Friday, February 27, 2009

Best buddies

Samuel and I stayed at my brother's house this week while Ryan was traveling. Samuel jumps all the time now when we hold him and today he started rolling from his back to his belly. This week we've been working on sleep training (thanks to my sister-in-law Meg!) and last night Samuel slept for 12 hours. Woo hoo!! Here is Samuel and his cousin Aaron in matching shirts (they say Majoring In Playtime) and some fun times in the bath tub!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dear Samuel

Dear Sameul,
This week your dad is traveling for work. We've been fortunate because he's been home most of 2009. He will be traveling a lot in the next few weeks and I miss him just thinking about it.

Samuel I want you to know that I could not be more proud of your dad or more thankful for him. Over and over again I think, "I couldn't do this alone. I couldn't be a single parent. I don't know how single moms do it."

I love you oodles and oodles little man, but parenting is tiring, long hours and a lot of work. There are rarely breaks, no holidays and no 'time off the clock.'

From day one of our marriage, your dad has said that we are a team and marriage is about partnership. That was true for the past 8 years and it's true even more today. Taking care of you is best done as a makes me a better mom and your dad a better father.

And what a dad he is! Samuel he thinks about you constantly when he is at work. He shows off pics of you on his computer and Blackberry. He tells people when you roll over, smile and giggle. He misses you so much. Sometimes I wonder who he misses or you?!

But I am so grateful that he loves you so much and takes such good care of you. At night he feeds you, changes you, puts you in your PJS and puts you to bed. All weekend long he takes care of you. He misses you so much while he is at work that he tries to get his fill of you at night and on the weekends. He washes all your bottles so they are clean for me every morning. He loves to make you laugh.

How did we get to be so lucky Samuel? To have such a fantastic dad and husband?

Lets tell him what he means to us:
Ryan we miss you dearly sweetheart. I am so grateful for your partnership in parenting. It is one of God's greatest blessings. You make me a better mom and Samuel adores you.

He hasn't grown one inch since you left and he won't until you come home.

Thanks for working extra hard to provide for us. Thanks for allowing me to stay home and raise our son. Thanks for loving us both so well.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Our staff of faith

Pastor Carlos from the Dominican Republic shared a Word with our team on 6.23.08 while we were on a Missions Trip. These are my notes:

Carlos talked about Moses standing in front of the Red Sea. Behind them were the chariots. Moses was hesitating and the Lord asked what was in his hand?

A staff! He told Moses to raise it up.

When he raised up that staff the winds started blowing. The water started moving.

Carlos told us that we may not have the staff of Moses but we have the faith God left us. We have a staff of faith.

Carlos challenged us to declare with our mouth and declare with our heart that what we were believing and trusting God for would happen.

"The Lord will open ways where there is no way, but you have to believe."

He said, if you believe, if you trust, your miracle will happen. (That's a pretty strong statement don't you think?).

Then Carlos asked us, "What is wrong with waiting for what the Lord has asked/promised you? If you wait it's because you trust Him. Your waiting shows you trust Him."

"The Lord is waiting for you to open up so He can show His glory in your life."

He challenged us to pray, "Open the Red Sea in my life."

Carlos had us raise up our right hand, our staff, and declare with our mouths the miracle we were waiting for. (It must have been a crazy sight....40 Americans sitting in a circle raising up their right hand toward heaven).

Carlos left us with these words to remember, "That crazy Puertan Rican told me something in the Dominican republic and I'm going to believe him."

Of course, as I sat there underneath the beautiful sky on that warm evening when the rain so delicately fell, I raised my hand. I lifted it up....struggling, trying to believe in faith that my miracle would happen. I wanted to trust. I wanted to believe.

You know what I realized tonight on 2.22.09 eight months later?

My miracle was already happening. My miracle was already growing. My miracle was back in Minnesota...God's plan was already being carried out. His plan was already 6 months in the making.

But I didn't know that. Carlos didn't know that.

But that's where faith stepped in.

That's where I had a choice to make....raise my staff in faith or doubt that my future held my heart's desire.

My miracle wasn't as I expected. When I got pregnant in August I thought that was my miracle. But it wasn't. And the reason I believe God didn't allow that to be my miracle?

Because of exactly what Carlos said: "The Lord is waiting for you to open up so He can show His glory in your life."

