Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mama and her girl

Just a few pics of my girl and her mama from our trip to Indiana a couple weeks ago. Love these pics!



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adoptive moms and motherhood

I read a post on another blog awhile back about adoptive moms and the guilt they can feel about motherhood. After adopting Samuel I found myself feeling much the same way. And after Lauren, I felt even more guilt whenever I thought being a mom was harder than I had anticipated. I love this quote from the post:

A woman who conceived naturally, whether trying or not, wouldn’t be looked down upon if she said in frustration one night, “What I wouldn’t give for just one night of peaceful sleep without worrying about the baby!”

Adoptive moms think like that too. We just are hesitant to say it because we are fearful of being judged for not being found grateful for the child we prayed for and waited for and chose.

To read the entire post:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Peace

Read this today....

"Peace is not the absence of noise,
trouble or hard work.
It is to be in the midst of those things
and still be calm in your heart."


Monday, July 26, 2010

One year ago
















I love this picture for so many reasons....it is precious beyond words. But of course, I still have a few words to share.

When I look at this picture I see:
a long-awaited miracle kissing my tummy
an unexpected gift growing in my tummy
a necklace given to me by a friend after we lost our first
a bracelet holding charms that represent the joys and trials we've experienced in life

I will treasure this photo as long as I live. It is a perfect example of how God makes e v e r y t h i n g  beautiful in its time.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What Joy (Psalm 146)

This morning during worship we sang What Joy.

I needed to hear this song because I needed to be reminded of where my peace and joy come from. They do not come from a job. They do not come from an income. They do not come from having my circumstances in life be stable and secure. My joy and peace cannot and do not come from knowing what tomorrow holds.

My joy comes from having hope in the name of the Lord. My peace comes from having confidence in God and God alone.

And I need to be reminded of that. Over and over and over again.

It's been two full months since Ryan walked in the door and told me he lost his job. And there's nothing on the calendar this week that tells us things will soon be different.

That's why I need to be reminded of where my peace and joy come from.

As I was looking online for the lyrics to this song, I read a description that I couldn't agree with more. It said, "This song is so simple, yet so amazing." The words are powerful and filled with truth.

Here's the video. The lyrics are below.




What Joy (Psalm 146) Written by: Sarah Emerson
You made the heavens and the earth,
the sea and all that is in them
Your promises remain

You give justice to the weak,
You care for the widow and orphan
Forever Lord, You reign

What joy, what joy for those whose hope
is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace
for those whose confidence is Him alone

You make the blinded eye to see,
and cherish those who seek Your face
Your faithful love endures
You came to let the slave go free,
You cause the sinner to sing praise

In You we are secure

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Adoption does not cure infertility

When Samuel was just an infant I sat with a group of women at church who talked about their labors and deliveries. I had a beautiful new baby boy, yet I could not participate in their conversation because I had not carried a baby to term.

It was a bittersweet moment for me that I will not forget: I was, at last, sitting in a mom's group. And yet, the discussion was about something I could not relate to and I felt excluded.

Just a few weeks ago Ryan and I were out to dinner with some couples and someone made an off-hand joke about everyone working on getting pregnant at the same time. Everyone laughed - even my friend who is an adoptive parent - but my heart was heavy.

Because although my friend is a mom, she has not yet had the opportunity to conceive and carry a baby. And everything in her longs to do so.

No one meant any harm by this comment, and my friend would never say anything, but I wanted to stand up and shout, "Don't you realize it's not that easy for everyone? There are so many couples who can't just go home and make a baby."

They can't just look at the calendar and choose which month they want to have a newborn or what season would be easiest to be pregnant. When I was carrying Lauren I remember someone mentioning to me how they planned their pregnancies so they wouldn't have to be pregnant during the hot summer months like I was. It was another reminder that there are people who get to plan when their children are born.

I didn't care one tiny bit that I would be in my 3rd trimester during the hot months of summer. I was growing life in my womb and that's all that mattered.

My heart continues to be extremely sensitive to my friends and family members who have not been able to conceive and carry a baby. I don't like talking about nursing, or labor, or pregnancy or any of that around them. Sometimes I do because people ask questions, but those are topics for another time and another place.

I read this quote recently on another blog: "Adoption cures childlessness, but not infertility."

Remember that dear friends. The mom sitting next to you at church or at a party or in your mom's group might be crazy about her kids, while her heart still longs for the miracle of pregnancy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The joys and challenges of two

Having two children, so close together, is becoming more wonderful every day.

