His name: I don't know how we're gonna pay for this adoption. But, God is good. He will provide. Oh, and another negative pregnancy test. Because of His love, I am not consumed. His compassion never fails. Two years of trying ended last week, and now we're into #3. God is bigger than any amount of years. He comforts the brokenhearted. He is for me, not against me. He is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him. He loves me.

The song below has made quite a comfortable spot in my heart recently. Despite any trial, or sorrow, or attack that comes in life, we have already won. It's okay to feel down, but we are not defeated! I may not have any answers, and I might feel like a mess at the moment, but I choose to rejoice and trust in the One who already won the battle for me...the One who conquered death and completed the impossible. God Be Praised!

You saved my life from death
When I was all but defeated
You spoke Your promises
And brought life to my weakness
Came as a conquering King
And You warred for my freedom
My soul can’t help but sing

You opened up my eyes
For the first time I saw You
Your love commanding life
And deserving devotion
You told me who I am
Now in faith I believe it
My soul can’t help but sing

You’ve made a place for me
Silenced all my accusers
Leading me forth with peace
Filled with joy I will follow
Your cross demands my life
Now Your grace is my anthem
My soul can’t help but sing

Hallelujah, we’re redeemed and made free
By the blood of the Lamb We have won
Hallelujah, we will sing victory
Jesus conquered the grave
God be praised