Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly(Crying)

So there we were...two rows of mommies waiting anxiously to see what our precious 3 year old ballerinas had learned in class so far. We had been invited to view the last fifteen minutes of class to see their progress.

I had strapped the boys in and entered the room with 'the big caboose'-- and yes, that is the actual name of our stroller. I sat in an end chair, rolled the boys up next to me, and pulled out my phone to video.

The girls were all lined up, each standing on their own star--symbolic, don't ya think? The teacher started the music and prodded them on... telling them each step to complete. They were all so cute and the videos were a rollin'. They finished the song and Sister ran over to me and said, "Mommy! Was it beautiful?" I smiled and answered that yes, it really was! Many of the moms laughed and commented on how sweet that was. The mom next to me even leaned in and said, " I wish some of that would rub off on my daughter," as her daughter seemed a little shy. I smiled as my little free spirit went to get in line for them to walk by one by one showing their graceful jumps and hops.

And then it happened.

My sweet little 3 year old became not so sweet. She decided that she was not going to stand in line and show me...well, anything. She came over to me crying, and I did the typical mommy steps to get her back in line--literally and figuratively. "Do what you are supposed to and we will get a surprise after class...Go get in line or mommy's going to leave...All of your friends are showing their mommies what they learned, can you show me?...If you're not going to participate, then we will all  leave right now...Fine, no surprise, and mommy is very upset..."

Ultimately, all that got me was tears and more defiance. I was getting angry...but trying to be cool. After all, the other mommies were watching. And then it got worse. She finally went to get in line through the coaxing of her teacher--and a promise to be the line leader. She got in front of the line, and froze. She would not go. So the kids continued without her. Once they had finished, she stomped her foot in protest. She had not been the line leader.

She pretty much cried the rest of the time, and then wanted a sticker...and a surprise.

I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was upset with her for acting that way...and upset at myself for being embarrassed. I could just hear all of the other mothers thinking how glad that they were that their child didn't act like that.

We have to take the good, the bad, and the ugly crying with our children...but come to think of it, we have to take it with everyone. Unfortunately we are not perfect, and we make mistakes--whether we are three, or ninety three.

I have yet to understand why it cuts so deeply when we feel that our parenting is being criticized by others. If I am seen as a bad friend, I hate it, but so be it. If I am seen as a bad daughter, I can deal. If I am seen as a bad employee, I'll go somewhere else to work, but if you tell me that I am a bad parent, the claws come out. Why does this cut deeper than the others?

I think that perhaps, it is because our children are seen as a reflection of us. And I suppose that they are. If our children are great--it is because of us. If our children are horrible--it is because of us. Talk about high expectations on us as parents.

The way that I see it, we parents are all just flying by the seat of our pants. There is no great book of parenting that we receive at the hospital that has all of the answers. We just hope and pray that we are doing what is best for them, and continue to move forward.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."--Proverbs 22:6

*This does not mean that our children will, therefore, be perfect, just hopefully guided.*

Monday, February 25, 2013

Date night

Nick and I had a date recently. The kids were staying with his parents, so we didn't have to pay for a babysitter...SCORE! I was so excited! These date nights are rare around our house, and a free babysitter is amazing! To top it off, we were going to see one of our favorite bands--Little Big Town. I could not wait for a night "away". (By the way, their concert is so much fun, if you're looking for something to do.)

We were having a great time, catching up with each other and "people watching", when a phenomenon happened. It actually happens every time that we have a date night. It starts with a sentence...usually it goes something like this..."You will never believe what Sister did the other day..." It continues with laughs and smiles and soon becomes a full fledged conversation about none other than the kids that we were "getting away" from.

Isn't that ridiculous? We want to get away so bad, but then we can't stop talking about the little stinkers.

Kids change you in so many ways. You are never the same.

Priorities change, goals change, thoughts change, everything changes. It is a slow process, but all of a sudden you wake up and don't know how to be "you"-- without them. I feel like my kids are a physical part of me...like my right leg. Which they incidentally are sometimes:). When I don't have them with me, which is not often, I feel completely naked.

My mom always says that once you are a mom, you are a mom forever. She proves this statement by still telling me not to go out late alone, and to remember to lock my car doors...

But she is absolutely right...I am always thinking about them. When I go shopping, I no longer go to the shoes or clothing for me--but for them. When buying groceries, I stop to grab a surprise for them. When deciding what to pick up for lunch, I choose their favorite place. When listening to the radio, it is veggietales or the like, for them. Don't even get me started on our television choices--positively for them.

Life changes.

Understatement of the decade, right?

But why does life change so drastically? Because of love. It is a deep seeded love that I have for these children. I want to make them happy. I want to smother them with kisses. I want them to have the best childhood ever. I want their every moment to be sweet. I want them to have all that I had--and all that I didn't. I want--for them, where I used to want for me.

The love for your children is unlike any other type of love. And once again, I am reminded that this is what the Father feels for me. He wants me to be happy. He wants to smother me with love. He wants me to have an amazing life. He wants my moments to be sweet. And He wants--for me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Mommy's Mapped Out Madness

Ever wonder what stay-at-home-moms do all day? I am so glad you asked...

I start loading the dishwasher,  when I notice poo crawling up Little Mans back. I grab the utensil that Linebacker has snatched from the dishwasher basket, replace it, close the door and pick
Little Man up-- at arms length. I rush him to the bathtub and carefully strip him down.

By this point, Linebacker and Sister would also be in the tiny shared bathroom observing and shrieking, "Poo!poo!" I get the mess cleaned up, get Little Man freshly diapered and dressed, only to turn around and catch Linebacker just as he almost drops head first into the stinky bathtub. I shoo them all out of the bathroom and close the door.

 I sit all three in child-sized chairs in front of a Caillou episode, and grab the Lysol. I rush back to clean out the tub. I wipe it down quickly and grab the poo trash. To the garbage it goes... and to a halt I come, as I enter the kitchen and see Linebacker carrying a crystal candlestick. I decide which is more important, and quickly ditch the poo mess on the buffet to grab the candlestick and save myself a hospital trip. I put the candlestick up and for the hundredth time remind myself to get Nick to put a safety latch on that cabinet.

I go back to the poo mess and dispose of it properly, grabbing the Lysol and heading to the buffet. It is then that Sister calls out that she is hungry. I ask her what she wants as she stares blankly at the television. Three repetitions of this question later, I still have no answer. So I grab Little Man's soiled clothes and run downstairs to the washing machine.

