Monday, November 30, 2009

I know where to run

For five days Samuel has been sick. We're getting to the end of it (I hope!) but its been rough - on all of us. In 14 months Samuel had never been this sick. And in 14 months I'm not sure parenting had ever been this difficult. It is so hard to see your little one sick and not be able to help. When the tears pour from their eyes because they feel so miserable, your heart just wants to break.

I couldn't help but take a few pictures of his sad little face when he was down and out...

































As a result of Samuel's sickness (and having a newborn!), Ryan and I got little sleep multiple nights in a row. Sunday after getting home from church I laid down to take a nap and just flat out told the Lord, "I don't know if I can do this. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can't. I am so tired. My entire body aches. I just want to cry. I want to go to sleep for 12 hours. I don't want to cook or clean or care for anyone but me. Help me Lord because I'm not sure I'm strong enough for this."

You know what the Lord told me?

"You're not Stacy. You're not strong enough. But that's exactly how I want it to be. Because in your weakness, I am strong. In your weariness, I am your strength. You can't do it all by yourself and that's exactly how I designed it to be. Let me help you. Let me be your strength. Let me take care of you."


When you're the mom you can't just run and hide - no matter how much you want to. But as my good friend's mom always told her, "You know where to run Heidi. You know where to run." She was referring to Proverbs 18:10: The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run to it and are safe.

How refreshing that in my weariness, the Lord is my strong tower. I can't run away and hide, but I can always run to Him.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

In everything give thanks....

I'm meditating on 1 Thess. 5:18 today: In everything give thanks.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Everything looks different for each of us.

Everything might be an unfulfilled dream.

Everything might be
unemployment.

Everything might be an empty bank account and an uncertain future.

Everything might be a tough diagnosis from the doctor
.

Everything might be the end of a relationship.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Today my everything means that I am trying to give thanks even though we'll be missing the Thanksgiving celebration at my in-laws. Samuel is feeling much better today, but he is still contagious for 24 hours so it's probably best if we don't expose all of his family to our germs.

But I'm not happy about it. I love thanksgiving food....turkey, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole!

Ryan's mom has spent days preparing to feed a group of 25 people.

Ryan has family visiting from New Jersey and Chicago and we adore these people.

Ryan's brother is home from Med School. He hasn't even met Lauren yet and we were looking forward to introducing Lauren to her handsome, smart uncle.

So I'm pouting. I'm sad. I'm bummed.

It's our first thanksgiving as a family of four. I have the kids' cute little outfits all laid out. I was hoping for a family picture.

But instead I'm reminding myself to give thanks.

I'm reminding myself that my thanks and praise cannot be contingent on my circumstances. And even if they were, I have much to praise the Lord for:
As I type this I have a husband and a son sleeping and I'm crazy about both of them. And I have a baby girl in my lap who is smiling from ear to ear and cooing as only a baby can do.

In everything give thanks.

E V E R Y T H I N G

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Parenthood and plans....

When I woke up this morning I had a full day planned with a lot I wanted to accomplish.

In addition to caring for my kiddos, I planned to:
Make green bean casserole for tomorrow
Clean my floors (its been weeks and they are disgusting!)
Finish up the laundry so everything is clean for the weekend
Go on a movie date with my hubby tonight to see Where the Wild Things Are (our first date since August!)

At 3 a.m. last night Samuel woke up very hot and obviously had a fever.

When he got up this morning he seemed to be doing OK, but as the morning wore on he clearly wasn't feeling well.

Ryan came home early from work.

We went to the pediatrician.

His fever was 102. Coughing. Congested. Runny nose. Teary eyed. Poor little guy. They said it was a virus and to just wait it out.

Then we went to the chiropractor. We are big believers in chiropractic care and thought an adjustment would help kick-start all of our immune systems.

Rain and traffic made it a 50 minute drive to get there. Lauren got very hungry due to our long drive so we stopped to get soup afterward thinking Samuel would like that and I could feed Lauren.

Chaos. Absolute insane utter chaos. What were we thinking?

We bathed Samuel and put him to bed at 7:30. The first time.

Ryan finally finished his dinner (soup) at 7:50.

We put Samuel to bed for the second time.

No green bean casserole.

No laundry.

No shower.

No clean floors.

No date night.

I'm quickly learning that my plans will always take second place next to parenthood.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Life with two

This pic is a good example of life with two little kiddos...one in each arm.

Lauren is such a good baby that she fell asleep while I read to Samuel. I think we read Ted in a Red Bed 4 times :) He loves turning the flaps on each page. Actually he loves just about any book. And since I love reading I am very thankful for that. Rocking and reading - does it get any sweeter?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Two month pics

Lauren Ruby turned two months on November 13. At her appointment she was 12 lbs and 24 1/2 inches (97%).

