Monday, March 16, 2015

Your Way....



Even when it is hard.
Even when it is scary and makes me vulnerable.
Even when I do not understand.
And yes, even when You ask me to wait.  Upon You.  Upon Your timing.

I never want to be out of Your will for my life and my family.

And so we wait...............clinging to You..........letting You breathe Your strength into our weak and weary bones..............

We say Yes.  Your Way, Lord.  Your Will.

Your Plan.

AMEN.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Holding His Hand. And Your Hand.

Gosh.  Where to begin......

I have been asked by many as of late............"Where Do You Get Your Faith?"

I don't have an exact answer.  Because I have many answers.

I was raised in church and watched my parents involvement.
Following their divorce, I watched my mom press hard into God during trials of single parenting.
I witnessed God's power in answered prayers.  Too many times to count.
We go to an amazing church with amazing pastors, and incredible peeps who create our precious church family.  All who love to make the invisible God visible.
Personal Experience.  I have seen God work pure wonders in my life.  Daily.  Big wonders and small wonders.  Miracles just the same.

I watched God's faithfulness in times when I could not see Him at work.  Moments when He seemed silent or far away.  I witnessed His agape love throughout our struggles with infertility as well as in His creation of our family with our precious boys.  And, I felt Him literally carry me through our failed adoption in the Fall.

Because I have seen His work, experienced His faithfulness, and tasted His unconditional love.............I can believe in Him now.  I can trust that He is working things together for our good ~ because we believe in Him.  I can stand firm in this belief because of who He is and who He has shown Himself to be.  Even when life doesn't make sense.

Remembering how beautifully God healed {and grew} my mama heart, with each and every obstacle encountered on our path to parenthood, I can press into Him with confidence.  Knowing that He will walk me through this healing as well.  Knowing that, though He may seem silent, He is ever-present. And His plan is always for our good.

I. KNOW. THIS.

David didn't have confidence to battle Goliath because of his past experiences as a soldier.  He had never been a soldier.  Instead, his confidence came from being a shepherd and witnessing God's power when He helped him save his flock from both a lion and a bear.  David witnessed God's power and faithfulness personally, thus, little David stood tall in his confidence in God.

And that is what I am trying to do.

I am human, and this strength to hold on to Him is divine.  It isn't me.  In my weakness I want to curl up in a ball and hide.  But when I keep my eyes on Him, I am assured.  The peace I feel about all of this doesn't come from within me.  It doesn't come from my desires.  It comes from God.  It is a gift from above.   As long as I keep my eyes on Him.



It is also important to note another important source of my faith.................that comes form all of you!

"It takes a village" they say.  And boy is that true!

I am overwhelmed in a very BLESSED way by all of the empathy, love, encouragement, belief and prayers so many of you have showered upon me, since sharing the news of the detour in our adoption of Baby Sis.

Just as I start to swim in my sorrow, fear and doubt (which I know is not of God!), someone reaches out to me!  Beautiful flowers.  Heartfelt cards, texts, FB comments, and emails.  Precious phone calls.  Shared stories of similar situations that resulted in God's GOODNESS!!!!!  So many of you have uplifted me/us already!

The timing is always so perfect!  As if God is making sure I do not let my sorrow-filled thoughts pull me into a pity party ~ or worse, fear and doubt.  Each one of you are part of God's army to battle with and for us!  THANK YOU for joining in this fight!!  No attempt of the enemy will ever thwart God's plan because GOD ALWAYS WINS!!!  ALWAYS!!!!

And we know that we know Baby Sis is His plan for us.  We may not know how, where or when, but we know who holds the controls of this roller coaster ride!

And so, we THANK YOU for standing strong with us, for riding out this crazy ride called adoption with us.  For believing Him with us.  For holding our hands through this adventure, even when the path gets rocky.

You have no idea how wonderfully you encourage me to ride this out.  To push through this rocky patch of our mountain climb to Sis.  I couldn't pick better people to journey with!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ROCKY ROAD (not the ice cream kind)

Ufdah.  I dread writing these words.  It will make this all seem that much more real.  I wish it was a simple discussion of a kind of ice cream.  But it's not.