I turn the water on scalding, throw the clothes in with extra Oxi-Clean, and run back upstairs hoping to see everyone nicely sitting in their chairs. When I hit the top of the stairs, I hear Sister scream, "Moooommyyyyy... I'm hunnngryyyy!" I walk into the kitchen scolding her for screaming and ask her what she wants. Blank stare. 

I head back to the bathroom for a potty break when I hear water running in the hallway. I did just start the wash, but this is coming from upstairs. Linebacker wasn't in the kitchen... CHIT. I left the master bath door open and Linebacker helped himself to our walk in shower.

There he stood, fully clothed, grinning from ear to ear despite the water streaming down his face. Mommy potty time will have to wait. I turn the water off, wrap him in a towel, and head to his room to try to find some clean dry clothes. As I am pulling his diaper off, it busts open and those lovely little balls of whatever they are go everywhere.


About this time, I hear Sister scream again, "Mooooommyyyyyy... I said I'm hunnngrryyyy!" I quickly dress Linebacker and throw his soaking clothes into the laundry chute.

I barge into the kitchen and stand in front of whining Caillou on TV. "What do you want???" I ask sharply. I have learned not to just make her something because it will not be the right thing. Now that I am in front of the TV, I finally have her attention. "Macaroni and cheese," she says. I don't care at this point if it is ten o'clock in the morning, mac'n'cheese it is.

Now that Little Man sees that the kitchen is open, he runs over to the utensil drawer and says,"Poon!" This means that he wants a spoonful of cookie butter. (If you have never had this, you are truly missing out! Trader Joe's cookie butter...you'll thank me later)

I scoop him a giant heap out and hand it over. Back to the mac and cheese...which happens to be Easy Mac. Don't judge. Now Linebacker comes in and I go ahead and scoop him out some cookie butter and hand it to him... I know that it's coming.

Mac'n'cheese is finally done, so I drop a piece of ice in it and put it on the table. "Mommy, it's hot!" Sister screams. "It will cool off in a second," I respond. 

Time for mommy to try to potty now. I scoot back to the bathroom, stopping to dry the soaked floor, and finally making it to the potty-- followed by the boys. 

"Poon!" Little Man says and shoves the spoon at me.

"Just a minute!" I respond. 

Linebacker walks behind the toilet and drops his spoon in.


I finish my business, fish the spoon out of the water, and get everyone out of the bathroom. We get back to the kitchen and I take the spoon to the sink and remember where this all started-- the dishwasher.

Back to work.

This is what it is like to be a mommy of three very small children. I sometimes feel like I am running in circles all day long, and I never get anything accomplished. I live in a state of exhaustion, physical and mental. I constantly correct, guide, and care for these children.

Being a mommy is not instantly rewarding, in fact, it may be thirty years before I see a reward in hopefully grown successful children. It is not like a promotion at work, or a bonus for a "job well done." But I have to keep on grooming and loving them, because they are my children and God has entrusted them to me.

Don't you know that God does that to us?  He gently nudges, grooms, and loves us. If we are taking a wrong path, He steers us back. If we make a horrible mess, He gives us a way out. If we make wrong decisions, He loves us through it. 

If he can have the persistance to stick it out with me, I can surely stick it out for my children. Because I absolutely love them-- just like He loves me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

God has it--He really does!

The timing must be exact.

The conditions must be perfect.

The circumstances must all match up.

I am talking about conception.

Isn't it crazy how the timing, circumstances, situations, etc. all have to be in perfect order for conception to be successful? It is such a complicated scenario, yet so simple. It happens accidentally millions of times.

How can that be?

Infertility can be one of the most frustrating things in the entire world. No amount of money can buy you pregnant. No great connections can get you there either. It is completely out of your power, or any one's power for that matter. Even the doctors can only do so much.

I used to be dubbed the "worrier".  I worried about everything. But I was, at least, a self proclaimed one, and I prayed about not worrying daily. It was so hard for me to not worry.

I think that one of the major lessons that I learned during our infertility journey was to let it go.  Infertility was one of the few things that I had encountered in my life that I could absolutely do nothing about.  My mom couldn't fix it, nor could my dad. There was no solution, as hard as I tried to find one. I was broken.

My worry and anxiety rose to an unbearable level on this journey.  I finally had to give it up.  Really give it up

And when I did--I finally listened. And God spoke.

It was then that God told us through the voice of a stranger to adopt--and life changed. 

The way in which Sister came to us was completely God. And then Little Man-God. And then Linebacker-definitely God. It has been amazing to see His plan unfold (And He ain't done yet...my friend Robin reminds me!)

I believe that it was after we got Sister, that I had this revelation that- I didn't have to worry about anything anymore. I knew that God had brought her to us and that His plan was so much better than mine.

I can remember when I first realized that a mama bird had made her nest in the window box outside of my bathroom window. I watched her daily as she tirelessly sat on her eggs. Then one day--baby birds. Tiny little creatures with frizzy hair and closed eyes. The mama brought food to them time and time and time again. I know that she was exhausted, but I realized that God cared for each of those teeny tiny baby birds...and he insured that their mama had food for their little upturned beaks.

The baby birds brought me back to these verses:  "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagan runs after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34

I am sure that I had read this a million times, but all of a sudden, I felt it. God had a plan for me and I could rest in that. Period. That simple.

Now... I am not going to say that I never worried again, because we all have worries.  But I am much more laid back than before. I am sure that the reason for some of that now is the fact that I am too exhausted to get upset about anything, but I know that God has created this life for me. And if He takes the time to place each little petal on the smallest of flowers, and to have enough seed scattered for the tiniest of birds--how much more is he going to care for me?

This revelation was so strong in my life, that I had this verse tattooed on my foot. I am sure that some of you may not approve, and that is okay, but I wanted to see this every day. I wanted to remember that every single day of my life is important to God-and that he is right here with me.

And He is also with you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Waiting for your heart

One of the worst parts of adoption is--waiting.

It is most excruciating waiting for your child...a tiny piece of your heart that is missing, even though you never before realized that it was not there.  The paperwork is all done, the fingerprints and background checks are in--and you are waiting

You have a room designated as the nursery.  You have purchased a few things for it, but they are, of course, unisex.  You probably have a crib and maybe a few stuffed animals, but that is it.  The closet has a few tiny clothes hanging in it...not pink or blue, but green or yellow.  You may have a few packs of diapers, possibly even a diaper station...but probably not.  You don't want to do anything to jinx the process.

