eeeekkkkk!!!

adoption announcement - side by side

Oh my heart!!!

Just over a week ago, I got a life-changing call from the Match Coordinator at our adoption agency. “We presented your profile to (the birth-mom) and she chose you!”

I almost didn’t believe her at first and kept asking questions like “Are you sure?”, “So this is IT? Like really IT?”. The last birth-mom that chose us was  through a private connection and not through our agency so I wasn’t sure how this process worked. “Is the birth-mom sure that she wants to go through with this?”

We had chosen to present our profile to a couple of other birth-moms through our agency in the last couple months but never heard anything back from each one so this call was a huge surprise. I remember looking at this particular birth-mom’s info and we knew that this one was a special one. We didn’t get a lot of info but we do know that she is 22 years old and has had two other babies, neither which are in her care. We knew we wanted to present to this birth-mom as soon as we read about her.

You guys, SHE CHOSE US!!!!

That is still crazy to me! There has to be such weight to that. To choosing a forever family to raise your child. Wow! What an incredible honor for someone to choose us!

I sat on that phone call with the Match Coordinator and I remember feeling like I wanted to be so excited, but at the same time, an equal amount of fear kept creeping in. What if? What if she changes her mind? What if this doesn’t work out….again?

I got off of the phone and just felt so torn until I spent time praying and here is what I realized:  I do NOT want to be crippled by fear! THIS is our time of preparation, our ‘pregnancy’ and I do not want to miss any part of the joy in it because I’m afraid! So I made a choice right then and there, that I would walk forward in confidence that this is the baby that God has planned for us until I hear anything different!

Could she change her mind? Sure! In the state of Arizona, birth moms have up to 72 hours after the baby is born to change their mind and take the baby back. It’s a risk, yes, but it’s a risk that we are jumping into with our whole hearts so that we don’t miss one bit of it.

And here is the safety net….if she does change her mind, it will hurt like hell, again, BUT GOD. The same God who held us as we grieved the loss of the twins and healed our aching hearts, would do the same thing again and we would make it through with deeper intimacy with Jesus.

All of that to say, we are beyond excited to announce that WE ARE HAVING A BABY BOY, DUE JUNE 2ND!!!!

More details to come, but for now, we are celebrating hard core over here!

xoxo

(in)fertility update

us - blog

I just wanted to pop in here and give a little update on our quest to get pregnant! For those new to our story, I will give a little background (this will just be the facts….I could write a novel on the emotional and spiritual journey through all this!) Caleb and I have been married for 4.5 years. When we got married, I starting charting my cycle to avoid pregnancy but then after about 6 months, we decided to stop preventing because we didn’t actually mind if we did get pregnant! About 6 months later was about the time when the Lord completely changed my heart about adoption and we started that journey in January, 2013. (That is again, another novel!)

Adoption was our first choice of how we wanted to have kids but we have always wanted biological kiddos as well. So when a year of “not preventing” passed and we hadn’t got pregnant, I wasn’t too concerned because we were in the middle of our adoption, and at the time, that was pretty exciting!

Well, here we are in 2016, and 4 years has passed. I’m not sure where the line is drawn between the terms “not preventing” and “trying” but we have lived both of those out in the past 4 years! About 2 years ago, we started to get pretty concerned as to why I wasn’t getting pregnant. A few friends had referred a specific infertility doctor to us so we made our first appointment.

I’m pretty sure I cried through most of that first appointment. It just sucks. It sucks to have to be there. It sucks to even utter the word “infertile”. Like, who gets to decide that? I couldn’t believe that I was sitting in that office.

Our doctor explained the series of steps that we would take. Testing. Probing. Hoping. Planning. More testing. He talked about the magical age of 35 and how we need to do as much as we can to get pregnant before I turn 35 because “your chances of getting pregnant drop off a table after that birthday”. I remember sitting there at 32 years old thinking that I had so much time.

