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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One year...of LIFE.

Selah, My love,

You are one today.  An entire year old :)  Where has our year together gone?  I still remember your limp little body resting in my arms when we brought you home from the hospital.  I can still feel your tiny little breaths on my cheek for all the hours I held you so close.  I remember the way you whimpered when you were hungry, your plump little lips searching for your bottle, then settling on shoving your little fist in your mouth.  Those days are long gone, sweet girl, and have been replaced with toddling, uneasy first steps... and words like "nom nom nom" to tell us you are hungry... The curliest little afro tops your big round head, and we spend a lot of time teaching and disciplining.  You are strong, Selah, and very strong willed.  But your soul is precious as ever, and you love like no other.  I tuck all those memories away, hiding them in my heart, and I get to pause and reflect - just as the meaning of your name commands - on all the goodness that came to this life because you were born.

As much as your Dad and I have taught you over the past year, Selah, you have taught us more.  No amount of "John-Jacob-Jingle-Heimer-Schmidt"s, or where your eyes/ears/nose/hair/mouth are, compare to the depth of meaning you've brought to our lives.  You have awakened us to life, daughter, and what it means to feel.. and be present... that it's okay to mess up and still see restoration and victory.. to make memories and recognize their weight of importance... You've led us back to God, and it's because of you that Daddy and I are more in love with Him than we've ever known... You have brought us absolute joy.

Mom and Dad are not perfect, Selah, and I speak for the both of us when I say we are thankful for your resilience.  You don't care that we've never done this before.  You don't care we parent you through trial and error...a LOT.  You just flash us your charming smile, and bounce right back.  You are amazing.  It's so much fun to love you, and teach you, and nurture you.

The most honest parts of me cannot help but admit that I was a bit afraid of whether it would ever be possible to feel like I am your Mom.  I wondered if the "adoption feeling" would ever disappear.  Man, did it ever!  And you know why?  Because true love sees beyond DNA.  And that true love is God, Selah.  His love for you, and Mommy and Daddy, is so much bigger than this whole adoption thing.  His love covers all circumstances, and makes the bigger picture clear.  It doesn't matter that you didn't grow in my belly.  And it doesn't matter that you don't look like us.  Because from the moment you were created, God had our family figured out already.  He knew how much we would love you.  And love you we do, baby girl.  We love you like you are our own, because you ARE our own.  And that will never ever ever change.

You, my baby girl, make life richer.  There is not one single thing that your Dad and I would take back, do over, or wish differently.  You make us better and fill our hearts to overflowing.  Before you, we only THOUGHT we were living.  And now with you, we can't help ourselves.

I can't believe it's been one year already.  But it has, and what a year it has been!  It's been one whole year of truly living.  And it's all thanks to God, and YOU.  It's an absolute joy and honor to be your Mom, Selah.  I love you so much.  Happy birthday!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Part 2...

Guilt.  Part one of my most recent revelation.  You can read this post if you need to catch up...

Until very recently, I was unable to see the amount of guilt I was carrying around as an adoptive parent.  I touched briefly in this post about the week we got to spend with Selah's birth mom in the hospital before the baby came.  That week meant the world to me, and I became so attached to this woman, and in a lot of ways set my hopes very high in regards to our level of openness with each other.  We made plans to stay close in touch, and work very hard to keep an open line of communication.  This was so that over the years, we could hopefully develop a trusting relationship that would allow for opportunities to have face to face visits and such in the future...and even more importantly, a trusting relationship that would allow for us to really be a part of each other's lives.

**Many times in our journey we've been asked "Why?"  Wouldn't it be easier to not have to deal with openness?  Wouldn't it be better for everyone involved to just go their separate ways?  The only way I know how to explain it is this:  We knew from the beginning that God was leading us to adoption, and specifically an open one.  We knew that God's plan was much bigger than just giving us a baby.  We felt Him calling us to something much bigger than we were able to wrap our minds around... We knew we were supposed to love Selah's birth family, and accept them as family.  We knew that the journey and the ministry didn't end with Selah... It began with her.  It began with her birth mom.  And birth father.  And her siblings.  We accepted the calling, and devoted ourselves to His plan.  And although it's not all clear right now, we recognize the passion that God has given us for adoption, and for families of all sorts walking through it... And we know it's not for everyone, but it is for us.  We've accepted the journey, and with that comes accepting all of the hard parts, too.**

Much to my surprise, over the last ten and a half months, communication between us has dwindled completely.  I've tried so many times to reach out, and every month we send an email update full of pictures and whatever words God lays on my heart... but the months have only brought silence.

