Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eric Ludy - Depraved Indifference

This video seriously grabbed my heart and I just wanted to share it with you guys. Maybe God is tugging you to the plight of the fatherless as well.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I am so excited to tell you guys that Sergey has been officially matched with his forever family!!! God is so good and I am so relieved to know that this little man we've been praying for is going to have a home and a family to call his own VERY SOON!!! Please continue to pray for his safe travel home and to stay healthy while his family waits to go get him. Praise God for giving this sweet little guy his miracle!!!

Okay my friends, I have never done this before but God has just been really really tugging on my heart to ask for help for this little guy!

If any of you read the story I posted on facebook about American families adopting children with special needs from other countries, you might have seen the reference to Reece's Rainbow, a foundation that supports and helps fund these kinds of adoptions. (You can see the story here: I know a family who found their little boy Isaac through Reece's Rainbow and will hopefully be bringing him home soon (You can see more on their story and learn how to support them by visiting!

Anyways, the article also described what happens to these kiddos when they turn four. They are taken from the baby house, where they have been relatively well cared for, and put into an adult mental institution. An institution! These little babies who have every opportunity to thrive in the right environment are housed in filthy and disgusting conditions, given no love or attention, and spend their days sitting in an empty room hoping their basic needs will be met that day. The survival rates for children once they've been placed there is extremely low, and their chance of finding a forever family is even lower.

There is one little guy who has been put on my heart, named Sergey, who is only four years old and has been transferred to an adult mental institution. Below is a link to more information about him, but caretakers say he is very gentle and sweet, and his pictures and videos show that!

Apparently there has been absolutely no one to inquire about adopting him at ALL, and seeing his adorable sweet little face it just breaks my heart knowing the conditions he is in as I type this. I am going to post a link to his information and maybe you can be praying for God to lead someone into bringing him home!!!

Sergey is HIV positive, and before that scares the beans out of you, know that with good treatment in the United States, HIV positive kids grow up to live wonderful and full lives! We happen to have an amazing pediatric HIV clinic right here in Phoenix that takes care of so many great kids!

Thank you for saying a prayer for this little guy, and if you happen to have a blog, maybe consider sharing his information with your followers as well! The more that know about his near hopeless situation, the better!

Here is the link to Sergey's site and how you can learn more about him.

If nothing else can you pray for this little guy?? Isn't he beautiful???!!!

Thank you guys for taking the time to pray for Sergey!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

January Fundraiser...Garage Sale!

Wow I cannot believe January is almost upon us! I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as ours was. We spent our first Christmas in our new home and had a fabulous day with our entire family. The kids were spoiled once again beyond what is reasonable, but that's the benefit of being the only grandkids on both sides! ;) It will be a crazy busy couple of months for me as I am going to be working full-time for the next two months filling in for someone on medical leave at work, and trying to put all of our Christmas stuff away. Oh yeah...and a yard sale to organize and carry out! And let's not forget the adoption classes start in two weeks, as does J*'s football season, and the rest of our homestudy interviews and Josh's coaching commitments...ahhh I'm already overwhelmed!!! But it will all work out and I will try not to have a nervous breakdown in the meantime. ;)

So speaking of the yard is creeping right up on us!!! January 14th will be here before we know it and our garage is really starting to fill up! If you have anything you'd like to donate, Josh will be home all week as he is still on vacation from school so this week would be a GREAT time to drop it off!!! I know there are mothers out there who, like me, are ready to purge their child's playroom of hundreds of toys to make room for the new ones! So here's a great way to get rid of them and help us at the same time! :)

Text or email me if you'd like to drop anything off, we thank you in advance for your stuff!!! If you guys are praying...pray I somehow find the time to get everything done and also spend lots of time with my babies! I hate working full-time and being away from them so much, but it is temporary and necessary with the cost of the adoption as well as the looming need to replace one of our cars. I'm so thankful for the hours and the opportunity for extra income, but I still don't have to like it!!! ;)

As always, pray for our little one and his or her birth mommy to be kept safe and protected, and for God to somehow bring our families together in His own perfect timing! Thanks guys!!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Moving right along...