Samuel and Lauren play together in the crib, on our screened-in porch, in the tub...just about everywhere. It is so obvious that they adore each other and want to be together. One of Samuel's favorite phrases lately is, "baby in." Meaning he wants baby to come in his crib with him (so he can stand on her, put a blanket over her head and do other fun boy-tricks. We are diligently working on teaching him gentle play).

But here's the thing: it has not been easy having two children less than a year apart. It has only gotten "easier" the last 1-2 months. I can't figure out if that's because Samuel is older or because Lauren is at an age where she is now crawling -- and a little less fragile -- so they can play together. Probably both.

Samuel is 21 months and we are amazed at the things he can understand, say and do. We are in awe of how much it easier it is to communicate with him when he can tell us what he wants and needs and when he can understand what we are saying to him.

Lauren is 10 months and crawling everywhere. While it is a very fun stage, it is a challenging and scary one too. She has no fear and no concept of danger. She eats anything in front of her and tries to climb up or on whatever her brother is playing with.

In just FIVE weeks she is the age Samuel was when she was born. Looking back, I wonder - how did I do it? How in the world did I bring home a baby with an 11-month-old baby already at home? The thought scares me and I already did it!

Everyone said it would be great having two children so close in age. And it is great - now. In all honesty, it was really hard those first 6 (or more) months. I think for a long time I was just focused on survival: Get sleep. Shower. Brush teeth. Feed and clothe children. Repeat.

I was (and sometimes still am) scared to take them in public for fear of what might possibly happen....remember my post about the day I lost my kid? That's the kind of thing that can happen when you've got two very little ones.

But in the last 1-2 months it has become much more fun as I see my kiddos interact together. I love watching them make each other laugh. We have plenty of moments of frustration as 'baby' tries to take away toys that are 'mine.' But things are getting better...easier...and the joys of parenting two are being multiplied every day.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Telling Samuel's story

I didn't post this before I left, but Lauren and I took a five-day trip with my family to Indiana for a cousin's wedding. We had a wonderful time in Indianapolis...although the travel there and back was filled with a few challenges (I may blog about that another time!).

At the wedding on Saturday my family sat with a couple who had a young son who was right between Lauren and Samuel's ages. We chatted with them and of course the question came up about our son and how close his age is to Lauren.

I was able to tell the story, once again, about our journey to parenthood, the miracle of Samuel and the surprising gift of Lauren. My cousin, the bride, also mentioned to me that she recalls our story often and how she remembers the news of Samuel's arrival into our lives touching her deeply. 

Ryan LOVES to tell people the story of Samuel. He waits for it and anticipates it. I, on the other hand, am a bit more hesitant when I'm talking to strangers. Depending on the situation and how much time I have and what the environment is like, I decide whether or not to share that Samuel is adopted (after I've answered the "How far apart are they?" question). Because once I say he's adopted, chances are I'll be telling the whole story.

This weekend I was reminded again that this story isn't really about us. It's about God and this amazing thing He did in our lives. And maybe when I have the opportunity tell someone, I need to share our story because they just might need to hear it. This story can offer hope and joy and faith in a great big God.

And so I will tell Samuel's story over and over and over again. Not because I can. Not because I love to. But because there are people who need to hear our story and who will be changed because of it.

Whether it's at the grocery store...or the shopping mall...or a birthday party...or at church...or a work event...or at a wedding. I'll tell the story. God will be glorified. Hearts will be touched.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hold on to Jesus

In the weeks leading up to Lauren's dedication, Ryan and I looked for a verse that would represent our prayers, desires and dreams for her. We chose Deuteronomy 30:20 "...that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him."

Our prayer for Lauren is that she would LOVE God with all her heart, that she would LISTEN to his voice above all other voices and HOLD FAST to the Lord no matter what she faces in life.

You'll see in this post I created a layout for Lauren's dedication with the lyrics to Hold On To Jesus by Erin O'Donnell (click on the link and you can hear the song). The words of this song are the perfect prayer for any parent. As a mom, there is nothing more I desire to teach my child than to hold on tight to Jesus:

You're a little piece of heaven
You're a golden ray of light
and I wish I could protect you
from the worries of this life
but if there's one thing I could tell you
it's no matter what you do
hold to Jesus, He’s holding onto you  

The world will try to tell you
that might is more than right
and beauty's on the outside
and being good's a losing fight
but remember what I've told you
'cause the world will make you choose
hold to Jesus, He’s holding on to you  

Hold on to Jesus, and cling to his love
rest deep in his mercy
whenever things get rough
don't lose sight of his goodness 
and don't ever doubt this truth
that when you hold on to Jesus
He's holding on to you. 