Even with high hopes of how this relationship could be, I expected it to be difficult.  I figured that somewhere down the road it would require extra effort to stay in touch... Most relationships are like that, right?  In the beginning it's all new and easy, but then life happens, and things get in the way, and we get lazy and apathetic at times...and suddenly you realize that you're really going to have to be intentional about making this thing work.

What I didn't expect to feel was heartbroken.  Just down right sad.  I felt responsible.  I felt like I didn't work hard enough to really let her know how much I felt in my heart for her.  I felt like I failed at showing Jesus to her.  I felt like I hurt her, and that I was part of the reason that this whole adoption thing is so hard for her.  I felt like I was part of her sadness.  I felt like I took her baby away from her.  I felt awful.  Guilty.

And even though I recognized my feelings, I did not recognize how they were preventing my heart from attaching to the fact that I am Selah's mom.  It wasn't until we were asked by our agency to share our adoption story at an education seminar for waiting families that I realized how much the strained relationship has affected me.  We were answering some questions from some of the families when one of the counselors pointed out the sadness that came over me when I spoke about Selah's birth mom...and I completely lost it.  Through an emotional breakdown, I tried my best to explain how much of a loss I felt.  I remember feeling completely embarrassed for crying so hard and being so vulnerable in front of these families, but God just covered me with His peace and a reminder that families need to know these things about adoption...even these very real and difficult aspects of adoption.

A few days later, I got an email from our adoption counselor (who was present at the education seminar).  She picked up on the hurt I was feeling, and she sent these words to me:

"...It is very obvious the compassion and care that you have for "L", and there is that weird line of keeping that compassion, while at the same time enjoying and embracing your role as mom.  It is also good to remember that the guilt, fear, and doubts can creep back in.. BUT you can continually remind yourself of the Truth and reality that you were CHOSEN, by Selah's birth mother, to be her MOM :)  And remember that God has blessed this selection..." 

I breathed a huge sigh of relief after letting that sink in.  I was chosen.  And I am free to be Selah's mom.  But it is time for those words - "Selah's mom" - to go deeper than just a title.  My heart needed to embrace those words.  I need to continually trust God with the details of this journey.  I may not have given birth to her, but I am given the freedom to be Mom...and the freedom to even FEEL that I am her mom...I was chosen, and therefore I am.  I will always have a special place in my heart, and even in my life, for Selah's birth mom.

But there is no room for guilt.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I've been trying to write for months now.  Our family has been going through some pretty tough stuff, and I needed to take another little blogging hiatus to just go through it, and let it change me.  But alas the time has come again, and I'm ready to put down in words where the past 10 and a half months have taken me.  So here we go...

I think back to when Selah came along.  How there wasn't much room in my mind, nor space in my heart to think, dream, breathe, or live anything outside of her.  Every second of the day was wrapped up in her, and I loved every bit of it because I was finally a mom.  God answered years of prayer and waiting in a matter of days.  Just when I felt like I was neck deep in an ocean of endless answer-less-ness, He turned it all around and made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Suddenly this little 8 pound miracle came to be, and I couldn't imagine my life without her.

