Remembering The Innkeeper

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Remembering The Innkeeper

Many a night I have turned to John Piper, who the Lord uses to help realign my mindset. I remember where I was two years ago when I first posted this video. We had just learned that our Eleanor’s first mama had decided to parent her. If you’ve never felt the ache of infertility/stillbirth/miscarriage, you may not understand how a woman could love so intensely a child that is growing in another woman”s womb. But from the moment I first saw her tiny little profile on the screen in the ultrasound room, I felt deep down in the depths of my soul that she was mine. 

During the month of December in 2012, when I thought E had slipped through my fingers, I was broken in a way words cannot describe. I’ve experienced loss and heartache, way more than any 32 year old should. My heart has been beaten, and battered, and there were times when I thought I was too broken to ever really love anyone. But the Lord used two of the most amazing people to help Him show me that, while I’m not worthy of it, my Abba Father loves me. Daryl and Deb are my spiritual parents, and without them my life may have turned out very different. They were not my saviors, there is only One of those. But He did use them in ways they may never know.

Anyway, two years ago I was broken. Shattered. Destroyed. I was 100% certain that this was our last venture into parentdom, and I laugh about it now, but I was prepared to buy a lot of cats…

There were moments of numbness, quickly followed be even longer moments of complete anguish. It stirred up the loss of the 11 babies that left my womb too soon to breathe on their own. Too soon to live the dreams I dreamed for them. Too soon for me to hold, or kiss, or breathe in the intoxicating newborn smell. I felt every one of those miscarriages again, and again. And I was quickly spiraling into a depression I had never experienced before. On the outside, I did my best to keep it together. Because everyone knows ‘good Christians’ never waiver. We never lose hope. We never lose sight of why we are created in the first place…

But I did.

I watched this video, which spoke words that roused my fragile heart. And for the first time in what seemed like forever (it was actually only a few days) I was able to catch my breath. It’s funny the tools the Holy Spirit uses to comfort us.

This is my favorite line in John Piper’s The Innkeeper (which is actually not part of the poem, but the Forward).

Why strain to give shape to suffering? Because Reality has contours. God is who He is, not what we wish or try to make Him be. His Son, Jesus Christ, is the great granite Fact. His hard sacrifice makes it evident that our spontaneity needs Calvary-like discipline.

Please watch this 12 minute video. Have a few tissues handy, too.

Christmas isn’t about trees, cookies, giving, or even family. Jesus wasn’t born at the end of December, but we use the 25th of the month as a day set aside to remember the birth of Christ, which we really should be doing all year anyway. Without Christmas there would be no Good Friday. Without Good Friday there would be no sacrifice. Without Jesus’ sacrifice, there would be no grace. And where would we be without grace?

Minor to Major

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I’ve tried to write this post for months, four to be exact. Each time I begin to type, one of two things happen…either Eleanor decides computer time is over and she proceeds to close the lid of the laptop on my fingers! Or I cry. I mean, ugly cry. So much has happened. So many emotions have been experienced. So many milestones have been met, both developmental and and as a family unit.

In my last blog, I expressed how incredibly overwhelmed I was with the uncertainty of our situation. Those feelings of fear and anxiety never left me, but with writing that post, I was able to keep those feelings in check a little better.

DSC_0554We celebrated E’s 1st birthday on March 6th with a house flood and dinner! Our diaper sprayer, which is attached to the toilet, sprung a leak and ALL the flooring on the downstairs level was ruined. It was NOT what I had planned, but we’ve (and by we, I mean me…) had to learn to ‘roll with the punches.’ Flexibility isn’t something I’m very good at…obviously 🙂 But that Saturday, we dined at a local pizza place with friends and family while E ate cake and opened presents! She got some SERIOUSLY awesome stuff and we were so excited to share her day with family and friends. At that point, we didn’t know the outcome of the appeal. And as excited as I was for our girl, I couldn’t help feel uncertain. Was this the only birthday we would spend with her?

We got word on March 28th that we won the appeal. Our attorney told me over a voice mail that we had won. I STILL have it saved and I listen to it every few weeks. The moment he said, “We actually won the appeal,” the weight of the world came off my shoulders. Of course, I didn’t listen to anything else after those 5 words, and I was sobbing uncontrollably. She was ours. I mean, REALLY ours. No more looking into her face and wondering if this was the last day I would kiss her cheeks. No more wondering how my heart would heal if she had been torn away from me. No more wondering about how I would purge our home of E’s possessions, her essence, her place in my heart. No more fear of going back to ‘Athena, the girl who was almost a mom.’

