Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Early Bird

Much like the average person, Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning were such a time of anticipation and excitement for me. Trying to fall asleep, waking many times in the night checking the alarm clock to see if it was time to get up, and finally rising before the sun came up. I remember our routine on Christmas Morning: I would run into the living room and grab the stockings from under the tree. Trying not to take a peak in the large socks, I would then bust through my parents door waking them up with my less than quiet entrance. It was time to curl up in the middle of mom and dad in bed and begin pulling out each item. At that moment I would get all settled and ready to go, dad would roll over, bless me with a Christmas Greeting and instruct me to first go make a pot of coffee. Seriously! We had some serious work to do, no one had time for such nonsense. It was clear to me at these moments why dad had taught me at such a young age to make a good pot, regardless if I actually would partake of such grossness. What felt like days later, the pot was brewed and mom and dad were ready.

Here I am thirty something years later, awake in my bed, coffee in hand, full of excitement for the rest of the house to wake up on this beautiful Christmas Morning. Why, at such a “mature” age, would I be experiencing such child like anticipation? My waking up every hour on the hour to check the clock, setting the alarm for a time that usually feels like murder, hopping straight out of bed, debating whether a cup of coffee is even necessary, is all catching me quite off guard. I thought I had already grown out of these eager behaviors.

As I sit and wait for the rest of the house to join me, I hear the sweet short breaths of our brand new baby boy coming from the monitor in his nursery. Today will be this little boy’s first Christmas. A year, when paper, bows, and boxes are the most exciting part, however, the tree is filled with much more. But why? I feel I have spent the last several weeks trying to prepare my heart for the true meaning of Christmas, spending time focusing on Christ’s birth and trying to lower my child like expectations of what society tells us Christmas should look like. So why am I still reacting in such a way as this?

I have come to the realization it’s ok, today we are celebrating Christ’s love and sacrifice for us. As part of his love for me and my husband, we were gifted with this sweet bundle of joy. Today, we celebrate life. We celebrate love. We celebrate joy. We celebrate hope. We celebrate peace. We celebrate family. With this celebration comes: anticipation, gifts, and blessings to and from others. God is so faithful, God is so loving, and today we fully embrace that as we wake early, as we spend time with our families, as we gift those we love, and as we thank the Lord for sending his son to this earth.
Merry Christmas 2013!
- The Early Bird

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

And For This I Am Thankful...

I never expected that in my most joyful moment I would experience such pain. A pain I have never felt before. It was someone else’s pain, a stranger, who I so rapidly felt love toward. In this moment my joy was overwhelming, it gleamed from my soul. After a season of experiencing the dryness of the wilderness I could see the black cloud in the distance, rain was approaching. God’s showering of blessings in my life was nearing.

In knowing something so wonderful, so life changing was about to take place, how could I feel such grief? Empathy, compassion, love, and mercy, were all things I prayed for in this moment and so desperately needed. God placed me in this humbling and sober place. I knew he would get me through. It was Friday, July 12th, 2013, five days before my husband and I would be bringing home our brand new baby boy, a newborn not born to us, but given.

The day we had been waiting for, the day we dreamed of, was quickly approaching. The day we had so earnestly prayed for. On that Friday afternoon, we were faced with the grief of two parents who had grown to know this little boy for nine months, feeling him move and grow in his mother’s belly. The day came when this couple knew their time with their little boy was up. They could not care for this child once he was born. These nine months were all they would ever have with him. The mother, making the hardest decision of a lifetime, followed her heart, and relinquished this sweet precious baby, never once seeing his face.

Our conversation with this couple was an hour of listening to their heart crying out, hearing their wishes for this child, and telling us that they believe we are the couple to carryout and finish what was started. That day, in that room, God’s presence was thick. My husband Jeff and I prayed that God give us his wisdom, his words, and his love as we heard from this hurting couple. He met all of these.

On Friday, July 12th a couple so courageously gifted my husband and I one of the best gifts we have ever received. On that day, a child to us was born, and on that day, a child for them was lost. We grieved with these strangers over their loss, and hugged them with joy for their gift.

After hours of classes, interviews, and conversations preparing us for this moment in adoption, no one could ever prepare us for this authentic meeting in God’s grace, love, and mercy. It is that day, in that moment, I rejoice. I reflect on that day, a short four months ago. We were brought together, forever through our child, with this broken and hurting couple, a relationship that will forever be a journey. This baby, this gift, has changed our lives, our home, our relationship. God is faithful and truly is completing in us, what he has started. And for this I am thankful… 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


As a young girl, I remember frequently playing MASH with my best friend, a paper and pencil game, commonly played by preteens intended to predict one's future. These predictions included the two of us living on neighboring farms, marrying tall blondes with blue eyes, tending to our herd of horses, while raising our children. To be even more specific we each would have three children, for myself, it was two boys and one girl, with the girl being the youngest of the bunch. We would drive trucks, and ride and train horse for a living. Life on the farm would be perfect, and all personal needs/desires would be sufficiently met.   