Now I sit here, almost 35 (in 5 months) in shock at how fast the last 2.5 years went. It just makes me giggle at how much life planning I do (and keep doing)! If life had gone according to my original plan of what I wanted in my early 20’s, I would have 9 kids by now! That was my hope for so long. I wanted a family of 11! I am so small and my plans are just so silly and I’m grateful for that because I serve a HUGE God who is in full control….and that is a great thing.

Here is the truth….1 in 7 women deal with “infertility”. That’s A LOT! But we rarely talk about it. I’m not sure why because I know that I need community and people who ‘get it’. Maybe we don’t know how to talk about it. Maybe it’s just too painful to hear coming out of our own mouths. Maybe saying it out-loud makes it so much more real when all we really want is for it to disappear. I’m not sure what it is for each person battling it, but I’m here, thick in the battle, ready to share!

So now for the update on our quest to get pregnant:  First, (about 1.5 years ago), I got my fallopian tubes checked for blockages. That came out clear. Then I had to get a blood test…clear. Next, Caleb had to get checked for healthy swimmers….clear.

We are now to the last step before we decide on big words like “IVF”. I am currently on Chlomid, a drug that helps women to ovulate and sometimes drop multiple eggs. We started it in January and it didn’t work. We can do this up to 6 rounds and that is really all the body can take.

So here’s to round 2! We are really hoping and praying that we get pregnant within this next 5 months so that we don’t even have to think about the next steps. We would love for you to join us in prayer for that specifically.

To be honest, I would be shocked if we got a positive test. After 4 years of negative tests, it just seems impossible, but I know that God loves to do preposterous things that we can’t even imagine!

***update from just a couple hours after this post was originally written – I forgot to mention that we have also been going down a naturopathic route for fertility. If you know me, you know that when it comes to health, I prefer the most natural methods possible, and this is no different with our fertility issues. I have been seeing a great naturopathic doctor for a few months and have seen great improvements with my hormone levels and adrenals. Next step will probably be oils and acupuncture. At this point, we are trying both Western and natural routes to see which works first!

 

bath - blog
“The Shepherd laughed too. ‘I love doing preposterous things,’ he replied. ‘Why, I don’t know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection.'”

up-cycling ugly ornaments

Once upon a time, I bought some really ugly ornaments. Let’s just say that my style and taste have changed in the past few years and so this year, it was time for a new look. However, I couldn’t fathom going out and spending a bunch of money on all new ornaments so I came up with a quick plan to up-cycle our old ornaments on a dime!

ornaments before
This is what I was working with. (I went through a phase where all of my ornaments were hot pink, purple and a bright blue!)

I had some yarn remnants on hand (tip:  ALWAYS keep any amount of leftover yarn that you have! It’s great for gift wrap instead of ribbon, tag ties, etc.) so I got them out and decided on a color scheme based on what I had. I decided to go for more natural, softer tones.

 

I plugged in my hot glue gun, and then just started wrapping, and adding little spots of glue every few times around to make sure that it was secure. There wasn’t much strategy to this because I wanted each ornament to look like a hanging ball of yarn on the tree so I just wrapped and wrapped!

IMG_4449
The finished product!

Each one came out so cute and was the perfect addition to our first ever real tree! The best part is that I didn’t spend a dime!

ornaments after

Another little diy, simple and cost friendly Christmas décor tip:  Use the branches that you cut off from the bottom of your tree to decorate the rest of your house! I got out all different vases and containers and filled them with the loose branches. It’s adds such warmth to your home and it’s FREE!

I hope that these tips and ideas were helpful! So as you put away your ornaments after Christmas this season, don’t throw away any of the old ones that you don’t like anymore…up-cycle them for a whole new look!

Merry Christmas!!

saying goodbye to “our” twins

I wish that each of you reading this could be sitting on my couch with me, curled up with some coffee because that would make this a whole lot more comfortable!

The cool thing is, I actually feel completely comfortable talking about this now because The Lord has done tremendous healing in my heart since it all happened, but typing it out on a document can feel pretty sterile to be honest with you. But, this blog not only serves as a great way of communicating our story with those that care for us, but it also is a memoir for our family to hopefully always have to look back on and see God’s story played out in our little lives. So here we go….