A couple of months went by, and things. got. much. harder.  Soon I found myself confused.. and to be honest, afraid with the whole concept of bonding...or what I knew, and experienced, as a lack there of.  I spent my days reading and researching ways to help with bonding between me and my daughter even though there was nothing terrible happening.  She wasn't resisting me, like I was told she possibly would.  She seemed to attach well to me, she was thriving in my care, and the transitioning was very well near perfect - proving very wrong some "worst case scenarios" we were given before leaving to go home with her.  And I looked into her eyes in awe; so engulfed with thankfulness that we had her... But for some reason, I didn't FEEL like her mom.  I loved her so much that I physically ached for her.  But my heart seemed unable to grasp the concept of how she could grow up to love me as her mother, and not just as some temporary caregiver.  I felt overwhelmed as I watched the days, weeks, and months fly by and despite my deepest desires and efforts, just couldn't feel like I thought I should.  I grieved over the time that I felt was lost and missed out on, spent "not feeling like Selah's mom".  I felt like I was failing her.  And failing God after He blessed me so abundantly.

At about the time she turned 7 months old, I remember waking up one day with a sense of urgency...All I knew was that I was ready and willing to do whatever it took, let go of whatever I had to, and eliminate any distractions that may have been causing me to miss out on my daughter and my heart's understanding that I was very much her mom.  I threw myself into what I was doing, and just kind of hoped and prayed that God would give me the unbelievable amount of peace I knew I needed to let this new life sink deep within my heart...until the confusion, tension, and whatever else was making me feel inferior as Selah's mom would no longer exist.

And I'm here to tell you that He did just that.

It didn't happen over night.  It took time...lots of time.  And patience.  Love.  And grace.  It helped me realize so much, and brought clarity to things that I didn't even recognize were there.  And after quite a few months of going through all of this, I am finally ready to sit down and write this part of our story.

What was hindering the fullness of bonding with my sweetest miracle?  I'll tell you soon.  I'm currently working on breaking this post up into several smaller posts for the sake of fluidity and easiness on the eyes and brain ;)  So just check back in the next couple of days.

But I'll leave with this:

It's hard for me to share some of these things.  It's hard to put myself out there and expose some the darkest details of my life.  But it's what comes out of that darkness that makes it liberating to share.  I'm excited to finally write about how God has continued to unfold our story.  He took the most difficult moments, when I questioned my worthiness to be momma to my baby...when I was afraid of whether my child truly loved me...when I couldn't see how it would ever feel "normal"...and He reminded me:  "I chose you.  And I chose this baby.  All for My glory.  Trust me."

Monday, June 4, 2012

Thank You, God...

for this little girl.

"I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done."  Psalm 143:5

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I have to believe...

Why is it so hard for us to have faith for and in others, but not for ourselves? How is it that when we're asked to pray for miracles in so many situations around us, that we can pray fervently, and believe with all our might that God will come through, yet not do the same when the waves are crashing angrily in our own lives? 
  Why do I put God in such a tiny box when I am overwhelmed by the seemingly impossibilities? After all I've seen that He is absolutely capable of - the only One capable of - why do I put my fear and doubt in the way of His movement, and His purpose for my life's circumstances?

We are in need of a financial miracle in when it comes to our adoption. I'm kind of gonna leave it at that. What we thought was going to work out has now been removed as an option, thanks to the government.  Instead, we are taking on several thousand dollars of debt, and we will have another monthly payment to add to the stack.

Please know that I do not mean to complain here. We knew the cost involved when we pursued this road of adoption. There are absolutely no regrets.

But is it discouraging to count on two hands how many times we've been denied for adoption grants? Yes.

Does it hurt to know how some people speak out of place about how I need to get a job, and how we've made our bed and now we need to lay in it? You bet.

Is it infuriating when people make mention of a price tag that's attached to our daughter? Extremely. Because my daughter didn't cost us a thing. She was already bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. But the services attached to the completion of any adoption cost money.

Adoption is biblical. And I will always defend the cause, regardless of the cost.
**Romans 8, and Galatians 4 speak of how we are adopted into sonship by God... Acts 7 speaks of how Pharaoh's daughter takes in baby Moses and "brought him up as her own son"... James 1 teaches us about religion that God accepts as pure and faultless: to look after orphans and widows in their distress... Psalm 68 speaks of "A father to the fatherless..setting the lonely in families"... Isaiah 1 encourages to "take up the cause of the fatherless"... Esther 2 teaches of an orphan girl named "Hadassah", also known as Esther, who was "brought up" by her cousin Mordecai...**

But...the reality of it is that we have got to pay off this loan so that we can raise our daughter without any cloud of financial guilt and burden hanging overhead.  Raising a child is costly anyway, but to pay hundreds of dollars every month to have the opportunity to do just that is overwhelming.

