Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It felt really good to walk across the stage...remembering the hard work and sacrifice...I didn't even care that I was in an enormous red-chili pepper gown (I don't do red).
Of course, my biggest cheerleader was there by my side. It really meant a lot to hear how proud he was! It was one of those moments that comes full circle...Ben dropped me off at college, for the first time, when I was 18...and he's been by my side ever since. He made the biggest sacrifice, losing his wife to the books every weekend!
Our best friends, Chris and Meeghan, came to show their love too! Having them there meant more to me than they'll ever know...
Now on to the next phase. I was accepted into Central Michigan University's MBA program and I start, this coming August! It will definitely be crazy as I try to juggle mommy and grad student...but if I want to be home with baby boy more (I do!!) then I have to finish that MBA so I can start teaching at the College.
Speaking of baby boy...only 8 weeks left!!
No real big news. Just cleaning like a mad woman and getting everything ready. I'm going to start packing, this weekend. I keep dreaming that Rebekah goes into labor early and we have nothing packed or ready to go and we're scrambling...it's sheer panic! Since now is the time to soak in the good rest, I'm going to just pack and put my mind at ease.
Rebekah's doctor won't schedule the birth until she's 39 weeks...which I completely understand...but in her last two pregnancies she was induced before she hit that mark. And the inductions were scheduled the day of. It all makes me really sad to think that we won't make it in time (we're 22 hours away). I'm trying to set myself up for it now, so I won't be crushed later. It's completely out of my control (like anything in this process was). I simply have to trust God that he knows best.
That's about it around these parts! My mama heart is bursting to meet my son...and our house has never seen this kind of clean!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
First of all, I have to include this beautiful sketch of Baby Boy and his big brother. The sweetness in his eyes as he touches Rebekah's belly is so precious. I had to share...
It's been a great week...and it's only Wednesday!
You know me, mad about to-do lists...I've been furiously scratching items off, line by line. I had three items left on my "Buy Before Baby" list at the beginning of the week:
- Book: Happiest Baby on the Block
- Sling (to wear baby around the house)
- 2 Baby Gates
If this didn't draw squeals of joy (it certainly did). Look at what the second package contained:
A reversible Munchin sling!!! I, of course, had to practice with Mr. Stripes, who was unreasonably grumpy about it. This sweet gift came from a mystery friend named Courtney....Courtney are you there? It's perfect. Exactly the colors and style I would have picked out myself (especially the adorable polka dots!) I literally jumped up and down. What a blessed girl I am to have so many people in my life that care about me and this story.
Rebekah got to see baby boy on the big screen again, today. He looks a little more alien in this picture, but my mama heart loves him just the same.
He's the picture of health; very strong. The best news was that his Renal Pelvic Dilatation (kidney malformation) has completely healed itself [insert God] and is no longer a concern!
Rebekah's doing great with her pre-eclampsia and has had normal blood pressure the last few visits.
I find myself wishing she was here...thinking about her there. She's as much a part of me as her son. We talk often about the hospital and the celebration that will take place when baby boy enters the world. I also think about the devastation. The hurting her heart will feel.
We've walked different sides of the path, but in the end, we'll both know loss. Mine for a child that never was, hers for the one we'll hold. Sometimes it's too heavy...BUT GOD. It's the best two word phrase that exists. We'll cling to him, hold each other, and walk through this together.
I'm thankful for emotions. The highs and lows that twist together forming my experiences for motherhood. I will be whatever Rebekah needs me to be. Today...we were buds. Talking about our coming son, junior high talent shows, varicose veins, and our vote for the next American Idol.
Life is good. Right now. Today.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
I have been doing a lot of reflecting, this week. The kind that has you weeping and praising God at the same time. Some friends asked Ben to lead worship at their gathering on Friday night and he sang a song that I hadn’t heard in ages. Darrell Evans’, Your Love is Extravagant. If you’ve never listened to the quiet lyrics, you must. One line has been rolling in my mind all weekend….I feel I’m moving to the rhythms of your grace…If I had to sum up 5 years of struggle, heartache, and life lessons into one word, it would be grace. I did a lengthy study on this little word, last fall, after God has whispered it to my heart. The printed definition is “the freely given, unmerited, favor and love of God.” That’s grace. And I’ve been swimming in it all year.
