Friday, November 28, 2008

When does our story begin?

I was asked to share the story of Samuel next week at a mom's group at my church. I’ve pondered the year…the month…the season that our story begins.

Does our story begin with March 9, 2001 – our wedding day? When Ryan and I chose Ecclesiastes 3:11 as our wedding verse: He has made everything beautiful in its time. We chose that verse because from our first date – June 22, 1993 to our wedding day – was nearly an eight-year journey. We had a rough ride at times, but God took us apart so that we could find ourselves and Him, and then in His great wisdom and mercy, brought us back together.

Does our story begin with the fall of 2005 when we decided it was time to grow our family? Ten months later I had the great privilege of telling Ryan on June 4, 2006, that he would be a dad. Two weeks later on Father’s Day, we told both of our parents they would become grandparents for the first time. We all cried tears of joy. Then on July 10, 2006, I had the beginning signs of a miscarriage and our lives were changed forever. We never got to hold or meet our precious baby.

Does our story begin with July 2006 as we began a two-year season of waiting? We were tested and found to have ‘unexplained infertility.’ We chose not to pursue fertility treatment and instead waited on the Lord. What followed were months of difficult, impatient, confusing, misunderstood, and painful waiting.

Does our story begin with August 2008, when I discovered God had blessed us with a pregnancy for the second time? Tears of joy could not be contained. Praises could not be kept quiet. A 7-week ultrasound could not hide the precious beat of our baby’s heart. A 9-week ultrasound could not hide the heart-wrenching truth that once again, our baby had died.

Does our story begin with October 2008 when we got a call that a 19-year-old birth mom had just given birth to a baby boy and was looking for a family to adopt him? He was less than 24 hours old. Were we interested? Would she choose us? We knew very little about adoption. But we knew a God who was bigger than our heartache and better than our wildest dreams. From phone call to parenthood was less than five hours.

After wondering, questioning and pondering when our story begins, I realize this story really isn’t about me. Or Ryan. Or Samuel.

I am the storyteller, but this is a story about the Lord. And it’s a story of astonishing grace. Unending faithfulness. Incredible sovereignty. Unexpected blessings. An inconceivable plan. Perfect timing. And a magnificent miracle.

From everlasting to everlasting you are God. And our story will always begin and end with you.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It wouldn't have mattered

Dear Samuel,

During the years that your dad and I waited for you, I was given a book of devotionals that became a life preserver for me. I underlined, marked, folded pages, tagged topics, and referred to it over and over again. It was as if I had penned many of the words myself. The author made me feel valued and understood. The book is titled Moments for Couples Who Long For Children by Ginger Garrett.

While many of the devotions spoke right to my heart throughout our journey of waiting, I never quite understood the last devotional of the book. I could not identify with the author on her unique perspective. That devotional starts with these words: After a long battle with infertility, I had a son in the fall of 1999. When the nurses bundled him up and laid him in my arms for the first time, I gazed on his face and out came words that revealed a surprising realization: “It wouldn’t have mattered.” I am sure the nurses didn’t understand my muttering, but I felt seized with love for this precious infant – not because he came from my womb, but because he came from God. “It wouldn’t have mattered” to me had he been adopted or come from my womb.

In the midst of my struggle with infertility, having rejoiced over and mourned the loss of two precious babies, I could not comprehend how “it wouldn’t have mattered” whether my babies were adopted or biological.

But today Samuel I have a new perspective. I see with different eyes. I feel with a different heart. I have experienced the unbelievable joy of holding you in my arms and watching you break into a smile that melts every inch of my heart.

So today I say to you Samuel: it doesn’t matter one bit. I am fiercely and madly in love with you my little miracle man. I could not love a biological child more than I love you…maybe that is because I know that you truly are a gift from our great God.

On the day before Thanksgiving 2008 I say to you Lord: Thank you for the gift of Samuel. I recognize that he comes straight from your arms to mine. Thank you for teaching me the lesson: “it wouldn’t have mattered.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Waiting

When I began my journey of waiting in the fall of 2005, I didn't know I was 'beginning my journey of waiting.'

I didn't know the pain of waiting and longing.

I didn't know the confusion of unanswered prayer.

I didn't know the struggle of trusting and believing in a God who seemed silent.

But today I am so thankful for my waiting. I am thankful because of the people I met. The friendships I made. The relationships that were built during this time. I am thankful because it makes me so much more appreciative of Samuel and motherhood.

I am thankful for my waiting because it forever changed me.

Today I rejoice with my friend Jeri because she has walked this road of waiting alongside me and today her waiting comes to end. I look forward to celebrating with her tonight the miracles of new babies.

Today I mourn for friends who recently miscarried. My heart physically hurts for them because I have been where they are. The physical pain, the emotional pain, the questions of, "Why me? Why my baby?"

Today my heart is tender for those friends who are still waiting. They are becoming strong women whether they recognize it or not. God is using this waiting to mold and refine them. He is teaching them through this waiting season.

May we all be so blessed that we go through waiting seasons of our lives....

May we all trust in a God who is sovereign...

May we all get to experience the joy of a miracle when we wait on the Lord...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Things I haven't gotten used to yet

There are new sounds at the May household...

There are new smells at the May household...

There are new sights at the May household...

Here are just a few:
















Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm overwhelmed

I am so overwhelmed that I cannot sleep. I just laid down for a nap...since last night was not a night of sweet sleep...and I cannot sleep because I am so overwhelmed.

I cannot shut off my brain long enough to sleep.

I'm overwhelmed that for the past 7 weeks God has poured out his goodness on us.

I'm overwhelmed that for 7 weeks I haven't had to cook...the meals just keep coming.

I'm overwhelmed that my parents and Ryan's parents call with donations and gifts from neighbors, friends and family.

I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of people who have dropped off boxes of boy clothing.

I'm overwhelmed by the cards and gifts we have received.

I'm overwhelmed that people we don't even know, have loaned us their pack-n-play, baby Bjorn, changing table, and bouncy seat.

I'm overwhelmed that people we don't even know, have GIVEN us their high chair, stroller and swing.

I'm overwhelmed by the people in my life who want to throw baby showers to celebrate our miracle.

I'm overwhelmed by the number of people who have told me that they have been encouraged by Samuel's story and how it has reminded them of God's faithfulness and His perfect timing in our lives.

I'm overwhelmed that for the rest of my life...I will get to tell people the miraculous story of how Samuel Lee May came to be with our family.

I'm overwhelmed and that's why I cannot sleep.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

C E L E B R A T E

The last time Ryan and I met with our adoption attorney she told us the waiting period for both birth parents was up, but not to celebrate yet because we had one final search that had to be performed with the birth father. We weren't concerned about the outcome of the search, but I've been keeping my eye on the mail these days....and I'm becoming quite appreciative of our mail man. He keeps delivering me very good mail.

Minutes ago I opened a letter from our attorney dated November 17:

"Enclosed is the Search Results statement I received from the Minnesota Father's Adoption Registry. This shows that no one came forward and filed with the Registry within the 30 days after birth required by law."

Here I am home alone. I can hardly keep from crying. My little man is sleeping in the other room and has no idea of the significance of this piece of paper I hold in my hand.

It means he is ours. The birth father did not come forward at any point to claim his rights.

Now it's time to C E L E B R A T E!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

So...

So happy...so kissable...so sweet...so adorable. We are so in love with you little man.





























Friday, November 14, 2008

I can't believe it!

"I can't believe it! I can't believe you're here. I can't believe you're in our house. I can't believe how much I love you."

Spoken at 7 a.m. this morning by a proud dad who was very much procrastinating going to work so he could see his little man before he left.

Yesterday my friend Jeri Anne and I said the same thing as we were driving in her car with our two car seats and two kiddos in the back. "We can't believe we're actually in the car with our two babies!"

I hope and pray the awe of our stories and the preciousness of new life doesn't wear off any time soon.

What a privilege to be living a miracle that's so hard to believe! God is good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comments

Some of you have told me that you wanted to leave a comment but couldn't figure out how...or that you needed a Google/Blogger ID. We changed the comments to allow anyone to post a comment (without having an ID). So feel free to leave a message just by clicking on Comment under each posting, click on anonymous for your identity, and leave Samuel a message!

Sample comments might include notes such as:

Dear Samuel,
You are so cute. In fact you are one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. You have great parents. I mean, really great parents. They must be taking such good care of you. Speaking of good, wow, you are one good-looking baby!

:)

A bundle of sweetness

Tomorrow Samuel will be 6 weeks old.

How is that possible?

To celebrate this milestone he slept 11-5:30 two nights ago and he slept 11-7 (8 hours!) last night for the first time. Of course, I didn't sleep 11-7 because I thought for certain there must be something wrong.

I truly love the late-night feedings...everything is so quiet and calm and it's just me and my boy sharing secrets late at night.

But I also love sleep so it's a beautiful thing to get 6+ hours in a row.

Now my second favorite time with Samuel is early in the morning after he wakes up and we have breakfast together in bed. He has 4 oz of formula and I have toast or cereal.