So God would be glorified.

When we raise our staff in faith, declaring that we trust and believe the Lord, it brings glory to God.
And there is nothing, n o t h i n g, that could possibly make me any happier, than to know that God is glorified through my life and my story.

Oh Moses. You were timid and scared. You had chariots chasing you and your people down. Yet you raised your staff. You allowed God to use your life. And look what your example taught us. Thank you God for our staff of faith. May we raise it boldly and courageously all of our days.

Sweet words

Tonight a friend from church came up to me and said she had to share something with me.

She proceeded to tell me that this past week she was at an out-of-state conference and was telling someone the story of Samuel. She was sharing how he was miraculously given to us and she felt the Lord telling her that Samuel was adopted by us the same way that God adopts all His children.

But God doesn't see us as adopted - He sees us as his very own sons and daughters. The Lord told my friend that Samuel is ours. Adopted or not, he is our son.

She said she felt that God was telling her that Samuel's adoption wasn't the back-up plan, it wasn't plan C or B. It was plan A. All along it was God's plan for Samuel and for us.

What sweet affirmation from the Lord. I am His adopted daughter and He loves me as His very own. Samuel is our adopted son and we love him as our very own flesh and blood.

And to hear again, and have it confirmed in my heart, that God's best, God's greatest plan was to give us Samuel...those were beautiful words to my ears and brought joy to my heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WOW: words on waiting

I have learned a lot about waiting in the past few years. And I am still learning about waiting today.

I decided every so often (weekly, monthly, who knows....), I'll post some words on waiting that have encouraged me in my times of waiting on the Lord. Verses, poems, songs, stories, quotes, etc.

Today this simple verse is one that offers truth, hope, and a promise to those of us who wait. We are all waiting, but WHO are we waiting for? The last line reminds me that we are blessed when we wait for HIM.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
B L E S S E D are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

Monday, February 16, 2009

New blog name

When Ryan and I got married in 2001 we chose Ecclesiastes 3:11 as our wedding verse: He has made everything beautiful in its time.

We spent quite awhile looking for the right verse to represent the work God had done in our relationship.

Ryan came across Ecc. 3:11 and we knew it was perfect. It was an eight-year journey from first date to the altar. We had ups, downs, we broke up for more than a year, and ultimately we were reunited. God had done a mighty work in us.

Eight years was too long for me, but it was exactly the amount of time we needed to get right with God.

Little did we know that Ecclesiastes 3:11 would reflect our journey to parenthood as well. Married for 7 ½ years before God gave us our miracle, it was definitely His timing when our family grew. And it was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

I have been telling Ryan for awhile that we needed a new name for the blog. While we started this blog initially to share our adoption story and update family and friends on the adoption process, this blog has become much more of a place for me to share my heart, lessons learned and life post-adoption.

We both feel that In its time is the perfect reminder that God does make EVERYTHING beautiful. While I have discovered that God’s timing and mine are rarely the same, His timing, His ways, His plans are always better, and always more beautiful.

Next month we'll be married for 8 years. So whatever the future the next 8 years or 88 years...we'll keep trusting, believing and claiming the promise that God makes everything beautiful in its time.

Our birth mom

Many of you have asked about our relationship with Samantha, Samuel's birth mom.

You've wondered if it was an open or closed adoption.

You've wondered what our contact has been like or will be like in the future.

I can honestly say that our relationship is great. We feel so comfortable with Samantha. We are very impressed with her maturity level and how she responded throughout the adoption process.

It is an open adoption so Samantha will be able to see Samuel a couple times a year if she would like and we will send pictures/e-mails/updates. She is our friend on Facebook, we text, e-mail, have each other's addresses and phone numbers.

She also reads this blog so she gets to hear a lot about Samuel and our lives and see plenty of pics that way!

We feel nothing in our hearts toward Samantha other than gratitude. We are so grateful for her decision and the gift she gave us. We consider it a privilege to raise Samuel and have no hesitation about an open adoption or allowing her to see Samuel.

We will tell Samuel from a very young age that he is adopted - we will not keep that a secret or save it to be revealed for a day when he is older. He will grow up knowing that he was loved by his birth mom and her family, and very loved by his adopted family. He will know that it is out of love that the decision was made for adoption. He will know that it is out of love, that the decision was made - without hesitation - to adopt him as our son.