As we quickly approach the anniversary to the day we decided to open the door to adoption (April 27, 2008) my mind has been reeling with all that has taken place in one year. I leafed through the last journal I kept before I started my blog and found this written on today’s date, one year ago:
“And she made a vow, saying, “O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life."
~ I Samuel 1:11
I’m sure the name of Hannah is lifted up on every barren woman’s tongue, but for me it runs a little deeper…ever since I was a little girl, Samuel was my favorite Bible figure. I’m a girl that loves to worship and I loved that Samuel chose to sleep in the very presence of God….that he audibly heard from the Lord at a young age…and that their closeness allowed his words to hold power (the Bible says not one “fell” from his lips). I grew up wanting to be him. Hannah was never a prominent figure in my rendition of his life. That is, of course, until I found myself in her situation. For two years straight, I would pray her above prayer…sometimes humbly…sometimes screaming with lunacy.
I decided to go back and read her story again. And today, I found something jaw-dropping. Something I never picked up on before. Verse 5: and the Lord had closed her womb.
For the last two years I have struggled BIG time with the whole womb-being-closed thing. I finally made amends in my heart and my official stance was/is: God did not make me barren. He couldn’t have; it’s not in his character. I live in a fallen world, full of heartache and sin, and my womb has come under that curse. I, of course, did everything I knew, to pray that thing open. But it never happened. When we chose adoption, I altered my mantra slightly to add: Even though I wasn’t born to have babies, I was born to be a mother. God needs us playing on the adoption team. And I’m more than okay with that. I’m thrilled that he’s using us.
Tonight my head is spinning. He closed Hannah’s womb? Why? I didn’t know he had it in him…and then the real reason for my questions…Lord. Did you close my womb so that I could mother Rebekah’s baby?
I have prayed Hannah’s prayer so many times I can recite it by memory. For a long time, I inserted the word “daughter” for son [smile] but somewhere in the last couple of years, I went back to the original. I always intended for my son to be birthed from my belly. No where in Hannah’s story does it say she adopted someone else’s son….Her story is actually packaged real nice. She left the temple, Eli blessed her, her husband slept with her and “the LORD remembered her…in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son.”
Although our paths don’t match, I know our anguished hearts and mother’s love do. I'm not sure how I feel about crediting God for closing my womb, but I do know that I've fallen in his love and that his hand on my son's life has been unmistakable.
It's just another rhythm of his grace. I prayed for a son...the same words that ancient Hannah prayed. She got her son and I'm soon to have mine. Both under supernatural circumstances...both destined for greatness.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I don’t know where to start. This story…our story…our life is too big to comprehend, right now.
How do I take a God-sized miracle, set in motion from the beginning of time, and shape it with human words? I’m not sure that I can. But I’ll try.
We’re walking down the corridor of her apartment complex. Ben looks and me and says, “This is not normal. What we’re doing here, it’s not normal.” I know. I try to avoid eye contact to keep my emotions in check. Why is it that our most emotional conversations happen in hallways? I took a deep breath, threw him a quick I-love-you-to-the-ends-of-the-earth glance, and emphatically said, “We can do this.”
He knocks on the door; she opens. Rebekah. Our baby’s mama. All these weeks of talking and emailing and loving…and there she is. I squeeze her as hard as I can and wish I never had to let go. The next 10 hours are a whirlwind of activity as we treat the kids to a day of fun (go carts, laser tag, mini golf, etc).
Love is a funny thing. In its presence, the world doesn’t exist and when your heart morphs back to reality it’s changed for the better. One of Rebekah’s daughters kept hugging me throughout the day. As we snuggled close in a double-seated go cart, she leaned her head on my shoulder and whispered, “I’m so glad you’re part of our family, now.” As I choked back tears, all I could muster was, “Me too.”
As our story continues to unfold, it becomes clear that this is not just about a baby. The Lord has connected our two families for a purpose unknown and the magnitude of that realization has had ripple effects on my heart. Our time with Rebekah was incredible. She is even more amazing in person. It wasn’t until we had said our goodbyes that I realized I hadn’t thought of the baby all day. Weird, I know. We were so enthralled in the moments, soaking in every second we had with Rebekah and her kids, that the baby never really crossed my mind. Of course, we talked about the baby. Her kids had all sorts of questions for us, some endearing, others amusing. My favorite has to be, “Do you know that your baby is going to be brown?” [smile].