Hear me dear Jesus 
rock this little one to sleep
keep her close when she's scared
and give her grace when she is weak
I know she'll stumble, but I know she'll make it through
if you hold on to her just like you said you'd do
hold her Jesus and she'll hold on tight to you 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dear sweet baby girl,

Today is your 10-month-birthday.

10 months!

How did that happen?

My baby has been replaced with a sweet girl who sits up, crawls, pulls herself up on things, smiles, giggles, flirts, claps and coos every day.

I am in so in love with you baby girl. So in love! You are ALWAYS happy to see me. Your beautiful blue eyes see me and I know you trust me. I know you love me. I know that I bring you comfort and joy that on one else in the world does.

These days you are having a hard time being held by other people. You tend to cry when I give you to friends or grandparents or aunties and uncles. You just want your mama.

At times that is hard. But I'm not gonna lie - there is a part of my heart that just loves that you want only me.

Because it won't be this way for long. A few days or weeks from now, you'll be reaching for other people and you won't mind who holds you (or chases you!).

But today I get to hold you. Rock you. Cuddle you. Hug you.

Tonight I fed you a bottle, and then you immediately put your head on my shoulder and I walked around your room as I sang How Great is Our God. You clung to me and my heart soared. I wanted to keep singing forever. I wanted to freeze time.

I want to hold onto these moments because soon they will be just memories.

I thank God for a baby girl who has such a sweet spirit that she smiles almost all the time. I thank God for the joy, contentment and happiness that I see coming from you.

But most of all I thank God that I get to look at your face every day and be reminded that you are  a miracle sent to me from our Great God and I have the privilege of loving and raising you.

At night before I lay you down I pray over you. I ask God to grow in you a gentle and quiet spirit. I pray that people would know that the joy that radiates from you is because of Jesus' love for you. I pray that you will draw people to Him with your beautiful smile and blue eyes.

I have so many prayers and dreams for you baby girl. And I love you more every day.

Mom






Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lauren's dedication

We dedicated my baby girl at church today. It was a sweet,sweet day. I'll write more about it this week, but for now, here's a layout I created for her special day:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Husband, Mama, Baby Boy and Baby Girl

3:30 Baby Girl has not slept more than 30 min ALL DAY. Baby Girl played game with Mama for two hours during which time she sat up in her crib and played each time Mama laid her down. Fun.

3:54 Mama drives to grocery store with Baby Girl.

3:59 Husband calls to tell Mama that Mama's brother is coming to dinner so keep that in mind while grocery shopping.

4:01 Mama puts Baby Girl into grocery cart and reaches into car to grab the diaper bag and purse. No purse.

4:02 Mama calls Husband. Please bring purse to store so I can pay for groceries. Please.

4:07 Mama decides to make fajitas since brother is coming to dinner. Mama grabs red, orange and yellow peppers to saute with chicken. Mama realizes at $1.99 per pepper it will cost $6 just for peppers. Mama decides to put peppers back on shelf and opts for a cheaper dinner option (beef tacos) due to the current lack of household income.

4:15 Mama loves being at store with Baby Girl because everyone comments on her darling blue eyes and bright smile (clearly Baby Girl does not look like she has hardly slept all day).

4:21 Husband calls Mama to tell her he has arrived at grocery store but Mama does not have cell phone signal in store and therefore misses the call.

4:23 Husband and Baby Boy find Mama and Baby Girl.

4:24 Mama quickly realizes Baby Boy (who slept for three hours) is CRABBY and does not want to be at store with Mama and Baby Girl.

4:30 Mama and Husband try to feed Baby Boy and Baby Girl Cheerios to keep them content while shopping is taking place.

4:32 Mama dumps container of Cheerios all over floor.

4:33 Mama walks to next aisle very quickly.

4:45 Mama checks out and gives Baby Girl her grocery list to play with.

4:48 Mama realizes Baby Girl is eating grocery list and now has orange lips and mouth due to orange paper list was written on.

4:55 Mama and Baby Girl arrive home.