We are so thankful that our families see no difference between the biological child that Ryan and I might have had or the adopted one we do have. They love Samuel as if I had carried him for 9 months. He is as much a grandson, nephew or cousin as any other child in our families.

We thank God for Tim and Jeri and their relationship with Samantha's family that allowed us to ultimately parent our son. We thank God for Samantha, and the sacrifice that she made to enable us to be parents. We thank God for Samantha's mom Jill, who considered raising Samuel as her own, but ultimately made the loving choice as a grandma, to give her grandson a different life with Ryan and I.

But most of all, we thank God for His Son and the sacrifice He gave so that we might love because of his great love for us.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Waiting well

Today I spoke with a few friends who are waiting.

And if you've ever had to wait, you know waiting is hard.

One of them said the most simple, yet profound statement to me. Through her tears she told me, "We are choosing to wait, but that doesn't mean it is easy."

I could not agree with that statement more. It could not be a more accurate description of the two-year season of waiting Ryan and I experienced. We chose to wait on God. We chose to wait in Hope for our future family. But it was not easy. It was really really hard.

During my season of waiting a friend gave me a copy of a talk from her church in Iowa: the sermon was titled Waiting Well and it was given by Pastor John Fuller at Prairie Lakes Church.

I listened to this sermon over and over again. It gave me hope. It gave me encouragement. It helped me wait well. It was, by far, one of the most impactful sermons I have ever heard. Here are the notes I took on waiting well:

Be assured of this, if you are not in it right now, God will call all of us to waiting periods in our lives.

The way that we wait reveals the extent to which we trust the one we are ultimately waiting for.

It’s not that you will have to wait, cuz we all are going to have to wait. It’s how you wait. What happens when you wait.

How then do we wait well on God?

1 Think right while you wait. God will often use waiting parts in your life to groom you. You can grind against it or say “God, keep making me more like you.” Never forget that God is working in you….you can grind against it or you can accept it.

2 – Stay present in the waiting. There is always the temptation to look to the next thing. You gotta grow right where he’s got you. Mary said “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said" and "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Holy is his name."

3 – Watch out. Don’t become a weak target during your wait. Whatever your greatest strength is can be your greatest weakness. Don’t lose the time while your waiting, use the time for the Kingdom.

4 – Give thanks. Contentment comes when we abandon the search for what we lack and learn to live with what we have. Even if it’s a desert time, he’s got ya.

5 – Seek God. Learn to love God not just for what he can do for you – not just the gifts and blessings – learn to just love God. I just want you. I want to know you.

How you wait matters. If you wait well….one day you will be able to say, “Here’s what God did, here’s what God did, here’s what God did during my wait.”

Friends, that is what this blog is all about. Sharing what God did during my wait. Some days I waited well, some days I did not. It was the hardest desert season of my life. But today I firmly believe what Pastor Fuller says: The way that we wait reveals the extent to which we trust the one we are ultimately waiting for.

It's not about our wait. Really it isn't. It's about trusting the One we are ultimately waiting for.

May we all strive to wait well and one day we'll all share what God did during our wait.

Another answered prayer

I cannot sleep.

It is 3:01 a.m. and sleep will not come.

The reason?

I am overflowing with joy and so thankful for God's goodness. Another miracle has just entered the world and no shut eye will come for me.

One of my dearest friends just gave birth to a sweet baby girl at 2:19 a.m. I layed in bed. I prayed. I thanked God.

Then I got up. Why lay there when you can blog and get all these thoughts out of your head?

I thought back to the summer of '06 when K and I were sitting on the dock at her in-laws cabin. Just two weeks after we lost our first baby she gently encouraged me to talk and asked just the right questions.

She prayed for me month after month.

Then 11 months later she lost her first baby to a miscarriage.

Then 7 months later she lost her second baby to a miscarriage.

Together we questioned, wondered, pleaded with God, sat together in our auditorium at church and cried.

Then last summer she told me she was expecting again.
But she was mad at God because she had prayed that I would have a baby before her.

Even as a mom-to-be she helped me deal with all the bitterness, anger and resentment in my heart toward pregnant women and toward my situation in general (that's a separate posting!). And my heart experienced great healing as a result of her prayers and encouragement.