Samuel didn't care much about her until recently. Now he wants to climb all over her, grab her hands and feet, take her nuk and poke her in the eye (what are those things anyway?). He is gentle with her most of the time but she has survived a few clunks to the head. Since Samuel is only 20 lbs, his little sister will be catching up to him fairly soon and then he'll have to watch out!

Here are a few pics I took recently. Yes, she has huge blue eyes and yes, she's getting so big! We call her Rubs, Rubster and baby girl. Although you can't tell from the pics, she is very smiley. She is a happy and content baby and we are loving every day with our newest miracle.











Friday, November 20, 2009

Waiting for that phone call

Today I was thinking about those of you I know who are waiting.

Some of you are waiting for a test that will change your life. A positive test result that indicates pregnancy.

Some of you are waiting for a phone call that will change your life. A call that will tell you that all of your adoption papers are complete. Or that there is a birth mom interested in meeting you. Or that the baby you are waiting for has been born.


I know a thing or two about waiting. And I thought I was waiting for a positive test result. In fact, I waited for - and got - two of those. But they didn't lead to what I hoped for.

What I didn't know was that a phone call was going to be the thing that changed my life. "Birth mom...baby boy...Waconia...yesterday...interested?"


While some of you are desperately waiting for a test result, know that God might have a phone call planned for you instead.

God knows. He has your story written. So pray. Pray like crazy during your waiting. But know that while you wait, God too is waiting to unveil His perfect plan for your family.

Be encouraged. Take heart. Your miracle might be just a phone call away.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

About Adoption

What I don't know about adoption:

I don't know how it feels to grow a life inside of me for 9 months and then make the heart-wrenching decision to allow someone else to raise that little life.

I don't know how it feels to have to choose who is going to raise the child I gave birth to.

I don't know how it feels to leave the hospital - sore, tired and full of emotions - without a baby in my arms.

I don't know how it feels to go through Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas without my child by my side.

I don't know how it feels to question over and over again whether or not I made the right decision - for my child and for me.

I don't know how it feels to wonder if my child will love me or hate me for the decision I made.

What I know about adoption:

I know that it doesn't matter to me one bit that Samuel grew in a womb other than my own.

I know that I would have paid twice what I did to experience the last 13 months with him.

I know that a piece of paper with my name does not make me Samuel's mother. 13 months of feedings, diaper changes, doctor's appointments, baths, walks, tears, smiles and hugs makes me his mom.

I know that my adopted son is unbelievably loved by his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. I know that these people often forget he is adopted.

I know that the miracle of adoption is just that - an incredible, life-changing miracle.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's so amazing about adoption

On April 28, 2008, my husband and I moved out of our town home in the suburbs into the city of Minneapolis. Our town home had sold in 13 days (much to our surprise!), and we didn't have a new home yet.

So we were moving into temporary housing in south Minneapolis until we found a home.

We moved out our stuff on Sunday and I cleaned on Monday. After packing up the last few odds and ends, along with the cleaning products, I remember kneeling on the carpet in the living room of our town home.

I prayed. I prayed about the move. I prayed about our future. I prayed about this crazy thing we were doing: moving into the city to help start a church in Northeast Minneapolis. And then I cried. I sobbed. I bawled my eyes out.

I laid on the floor and poured out all the emotions that come with moving - there were good emotions because I was excited to start on this new journey of following the Lord into the city. There were heart-wrenching emotions because I was about to close the door on another chapter of my life and the chapter had not gone as planned.

Five years earlier when we had moved into our town home on July 27, 2003, the green room upstairs was to be the nursery. Now, five years later, it had been a scrapbook room and then a lounge room. No baby. No nursery.

So I cried out to God that I wasn't suppose to be leaving this town home without a baby. That was not how things were suppose to go. And it was really hard to be closing the door on our time in that town home without seeing my dream come to life.

But here is what is so incredible. This is what is so unreal. This is what's amazing...

That very same day, April 28, 2008, there was a healthy baby boy growing in his mother's womb.

There was a birth mom carrying a child that would soon be my son.

There was a God in Heaven who had a plan that was greater, grander, wiser, more beautiful than the plan I had hoped and waited for.

But I didn't know that. I didn't know about a precious baby boy who was already 16 weeks along in his sweet little life in the womb. I didn't know that I would become a mom just 5 months later.

I can only imagine that God looked down on me, sprawled out on the floor with tears streaming down my face and gently whispered, "Hold on my child. Just wait. Your miracle is already in the making. I know you hurt so desperately today, but just a few sunrises away your dream will come to life."

THAT'S what is so amazing about adoption.

Monday, November 16, 2009

National Adoption Awareness Month

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. The purpose is to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. This year's theme is:"You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."

