Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 399

You probably don't remember the words I wrote on Day 218...but I do. They've been haunting.

Every time I write the journal entry day I hope and pray that I never get to Day 400...the number holds no significance beyond the fact that I can't imagine holding out that long...But I suppose if you asked me on day 6, how I would feel on Day 218, I wouldn't have been able to imagine it either...

Tomorrow is Day 400. I can't believe we've made it this far. I got this little pamphlet in the mail, "Hope for the Journey" when I applied for the Shaohannah's Hope grant [still haven't heard]. I was cleaning some stuff out and found it. I rifled through it before tossing it in the trash, and a sentence caught my eye..."Prepare for this to be harder than you imagined." I'm not sure how you do that...but we sure weren't prepared. This has definitely been harder than I ever could have imagined.

It may be Day 399, but I wouldn't change a thing (except maybe our agency!). We're getting so close... We leave in 13 days and baby boy will be born in 18. Wow.

The birth father was served [that sounds so harsh to me] and has been in correspondence with the agency. His reaction to the adoption was surprising...but I'm encouraged. His now girlfriend told him she would stand by him no matter what he decided, but he said he wasn't prepared to take care of a newborn. He signed the papers, but didn't want to mail them until he first talked to Rebekah, to make sure this is really what she wanted, and he wants to talk to us.

Rebekah talked to him last night and he was cordial. He asked if she knew anything about us (which made both of us laugh....she knows everything about us.) He also inquired about receiving pictures and updates. Apparently, we have a phone conference with him and the agency tomorrow (We have yet to hear about said conference - gotta love this agency!)

Talking to him will be awkward for sure, but I want what's best for our son. I think about it constantly. One day he's going to ask about his birth father (I don't think we'll get as many questions about Rebekah because of our relationship) and I want to be able to tell him that his birth father wanted what was best for him. That he talked/met us and talked things over with Rebekah. I think it's great that he wants pictures and I'm happy to send them, for as long as he wants. It shows that he cares. We haven't seen any indication of that, yet, and I know it's going to mean a lot to baby boy. What a harsh reality it would be to know that your father signed over his rights without ever asking a single question...

I have had a lot of people question my lack of worry. People just don't seem to understand that I feel no threat from Rebekah or our relationship...or the emerging feelings from the birth father. I know God is in control. I also know this is our son. I am 100% sure that we'll be bringing this baby boy home - no doubts attached. When God speaks, he doesn't take back words. He has spoken to my heart and Rebekah and I both are in complete peace. God is weaving our families together and I love her family as if they were my own.

We meet again in a couple of weeks, some for the first time. It will not only be a celebration of new life; it will be a celebration of a new family. I don't know all that God is doing...but I have some ideas. Our story does not end on June 18th...and I hope you'll continue to follow it. This is only the beginning, as God's incredible grace and redemption start to seep through the seams of our story and lives.

Stay tuned...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 397

Baby boy's birth day was officially moved! Rebekah's scheduled induction will be June 18th...only 20 days away! I've been bubbling over all day. This makes me feel so much more settled, to have a date.

I AM SO EXCITED.

June 12th will be my last day of work and we'll probably head out on the 13th or 14th. We have a very long drive ahead of us.

The doctor did remind Rebekah that if her blood pressure or protein spiked up, they would have to take the baby earlier...but for now her levels were great and we're holding tight. I'm praying that she makes it to June 18th. I know it's a selfish prayer...and that Rebekah is really miserable right now...but I want to be there SO bad. What a gift she is giving me. Not only a son...but the opportunity to help coach him into this world, holding his mama's hand. I don't want to pass it up!

Rebekah's kids leave for their dad's, this weekend. I'm hoping that rest will take over her body and she'll be able to collect herself and relax.

The psycho-planner in me already has our trip laid out. I picture us arriving early, settling into the little cottage, and taking Rebekah to dinner the night before the birth. I know, well enough, that life doesn't always turn out as planned....

We'll just have to wait and see!

(Oh, and birth father was located, but we haven't heard if he signed.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 395

Belly News

Rebekah wasn't quite confident enough to show the whole belly...but I think she looks beautiful. We're 36 weeks, tomorrow! That means only 28 days left...although we're expecting less. Rebekah had her cardiologist appointment, today. She does suffer from a speedy heartbeat, but they won't deal with it until several weeks after the baby is born. For now, neither Rebekah nor the baby are in immediate danger.

We'll get baby stats and more pictures on Friday!

Until then...we're all packed and ready to go! The uber-cute (If-I-do-so-say-myself), blue folder houses all of our maps, directions, addresses, and important phone numbers.

The cradle linens are washed and ready...a moo-cow waititng.

And the house cleaned...and repainted (I've seriously been a crazy woman)...


Oh! And my sweet friend from work (thanks, Kara!) added this gem to baby boy's library. Have you read it? It features an empty pouched kangaroo.... It's a must read!


That's it for now; I'll post again after Friday's appointment!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 393

Quick Update:

Still holding tight. I flew to Texas, this weekend, to spend some pre-baby time with my family. Before I left, I made sure we were all packed, in case we got the hospital/induce call. Now that things are set at work and home, we just want him to be here!! We're going to spend all our leftover time doing fun, indulgent things :). Ben's been riding his bike a ton, I got a pedicure and have picked up reading again!

While I was in Texas, Ben's friends threw Ben a diaper party. Not sure if other circles of friends do this...but any time a baby is close to birth time, all the guys get together for a diaper party. It's really just an excuse for the boys to get together, but entrance into the party is a pack of diapers. Awesome if you're on the recieving end!

Look at how great our friends are:

This doesn't include diapers that I have already received as gifts or from the baby shower. I don't think we'll be buying diapers for quite some time...

Please continue to pray for Rebekah. Her EKG came back abnormal. It looks like she indeed is having some cardiac issues and not just panic attacks. She meets with a cardiologist on Wednesday. Her amniotic fluid is still good, but her blood pressure continues to be higher than normal (even on blood pressure medication) and she now has protein in her urine (both are pre-eclamptic signs). Baby boy is perfectly healthy, but I'm concerned for Rebekah. The last time I talked to her I could tell she was just wiped out. She said this is about the time that her pregnancies start going downhill, fast. I'm praying God's perfect will for her and her body!

On the agency front, we've continued to have frustrations...but that's another story for another day. The biggest area of concern, right now, is the birth father. A server was sent to serve his termination paperwork, last weekend, and they couldn't find him. They continued the search through the week, but he's completely MIA. It is certainly making things more complicated and isn't helping Rebekah rest easy!

I'll keep you in the loop as we find out more. We're getting close!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 387

Ever since Ben took me to be his wife, there have been splices of time where he'll intently stare into my eyes and then casually say, "I just had a moment." I usually give him a teasing "your-so-cheesy" kind of look, while inside, my heart does flip-flops. I require no explanation for his words...but I'll give one so you can grasp his sweetness.

We have moments in life, almost out-of-body, where our breath is taken away by the goodness of God and the anticipation of life. The fist time Ben had one of these "episodes" he explained that he couldn't believe where he was standing at that very moment...the woman that was by his side...the fullness in his heart...the graciousness of his Father. It was more than he ever could have imagined or planned for his life.

Ben is definitely a stop-and-smell-the-roses kind of boy. I wish I was more like him.

I'm a speed-through-life-always-doing-ten-things-at-once kind of girl. I'm working on it. My "moments" are few and far between, but I had one tonight.

My "before baby list," of things to do, shrinks with each passing day. Tonight's task landed us at the Laundromat. I wanted to wash our down comforters and all the rugs in the house. Usually, I test the washer at home by cramming and shoving them in...but they never really clean (or dry) the way I'd like. So...off to the laundromat we went. I say we because it never crossed Ben's mind that I would go alone. "It's our house," he said, plainly, (as if every man would respond the same), when I thanked him for being there.

Always a team, we scrutinzed a solution to get the mammoth machines in front of us working (neither of us had ever been in a facility of this kind before). It took longer than it should have, but within a few minutes...okay several minutes...we had both puppies up and running.

[Sidebar: Do you know how huge those washers and dryers are? We are seriously doing this every few months. So much easier.]

With the hum of the wash in our ears, we sat out in the cool night and just were. We talked a little. Mostly sat. We weren't having deep philosophical conversation or even sharing about our days. We were simply together. And that's when I had my moment.

For two years straight [no exaggeration] I was a walking zombie. I was so numb from heartache I wasn't capable of feeling. As we opened the door to adoption there were definitely springs of life, along the way. I was in such a deep freeze, it took a long time for my heart to completely thaw...and heal...from the years of turmoil. Everything about this process has been slow. Answers. Waiting. Healing. Baby.

But, tonight...sitting on a small town park bench, outside a stuffy laundromat, next to the only person who knows the shades my heart has seen...I felt whole. Alive. We were two kids figuring out the world together. We weren't in a hurry...or searching for words to say. We just were.

I will never be able to fully explain the wash cycle we were thrown into, the past five years. But, I can say that I'm thankful. I am a changed woman. My husband is a changed man. Our marriage is stronger than it ever has been and my passion for the Lord fiercer than I knew possible. I don't look at life with a wamsy-pambsy attitude, anymore.

I have surety.

I have surety in who God is. Who he has made me to be. What he has called me to do. God is doing BIG things in our hearts and this coming baby boy is only the beginning. Isn't that exciting? For the past several years, my vision was so short-sighted, I couldn't see beyond getting pregnant or having a baby. The Father's hand has been tweaking and operating for several months now and I believe I saw distance for the first time, on Sunday. Don't get me wrong, I want that baby boy more than anything I've ever wanted before...but I can finally see life beyond him.

I am thankful for this pre-baby revolution and I am forever indebted to the Father for giving me such a gift in Ben. I can finally say with confidence: We are ready to bring our baby boy home.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 382: Part 2

Big exhale....................Before I share more, you must see this cutie-patootie picture! While his mommies were freaking out (daddy stayed calm the whole time....thank God for daddies...), baby boy was singing his little heart out (At least that's what it looks like he's doing!)

I could stare at this picture all day...It's so stink'n cute! But I know you want an update. It has been a whirlwind of a day. I received one frantic call from the caseworker at 1:30pm, just as I bit into my oh-so-yummy ham and swiss on asiago focaccia (Panera). I immediately went into panic mode and was completely paralyzed. The phone conversation went something like, "Rebekah just went to the hospital she's having heart issues. Don't freak out [yeah-right-lady-you-aren't-the-one-that-hasn't-started-packing-yet-or-settled-things-and-lives-22-hours-away.] If she has to deliver, the baby is far enough a long; he's very strong and healthy, we'll call you when we know more."

I wasn't prepared for that phone call! I had no idea what to do. Part of me wanted to rush home and throw everything together, while the other part said you better get back to work and get everything settled in case you aren't able to come back. (I opted for the latter, until I heard more definitive details).

I didn't get to talk to Rebekah until about 5:15pm! She has a history of heart flutters/palpitations that seem to be worsening with pregnancy (it also runs in the family). The poor thing just can't catch a break! If it's not her blood pressure or amniotic sac levels, it's her heart!

Thankfully, they did not admit her. They are monitoring her through the weekend and we'll know more on Monday.

Something in me rose up today and I felt absolutely helpless. It really wasn't about the baby. That little boy has God written all over him. I know he'll be taken care of. It was this urgency to run to Rebekah and be by her side. I just wanted to hold her hand. I hated that she was alone; that I couldn't be there. She has endured SO much....and all for me. My eyes swell everytime I try to comprehend it. I just want to be there for her.

I appreciate all of your prayers and ask that you continue to lift Rebekah up to the Lord. Pray peace and rest in her spirit...that God would ease the aches and pains in her body and quiet the children...healing for her heart, breaking any gneration curses that have attached...and that the next few weeks would be uneventful.

I am so thankful that we didn't have to jump in the car, tonight. I know it all would have worked out and things would have been fine...but now I can rest easy...for a few days, anyway! I am, however, taking this as a warning...we'll be completely packed and ready to go by the end of the weekend!!! :)

Day 382

Please pray. Both Rebekahs are freaking out.

Rebekah told me the other day that she was having heart palpitations; she was going to ask the doctor about them, today, when she went in for her appointment.

The doctor sent her right to the hospital (where she is now).

I talked to our caseworker but she had limited information. She said she'd call me as soon as they knew more. I asked if they would take the baby, today, and she wasn't sure.

I had a mini melt down at Panera (on my lunch hour...when I got the call), but Ben helped me take a deep breath.

I'm at work getting everything in order in case we need to jump in the car, tonight. Please keep Rebekah in your prayers. She has so much on her plate...I know how hard it is for her to rest easy. This news doesn't help.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day 381

Here's the latest picture of sweet baby boy. The older he gets the harder it is to actually see him in there. Poor thing is all scrunched up. If you can make it out (I know it's difficult) his foot is up near his head! That doesn't seem very comfortable...


I'm pretty much jumping out of my skin, I'm so excited! I can't believe it's only a few weeks away. God is so good. Day by day, month by month he has been meeting all of our needs, especially the monetary ones, through various sources (including all of you!). One of the items on my list and areas of concern, was our out-of-state housing. I've been investigating it for months. We're pretty simple people, and only had the following list of demands: furnished, wireless internet, laundry facilities, and a full functioning kitchen. The cheapest condos I found were between $1500 and $1800 for the month and only two were willing to rent on a weekly basis, for $500/week! The cheapest hotel I found that had a kitchen was about $450 for the week (not including taxes). The search was exhausting. I decided I'd wait until we arrived and figured I'd have a little more negotiating power if the condos weren't booked.

Several weeks ago I posted an ad on craigslist under the "housing needed" category and had an overwhelming response. After the above results, I forgot about the ad and scratched housing off my to-do list. It was just something we were going to have to worry about once there.

This week, I received a note from a sweet couple telling us that they had a small cottage on the back of their property available for rent. $250.00 per week. I was all ears. The cottage has it's own access and garage and is mostly used for their friends and family when they come into town (it's a tourist attractive city). It's an adorable little cedar clad cottage with one bedroom and one bathroom. A full kitchen with all the essentials, cute little living room with a pull out queen couch (for anyone that might come stay), internet and cable included. When I told the couple our story and that we'd need to stay 2-3 weeks, they lowered the price to $200 per week! (For the leery type, I asked for all sorts of pictures....it's adorable!) The couple has family leaving the last week of May and they're going to hold off renting it for June and July so that it will be available for us as long as we need it. Amazing. The hospital, grocery store, and restaurants are all within a few miles. It's perfect.

The story gets better. I get a random check in the mail from our city for $1,200.00. We overpaid on our property taxes last year and they reimbursed us! This should cover most of our trip.

GOD IS SO GOOD.

The only payments we have left are post placement and finalization fees (about $3,500). I've seen God's mighty hand so clearly. I'm trusting him for the rest!



P.S. I had many people ask for My/Holly's packing list. I'm happy to email it to you if you leave your email in the comments or email me directly!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 379

I'm sorry I've been a little scarce around here, I'm trying to get everything ready for our precious baby boy! 45 days, today. Can you believe it? Given Rebekah's pre-eclampsia and low amniotic fluid levels, I'm freaked out that I'm going to get the call that she's headed to the hospital, and we're not ready!

Only one way to remedy the situation...I spent the weekend getting baby boy packed (it was so much fun!!). My sweet, bloggy friend, Holly, sent me a detailed list of what she packed/used/didn't use/wished she had, for their interstate adoption (they, too, were out of state for a couple of weeks).

I treated that list as gold! There were so many items on it that I would have never thought of and some that I had to Google....because I had never heard of them before! I realized just how out of my element I was, when I had no idea what should be packed in the diaper bag for the hospital...Holy Cow I'm going to be a Mom and I don't even know what my baby needs...However, after some quick research and a few phone calls, I feel a little more confident [dare I use that word?].

I'm going to start on Ben's and my stuff, this week. I figure I'll just buy brand new toiletry items so those can be ready to go and then I'll make a list of everything else. I don't know if you're like me, but when I'm rushed, I always forget important items...and believe me, I'll be in big time freak out mode when we get that call! (You'll be glad to know that "Update the Blog" is on the to-do list, before we jump in the car!)

Everything is really coming together! We bought our cross-country map, have directions printed, the hospital and nearest hotel (if needed) mapped out. I also found us a small cottage to rent once we bring baby "home" from the hospital. Our hospital call list is ready, pediatrician chosen, important contact information typed out, and birth announcement supplies purchased.

My plan all along has been to be packed and ready by June 1st. Any time after that day is reserved for date nights with Ben, long, indulgent naps, and fun with friends and family! So far the plan is working beautifully...baby boy just has to keep cooking for a few more weeks!

I, of course, can't close this post without mentioning Mother's Day. It was the first time in years that my heart didn't bleed from heartache...

A few of the highlights:
  1. I talked to Rebekah's 11 year old daughter on the phone and she told me that she had send me a Mother's Day card and she wanted me to call her as soon as I opened it...I didn't end up getting it in time, but her thoughtfulness reduced me to tears.
  2. Rebekah wished me a happy Mother's Day and sent me a note telling me that she was thinking about me...I choked back more tears and thanked her for making me a mom-to-be. I still can't believe she's doing this for me.
  3. We took Ben's mom to a Mother's Day brunch and when the waitress brought her flowers to the table, his dad said, "We have another mom at the table, today..." A few minutes later I had flowers in hand (after, of course, explaining why I looked so good for being 8 months pregnant!).
  4. A blog friend blessed us with $150 toward our adoption fund. This has been quite a week with a lot of surprises (not the good kind)...this generous gift was exactly what we needed, at exactly the right time.
I am indebted to the kindness of others; my heart is so full.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 374

Baby boy on the big screen!! No smile, today...this is definitely a grumpy face...Of course, I'd be grumpy too if outside influences were poking and prodding and putting pressure on my head!


Rebekah had her weekly doctor visit, today, how I wish I could be there! Baby is perfect. We're told he has a full head of hair that swished around during the ultrasound, his kidneys are perfect (thank you, Lord!), and he's weighing in at a whopping 4 lbs 10 oz!

The bad news is that Rebekah's fluid is really low...and they've put her on bed rest. I want to stand on my soapbox, clear my throat, and yell, "HELLO...This woman is a single mom with four kids!" Bed rest. Not an option. I feel terrible! I wish I could be there...I wish I could clean her house, take care of her kids, buy the groceries, and every other demand she might have...but what can I do 22 hours away? All I can do is get on my knees and ask the God of the universe to intervene.

I've been a basket of emotions this week. Fears and thrills and concerns race through my mind, intercepting each other's paths and putting my head into overdrive. I've been a mad woman about the house. My personality already leans toward psychopath, throw in the coming arrival of my biggest heart's desire and I become a complete nutjob.

I want everything perfect.

I mean, seriously, does baby boy care if all the lightswitch plates are taken off and bleached....or if the towels are perfectly aligned and color-coordinated in the linen closet....or if he has specific stroller blankets, bedroom blankets, and living rom blankets, so that he looks agreeable in every situation?

When the crazy finally wears down and I'm lying in bed, my heart dreams...I dream of every scenario; every situation. From reading bed time stories to jokingly pulling his lanky teenage body onto my lap and telling him he's still my baby...

This morning, in the shower, for the first time [the thought, not the shower] my mind filled with darkness. What if...what if something happens...what if I do not bring that baby boy home...

There are no words to describe the horror that flashed before my eyes. It was too much...I told the Lord I never wanted to see that angle again. Even as a forecast. I don't want to know.

I just want to keep thinking and praying for baby boy, right now. I want to keep planning...keep readying the house...keep loving him with everything I am.

Only 50 more days, today.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 372

I Wished For You: An Adoption Story
Marianne Richmond

video
More updates and pictures tomorrow, after Rebekah's doctor's appointment!