Financially, we hoped it would be different. We prayed it would be easier. But the world doesn't always come through for us.

So now, we just have to believe God, with the same kind of belief that we have had for others...
 With the same kind of belief that we had when we were waiting for our daughter to arrive... 
We have to believe that He will come through. 
 He has done it so many times before. 
We have to entrust the whole thing to God, while being good stewards of what we have, and seek the guidance we need to take the steps that God wants for us.

Will you pray with us? God is good. Always.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Another Mothers Day...

Needless to say, this Mothers Day is dramatically different for me than last year. This year, I'm still trying to wrap my head around how I got so blessed to get to be Mom to this little girl...

Photo by Amick Cutler

Really, I'm at a loss for words, except but to say that God is good. Only He can bring such restoration to this momma's heart.

But even in the midst of the joy my heart has for this baby girl, I still ache for those with empty arms. There's no way I can look into my daughter's eyes and not think of the selfless woman who gave her life. 

I wish there were words that could bring some sort of comfort, healing, or clarity to whatever situation that so many longing mother's hearts are facing... But all I know is that because of this road that God is walking with me on, I can say with everything I am that He is good. He is faithful. And He is trustworthy.  And I'm gonna leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

God prevails...

"How does it feel?" I get this question a lot these days, in regards to what it feels like to be a mom. I try, I really do, to answer the question, but I always feel like my response is a mediocre attempt to try and explain what my heart truly feels.

Overwhelmingly joyful. Fulfilling. Rewarding. Happy.

Don't get me wrong. Motherhood is far from easy. The past six months have stretched me more emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually than ever before. The responsibility is huge, and there are many days when I just wanna get away for a while. My daily fragrance usually exists of spit-up, and because I'm terrified to wear my nicer clothes, I resort to a hole-y t-shirt and baggy jeans. My husband and I are lucky if we get to converse with each other about anything other than formula, poopy diapers, and whether we want a ham and cheese sandwich or a bowl of cereal for dinner. Exhaustion runs rampant, always. Caffeine intake is way up, and I've kind of been forced to drink my coffee cold now. Four out of the seven days a week, I don't even leave the house...or see another adult. I am in desperate need of a chiropractor, my house severely needs a deep cleaning, and most days we just have to laugh about finances to keep from crying. And I know our hardest days are yet to come.

As Selah grows, so will the trials. The questions will get harder. She is going to feel pain and heartache. She will struggle with something. Times will get harder. I know....

But every time someone asks me how it feels, all I can answer with is how I feel:

I feel blessed to be chosen by God to raise this little girl. Blessed. Out of all the possible outcomes, God saw fit, Selah's birth family saw fit, and all sorts of agents, judges, and specialists saw fit that she be placed in our hands.

I feel blessed to know that it goes beyond someone just seeing fit, but that is was divinely orchestrated that she is here with us now. Before we were chosen for Selah, our puny little profile was placed in the hands of two other families who were very interested. And both times we just knew that it wasn't the right fit. Both times, God closed those doors. The way He timed everything, and delivered on His promises could never be stamped as a coincidence or luck. It was His perfect plan.

I feel so thankful for the passion that grew in mine and my husband's heart for adoption. And I am thankful that God took the time that He did with our story to grow that passion...that He shut the doors for us toward fertility treatments and procedures that would have caused us to miss out on Selah. In many ways, the honest brutal truth is that I'm thankful that He closed my womb in the first place (oh the years it has taken me to even type those words).

I feel so overwhelmingly grateful for the match that was made between Jeremy and I, and Selah's birth mom. It is because of God's goodness that we were not only chosen by her, but that I was allowed the opportunity to be there for the birth, to hold my baby right after she was born. I will never be able to fully describe how grateful I am that I didn't have to miss out on that. I will forever cherish the things - the conversations, the building of trust, and relationship, no matter how big or small - that happened in that little hospital room over that one week.