Hasn't-hardly-slept-all-day-but-still-happy-Baby Girl















Took-a-three-hour-nap-but-somehow-still-crabby-Baby Boy



 

 


 












Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Here's to...

"People say, 'Having kids makes you old.' But I say, 'Being around kids keeps you young." - Ryan

Here's to staying young...and loving life as a family of four!




Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Do you want more kids?

That's a question Ryan and I often hear these days.

I think some people are just curious. And I think some people wonder - knowing the journey we've been on to get to a family of four - if we'll now go on to have a half-dozen little kiddos.

For those of you wondering, I don't think either of us envisions a half-dozen little Mays running around in the future :)

Ryan tells me he's willing to "take a couple more" and that he's happy to adopt any other children that might come into our family.

I'm not sure what my response is quite yet. Do I think our family of four is complete? Not necessarily. Do I have a plan for the growth of our family? Absolutely not. Would I be happy and content with the two miracles I have? Totally and completely.

There is a part of me that would love to experience pregnancy and childbirth again. There is a part of me that would love to adopt another child whose family cannot care for him/her.

I think we'll spend a few years enjoying our family of four while trusting God to make clear what His plan is for our family.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

God bless America

and God bless my two precious miracles....












P.S. Do they not look biologically related?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Making Plans

Since having delivered Lauren, I have talked with a number of friends about labor and delivery, doulas and birthing plans.

I have shared my own personal experience, things I learned from my research, and advice others have given me.

A friend recently gave birth to her second child - a beautiful baby boy. We talked a lot prior to her delivery about what her second birth experience might be like.

I prayed for that little boy to be strong and healthy and be placed on her chest immediately after birth. I prayed for a wonderful birthing experience for my friend and her husband. I prayed the baby would not be in distress and the labor would progress perfectly.

That. did. not. happen.

She contracted and went to the hospital. They measured her. She was a nine. Hooray!

But they couldn't see the head so they did an ultrasound.

The baby was not head first. Nor was it feet first. The baby was sideways.

Since she was already dilated to a nine, it seemed highly unlikely that the baby would turn on its own and they wouldn't risk waiting in case her water broke. So my friend was not given the opportunity to deliver her little boy as she had hoped, planned and prepared to do.

Praise the Lord for modern technology and for the knowledge of doctors and nurses. My friend was rushed into surgery to deliver her baby boy via c-section.

This was not how things were suppose to go. This is not what we talked about or what we had prayed for or what we had hoped.

But that's the thing - we plan and prepare and hope and read and talk to people. But we are not in control.

Whether we are talking birthing plans or any other plan in life. We are not in control.

But God is. And He knows the timing. He knows the method. He knows the way.

As one of my favorite quotes says:
One way or another God will perform His will.
He may change the PROCESS or the PERSON,
but He will not change the PLAN. - Beth Moore


While I think it is important to have a birthing plan (or a life plan, parenting plan, financial plan), it is just as important to be flexible and to understand that sometimes things are just out of our control.

And that in the end, a healthy mama and a healthy baby are all that really matter.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hymns

Last night Samuel had a hard time going to sleep. I went into his room numerous times and he still wouldn’t settle down. Eventually I sat in his chair with him and rocked him as I sang. I have done this many, many times. Usually my going to sleep song is Jesus Loves Me and from this post you’ll know that I have learned all the verses.

Recently a friend told me that she sings How Great is Our God to her daughter. I don’t have all those words memorized so I've been working on that.

Last night I tried to think of the words to When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. I failed miserably.

So I’m committing to memorize – one by one – a number of hymns that I wish I knew. I know that there will be many more nights of singing my children to sleep in the future…when they are ill, when they are scared, when they are sad, or just when they need words of truth whispered into their sweet ears.

While it will be my voice singing, it will be the words of these timeless hymns that will bring the comfort and reassurance my children need.

Here are the lyrics to How Great is Our God:

The splendor of a King,
clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice,
all the earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light,
and darkness tries to hide
it trembles at his voice,
trembles at his voice

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great
How great is our God

And age to age He stands
and time is in His Hands
Beginning and the End,
Beginning and the End
The Godhead, three in one
Father, Spirit, Son
the Lion and the Lamb,
the Lion and the Lamb

How great is our God,
sing with me
How great is our God,
and all will see
How great,
How great is our God

Name above all names
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing
how great is our God
Name above all names
you are worthy of all praise
and my heart will sing
how great is our God