If only our future could be so easily predicted, dreamed up, and even as clearly mapped out as this. Often times as we try to navigate through our lives with such control we find ourselves only confused and disappointed when our personal plans and expectations fall through. We place such pressure to succeed and fail to plan how we will react when this expected success does not happen.

Around my husband’s and my seventh wedding anniversary we finally had decided to take the next step in life, parenting. Given the fact that we had the opportunity to witness many friends enter this stage in life much before our decision to. We realized we could be embarking on a “not-so-fun” adventure, trying to conceive. Both Jeff and I had decided to make a decision before we began trying to get pregnant, discussing how we would handle fertility, if we were to struggle, and at what point would we implement “plan b”, whatever that would end up being.

At the beginning of this new season in life, we made the heartfelt decision to adopt if getting pregnant was not on our side. We enjoyed the first several months of this journey and tried to make this time together fun and not stressful, however, reality and doubt began to hit. I would be lying if I said I did not experience frustration and sadness as I began to wonder about our future with the more and more time that passed. It was a future that years ago, was so clear, now fogging over with confusion and hopelessness.

Even though we had made a plan for the unexpected possibility that pregnancy may not naturally happen, I did not feel it was concrete or possible. Adoption felt so comfortable to discuss when it was just a plan that was never to be needed, but when the reality of our situation continued to hit us, adoption felt scary and unknown, yet a glimpse of hope. God began placing people in our lives who, had adopted children or were currently en route. We started using the term more frequently, as if we knew what it meant for our lives. The foreign word and concept started to seep into our minds, hearts, and relationship. This “plan b” became our primary focus, all we wanted, all we knew.

When it comes to God’s plan for our lives, all he is asking from us, in the way of helping, is to have faith in him. The day we brought our twelve day old baby boy home, was a day that my faith in God grew. God reveled his love for us through sending this little boy, who so desperately needed a family to love him, into the arms of a couple who so desired to share their love. I could not have pictured anything more perfect than this.

I recognize that starting a family and the decisions that need to be made are emotional, personal, and overwhelming. How can something so wonderful be so stressful? How can something so well thought out, planned, dreamed, mapped, feel so unorganized, messy, and frustrating? Without God completely driving the ship, we are left wandering through this scary place of life alone. My encouragement not just to parents, but to every individual, is to put down the paper and pencil that continues to map out the perfect scenario and future, it will never be perfect, as long as you continue to try and draw it out on your own. Pray that God change the desires of your heart, pray that you begin to see more clearly his plan for you, that you feel the passion for his calling. Allow time to grieve and readjust your lens on life, and make sure to submit to God’s plans and understand, that no matter what they are they will always be best for you. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Last 76 Hours

The Last 76 Hours-
Life is like a…roller coaster; you never know what the next turn will bring. That pretty much sums up the last 76 hours of our life.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 8:30am:
Jeff and I received a surprise phone call from our Adoption Social Worker, stating she had great news. As I begin to pace around the bedroom, sweat forming on my brow, and the phone shaking by my unsteady hand, she proceeds to tell me they have a little baby boy for us, born on July 5th, 2013 (4 days old, at time of call). The parents are voluntarily relinquishing their rights to the child and have chosen us. I have never experienced emotions the way I did during that moment. On one hand I am composed while talking with the social worker, and on the other hand I am a wreck pacing the room and ready to totally loose it. She informs us we will need to wait for 48 hours to hear more information that will be presented by the birth parent’s Social Worker. I know what you’re thinking: what else…our thoughts exactly. The rest of the day was toast. We were emotional wrecks!

Longest 48 hours of our LIFE!

Thursday, July 11, 2013 4:30pm:
Met with the birth parent’s Social Worker and our Adoption Worker to hear the presentation of baby and his family. Anxious, nervous, worried, excited, the list goes on of the varying emotions being experienced by both Jeff and myself at this point. We hear more exciting and encouraging news about this precious bundle of joy. They revealed he was 7 lbs, and 20.5 in. long, healthy and eating like a champ. After hearing the dynamics of the family and the baby’s current situation, the Social Worker asked how we were feeling. With no immediate setbacks or concerns in moving forward we, with great joy, told her we would love to hear more! She pulled out a picture. Oh boy, our hearts sank. There I was looking at what could be our future son, all swaddled up in a white hospital blanket with a blue and pink hat. Sleeping so peacefully. I could not take my eyes off the picture. Moving forward met meeting the birth parents the following day. Leaving that meeting we knew there was still huge risks involved but we continued to rely on God for strength. We had made a choice, no matter what if this opportunity did not work out we would be disappointed, so we could either live the next hours/days in pure fear and doubt or we could enjoy this gift of hope God has so graciously given us. We decided on the latter option. What a joy ride it has been.