The main focus of National Adoption Month is foster care adoptions. There are roughly 129,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for adoptive homes.

That number is staggering and heart breaking.

Ryan and I were talking about this today and he said, "Imagine the pain we experienced longing for a child. Well imagine the pain these kids feel longing for a parent and wanting to call someone mom or dad. It's enough to make me cry."

Ryan and I would both love to adopt again some day. Maybe foster care is the route we'll go next. Clearly there are thousands of kids waiting, wishing and hoping for parents, siblings and a place to call home.

Foster to adopt is a much more economical route if you're considering adoption. The state pays it all from what I understand.

Foster care or not, have you ever thought about adoption? Infant, toddler, teen? Domestic or international?

If you haven't, I challenge you to take some time to think and pray about this amazing, awesome gift. Adoption has changed my heart, my life, my world. We would be doubly blessed to be able to experience it again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The story of Samuel Lee May

When I think of adoptive parents, I don't think of myself. I don't know what I thought adoptive parents were like, but I guess I didn't think they were people just like me. But they are. Because I am one of them.

But sometimes I forget I am an adoptive mom. I'm just a mom. Of a boy. Who I love like crazy.

I still find it hard to believe that he is adopted because he seems like he is our biological child in every way possible (so many people say Samuel looks like Ryan!).

I am so thankful the Lord has given me such love for Samuel that it makes no difference to me that he is adopted.

But I do want Samuel to know the story of his birth so I created an "All About Me" album for him. It tells the story of the phone call that told us about his birth, meeting his birth mom, meeting him for the first time, bringing him home and his gotcha day.

It is based on an idea I read about from Creative Memories. They recently published an Idea Book called Ten Questions. It provides 10 questions to help people tell their stories. One section is about adoption. It lists questions such as what was my birth family like? Why did you decide to adopt? What did you think the first time you saw me? How did you pick my name?

The moment I started reading this section, I knew I wanted to create this album for Samuel.

I want him to know his birth story. I want him to be proud of his story. I created digital layouts with pictures and journaling that answer these 10 questions, printed them and put them in an 8 x 8 album (I hope to post some of the layouts I've created).

As Samuel gets older, I plan to read him the story of "Samuel Lee May" just like I would read any other book. It's an amazing, miraculous, wonderful story that I look forward to reading over and over and over again.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear Samantha

Dear Samantha,

Today you turn 21. Happy happy birthday!

By 21 years of age you have accomplished a powerful thing: you have impacted the lives of many many people through a decision that you made one year ago.

Because of you, sorrow was turned to celebration and sadness to rejoicing.

Because of you, more people believe in the power of prayer.

Because of you, more people have witnessed a miracle.

You changed the lives of Ryan and I forever.

You changed Lauren's life (she will always have an older brother).

You changed our parents lives.

Our siblings lives.

Our nieces and nephews lives.

Our friends lives.

But most of all you changed Samuel's life. Because of the selfless choice you made, Samuel will know an abundance of love, security, and affirmation all of his life. He will know about a woman who gave birth to him and then made one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make: to allow someone else to call her child 'mom.'

Please don't ever think that we take for granted the decision you made. We are incredibly grateful and absolutely humbled at the gift you have given us. We will only speak positively of you to Samuel and he will always know the truth about how he came to be in our family.

So today we say Happy Birthday. We're asking God to bless you immensely for the sacrifice you made.

With much love and gratitude,
Ryan, Stacy, Samuel & Lauren

Monday, November 9, 2009

My little monkey...and some pumpkins

Samuel and I went to a local pumpkin patch a couple weeks ago with my sister-in-law Megan and my nephew Aaron (the day before Evelyn was born!). Here are some pics of our outing...









Saturday, November 7, 2009

Urine. Spit up. Water. Soot. Chaos.

Yesterday was one of those days that I know I'll look back on and wonder how I survived!

I spent the day at my brother's house with my sister-in-law, Megan. They have a two-year-old (Aaron) and just gave birth to my first niece (Evelyn) on October 28 so I wanted to 'help' her out.

Not sure what I was thinking...I have a one year old and a newborn. That equates to four children 2 years and under (including two newborns). How much help could I be?

Here's how things went:

10:15 Arrive
10:17 Sweet baby Evelyn is eating and all is calm
10:20 I step in urine on floor (we quickly discover Aaron, who is working on potty training, had a little accident)
10:21 I need clean socks
10:23 Aaron needs clean underwear, pants and socks (we actually decided today would be a diaper day)
10:30 Lauren needs to eat earlier than anticipated
10:40 Evelyn has a dirty diaper
10: 50 Samuel has a dirty diaper
10:55 Evelyn spits up all over her clean outfit and needs new clothes
11:00 Lauren has her first blow out all the way up her back and needs a total change of clothes
11:15 Samuel sees the dog's water dish and promptly splashes in the water (both he and floor are very wet)
11:30 Aaron has a dirty diaper
11:40 Samuel is found playing in the fireplace with soot and ashes all over jeans (furniture had already been placed in front of this temptation but he got around it)

This was all in the first 1 1/2 hours of the day. Four dirty diaper. Two complete outfit changes. Urine. Spit up. Water. Soot.