DSC_0914We finalized the adoption on May 28th. This may be my favorite day of all time. Nearly all of our dear ones came to the courthouse to support us. Even our girl’s bio grandma and auntie came! In the middle, the judge asked if anyone would like to speak. As I grabbed the tissue box, my mama, best friend, and E’s bio family spoke the most beautiful words. These ladies (and Ryan’s mama) have been my rock during this journey. When I needed encouragement, they gave it. When I needed a kick in the teeth, they lovingly gave it. Their prayers, love, and support made our fight a little easier. They took the load when we couldn’t carry it any longer. They sacrificially gave us their time. And money. They are forever part of our adoption journey. They’re family.

One day, when we sit E down and show her her story, I pray she sees how deeply she has been loved. There will be bits of this that will be hard for her. Shoot, it’s hard for me. Having been lied to about who my bio dad was, I know the abandonment she may feel. The hurt. The anger. The sadness. All we can do is love her through it.

During December 2012, we thought E’s 1st mama had decided to parent, and that was one of the hardest months of my life. I wanted to give up on my dream of being a mom. The loss of the 11 babies Husband and I have in heaven left me fragile. Frail. And when our adoption fell through, I didn’t think my heart could survive. When we found out E’s bio dad filed for custody, those same feelings came rushing back to the surface. Breathing was hard. Hoping was hard. Life…life was hard.

If you know music, you know there’s nothing more beautiful than a well written lyric. For me, it’s when songs are written in minor keys. Our journey was written in a minor key. It’s been sad. lonely, frightening. The moment we were made a forever family, our song transitioned to a major key. Where sadness and fear once resided, laughter and peace has taken it’s place.

Where do we go from here? We move on. E is ours, on loan from the Lord. And being her mama is the greatest job I’ll ever have. We were contacted by bio dad who would like an open adoption. We’ve given him a short list of things that need to happen before we can learn to trust him. I’m hopeful that if he chooses to write the wrongs done by his girlfriend and aunt, we may, in time, be able to have a partially open adoption with him and his parents. But who knows!

Eleanor is our rainbow baby. She’s shown me what unconditional love looks like. Her short little life has helped me grow in to the person God intended me to be. Jesus has used our battle to strip me down to the studs so he can rebuild the mess that I’ve made of my life.  And as we speed away from the past 17 months, we will cling to what really matters: Jesus, family, friends. Love.

The ghosts that we knew made us black and all blue, but we’ll live a long life.
The ghosts that we knew will flicker from view, and we’ll live a long life.

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Undone

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It’s been a rough go. There have been times this week where we were getting pounded from every side. Every side. Sickness, Mastocytosis breakout after breakout, struggling relationships with friends, finances, finances again, fundraising flops, situations with E’s birth dad’s family and girlfriend, my Papaw is suffering from the final stages of Alzheimer’s and I’m realizing that I’ve been so wrapped up in my own little world I haven’t visited him in over a year. He’s never met Eleanor. How crappy is that? I’ve flung so many verbal daggers at Husband it’s amazing he’s still by my side. 

I’m an ugly unlovable mess of a woman. I’m a mess.

Tonight, everything seems to be suffocating me all at once. People often say (I’ve said it too, obviously) that ‘God won’t give you more than you can handle’. But as I sit here I find that comment complete rubbish. RUBBISH. The Scripture is 1 Corinthians 10: 13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 

He won’t tempt me beyond my ability. My ability. He will provide an escape. He will. HE will.

I’m broken and I can’t handle anymore of this. But my Jesus can. When I feel like the wind has been kicked out of me and I’m choking for air, He breathes for me. When I can’t possibly walk one more inch of this journey, He carries me. When I don’t have anyplace else to go, He draws me to His feet. Laying face down in His presence He sings His song of peace over me. 

“I will call upon Your name. 
Keep my eyes above the waves.
My soul will rest in Your embrace.
I am Yours and You are mine.”

Tonight I can’t see the end of this. Weeks, months, years even. But Jesus does. And when all my hope in people or circumstances or myself has vanished without a trace, my hope in Him remains. Because He’s the only thing that makes sense. He’s my only constant.

 

Breast Milk and Sticker Books.

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We are headed to the top of our state today to pick up our last donation of breast milk from our super awesome donor. I cannot believe that E will be 1 in 25 days. It seems that we just brought her home. But I can’t remember what life was like before she was ours!

You know when your’e a kid and you get those really awesome sticker books? You have to figure out which sticker goes where based on an outline in the picture. It’s like there was a E shaped dotted figure just hanging out. I can’t say it was a void, because we weren’t empty. We love Jesus and He filled (fills) any emptiness we may feel. But when she was born it was like our sticker picture was finished. She was always there, the dream of her at least. And we were just waiting to find her sticker!

She is days away from walking on her own, and this mama is a nervous wreck! Not because I fear she will hurt herself. But because I’m clinging desperately to my small little squish! I know with walking comes a whole new level of independence, and I’m not quite ready for that!  I know soon enough there will be  school, puberty (sniff sniff), boys (of the Jesus lovin’ variety ONLY), college, marriage, and babies of her own.  But for now, I’m savoring the fact that she looks to husband and me for everything!

She’s fast. If there were and Olympic event for speed crawling, she’s beat the pants off her competition. And she knows that the stairs of off limits. Sometimes before I get the chance to put the gate back up, she makes a B-line for the landing.  She’ll stand there, putting 1 knee on the stair, turn around and smile at me, then take off until I say ‘No ma’am.’ in my Mommy voice. She has a pretty large vocabulary for a 340 day old! She routinely says mama, dada, up, all done, ball, up, kitty (she meows too!), yum, and most recently (and my favorite) oh no! She loves music and has mastered the white girl head bob! She adores her kitty Miw, she never sleeps with out her Monkey (thank you Breeze’s!!), but her daddy is her most favorite of all. I always knew Husband would make a great daddy, but I wasn’t prepared for the intense love they have for each other. My favorite time of day is watching her face when he walks in the door from work. I can’t describe it. It’s like magic. It’s the closest thing to Heaven this side of eternity. Their relationship gives me the tiniest glimpse of how Jesus loves us.

We have jumped feet first into the abyss of fundraising. We currently have an awesome t-shirt sale where we profit $11/shirt. A few God-sent friends and I will start planning for our 5K Fun Run/Walk this week (more on that later). BUT, our 1st mama actually came up with a great idea to do a 5K on horse back! So one of my friends from my Youth Group days is going to help with that! So needless to say, there’s lots of  stuff going on in the Keener abode.

Oh! and we’re planning a birthday extravaganza! I like being busy. It keeps my mind off of the icky stuff. We haven’t heard from our lawyers for a while. But that’s common. At this point we communicate if something’s happened. We should be getting a copy of our briefing any day, but we still don’t expect to have a ruling before late spring. Part of me just wants to know. Get it over with so we can move on to whatever the next step may be. But the bigger part of me is clinging to the ‘right now’ of EVERY moment. Being a mom has a way of putting life into fast forward. My days, weeks, months are all going by so quickly. There are parts of the day where I’m focused on cloth diaper laundry or picking up one of the million toys that’s made it’s way to the floor, and I have to force myself to just pause and breathe. Every second of every day is a sweet blessing from Jesus and I can’t allow myself to lose focus on the reason everything has happened. All things, good and bad, big or small, have been allowed to happen in order to bring Glory to God.

So friends, keep praying! And sharing our fundraisers with anyone that will listen. Life can be so funny sometimes. The people we thought for sure would rally around us and help with the fundraising haven’t. And while we don’t exactly understand why that is, it’s ok!  BUT the Lord has sent us some truly amazing people who have stepped up and blessed our socks off! Eventually, when our adoption is finalized, we want to pay all of this forward by helping other adoptive parents. We’ve had so many incredible people  (some we’ve only actually had face to face contact with a few times) inconvenience themselves to make our situation easier. You know who you are and we love you dearly. You’re forever a part of our story. Eleanor’s story. And THAT is the part I can’t wait to tell her. Happy Sunday, friends.

Joshua 1:9

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Those of us who grew up in the Church have heard that passage time and time again. And it’s easy to say it to a friend who may be experiencing some sort of tribulation that is causing distress (or in my case sleeplessness and anxiety). But when you’re the one who is in the middle of a mess, it’s hard to hear these words. Not because we don’t believe that the Lord is with us. But because it’s easier to hold on to our mess instead of give it to Jesus.  And I’m a mess holder. A big fat mess holder.

