Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Call...

Last night as I was putting Eisley to bed, I asked her what she wanted me to pray for. She said the usual things, that we'd have a good family day, and that the baby would come soon. I said to her, "You know when would be a great day for a Baby Call? Tomorrow. Let's pray we get a call tomorrow!" Eisley smiled and said, "Okay!" And I prayed...

"Dear Lord,

Thank you so much for this wonderful day. Thank you that mommy and daddy have been married for eight whole years today. Thank you that mommy's surgery went well (more on that later...) and that I am still here to tuck in my babies. Lord, we have a family day planned for tomorrow and everyone is on vacation and tomorrow would just be such a wonderful day to get a Baby Call! Please Lord can we get that call tomorrow? Thank you for all of our blessings. Please protect our baby and bring them home SOOOON!


I kissed her goodnight, and she thanked me for getting married to daddy so that she could be alive (it was our anniversary yesterday!). I then prayed a very similar prayer with Jake, and I kissed him goodnight, and I went to bed. I prayed before falling asleep, and I thought, what's the harm in asking? It can't hurt. So I asked that we would get a phone call tomorrow. We had a relaxing "family day" scheduled, it would be such a nice anniversary present, and I just couldn't think of a better time to get such happy news!

This morning I woke up and my first thought was, "Man I really need some pain meds." ;) But my SECOND thought was, "Today's the day." I just had a feeling. We had plans to take the kids to a movie (Summer Movie Fun anyone? We love it and do it every year!). We were seeing "Happy Feet Two." Josh got the kids ready and I took a little pain medication (for those of you that are just dying of curiosity, I had some minor surgery yesterday, all went well and all is well!) and we were all ready to go! It was just one of those perfect mornings. I sat in the movie theater with my husband and my children, and we were just happy, eating our popcorn and smiling and holding hands and laughing, and it was just perfect. I thought to myself, "I just love my little family so much. It cannot get much better than this." I think I even took a moment to update my Facebook status saying that very thing. ;)

We were about 40 minutes into the movie when I checked my phone (sorry movie goers, I'm a phone checker). I had a missed call from a restricted number...with a voicemail. That was the kicker. Restricted numbers can be anyone, and most likely a recorded voice of a politician I don't plan to vote for, but voicemails make my heart jump. I thought, "Don't get too excited. If it was the agency, they would have called Josh too." So I leaned over and whispered to Josh, "Did you miss a phone call?" He nodded and gave me a knowing look. I told him I was going to go downstairs and check my message just in case. But I knew. This was it. I just knew.

Sure enough, I had a message from our adoption agency, asking that I call back as soon as I could regarding a birth mother. So I tried to memorize the number, tried to dial it, fumbled it, tried to find a pen, called my voicemail again to get the number, realized my pen didn't work, cursed silently the screaming toddler who was making it impossible to hear the message, and then sat down. I took a very deep breath, and tried again. Finally! I got a hold of the Pregnancy Counselor, who gave me the news we have been waiting to hear for so long...a birth mother had chosen us, and if we want to, we will be officially matched with her!!!

So if you were able to read through that incredibly long introduction, or whether you skimmed down to the "Good Part" it is...we are OFFICIALLY expecting a baby in late July!!! Yes, you did read that correctly. :)

Because this is a very public blog, we will not be sharing many details here, but we did want to share this wonderful news!!! Our family is so excited, so thankful, and very eager to hold this little one in our arms very  very soon!!!

As I have stated many times, and as you all know, there is always a risk with adoption, that birthmom may change her mind and decide to parent, that the child could be born with small or significant special needs, and the list goes on. We are well aware of all of that, but feel confident that the Lord has led us down this path and He will equip us to handle whatever He gives us. This is much like a pregnancy announcement. We are overjoyed, we know the risks, and we hope you will rejoice with us! If things do not go as planned, we know you will grieve with us as well. But we are choosing to be optimistic, because it is just such a better use of emotion in my opinion. :)

We would appreciate so much your continued prayers for the entire situation. Again, we have chosen to completely trust the Lord in this, and though we cannot predict what will happen, we feel totally at peace with this match and we are so thankful to the woman who has chosen our family to parent her child. We could not be more excited, and we hope you will share in our joy!!!

If you are praying, we desperately want and need your prayers for this baby. Without going into detail, we are praying fervently for the health of this child. We are praying for the birthmom. We are praying for our family, both our little family and our extended family, that God will prepare our hearts to love this child exactly how they need to be loved! We are praying that God orchestrate the situation and that He will get the glory for it all!!!

This was an incredibly happy day for our family. We are feeling extremely blessed! Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement! We still have quite a road ahead of us, but we are focusing on today, and today was such a good day.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

An Update and an End Date!

Yay! We finally finished putting the puzzle together!!! 

And here is the finished product!!!

 It is so cute! 

So now what? Well, now we start putting names on it! We are so excited that as of today we have sold 125 pieces to our puzzle! That is awesome! We have also continued to receive extra donations and have been blessed to be able to continue adding to this fund ourselves, helping us get so close to our goal!

We decided that we needed to put an "end date" on this fundraiser, as the baby could come any time now, and we'd love to have it framed and finished when we bring that baby home! (That, and when the baby does arrive, I know I will be way too busy with three kids to ever get this project done!) So, because Lily's birthday is coming up in just a couple of weeks, June 19th to be exact, we thought that would be a great time to wrap up this fundraiser! What a difference a year makes.

We are praying that this fundraiser will complete our goal and this adoption will be fully funded by the end of it! If you have been meaning to sponsor any puzzle pieces, now is the time to do it! We will begin writing names on pieces tomorrow! 

The last day to purchase pieces will be June 19th, after that we are going to frame it and hang it up in our home, ready to greet our new little one! 

Thank you so incredibly much for your support, both financially and emotionally, of this adoption. We have come such a long way since we started this road, and we can't wait to see what's next.

Don't forget, we are compiling notes and letters to our child and would love one from you! I have received such sweet words of love to this baby so far and I know they will mean the world to this child someday!

There are still PLENTY of pieces left, so if you would like your name or family's name on one, let us know before June 19th! Keep our family in your prayers as we continue to await a phone call. We will keep you posted!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Puzzle Progress!

I wanted to post a quick update on our Puzzle Fundraiser! I was so excited when the puzzle came in the mail this week! It is 513 pieces, and when it is done, it will look like this...

Our family finally had some time together this afternoon to get cracking on this bad boy, and we really made some progress!!!

That's a lot of pieces!!!

Jake and Eisley are GREAT at puzzles!

Josh did the edges!
This might be a new family hobby!

We definitely made some progress!

I'm so excited to see it all completed, but even more excited to see the back of it with all the names of people who sponsored a piece and helped bring our little one home! We have "sold" 49 pieces to our puzzle so far! Yay! 

If you are interested in sponsoring any puzzle pieces, remember they are only $5 a piece! If you are interested in being a piece to our puzzle, you can contact me through the blog, email, or facebook!

We are so thankful for your support and encouragement, and will keep you posted on our Puzzle Progress!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Mother a Grave

I read an article the other day on a favorite website of mine for parents of children not here. It used a phrase that stuck with me in a profound way. "Mothering a grave." The author was talking about being torn between mothering her living child and "mothering a grave." I had never heard that term before, but the minute I read it I realized it so perfectly described something I just can't put into words. In three little words it portrays heartache, love, service, tears, tenderness, loss, loneliness, nurturing, protectiveness, and devastation. It puts into words what we so often cannot; what it is like to continue after burying a child.

Almost one year ago I began my journey of mothering a grave. I never, ever, in my wildest dreams thought I would outlive one of my sweet babies. When I think of cemeteries, especially that particular cemetery where all of my grandparents are buried along with Lily, I think of peace. Of death, yes, but more like finishing a long race. My grandparents were mostly very old when they died, after 80 or more years of fulfilling lives. I have been to a lot of funerals, many graveside services at that very cemetery, and they all had a tinge of sadness, but they also had a feeling of peace. Of a fight well fought. Of a book coming to a close after a satisfying story. Sad to see it end, but satisfied with the story that was told.

When we buried Lily there, I felt nothing of the sort. It was as if I read two chapters and just when I was getting excited to see how the story would unfold, someone ripped the only copy from my hands and burned it before my eyes. There was nothing peaceful about it. I was left standing there, flabbergasted, offended, empty handed.

I remember when each member of my family laid a lily on her tiny casket after the service. They each said a little goodbye. A little kiss,  a prayer, a gentle touch of her casket. Then it was my turn. Josh and I went together. I touched the little box that held my baby girl when I couldn't. I read the verse my father had inscribed on it when he made it for her. I put my lily down. And then I sobbed. I knew she was in there. I knew she was laying in that box with her little pink blanket and her teddy bear and her Bible. I knew she was right there. Just inches from me. But that I would never see her again. She was so close, but so. Incredibly. Far.

I believe with my entire heart that she is not in that box, that she never was, really. She is perfect and whole and in the presence of our Savior, and I know I will get to see her again. I will spend forever with that sweet girl. But I have a long road to travel here on earth before that happens. Years upon years, hopefully, before I am called home to be with her. And until that day, I cannot mother her the way I wish I could. I mother a grave instead.

What does it mean to mother a grave? It means putting the little energy you have left for your child into mothering the little piece you have left of your child. It means stopping by the cemetery on all the little holidays because it just wouldn't feel right if you didn't. It means fretting over grass that isn't coming in fast enough over the spot where she lays. It means carrying a spray bottle and a wash cloth in your car so you can clean up her stone in case you decide to stop by, because just like the toddler you don't have, it is somehow always getting dirty. It means buying flowers at Hobby Lobby whenever you go, because they'd look so pretty on her grave. It means sitting on the grass and staring at a stone you just polished holding flowers you know will be gone the next time you come, and crying. It means mothering your child the only way you can when they aren't here to mother.

I don't know how it is for every woman who mothers a grave, but this is how it is for me. It is sad. It is empty. It is not fulfilling in the way mothering Jake and Eisley is. It does not bring any rewards. It does not include any kisses or hugs or tickles or lisps or laughter. There are birthdays but there is no joy in them. Only the realization that you have gone one more year without them here. It is an anonymous task. No one knows when you have spent the morning mothering that grave. No one knows you just left flowers and a windmill for someone you know will never see it. There is no product of your tears, there is no pride in the one you have invested in. It is just you and that grave. But you mother it anyway, because that's what a good mother does. She invests her time and her tears into something because that is where a piece of her heart is.

I know Lily is buried there, but I know she is not there. So why do I go? Why do I clean it up and leave pretty things and take pictures now and then? Why do I feel a pull to that place when I know Lily has no idea I'm going and wouldn't care if she did? I think it is because Lily's little body isn't the only thing that was buried there that day. I left a piece of myself there. With her, in that little grave, is part of my heart. A piece of me that I miss so much sometimes.

I think I also just wish, so much, that I was mothering her the way I always planned to. But since I can't, I will mother her the only way I can. I will make sure her stone is clean. I will leave her lilies. I will make sure people who walk by her grave know someone misses her and loved her so much. I will do those things because it is all I can do for her. That, and live my life in a way that will honor her memory.

I am a woman who mothers two children in my home, and three in my heart. I do not have a tangible piece of two babies I lost so early they barely had time to exist anywhere else but in my dreams. But Lily fought on long enough for me to hold her, to marvel over her, to name her, to mother her, to bury her. She left something here for me to assure me she did, in fact, exist. I'm heartbroken at times, that I have nothing of her but a grave to mother. But I am also thankful that the Lord let me have her long enough so that I have something to remember her by. Something to visit, something to put my grief induced energy into.

There is a cemetery that holds a tiny grave that holds a tiny baby girl. Her name is there, set in stone. She always has flowers. She sometimes has toys. Her stone is always clean. Grass has sprouted where tears have fallen. She is remembered, and always will be, by her mother. For as long as I am here, I will mother that grave, because it is all I have left of her here on this earth. But someday. Someday I won't mother a grave any longer. I will mother the little girl I dream about when I am mothering that grave.

Revelation 21:4
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Will you be a piece to our puzzle?

Okay everyone! I am so excited to announce our VERY LAST fundraiser for this adoption!!! We still have a couple thousand dollars to raise, and we are hopeful that this last fundraiser will accomplish that! I think the reason I am most excited for this fundraiser is because EVERYONE, near and far, can be a part of it! The other reason I love it is because it will create a wonderful keepsake for our future child!

Our family is so thankful that my cousin Lisa once again blessed us with her time and talents to do a little photo shoot for us this past weekend. (You can visit Lisa's photography webpage at We wanted a few pictures to represent our adoption process, and she helped us get creative so we could do that! It is not easy taking photographs that represent a little person you do not know anything about!!! But we were so happy with the results, and as you can see from the new picture on top of the blog we got the perfect picture to represent our Adoption Faith Walk!

So what will we be doing with this awesome picture? We will be turning it into a giant jigsaw puzzle!!! With this photograph, we were able to custom order a large 513 piece jigsaw puzzle with the photo you see above (I realize that is a random number, but it's what they had! And after the cost of the puzzle and the amount paypal eats up with donations, if we sell each piece, it comes out to almost exactly what we need to fund the rest of this adoption!)!

What we are doing is asking people to "sponsor" one or more puzzle pieces for $5 a piece. When you sponsor a puzzle piece, we will write your name or family name on the back of it. When the puzzle is completed (and we are praying we can get every single piece sponsored!) we will frame it in a double sided glass frame and display it in our home! On the front will be the picture, and on the back will be 513 names of the people who helped bring our baby home! Someday it will be a wonderful gift for our little one to display in his or her own room to remind them how many people cared enough to help bring them home!

What I would like to do along with this fundraiser is ask that each person who sponsors a puzzle piece to write a short (or long!) note to our child. You can either email or message me your note, or mail it to me if you want to hand write it. I will be saving all of these notes and putting them in a special keepsake box to give to our baby when they are older. I think it will be a wonderful treasure for them to have, to be able to read notes from all the people who prayed and cared and donated and loved our family so much during this adoption process.

We are so excited about this fundraiser, and I will be posting updates and pictures of our Puzzle in progress as pieces get sponsored! We are asking for you to share this fundraiser with as many people as you possibly can, and pray that God blesses us with the rest of the finances to bring this little one HOME!!!

If you would like to be a piece of our puzzle and sponsor one or more pieces, you can donate through the paypal button or email me for my home address. We would be so honored to write your name or family's names on the back of a puzzle piece! Here's an example:

"Hello there! I would like to sponsor four pieces for each member of my family! Our names are Josh, Karen, Jake, and Eisley. I will send $20 through paypal!"


"Hello! I would like to sponsor one puzzle piece in honor of Lily! Please write her name on the back! I will mail you my $5!"

You can then pay through paypal or mail the money to our home address. Don't forget to send me (by mail or email or comment on the blog) your special message to our child! This is the most important part!!!

And don't forget to share this fundraiser with your friends and family! 513 pieces is a LOT of pieces, but we are praying that each one will have a name on it!

Thank you so, so incredibly much for following us along this Faith Walk. We could not have even taken two steps without the support and encouragement of our friends and family. We appreciate so much your patience and generosity as we raise these funds, and hope you know what a HUGE part you have played in this adoption.

A special thank you to my amazing cousin Lisa, who has given so much of her time and energy to bless us in this adoption process. Words cannot express how grateful we are to you!!!

Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to wait and fundraise! We are so thankful for your support and encouragement! We love you all!!!


Josh, Karen, Jake, and Eisley

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Any News?

"So, anything new with the adoption process?"

I hear that question at least four times a day, truly. I have such wonderful and amazing friends that are so excited and interested in our adoption, and I am so thankful for that! I love that people care. I love when people show an interest and ask about the adoption. What I feel bad about is never, ever having news! I wish I did, and cannot wait until the day when I can answer, "YES!!!"

But for now, the answer is plainly, no. We continue to wait. And wait. And wait. Indefinitely. Sometimes I don't think about it at all. Sometimes it is all I think about. Sometimes it makes me really sad and discouraged, that there is a possibility we could be waiting for a very, very long time.

It is what it is. That's what I try and tell myself. Of course I trust the Lord and His timing. I just wish that His timing would include us bringing a baby home like, tomorrow. :) But for now, it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon, so we wait.

A verse I am finding encouraging because it so perfectly describes our situation is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

That could have been (and maybe was!) written for me. I struggle constantly with not "losing heart". At times I truly feel I am wasting away just waiting like this, but God is so good to renew me each day. Every day I think, "I can't wait one more day...I've had it!" Yet somehow each day comes and goes and I haven't actually lost my mind waiting like I felt I was going to. ;)

Eisley told me in the car the other day (talking about waiting to be a big sister), "If I have to wait one more day I'm gonna LOSE MY BRAIN!!!" Sing it sister. I get it. So we pray for patience, and God gives us just enough to get through the next day. I just love the way this verse reminds us that these are truly "light and momentary troubles" and that there is a reason for them! I have had some not so light and not so momentary troubles in my life, and looking at this from that perspective helps me remember that this waiting thing really isn't all that bad. It also helps to know that God is working in this situation to achieve an eternal glory that FAR OUTWEIGHS the hard parts of this!!! Wonderful promises. And a great reminder to fix our eyes on Him.

There is one new thing to report I suppose...We have prayerfully and carefully decided on our VERY LAST fundraiser! I have to tell you, the only thing harder than the waiting in the adoption process is the fundraising. It is draining, difficult, humbling, stressful, and discouraging. We have been so blessed and encouraged by the outpouring of help from our family and friends, and thank God for how far he has brought us! But it is still daunting at times. We whole heartedly believe God brought us down this road and will provide what we need when we need it, but it is so hard to know what steps to take and if we are doing the right thing. For the past couple of months we took a break from "fundraising" and just prayed and added to the fund little by little as we could afford to.

But I have been feeling so incredibly stagnant in this waiting process lately, and felt God nudging me to get up and "do something" with the time we have left. We have been praying about what our last fundraiser should be and asking God to give us peace about it.

I will be announcing it in the next week or two, but I will tell you this won't just be a fundraiser! It will also create a special keepsake for our future child, and it will give every single person, near and far, who has prayed for us and donated financially and encouraged us along this path, the chance to give their own special message to our little one! I am really excited about it!

Thank you for continuing to pray with us. We would appreciate so much your prayers for our family as we continue to wait, prayers for the birth mama of this baby as she is facing some incredibly difficult decisions, and prayers for our baby, that God will lead us to him or her in His perfect way and timing.

Stay tuned...