I wanted to give everyone an update on where we are in the adoption process right now! I realize that the past couple of blog entries have centered around our loss and grief experiences, but that is where we're at. Remember that just because we are thrilled to be expecting through adoption, it does not erase our loss or the experiences that brought us here. Lily is a part of who I am, a part of who our family is, and she always will be. I continue to grieve her loss while at the same time rejoicing over waiting for a new child! This journey is like a blanket woven with threads of joy and grief, of happiness and sorrow, of anticipation and longing, of tears and laughter. All of it together makes us who we are as a family!

Josh and I are having a particularly rough time right now. We simply miss our daughter very very much. We recently picked out her grave marker and that experience brought to the forefront emotions that are always there somewhere. I have found myself thinking of Lily and watching her last happy ultrasound video and looking at pictures of her little hands and feet. Josh is feeling it too, and we aren't sure if it is Christmas time that makes her absence more noticeable, or simply time moving forward and us leaving her behind that is making us sad. But we miss her, and I appreciate your understanding as this Adoption Faith Walk includes both exciting posts and tearful ones.

Last week, Josh and I met with our caseworker for our first interview in the homestudy process. The homestudy usually consists of about four interviews, at least one of which being in our actual home. This first meeting was in her office. It was our "genogram" appointment. We were asked to each draw a picture of our family tree including us, our siblings, our parents, our aunts and uncles, and our grandparents. It was actually kind of fun! She then spoke to us one at a time asking us all kinds of questions about each family member, our relationship with them, specific memories we have, and what influence they've had in our lives. Listening to Josh, I even learned a couple of new things I hadn't heard before, so that was pretty cool!

It was pretty simple and straightforward, and at the end of the appointment we set dates for the rest of our homestudy interviews. Our last one will be in February, right around the time our adoption classes end! Those begin the second week in January, so things are really starting to move quickly!

Once our homestudy is complete it will be sent off to the courts for approval, and then all we have to do is wait! We will at some point be putting together what is called a "Match Letter", which is really more of an online profile including pictures of our family, a letter to the birth mother, and a few paragraphs telling her who we are as individuals and as a family. Once that is submitted, we are literally just waiting for a phone call telling us we've been chosen and there is a little one(s) waiting for us!!!

Our wait could be anywhere from one day to one year or much longer, it just completely depends on what a birth mother is looking for. We completely trust the Lord to give us the child He has chosen for our family, and we have gotten very good at waiting. :)

So for now, we continue fundraising, praying, interviewing, and living life! If you are praying for us, please especially be in prayer for our hearts during Christmas as we miss the babies that aren't here. I think we feel Lily's absence so heavily because we got to hold her and meet her and love on her and give her back to the Lord. I wouldn't trade any of my time with her, but it makes me miss her even more having met her.

We would also really appreciate prayer for this adoption process to continue going as smoothly as it has so far. Josh and I recently talked about how easily it has gone for us, and how we are so not used to things going so smoothly! We are completely expectant of at least a few bumps in the road, but for now we are enjoying the peace. Please pray for our birth mama and the baby she is carrying. We are praying she is safe and surrounded by people that love and support her, but know it is very possible that she is not. We pray God will comfort her mommy heart and give her courage to face each day. We pray for our baby or babies, that God will bless them with good health and protection.

Thank you so much for following us on this walk, we have been hugely blessed so far, and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Warning: You will be getting no warning.

Last week a story on my Yahoo home page caught my eye. Michelle Duggar, the "reality" show mother who with her husband has twenty children, was said to have lost her baby to miscarriage. I clicked on the story and had tears in my eyes as I read that she had gone to her routine 20 week ultrasound, expecting to find out the exciting news about the gender of her child, only to find out her baby had passed away in utero. I had flashbacks to my own ultrasound in June, where I got the exact same devastating news, and my heart broke for her and her family.

I would have felt compassion for this woman even without my own strikingly similar experience, but since I have, what I was feeling went far beyond empathy. I pictured her lying on the ultrasound table, holding her husband's hand, her excited smile slowly turning downward as the ultrasound tech struggled to find a heartbeat. I could feel the pit in her stomach grow deeper as she realized there was no familiar flicker on the screen. I could hear the staggering silence in that room grow louder by the second. I had been there, I had been in that room, and my heart broke knowing another woman was going through it too.

I pictured her and her husband having to tell their children, some the same age as my children, the news that their baby sister had died. I wondered to myself if they had trouble finding the words to explain it to a five year old, as Josh and I did. Did they find a quiet spot to sit them down and talk to them? Did they cry in each other's arms wondering how they would possibly say the words out loud to their children? Josh and I were picking ours up from Vacation Bible School after our appointment. We found a shady spot under a tree at the church to sit down and talk to them. What did the Duggars do? How did they answer their children's excited questions with news no child should have to hear?

This is where my mind went, where my heart went. I don't know this family personally, but I know they are believers. I know they are kind and loving and respectful to one another. I know they love their kids. My opinions on their family choices are really not relevant, and in that moment as I read of their grief, nothing but sadness for what they were going through crossed my mind. Until I read the comments below.

I should have stopped right there and walked away from the computer, but I didn't. Like watching a horrible accident, my eyes wouldn't turn away. I read comment after heartless comment absolutely ripping this family to shreds for their choices on birth control (or lack thereof). Saying things like "they were asking for it," that this was bound to happen, that they deserve it. People who were claiming to be Christians said the Duggars were giving Christianity a bad name by continuing to breed. That the death of this small child was blood on their hands, that God was trying to teach them a lesson, that He obviously wants them to stop. These were the kindest of the comments.

I was appalled. How could we? How could we as fellow human beings see a grieving family and have anything but sympathy for what they were going through? Was I the only one that wanted to find Michelle and give her a great big hug? Did I only feel this way because I had been in her shoes?

I continued to think about the Duggar family all week. Then, yesterday, my dad mentioned to me that he had seen pictures online of the Duggar baby and how the photos looked strikingly similar to Lily's photos. I went home and attempted to search for the photo he was talking about. I found them easily. But on every site that posted them, the baby had been blurred out. As if she was some obscene image not appropriate for the internet. The internet!!! One gossip site posted blaring warnings on the blurred out images of little Jubilee's hand before you could click on them and see the actual photo. Really? I don't remember being warned the last time some celebrity accidentally showed off their entire butt getting out of a car. But not only do they blur out the image of this child's hand, I also get a stern warning before I can view it? So this is where society is at now.

If I thought the comments last week were bad, I was in for a rude awakening. People who had seen the black and white images of Jubilee's tiny hand and feet were in an uproar, calling the Duggar's "sick," "twisted," "morbid," and a whole host of other names more suitable for serial killers than grieving parents. Others were saying they had gone too far, photographing the "corpse" of their dead baby and sharing the images with the world. I read one comment saying it was "ridiculous" that they were going so far as to hold a memorial service for "it".

As I sat reading these heartless comments, I looked up on my desk and stared at my framed photo collage of my own child. The photos I was staring at on my desk of my baby and the photos that were being torn to shreds by the world on my computer screen were incredibly similar. Anyone but the family of the children in the photographs would have a hard time distinguishing between the two. The hands and feet were the same size, the skin the same translucent color. The comments I was reading were suddenly directed straight at me. They were calling me sick, they were calling my baby's sweet feet morbid, they were calling my family ridiculous. And it hurt.

Where was the voice of the mothers and fathers of these children among the loud and unsympathetic shouts of this mob? Why, in all of these hundreds of comments, were there maybe one or two brave souls carefully defending the choice of the Duggars and other grieving parents? Where was the voice of reason? Why was no one standing up for this family? Standing up for my family?

So this is me standing up. I am the mother of a baby born dead at 20 weeks gestation. I am the mother who fell in love with, named, and cherished my little girl. I am the mother who was given the devastating news that my child's heart had stopped. I am the mother who had to tell my children they would never get to meet their baby sister. I am the mother who had to go through three horrible days of pushing my body to let go of the baby it should have held for five more months. I am the mother who held her tiny baby girl in one hand. I am the mother who saw nothing but beauty in my child's incredibly small hands and feet. I am the mother who asked for a photographer to come into the room and get as many pictures as they possibly could of my baby, knowing they would be the only photos I would ever have, the only way for my sister to meet her niece, as she was half a world away at the time of her birth. I am the mother who has nothing left of my child except the blanket she was wrapped in and the photos I took with her. I am no different than Michelle Duggar, and the thousands of other mothers in America who face this kind of loss every year.

So many mothers face this kind of loss, in fact, that an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" is used all over America to give something tangible to families facing the loss of a child. It is completely dedicated to taking beautiful photos of babies who have passed away. They are one of the few organizations who support and encourage bonding and making memories with your deceased child. It is only in the past twenty or thirty years or so that mothers and fathers have even been allowed to spend time holding their stillborn baby. So maybe I shouldn't be surprised that most of America still seems to be stuck in the fifties when mothers were knocked out only to have their baby ripped from them and disposed of before they were even able to see their child. And yet, I am still appalled at a society who deems pictures of a tiny baby's hand to be so horrific it should be blurred out for the masses.

When a young child passes away, it is a tragedy. No matter who the parents are or their religion or walk of life, the world mourns with that grieving family. Pictures of the child playing and smiling and laughing are no doubt cherished by all who see them. It is a reminder to the family and friends of the beautiful person that has left them, of the happy times you had with them, of the heartbreaking loss of a young life. Yet, what about the families who only had one opportunity to get photos of their child? Only one chance to record what their baby looked like, how small they were, how miraculous their hands and feet were? What if you only got to hold your baby once? Wouldn't you want pictures of them? Wouldn't you want something to go back to in the moments months and years later when you felt yourself forgetting what they looked like, what they felt like in your arms?

Unless you have been the mother or father with only hours to spend with your child, you have no right to judge how these parents deal with their grief. It breaks my heart that this family is being beaten down by the public for valuing the life of their baby, for seeing her as a precious and beautiful miracle, for treating her like a child. What breaks my heart even further is how few people will stand up next to these families, next to my family, and defend their right to grieve.

So this is me, speaking on behalf of so many other grieving mommies, and saying this: I had a child. She was beautiful, she was meaningful, and she is gone. I am so thankful for the memories I was allowed to make with her in the hours following her birth. I am grateful for the photographs I have of my child and the opportunity I have to look at them whenever my heart is missing her. I am proud of my baby girl, and I will proudly show off her miraculous features through the photographs we cherish. And I will never, ever blur them out or warn you before doing so.

You are not alone, Michelle. There are so many mommies who have been where you are and support you whole-heartedly as you stumble your way through this grieving process. The pictures of your baby are beautiful, and I thank you for sharing them with the world, even if the world won't.

The tiny hand of Jubilee Duggar

The tiny hand of my Lily

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Goodnight Sweetheart

Yesterday, I got to meet a mommy who has five little ones in Heaven. She has faced unthinkable loss and has every reason in the world to turn her back on the Lord and walk far away from Him. But the way I met her? She was delivering boxes to the hospital from the non-profit she started after losing her twins to stillbirth. These boxes are given to mommies and daddies who are forced to leave the hospital without their child. They were created specifically for stillbirth situations, but at our hospital we use them after the death of not just infants but children of many ages. She has chosen to use her pain and loss to not only bring glory to our Lord, but to comfort those in situations of the same kind of loss that she has faced. She perfectly embodies the verse in Corinthians about using the comfort we have received from Christ to comfort those around us.

 2 Cor. 1:3-4
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

No one can fully understand what it is like to leave your baby or child at the hospital while you go home to face life once again. It is a horribly guilty, empty, bewildering feeling. Your heart knows where your baby really is, walking perfectly with Jesus in Heaven, but your womb. Your womb is screaming for that baby. Your arms are literally heavy with the emptiness. You fight with feelings of guilt over walking away from the building that holds your child. Your mind wanders to where they are, exactly. Who is with them? Are they alone? Are they being treated with respect and reverence? Are they lonely? Your thoughts aren't necessarily logical, but what about losing a child is? What is logical about handing your child back to the nurse after you have carried her in your womb and grown her from nothing and labored through the pain and turmoil just to see her face? What is logical about that final hand-off, knowing your hands and eyes will never touch her again this side of Heaven? What is logical about that?

I remember being absolutely stone cold terrified of the moment we'd have to hand Lily back to the nurse forever. With each hour of labor I knew that moment was getting closer and closer. Some people have asked me why I chose to go through with a full blown 24 hour labor with Lily when I knew what the outcome would be? Couldn't I have chosen to be put to sleep? The answer is yes, but that thought never once crossed my mind as a possibility. When the doctor told me my options at my last ultrasound with Lily, I cut him off in the middle and told him absolutely not. I would not let them "take her" in a clinic somewhere and dispose of her somehow. I wanted to see her for myself, as hard as that might be. I had my reasons, and every mother's choice in that matter is so personal, but I think one of the big ones was that I wanted to put off that final moment as long as I possibly could. I struggled between wanting Lily out as fast as possible and being absolutely terrified of the moment she was out, because that meant the clock would start. My time with her would be incredibly short. While mothers are supposed to have a lifetime to gaze upon their child's face, I knew I had minutes, maybe hours after Lily was no longer attached to me.

Now I serve a unique God. My God has walked that kind of despair. He has also had to face watching His beloved child leave the safe arms of His care. He has known loss. He has known grief. He has not only lost His one and only Son to a horrible death, but He has watched countless children leave His arms forever. He gets it. And when Lily was finally ready to make her appearance, I literally felt Him in the room with us, His peace surrounding us in a situation that is everything but peaceful.

There were very hard moments during that long labor with Lily. There was one particular moment that is probably burned into my poor parents' brains forever because they unfortunately were in the room with us when God lifted that veil of comfort and allowed me to fully see what I was being asked to do, the moment I finally lost it. Halfway through my labor with Lily, this unthinkable situation hit me like a ton of bricks, and God lifted that peace momentarily so I could fully understand the hugeness of what He was asking of me. I sobbed in that hospital bed uncontrollably, screaming incoherent thoughts about how I could not possibly give birth to a dead baby. Begging God to please, please not make me do this. I couldn't do this. I didn't want to. There has to be another way.

Looking back, it reminds me of those moments in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus was also hit with the overwhelming pain of what He was being asked to do. Jesus says in Matthew 26, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death..." I have no better explanation of what it feels like to give birth to a dead baby than that verse right there. Jesus said it as He was facing crucifixion, and He felt it, and somehow that comforts me, that my God has been to that place too. That He too has begged for another way out. He says later in the chapter, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.Yet, not as I will, but as you will."

That's where I was. Begging God to take this cup from me. Begging for another way. Overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. And there, right there, God met me. He allowed me to experience the enormity of the situation because I think it was important for me to understand how huge He must be to get me through it. He let me feel it, express it, and then He dropped that blanket of peace right back over me again. He gave me the strength and will to continue, and I did, but only because my God met me there and carried me through it. And being that the only reason I have eternity in Heaven to look forward to is because Jesus did not pass that cup, that God did not take it from Him, I am so incredibly grateful that He faced what He was being asked to do and allowed God to comfort Him through an unspeakable sorrow. Where would we be if He hadn't?

Lily's birth was quiet and beautiful. Josh and I smiled through our tears when she was born. We anxiously peeked over the nurses shoulders trying to get a glimpse of her. We marveled over the simple smallness of her. We cried, and we prayed, and we talked about her seemingly muscular calves and lips that were exact replicas of her brother's. I sang her E*'s lullaby and an old George Straight song because it was simply the only thing I could think of.

"Goodnight, Sweetheart, sleep tight, wherever you are.
God holds you in His arms, while we're apart.
Though you're far away,
Your love will stay
Tucked away here in my heart.
Goodnight, Sweetheart, sleep tight, wherever you are."

After our families met her and we had enough pictures (though sending that camera away was incredibly difficult as well, because the only lasting piece of my baby was so very limited, there would never, ever be enough pictures), we sent everyone out and had our last moments with her.

With a stillbirth, you are limited in your time. Not by the hospital staff, but by the tiny body of your child. You want so much to have good, beautiful memories of the way your baby looked. Unfortunately death is not kind to even the tiniest of bodies, and there comes a point when you need to close your eyes and not let the images of your child deteriorating enter your memories. Josh and I agreed it was time to say goodbye, and we did.

It was not the moment I had pictured in my head, one of me sobbing uncontrollably while Josh practically had to rip my baby from my hands, but one of total peace. We kissed her sweet toes and told the nurse to please take her. We had spent two hours with her, and I will cherish those hours forever in my heart.

And then. And then, Josh and I looked at each other, and asked, "Now what?" What is there after the birth of a baby when there is no baby? We were slightly thrown off. We didn't know what to do with ourselves. I remember sitting, confused, not knowing what to do next. There was nothing to do but go home. Empty handed, empty hearted.

Our nurses were absolute angels. While I had been laboring with Lily, they had been preparing mementos for Josh and I to take home with us. They made keepsake footprint cards for each of our children, they made me and E* bracelets with Lily's name on them. They made a card with Lily's statistics and teeny tiny footprints on it. They gave me a box. A special box they give to mommies who have to go home empty handed, so that their hands aren't actually empty. So that they have something to hold on to when they are being wheeled away from the hospital, away from their child, while every fiber of their being screams for them to turn back and go get their baby. A box I imagine most mothers use to keep their own special keepsakes in along with the ones the hospital gives you. A box that was made by a woman who has faced leaving the hospital with only a box. A box that for me is now filled with cards and letters and pictures and a tiny pink bunny that I held throughout my entire labor. A box that is incredibly personal to me, something I can open up when I need proof that Lily was here. Because for mothers of stillborn babies, that's all we have. A box, a stuffed animal, a few pictures if we're lucky. That's all we have to prove to the world and ourselves that our child existed.

I got to meet a woman who makes hundreds of these boxes to give to other mommies like me. Oh how we both wish these boxes weren't necessary! How we both wish we could have met under different circumstances, with a different common bond, in a different life where neither of us had gaping holes in our hearts that are only visible to those that bear them. But there we were, standing in the lobby of a hospital talking about these boxes.

I was accepting her donation of boxes for our bereavement closet at the hospital where I work. I told her how much they meant to our parents of lost little ones, and how much they meant to me personally, as I too had a stillbirth and was the recipient of a box just like the ones she was handing me. God brings his children together in very unique ways sometimes! Sometimes it is over broken hearts.

The two of us are not broken women. We have experienced brokenness, which means we have also experienced our Lord on a level not everyone does. We have both had loss inexplicable, but we have both known comfort unimaginable. In our own unique ways, we try to comfort those around us with that same comfort God has granted us. We try to make something of our nothingness. We work to make our babies proud of us, so that one day we can scoop them up and tell them the story of their birth, the story of their loss, the story of their impact.

I am confident that Lily and my other sweet babies are part of such a bigger story. A story that I won't know the ending to for a very long time! But a story that tells of loss and comfort and love and patience and trust and a journey to our family complete.

Thank you for taking time to peek into the hard and heartbreaking moments of mothers of lost babies. If you'd like to sponsor a box or a blanket for another mommy just like me, please visit

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Milestone

I realized on Sunday that we have hit a very big milestone in this adoption process. With the last fundraiser, we officially have enough money to get into the Match Book! This is not a milestone I was even hoping to hit this early, so this is very cool! Our next fee that is due is the Adoption Class Fee ($400), which is due in a couple of weeks. The next one after that is our Match Fee ($1500), which is what we have to pay to get our family profile placed in the Match Book that expectant mothers look through when choosing adoptive families. We really don't know when we will be ready to do that, but it will be sometime after our homestudy and classes are completed, hopefully in March or April.

The remaining $9,600ish is one lump sum which will be due when our baby is placed with us officially. That is a pretty scary number, but we have been taking this step by step and one fee at a time, and it is so awesome how God has provided exactly what we need when we need it! And here we are, only a couple of months after starting this process, already attacking that final Adoption Fee!!!

I want to make sure I say this at least once...while these fees may seem outrageous to some, the adoption process is an expensive one. No one at our agency is getting rich off of these fees. They are really very reasonable and warranted, going to a number of different things such as legal fees, court fees, processing fees, counseling for the birth family, homestudy fees, case worker salary (someone has to do all the behind the scenes work, and most social workers, especially the ones at our agency, are wonderful, hardworking, and do not get paid nearly enough), and a number of other things. Our specific adoption agency is kind enough to charge us on a sliding scale, so Josh and I do not pay as much in fees as a couple making more than us would. And to put things in perspective, I know another family personally who is facing a cost of over $45,000 to adopt their son from Russia. They trusted God to provide for it, and they are nearly at their goal after only six months. Our goal seems very doable when I look at what they've had to face!

I just wanted to share the good news with you all and thank you again for supporting us financially and otherwise. It is a humbling experience asking everyone you know for help in bringing a baby home. It is not something I ever thought we'd have to do, but we are so grateful for everyone's support. We absolutely could not even think about adoption if it weren't for you, and we hope you understand how grateful we are for your willingness to help us reach our goal.

Thank you for helping us reach this milestone!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

I have written letters to each of my babies from the moments I knew I was expecting them. Some of my babies got lots of letters, some got only one. You will get lots I'm sure, because I know we will be expecting you for awhile!

I have a feeling that you have begun growing somewhere, in somebody's tummy. You are not growing in my tummy little one, but you are growing in my heart. We are working and praying so hard to bring you home. I want you to know that you are worth every bit of it.

Sometimes I feel a little bit jealous of mommies who can bring babies into their families so easily. I used to be one of them! I feel a tinge of hurt whenever I hear of anyone who will be bringing home a new baby. I think, "Why is it so easy for them?" I wonder why some people barely have to blink their eyes to add to their family, and here we are fighting tooth and nail to bring you home. We fill out mountains of paperwork, answer extremely personal questions, take classes for weeks, have someone study our family and our home, work for months to raise enough money to pay for the cost of all of these things, and wait much longer than most have to wait to bring a baby home. Sometimes I feel that it just isn't fair. But then I much sweeter will that moment be when I finally hold you and kiss your cheeks?

It will be the moment where all of this, all of the waiting and work and uncertainty, all of it will fade away into the background and all I will see is your face. I will think of how I would have waited and worked ten times what I did to have that moment with you. The moment I become your mommy. You are so worth every bit of it.

I hope you never wonder if you are loved the same as your big brother and sister since you didn't come from my tummy. Sweet baby, let me tell you something. I love you even now, and I don't even know who you are or where you are or when I will see you with my own eyes! Let me tell you that we love J* and E* so much that we are willing to go through all of this just to give that kind of love to another baby...YOU!!! Let me tell you that your daddy and I have never had to put so much work into adding to our family! You are the one we are doing this for! You are the one that is so loved already that we are willing to do anything to bring you home! You are the one we are waiting for. You are the one we are working for. You are the one we are praying for. You are my love!

We have so much peace that God has already hand picked you for our family. We pray for you every day. We pray that you are growing strong and healthy, that you are covered in love, that you are safe. We pray for the woman who is carrying you. We pray she is safe, she is loved, and that she has the comfort and peace of our Lord. We pray that she has someone in her life that is supporting her and encouraging her and taking care of her. We pray that God will give her courage and strength.

There are so many people who are praying for you. So many people who are supporting us and waiting anxiously with us. You are going to be smothered in love when you get home, baby. You won't even know what to do with it!

I love you. I'm waiting for you. I'm praying for you. I can't wait to meet you.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Photo Fundraiser Wrap Up!!!

WOW!!! I don't know what else to say. (Don't worry I will find plenty!)

Today was the day we've been waiting for! The Mini Photo Session Fundraiser was nothing short of a miracle! From the day that Lisa (my cousin, the photographer!) emailed me about this idea, I have been looking forward to it and praying for it to go well. We offered 20 minute sessions and booked the sessions from 9 a.m. this morning until 5 p.m. this evening! The sessions were all taken within a week, and that in itself was incredible. I am so thankful for people's willingness to bless our family!

About four days ago I started getting very nervous after the forecast called for rain ALL day!!! Oh noooo!!! Only in Arizona do we have three hundred days in a row of sunshine only to rain on the one day you need that sun to stay out!!! Lisa and I agreed to just pray the rain away and trust that our Arizona weatherman was inaccurate as usual! We couldn't think of a back up plan so we just went full steam ahead and asked everyone to pray for good weather!

I am 100% convinced God took mercy on me personally and blessed us with the most perfect picture taking weather imaginable! Cloudy skies all day made for gorgeous shots and NO RAIN!!! Thank you God!!! As I type this it is pouring down rain outside, which even further convinces me that God was right there with us today making sure the weather was perfect until we finished!

Things could not have gone smoother. A few last minute cancellations were almost all able to be filled last minute as well, and everyone was so great about being on time and having patience with us as we walked them all over creation getting great and unique shots! We had such a fun variety of sessions, from Senior pictures to infant pictures to family pictures big and small! I had such a blast working as Lisa's assistant today and watching each unique family get so many fun pictures! Even my family got to do a session (courtesy of my sister, thank you so much!) and I can't wait to see how they turned out!

Lisa taking pictures!

To each person that came out today and supported us, thank you. I cannot even begin to express how blessed our family feels after today. Thank you for supporting us, for supporting adoption, and for every hug and encouraging word I got today! I hope you all are blessed by your beautiful pictures, and I cannot WAIT to see how they turn out!

To my beautiful and incredibly generous cousin Lisa W., I cannot thank you enough for today. The gift you have given us is so unbelievable, and I hope you know how much it means to our family. The work you put in today was incredible, and I know how much work is ahead of you editing 13 photo sessions and mailing out each CD! I wish I could do more to help you! You have been such a blessing to me through this adoption process. I can go to you for advice and encouragement and a good laugh over all the trials of mommyhood! ;) I love you so much and am so grateful for the gift you gave us today. Your amazing family is one of the reasons Josh and I decided to pursue adoption, and I can't wait for you to take pictures of our sweet new baby!

All in all we raised over a thousand dollars today!!! How incredible! Thank you all so much for your prayers, your encouragement, your participation and your desire to support us in so many ways! I can't wait to post some pictures of the amazing families who came out today for photos!

If you are praying for us, give God a big fat THANK YOU for what He did for us today. Thank Him for the gorgeous weather, the lack of hiccups and delays, and for very happy and cooperative kiddos! Thank Him that He has chosen to bless our family with so many loving people. Thank Him for continuing to provide for this adoption.

Pray for our little one to grow strong and healthy, wherever he is. Pray for his mommy, that she will get the support and love she needs right now. Pray that God will bring us together somehow and that everyone will be able to see His plan unfold!!!

Thank you all so much for following our story!!!