I am so blessed to know God's peace that surpasses all understanding. From not knowing if we would ever have children, to then holding our baby girl in our arms and not knowing if we would be able to keep her...It is only because of God's peace that we made it through. There was a huge scare after Selah was born regarding paternity. The guy who was thought to be the birth father was very uncertain from the beginning as to whether he was or not. Once Selah was born, and another possible birth father came into the mix, we found ourselves in a very scary situation. With DNA test results pending, we were terrified that neither possibility would be willing to go through with the adoption. 

 I'll never forget the day we left the hospital with our baby. Before we could drive home, we had to meet at the agency to sign some final documents, and all I remember is our adoption specialist looking us in the eyes and telling us that she thought it would be best to place Selah in interim care until the DNA results came back. She wanted to do what she could to protect us from getting our hearts ripped out if the results didn't work out in our favor (one of the potential birth father's signed his consent regardless of the DNA results, and the other wanted to parent if he turned out to be the father). Anyway, the specialist looked at us and gave us her thoughts on what she would do if we left the decision up to her for interim care. I felt the fight well up inside and I told her through an emotional breakdown that I didn't care about my heart being ripped out. Tear this brand new baby away from me after all we just went through, put her in interim care, and you'll see my heart be ripped out anyway. Jeremy and I agreed that we were willing to take the "at risk placement", we signed the risky placement form, and we took our baby home to care for her for the three weeks we had to wait for DNA results. All that to say that I'm blessed to have had the peace of God during that time. It guarded my heart and gave me the strength I needed in that moment to make the best decision, rather that fearing the unknown and missing out on nearly the entire first month of Selah's life.

I am so blessed to be loved by this little girl. Maybe she'll question things later, but for now I just soak up the mother-daughter bond between us that isn't determined by strands of DNA. I bask in the love of a Savior that is blind to race and ethnicity. I give thanks that no matter what it took to get here, that God brought us here. Together. Our little family of three.

It's in my answer to people's question of what it feels like that it hits me:

It doesn't matter how hard it gets at times. It doesn't matter what it looks like. It doesn't matter how conventional or unconventional. It just matters that it's God's plan. And when it's His plan, it just works. Doesn't mean it is always easy, or that it won't be hard. But even in the midst of the difficult, when it's God who is orchestrating, not us, the good outweighs the bad. Light will shine no matter how dark sometimes. Joy will be present, and we will find thanks, because God prevails. Always.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shopping for Selah...

Thanks be to God, our adoption was finalized yesterday :) We are happy to now live out our days as an official family of three!

We're still in the process of paying for the adoption. Fortunately, we were able to take out a loan before finalization, which allowed us to pay off our balance with the adoption agency. But unfortunately, we now have a monthly payment at over $300 that we will put out until the loan balance is paid off. We had to take out the loan because we were denied by every grant organization we applied for, and our balance had to be paid in full before our court hearing. We are happy it worked out and we were able to complete the adoption, but the added monthly expense is pretty overwhelming...and providing for a child on a daily basis is expensive as it is!

Needless to say, we've made a few steps in the last couple of months to eliminate quite a bit of debt to allow some breathing room to make the loan payment. We sold my car recently, and down-graded to a reliable, but less-expensive vehicle, and we're currently working on selling my husband's SUV to do the same. This has helped, but even still, we it is a little disappointing to know that we had to take out a loan in order to have a family. What in the world?!

Nevertheless, we're thankful. We are just going to take more steps forward to do some fundraising to pay off this loan. So without further ado, I present to you

One of my best friends, whose blog you must frequent, is a wonderful 31 Gifts consultant. A few weeks ago, she came to me with an idea she had to host a 31 party, but donate a great portion of the funds towards our adoption. So we began brainstorming, and I am so excited over what we came up with!

One of my favorite parts, though, is that even though many people won't be able to physically come to the party, there is still a way you can help online!