A couple months ago, we were buzzing around like crazy getting ready for “our” twins to arrive. Since we announced that we were getting the twins, we were absolutely showered with hand-me-downs and gifts from so many generous people and in the meantime, we were getting to build a relationship with our birth mom. We adore her. It was amazing to me how quickly she had a place in our hearts and felt like part of our family. We were excited about the possibility of an open adoption with her, if she decided that was what she wanted. However, after our first doctor’s visit with her, where we got to hear the two little heartbeats, our birth mom told us that she was having a tough time with the whole situation. She said that she wasn’t changing her mind but asked for space.

That was a rough text to receive and fear and panic washed over me as I read it over and over again. I was so worried that she was going to change her mind and that these babies wouldn’t be ours anymore. That very morning I remember praying and asking the Lord to refine me more before I became a mommy. Little did I know how quickly he would answer!

I was a hot mess for a few days and had to continually hand the fear I was feeling over the The Lord because I just couldn’t handle it on my own. I wanted to trust her (our birth mom) when she said that she wasn’t changing her mind. I wanted to trust what I saw in her situation when it looked impossible for her to keep these twins. I wanted to trust God that He had it all under control with my best in mind but it was a struggle!

There were about 2 weeks where we didn’t do much with the adoption or for the twins. We reached out to our birth mom a few times with no response and each time, I reverted back to fear and just stood still.

But then there was one weekend where I really felt that God was telling me to prepare, to get ready for these babies. Along with that, came a sense of urgency to get their room ready (which I hadn’t done anything to!).

We started immediately and spent the next 2 weeks decorating their sweet little room and washing and organizing all of their clothes and baby items. I was in my happy place because I got to get crafty and as I sewed, glued and designed, I would just pray for “our” twins and imagine them in our little red house.

nursery
(sorry for the horrible quality in the pic ….. iPhone)

We had been debating over names for a few weeks but in this time of preparation, their names became clear to us. Once we named them, our prayers became more specific for each of them and their futures.

This season of preparation was such a sweet one. Fear had left and excitement jumped in.

But then….

This one particular morning I woke up and was finally able to emotionally hand the twins over to the Lord and really let go of control. (I didn’t really have any anyway, but I tried to)! I was in a constant internal battle, trying to release control and this one morning, I was finally able to.

That same morning, I found out from our lawyer that we needed some information from the birth mom and birth dad and that I had to be the one to obtain it. So I texted the birth mom and for the first time in a month, she responded. But her response sent me to the floor.

“We have decided to keep the babies…..”.

She continued on to explain that her situation had changed and therefore, they were going to keep them.

Here is the thing, I have hit the floor before. I have spent time on the floor writhing in pain, unable to control my emotions, body or thoughts and THAT is the very place I found true intimacy with Jesus. I grew up knowing who Jesus was but it wasn’t until I was on the floor, alone, at 25 years old that I first really met Him and felt Him. And because of His closeness in my life, from that very place years ago, the floor is actually a sweet place of rest for me.

I have prayed over and over again in the last 9 years to be able experience that same intimacy without the grief that brought me there and the truth is, I always get in my own way. So as I laid in the middle of the floor in my living room, although I was overcome with sadness and grief, I felt peace because there He was, my Father, holding me.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the grief any less, I just wasn’t alone in it. Caleb came home from work soon after that and we just held each other as we tried to comprehend what this meant for our family.

I got to see the birth mom the following day and that helped me, and I think her too, so much. I still love her. I still love those twins because I’m invested in them. But I knew I had to fully let them go.

It’s been just over a month since we lost “our” twins. It has been so interesting to see how Caleb and I both grieve this so differently but I am getting to know my husband on an even deeper level through it and I’m so grateful for that. God is completely healing our hearts and we finally got to the point recently where we don’t think about the twins every day and mourn them which feels like a big step. God is the ultimate healer.

So what’s next for us and our adoption?

Just last week we contacted our agency again and told them that we are available to meet new birth moms. We also are still praying that we get pregnant and are working through that at the same time since my clock is ticking!

For now, the baby room is still there, all decorated and ready for when the time is right. (I had so much fun creating it all so I will be doing some future posts for some of the DIY projects that we did in there.)

Thank you so, so much for all of the love, prayers and support. We have been once again, overwhelmed by it all.

1 peter

lessons from a white couch

There I was, vacuuming our white couch, again.

white couch
isn’t this adorable of a few of our nieces and nephews?! Check out little Rocky peeking up at the bottom of the pic!

Don’t get me wrong, I love our white couch and how it looks in our little house. God has literally answered prayers on this very couch. This is the couch that we sat on with our birth mom when she told us that she chose us to be the parents to her babies. On this couch we have laughed (hard) with dear friends of ours and cried with others. This is a place of comfort and gathering in our home. We love it.

Trust me, I have actually heard many opinions from many people about how crazy we are to have a white couch with a black dog and now twins coming. And this day, as I was reluctantly cleaning it yet again, I agreed with each of them for the first time. Until…..

it occurred to me, vacuum still in hand, that this white couch, and the fact that I have to clean it ALL THE TIME, is actually a blessing! (what?!) Before you think that I’ve totally lost it, let me explain.

We all have dirty couches! Whether we have pets, kids, or even just us cuddling and kicking our feet up, we’ve got junk. The difference with my white couch is that it’s visible! And because the junk is visible, I address it and take care of it.

As I realized this, it started to freak me out how little I cleaned our last couch! I would vacuum it, but only once a month or so or when we had special company coming over and yet, we had the same amount of junk on it,  it was hidden, and therefore ignored! Yuck right?! (Before you run off to clean your own couch, stick with me for the best part.)

Isn’t this the same in our own life? If we keep all of the junk, tough stuff, yucky parts of who we are in our flesh hidden, then we don’t have the opportunity to deal with it, or better yet, let God deal with it. But, if we become like white couches, revealing to our owner (God), ALL of us, even the deepest parts that are attached to guilt and shame, then, he can clean us up!

The amazing thing is that He is not afraid or appalled by our worst stuff. He is the master cleaner and restorer!

So who’s with me? Who is going to choose today to allow him into those deep, hairy, dirty crevices and let Him do His magic?

Note: IF you are thinking about purchasing a white couch, I do highly recommend this one! It is the Ektorp sofa from Ikea. It is inexpensive (for a couch!), comfortable, and the white is actually a washable cover so you can remove the covers from each cushion, and the entire base of the couch, and just throw it in your washing machine! I do vacuum it for weekly (sometimes daily) maintenance, and then wash it only when needed.

2nd note:  Look on Craigslist! We purchased this one for $300 (normally $1000) AND we are now friends with the sweet lady who sold it to us!

couch

overwhelmed

so grateful

Well, I have been in tears multiple times today.

God is SO good y’all!!! (p.s. you should know that I only ever say ‘y’all’ when writing, never in person…but sometimes, it just seems necessary when I write!) Let me tell you what has happened in just the past 24(ish) hours:

  • I have been getting emails and FB messages from friends (and friends-of-friends) with incredible, thought out, generous advice. Messages that took some serious time and effort to send to me.
  • A lady that I have never officially met from my neighborhood gave me some hand-me-downs.
  • The daughter of a great friend of mine gave me some of her hand-me-downs
  • My bff bought us the double stroller we registered for.
  • A friend gave me a hand-me-down crib just in case I needed one
  • and then a friend, who I haven’t seen in years, got us the 2 (yes, you read that right!…2!) cribs that we registered for.
  • another dear friend offered adorable boy sheets
  • and “our angel” (as I have referred to her before as) has continued donating to our adoption fund faithfully through all of the highs and lows for the last 2 years (and I still have never met her!)
  • all of this after last week when my sister-in-law filled our living room with boy hand-me-downs and we received gifts from two of our favorite couples!                                                                                                                          (note that I don’t mean “hand-me-downs” with any negative connotation because I’m ALL about them!)

WOW!!! Can you see why I am in tears?! The only word I can think of to describe the way I’m feeling is overwhelmed. God is so good and he is working through all of these people to take care of our family. We are so undeserving and so incredibly grateful.

I have said this before but this is teaching me to be a better giver. I want to live with hands wide open ready to give whenever Jesus whispers, go! I have a desire like never before to live generously without worry of holding onto what is “mine” because it’s ALL God’s! I have nothing without Him!

Our twins are His. I’m not sure why He chose us to raise them but I am humbled and honored at the weight of that responsibility.

So thank you friends! Thank you for your love, support, prayers and generosity! God is taking care of our every need!

 

Matthew 6:25-33

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

defining “simple living”

For the past 2 years, the Lord has been whispering the word “simplify” in my ear, so much that I can’t ignore it. We de-cluttered, sold things, gave other things away, and then we went to Uganda. For 5 months, we lived off of the 14 items of clothing that we took with us, ate the same thing every week, and had few electronics, and we found it to be so freeing. Before we came home, we talked a lot about how we would want life to look back in the U.S. We knew that we wanted to live our day to day lives even more simply than before and talked about specific ways that we would do that.

I dreamed of an Anthropologie inspired home with white walls and neutral tones. Baskets, reclaimed wood, and live plants would take care of the décor in our little home and we would have space and room to breathe because there would be no clutter. Anything that would need to be added to our home would be either homemade or purchased second-hand.

To me, this picture that I had sketched in my head was a breath of fresh air.

But then, we moved into our little red house and started unpacking. It was like Christmas in June seeing all of our belongings that had been waiting for us for 6 months in storage while we were out of the country. Here is the thing that I quickly realized as I looked through everything we own… I like color! I love lime green, teal and mustard yellow. I’m drawn to the color mint and a deep magenta makes my heart smile. I love color.

So I had a choice. Get rid of all of our current, colorful textiles and décor in order to fit this natural motif that I had been dreaming of, or, just roll with what I’ve got! And friends, we are rolling! Now don’t get me wrong, I still am so inspired by people’s homes that are raw and muted but ours is just not turning out that way.

photo

My new path to simplicity is filled with much more grace and isn’t as rigid as where I was before. I’m learning. I’m learning that the simplicity that the Lord is calling me to isn’t defined by lack of color; in fact, He is the one who created me to love these bright colors! The simple life that He is leading me toward is more of a compilation of small, seemingly insignificant, daily decisions.

  • It is the decision to be content with what I have instead of buying new.
  • It is the laying the to-do list aside when there is an opportunity to connect with a friend.
  • It is the choice to get rid of things that are taking up space but aren’t being used.
  • It is trusting that He is going to take care of me, even if I don’t have 3 jobs!
  • It is taking a moment to breathe and process before responding.
  • It is letting things go.
  • It is living in gratitude.
  • It is living below my means.
  • It is taking a day of rest.
  • It is not grabbing everything that I love from a store.
  • It is inviting people into my home, no matter if it’s cleaned up or a mess.
  • It is taking the time to stop what I’m doing and giving Caleb long, drawn out hugs.
  • It is cleaning out my closet (someday!).
  • It is making time with Jesus my first priority every morning.
  • It is eating real, unprocessed food.
  • It is being ok with just enough, and not an abundance.
  • It is (much) less time on social media.
  • It is living on less to have more time.
  • It is relaxing at home instead of always needing to be entertained.
  • It is eating to live, not living to eat.
  • It is dropping perfection and accepting the real me.
  • It is forgiving.
  • It is knowing my limits and not trying to be superwoman.
  • It is choosing joy.

This is my list that has unfolded in front of me. It may be different for everyone, I’m not sure, but I’m learning more each day as the Lord reveals it to me. I fail….a lot, but there is grace…..grace and COLOR!