You research possible bedding for a boy--and a girl...maybe even twins? You have to be ready at any moment.  You probably put the items in your online shopping cart, so that all you have to do is hit the "purchase" button when it's time.

There is so much up in the air. You live a little on edge.

You text and sometimes even call your social worker to see if they are working with any possible birthmothers.  You ask if there is anything else that you can do.  No, just wait

Your friends ask how you are doing.  You answer that you are good--just waiting.  You give them a reassuring smile, when you really want to just cry.  Your arms are empty.  You long to love your child...but you are still waiting.

You peruse the baby aisles at the store--every store, touching the tiny items and thinking of your child.

You never leave your cell phone anywhere, because you might get "the call".  Every time it rings, you look hopefully at the name.  If it does happen to be your agency, your heart skips a beat. But it's usually just a question about your forms.

You don't book any "getaways" because you might get "the call" before then.

The wait is relentless. This is just a small description of what it is like to wait on your child.  It is not just waiting 9 months on the inevitable.  It is waiting indefinitely on a possibility. It is indescribable.

Waiting on God is so stinking hard. We know in our minds that he knows best, but our hearts are hurting. We do know that he does have perfect timing, but it is sometimes hard for us to let go.

BUT--on the other side of this crazy wait, is pure joy. It is completely and totally worth it. That child is in your arms, and your heart is complete.

While you were in it though, it was emotionally exhausting. If you are in this holding pattern now, hang in there!  You will meet your child soon--God is faithful!

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."--Psalm 27:14

I have a few friends going through this process now. They have businesses that they do solely for their adoption fund. Please take a look, and help a great cause, if you feel so led!



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

As I got everyone loaded into the car this morning, I saw 2 envelopes with my name on them on my steering wheel.  I put them in the cup holder, and continued to wrangle kids into 5-point harnesses.  I got them all buckled, backpacks at their feet, and jumped into the drivers seat for the journey to school.  I grabbed my French-pressed coffee and took a swig hoping that it would help me get through the school drop off escapade.

As I approached the first red light on my path, I opened the first envelope.  I will not divulge all that was written on my Valentine's day card, as I think that is of no interest to anyone.  And I am not one to brag on my husband, because that is not who I am. (I obviously found him amazing, or I wouldn't have married him:))

But as I read my card at the light, I had to laugh.  As I was leaving the driveway, I thought about how different life is now.  In my "pre-kids" life, I would have gotten into the car, primped and prime, I might add. I would have opened the card as soon as I got in and soaked in every word.  I would have smiled, maybe even laughed out loud at a shared joke between us.  Then I would have driven to Starbucks to order my Skinny White Chocolate Mocha, with a smile on my lips and thoughts of him on my mind. 

I did laugh at the card and think of him today. 

Even though it did take me a few red lights to get both of the cards read, I finally got to the handwritten note that said,"Flowers die...or don't last long if the kids find them. Candy gets eaten...by the kids if they find it..." Then he gave me a little cash to go buy Starbucks or anything else that I wanted for me

It was so funny to me that his words expressed my thoughts of how life has changed.

Back in my "pre-kids" life, I would have searched high and low for the most amazing and meaningful gift to give him on Valentine's day.  It would probably have included a cookie cake from The Great American Cookie Company--you know the one, and something that would have surely knocked him off of his feet.  But this year, I have a card waiting on him when he gets home, a house full of kids, and me, a mommy who lives in a constant state of exhaustion. 

I no longer have the time or energy to search for that perfect gift, or the patience to enter the mall with three screaming kids to purchase that cookie cake.  But when he gets home, he has three little stinkers that run up to him and yell,"Daddy!!!" 

Pretty even exchange, don't ya think?

In our "pre-kids" life, we had a lot of time for each other, and frankly-- just more time. But what we didn't have left a hole in our hearts.  We wanted to have the "pitter patter" of little feet all around our house.  And now we have them! I try to remember this in those stressful moments, I try to remember how much more love we have now--and I thank God for his faithfulness.

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."--Psalm 36:5

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

His Children

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."--James 1:17

Every perfect gift is from above.

Every gift.


I know that this verse does not single out children as gifts, but it is commonly used in baby announcements. I suppose that is because there is nothing more "good and perfect" than a newborn baby.

Is conception not truly an amazing process? Two people come together and create another living being.  How crazy is that?

If you have ever personally experienced, or loved someone that has experienced infertility, then you know how exact of a science this process is and you should be able to appreciate that success is truly a gift.

With the adoption of my two children, came a huge feeling of thankfulness.  They were instantly mine.  But I felt so much thanks. Because I could not be a mother without the actions of someone else. The thanks far outweighed my feelings of ownership.  I had some teeny tiny feelings of ownership after they were finally legally ours.

It is sometimes hard to remember that God gives these children to us to raise and to love.  But they really aren't "ours."  They are and will always be His.

This is exactly how I felt when our children were brought to us.  When I first laid eyes on them, I knew that their birthmothers were entrusting us with their tiny little lives. A woman gave me this tiny little baby to love, nurture, protect, and to teach right and wrong.  She essentially gave birth and handed this newborn to me and said,"I love this baby so much, but I cannot provide.  Please help him/her to thrive in this life."


It was such an overwhelming feeling-- such a feeling of unbelievable responsibility. It was like a living representation of God handing me this child to raise forever. It really solidified to me the fact that God was giving me this child. There is no question in my mind that He completely orchestrated the process of all of our babies coming to us-- one grew in my womb, but the others were brought straight to us through miraculous circumstances.

Since Linebacker grew in my womb, I would say that I felt a little bit of ownership. Nick and I created him, therefore he is ours, right? We didn't have the physical representation of someone else giving him to us as we did with our first two children, but I still knew that he was sent from God. 

We had tried to have children for seven years and decided that it was too risky. We had completely put that out of our minds and focused on adoption.  We weren't trying to prevent pregnancy because doctors had told us it was impossible. I had tried to conceive for six whole years, with no results-- birth control seemed sort of pointless.

Then--  BOOM, out of the blue--Pregnant.

As in, two lines.

Don't tell me that's not God.

God gave Linebacker to us, as well, He just used a different means. But the end result is the same-- to love and cherish and raise him in His ways.

God carefully designed our family, and the process by which we became one.  But it is so important to remember that He entrusted us with each of these children and their upbringing. I know that I fail daily, but I hope that I can raise them to know that they are children of God, and remember that I am as well.

"The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."--Romans 8:16-17

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Humbled by Mercy


What comes to mind when you hear this word? One of the thoughts that I initially have is the game that we played as kids. You would clasp hands with a friend and try to do anything to make the other call, “Mercy!”

Or I think about another one of my mantras nowadays…”Lord have mercy!”

But one thing that really sticks out in my mind is an epiphany I had thanks to my fourteen-year- old brother.

One Sunday, Tammy called me and told me that my brother was speaking at their church.  The youth had an IMPACT weekend, and a few of them were asked to speak on certain words.  His word was mercy.  Tammy told me about it and said to watch the video of the 11:00 service live if I got a chance.  I huddled in the kitchen with my phone hoping that I could watch it somewhat uninterrupted.

He began by talking about the definition of mercy.  Mercy, by definition, is compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  It also means an event to be grateful for, especially because its occurrence prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering. 

He continued to expand on the definition of mercy and how God feels about it.  I continued listening in awe at how comfortable he was speaking on a stage, when all of a sudden he said, “I am going to use an example of mercy with my sister, Amy.” Of course everyone laughed, imagining where this could be going. 

“Amy couldn’t have babies of her own, so she had mercy on these two little babies—Sister and Little Man—so God then had mercy on her, and she had a baby of her own—Linebacker,” he explained.

I couldn't stop the tears.  Why did it take a fourteen-year-old to point this out to me?

God did have mercy on me, and He gave me the desires of me heart. I was so overwhelmed by the wise words and understanding of my little brother.  Once again… out of the mouths of babes.   

God’s mercy is for real.  He loves us and wants the best for us.  He has compassion for us. He gives us events to be grateful for that provide relief from suffering.  He is merciful.

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”—Luke 6:36

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Real Meaning of Family

I think that one of the biggest fears about adopting, is the fear that you will not love a child that does not come from your womb. Some people are afraid to voice this fear, feeling that it is shameful. But it is a natural feeling.

When I was seven years old, my parents divorced. It was not so much amicable. There were some really hard times, but thanks to hindsight, I realize that God brought the good out of "bad". From this divorce came the following: a stepmother, a stepfather, two half brothers, a stepbrother, many step aunts, step uncles, step grandparents...you get the picture. (I actually hate putting "step"in front of those titles, and I do not use them when referring to them, but that is the technical term.)

Although all of them are blessings, I will just focus on a few of the relationships today.

Not too long after the divorce, my dad met my stepmother. She was a few years younger than him, and they "courted" very briefly before she attained that status. You can imagine the small town rumors...right?

But I digress..."Tammy" was 28 years old. She willingly jumped into a first marriage with two very young children. My sister is 4 years younger than me. At the time, we just thought that she was cool. But it was really so much more than that.

She never treated us like anything but her own. She loved us unconditionally--and we were not easy. We were still very confused and hurt from the divorce. But I honestly never felt anything negative from her. She was completely understanding and nurturing.

 I know that everyone is not so lucky in this instance, but we were.

She took us to the pool in the summers. She made hair bows for us. She even made flip flops with bows to match our outfits. She fixed our hair like hers, and bought us the real deal Clinique lipstick when we were old enough. She contributed to our Barbie habit, and helped us pick out stylish clothes and accessories. That was all so wonderful, but the best thing that she did for us, was to love us. She was there for us, and we knew that no matter what--she was there.

Tammy was so good to us, in fact, that people constantly called her our mother. My sister and I would laugh because when someone would talk to us about our mom, we would have to let them continue and hope that they would give us a clue as to which mom they were referring to.

I got married when I was 23. Marriage is hard work. And Nick and I didn't have any children for years. And even then they were both of ours.

I cannot even imagine the things that Tammy had to deal with. But she jumped right in, and didn't look back. (At least not that we know of...)

I have two "half-brothers", but we have never even used that term. That is technically what they are, but they are my brothers. Period. I am not sure that the youngest even knew that term until recently, because we are family, and that's it. There is a large age difference, but we still have plenty of sibling rivalry. I have been accused of being the mother at times, but it is actually funny. I love it when my fourteen-year-old brother introduces me as his sister. Those are some confused looking teenagers. There is almost a 20 year age difference. I will never forget the humiliation and shock that I felt when my dad told us that we were going to have a baby brother--I was 20. But that quickly gave way to excitement and love when we saw that sweet little face.

This theme is repeated throughout my family.

I believe that this is why adoption was a little easier for me. I learned very early on in life, that family doesn't equal blood relations. It is simply people who love you--and that you love in return.

I do believe that adoption may be a harder step for someone who grew up in a "fairy tale" family.

But if God is calling you to do it, then he will give you the means to get there.

Even though it may have been easier, I still had those worries. Will I love this child? And I will tell you this. The first time that I saw my daughter, my eyes filled with tears. Joy. Awe. Amazement. Wonder. Humility... I felt all of these things.

I had no idea that I could love someone like this and the love continues to grow daily. I knew that I could love my son when he was on his way, but how would I love them both so much? Cheesy, I know-- but your heart just grows. It grows to accommodate all of your children.

My children are my life. I love them all the same. I can honestly say that the only difference between my first two children and my last, is that he satisfies the curiosity of what mine and Nick's children would look like.

And I was seriously worried that he wouldn't be as beautiful as my first two children!!! (But of course he is;))

I am so grateful for all of the people in my life who loved me by choice, and not because they had to. Because through this, they taught me the real meaning of family.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."--1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chasing My Children...

My hair is not the latest hairstyle-- or color.  In fact, right now it is a few colors, and it is usually in a ponytail... sometimes clean. I have what my sister lovingly calls, "chick hairs" sticking out. This is all of the new growth around your face that emerges post pregnancy.

My clothes aren't the greatest trends.  They fit-- for the most part and they are washed. My make up is a smorgasbord of free samples, and impulse buys... but it isn't a daily necessity.

My fingernails are au naturale. Polish doesn't last long through dirty diapers and millions of hand washes a day. My toenails have remnants of polish left from the Christmas holidays.

I rarely wear jewelry because it is a magnet for my kids.  Earrings and necklaces simply do not survive their curious hands. 

All of my shoes are now flats, because it's hard to walk in any amount of heel with children on your hip.

These are all things that have progressively changed with the addition of my children. 

I used to not leave the house without every hair in place. I would get up in the morning and wash, dry, and style my hair.  Now I get a shower at 10 or 11 at night after everyone else is bathed and in bed. I usually go to sleep with it wet. It's not worth it to wake up anyone with the hairdryer. 

I used to pick out the "perfect outfit" the night before. Now I get up and throw on whatever is clean. It can't have too many frills or buttons because the kids see those as toys. It usually consists of jeans and simple tops-- complete with tennis shoes or boots. Anything that is easy for me to put on and hard for the kids to pull off.

I used to go get a "make-up consultation" and buy the whole package! I would get the foundation and concealer that worked together, and the perfect eye shadow and mascara. It would usually take three or four steps of color to get the eye make-up just right. I now typically put on some foundation and maybe some shimmer cream on my eyes.  This is only if I can get it done before Sister walks in and wants her eyes done. 

I used to keep my toenails painted all of the time, with matching polish on my nails. I don't even try that anymore. One dirty diaper and those nails would be goners. My toenails are painted on occasion--by my daughter. I barely have time to keep them trimmed-- much less painted.

I used to love accessories. Matching necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for my outfits.  Simplicity is the name of the game now.  I almost never wear earrings, because it only takes one quick swoop from Linebacker, and my earlobe is then plural.  I have two necklaces that I wear.  They are not long, and they both represent my children.  Bracelets-- forget it!

Not that heels would go with my outfits-- but even if they did, it's not worth a broken ankle. It didn't take me long to realize that it's impossible to carry two toddlers and pull the other by the hand without flat shoes and really good balance.

Besides, who has time to worry about looking taller to look skinnier anyway?  The hair and no make-up will distract from that.

The point in all of that is this--my children are number one now. 

It's my choice. I don't know if I would call it a sacrifice, as I WANT to do for them. I would rather spend the time fixing Sister's hair in the perfect braids.  Or helping her pick out the most beautiful dress-- or painting her toenails. Or buying the best hair product for Little Man. Or buying the most accommodating extra wide shoes for Linebacker to perfect walking in.

My focus has changed.  It's now on them. I don't think that their memories will be of how great mommy's hair always looked. Or how pretty her make-up was. Or how amazing her wardrobe was. Or how pretty her nails always were. Or how high her heels were. 

And that's not what I want them to remember.

As I was leaving Target the other day, I saw a mom and her "tween" daughter leaving together--and it hit me.  It will be such a short time before that is me and Sister. 

Another mom of three one time told me, "The days are long, but the years are short."  That couldn't be more true.  There will be plenty of time down the road for me to do things for ME.  Right now, I am just plain happy doing everything that I can for my babies.

I am not saying that every once in a while, a little envy doesn't creep in. Look at how great her hair always looks. Look at how perfect her make up is. Look at those amazing accessories. How tall and thin she looks with those elegant high heels.

I am human. Sometimes that happens. But then I look at my kids and know that they are so much more important.  There will always be a new trend in hair, clothing, accessories...

But I would rather spend time chasing my children than trends.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.  Instead, it should be that of our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."--1 Peter 3:3-4

*Disclaimer- I do not hate on anyone who does the above mentioned practices!!!  We ALL love to feel beautiful!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Our Rollercoaster Ride: Part 6

ReadPart 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 of how we became "InstaParents!"

So we had made it over one hurdle! We had Little Man home! A week after we got home, my sister and second mom (she's my stepmother, but that doesn't accurately describe her) hosted a birthday party for Sister. I was so thankful that they handled that because I couldn't have even begun to pull together a party. 

It was Little Man's "coming out" party as well. We still had not told anyone about the pregnancy, although I was looking a little chunky at this point. 

A week or so after the party, I had another doctors appointment, and everything still looked good.  So now it was time to tell the masses. We gave the go ahead to all of our family to tell our news.  It felt so great to let go of our secret, and it was funny to see the shock on everyone's faces. We had, by this point, moved past the shock. 

I was so thankful to be feeling better because Little Man was up for feedings all night.  We did switch him back to regular formula after seeing our pediatrician, and he seemed to be doing better, although he had some pretty bad reflux. 

We had a few short months to adjust to a new baby. I had a pretty big interior design job going on, but he was still easy to take with me in his car seat. It wasn't too long after we got Little Man that we found out that he and Sister were going to have another BROTHER. At this point, I started trying to pull together a nursery... Little Man would be sharing his room. 

We got the crib that was my brother's and some chests from my Aunt, and set to work. I had to find something that would coordinate with Little Man's decor. It was a crazy time. Although I have to admit that their nursery didn't get the attention that Sister's nursery had! You know what they say about the third!

The next few months weren't too bad because I wasn't huge yet, and I still felt pretty good. Nick was doing a bit of traveling, which was tough, but we pressed on. When I hit 18 weeks, I had to start weekly shots of progesterone to relax my uterus in hopes of reducing my chances of preterm labor. I was SO excited about this--eye roll. I hate needles. But we went in and the nurse taught Nick how to give me the shots. It was that or return to the office every week. Not. A. Chance.

(Side note, it is crazy how expensive a little vial of progesterone oil is!  Insurance wouldn't pay for it because I hadn't had a preterm labor before-- craziness!)

As I got bigger, so did Little Man. It became humorous to go anywhere because I was obviously very pregnant, and I had a newborn. The looks that I got were priceless. Incidentally-- it's really hard to tote a three-month-old in a carrier when you are 6-7 months pregnant!

The time drew nearer and we still didn't have a name for the new little brother. I kept pressing Nick, but he seemed to think that we had all of the time in the world. Granted-- we had just named a baby boy a few months before-- but my nesting was kicking in big time. We had it narrowed down to two names, but couldn't make a final decision.

Once I got about two weeks away from my due date, I was allowed to stop my shots-- they had obviously done their job. I started talking to the doctor about inducing versus waiting on my body to go into labor. I was concerned about little brother being too big. My sister had been one step away from a C-section because my nephew was large and he turned at the last minute... so that was my biggest fear. Every visit for the last month, we discussed this. She said that statistically if you induce too early, it almost always ended in a C-section. So I decided to wait. 

When I went for my visit the week of my due date, we scheduled my induction for the next week... obviously I did not need to go to 42 weeks! I was also a bit compulsive about having MY doctor deliver my baby... but you know that's hit or miss. So I was scheduled to be induced on a Wednesday-- when she would be there. 

The weekend before, my sister and I had planned to go to Christmas Village. It's a huge show where vendors bring food, clothes, accessories, etc to sell. It is one of the few things that we get to do sans kids. I didn't miss it! I had to take breaks from walking, but we did it!!!

One of the physical issues that I did have was that my right thigh would go to sleep if I stood for a long period of time. Little brother was in the right side of my uterus, and he would press on a nerve on that side. I also had to sleep on my right side since I was "right side heavy."  If you looked at me closely, you could tell that I was carrying him on one side. The hormonal line that you get down your tummy was pushed to the left on me. It was bizarre.

My great-grandmother passed away this particular weekend. She had been in a nursing home for a while, and we knew that it was coming. The funeral was a few hours away, and I decided that it would be best for me to stay home and get ready for Wednesday. I was a little nervous about being induced, as I really wanted my body to go into labor naturally, but there was no sense in getting all worked up about it. God had this.

On that Monday, I picked Sister up from her half day at school, put her down for a nap, and tried to get Little Man down. He was fighting it and he fights like no one else. He has the highest pitched shrill scream that you have ever heard. I put him in his crib, ran to the bathroom, and paused.  Something didn't seem quite right, but I went to tend to Little Man. As I was tending to him, I felt some trickling of water... it wasn't a gush though, so I wasn't sure what was going on.  I finally put Little Man in his crib screaming so that I could go to the restroom to figure out what was going on.  As the minutes ticked by, the water came quicker. I called Nick and told him that I thought my water had broken.  He said to call the doctor and let him know.

I called my mom at this point to see what it was like when your water broke because I was not sure if that was what was happening.  I got her on the phone and she started telling me all about the funeral, who was there, how the service went, etc.  When she finally took a breath, I interjected,"I think my water just broke."

"Why didn't you tell me to stop talking?!?!" she asked.

At this point, the water was really flowing, and I was sure that my water had broken.  I called the doctor, and they said to come straight in.  I called Nick, and he told me that he needed to finish a few things and then he would head home. 

"I have a baby sleeping, one screaming, and I am confined to the bathroom!! COME HOME NOW!"

Sometimes men don't understand urgency.

The minutes seemed like hours. He finally got home. I was walking around with a towel shouting orders like a general. I got the kids' clothes out and told him to dress them while I jumped in the shower. 

We finally got everyone loaded, and headed to the hospital. Nick called his parents, as they were going to watch the kids while we were at the hospital. They were 2 hours away. By the time we got to the hospital, I was soaked. When they say that your water breaks, they mean it! We put the kids in the stroller and headed up to the doctor. 

Luckily it was late in the afternoon and there weren't a lot of people there. I asked if I could go straight back, as I was a little wet. They took me straight back, and quickly decided that my water had, in fact, broken. They put me in a wheelchair on numerous towels...I felt quite like the Princess and the Pea-- and up to the delivery floor I went. 

We went to a room, and were getting settled in, when the nurse realized that the computer wasn't working.  So they wheeled us off to another room. With the kids. At this point, Sister was two and Little Man was six-months-old. Nick was trying to work on the phone and deal with the kids, as I couldn't get out of the bed.  In order to keep Sister occupied, he was giving her chocolate. 

It didn't take long before the sugar high kicked in.  She was bouncing off of the walls! "What is wrong with her?" he asked me. 

"Really? She has been funneling chocolate!"

He was trying to deal with a few "urgent" things at work and Sister was running around screaming. Little Man was crying, and I finally looked at him and not so nicely told him to get off of the phone. 

It's funny now, but not so much when you are ten months pregnant, and laying on a delivery bed as the "princess!"

Nick's mom and dad finally got there--thank you Jesus!  And family started floating in and out. The nurse got me hooked up to everything and we signed all of the paperwork.  She told me that if I had not progressed a lot by midnight, they would start pitocin.  Then she told me that I could not get up to go to the bathroom. 


Wish she had told me that before she hooked me up to all of the tubes...

They offered me a little dinner, but who can eat then?  Nerves!

So we"'slept" as much as possible. They were having issues with the computers as they had changed systems the week before. So they brought a team of IT guys in to look at the computer/monitor.

Lovely.  An audience.

We actually ended up seeing this team quite a few times.  So much, in fact, that when I returned for my check up the next week, we gave them high fives at the hospital's Starbuck's. 

(We weren't really that tight-- but almost.)

The time finally came where I decided to get an epidural. The pain was not unbearable yet, but I didn't want to wait until it was. I asked the nurse about the risks and she noted a few things, but she reiterated that they only happened 10% of the time.

 "Let's do it!"

Minutes after my epidural, I started feeling sick.  I laid back and felt very sick, but I had nothing in my stomach-dry heaves. Not cool. A few minutes later, I felt sick again... the nurse explained that my blood pressure had dropped. She had to administer meds to bring it back up.

I am the 10%!  Wonderful.

She told me that if it happened again, they would have to put a needle in my thigh to give me the medicine to bring it back up. Thank you Lord that it wasn't necessary!

So after that, we just waited.  It was a Tuesday, so my doctor would be at the office! YAY!

It was around noon or 1:00 when I could finally start pushing.  It was exciting! I had been in labor for almost 24 hours, and they were now bringing in all of the things for the baby!

She asked me to do a  "practice" and I did.  She said,"Great job! This won't take long at all!"


Then my doctor came to tell me that her daughter was in a program in school and she would be leaving.  I had an hour and a half to have this baby with her assistance.  I could do this!!!

Two hours later, I was still pushing.  He was not moving down. The nurse thought that he was also turned to the side.  She called the doctor.  The doctor on call came and assessed.  She said that we could continue if I wanted to, but that she didn't feel that he was going to come down, and that we should probably do a C-section. 

I was crushed.  We had already called Nick's parents and told them to come when we started pushing-- so they had been waiting, along with everyone else, for a few hours in the waiting room.  We made the decision to go ahead with the C-section, as I had already been in labor for 24 hours.

The nurse gave me a green slime to drink and off to the OR we went.  They moved me to the operating table and started talking about boosting my epidural. I tried to explain to them that it made my blood pressure drop and made me sick, but no one heard me. They boosted it, and a few minutes later, the green slime resurfaced. 

I remember saying,"I am so sorry..." I was so exhausted at this point.  The doctor was pinching my stomach and asking me if I could feel it.

 "Yes," I responded.

"It feels like a pinch? Or you just feel pressure?" She kept asking.

 "I can feel the pinch." 

They couldn't get me numb. They were talking about putting me to sleep.
"No! Please don't put me to sleep!" I didn't want to miss seeing my baby, and anesthesia makes me really sick. 

Nick finally walked into the room and I grabbed his hand.  The excitement had worn off... I was tired and scared. 

I remember squeezing his hand and praying that it would be over, as I could feel a lot of what they were doing.  It was kind of like an out of body experience. I don't remember a lot of what happened other than just praying.  I do remember the doctor saying that the baby would never have come down, and that I definitely had a bicornuate uterus.

Now let me just say that I have heard that planned C-sections are wonderful!!!  It is just these random "surprise" ones that aren't so great. I later found out that epidurals are not very dense in numbing, so that is why I felt so much.

But it was totally worth it.

The surgery was finally over and I remember them bandaging me up and rolling me out.  I was so out of it.  They had laid Linebacker next to my head.  I remember rolling past the waiting room window and waving to a few family members, forcing a smile.  But I was hurting. When we got to the room, Nick kept asking me if the family could come back, and I just kept telling him to wait because I was hurting. 

What I didn't realize was that everyone had been really nervous about what was going on, and they all needed to see me to know that I was okay. They began getting worried when they heard nothing after we had told them that we were going to start pushing, and it had been two hours.  Then they knew we were going in for a C-section, but it was almost two hours before they knew that he was born.  I had no concept of time during the process.

I had wanted our kids to meet the baby first.  Nick granted that wish, but I unfortunately don't remember it.

 I finally told him that it was fine for family to come in, but for them to please not stay long. I vaguely remember family coming in and leaving. I don't remember much until late that night. 

It's funny because Linebacker is my biological child, but I felt that I bonded with him less initially because of the C-section. That's another amazing thing about adopting-- you feel great and rested when you meet them!

My recovery was slow. I spent five total days in the hospital. But the next day, we finally agreed on a name.  Our little bundle was very healthy! He was probably the only C-section baby ever born with a cone head... and a sideways one at that. Apparently he had turned his head, and although he was big all over, his head was in the 100th percentile in circumference.

We had been through this twice before, but I had been completely well for those. We also hadn't dealt with nursing. So it was the same, yet different. When we finally got to go home, I was relieved, and a little nervous. I couldn't pick up my older babies. I wouldn't be able to do much for myself. It was hard. But we made it. Thankfully we had help from family for a few weeks.

Linebacker did change up all of our plans since he came so late. Who would have guessed that the progesterone would have worked that well?  We had Thanksgiving at our own home for the first time ever. My mom came and helped me decorate for Christmas. Luckily, I had done all of our Christmas shopping before he came. 

I started healing and finally feeling like myself. And it was so wonderful when I could pick up my babies again. It was heartbreaking for them to reach up to me and cry for me when I couldn't pick them up.

 All of a sudden, we were a family of five.

And instead of "The END," now the story just begins...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Perspective-- Don't Lose It

Tragedies... they look us in the face daily. I don't know if it seems worse because of the availability of news through the social media, or if they are really striking more people. Maybe it's  a combination of both.  Regardless, it seems that I see horrible stories daily.

I guess this is weighing heavy on my heart as I heard that a sweet friend who is dealing with cancer has had a set back. It certainly makes you contemplate why bad things happen to people.  I know in my head that it is because there is evil in the world, and that God will always bring good out of "bad." But I still sometimes feel a heavy heart. 

I also know that loss is an unfortunate part of life. I am not sure that we would feel love so strongly if we never knew loss. If everything were permanent, we would certainly take it for granted, and it would not be so precious. 

I lost my Pawpaw about six years ago. My granny died three months later-- she couldn't live without him.  It was really hard for me. We were very close to them, and I couldn't imagine my life without them.  It hurt physically-- real physical pain.

I still think about how much they would love my babies and I wish they were here to enjoy them.  But I know that I will see them again. 

It is really easy to get drawn into all of the tragedy around us.  And it is really hard to just sit down and enjoy what we have in this fast paced craziness.  But sometimes I do just that. I sit down with my children and look around, and thank God for my life.  These moments just happen on random occasions and I realize that I have everything that I need right here.

I consciously try to enjoy the moment that I am in. Because at this time tomorrow, things could be different.


It is so easy to lose it.  But when you see what some people are going through, your blessings become clear. 

I don't know if most people would categorize infertility as a tragedy.  But it sure did feel like it when I was going through it.  And it hurt-- real physical pain. But the pain lost its sting as I healed.  And God absolutely brought "great" out of bad. 

Nick and I sometimes reflect on what we would do without our three little blessings.  What if we hadn't pursued adoption?  What if we had missed out on two of the greatest blessings of our lives?  It would be heartbreaking. 

If you are going through a tragedy, know that God will bring good out of it. It may be real physical pain now, but it will begin to subside and give way to greatness. And if you are sailing smoothly through life at this moment--soak it in!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."--Romans 8:28

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Patience is a virtue


Oh my goodness--I'm not sure that I should be writing a post on this, as Sister has just said,'mommy' 500 times, and my blood pressure is beginning to rise.  And I know that I should probably be reading a dissertation on this rather than writing one, but here are some of my thoughts...

Patience is a constant factor in life--no matter where you are.  You have to have patience with friends, family, spouses, kids, parents, coworkers...the list goes on. 

But I think that the most difficult patience is when you are waiting on God. 

I think that one of the most frustrating points in my journey was when I was begging God to just tell us what to do, because I did not know.  I just wanted Him to give me an answer so that we could move ahead with our plan. What I didn't realize was that I needed time to heal before I could move on to the next stage.  God knew exactly what I needed.  I thought that I was good--don't we always think that?  Someone asks you how you are..."I'm good."  That is our programmed response.  But are we really ALWAYS good?  No. 

In fact, most of the time I could have an hour long conversation about the trials of the day--but no one really wants to hear about that.

The whole time that I was not so patiently waiting, God was healing me and preparing me for something that I could not even imagine.  I had no idea that in just a few short years, we would have, not 1, not 2, but THREE kids 3 and under!

 I had always wanted twins, and I got pretty close to that. 

Undercover twins, a cashier once dubbed them. (Yet another one of those strange comments...)

But the cool thing is that God knew my heart, and he gave me exactly what I wanted, but better!  Isn't that amazing?

Patience means a little something different to me now.  It means not gritting my teeth down to the gums when Sister asks me the same thing over and over.  (Which brings me to a recent observation.  It is a wonder that we don't need dentures by the time our kids are school age.)