And then I got pregnant. And we all rejoiced together. Then we mourned together.

And then God answered K's prayer and gave me a baby before her - Samuel!

And this morning my heart is so full. Because I am reminded that God is faithful. I am reminded that His timing is always perfect. I am reminded that each life is so precious. I am reminded of the GIFT of friendship. I am reminded of the power of prayer.

Oh Samuel, you have a new little friend who will live just 8 blocks from us.

Oh world, baby girl B has arrived and you better watch out.

Oh Jesus, thank you for another miracle.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Our morning has come

Tonight at church we sang Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster. This is a song that stirs up much emotion in me. I have a love/hate relationship with this song. It encouraged my heart for so long as it challenged me to wait on the Lord. But the longer we waited, the harder it became to sing the words "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, wait upon the Lord."

Tonight I had much to praise the Lord for as I sang these lyrics. But I was drawn back to Sunday, October 5, the first night Ryan and I attended church after learning that Samuel would be ours the day earlier.

One of the first songs we sang on October 5 was Everlasting God and tears poured from my eyes as I sang the lyrics. Ryan and I were praising God that after years of waiting on Him He had answered our prayers. We were so very thankful that we had chosen to wait on the Lord for our family.

Yet, our pain was still so raw that night. Not only was it the first night at church since we learned of Samuel, it was also the first night at church since we had lost our second baby.

September 11, 2008, was the day we discovered, for the second time in our marriage, a baby had died in my womb.

October 4, 2008, was the day we were introduced to our future son.

Just 24 days separated our heartache from our joy.

Just 24 days separated absolute devastation and unbelievable happiness.

Just 24 days separated grief, mourning, tears, questions, anger and doubt from our miracle.

So today I read these verses and I weep….

"Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow." Jeremiah 31:13

Psalm 30:11-12 says: "You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever."

In my Bible study I learned a couple weeks ago that in the Old Testament sackcloths were worn in times of grief because they were itching and uncomfortable and a reminder to the one wearing them that they were in a time of mourning.

In just 24 days the Lord had removed my sackcloth and given me joy.

I love this quote by Beth Moore: "One way or another, God will perform His will. He may change the process or the person, but He will not change the plan."

Little did I know that God had a plan all along. A plan that He would not change despite our prayers and the prayers of many who love us. For THREE years God's divine plan was to turn my mourning into gladness. His unfathomable plan was to give me comfort and joy to replace my sorrow. His miraculous plan was to turn my wailing into dancing.

In just 24 days!

I believe the Lord allowed us to conceive and miscarry again, so close to the arrival of Samuel, so the truth of Scripture would be evident in our lives. I believe we had to endure pain and sorrow so that Lord could replace it with joy.

For years I claimed and prayed Psalm 30:5, "Weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning."

Friends, our morning of rejoicing has come. And we cannot be silent.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Forever Family

Last Thursday, February 5, at 11:00 a.m., in the Minneapolis Juvenile Justice Center, Samuel Lee May was legally and officially recognized as our son. The adoption is final. We are a forever family.

We got right in at 11 a.m. (even though we were told we would probably have to wait), and the hearing lasted just 10 minutes.

Thank you to everyone who prayed that I wouldn't be a bawling basket case....I held it together quite good until the last few minutes when the judge declared that our son would be known from here on as Samuel Lee May.

Then the tears couldn't be stopped.

Both sets of parents attended the hearing, great-grandma Svea, all of our siblings except Dan who is in Nevada and a couple friends.

The celebration continued when we went out to lunch. It was a sweet sweet joy-filled day. We will cherish Gotcha Day in our hearts and celebrate it every year (I'm already thinking about when I can make Samuel's Gotcha Day scrapbook! :).

Here are a few photos:

Friday, February 6, 2009


Celebration is the best word to describe what took place yesterday. It was so fun and so memorable. Thank you for the many prayers - it couldn't have gone better.

It's been a busy week and this mama is tired! I'll write more soon and post pictures from the incredibly blessed Gotcha Day....

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
Right now I should be getting ready for our big day but I just couldn't let this moment go by without writing you a note. My heart is so full at this very moment that the tears are just waiting to pour out. I keep stuffing them down but it might be better if I just cried now so we're good to go for later.