1. Click on this link

2. Browse the online catalog and pick out a bunch of things you like!

3. Click on My Events, then Shopping for Selah

4. Place your order :)

25% of every purchase will be donated to our adoption fund! See! Great idea :) This will be the third 31 Gifts party that I've been to, and I have found something I love and made purchases at every one! It's a great line of products! So Shop, Shop, Shop away!! Thanks :)

Monday, March 5, 2012


Tomorrow is a very big day, to say the least. Today I find myself at a loss for words. Jeremy and I are so excited, relieved, and ready to put the final seal of approval on this chapter in our lives, and grateful to be so blessed to get to be Mom and Dad to this beautiful little girl forever.


I want you to know how much we love you. As I put you in your pretty dress tomorrow, I want you to know that the day means much more than just sparkles and frills. As Momma and Daddy drive away from the house with you, it means much more than just a car ride and a quick nap. And when you see us cry in front of the old guy in the black robe, we want you to know that we are not sad in the least bit. Everything your little eyes see happen tomorrow has been in God's plan since before any of us were ever created, and the tears you will see us cry are tears of complete JOY and CELEBRATION over YOU.
You, my little girl, are our miracle. You are a perfect picture of how mighty and powerful our God is...how GOOD HE is. Your life has brought so much more than just middle-of-the-night wake up calls and dirty diapers. Your life has brought

We are going to celebrate your official addition to our family tomorrow. It's going to be a day all about you, the miraculous gift that you are. We want you to know that you have a story. You have purpose, and a calling in this life.

You are such a blessing, little girl. From the moment I watched you take your first breath, I knew you were created for something big. I felt it.

In the upcoming years, as you learn your story, we want you to know that although the circumstances might be a little different than some other families, we are your Momma and Daddy. Always have been, and always will be.

You are one loved baby, Selah. LOVED. So try not to get too upset with us tomorrow as we kiss your face off.

So that being said, officially, legally,
Welcome to the family, Selah Laren Moore!


Monday, February 20, 2012


Just a few things :)
  • I've been talking a bunch about finalization being "right around the corner", but it literally is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. March 6th to be exact. To be honest, we didn't expect it to be so soon (mainly because of what we were being told), but we should've known that with the way timing has worked out throughout this entire process, finalization would be no exception. So in about two weeks, we will walk into the court house and hear the best news of our lives! We are ecstatic!
  • With finalization comes a pretty hefty amount due that we still need to pay for this adoption. Time has not been on our side when it comes to having enough (time) to raise the funds, but there are a few things in the works that we are believing that God is going to use tremendously to allow people to pull together to help. Be on the look out in the next few days to see how you can help!
  • Selah is almost 5 months old, and I cannot believe it. I feel like these months have gone by so fast that I barely remember what it was like in the first days. Lately I've been watching all of our videos and scrolling through every picture to take myself back. Part of me grieves a little over not soaking in every single moment, but then the rest of me is trying with all of my might to not let another 5 months slip away without doing just that. I am so thankful for the way that God has designed my little family. I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my sweet girl, and I will not allow a schedule, or circumstances, or anything else to cloud my perspective and steal me away from being fully present for her. All the bad days, the stress, or any other yuck is not worth it. She is worth it. And always will be.
  • From the time we brought her home, we've had to go through adoption agency supervisory visits once a month. Basically all that means is that our adoption specialist comes to our house once a month until finalization, and interviews, observes, and takes notes on things like bonding/attachment, how we are adjusting, baby's development, etc.. Well thank God we just had our very last visit last week. We love our adoption specialist, but we are beyond happy that these visits are over. There is nothing like feeling like your every move with your child is being documented, and with our last visit came a great presence of freedom. We are ready to just fully embrace our roles as Selah's mom and dad, and sever the things that have made us feel like temporary caretakers.
  • Lastly (for now), I will end with the fact that I am completely in love. The past few weeks with my daughter have really begun to show how much she recognizes me, wants me, and needs me. And there is something so rewarding about that. There is still a part of me that wonders, and longs to know what it feels like to bond with a baby growing inside for 9 months. If I gave birth, I wonder if our baby would look like me or my husband. Those thoughts exist, and probably always will. But it doesn't make me any less of a mother. Selah brings out the mommy inside of me, and her life fulfills the calling that has always been for my life. I look at her and I see my purpose. And now I know that that purpose goes beyond pregnancy or just having a baby. It goes beyond just being a mom, or wife. The purpose doesn't end with a title. I believe that me being a mom, specifically a mom to Selah, and adopting, and journeying all of this with my husband, that these are all just parts to the bigger picture of God's glory... God's glory in this life, on this earth, for His kingdom. As I watch her grow, and as I take care of her, I am overwhelmed by how much I love her. She is such a miracle. Such a beautiful creation, and I cannot wait to see what God calls her to in life. I am her Mom, and I am such a lucky lady.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On the horizon...

Yesterday at 2:00 p.m., the TPR (termination of parental rights) hearing was successfully completed. Hubs and I have an appointment with our attorney on February 2nd to schedule our finalization date, and get a load of legal documents squared away.

Finalization is on the horizon, people. This is crazy...and awesome.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Where we're at...

Today has felt heavy. I've felt God speaking to me through different means. First a song, and its lyrics pierced me, and broke me once again with gratitude. Then a phone call from the agency that delivered good and bad news all in one statement. And most recently a letter...one that we've been waiting to read for 90 days, but it didn't quite deliver the congratulatory words we've been hoping for. Nevertheless, God is good.

It began this morning with a song. The lyrics echoed through my living room, as I rocked my baby to sleep for a nap. This is rare, a moment like what Selah and I shared as she fell asleep in my arms. Usually at times when we're home and she's ready for bed, I lay her down and she drifts off into her own little land of sweet dreams. But I believe God gave me this moment this morning, with the following song filling in the background, to touch my soul with a reminder that He is here. Present. Alive. Working. Just as He was when He gave us Selah. We rocked and listened, then I laid her down in her bed, and I let the thankfulness overtake me, as I cried in awe of such an amazing Savior.

From the first break of light to last days
Every echo of time every evening fade
You've always been there

From a baby's first cry to last breath
Every fight in our minds, every victory dance
You've always been there

Ancient One, so amazing, unfailing You are
Holy One, overwhelming my heart with your love

Yahweh, Yahweh
Faithful God, You're here to stay
Yahweh, Yahweh
Forever, and always the same...

Where the sky meets the sea and breaks free
When compassion and love are met with need
You've always been there

All consuming, everlasting
God Almighty, Lord of Glory

A while later, my phone rang with a reminder from a social worker from our adoption agency. There will be a court hearing tomorrow that will result in termination of parental rights (TPR) for Selah's birth parents. Good news from this hearing is that we could be as soon as 30 days out from finalization. Finally, an end in sight. The bad news, the rip-your-heart-out realization, is that tomorrow will be their (birth parents) end to this process. Done. It weighs so heavily on my heart.

As I let these things settle in, I took a walk to the mailbox. There inside was a letter from an organization regretfully informing us that we have been denied in regards to a grant that we applied for back when our home study was completed/we brought Selah home. It's a long story, but basically, since there were literally only about 10 days in between the approval of our home study and the day we brought home our baby, we were limited on time to fill out applications for financial assistance with our adoption. Believe me when I say that we had "plans". We were banking on having "12-18" months of expected wait time before we thought we would ever be chosen as adoptive parents. We researched and found several grants that we wanted to apply for, but they wouldn't even consider looking at our applications until our home study was completed and approved. But once that time came, much to our surprise, we were quickly chosen, and right after that we had a baby in our home. Although fortunate in the blessing that we were given, it became unfortunate that several of our financial assistance options would no longer assist us since the baby's placement had already occurred. We were still hopeful though, and sent applications out to the few organizations left who said they wouldn't discount our attempts just because we already had Selah. Well, to wrap this paragraph up, they accepted our application, but denied us from any help. No explanation as to why, just a sweet letter of their regrets and apologies.

But we will not give up, and we will not lose hope. We are praying for a miracle. And we trust that God is going to make a way for this balance to be paid before our finalization date.

I've watched God take my life and turn it into what He's always wanted it to be. He has written this story in a way that I never imagined. At times I was disappointed. Left feeling hopeless, drowning in a sea of unanswered questions, and unmet expectations. But what I've come to realize, and what I've witnessed first hand, is that God works best when we allow Him to work. Things happen when we let go of our expectations, and give up our earthly desires to align our lives with Him... For me it meant giving up on a dream and welcoming His plan for my life. And then He blew my mind. No, things didn't line up the way I thought I wanted them to, but now I'm glad they didn't.

I don't know exactly where I wanted this post to go. Maybe it's a jumbled mess. But while I sit here and type in the midst of much uncertainty, I feel the weight of His love on my shoulders. And I realize that I'm the uncertain one...not God.

"God loves to take hopeless situations and gush hope into them and see it explode and make things beautiful" ~Daniel Bashta

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Birth family and adoptive family dynamics can be such a heap of confusion sometimes. It's one of the aspects of our process so far that has brought about the most questions. It's the number one thing that I worry about when I wonder about the future and how everything is going to pan out. I feel such an overwhelming amount of responsibility when it comes to how Jeremy and I are going to raise Selah to understand her story. I worry about the hurt she might feel as she navigates her way through questions, feelings, and dreams she may have about her birth family. I constantly pray that we just get it right.

Upon meeting Selah's birth mom, and even before we were ever matched with her, we decided that it was important to us to always raise our child with the knowledge of their adoption. It's important to us for our baby girl to know where she comes from, and to possibly give her the opportunity to know her birth family if it was important to them to be involved in her life. So we settled on starting out with a semi-open adoption, and we committed to keeping our hearts open and willing to develop relationships over time with whatever birth family God connected us with. We were beyond excited after talking with Selah's birth mom for the first time, after learning how it was important to her to choose an adoptive family who were willing to be open with her. Spending a week before the birth with her was an absolute blessing, and I was so thankful and relieved to be able to discuss things with her and come up with a plan as to how we would proceed to keep in touch after the baby was born. Things happened so naturally between us, and I remember leaving the hospital with our sweet baby, feeling so confident in the hopes that our relationships with her birth family would just continue to grow and flourish.

In the few weeks after the baby was born, we continued to stay in touch with each other through email and text messaging. We even met at the agency when Selah was 2 weeks old for a sweet visit. But it has tapered off tremendously since then. We continue to update the family with pictures/letters, and email, but have yet to hear a reply. And it breaks my heart like something crazy. My heart aches not for me, or Jeremy, but for birth mom...and Selah's siblings...and most of all for this sweet baby girl.

I think about this woman every single day. I want to be there for her like I was able to be in the hospital. I want to know how she's doing, how she's feeling. I look into Selah's eyes and I see her. The way Selah looks like her, it's haunting.

I have a beautiful picture that I took of birth mom holding Selah for the very first time in the hospital. It's such a special photo - one that captures both the love & adoration, and heartbreak that this sweet woman was feeling in that moment leading up to having to say goodbye. I remember the urgency I felt to immediately go and have the picture printed and framed to put on display in the nursery. I just had this vision of Selah waking up and seeing it every day, learning the woman's name that is holding her in the picture, and connecting it to her knowledge of her beautiful adoption story...

But sometimes now I wonder if that is the best decision.

I am overwhelmed with compassion for these birth parents. I do not understand how they are feeling, that kind of heartache... To make sense of things, I tell myself that it probably is just easier for them to keep their distance. I pray away anger or resentment, and ask God to continue to grace me with compassion for the entire situation. But the distance hurts, especially as we see it slip further and further away. The lack of response hurts. Not for me...but for Selah.

I try not to question how we will do this, and instead just trust that God will give us all the love, compassion, and wisdom that we will need to be there for our daughter as she figures out who she is in Christ, rather than a bloodline. We just trust that He will guide our hearts and our steps as we teach her to lean into His loving arms. We just trust that God will continue to fill us with so much love for her that she never has to question, but she will literally be able to feel it. We will trust that she will always know an abundance of family, and that she will see that DNA doesn't define who does and does not fall into this category. We trust that God will lead us to be everything that she will need in a mom and dad, and that He will comfort us as we comfort her if the answers aren't there. And we will trust that He will show us the way and give us the words we need to do what is best for her.