Friday, July 12, 12:30pm:
After a long one-hour and a half drive to the meeting location, Jeff and I arrived to meet the birth parents and the Social Worker. Baby boy was not present at this meeting. Jeff wanted to throw up the whole drive there because of nerves and I just kept almost peeing my pants, needless to say, we were a mess that was going to have to compose ourselves to be empathetic and sincere to this struggling yet courageous couple. This was a time about them and their needs, all our excitement, anxiety, joy, nervousness, had to be put aside and delivered in a sensitive way. We know there are times that God puts people in our lives to love, and sometimes these people are not easy to love. One of our many prayers on the way to this meeting was that this couple would be easy to love. As we walked into the meeting room and sat across the table from two strangers who were considering us to surrender their rights as parents to, I immediately fell in love with them. I admire their selfless decision and commend them for their bravery. God was so present in this meeting and everything went better than we could ever ask for. The couple absolutely loved us as potential parents and had no hang ups about us as a couple or individuals, they recognized that they could not give this baby the life he deserves, and believe that we are the couple that can. We assured them that with God’s help, we could! What a meeting. We hugged, took some pictures to remember our time, and departed ways.

2 minutes later:
Social Worker calls, Jeff and I are hardly out of the driveway of the office, “Their in! They want to move forward!” What an amazing relief. Jeff and I had never felt God so close to us, the way we did during that meeting. Even the Social Worker, during that phone call, mentioned she had never experienced anything like that meeting in all the years she had been working as a Relinquishment Worker. God’s name was glorified, and for that we are so thankful! So what does “moving forward” mean?

Tuesday July 16th 10:30am:
We will go meet baby boy and spend an hour hearing from his current caretaker, who has had him since he left the hospital. Oh and did I mention I will be cuddling, loving, smelling, staring, more staring…all the things a new mommy does with her new born, yes I said smelling, some of you love “New Car Scent” I love “New Baby Scent”. Tuesday feels so far away, my diaper bag is already packed.  

Wednesday July 17th: THE BIG DAY!
Baby comes home! And that’s all I have to say.

Please continue to pray for us during these next several days, weeks, and months as the process is not yet over, and there is always a risk until the adoption is finalized. If everything goes as planned, we are expecting it to take no more than six months! That’s incredible timing. What a word, timing, God has done nothing but continued to reveal who he is through this entire process. Jeff and my faith has grown, literally, by the hour, for the last 76 hours.

*No names or identities can be revealed yet so unfortunately no picture of baby or name can be shared. Please respect this and understand we are eager to share and will do so as soon as we can.  If you are a close friend or relative that knows more information please do not share any info on comments made in any social media circle. Thanks! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hanging By a Thread

The summer before my 30th birthday, Jeff and I spent a week with some friends at the lake on our boat. I struggle to admit it, but I feel I was nearing a crisis that thirty sounded way older than I could possibly be. To top it off, spending a week in my bathing suit on the lake was only adding to this discomfort. I was a short three months from the birthday celebration, and my arm muscles were already loosening, creating what was beginning to look like a flag hanging from my lower arm. I swear our bodies take on a totally different confirmation for each decade we enter.  

Sitting on the edge of our boat, appearing relaxed, but in actuality, obsessing about some of these physical changes and wondering if anyone else could notice. I decided it was time for a dip. I began sliding down the side of the boat, trying my best to gracefully enter the water without making a splash. All of a sudden, before I had time to react, I was hanging upside down with both arms and legs dangling from the side of the boat with the bottoms to my bathing suit caught on the boat cleat, literally “hanging by a thread”, my head inches from the water.

This thread was not about to let go. Through much discomfort, as I am sure you can imagine without my explaining, I reached back, straining to detach my suit from the boat, but no luck. My friend’s attempt to help was poor as she could barely catch her breath through her hysterical laughter. She began to instruct me to swim out of the suit. Now with an audience nearing ten people, I had other things to worry about them noticing, I was now moments from revealing all of these “30 year old changes”. I began trying to find the hull of the boat with my feet. Gripping with my toes, I struggled to push off.

At last, the thread released, and I plunged face first into the water. As I emerged to the surface, my eyes met all those who witnessed my most embarrassing, what felt like way more than a “moment”. Perfect timing to keep everyone’s attention, since all eyes were already on me, I decided to create one more scene as I tried to get back into the boat. Amid my embarrassment and nervous laughter, I began stepping onto the boat drive to help hoist my graceful, 30 year old self up. When, at that very moment, I stood up out of the water onto the back of the boat, I glanced down to notice the bottoms of my suit formed a perfect sling shot, so stretched out they were now hanging down to my knees; talk about going from one embarrassing moment to the next.

How quickly things can change in a moment. There I was worrying about all the changes to “come”, and before I knew it my life was hanging upside down, literally. This is much like the anticipation Jeff and I are feeling as we await the arrival of a little one into our home. As much as we can try to get things ready (adjusting daily routines, preparing the home, reading books, etc.), nothing can fully prepare us for what is about to take place. Before we know it, we will get hit with the surprises of parenting, and will be feeling at times turned upside down, hanging on by nothing but a thread…

Keep the laughs coming and share with us some of life’s greatest moments and lessons of parenting you have experienced. Please feel free to leave a brief comment sharing your own personal stories of when you felt your life was “Hanging By a Thread”.