This morning you slept until almost 8 a.m. (it was so beautiful!). I rocked you in your nursery as I fed you your bottle and prayed over you and thanked God for your precious life. I asked His blessing on today and thanked Him that it is finally here. I also thanked God for your birth mom and that she chose life Samuel. I thanked Him that Samantha chose to give us the gift of you. And that's what you are - a gift from the Lord.

I gave you a bath to make sure you're clean for your celebration today. Of course, you peed as soon as I put you in the water and again as soon as I cleaned you all off at the end. It just made me laugh. As I washed you I thanked God for your perfect little body - so healthy and full of life. From the tips of your toes to the top of bald little head you are perfect.

How am I so blessed Samuel? How do I have the privilege of being your mom? I am madly in love with you my little man. The last four months have been wonderful, challenging, so tiring and incredibly fulfilling.

I have said it before and today it's worth repeating: it doesn't matter one ounce to me that you did not grow in my womb. In my eyes you are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. There is a saying for adopted babies that says you didn't grow under my heart but in it. Oh sweet Samuel. You grew in my heart for years. I didn't know it was you, but moment by moment, month by month you grew, until in the Lord's perfect timing, we got to hold you in our arms.

Today Samuel you will legally become our son. You are already our son in our hearts, but it will be good to have it on paper and on your birth certificate.

And today I couldn't be more grateful to be your mom.
I couldn't be any happier than I am at this moment. I couldn't be any more joyous than I am today for the blessing of raising you as our son.

Are you ready little man?

It's almost time.

Lets go tell the world that you're ours.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gotcha Day

Thursday is Gotcha Day! That is the day we celebrate Samuel becoming legally ours.

Our appointment is at 11 a.m. tomorrow and we have a group ready to celebrate with us!

We are told: no jeans, no sharp objects, bring checks (of course!) and be ready to wait. Hey, I'm good at that. Not really, but I'd like to think it was through a lot of waiting that got us to this point.

We would appreciate your prayers that all would go quickly, smoothly and that God would be given all the glory for this little man's arrival into our lives. Also, please pray I'm not too much of an absolute emotional wreck. I anticipate a lot of tears, but hopefully not to an embarrassing degree :)

We are going out to lunch afterward to celebrate.

Eeeeeekkkkkk - I am so excited to go to court! Not sure I will ever being saying that again.

Praising God from whom ALL blessings flow.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A day in the life of a 4-month old

Samuel is F O U R months today! He giggles, smiles, sucks on his hands constantly and just started rolling over last week (only from tummy to back). He sleeps good at night...not so much during the day. He is a very happy and content baby.

Here is a day in the life of a 4-month old:

1. Waking up - always smiley and happy
2. Bath time - I love to splash in the water
3. Mall of America with mom - so much to look at and see
4. All this activity tuckered me out (I'm all bundled up cuz it's only 5 degrees outside)
5. Playtime under my activity gym at home (my favorite thing to do!)
6. Spitting up all over dad during my last feeding
7. Back to bed I go

Monday, February 2, 2009

We got the call!

Thank you everyone for your prayers!

Our attorney Judy called to tell us that we have an appointment at the courthouse on Thursday at 11 a.m.! That is an absolute answer to prayer!

God is good and faithful in allowing us to celebrate this week rather than be swallowed up in grief and memories of 'what could have been.'

Without a doubt I will be in tears on Thursday. But these will be good tears. Tears that I have waited a long time to shed.

Tomorrow Samuel is four months (pictures to come :). Thursday he becomes legally ours (pictures to come :). It is a good week.

Thank you Jesus.

One little piece of paper...

That's all we're waiting for.

This one stinkin' sheet of paper (I don't know....maybe it's more than one?!) that is considered a report to court is all we need so that we can schedule Samuel's court date for Thursday.

Last week Tuesday our attorney's assistant thought the courthouse should have it by Wednesday or Thursday. But the report still hadn't come through on Friday.

Where is it? In the mail? Can I offer to go deliver it myself to the court clerk so we can get scheduled for this Thursday February 5th?

If we don't hear by the end of day today, we are going to have to wait until March for Samuel's Gotcha Day. Ug!

Please say a prayer that somehow this report would be found, delivered in the mail and we would get on the books for Thursday by end of business day TODAY!

We have a big God and I know He can make it happen.