Then I read or write or sleep and he sleeps on the pillow next to me for a couple hours.

I know this could lead to some bad habits...but for now I'm not letting that stop me. Before long I'm sure he'll outgrow my pillow and we'll be on to something new.

For now, I love to look over at my bundle of sweetness....and this is what I see:

I scrapbooked this past weekend while Ryan and Samuel hung out together.

I played around with a new software by Creative Memories called StoryBook Creator Plus. It's basically digital scrapbooking. I call it Photoshop for dummies because it is very similar to Adobe's Photoshop program.

It's awesome and I had so much fun making pages for Samuel. I used one photo per page and typed up letters that I've written to Samuel for the journaling. Here's a few that I created for my little man....























Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Samantha

Dear Samantha,

Happy Birthday! I believe you are turning 20 today.

I hope you are doing something fun and memorable to celebrate your special day.


I have been thinking about you today. I have been thanking God for you. I have been telling Samuel that his birth mom is a wonderful woman.

I have been pondering the gifts you are getting today and the incredible gift you gave to Ryan and I.

I am so thankful for you Samantha. I am thankful for the selfless gift you gave us and the way in which you did so.

We wish you a very happy birthday. Know we are thanking God for you today!

Love,
The Mays

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
Oh little man...you are growing up too fast.


You had your one month appointment at the pediatrician this week. You weigh 9lbs, 6 oz. and you are 22 1/2 inches.

You gained 2 1/2 lbs and grew 2 1/2 inches.

I am going to quit feeding you. I don't want you to grow up. Not yet.

I can hardly believe you are here....and before I know it you'll be 16.

I don't want to sleep. I don't want to blink. I don't want to look away.

I'm afraid the next time I look at you or wake up, you'll be a toddler, then a child, then a teenager, then a man.

I know they say every stage is more fun than the last.

But this stage is so so sweet. And it goes by so fast. And I'll never get it back again.

So stay small my sweet baby boy...my little miracle man...for just a little while longer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Miracle Man

mir⋅a⋅cle

[mir-uh-kuhl]
–noun
1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.
2. such an effect or event manifesting or considered as a work of God.
3. a wonder; marvel.
4. a wonderful or surpassing example of some quality: a miracle of modern acoustics.

Our miracle:

http://www.serendipityphoto.com/slideshows/

Password: samuel

Be sure to have your music turned on....


Photos and slideshow courtesy of Jen Turcotte with http://www.serendipityphoto.com/

Parking lot encounters

So last night I was on my way home around 8 p.m. and Samuel started crying in the back seat. When this starts I try to get his nuk back in...sometimes that helps, sometimes not.

Sometimes he falls asleep and sometimes he just gets louder.

And louder.

And more upset.

I try not to pull over unless the cries begin to become silent for a brief moment which means he is crying so hard that he is working his way into the next scream.

Last night the scream escalated so I got off 694 and pulled into a parking lot. I jumped in the back seat to see what the problem was.

I tried to calm him down but to no avail. So I made him a bottle and he ate a little and burped.

And then it hit me:

What am I doing?

I'm in the back of my car. In a parking lot. At 8:30 p.m. at night. Trying to soothe my crying baby boy.

Am I really here? In a parking lot, in the back seat of my car, with a BABY?

It's times like these that it hits me all over again...

How can I possibly have a baby? How can I be sitting in a parking lot trying to calm my screaming baby?

How did this happen?

Whose baby is this?

Am I dreaming?

Is it for real?

When will it end?

Since it takes most women nine months to prepare, I'm giving myself nine months to soak in the reality that Samuel is here. He is ours.

And most likely there will be a few more parking lot encounters in the weeks to come!

Monday, November 3, 2008

One month down....

...forever to go! One month ago today Samuel was born. He is doing great and we have our one-month appt at the pediatrician on Wednesday.

Ryan and I met with our adoption attorney this afternoon. They will do a search to make sure the birth father didn't register himself as Samuel's father in the last two weeks. Once that comes through clear, we are officially good to go!
For now we are moving ahead with the adoption process.

Our next step is the post-placement study. Typically the home study and post placement are not done within one month's time. Our home study counselor will pay us another visit, and then (hopefully!) make a recommendation to the court that Samuel should be placed with us.

Once this recommendation comes through, our attorney will set a court hearing date. It has to be at least three months past the date of the Pre-Adoption Custody Order which came through on October 30. So we think in February some time we'll go before a judge to receive final legal custody of Samuel.

We look forward to this date and plan to celebrate it with our families.

Samuel started smiling on Friday....we're loving it. Here's some photos I took tonight of our one-month little man: