Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Day 123


We're in the pool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It finally happened! I'm too excited to think, and too emotional to handle the magnitude of what this means, today.

Our caseworker emailed me last night (I just read it this morning) to tell me that we are approved and officially "waiting." All that waiting, just to wait. Kind of funny. And Becky let me know that we are already up on the website [thanks, Becky!]!!! How exciting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's our link:

There is truly nothing left to do, but wait.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Day 122

It’s been a weird week. My emotions are all over the place.

· The official month-end countdown has begun. For those that don’t remember, our caseworker assured me we would be on the waiting list by the end of the month. She was on vacation last week [again], but promised our paperwork would be done this week.

· I tried my hand at a jumping trapeze...of sorts...and it left me unusually sore...

· I made a new friend.

· I went to a party. That wasn’t significant. Watching a new mom hold her baby to her chest while he slept, was. I felt the ache. I haven’t felt it in a long time. I think all the excitement and busy-ness of going through the process distracted me. It's an ache that only those on this side of expecting can understand.

· I emailed a local crisis pregnancy center our profile and told them our story. The director called me back right away and was thrilled to receive it. We chatted about their services and our heart for adoption. She asked if we could meet, in person, and questioned where I lived in Ohio--er--that's right. I thought I was calling the pregnancy center in Oxford, Michigan. Turns out I was actually talking to a woman in Oxford, Ohio. I laughed out loud. Apparently, I overlooked that part of the address on yellowpages(dot)com. Never know how God will move, right?

· I’ve been working hours of overtime and am exhausted to the bone.

· I made the decision to have a shower before we're placed and am already questioning it. (Whydoes everything feel so unnatural?)

· I ate an entire container of blueberries in one day.

· I watched the movie “Bella” and cried. The pain of choosing adoption for your child must be so difficult; I can’t imagine that we’ll ever get picked.

· I received our first “Waiting Families” email from the agency. They’re holding a class in September to encourage families during the wait. Am I arrogant for not feeling the need to go?

· The Lord whispered my name and my heart stirred.

· I finally found two girl names that Ben and I both like.

· A family friend/pastor called me and asked me to speak at their women’s breakfast in October. My spirit jumped alive…It’s been too long.

This week, my birthday, the waiting list - it's all made me reflect. Last year, October, was the beginning. I don’t even know what to call “it”…pain? depression? ache? death? formation? Words fall short of describing what my heart went through in the past 12 months, but it has left me changed….challenged…inspired. When I accepted the invitation to speak, breath filled my lungs and I heard my heart beat. It’s been a long time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 116

I did it. I turned 27. Yesterday.

Thank you for all the kind words on my coming year. 26 was pretty much the worst year I've ever had, so 27 will no doubt be super, comparatively. Last year was the pinnacle of our infertility issues. In October, a few short months after my big day, my world came to a slamming halt and continued to spiral downward after our first and last IUI. We had spent months getting infertility treatments and had agreed that the IUI would be our last step in the journey. On paper everything was perfect (the day of the IUI) and we should have gotten pregnant, but didn't. It was the start of a very dark, very emotional season for Ben and I. We threw our hands in the air, stormed heaven, and walked away from life for awhile. This year is shaping up to be very different (thank God!) The only problem is that I am getting older...

Getting older was never a problem for me, until this's so close to 30. It's not the "older" part that I'm fearful's the lack of accomplishment that bothers me. When I graduated high school my naive life expectations were to marry Ben, have all our kids by age 30 (I really wanted to be a young mom), graduate from college, and be smack-dab in the middle of an exciting career...Ben's the only steady in my life that actually worked out as planned. The others are a far cry from reality. Kids-none. College-still working on it. Career-not so much. It's humbling really. Somewhere between a young girl with a huge future and an older girl still struggling to find one, life plopped its huge nasty foot in the middle.

Thankfully, my life has really taken shape in the last several months and I'm filled with a renewed sense of hope on how things will turn out. Had this not been the case, I probably would have stayed in bed, eating dark chocolate, all day long! Instead, I woke up with a smile on my face, relished the festivities, and made a "before you're 30" to-do-list.

I stand before you, today, a confident 27 year old with a bright year ahead. I'm married to the most fantastic man alive, I graduate in December (FINALLY!), start my Masters in the spring, and will hopefully add "mom" to my title soon. Should be a great year, indeed.

[Thank you, Ben, for giving me such a beautiful night out]

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Birthday Guest Post

Hello, Heart Cries Readers!

**This is Laura, a friend of Rebekah's, and I got her permission to guest post on this most special of days. The occasion? Rebekah's BIRTHDAY! Here are a few of my thoughts on what makes this girly so special. Please share yours in the comments section. Let's see if we can get at least 27 comments posted of well-wishes and reasons why we love Rebekah and Heart Cries..even if we have to post twice. Why 27? Well, that may or may not be the age Rebekah turns today :). I'll never tell! Alright, here are my reasons...go share yours!**
Today is my good, best, longest, most extravagant, most determined, most fashionable, most-beautiful-green-eyes, most-understanding-of-curly-hair friend Rebekah's birthday. The above pic is from a few years ago, and she is even more beautiful today.

This blog, Heart Cries, has drawn many. It chronicles her journey, alongside her husband Ben, to adopt their first child. Their story is beautiful. Everyone who reads, who looks at her pictures, who sees how carefully she documents each step of the process, agrees that Ben and Bekah are the Michael Phelps of a choice for birth parents. Oh, you haven't been glued to the Olympics?! either. I just, um, heard that Michael Phelps was that swimmer-guy who now holds more gold medals than any other Olympian ever.

Ben and Rebekah are that good.

Rebekah has become this mature, wise, beautiful mom-in-waiting. All she has been through, all she is now navigating through, have changed her for sure. And all the bloggy world gets to see the sparkle. But I'm proud to know her a little bit closer:

*She was my first friend in Sunday school at Christ the King Church in 5th grade.

*She was my constant confidant during all my junior high and high school years. She whispered with me late in the night. We witnessed each other's heart breaks and all the growing-up-isms.

*She was my very favorite roommate during one incredible year at Northern Michigan University. The year in retrospect meant very little to either of us academically and every thing in life experiences. We were nestled in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the year the town of Marquette broke the record for snow fall! We had "wear your roommate's clothes day". Rebekah was dating Ben, her high school sweetheart, and we again whispered late into the night, this time about when he would pop The Question and which of our college guy friends had any potential for me (none :)!). We built a huge snowman. We loved every minute.

*I stood up in her wedding. She stood up in mine. She watched my first born come into the world.

*We've called each other with every bit of exciting news and been witness to the reality of Who God Is in each other's lives.

*She is beautiful and the real deal that all her readers see.

Happy Birthday, Friend. Enjoy every minute! And, oh, we all cannot wait to celebrate again with all the rises and settles of what this year will hold.

Now it's your turn! Make it big :)! GO...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 107

Do you ever look up the definition to words you frequently use? Probably not, but I happen to be super-geeky that way. I love to! Humor me. Let me present you with the very colorful, and somewhat contradictory, definition of wait:

1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose
2. to be available or in readiness
3. to remain neglected for a time
4. to eagerly await

Currently, we are in a state of waiting. Truth be told, we our waiting to wait. We are waiting to hear that we have been put on the waiting list, where we all can do is sit and wait. It's a whole lot of waiting if you ask me! Surprisingly enough, I've enjoyed the wait so far. I'm at complete peace, void of all anxiousness, and enjoying time with my Ben.

We're back to training on the bikes and boy, does it feel great! I'm down 2 pounds this week and realize my 5 pound goal should come easy. I'm committing to continue the regimen even after I achieve my goal because I love the increased energy and the toning that's taking place! My favorite part of riding is sharing in something that Ben loves so much. I can tell he enjoys teaching me "the ropes."

He's pretty much the best. While I hand signed all 50 of our profiles, this weekend, Ben was a gourmet chef in the kitchen.

Me signing.

Ben cooking.

I feel so lucky to have a hubby that not only knows how to cook, but enjoys it! On Saturday, he comes upstairs and says, "I've been watching the food network all morning and am in the mood to create. What do you want? You name it, I'll go to the store for ingredients, and serve it up." We ended the night with very yummy king-sized, apple-raisin and brown sugar, stuffed pork chops...they were phenomenal!

I spent the rest of the weekend finishing up the profiles. That simple sentence doesn't quite portray an accurate picture on just how much work that was! I owe much of the credit to the greatest friend a girl could have...Meeghan!

Rubber cementing 300 pictures onto paper and then 50 profiles gets real old, real fast...and nauseating (who knew the stuff was so potent?!)! We might have lost a few brain cells along the way, but we finished! I closed the box with excitement and relief, as it marked the very last leg of our journey.

I did my usual prance the the post office, this afternoon, but was blind-sighted by emotions at my arrival. It played out something like this:


Gosh. You'd think this woman was slapped with an ornery stick and then told to serve customers. Could I feel more like cattle right now?

"Anything fragile, liquid, or potentially hazardous?"

"No." Just the last thing that separates me from our baby.

Priority for $7.80, delivered in 2-3 days or Parcel Post for $7.20, delivered in 4-7 days?

Then I felt it. An ocean of tears, a lifetime of heartache and wanting...the anticipation of having a child, the loss of not producing my own...the amazement of the plan, the difficulty wrapped inside and the uncertainty of the future. It flooded over me in an instant and I couldn't speak past the watermelon in my throat...right there in the middle of the post office in front of Scrooge McGrouch-a-lot.

I heard, "Ma'am?!?" bark through the stillness, but knew if I answered I would make a spectacle of myself in a crowd full of corporate jet-setters, tapping their watches, waiting to make their next meeting. Oblivious to the real life wait I was about to begin. All I could do was nod.

"Ma'am, is something wrong," Scrooge huffed. "I'm not sure what you want. Priority or Parcel Post?"

I managed to squeeze out, "Priority," paid her the money, and scooted out as quickly as I could. Who knew one package, one trip to the post office, could bring such a variety of emotions?

I made it out of the post office with some dignity, but welcomed the safety of my Jeep. It only took a moment to fall back in line with the peace and confidence I knew before. I returned to the office empty-handed, breathed a sigh of relief, and reminded myself there is nothing left to do, but wait...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 101

While we wait...

Because we won't have any news on the adoption front for a few weeks (until the home study is written and submitted by CW), I figured I would keep you up-to-speed on how I'm passing the time...
  • First off, I'm a student so there's always homework to be done--or put off--depending on my mood [smile]. The first point of business, is to finish assembling our profiles. It was fun for about the first 5...then it quickly turned laborious. Turns out 300 pictures double glued (paper, then profile) is a LOT of work! I try to get a few done each night. We have 50 to assemble and I have about 15 done. However, all the pictures are cut, now, so it should go a little quicker!

  • Next on the list...going green-er. I've tried to adopt "green" principles into our everyday living. I've started slow, but the small steps have already turned routine. So far we've changed all the lighting in the house, cut our trash in half by recycling, started a garden for organic produce, and use our own cloth bags for shopping. The next areas I want to tackle are baby products and health/beauty items. I'm easing into these areas because I don't want to spend a lot of extra money, but I do want to use more natural products that don't contain such harsh chemicals. My friend got me hooked on checking out the toxicity reports of all the products I use, at Wouldn't you know my makeup was rated #8 (on as scale of 1-10)? I finally did some research and broke down and bought my first mineral makeup kit, from Bare Essentials (I am now at #3 for toxicity!).
The best part was that Target has all the Bare Essential Starter kits marked down this week from $50.00 to $35.00! We'll see how it goes! Once I get the makeup part down, I'd like to move on to baby products, including cloth diapers.
  • Each night before I go to bed I read through a few pages of baby names...what a fun job! We have about 4 boy names that we love...but no girl names, yet...It's a fun process and a great way to pass the time...
  • Next on the "to do" list? Lose 5 pounds. Yup. For those of you who don't know me, personally, for about 10 years of my life I weighed the exact same. After we got married I definitely started to look more curvy (I was only 20 when we got married!), but liked it. Last week was the last straw, however, when I had to go buy bigger jeans because none of mine fit anymore! I only bought two pair because I'm not quite ready to give in to the next size! I'm only 10 pounds up from my wedding weight, six years ago....I figure 5 pounds will put me back in all my clothes. Although I'd love a new wardrobe--I'm not loving the love handles that have begun to muffin-top over my pants! Ben has already been following a disciplined health plan, so it's easy to mooch off his research and follow along! Ben's lost 25 pounds since last summer and has managed to keep it off--even through the shoulder injury, downtime. We are simply counting calories and making sure our activity weighs out the calorie mark. I love structure and spreadsheets, so I'm pretty excited to start the count. I even bought a cute journal for recording my daily log! I'll let you know how it goes...

  • After perusing the adoption selection at two different bookstores--Borders and Family Christian--I quickly went and bought this:
  • I am shocked by the selection...truly. Family Christian had one (one!!!) book on fostering and no books on adoption. Unreal! I have already begun to create a series in my mind...and I think I'll also swing into the children's market. My sister was telling me the other day, how annoying it is that she can't find a book that represents their family (black man, white woman, bi-racial child). I want our babies to read books that embrace culture and ethnicity; I want them to read books that relate to their family situation. I know there are some books that can be ordered through the agency, but I want to do a whole series like the "GiGi, God's Little Princess" series. Why not? The President, at the College I work at, has written several books and I've begun to tap into his expertise...after I give this book a read, I'll hopefully have a better idea on where to start!
  • Other items on the list include working on babyheart's quilt and merging all my blog posts into a digital scrapbook.
So far, the waiting has been good. I'm completely at peace and drinking in this last leg of the journey.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 99

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, this week. Now that we’re playing the waiting game, there’s not much else to do. I am super busy with school work and miscellaneous projects I have going on, but baby is never far from my mind. In the last few weeks our adoption path has really begun to sink in and with each passing day I get more and more excited. It’s not like looking in your closet after a fun shopping spree excitement…or even receiving an “A” on a 20 page research paper that took weeks of compiling, kind of excitement. No, this is like a colossal-size excitement that shakes the core of who I am and fills me with purpose and knowing. I feel privileged to be a part of something so huge—so beyond myself. Something that, if not by circumstance, I may not have given thought to.

Ben was writing to a long-time friend who also happens to be pursuing adoption, and forwarded me the correspondence. His words really pierced my heart as I thought about the magnitude of what we’re about to do. He wrote: “…our hearts tell us to adopt ALL the children. We truly wish that none would suffer or live life less fortunate. It's such a heavy thing to think about. You can't help them all. But you can help one. Or two. Or three....There seems to be plenty of people willing to wait 2 years on a list to get a packaged little white baby that looks just like them (which is fine), but meanwhile there are so many stories like the one you're in. If everyone who had their own kids, would take just one more… then we could really make a serious dent.”

There ARE so many stories…so many children. Whether born or unborn, there are thousands of children in need of loving, stable, Christ-centered homes. I feel honored…chosen…for such a precious task. We are being handed the opportunity to breath life over a child. How incredible! How inspiring and life changing. Ben’s right. We can’t possibly help them all…but we can certainly change the path for one…or two…or three.

For us, it was imperative that our first adoption come through a newborn. Our skills are too new, our emotions too raw to do otherwise. We’ve slowly opened the idea of adopting through foster case for growing our family further, in the years to come. The following story gripped my heart to assurance, as I read this introduction at the bookstore, over the weekend:

The dark spots on her legs told a story of abuse. The pattern of
discoloration on her skin confirmed she
had been burned with a
cigarette lighter. Reports say she passed out from the pain. She
was dumped in a ditch, left to die.
She was three years old. Her name is Terri.
She’s my daughter.
To some people, Terri and others like her are co
nsidered bro-
ken. They were abandoned, abused, and traumatized at an early
age. When they’re older, they suffer from all kinds of behavior
problems. Most people see them as throwaways. Nobody wants
to adopt problem kids like these.
Nobody, that is, except people like us.
This is our story—the story of how God inspired
Trot, Texas, to take on 72 of the toughest kids from the foster-care
system and adopt them as their own. It’s also the story of how
God has used our little community of three hundred folks to
spark the conscience of a nation.

Small Town, Big Miracle
Copyright © 2007 by W. C. Martin

Google the book or town for more information. It’s worth the read.

I am excited for motherhood and all that comes with. I am excited we are walking the path less chosen and that we are part of the solution and no longer ignoring the problem. I am excited for the voice God has passioned in me to bring change. I am excited that we get to shake heaven and earth to make a difference in th
e life of one…someday two…and maybe three…

“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” —MATTHEW25:40 (NKJV)