The day before we left a friend asked, “Can you believe you’re going to actually be in the same room as your baby…touching her belly…feeling him kick?” It was all I could think about for days. But we got there and all I could think about was Rebekah…and her kids. She is not kidding when she says she has her hands full. I cannot begin to imagine how she does it alone. She is heroic, in more than one way.
We never intended to waltz in, take someone’s baby, and move on with life. But we also never imagined having a life long relationship with our baby’s family either….Until that is, we met Rebekah. My heart ripped out when her kids asked when they would get to see us again. I don’t know. We went back to our hotel with heavy hearts. These aren’t just cool people…they are baby boy’s family. He has brothers and sisters…aunties…an uncle…a grandma and grandpa…
We got to meet one of baby boy’s aunties and the first words out of her mouth were, “I have to hug you, you guys are my heroes…” Me? No way. I’m not a hero. I’m just one girl who desperately wants to be a mom. They are the heroes. They love this baby boy more than life and are sacrificially giving him to Ben and me. It’s not just the willingness…it’s the excitement. They are excited for us. I’ve never heard or seen anything like it. This simply cannot be explained apart from our Father.
We have to come back. How can we walk away from a 10 year old saying, “We’re really sad that we’re losing our brother…but we know how much you love him and want him…and that makes us really happy...”?
I don’t know where this story will go, but I do know that it’s not going to end with tearful goodbyes at the hospital…okay, they’ll probably be tearful, just not forever.
We ended our night at an Easter play that Rebekah’s girls were in (And by play I mean the most amazing production I’ve ever seen – comparative to Broadway!). We went to our seats and Rebekah cried out that her belly was in the way, when she knocked it on the seat in front of us. When the row attendant looked at her strange, she explained that she was pregnant. He, of course, offered up congratulations, but then she looked at me and said, “And this is my baby’s mama.” That scene played in my mind all night...Usually I'm the one saying those very words.
Jesus was on stage feeding the 5,000 and celebration broke out as someone sang, “I believe, I believe. I believe in the miracle of God.” Tears streamed down my face. I was sitting next to my baby’s mama, celebrating our Lord and Savior as it was beautifully depicted on stage, and soaking in the magnificence of the moment. All the years of pain and heartache have melted away in the beauty of this story.
I believe. I believe.
I believe in the miracle of God.
Our weekend through the eye of the lens:
While Ben shot nerf guns (at us!) with the boys.
We did go carts...
We had lunch, dinner, and late-night ice cream together...
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Everyday I hear from Rebekah is a good day. Not only did I hear from her today, but I got to see Baby Boy, again!!! This is just about the cutest ultrasound picture I have ever seen. Our little pumpkin is gaining weight (weighed in at 3 pounds!) and it shows in his sweet little cheeks. My heart did flip-flops this afternoon when I saw him...he takes my breath away. I, of course, can't wait to meet him and have thought about it for weeks...but, when I saw him, today, I felt something new. I can't explain it apart from this deep longing to drink in his sweetness and impart everything I hold in my heart...
He sure is putting Rebekah through the ringer, though. Her blood pressure continues to heighten and the doctor is making her come in every week for bio-physicals. Baby Boy's Renal Pelvic Dilatation has cured itself on one kidney, but the issue is still present in the other.
Rebekah and I are both trusting God for our son.
My favorite part of the ultrasound is Baby Boy's smile. Can you see it? He's so happy...there's no where else he'd rather be than right there with his mama. I love it.
God is so good.
P.S. We get to love on Rebekah, in person, for the first time, in three days!!!!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
He Deserves More - A BirthMother's Story
I also talked to an adoptee, yesterday. Her birth mom and adoptive parents have an open relationship so, naturally, I asked a hundred questions! She's an adult now...and told me her most prized possession is a video from the day her birth mom handed her to her adoptive mom. She said the video is so raw and emotional as both mothers talk to the camera and express their passion for her...every year on her birthday she watches the sacrifice her mother made for her...and the unconditional love she had when she placed her in the arms of another woman.
Isn't that amazing? I'm hoping that maybe we can do something similar. What an incredible way to capture the beauty of two mothers in love.