Sunday, May 12, 2013

~Mothers Day 2013~

I have wanted to be a mother my entire life. I cannot remember a time when I wasn't baby dreaming. I had no idea how amazing the journey would be or that it would be to ALL BOYS.
I recently listened to a podcast on Focus on The Family about the chemically genetic differences between men and women, mostly referencing these differences in regard to marriage and how those differences are beneficial to balancing out a marriage. What dawned on me the most in this was, that all the years of my childhood must have really prepared me for my role as a mother of boys. Growing up in a house with just my dad and brother for many years was training ground for sure. 

I guess I was always the little girl who longed for the mother daughter relationship that belonged to other little girls and moms. It was a hard thing to wrap my mind around as a child about why my mom died while I was so young, and even before that wasn't involved in my life like I knew a mother should be. But it is all starting to make sense now......

So fast forward to my young adult life and here come my two little boys. With each pregnancy I was CERTAIN, my mother daughter thing was just around the corner, and then came each awesome boy. The little lights of my world. So when Steve and I met and fell in love, no surprise he had boys too. So here I was once again in a household of men. When Steve and I decided to adopt it really shouldn't have been a shock or surprise to anyone that we wanted to pursue the adoption of a little girl. FINALLY I was going to have my mother/daughter dream. We did the paperwork and passed all the 'tests', we planned and painted and bought little girl things and THEN.......the phone call I waited for, for what seemed like forever, came. The only thing was 'gender is unknown'. Thats the moment I knew I was about to become a mommy again to another little boy. And I could not have been any happier or more thankful.

God taught me many things through our adoption wait and He has taught me MANY things on this motherhood journey. Things that make my whole life, make sense. Im so grateful for how He does this. I love my boys beyond words and I know that the absence of my mother in my life has made me a better mother. Im not perfect, not by a long shot. I loose my patience and probably nag them too much at times, I embarrass them on occasion, but they are fiercely loved by the woman who used to be the girl that spent her childhood days dreaming of them. Im so grateful that God blessed me with the privilege to grow two of them under my heart for nine long months, and that He also allowed me the experience of waiting, and growing myself, as I fell in love with this littlest one as he grew in my heart over the course of a couple of years.

This year, I am holding on for dear life to the days that remain before my oldest goes off to college. It is such a joy to celebrate his high school journey and accomplishments. To listen to his dreams of the future and watch as he works hard to prepare for the exciting road ahead of him. He has been such a

treasure. Its gonna be hard to watch him take flight, but I know he will do well. I often tell him, he was my very first dream come true. I hope and pray all of his dreams come true too.   

 In closing I have to say.....I am mindful everyday, especially on Mothers Day, of my little one's Birth Mom. She has been the unexpected EXTRA blessing in our adoption journey. I never imagined having such a special love for someone as I do her. My heart aches for the relationship that we don't have, but I have the privilege of praying for her and cherishing her and loving her for the blessing she brought into this world and then turned over to me. There are not enough words to explain the depth of my love and gratitude to her. I guess all I can do is love OUR son well and raise him to love others well. 

I am one very blessed mom. All of my boys are such sweet, good hearted people. I am so excited to watch what God does through them and how they put together the little dots of their life as they grow and reflect

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

           Love isn't a big enough word here....

Sayer is 6 months old today. So today we celebrated that along with Steve's birthday. Its hard to believe how much has happened since that day 6 months ago when the call finally came saying he was born. I was very deliberate in doing everything possible to hold that moment captive and remember as much of that call and the day as possible. It must have worked because, I still remember it exactly. I knew in that instant that our lives were changed but I had no idea of the complete joy that lay ahead. I remember being on the way to the hospital the next day and suddenly having the thought "what if we got a baby that was really fussy and colicky or didn't bond well with us or that we just didn't click?" I dont know where it came form after all of that time of waiting, but I had a moment of great fear. And then the moment I saw him, it was so clear how perfectly meant to be we all were. All of the days immediately following were just little kisses from God showing me just how perfectly matched we were. And now our days are just filled with complete joy. Sayer is such a happy and content baby. He is full of smiles and giggles just about all the time. He is inquisitive and happy and so loved. I was watching him tonight on our walk and he just kept looking from me to daddy to Zack. I just couldn't help but wonder what was going on his little mind. He just looked like he was so happy to be surrounded by everyone he loves. I wonder if he will ever fully know that joy he has brought to this house?  Im so grateful that God made this adoption path so clear to us. Even in the moments when it seemed to really be dragging on there was a peace that was so evident and looking at this baby, its all so clear. He was meant to be ours and we were meant to be his.

So tonight as I look back on these last 6 months, I am so grateful and so happy and so amazed that God has blessed us so beautifully with this little boy.

It is never far from my mind that the gift of Sayer didn't come without a price to someone else and it is for her that I pray every day and think about constantly. Sayers birth mom is a hero to me. She showed such strength and courage to make the choice for him that she did. I am forever in her debt. I see so much of her in him and that just warms my heart. I look forward to being able to share his whole story with him as he grows up and show him how perfectly God put all the pieces of his life together before he was even conceived. His destiny was in Gods plan long ago.

I was given a beautiful baby gift this past week that included a CD with the most touching song on it. I had to include the lyrics here. I wanted to find the video for it to include, but I cannot find one that isn't personalized by someone else. So the lyrics will do for now.

From God’s Arms, to My Arms, to Yours

So many wrong decisions in my past, I’m not quite sure,
If I can ever hope to trust my judgment anymore.
But lately I’ve been thinking, cause it’s all I’ve had to do
And in my heart I feel that I should give this child to you.
And maybe you can tell your baby,
When you love him so that he’s been loved before.
By someone, who delivered your son, from God’s arms,
To my arms, to yours.
If you choose to tell him, and if he wants to know,
How the one who gave him life could bear to let him go.
Just tell him there were sleepless nights I prayed and paced the floors.
I knew the only peace I’d find was if this child was yours.
And maybe you can tell your baby,
When you love him so that he’s been loved before.
By someone, who delivered your son, from God’s arms,
To my arms, to yours.
Know I know that you don’t have to do this,
But could you kiss him once for me,
The first time that he ties his shoes,
or falls and skins his knees?
And could you hold him twice as long
When he makes his mistakes?
And tell him that he’s not alone,
Sometimes that’s all it takes.
I know how much he’ll ache.
This may not be the answer for another girl like me,
And I’m not on a soap box saying how we all should be.
I’m just trusting in my feelings, and I’m trusting God above,
And I’m trusting you can give this baby all his mother’s love.
And maybe, you can tell your baby,
When you love him so that he’s been loved before.
By someone, who delivered your son, From God’s arms,
To my arms to yours.

                                                             Music by Michael McLean

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mamas Day

As I look ahead to this Mothers Day weekend, I have to smile. My heart is full of gratitude for the honor and privilege to be a mom. It is my lifelong dream come true. While other girls were aspiring to be doctors or lawyers or veterinarians or members of corporate America, I was daydreaming about babies and one day being a mom. I never imagined just how great it would really be though, or that it would be ALL boys. But what a joy. As I write this now little Sayer is snuggled into me as close as he can get and I just treasure that sweetness, I already had the good night-sleep tight- don't let the bed bugs bite, talk with the teens( yes they still indulge me). Being the mother of teens is a very special treat. Im serious!!!! I love their sense of humor and their take on life experiences, I love the way they still need me even though the needs have changed. I love the child likeness about them even as they are spreading their wings and discovering how high they can fly. Mothering them makes me a better person. But this year another perspective on Mothers Day will be celebrated too. The celebration of the hero and unselfish loving mother that Sayers Birth Mom is. I cannot even begin to imagine the choice she made, or the depth of love that she displayed, but my gratitude to her for it, is immeasurable. I don't know the circumstances that led to her choice but I know she was strong in her resolve. The strength and love she showed through her choice is a beautiful display of a mothers love indeed. She gave me such a precious treasure of a gift and really made every day mothers day for me. I've learned a lot about being a strong and unselfish mom from the woman who couldn't keep her baby to mother herself. Isn't that ironic? So this weekend while I get to enjoy the glory of being a mom, I will be thinking so dearly of the woman who helped make me one, one more time!!!! God Bless birth moms.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Long overdue UPDATE........

These past 4-5 months have been a whirlwind. When I look back at the last time I updated this blog Its terrible that it was way back in September. I have to say that the great excitement that drove me to create this blog started to get replaced with dread as I searched for ways to post updates and find new things to sound excited about, when I was feeling very down and out about how this adoption journey was all going to turn out. My faith was strong to to be sure, but I was always feeling like it was a daunting task to post something on here and have 'no-news'. But THEN........When there was news it came like a BLAZE OF GLORY and its been non stop around here ever since. I wrote about it, in part anyway, in our recent church newsletter..........

~For I know the plans I have for you”, declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”~ Jeremiah 29:11

As I look back on the events that led to Sayer coming into our family, It’s overwhelming to think about all of the ways God has revealed himself to me. I would say the biggest lesson if you will, in these past two years has been my completely letting go and completely trusting God in the tiniest of details. I am one who kind of likes to have things ‘in order’. Well the adoption journey is definitely a path of dis-order. It’s been a real test of strength and faith and most of all trust, as I have leaned on God and sought Him every step of the way.  As one door would close I would ask for clarity and EVERY SINGLE TIME I would receive the most reassuring calm, and know that simply trusting God and His timing was all I needed to do. As many of you know we started this adoption journey on the other side of the world, in hopes of a little girl from Ethiopia. Little did we know that God would burst open a door right here in our own backyard in Illinois and had for us, a precious little boy.  All along the way I had been praying for God to make clear to us His Hand in this process. I was desperate to see His Hand in all of this. On the days when I felt like the waiting was just too much to take, I would trust. On the days when I felt so alone in this journey with no one to understand how I was feeling, I would trust. On the days when I questioned if this was even the right thing to do, I would trust. Eventually I was just surrounded by a peace I cannot explain, and the urgency I had been feeling for a baby turned into the daily need for God’s Direction in it all, no matter how it all turned out, even if it turned out that this wasn’t meant to be. As the Ethiopia option had come to a grinding halt with longer and longer wait times, it was becoming clearer to me that path was not to be. I was really sad about that and it took time for Steve to come to that same realization. This was June. In the meantime we began working with various agencies domestically, and assumed that once we decided to do that, that our wait would be short as we were open to any race. In October one of agencies called finally, and wondered if we would be open to twin girls? That was a new thought and we considered it and ultimately passed on being considered for that situation due to some health concerns in the background, but it was a good circumstance for us to be faced with because as we sought Him, we felt a clear leading of ‘NO’ but also recognized that maybe God was preparing us for something we hadn’t planned on through this. The very next day another set of twins came about and we felt much better about that situation. We decided to submit our profile and see what happens. This was for a boy and a girl and they were to be delivered in 3 days. WOW. So we got busy thinking of boy names and were stuck. We could not agree on anything. I went to bed that night and had a dream about SAER (We changed the spelling). I had never heard of that name before and I quickly looked it up in my baby name book. It means ‘Carpenter’. I had an overwhelming sense that this name was from God and that He had a specific plan for a specific child and again I was just so at peace at however this situation turned out and whatever happened.  It might sound strange but its things just like this all along the way, that were our little reassurances from God in a process that is so uncertain. When the situation for these twins didn’t happen, we felt a little disappointed but I was sure that this whole thing came about as just another step in our story. I wasn’t sure where we were heading and where it would all end up, or if it would even end up with a baby for us, but I was sure of God’s plan in it all as never before. As Thanksgiving approached, life was busier than ever with Steve’s work schedule and how it was impacting the whole family. I was really looking forward to the downtime of the holiday weekend. I was looking forward to having some time with my husband and have some real conversations about things. I was more and more sure we needed to pull out if Ethiopia and he just wanted to take a little more time to pray about it and feel comfortable with letting that dream go. So after a week of serious prayer, on Sunday Dec 3rd, Steve gave the go ahead to contact our family coordinator in Virginia and let her know we were pulling out of the program. It was a sad decision to have to come to, but the emotional toll from the uncertainty of the Ethiopian government was just becoming too much and we felt our focus needed to be in a domestic program. First thing on Monday morning Dec 4th I sent out the email to our agency for Ethiopia. I told her of our decision and thanked them for their help and support in our adoption journey. Around 12 noon that very same day I received a call out of the blue from our Illinois social worker who had a ‘situation’ she wanted to share with us. All I heard her say was that, and I burst into tears. I cannot explain any other reason for it than I KNEW as sure as I knew anything, that this was the call we had been waiting for. After months of agonizing over what to do in regard to Ethiopia, we finally took a step and that very same day God opened the door that would change our lives and our family forever. This situation was for a baby of unknown gender and she wondered if that was ok with us as we had wanted a girl. I couldn’t even talk to her. Sobbing, I just handed the phone to Steve. He had to be wondering what the heck was wrong with me and who on earth was on the other end of that phone. We gave her the go ahead to present us to this Birth Mother and she picked us. I wasn’t surprised. God blessed me so beautifully when our social worker Maria told me that upon choosing us to parent her child she specifically called me by name. She said ‘I want Jennifer’. God knew I needed clear direction and He provided it by literally having me called out by name. Over the next couple of weeks, as we got the limited details that were available, what stood out to me was that Birth Mom specifically made the decision to not name the baby in the hospital and allow us to give him a name. In an instant I understood the dream I had previously about Sayer. I knew that the ultra sound planned for the following week was going to show that this baby was a boy. God had named this child before we even knew this child was going to be. Obviously there is so much more to this whole story and I could go on and on about all of the ways that God has revealed Himself to us in this, but the main thing is the realization for me and us, as a family, and someday Sayer to know, that God’s Design IS in our lives and the seemingly tiny details reflect His Plans for our lives, we just have to take notice. We are so excited to watch Sayer grow up knowing how His Father loved him and planned for him before he was even born, of how He was preparing his family for him through this adoption journey, before he was even conceived. What an Awesome God we have.  

~Psalms 139:13-18~ For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother's womb.I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful, I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts,God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand-when I awake, I am still with you. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Windows on the World

When I was a child, I went with my dad on a business trip to NYC. It was a very exciting trip. It was my first airplane ride. First, and so far only, Broadway show....42nd Street. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We stayed at a fancy hotel on Long Island. I have to say the most memorable, and now most precious memory of that trip, was our fancy dinner out to Windows On The the top of the World Trade Center Tower 1, on the 107th floor.  I was so in awe of this really awesome place. There was bathroom attendant, and tuxedo waiters and I really felt like I was on top of the world. Now10 years after the attacks on those buildings and this country, I treasure even more, that wonderful memory. I am so grateful to be grounded in my faith and know the promises of God. The plans that God has in store for this world and everyone in it, are far greater than the deepest grief, sorrow, pain and fear these attacks brought us. That thought reminds me very much Romans 8:18 ~ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. (ISV)

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Monday, August 29, 2011

9 years ago today, my life changed forever........

Today is the anniversary of the very first email Steve ever sent me. We were both newly registered on and learning how to navigate our free 7 day trial. We were both freshly on our way out of our marriages and dealing with the pain of divorce and loneliness and fear of single parenting. We really turned to the online dating thing as a way to test the waters and see if we had a chance at love again, looking for friendships of people who could relate to where we were at and what we were going through. I had made up my mind that I was not going to pursue anyone as my choices were not working out too hot. I spent many hours in prayer over the decision to sign up for this site and my strongest prayer in all of it was that if God had someone out there who was what He wanted for me and my two little boys, that He would make it clear and obvious, I need a 2x4 on occasion, and that whoever it would be, would seek me out. So.......on August 29th 2002, came the first email from Steve285.

We connected right away and really clicked (obviously). We both had pain to work through and lots of ground to cover before we found our way to the altar, but it was clear early on that this was no ordinary situation. Soon after our correspondences were revealing a deeper connection than I had ever known with any other human being, it occurred to me that in case this turns out to be as special as I think, I printed off and kept a record of every single email sent back and forth. I kept them in order from the very first, to when we both signed off the site with our love match. Now we have an unbelievable record and account of our loves first blossoms. I really had no idea at the time that this would be such treasure. Its really a great resource for the occassionsal "oh yes you did say it is on day 32 at 9:15 a.m", but beyond that fun, it is so, so sweet to be able to see the growth we have had as individuals and the vulnerabilities we so openly shared with one another. I think most people who know us, see a certain uniqueness to us and I really believe it stems, obviously first and foremost from God, but also the avenue He provided for us to be able to so honestly and openly reveal our hearts and hurts and dreams with each other. I knew very early on that I was falling for this Steve 285, and I was terrified and certain all at the same time. My life changed forever that day.

We corresponded and talked and laughed and cried and prayed with each other for 4 months before we finally met face to face. I was head over heels by the time Dec. 20th 2002 rolled around. We met in downtown Chicago just 5 days before Christmas. Steve was everything I expected and then some. We went on a romantic carriage ride as the snow softly fell. We went to dinner and a show.  The magic of the season mirrored the magic that was happening between us. He treated me like a princess who just discovered the prince she thought only lived in her dreams.By the time I was headed back home to Indiana, I knew it was going to be a rough time ahead. I was in-love and Steve was still healing. Waiting has never been my strong point. But I knew this was going to be worth any wait and any heartache we had to go through, to get to where we were meant to be.

Over the next few months, I finished school and then packed up myself and my little ones and we moved to Wisconsin. This was a great time for the three of us. We settled into a new little apartment and Kindergarten for Zack, 3rd grade for Ricky and full time job for mom. Our life was on a new road. Steve and I were able to start dating more as we were only 2 hours from each other now, and our love started to develop on an even deeper level. We took our time with who we were becoming. We met each other's parents and friends and then we introduced the kids into our relationship. It wasn't long then, before he bent down on one knee and asked me to be his wife.

So after two years of learning about each other and discovering many things about ourselves, the love that started growing back on that day of Aug 29th 2002, became the celebration of our marriage in April 2004. This man who is my best friend and wonderful husband, still gets me blushing and smiling like he did in those earliest days. Looking back over this collection of emails today has had me beaming all over again. All of those butterfly emotions come flooding back and I am so grateful that I haven't forgotten, in the business of life and blending a family, what it feels like to fall in love all over again with my husband. He is a gift from God and the treasure that our love is, is one that has His fingerprints all over it. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Alabama Beach Pics!!!

So glad I found this photographer. This was great fun and a tradition we can carry on every Spring Break now. We are so hopeful that next year, our little girl will be in the photos too!!!!!

~Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.~

 ~Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of  singing has come.~



Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?

~And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;his leaf also shall not wither;and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.~
~I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvelous are Thy works;and that my soul knoweth right well.

~But as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.~