There have been moments in this journey to our babies where I’ve wanted to quit. Throw in the towel. Just walk away. There have been minutes where I’m so scared I can’t catch my breath. And there have been many nights, like tonight, when I’m too restless to sleep. But woven throughout all that ick, I’ve had peace. A peace that comes only from the Lord. I’ve had times where Eleanor does something so funny I nearly wet myself. There has been many a night where I am humbled by the sheer amount of people who love us and are praying for our family. 

I’ve gotten messages from friends who commend my faith. But the truth is there are a lot of times where I feel like a big fat phony. I, by NO means, have this faith thing figured out.  I’m not having a crisis of faith or anything, there are just times where my ‘Old Man’ (Romans 6:6) rears his ugly little head. And today was one of those days. I’m a ‘Negative Nancy’ by nature and it’s often hard for me to see the the other side of a situation because I’m ONLY focusing on the load of turds being tossed my way (sorry for the crassness, but that’s what this dumb situation is–a load of rotting dung). I’ve had to come to Jesus’ feet a lot lately because I am an idiot and forget that He has this. HE has this. And there isn’t anything I can do that will change that. When I’m a frazzled mess of a human, He is working at weaving me back together. 

I’m going to address a few things that have been said about our situation and the way Eleanor’s adoption came about. If proof is needed, I have it. We have the ruling from our judge and we will soon have the transcript from the deposition as well as the hearing. 

It was said earlier today that the birth dad talked 1st mama out of an abortion. Our attorney specifically asked him (during the deposition AND the hearing) if abortion was ever talked about. He said no. Both times. So how could he talk 1st mama out of something that wasn’t ever discussed…?

In regard to the communication that was had between the two, there was a significant amount in the beginning of the pregnancy. He let 1st mama know that he did not want to sign his rights away. At one point his mom actually offered 1st mama a place to stay. But they had been broken up for a few months at that point. Communication was less frequent in October and November. All in all, there were 5 text message conversations from the beginning of September to the beginning of December. These conversations DID last a few days each time and I believe there were about 40 individual text messages that were shared between the two. Birth mom didn’t hear from him from December 2nd to the evening of March 6th (when Eleanor was born). It was mentioned today that phone calls and Facebook messages were ALSO exchanged. This did NOT happen. 1st mama called him in November when there was an issue with Eleanor’s kidneys. She wanted to know if he had a history of kidney problems in the family. HE didn’t return her call until the next day. With that exception, there was NEVER any communication between them other than text messages. Birth dad said all of the communication was had through text message. All of this was documented by a court reporter and is in the transcript.

Some people have been lead to believe that birth mama hid from birth dad. And this is ridiculous. They found out she was pregnant at her grandparents house where she lived the ENTIRE pregnancy. He stated in the deposition that he knew where she lived and worked because he had been to both places multiple times. He even knew where her OTHER grandma lived. And it isn’t a situation where they lived cities away. THEY LIVED IN THE SAME TOWN. So to say that she hid herself and the pregnancy is insane!

While money was a factor, it isn’t the only reason birth dad lost the case. This is verbatim from our judge;

“A (natural) parent has the fundamental right to have custody of his child. In Ohio, a putative father must consent to any adoption. However, consent is not necessary if the father has willfully abandoned the mother of the minor during her pregnancy and up to the time of surrender. In order to determine that the father’s consent is not necessary, the petitioners must demonstrate by clear and convincing evident the existence of exception to the consent requirement.

That is the issue in this case: whether there is clear and convincing evidence in the record that Nathan willfully abandoned Sarah or the baby, or failed to care for or support the child. The term ‘willfully’ is not defined in the section. “Willful” is defined as “proceeding from a conscious motion of the will voluntary. Intending the result which actually comes to pass; designated; intentional; not accidental or involuntary.

While Nathan may have had the intent to be involved, support and care for Sarah and the baby, his actions did not comply with that intent. His parent’s action is not imputed to him concerning their offer of a home or shelter. The court holds that while Nathan may have justified {to himself) not ‘forcing’ the issue or not ‘pushing’ Sarah in order to not scare her, the law does not provide that exception.

The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that Nathan willfully abandoned or failed to care for and support the minor, and Nathan willfully abandoned Sarah during her pregnancy and up to the time of surrender.

Nathan’s consent is not necessary for the adoption to proceed.”

That’s pretty cut and dry. He failed to care and support. “Care and support” isn’t limited to only finances. 

I know most of our friends and family know the details. But some of you may not, and I wanted to clarify the situation. We (Husband and I) in no way ‘legally stole’ Eleanor. We followed procedure and law TO THE TEE. And that is why we won the 1st time, and that is how we are going to win this appeal. If it goes through. Appeals can be denied for simple typos. And wouldn’t you know the paperwork we got last week has E’s birth date wrong. It’s always been wrong when we’ve gotten paperwork from birth dad’s attorney. And it annoys the stuffing out of me!!!

So I bring it back to this…“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Choosing to be strong and courageous is much harder than being frightened and dismayed. And lately, I’ve been clinging to my fear as a crutch. That’s my ‘old man’ I mentioned before. So tonight while I snuggled MY girl, I promised her I’d be brave. That’s the kind of mama she deserves. Not a cowering mess of a woman. Jesus has this. He always has. He always will…

The Difference A Month Makes

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Gah!

In case you were wondering, that was me yelling. I’ve been doing that a lot the past 60 hours or so.

Let’s rewind…

We went to court in August hoping to have a ruling in our custody battle for E, but it ended up being just another hearing. THEN we had to wait WEEKS (which seemed like months) to get the ruling. And when it finally came (IN OUR FAVOR), it felt like a gazillion pounds were lifted off my shoulders. Husband doesn’t show much emotion. EVER. Which is good because I’m a twirling ball of emotion all the time. But, I could hear in his voice that he was ecstatic. He said he ‘teared up a little’, whatever that means…I sobbed like a little girl. BIG surprise.

During our hearing, there was a 5 minute break where I had our attorney and our 1st mom’s attorney break things down for me. I asked how we could appeal if we lost E. Both of the attorneys advised against an appeal because in situations like ours, the appeal judges look HEAVILY at the ruling judge. Because our judge knows the situation best having read the deposition and then hearing things all over again during the hearing, the appeals court very rarely change a ruling. And it’s INCREDIBLY expensive. Like $8-10k expensive. So we left the hearing in August thinking that whatever ruling we were given would most likely be permanent.

We got the ruling September 5th and I sobbed and danced like —->this! And the next 30 days were spent snuggling my girl and kissing her a gazillion times a day. Which really wasn’t any different than the last 6 months except I didn’t fear that that kiss would be the last one I would give her. We were walking out the door on Saturday headed to scope out camp sites for our annual October camping trip and I grabbed the mail on the way out. We had a HUGE packet from our attorney and I was excited because I was sure it was the paperwork being sent so we could FINALLY complete the adoption. I opened the envelope while Husband buckled E in her seat. I was 3 pages in before I realize that this WASN’T the final papers, but notification that E’s birth dad had filed an appeal. I swear my heart stopped. And I couldn’t catch my breath.

At that second, I broke. All of the miscarriages, all of the loss, all of the emotion with our failed adoption, all of the ups and downs with E’s 1st mama before she was born, all of the anxiety and fear and anger I’ve had as we’ve waited and fought during this custody battle…it all came to a head. And for about 3 minutes I allowed myself to be a broken mess. I was a broken mess all over the front seat of our SUV. I cried harder than I’ve ever cried. I couldn’t pin point the exact issue. And as I started to pray myself out of my huge fit, it became clear. Up until this point I was afraid of how I would live if we lost E. But now E is 7 months old. She knows who I am, she knows who Husband is. She knows my voice, my laugh, my fake cough. I am her only source of comfort if she’s hurt or feeling icky or hungry. I am here with her all day every day. I AM HER MAMA. If I leave the room and she can’t see me, she yells until I come back into her sights. What happens if she’s ripped from the ONLY home she’s ever known? Ripped from the only parents she’s ever known? Will she have issues bonding with whomever she ends up with? Will she have abandonment issues?

I know that I am her mama only because Jesus allows it. And I know that we are going through all this junk for the very same reason. But that doesn’t keep the fear at bay for very long. I know enough about adoption to know children often have abandonment issues. Shoot, I didn’t know who my dad was until I was 13 and I STILL battle with abandonment issues 18 years later (dangum I’m old). We are prepared for those and already talking with E about her story. But how is this birth dad preparing for the issues she will have if she’s being taken away from the only security she’s ever known? Does he know the harm it will do? Does he care?

And then ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE I was made aware of a comment that was posted a few weeks back on my very 1st blog entry (which was actually written over a year ago). It was written by the very VERY young girlfriend of our E’s birth dad. When I finished reading I told Husband (through very vigorous tears) that we’re going to have to move away and change all our names if we win the appeal. And while that may seem completely ridiculous, please hear my heart. None of this is about me. It’s never been about me. It’s all about E and what’s best for her. And I have a VERY serious fear that this kid will show up on our door step one day and tell E that we kidnapped her. Because that’s what is being said about Husband and me. We are baby thieves.

I was talking to Husband on Sunday afternoon after the letter advising of the appeal had time to sink in. I’ve said time and time again that the birth dad wasn’t a bad guy at all. He just didn’t do what the law expected of him. Honestly, he got bad counsel. And now he is fighting tooth and nail to stake a claim to E. And Sunday I understood that. Husband and I have been talking about extending a partially open adoption to him and his parents because I have said all along that we want E to know her story. We want as many people as possible to show E how much she is loved. But we can’t do that now since we know what’s being said about us. And I’m really sad for E because she deserves better.

I’ve learned a lot about the absolute unfailing love of my Lord the past year. There have been times when I’m crying, screaming at Him because I’ve lost all faith that things will work out in the end. I still don’t know how things will end up, but one thing is for sure; even when I’m an ugly mess doubting the Lord’s sovereignty, He loves me anyway. When I am angry because we don’t have answers yet (and may not for a year or so), He loves me anyway. And when I’m out of words to pray and I’ve gone numb, His Spirit prays on my behalf. When my heart is breaking because my reputation is being dragged through the mud, He loves me through it. And He reminds me that things don’t have to be easy. NOTHING in this world that’s worth having is easy. And people will say crap that isn’t true. But the ones that matter know me. Know my heart. Know Husband’s heart. And these same people know that I would rather DIE before I allowed any harm to come to E.

Sigh. I have changed the privacy settings to my blog. So if you have a friend who likes to read my crazy rantings, send me an email with THEIR email address and I will add them. BUT only if they are good people. And by good people I mean aren’t feeding our information to the ‘other side’. We’ve had a little of that too…

Keep our financial situation in your prayers. The appeal process is VERY expensive and we’ve had to take on a second attorney (3rd if you count 1st Mama’s attorney).

I just realized I said gazillion a bunch of times. If I had $1 for every time I said ‘gazillion’, I’d have this adoption paid for 🙂

UPDATE:
I’ve changed my privacy settings BACK to public because Blogger wasn’t being cooperative and letting people read my ramblings. BUT you cannot comment for obvious reasons.

 

It’s Getting a Little Hard to Breathe

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At this moment 5 months ago, I looked at E for the first time. She was SO tiny. Way smaller than the 9 pound baby the doctors were predicting. She was snuggled safely in the crook of her 1st mama’s arm, wide eyed. I remember holding my breath trying to hold on to that minute as long as I could. I wanted to remember the first time I saw her face forever. It was the perfect moment.

As I type this, she swings silently across the living room. She has a favorite blanket and of course it’s pink. She wraps it around her right arm, puts the corner over her thumb, and sucks on it until she falls asleep. She is BY far the easiest and happiest baby I have ever seen. She rolls all over the living room and it will be only a few weeks before she starts crawling. She is growing, and thriving, and learning! She is a genius 🙂

Can I be honest for a minute? I am scared to death. We are only 8 days away from the hearing where we will learn if E’s birth dad’s consent was needed for 1st Mama to give her up for adoption. If the ruling goes in our favor, it’s all over with. BUT, if the ruling goes in his favor, he will have to undergo a home study just like we did. He will have to prove that he can take care of her better than we can.

I can’t imagine going back to a life where she doesn’t exist. Where I’m not her mama. I can’t imagine having a freezer full of food instead of breastmilk. I can’t fathom a day where I’m not covered in her drool, or trip over her owl or Sophie the Giraffe. I can’t think of a day where I didn’t make up a ridiculous song about eye goop or cloth diapers. I can’t imagine a day when I don’t see her smile at me as I walk into her room. I can’t imagine my life without her. It doesn’t make sense.

I am fully aware of my tunnel vision. I know the Lord sees the much bigger picture. I KNOW that. I’m just struggling to understand why. Sigh. We aren’t promised an easy life just because we trust in Jesus. It’s how we handle the tough stuff that sets us apart.

So for now, for the next 8 days at least, I will carry on as I cling to the cross and remember that Jesus has this. No matter the outcome, He is sovereign. My priorities are straight. Jesus, Husband and Eleanor. All the other stuff can wait. Well, perhaps I will do a load of laundry, but you get my jest 🙂

Come On Big Money!

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I’ve heard it said that the best things are always difficult. Boy is that the truth.

 

E is LITERALLY the easiest baby I’ve ever encountered (with the exception of the mastocytosis she was diagnosed with in May). And I’m not just saying that because she’s mine. She sleeps, eats, poops, talks, then does the entire cycle over again. She cries when she’s hungry or poopy (cause who likes to sit in their filth? 🙂

 

I’m so thankful for the gentle push into mommydom I’ve had. I couldn’t have wished for an easier transition. Which is good, because things got bat crap crazy in May.

 

I really don’t have any desire to go back and look through my previous posts, so forgive me if I’ve explained this already. In the great state of Ohio, if a man and a woman aren’t married when they conceive a baby, the man has to register with the Putative Registry. But it doesn’t stop there, he also has to emotionally AND financially support that baby mama in order to have ANY parental rights.

 

 We were very well informed by our 1st mama that the birth dad didn’t want to sign his rights away. But we were also told by the mama that he hadn’t really attempted to prove his place as E’s father. Meaning there was VERY little contact from the time they broke up in August to when E was born in March. So we knew that if we could make it to April 4 (the birth dad only had 30 days from the day E was born to contact the Putative Registry) we were in the clear. And when the date came and went, there was SO much rejoicing. 

 

We have maintained a relationship with our 1st mama, so she was quick to tell me when she was informed by her dad that ‘some people were trying to serve her some papers’. There is a LONG history between she and her dad and I refuse to get into that on here. But we were skeptical. She was skeptical. And it actually took a few weeks for her to get notice that the birth dad had filed for full custody.

 

That’s right, folks. FULL CUSTODY.

 

The breath was knocked out of me. She cried and apologized and cried some more. I just kept saying, “It’ll be ok. We did the right thing. We did everything by the book. We’ll be ok.” But I was hyperventilating before I ended the call. It took me a few minutes to compose myself so I could call Husband. And that’s when I knew that I wasn’t overreacting. I could hear the fear in his voice. For those of you who know Husband, you know he has one emotion: chill. So as I am explaining the few details I knew, I began to hear the panic in his questions. 

 

We went the rest of April not knowing what was going on. Then our attorneys notified us of a court hearing to get the case moved from the juvenile system to probate court who has jurisdiction. That was at the beginning of May. Then we had a deposition at the end of June. Funny story, this kid’s attorney is a guy I went to school with…awkward.

Honestly friends, I went into the deposition expecting the worst. Not that I didn’t trust our 1st mama. Because I did. Even when she backed out in December, she has ALWAYS been honest with us. But I couldn’t blame her for wanting what’s best for E. If I were in her shoes, I would have done whatever I could to make sure my daughter had the best start at life. So I was expecting the attorney to have pages and pages of text communications proving he had indeed attempted to support her. But he didn’t…he did however have every picture and post I put on Facebook in regard to E. Which is interesting considering you can’t access any of my Facebook information unless you and I are friends… 

 

But, I was wrong to expect the worst. Because every little detail she ever told us was 100% truth.

 

So here we sit. Absolutely and incredibly in love with a baby we didn’t make, but love without abandon. And there is a real fear that she will leave us. If the magistrate goes strictly by the law, we will win the case. But if he takes pity on the birth dad, we may lose her. 

 

There is more to this story, but it isn’t mine to tell. I can tell you that our 1st mama is one of the strongest and most amazing people I’ve ever met. And I am thankful for the family who has rallied around to support her. I’ve said it before, and I will say it until the day I die; she is my hero. No matter the outcome, she is my hero.

At least once a day I freak out. It’s usually early in the morning after R has left for work and I’m singing E back to sleep after her feeding. The only thing I can say is ‘God’s got this.’ And He has. We have been blessed with 2 incredibly knowledgeable lawyers that focus on adoption law. They know what they’re doing, and they are GOOOOOD at it. But with awesome attorneys come INCREDIBLE bills. 

 

We had the initial adoption paid for with our savings and with help from my incredible mother-in-law. But when everything is said and done, the cost will be about 4 times higher than what we were expecting. Please hear my heart, E is worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. And I will sell my kidney’s to keep her 🙂 I was made aware of adopttogether.org. I put off creating a profile on there for months (pride is one of my MAJOR downfalls). Basically, it’s a site for people to list their financial needs while adopting. And their friends can donate to their needs. And it’s a tax write off!

 

So here it is. HELP! Have I mentioned how much I hate asking for help? Because I genuinely do. But I realize we can’t do this on our own. This is a miracle only Jesus can do. So we are asking our friends and family to help where they can. And ONLY if you are feeling led to do so. Here is the link to our profile on adopttogether.org  https://www.adopttogether.org/00521<—

 

This has been a bit long. If I can be completely honest, I’m nervous about posting this. I really, REALLY, hate asking for help…

I Smell Like a Mom.

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I always ‘judged’ mom’s who looked like they hadn’t bathed in months. Shirt inside out, jeans 2 sizes too big, hair a tangled mess with some type of food in it. I mean seriously, how hard is it to take a two minute shower?…..

And then yesterday happened.

I came to the realization that I hadn’t showered since Sunday.  Morning.

Now before you judge, keep in mind that I have a 7 week old. And she doesn’t like the sleep so much. And I have a house to keep in order (Ha. It looks like a tornado touched down in my living room). And I’ve been taking care of our good friend’s 10 month old. So all of those things take priority over bathing…Wait, what?

That’s right, people. Bathing is no longer the priority. Those are just one of the many, MANY, sacrifices you make as a parent. Along with vacuuming whenever you want, late night Euchre parties, a glass of wine with dinner, video games, and sleeping.

Last night Husband took the night shift. I slept from 8:30-2:30. I haven’t had a 6 hour stretch of sleep in months. Before E, I struggled pretty intensely with insomnia. That corrected itself REAL quick. But I woke up to E screaming at Husband was warming her milk. She hasn’t mastered the concept of patience quite yet :). I came down the stairs to see him talking quietly to her, trying to calm her so “Mommy can get some rest”. He is incredible.

So this morning, as I rocked and sang to my baby girl, I couldn’t care less that I smelled like a mash up of baby puke, pee and poop, and 4 day old grime. I wouldn’t bathe again if I could hold on to these moments. I see her growing, it seems like she’s doubled in size in just 7 weeks. I know that these first few months will go by like a flash. And I need time to slow down!

Have a happy Thursday, people. I’m going to go snuggle my baby!

What this fit needs is a little more…violin?

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The other day E was throwing a fit. I mean a no-breathing-face-turning-red-crying-so-hard-no-sound-comes-out kind of fit. And after feeding, changing, burping, feeding again, bathing, burping and bouncing, I gave up. I put her in the bed beside me and turned on Debussy’s Clair de Lune. It was magic. MAGIC. Instantly her face went back to the regular color and the only sound she made was a sigh.

Then last night we were headed to get Husband from work. We are a 1 car family, have I mentioned that? Anyway, after a LONG nap and a big bottle, she was not a happy girl. So I remembered my trick from a few nights ago and I turned the radio from NEEDTOBREATH to the local classical station. And again, it was magic. Until the oboe took the prominent instrument away from the violin! And whenever a piece would end and the monotone announcer came on to announce the next classical ‘masterpiece’, she would scream. Like a banshee.

I mention all of this because it’s crazy how similar she and I are already. Whenever I am sad, or angry, or sleepy, or….you name it, my 1st response (after praying if I need to) is to turn on Moonlight Sonata. I blame my good friend Deb for that one.

I’m reminded that she is ours. Our Abba Father made her just for us! She was ‘custom made’ to fit into our little family. And we were given her at just the perfect time. She’s been here 48 days 1 hour and 19 minutes, and I can’t think back to a day when she wasn’t here! Our lives have been forever changed by this little miracle, and gallons of milk have longer shelf life than she’s been alive!
Keep us in your prayers, friends. Some interesting things have developed. As soon as it is all over, I will blog about it, undoubtedly praising God for how He has used a tricky situation to prove His presence. He is good all the time!

Here is some cuteness…