Our Birth Mom has not yet delivered (as far as we know), but she has chosen to parent her baby girl.

UGH.

There.  I said it.  Wish saying it could ease the pain that is piercing my mama heart.  But it doesn't.  Nothing does.

Here we are again.  A-G-A-I-N!!!!!!

There were an escalade of events that gave us insight into this possibly happening, so we weren't quite as blind-sided as the first time............but the blow is still a devastating one.  The blow still threw us into a tailspin.  A whirlwind of hurt, frustration, confusion, hopelessness, fear and doubt.

The last four days have been spent knowing that birth mom was second-guessing her decision to place, and the silence in her avoidance of all calls or texts were leading us toward this conclusion.  It felt like we were miscarrying again, and we were just waiting for the doctor's confirmation.

NOT a fun place to be.

We received word from our agency yesterday afternoon, that indeed, birth mom made her decision.  She was no longer going to place her child for adoption.  Her pastor's wife has assured her help in getting on her feet.

Who can argue with that?!?  Who can deny birth mom that!?!?  She was placing because she could not do it alone.  She is no longer alone.  She has the support needed.  We cannot blame her for her change of heart.  Though it leaves our hearts completely crushed.

We truly only want what is best for this sweet mama and her child.  It appears we now know what that is.  And now we struggle with how to be happy for her and baby, while nurturing our aching hearts.  Our hearts that have a God-created void that only Baby Sis can fill.

Only Baby Sis.  
Not just any child, but the only child God has hand-picked for our family.

This turn of events has surely raised some questions for us to consider.  I will answer a few now, and will continue to answer others as they arise in our hearts and minds.

Why did this have to happen again?  We wish we had the answer.  We are asking God to speak to us through this.  To teach us anything He would have for us in this situation, on this journey.

We have such an amazing family right now!  Are we sure we are on the right path?  Are we sure these hurdles aren't a sign?  Jeff and I had a heart-to-heart talk about this, anticipating that this adoption may not going through.  We love, love, LOVE our boys and the amazing chemistry our family already has!!!!  And this new detour in Sis' adoption has  certainly rattled our confidence and hope.  Yet, when grappling with the idea of jumping off this adoption road, we cannot not deny the ill-at-ease feeling that accompanies such thoughts.  Nor can we deny the absolute divine peace that accompanies thoughts of staying the course.  It's a God thing.

The Rocky Roads often have the best views from the mountaintop!

Though weary, and fearful, we cannot deny feeling lead to remain on this path to our daughter.  We do not know what that will look like.  We cannot predict the timing.  We certainly struggle to imagine being able to love and trust another birth mom ~ though I had the same concerns last Fall, and God opened my heart to this women in amazing ways!  I know He will help my heart do it again.  Some day.  Some way.

We endured a lot of uphill battles on our journey to our boys, and the obstacles and extended waiting was beyond worth it!  Our boys are forever worth it!  We are assured that Sis will be too!

God's paths are the narrow ones.  He doesn't guarantee ease and removal of trials just because we believe in Him.  He does, however,  promise to never leave us.  But to always walk with us.  Leading the way when we need His guidance; carrying us when we cannot stand; and other times, skipping alongside of us holding our hand, laughing with us in the joys of life.

We choose to continue to hold His hand on this journey.  We feel we are walking blindly, too tired to figure it all out.  But that is exactly where He wants us to be.  Laying it all at His feet.

The love, support and encouragement we have received in the last twenty four hours, as we begin to share the news, is amazing!  We are astounded by the love that surrounds us!

Encouraging words such as these:

"I don't understand why this journey (adoption) is simple and easy for some and so difficult with twists and turns for others."

"You are not on the wrong path, it's just taking another unexpected turn.  God is with you all along the way.  You needed another detour to get to your baby girl.  That doesn't make it any easier today.  You have so much love in your heart for YOUR daughter.  Your daughter WILL come home!!! And she WILL be so worth every single tear and pain to get her home!"

"Wanted to encourage you to continue to hold on to hope and when you just don't have the strength let those of us who have walked this hard road to adoption hope for you.  He will be faithful."

I could go on and on with the beautiful words of encouragement that have touched us deeply.  This, mixed in with a whole lotta love and prayers has sustained us, and will continue to do so in the days to come.  We THANK YOU for so beautifully loving us, our family and our some day daughter-to-be.


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Friday, February 27, 2015

GUESS WHO IS FOUR!?!?

Make a Wish, Sweet Babe O' Mine!

We had such FUN celebrating Kaleab today!  I can hardly believe he is four!  The time flies by so quickly, and every new year brings with it new discoveries, new interests, new ways to have fun together, and new things to laugh about!  And a new-found depth of love for this boy!!  Just when I think I couldn't love him more!

He has grown so much this year!  Physically as well as emotionally and intellectually!  From knowing all of his letters and their sounds and knowing how to count to fifteen {recognizes consistently 1-10}..........to expanding his already vast vocabulary and learning how to rhyme words.
From playing with toys by acting out movies and storybooks...........to expanding those stories with his own imaginatory play.

From riding his strider bike to riding a big boy bike last Summer!  From playing with "little boy" toys to playing games like "Go Fish," "The Match Game," "Candy Land," "Gumball Grabber "and Toddler "Sequence!"  From watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates to acting as a "Puney Pirate" himself.  All of it!  I love every single minute of staying home with this boy!  {nope!  still don't miss practicing as a Physical Therapist!  My boys fill my days too beautifully to want to do anything else right now!}

Peanut continues to bring such love and light into our days and lives!  So amazed by all of the goodness this precious boy brings to our family!  My heart overflows.......

I often reflect upon the journey to our boys and remember sitting in Kaleab's nursery, rocking with empty arms, crying and praying him home.......and now I have the joy and privilege to love, nurture , giggle with and raise this sweet angel every single day.  BLOWS ME AWAY!!!!

Ka and I had a "THREE-YEAR-OLD INTERVIEW" in bed Tuesday night, his last night of being three.  Oh how I wish I would have recorded the interview!  It was priceless!  He hammed it up so well, like he was really getting interviewed!  I'm gonna see if I can get him to re-enact it for me for a keepsake!  {no luck with that yet}

Here are the answers to his questions I asked in the "interview."

FAVORITE COLOR:  "Blue!"
FAVORITE ANIMAL:  "Warthog"  {he's into Lion King these days, can you tell?  wink}
FAVORITE BREAKFAST:  "Pancakes"
FAVORITE DINNER:  "Bratwurst"   {LOL!}
FAVORITE GAMES TO PLAY:  "Gumball Grabber and Candyland. Oh!  I love to play Star Wars too!"
FAVORITE MOVIE:  "Planes Fire and Rescue"
FAVORITE SPORT:  "Soccer"
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?  "I don't wanna be a man, Mama!  I want to stay a big boy and play with you!"

As birthday boy, Ka got to choose the dinners for the week.  He chose Bratwurst, Jumbalya, Pancakes, Pizza and Chick-Fil-A!  Not bad!  I thought we were gonna be eating PB&Jelly and chicken nuggets all week.....they never even made the menu!  Thank Goodness!  Ha ha!

Sharing a few other photos from the day!  And will share more after his Birthday Party next week with his friends!


One present I did not wrap was waiting for him to wake up!
And of course we had to leave him a note on the easel! ;)


"I'm an artist!"  {check out his morning hair!}


Elf David arrived for a birthday visit!

Had to put a birthday candle in his egg bake!


I made my mini Star Wars fan a birthday cake!


We had a great mommy-son morning, then went to pee wee soccer, where this sweet boy became completely pooped!  All of the birthday excitement on top of soccer made him more than ready for a birthday nap!  He was out like a light!

Birthday presents were opened in shifts, much like we do at Christmastime, thus spreading the fun and good cheer all throughout the day!  Daddy came home mid morning to open some presents, and others were saved for when Big Brother came home after practice!

And birthday cake was saved for the evening when Daddy and Big Brother could be home to join in on the fun!






JOY exudes from this boy daily, but today was a special treat, watching him soak up turning FOUR!!!

HAPPY FOURTH BIRTHDAY, PEANUT!!!

LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK, SWEET SON!!!



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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BABY SIS IS COMING!!!

It is with great Awe, Excitement and Joy Overflowing, that we share our wonderful news!


OUR PRECIOUS DAUGHTER IS DUE MARCH 18th!!!

God really did save His BEST for our family!!!  His handprints are undeniably all over this beautiful match of Sis and our family!!!  He hand-picked this precious little girl and birth mom for us!!!

Details!?!?!

We have been connected with various agencies and lawyers through our consulting agency Christian Adoption Consultants.  On Monday, February 2, we were contacted by an adoption agency in Salt Lake City, UT.  They were asking if we would like to present our family profile to a situation that they felt was a good mutual fit for our family and birth mom.

We had previously turned down a number of other situations that just didn't seem to "fit" for us....but this situation was different.  Everything about it felt different ~ how well the details fit our hearts' desires, the "connection" I felt when reading birth mom's profile, the location of delivery, and most importantly the undeniable excitement and  hope that was stirred within both Jeff and me!

We of course said "YES, Please!" and began the challenge of awaiting birth mom's decision while trying to remain cautiously hopeful!  I didn't want to get my hopes up too high, but both Jeff and I knew everything about this situation made it feel so right!

Two days after presentation of the profiles, we were called and informed that birth mom had narrowed her decision down to two families, and we were one of them.  To help make her decision, birth mom wanted to speak to these two families {which showed us how much she really cared about making the right decision for her baby!}  Our caseworker shared that it was our family profile that really stood out to her and that she desired to speak to us first.  Which we did the very next day!  {right before leaving for Colorado to see the World Alpine Ski Championships with Jeff's family}

The conversation was WONDERFUL!!!  After 45 minutes of getting to know one another, and experiencing a divine mutual connection, birth mom told the caseworker, Lisa, who was on the conference call with us, that she no longer wanted to speak to the other family.  She liked US!!!  Jeff and I were floored!  We never dreamed she might make her decision that night!

This was a Thursday night.  Though we felt and shared her confidence in this match, we still had to wait for it to be official.  Birth mom's caseworker gave her time to process things, and called her Monday to see if she was ready to make the decision final.  That was a loooong three day wait!  Ufdah!  Good thing we were having so much fun with family at the Alpine World Championships to help pass the time away!  {GO, USA!}


We went skiing as a family on Monday ~ February 9th.....just one week after profiles were presented, though it felt much longer!  Sami and I took off to enjoy the wide, long runs of Beaver Creek while Jeff spent time teaching peanut how to ski the bigger bunny hills.  Kaleab even tried a mini race course!  {Go, Ka!}  Jeff's mom was watching them......and ringing the cow bell {from the ski championships} cheering on Ka!  He loved it!  He  even wanted me to ring the cow bell to cheer him on at pee wee soccer the day after our return home!  Too cute!

Mid ski run on SIMBA, with sweet Sami standing right beside me, I got the call telling us that we were the chosen family!  THIS SWEET BABY GIRL IS OURS!!!!!  The confirmation literally sent God chills throughout my entire body!   The very words I dared hope to hear were just spoken to me!

I hooted on the phone with our caseworker, and after the call, stood mid mountain, face to the heavens, arms open wide, giving out a big "WOOHOO!" to God!  Sami's radiant smile and giggle clearly shined this Big Brother's excitement!

{Though he definitely shared in my JOY, Sami may also have been seen checking out our surroundings to see if anyone around was watching his mama freak out  ~ in a good way!  Such a sweet boy!}  With all our excitement, I totally forgot to take our picture together as the first two to receive the amazing news!!!  BUMMER!!!

SHE. IS. OURS!!!
OUR BABY GIRL IS COMING HOME!!!  SOON!!!

I called Jeff to tell him {couldn't wait until we were going to ski together, and wanted to keep it from his mom so we could do the surprise I mention below}.  His mom, Jenni, snapped a pic of Jeff and Kaleab on the chair lift, having no idea that she just caught "the moment" when I shared the news with him on the phone! 


Jeff quickly joined us for some celebratory ski runs, while a tuckered-out Kaleab took a nap by the fireplace in the lodge with Jenni.  He has no idea of the news we just received.....yet......

I could only do two celebratory ski runs with Jeff and Sami before I was overcome with excitement and just HAD to stop skiing, go into the lodge, and call my parents with the incredible news that their GRANDAUGHTER was coming home SOON!!!!  {insert HUGE mama grin here}

My parents knew that we had presented and how wonderfully the call had gone, and were waiting with baited breath along with us!  OH, the giddy joy we shared when I called them!

I failed to get a pic of me on the phone or me and Sami when getting the call, but we did manage a family photo before departing the mountain!....even though we were looking right into the sun....i had to post this pic!

We kept it from Jenni on the ski hill, because I had wrapped two boxes of matches before we left home, in hopes that we would have reason to CELEBRATE with Jeff's family while on vacation.  {Get it......we hoped to be "matched" with baby sis....so I wrapped a box of matches!  Yes, I am one of those girls!  wink!}

His sister, Tia, had to head home before we received the call, so we weren't able to gift her a box.......but we were able to give the wrapped "clue" to his parents when we returned home from skiing.  It took them a while to figure out what it meant and what fun it was to watch them guess!  Jeff's dad is the one who finally got it!  Way to go Walt!


Our baby girl news was accompanied with a loud squeal from Jenni, huge smiles and tons of questions!  We purposely did not share with them that we had even presented, in hopes of being able to reveal a total surprise in person!  SURPRISE ACCOMPLISHED!  What fun!

OOOHHHHHH!........How I wish I would have taken a video when we told Kaleab that Baby Sis was coming home in March {had to explain that March comes after February}!!  Oh the light that radiated from his entire precious face!  And the sweet dance his eyes performed with the news!  The cheering and clapping!  And that sweet sweet voice of his, saying, "Yeah!  Jesus answered our prayers!"  A moment I will never ever forget!

So what now?........

We are choosing to LOVE BIG again!  We do not regret doing so the first time, and we know that we will not regret it this time, either!  Regardless of the outcome.

It's so hard to explain, but in looking back, we realize that both Jeff and I had more doubt with our first match {seeing it more clearly in hindsight, of course} than we realized.

The peace and confidence this time makes it all feel so incredibly different.  So incredibly right!

We are IN LOVE with this baby girl that we have yet to meet {just as parents fall in love while carrying their little ones biologically}!!  We don't have to see her to feel the connection that only God can create!

And birth mom????.......................

Oh the lack of words to describe her!  Amazing.  Loving.  Caring.  Selfless.  Incredible.  Thoughtful.  Funny.  Friendly.  Determined.  Courageous.  Brave.

We are better people, Jeff and I, just having had the privilege to be a part of this woman's life already in this short time.  {we have had three phone calls with her}

I am excited to share the story of our healing that brought us to this wonderful place, but will save that for another post.

For now, we are BASKING in the glory of this story!  We are soaking in God's faithfulness and love for our family!  We are praising Him for saving His very BEST for us!  We are AWED by the wonders of His work!

And we are dreaming of our precious Baby Girl.  Believing she will forever be in our arms within the next few weeks!

AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!   Did I really just say that!?!?  "She will be in our arms in the next few weeks".......!?!?!?!?!?  Abundant blessings, indeed!

PLEASE join us in praying over our sweet Baby Girl as well as her sweet birth mom, "G."

And folks.....I seriously cannot THANK each and every one of you enough for your encouragement, prayers and never-failing belief in the promise we "heard" from above!  God used so many of you to remind me of His faithfulness; to encourage me to believe when I couldn't see what He was up to; to walk blindly in my faith!

Never once did we feel God shutting the door on our adoption.  Instead, we always felt Him steering us, guiding us and directing our path to her.

YOU have walked this path with me, making the dark days lighter, and now making the celebratory days that much more beautiful!

LOVE to each of you, dear friends and family!

And LOVE to You, sweet Baby Sis and "G!"


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