Not sure how much help we were to Megan and kiddos, but it was a fun and memorable day....

Friday, November 6, 2009

A wish bone of hope

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed....Romans 4:18

Abraham was old. Sara was old. There chances of conceiving a baby? Next to zero.

But God told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. So Abraham clung to hope. Even though his body and his logic must have indicated otherwise.

I love thinking about Biblical stories that defy all logic. Because then you know they are all God.

Abraham clung to hope so many years ago.

Last fall I clung to hope. On Monday, Sept. 15 I was recovering after my D&C surgery. My mother-in-law was cooking in the kitchen. She made me homemade chicken noodle soup - my favorite.

It was a tough day. My body now bore three scars. Along with the D&C, I had an ovarian cyst removed. While the scars were not from the D&C, every time I see them, that's what they represent to me.

I was on the couch all day recovering. My body was in pain and my heart broken. It seemed my hope had been deflated.

That evening Barb handed me a bone from the chicken and told me to make a wish.

I took that bone and put it on my windowsill. I didn't break it. I just looked at it...wishing, wondering, hoping.

Today it leans against the word Hope so I never forget where my Hope comes from. From my darkest days God gave me hope...I didn't know how, I didn't know when, I didn't know where.


But He knew. And He was waiting to make my wish come true.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Overflowing with hope

I love the word hope. I love what it represents. Wish for, look forward to, desire...

I might hope I stay healthy this winter, hope Ryan gets a nice bonus, hope our cars continue to run, hope to lose a few pounds, hope to one day become an organized person. These are things I hope for.

But who is my hope in? Where does my hope come from?

The Bible has plenty to say about hope...

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my
hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:5

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Our hope ultimately needs to be in the Lord, His Word and His Laws. He is the ultimate hope. He is the creator of Hope. This is one of my favorite hope verses:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

God doesn't want us to have just a touch of hope...he wants us to overflow with hope. How do we do that? Romans tells us that we need to trust in God in order to overflow with hope. So without trust, can there be hope?

For many of us, some days we are much more hopeful than others depending on our mood, our circumstances, etc. But when we serve a God of hope - and we trust in Him - our hope cannot and should not be dependent on anything besides Him.

That's when we'll discover and live lives O V E R F L O W I N G with hope.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blocks, sleeper, hope




















I love these ABC blocks from Pottery Barn Kids.


And I love the pink sleeper below on my little girl.

What do these two things have in common?

They were my tangible items of H O P E during some of my darkest days.

When I had my first miscarriage in the summer of '06, I was part of a group called Homemakers With Hope. This wonderful group of women went together and purchased these blocks for me as a gift when I lost my first baby (my friend had these and I just loved them!).

They were a beautiful reminder to me as I H O P E D that one day I would have children who could play with these blocks.

I moved the blocks from one home to another. I packed them and unpacked them. Sometimes I saw them and they made my heart hurt as I longed and waited for my miracle. But they also represented H O P E.


Here's a picture of my sweet pea in a sleeper. The day I put this outfit on her was a special one.

I've had this sleeper for three years. I bought some kids' clothes when we went to Chicago to visit Ryan's cousins in the fall of '06.

I bought some clothes for gifts and some for me since I
was anxiously waiting to get pregnant again.

I put this sleeper in my 'gift box' along with the other items I had purchased, but every time I went to pull something out for a gift, I couldn't part with this sleeper.

What kept me from giving it away? H O P E.
I just kept hanging onto it, H O P I N G that one day I might have a little girl who could wear it. H O P I N G that I might have a baby. H O P I N G I might be blessed with a daughter.

A pink sleeper in a cardboard box. Wooden ABC blocks. H O P E.

Monday, November 2, 2009

H O P E


















I've been thinking a lot about H O P E lately. Not sure why. But it keeps coming to mind so I think I'll blog about it this week.

Today I'm simply posting this photo. H O P E sits on my window sill above my kitchen sink.

See what else is sitting there?

A tiny wish bone.

That wish bone has been on my window sill for 14 months. I won't break it. I won't toss it. It sits where I can see it daily.

It represents H O P E to me.

Later this week I'll share why.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Purple dino and precious pumpkin

Yes, I'm completely biased...but I think these two were incredibly adorable in their Halloween costumes! Samuel had a couple meltdowns due to his big bulky belly (can I blame him?!) but we caught a few memorable moments on camera.