 Sister sometimes says to me,"Mommy, don't show your teeth at me."


Or when Little Man won't even let me walk down the hallway without tagging behind holding my shirt.  Or when Linebacker climbs up on the table for the millionth time when I have repeatedly told him no.

Our patience are tested all day long with work, friends, family, kids, spouses, kids, spouses, kids, spouses... you get the point. And it is really hard to step back at times and realize where you once were...waiting for an answer. 

As frustrated as I get sometimes with 'life', I cannot imagine how frustrated God must get with me.  I know that I mess up daily, whether it be,"showing my teeth", making wrong decisions, not following up on a conviction, etc.  And God has the ability to take out his frustrations on us however he may see fit. 

But he doesn't.

He continues to love us and just asks that we trust him--and be patient.

Because he has great things in store for us. 

"But hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."--Romans 8:24-25

Friday, February 1, 2013

Our Rollercoaster Ride: Part 5

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of how we became "Instaparents".

I know, I know...how many parts could there be to a story, right?  My sentiments too! But here we go...

So we had Little Man's doctors visits done until we got home, and his birthmother signed her rights away 72 hours after his birth.  Our social worker went to her home to get this signature.  She told us later that all of the adults in the home smoked.  Our birthmother lived with her mother and father, her daughter,  one or two of her siblings, and their children. The social worker had a hard time breathing while she was there.

I do not hate on smokers.  In fact, I smoked a few cigarettes 'back in the day'.  But I was glad to know that my baby was not going to grow up in a smoke filled home. 

So now we had to go to court, and hope that the birthfather did not come forward after the ad was run in the newspaper.  This was about the time that our contact, or better term, friend, had us over for dinner.  That was so wonderful!  We had a home cooked meal, 4 boys loving all over our baby, and even a family dog!  It was such a welcome blessing after our cold hotel room living quarters!

Both of the social workers at the agency had gone above and beyond to help us.  They had stayed with our birthmother from the time that she got to the hospital, until she was discharged.  Their agency had a fundraiser at about this time, and they needed help.  So Nick offered to help them valet people from their cars to the building.  The agency also had a home on the campus where pregnant or new mothers could live and 'get back on their feet'.  So there was a night that Little Man and I stayed at the hotel while Nick helped shuttle people back and forth to the event...in the rain, I might add. 

We just wanted to thank them for all that they had done.  And this came back to us tenfold.  Months later, when we got a bill from them--they had clocked somewhere along the lines of 32 hours with our birthmother.  But they only charged us for 8 because of Nicks help, and a sponsorship that we bought for their calendar fundraiser. 

There was another night in there where we went to the 'house', and had dinner with a few of the mothers.  One had a little girl that was the same skin tone as Little Man, and right about the same age.  She was the Yin to his Yang.  We decided that they would be the perfect match one day.  She was then dubbed his girlfriend. 

And then there was the short weekend trip that my sister, brother in law, and nephew made to come meet the newest member of our family.  It was like having a small piece of home at the hotel.  They braved traveling through the disaster area to come and see us.  It was so awesome!

So the court day came, and coincidentally, the second social worker was going to be in the courtroom that day because her niece was adopting a child.  She would be a welcome face there.  

Nick and I got Little Man dressed, packed a bag, and headed to the courthouse. 

We walked up a long wooden staircase into the courtroom.  There were a few families adopting older children, and then us.  We were the last ones to go.  We walked up to a table with a microphone and sat down.  Our lawyer asked me some questions, which I answered, and then it was Nicks turn.  He was holding Little Man.  The lawyer asked him her first question and paused for him to answer...and then there was a loud reverberating sound.

 A toot--if you will.

 A cutting of the cheese.

Everyone stopped and looked at Nick, who commented,'That wasn't me.'  Everyone laughed.  Little Man had spoken for himself.  It was a very funny moment in a very emotional time.  We finished our questions and vows and the judge gave us a sweet little teddy bear for our new son...and he was legally ours.  We still had to make sure that the birthfather didn't come forward, and we would 'finalize' the adoption in 6 months...with paperwork via mail. We would not have to come back. 

At this point we had been away from home for almost 2 weeks.  We were simply waiting on all of the paperwork to be completed so that we could take our new little bundle home. It had to go from our lawyer and agency to the capital of his state, and then to the capital of our state.  It was a Thursday, and we knew that no one would work on the weekend, so we started putting the press on.  We COULD NOT be stuck there over the weekend! 

So I started calling our agency at home to see what they could do, the agency paid extra to get paperwork overnighted to its home capital, then paid for it to be overnighted to our home state...and tracked it.  So we were playing the waiting game.  And believe me when I say that our bags were packed!  I was done with giving baths in the hotel sink, bottles in the tiny refrigerator, continental breakfasts in the hotel.  DONE! 

I was very thankful for everything...but I have never been that homesick in.my.life.  I also really missed my daughter!!!

We were pretty much on the phone all day trying to get the paperwork on the right track.  Nick was threatening to leave on Friday regardless. 

Of course we couldn't do that.  If you leave the state before the paperwork is approved, you have to start the process all over again.  No.thank.you.

The next morning I was on the phone again...where was the paperwork?  It had left the capital of his state, and was on the way to our home state.  Later that day, we got the notification that it had arrived at the capital of Sweet Home Alabama.  I called our contact with our agency there and asked if he had it.  Once they had it, it had to be pushed through and approved before we could leave.  Nick had the car loaded...

It was a crazy few hours after that.  They could not find the envelope.  I was on the phone with the contact of our agency in Alabama, and he was walking the halls of the building looking in every mailbox for this package...and he could not find it!  That was the most helpless feeling EVER!   He finally asked,'It's in a manila envelope, right?'

I called the agency down the street and asked specifically what type of envelope it was in.  She had sent it in a BOX!!!  Help me, Jesus...

I called him back and asked him to look for a box.  Twenty minutes later he called me and he had found it!!!  Nick was pulling out of the hotel. 

We did start driving at this point, knowing that we could not pass the state line until all was 'legal'.  Our agency was putting our packet at the 'front of the line', and would call us.  I was just praying that we would hear back before we got to the state line, because Nick had the taste of home in his mouth. 

We were approaching the state line when we got the call that we were,'Good to go!' 


We drove straight to Nick's parents' house, 6 hours away.  We loved on my daughter, introduced little man to the rest of the family there, and headed home.  Within 2 hours we were home with our 2nd child...and there was nothing like that feeling. 

"There is no place like home."  --Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz