Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Meeting

November is National Adoption Month. Obviously, this is something I hope to promote, as adoption is near and dear to my heart.


And, ironically, it "just so happens" to fall during the same month that we will be visiting Lydia's birthmother, affectionately known in our home as "Mama Heather".

This will be the first time we've seen her since the day she was discharged in the hospital and she left Lydia in our arms. Granted, we have talked on the phone several times since then, and we've sent a good amount of pictures and even a photo book to her residence in the past few months, but it's not the same as meeting face to face. The last time she saw Lydia was when she was either 1 or 2 weeks old...I can't remember which, since it was with Lydia's Bridge Care mother and we weren't present.

Am I nervous? Heck, yes! And honestly, I'm having a lot of mixed feelings about the whole thing. Part of me hopes and prays that Lydia won't cry when Heather holds her (as she's begun to show a little bit more of that "stranger anxiety" lately), and yet a part of me almost wants her to cry...so I feel reassured of my role as her Mother. It's a mix of emotions, and though I feel calm about the meeting, I do find my overactive imagination running away on me sometimes.

As of now, the plan is to meet Heather at a McDonalds near her place of residence at 12:30 on Satrday, and chat and hang out for a while. If it's nice out, maybe we'll visit a park, but otherwise we'll just be visiting together....and hopefully Lydia will be in good spirits. :)

Dear friends, would you please pray? Pray for peace for my anxious mother's heart, and peace for Heather's as well. Pray that Lydia will be in a good mood!! :) Pray that conversation would flow smoothly, and that seeing Lydia in our family would bring healing to Heather's heart, and a joy for her future. Pray that we'd have an opportunity to share the Gospel. These are just a few of the things on my heart.

As always, we are indebted to you all for lifting us up to the throne of grace!! I will definitely post about how the meeting goes! :) Thanks!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finalization!!!!!

I had this post all typed up last week, but then my computer ate it. Kind of like your dog eats your homework...except this is for real!! :) So...here's the info on how our adoption finalization day went!!

Finalization was Friday, Sept. 30th at 10 am. My parents and sister, made a trip up to join us for the momentous occasion, and Joe's parents, sister and her 3 boys accompanied us as well!! First we got ourselves spiffed up, and then took a photo of the girls...

Then we all made our way to our local county courthouse, where our social worker, Laura, and the Honorable Judge James Duvall awaited us. Aside from the fact that Liddy pooped on our way to the courthouse, and we had to do a quick diaper change on the floor of the bathroom, we arrived with 10 minutes to spare (thankfully)!

Laura walked us into the courtroom, and told us to sit up at the defendant's table. She and the rest of our family sat out in the courtroom watching area. As we waited, Liddy enjoyed the echoing sound of her hands slapping the table, which I quickly shushed once Judge Duvall entered.

Waitin' for the Judge...

He greeted us and stated the formalities of our court precedings, and then asked which one of us was going to be taking the stand to testify. He told us we could arm-wrestle for it...hehe...but we had already decided that Joe would be the one. So Joe, lookin' all handsome and spiffy, took the stand, and Judge Duvall proceeded to ask him a few questions. Things like how long we'd been married, if we owned our house, how long Lydia had been living with us, where we both work, and if he understood that we will be taking responsibility for Lydia as her parents for the rest of her life. Then Judge Duvall asked me if I agreed with all his answers, and I nodded.

There were a few more moments of the judge reviewing our request (things like whether the termination of parental rights had been finished and about her name change), and confirming things with Laura. Then he looked at us both and said, "There are a lot of bad things that happen in this courtroom. This is one of the few happy occasions." and then he went on to say, "I would like to be the first to welcome Lydia Joy Kathleen Roemer....I think that calls for a round of applause!" I gulped back tears, grinned and joined in the applause. And I'm pretty sure that the grandma's and auntie were crying too... :)

Once everything was finished, we asked if we could take some pictures with Judge Duvall, as well as with Laura. And they were happy to oblige! :)

Us with Judge Duvall. Liddy looks very underwhelmed... :)
 
Us with Laura!!

Lots of smiles...and check out Liddy's sneakers! :)

After finalizing (yay!) we went down the hall to order her birth certificate, which went smoothly (except for the moment of panic when I realized I didn't have any checks in my checkbook! Eek!! Thankfully, I found a starter check in the back of my checkbook...though I just found out that they will not accept it, so I have to send another. But still. Minor problem. ). And then we all went to one of our favorite places, Buena Vista Park! It has a gorgeous view of the Mississippi, and we'd never showed it to my family before, so we thought it would be a beautiful spot for a few family pics.
We attempted to get these 2 five-months-apart-cousins to look happy,
but they would have none of it.


The Roemers...family of three!! :) :) :)

Haha...I know Joe looks silly, but I couldn't resist showing how much Liddy
loved her high tops!! :)

Squishy kisses!!!!!!


Weber-Roemer family

Roemer family!!
And that sums up our Finalization day!! Woohoo!! Hopefully posts will be coming more frequently in the future! :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Seven and Eight

Yes, yes, I know that Lydia turned 8 months (how is that even POSSIBLE?!?!?) this weekend, and I STILL haven't posted any of her recent milestones!

Well. Here it goes! :)

In the past month and a half, Liddy has really increased the different types of foods she's tried, as well as her ability to be active! The girl is CRAWLING now. Unbelievable!! A whole new world has opened up to her....and she's LOVING it! Unfortunately, this also means that she has to learn what the word "no" means. We're working on it.... ;)

This is the closest thing to her crawling that I've captured on film! :)
I didn't think that Liddy had lost any of her chubbiness in her cheeks until I was looking back at pictures from when she was 4 and 5 months old recently. And she definitely has! I think with all her crawling and endless energy, she's burning off the chubbiness! So sad.... :(

Lydia sort of understands playing peek-a-boo now, and loves to pull the blanket off of her head when you toss it on top of her. She also has mastered kneeling in her crib, and the first thing I see in the morning these days is her little downy head peeking up at me over the crib rail! Ha! :)

Also, she sucks her thumb ALL the time now. I'm hoping she outgrows it eventually so we don't have to teach her that you can't suck your thumb for your whole life! But for now, it's fine. And I must say, she looks ADORABLE with that little thumb in her mouth! :)

See what I mean??
A few days ago, Liddy even pulled herself up to a STANDING position using our small chest where we store our remotes and the coffee table. I was absolutely stunned. I thought it was a fluke, until I saw her do it several more times today!! YIKES!

As well, she had her 6 month pictures taken (though now it's practically time to schedule her 9 month pictures!!) by my wonderful SIL Melissa Laska at MEL Photography. I'll share a few of my favorites from that session, as well as a few other random smiling ones. Enjoy!! :)
 
Smirk!

My lil' Sweet Pea

In awe :)


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Officially Official!

I am pleased to announce that.......*drum roll please*........on September 30th, we have Lydia's adoption finalization in court!! YAY!!

What this means, essentially, is that her name will officially be changed to Lydia Joy Kathleen Roemer, we will receive a birth certificate with her adopted name on it, and everything will officially be official!!! We are THRILLED to pieces! :) This is our last step in our adoption journey with Lydia, and we look forward to not having to fill out any more forms or have any more social worker visits (though we love Laura!! :) ) or have her referred to by her birth name at the clinic!! Hallelujah!!

Guess it's time to send off our last (FINALLY! Uffda!) adoption payment today! Yippee!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Half a Year

This Sunday, my baby turns 6 months old!! How can this be possible? I feel like it was just yesterday that we saw her downy little head peeking out from the hospital blanket as she was placed in our arms. How time flies...

The first time we saw our little girl
I remember when...

....Liddy's whole body would scrunch up when you'd pick her up from her papasan chair...

Here's her scrunched up newborn look! This was the day after we brought her home.

....She still fit into her moses basket...
....We still had the head guard attached to her car seat...

I can't believe how bald she looks here! :)

....Lydia would fall asleep on my shoulder before I even realized she was tired...
....Her vocabulary consisted of soft coo's and hunger cries (she's definitely figured out how to be loud now!)...

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It's crazy the ways that Lydia is growing and changing! Here are some of the things she's up to these days:
  • Lydia can roll over! Mainly from her back to her tummy, though we have caught her going from front to back a handful of times. (Unfortunately, this new-found skill means that she wakes herself up often from naps or in the middle of the night from rolling in her sleep! :P)
  • We started cereal for the first time on July 4th and haven't looked back since. She now eats it for breakfast and lunch and does a pretty good job of keeping it all in her mouth! :)

First time eating cereal!!

Liddy likes to play with toys in her high chair!
  • Lydia loves her Baby Einstein activity center (she can jump in it and play with toys!) as well as her Jenny jump up. She loves to stand and watch Quincy walk around!

Such a happy girl!
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  • Standing tall!
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  • Speaking of Quincy, I don't think he's ever had such a #1 fan! He is a constant source of entertainment for our Ditty, and she loves to grab his fur and tries to put his nose in her mouth if he's close enough! (Gross!)
  • Her hair is really starting to thicken up. I'm sure it won't be long before she's got long raven locks! :)
  • Our "quiet" little girl has definitely found her voice! She loves to blow raspberries (constantly!!) and on certain days loves to squeal and "growl" just to hear her own voice. :) She's also developed what Joe and I refer to as her complaining, where she does a low-pitched vowel sound with furrowed eyebrows....makes us laugh every time!!
Peeking out from the cute sun hat her Gamma gave her!

 
We're amazed daily at the gift of joy we have in Liddy, and we love watching her learn and grow!!
 

Our precious gift!







Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Ministry of Being a Mommy

Yes. I realize I haven't posted since May. But....what can I say? I'm a busy mom now! :)

Anywho.

The pastor's wife from my church back home shared this link recently, and it really resonated with me in my new role as "Mommy". It's easy to lose sight of what's important when you're all caught up in doing the dishes, keeping up with the laundry, and figuring out what's for dinner. :)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4 Months!

Today my baby turns 4 months old. Is it possible that she's really this old already? One third of the way to being a year old?!?! That's just pure craziness!! Lydia will now have been home with us for as long as she was away from us in Bridge Care! It's kind of an exciting thought for me :)

Anywho....lately Liddy has been wanting to be in a sitting position more often, and she's really starting to be able to hold herself up in her Bumbo chair and reach for toys dangling in front of her! She loves to have her feet massaged with Baby Magic lotion, and is really beginning to follow us throughout the room with her eyes! She definitely seems to notice when we come and go and responds to our voices when we're in groups of people.

I just love her so much. :)

Here are some of her 3 month pictures as promised...though they're now a month old...but better late than never, right? Enjoy!!

(All pictures courtesy of MEL photography)

Doesn't her smile just melt your heart?? :)

"I am SUCH a diva..." :)



Pooped.

This is exhausting...but I guess I'll *try* to smile...

The orange blanket is a special prayer blanket made from my good friend Kelli!

...Beautiful...

Exhausted!

Thank you so much, Melissa for taking all the gorgeous pics! You rock!! :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day

I want to thank all my dear friends and family members that wished me a happy Mother's day yesterday - it was very special!! We had a busy day, celebrating Mother's Day at church, then celebrating Joe's Grandma's 83rd birthday, and then celebrating my MIL's birthday in the late afternoon/evening! Lots of celebrating. :)

When I woke up yesterday morning, I immediately thought of how this would be my first Mother's Day with a child in my arms. The last 2 years Joe has done something special for me on Mother's Day, honoring my less recognized role as Mother to the child we lost by miscarriage, and this year was no different. Miscarriages are a strange thing...even though I have no face to put to the baby I loved fiercely for a few weeks, she is still on my mind often. While I was in the shower, I wondered if Joe would just do something "from Lydia" or if he would include Hopie too....and all I have to say is that I have married a very wonderful man. :)

As I ate breakfast (eggs on toast which he made for me - yum!), Joe handed me a card and a vase with 3 flowers in it, a dandelion, a purple flower and a reddish tulip. He told me the dandelion was from Quincy (since he helped it grow ;) ), the purple flower was from Lydia (due to Lydia's character in the Bible), and the tulip was from Hopie. Joe said that the tulip had been broken off it's stem somehow, and was laying on the ground in our yard. It reminded him of Hopie, and he felt like it's life needed to have value, hence it's place in my boquet. It was such a simple and sweet gesture, but it brought tears to my eyes as I ached for Hopie and rejoiced over Lydia being with us.

The rest of the day was busy, but I cherished every moment with my daughter, soaking in her smiles and relishing the fact that I now have a child to celebrate Mother's Day with! Unfortunately, I completely forgot to take pictures of Liddy and I together, so I don't have any pictures to share....but...because I haven't posted pictures on here in eons...I will share a sneak peek at one of Lydia's 3 month pictures, taken recently by my SIL at MEL Photography (if only she had a website!! *hint*hint* ;) ). More will be coming soon!!

My little Liddy Bird!!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

For the past 4-ish years, Mother's Day has been something that pangs my heart. It only reminded me of what I didn't have, and the loss of my miscarriage 2 years ago.

This year will be different - praise God!

I am looking forward to celebrating Sunday by holding my precious daughter in my arms, kissing her cheeks and enjoying the smell of her skin. I've already told Joe I don't need any gifts -- just holding my Liddy is enough!

And though this Mother's Day will be a time of joyous celebration for us...I can't help but think of Heather.

Last week I created a special mother's day card for her on Shutterfly, using recent pictures of Lydia and writing a little note that was "from Lydia". We included a short greeting as well, thanking her for the gift she's given us and admiring her for her strength, once again.

I had always planned to honor my child's biological mom on Mother's Day, I just never knew how weird it would feel. It definitely wasn't a negative feeling, just kind of surreal. I struggled over what to have Lydia "say" in it, and even what to write myself. I know Heather chose adoption gladly, and was looking to the best interest of Lydia's future...but I still wonder what she will be feeling over the weekend.

If you think of it, would you mind offering up a prayer for her? Just that Sunday would be a special day, and that it wouldn't be filled with sadness, but rather assurance that she's done the right thing, and that her daughter is in good hands.

Have a blessed Mother's Day weekend, friends! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lydia's Story Part V: GOTCHA DAY!!

After a week of dear friends and family asking when our adoption would be final, today was finally THE DAY. April 27th, 2011...the day Lydia would officially become ours.

Needless to say, there have been a butt-load of prayers going on for our sakes! And a good chunk of them have been coming up from our own home, so Joe and I were anxious to get "the call" today!

AT 10:18 am, my phone FINALLY rang - it was Carrie. The first words out of her mouth were, "I have good news!" Before she had finished her sentence, I was laughing and crying at the same time. "Really?! That's awesome! Praise the Lord!" I gasped, and then smiled so huge I seriously thought my skin would split!

She shared with me how Heather had answered all of the questions well, and the judge was satisfied with her answers. And how, after all this time, Lydia was OFFICIALLY OURS. In the words of Carrie, "I'm so glad we persevered!!"

Amen, sister!

We mailed some pictures of Lydia to Carrie so that Heather could have them immediately following the hearing. Carrie said that Heather loved the pictures, and was also happy to have our portfolio to keep - a special keepsake of who Joe and I were before Lydia entered our lives.

After I hung up with Carrie, I grabbed Liddy out of her moses basket, and started dancing and jumping! I hugged her tight to my chest as tears streamed down my face and just kept whispering, "Thank you God! Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!"

Then I remembered I had to tell Joe! Ha! So I wiped my eyes and ran upstairs, bringing Lydia with me. I woke him up and then said, "It's done! She's ours! Heather did it!" Joe groggily grinned - which is the equivalent of jumping up and down for him :) - and said, "Yaaay!!" Then it was back downstairs to call the grandma's and grandpa's and aunties and text a bazillion friends and update my facebook status and blog of course!! haha :)

So there you have it - we are now, OFFICIALLY, parents!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And I don't think I've ever praised God so much!! He is AMAZING!!

"My soul exalts the Lord! And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior!
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave...
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him."
Luke 1:46-50

GOTCHA!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!! He has done GREAT and MARVELOUS things!!

We got the call at 10:18 this morning -- LYDIA IS OURS!!!! FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER!!!!!!!! PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD! PRAISE GOD!!

More details to come!

(The second half of the video below is an example of how Liddy and I were dancing around the living room after we got the call!! ;) )

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just in case you were wondering...

TOMORROW is the day Heather goes to terminate her parental rights!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

We are anxiously awaiting the results and lifting Heather up in prayer as I'm sure she's nervous about it. Please join us in lifting up tomorrow in prayer -- we'll be sure to post the results as soon as we have news!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

As most of you know, yesterday was Heather's meeting with the guardian ad litem. Carrie called me after their meeting, and let me know that things went really well! Heather was able to answer all of the questions and the guardian ad litem seemed happy with her progress and where she's at.

The Lord worked out some other small details as well - like the fact that the meeting with the guardian ad litem was at the same court house where her termination of parental rights trial will be, so Carrie was able to show Heather the exact court room that she will be in next week! AND....while they were doing that, the judge that is presiding over her case walked by, so Carrie was able to show Heather who her judge was -- so basically, she is as prepared as she can be for next week! Praise the Lord!!

All that's left now is the hearing. April 27th at 9:30 am. I know I sound like a skipping record...but hey! It's a big day!! :) :) And assuming that all goes well, we will get a call next Wed. morning after the hearing to let us know, and then the following day we will meet with Laura to sign some final paperwork and pay the next large chunk of adoption fees. And then...she's ours - FOREVER! And NOBODY can say otherwise!!!! Woooohooooo!!!!! I am SOOO doing a happy dance right now! :)

Thanks again so much for your prayers! I'll keep you posted of how things turn out! Only 8 more days!!!! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Half-way there...

Just wanted to leave a quick update for all you prayer warriors out there!!

First of all...HEATHER WAS RELEASED FROM THE HOSPITAL ON TUESDAY!!!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEUUUUHHH!!!!!!!!!!

*whew*

Now that I got that out of my system......*insert face splitting grin*...........this means that we are half-way there to having everything finalized with Liddy! :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) After talking to Carrie, it sounds like Heather is doing well - and keeping us and the adoption in mind, which is a positive thing for all of us.

Today she will be meeting with the guardian ad litem, who will determine whether or not she is competent enough to make this decision. Please pray that this meeting will go well. The guardian ad litem's opinion of her is huge in regards to her ability to terminate her parental rights. I'm praying that she will properly represent herself, and not have any panic attacks or anything like that.

And then, once that is done, all we have to wait for is the court date on April 27th! Yay! We're getting closer...one step at a time!

Speaking of one step at a time....I can't believe my baby turned 3 months yesterday! How time flies...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Itty Bitty Liddy

Now that the whirlwind of the last 3 weeks has subsided....I feel like we're finally getting into a little bit of a schedule with Lydia, so I thought I'd share how we're doing as a family so far.

First of all....Lydia is a fantastic baby! We are so incredibly blessed! She is very content most of the time, and has even been sleeping through the night! Wow!

She loves her daddy and will almost immediately smile when she sees him. She's begun to interact with us more when we talk to her, and she'll smile and coo back at us. Soooo fun!! Liddy loves her play mat, and has just begun to bat at the toys dangling above her, as well as study different patterns and colors.

But her favorite thing above all else, is bath time!! She's a little spa girl, and completely relaxes as soon as her body hits the warm water. :)

Smiling Spa Girl! :)
All bundled up in her baby robe! :)
As far as bonding goes.....we are totally and completely bonded. I can't imagine life without her!! She is so perfect in so many ways, and I am loving being a mom even more than I thought was possible! God is sooo good!!

Here's some more "eye candy" for you to feast your eyes on....hope your weekend is beautiful! :)



First Walk! Daddy's so proud :)

Check out this STINKIN' ADORABLE hat that Joe's Aunt Judy made Liddy....it sure keeps her warm in the wind!

This was the outfit she wore for her first Sunday at church. She was adored by everyone!

Gamma snuggles!


Taken just this morning....our lil' cupcake is gettin' big!!

She melts my heart...  :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Update!

I know many of you have been praying for us as today was the next court date on our checklist of things "to do" before Lydia is officially ours. So here's where we're at...

Yesterday, Carrie called me and let me know that Heather was showing signs of progress - she remembers us and is still positive about the adoption plan. She reeeeally wanted to be in court today to terminate her rights so that we could finalize Liddy's adoption.

BUT...

Unfortunately, she is still not quite to the point of being released yet. She is still in the hospital - though making lots of progress! When I spoke to Carrie, she said that LSS is wanting to hang on for one more month, since Heather is improving, and see if she would be able to terminate her rights so this whole thing could finally be over! I agreed, and so this is the current plan. I'm not sure when the next court date will be, but if Heather is not doing better at that time, THEN things will be handed over to the state and we'll go through whatever rigamarole they have for us. :)

Joe and I believe this is good news, and are praying that she can fully recover and be present at the next court date.

Thank you so so SO much for all your prayers and concerns! We could NEVER do this without the Lord's strength and our AWESOME supportive friends and family! We love you all!!

**I found out today that the next court hearing is 9 am on Wed., April 27th. Please keep Heather's recovery and that date in your prayers!!**

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lydia's Story Part III: Falling In Love

I've decided to continue sharing Lydia's story...regardless of what the future outcome is! I'll have more updates as to how she's doing soon, but for now, here's Part III! (And if you need a reminder of how Part II ended, as I did, here's where you can find it: Lydia's Story Part II: The Meeting)

Now....where did I leave off? ;) Oh yes, now I remember:

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We sat there for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only about 15 minutes. Carrie entered the room again, sat down and said....

"She likes you - and she wants to move forward!" As Carrie smiled at us, joy flooded my soul.

She said yes??? She said yes......SHE SAID YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"Really??" I gasped, as tears began to slip down my cheeks again. "Really!" Carrie answered. "You know, I'm a believer too, and I really appreciated everything you said back there about the Lord."

Oh wow oh wow oh wow! I had been praying that the Lord would provide another Christian to walk along side us during the stressful time in the hospital -- and He had answered my prayers!! I began crying even more and grinning at the same time. Carrie also commented on how she had been a little concerned when we mentioned homeschooling, since so many people have a stereotypical view of Christian homeschoolers, but she said that Heather and her aunts liked it that our faith was so important to us and that we had goals for our children's education.

"Do you wanna go in and meet her?" Carrie asked. "Um, YEAH!!" I replied - and then I remembered to ask about bringing in the gift. Carrie agreed that it would be fine to do that, and as I reached for it, I realized we had left our camera in the car! Ahh! Joe ran down to get it, and we waited for him -- I couldn't believe I was going to get to meet this precious little girl!!

When Joe returned, we followed Carrie back into Heather's room. This time she had a little bundle on her lap. As soon as we walked through the door, I realized I had no idea what I was supposed to do! Should I walk over to Heather? Should I reach for the baby or wait for her to be handed to me? Should I sit on the couch? Or would that make me seem indifferent? And why in the world had I not asked Carrie what I should do before we went in there?!?!! So, in a moment inspired only by the Lord, I took a few steps toward Heather, tilted my head and said, "Aww...she's precious!" "You wanna hold her?" Heather asked. "Yes! Please!" I replied, and reached for the sweetness that lay wrapped in a blanket.

That moment still brings tears to my eyes as I think about it now. Looking down at the beautiful baby girl that this woman had brought into the world, and that was going to be my daughter....Wow...no words can describe it. Not even now.

I looked up at Joe, misty-eyed, and saw that he was just as smitten with this little darling as I was. How could my heart be this full of love for someone I had not borne in my own body? How could I be worthy of such a gift? I began to understood just a fraction of the love God has for us, as His own adopted children.

"She's....beautiful..." I breathed, "...you did such a good job, Heather!" She smiled.

At some point I realized that Heather's aunts were still in the room, looking on as we were captivated by this baby girl....their great niece. I suddenly felt guilty for holding her, and asked if they wanted to hold her. "Oh no," they replied, "You enjoy it." and I took them up on their offer!

A little bit later, I realized that we hadn't taken any pictures! Joe and I took some of each other holding the baby, and then I asked Heather if she would like to get in a picture with us. She agreed, and we asked Carrie to take a picture of the four of us. Heather remained on the couch with us after that last picture, and I asked her to open up the gift we had brought for the baby. We laughed as we realized that 0-3 months would be waaaay too big for her at this point! She was such a petite little thing!

Carrie left to talk to some of the nurses, and Heather's aunts left at this point as well. We remained on the couch with Heather, talking more about various situations. During this time, Heather reminded us that the father of her child was Hispanic, and living illegally in our state, and asked if there would be any problem with the fact that the baby was bi-racial. I laughed, "Oh no! Not a problem at all! In fact, we had a hard time deciding whether to choose domestic adoption or international adoption! It won't be a problem at all." Heather also shared with us that she was half Native American Indian, making her baby a quarter Native American Indian. I pictured this little girl running around in the summer with her bronze skin, next to me slathered with sunscreen - and I laughed to myself.

Heather continued to ask us if we had any questions for her, so I asked her what made her chose our portfolio out of the rest. She told us that when she saw we hadn't been able to have children of our own, she knew that she would be giving us a very special gift in her child. Boy was she right.... I also asked her what her favorite color was, just because I couldn't think of any other questions. She said purple was her favorite.

At some point Carrie returned to the room and asked us if we were driving back home that night. I told her that we had booked hotel to stay in if the outcome had been favorable, and that we planned on leaving the following day. Carrie seemed happy with that, and then the CNA that was next to her spoke up, "You can stay here if you want." "What??" I replied. "You can stay here if you want. We have a room open on the birthing floor, it's just one hallway over. You're more than welcome to stay here." I looked at her, stunned. And then I began to cry again. "Really?!?!??" I asked, "that would be...so....so....cool!" She and Carrie laughed as they saw how important it was to me, and shortly after, she led us down to our room. I couldn't believe we would have the opportunity to stay right in the hospital!! God always provides! Now we wouldn't have to spend any extra money on a hotel room, and we could be closer to Heather and the baby!!

The rest of the day was filled with phone calls to our family and friends, more picture taking, and lots of time spent getting to know Heather better and taking turns snuggling the baby. At some point, Heather told us that she had a name picked out for the baby, but she was fine if we decided to change it later. She told us that she had chosen the name "Isabella Lynn", which I thought was beautiful! But Joe and I had hoped to name her ourselves, and since Heather was open to that option, we asked if she'd like to hear some of our name options. When we told her "Lydia", she liked it! And I told her that it was appropriate, since purple was her favorite color, and in the Bible, Lydia was the seller of purple cloth! God sure is good, isn't He?? :) We agreed that we would change her name legally after the adoption was finalized.

That evening, as we headed over to our room in the hospital, Heather told me that if I wanted to be banded I could - then we could have alone time with the baby in our room. At the time, I was exhausted and not thinking clearly, and I assured her that we were ok with just spending time with her in Heather's room, it was no big deal. But after we got back to our room and I started thinking about it, I realized that Heather sent her to the nursery in the night, and I could have the option of giving her the night feedings if I just got banded! Suddenly it became very important to me! I rushed back to Heather's room and apologized for bothering her again, then asked if it would be ok if I was banded and fed Lydia in the night. Heather was comfortable with that, and so I got banded - and at 11pm they wheeled her into our room for her first feeding! We were giddy with excitement. There's just something special about having your baby with you alone for the first time!! We snuggled her, sang to her, and gave her the 20cc's she was drinking at the time. When they came back to get her, I asked the nurse if they would wake me up in the night so I could give her the middle of the night feedings, and they agreed. Unfortunately, though, there was miscommunication between the evening nurses and the night nurses and they never came to wake me up! Of course, I woke up several times in the night, worried that I would miss them! Finally, at 6am, a nurse came in and apologized for the mixup, and brought her in for her next feeding.

Though our original plan had been to head out the next day, the longer we held Lydia and snuggled her, the less we wanted to go home!! We finally decided that it would be best to stay until Heather was discharged, and so Joe called his work and got everything worked out with them. The next few days were filled with snuggling Lydia some more, buying her clothes, chatting with Heather about her future plans and our future relationship with her, and lots of picture taking! We also got to meet Laurie, the bridge care mom who would be watching Lydia for (what we thought would be) a month until everything was finalized.

The night before Heather was to be discharged, I was beginning to feel anxious. How was Heather feeling? Was she upset? Was she scared? What if she changed her mind? Had we done a good job of communicating how much we loved this little girl? What would it be like when she was discharged? Would we be present? Would she place Lydia in my arms or would she leave her in the hospital crib bed? As the questions filled my mind, I kept praying for peace from the Lord - peace and assurance for Heather, and peace and strength for myself, as I knew the next day would not be easy...

To be continued...

Friday, March 11, 2011

And the verdict is...

(I apologize in advance for not calling or personally emailing more of you with this news, but I think you'll understand when you see the rest of this post! It's just a tad complicated....)

So...yesterday was the court date.  Here's what's happened so far:
  • Birthfather was not present. This is good for us.
  • Heather was not present either (she's still in the hospital).
  • A new court date was set for April 6th.
However.....there have been a few interesting twists in the story.

Due to various factors, LSS will no longer be able to be involved with this adoption if Heather is not present in court April 6th. Instead, the state will be taking over, and Lydia will become a ward of the state. Typically, babies are removed from bridge care homes, and placed in state foster care homes when this happens.

But...

We have been given the option of being Lydia's foster care home, starting this Monday. There is still risk involved, as the state could choose to remove her from our home and place her in a different state foster care home, closer to the county that she was born in. But there is a better chance that they will allow her to stay in our home IF Heather is not able to terminate her parental rights on April 6th.

This means that IF the state allows Lydia to stay in our home, that we would have the option of adopting her later (as much as 15 months later), once the parental rights have been severed and everything has been wrapped up. There is a chance that it could be less time than that, but we won't know until we're in the middle of it.

Obviously this is a big decision to make, and we have spent a lot of time in prayer and talking with godly people that we love and respect before arriving at this point. As Joe and I discussed everything, we knew that we had to bring Lydia home. We just can't walk away. That's not how we roll. And honestly, at this point, we're already completely attached to Lydia and view her as our daughter already, so it would be just as hard to have her removed from the bridge care home as it would be to have her taken from our home.

We believe that it is important for Lydia to be in a loving home that is Christ-centered. And whether we get the chance to adopt Lydia in the end or not, this is the best choice for her.

Will it be difficult if things don't work out? Heck yeah!

Awful. Terrifying. Crushing.

But is it worth the risk? Of course!

Please be praying with us as we move forward....the plan is to pick Lydia up Monday afternoon -- finally....she'll be where she's belonged all along!! :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

...Wait...

Today I received a book in the mail from a friend of ours (Thank you, Karen!!) entitled, "Wait: A Journey to Discovering the Heart of God". It had a poem inside that was exactly what I needed to hear today! I fear I've been grumbling and complaining in my heart a little too much about the amount of waiting I've had to do lately, and this kind of put me in my place. :) I copied it here so that it could be an encouragement to others. Enjoy!
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.

I pled and wept for a clue to my fate...
and the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is Your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming Your Word.
My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to Wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no', to which I'll resign.
You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."

So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So I'm waiting...for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine...
And He tenderly said "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.
I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.

You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.
You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.
You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.
So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know Me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still...'Wait'."
~Russell Kelfer

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Keeping My Chin Up

Unfortunately, I don't have any exciting updates or news to share today. As far as I know, Heather still has not been released from the hospital. And the birth father has not been in touch with any one since his last call to the court on the 17th - which, from what my social worker's say, is a good thing. Perhaps he won't show next Thursday at the hearing, which would be really great for us!

I've had several people ask me if Heather can be represented at the next hearing. The answer is, unfortunately, no. At this point, she is not stable enough to talk with a guardian ad litem or other representative and communicate to them her adoption choice. Therefore, she can't really be represented. So....unless she stabilizes soon the court date will more than likely be postponed....again. Laura (our social worker) told me that court systems try to be timely in any situation that involves children, so this won't be dragged on indefinitely...it's just questionable as to how long it will last and what the end result will be.

Obviously, this has been quite disappointing to me. I've gone through just about every emotion in the book in the last 2 weeks: outrage, grief, jealousy, indignation, desperation, hopelessness, frustration, wanting to quit, hopefulness, patience, anger, impatience, compassion, urgency, irritation, and resignation.
"I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."                                                      ~Lamentations 3:19-26
And even when all of these things don't make sense and just completely tick me off (!), I'm learning to trust in God's sovereignty, and that He does have a plan - though it's obviously not what I thought it was!!
"Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You." Psalm 143:8 
It really is amazing how the Lord ministers to you at just the right time. On Monday I was feeling downright crabby about everything going on. Kind of having a "poor-me" attitude, and just griping to God about how unfair all of this was. I didn't want to be thankful. And I certainly didn't feel like being joyful! But then, we had our women's Bible study that night. And what was the topic on? Joy. Ironic, isn't it? The following day, I told myself I'd choose to be joyful about this, thanking Him for the way He's working -- even though it sucks. And, to my surprise, the day was actually a little bit happy! He knew just what I needed to hear.

Likewise, I've had two devotionals really speak to me in the past 2 weeks. I've been reading out of L.B. Cowman's devotional book, "Streams in the Desert". It has a short 1-2 page devotional for each day of the year. Here's one that especially encouraged me:

"Have you prayed and prayed, and waited and waited, and still you see no evidence of an answer? Are you tired of seeing no movement? Are you at the point of giving up?Then perhaps you have not waited in the right way, which removes you from the right place - the place where the Lord can meet you.
    'Wait for it patiently' (Rom. 8:25). Patience eliminates worry. The Lord said He would come, and His promise is equal to His presence. Patience eliminates weeping. Why feel sad and discouraged? He knows your needs better than you do, and His purpose in waiting is to receive more glory through it. Patience eliminates self-works. 'The work of God is this: to believe' (John 6:29), and once you believe, you may know all is well. Patience eliminates all want. Perhaps your desire to receive what you want is stronger than your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled.
    Patience eliminates all weakness. Instead of thinking of waiting as being wasted time, realize that God is preparing His resources and strengthening you as well. Patience eliminates all wobbling...God's foundations are steady, and when we have His patience within, we are steady while we wait. Patience yields worship. Sometimes the best part of praiseful waiting is experiencing 'great endurance and patience...joyfully.' (Col. 1:11). While you wait, 'let [all these aspects of] patience have her perfect work' (James 1:4), and you will be greatly enriched.

C.H.P.

And then just yesterday, another page eased my heart:

" 'Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?' (Ecc. 7:13)
    God often seems to place His children in places of deep difficulty, leading them into a corner from which there is no escape. He creates situations that human judgment, even if consulted, would never allow. Yet the cloudiness of the circumstance itself is used by Him to guide us to the other side. Perhaps this is where you find yourself even now.

    Your situation is filled with uncertainty and is very serious, but it is perfectly right. The reason behind it will more than justify Him who brought you here, for it is a platform from which God will display His almighty grace and power.
    He not only will deliver you but in doing so will impart a lesson that you will never forget. And in days to come, you will return to the truth of it through singing. You will be unable to ever thank God enough for doing exactly what He has done.

We may wait till He explains,
Because we know that Jesus reigns.
It puzzles me; but, Lord, You understandest,
And will one day explain this crooked thing.
Meanwhile, I know that it has worked out Your best--
It's very crookedness taught me to cling.
You have fenced up my ways, made my paths crooked,
To keep my wand'ring eyes fixed on You,
To make me what I was not, humble, patient;
To draw my heart from earthly love to You.
So I will thank and praise You for this puzzle,
And trust where I cannot understand.
Rejoicing You do hold me worth such testing,
I cling the closer to Your guiding hand."
F.E.M.I.


And finally....a passage from Romans that helps me to keep my chin up even when I'm feeling down:
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us."                   ~Romans 8:16-18 
I can hope, knowing that I am a daughter of God, and that no matter how awful this trial gets, there will be a glory that surpasses it in the future. Praise the Lord!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 17th

Here are the facts:

Today the LSS attorney went to court, as planned originally. While there, Juan's translator phoned in for him and spoke to the judge/attorney, voicing that Juan wanted to change his mind. However, when the judge/attorney asked to speak to Juan, the translator refused to give him the phone, leading the judge to believe that Juan may not have been with the translator when he called, or may not have known what the translator was even saying. The judge was not impressed, and told the translator that Juan would need to be present in court at the next hearing if he wanted to exercise his parental rights. The new court date is now set for March 10th, 3 weeks away.

Carrie told me that it's good news and bad news. Good news because Juan did not make a good impression on the judge, and now the stakes are set higher for him. Bad news because the judge did not request the paternity test yet, so if Juan does show on March 10th, then we would have to wait again for him to do the paternity test and have another hearing.

As far as Heather is concerned she might be released as soon as tomorrow, but she is still not in stable condition. Please continue to pray for her. Once she is released, Carrie will be meeting with her and letting her know about Juan wanting to claim his parental rights (as she has had no idea up to this point since she was in the hospital when he spoke up). The hope is that she will be able to be present in court on March 10th to terminate her parental rights. We may meet with her in the next 3 weeks also, if it would be beneficial for her to spend some time with us again before the hearing. We'll see how that goes.

Those are the facts.

But this is how I'm feeling:

Today was the day I was supposed to bring my baby home. I had images of us loading Lydia and all her stuff into our vehicle with unexpressible joy in our hearts. I pictured us arriving home and celebrating with our families, and giving Lydia lots of cuddles and kisses before putting her to bed. I looked forward to being done with work and just having it be me and my little girl in the coming weeks ahead.

But none of that happened today.

And it's ripping my heart out.

I know that God has a plan. He has always been faithful to me in the past, and I know that He will be in the future, but right now all I can feel is pain and uncertainty and the unbearable burden of having to WAIT once again. I don't know if I can take it. Knowing that for the next three weeks we will still have absolutely no idea if Lydia will be coming home with us or not. And that there's still the possibility of having to wait AGAIN after March 10th is enough to make me go crazy!

I don't understand how God works. And I don't think I'm supposed to. But it's hard for me to not ask Him why He's doing it this way.

You may have heard the saying, "God doesn't give you more than you can handle!" And I vehemently disagree with that statement. I think the point is that God does give us more than we can handle...so that we rely on Him!! Why would God give us something that we can handle?? How would we grow? In what ways would our faith be tested to be strong and unyielding if we could "handle" the trials we face? GOD wants to handle my problems for me - and I have definitely reached the end of my strength and ability to deal with this emotional rollercoaster that we're on.

I trust HIM. He will deal with my problems in the perfect way! All I have to do is follow Him and trust Him...even though it usually means walking forward blindly by faith.

Over the past few days I have read the book "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman. It tells the story of her marriage to contemporary Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and how they dealt with the tragic death of their 5 year old daughter 2 years ago. Though her story is very different from mine, she too had to go through the process of letting go of her plans, and allowing God to work out His unique plan for their lives.

Right now, I feel like God is holding my wrist, as I clench my fist in front of Him. He's looking me in the eyes and asking, "Do you trust Me? Do you trust Me to take care of what you're clutching in your hand? Do you trust Me to fulfill the desires of your heart?" And slowly, He pries my fingers open, one by one, and holds onto that very thing I desire most, until the time is right for me to have it.

I don't like it. I'll be honest. But His way is the best way. He is indeed, Faithful.

Here's a link to a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that resonated with my heart today. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

UPDATE:

I talked to Carrie today. Heather is still in the hospital, so the court date will have to be rescheduled tomorrow. :( It should be set up within a month's time, and at the new court hearing an attorney will represent Heather, so it won't necessarily matter if she's been released or not.

Tomorrow we will find out if the birth father puts his words in action and shows up or not. If not, they will notate that, and use it for future reference. If he does show up, then they will ask him to do a paternity test, and there will have to be another court hearing to discuss the results of that.

Ugh.

Please pray that God's will will be done. I knew that a delay was likely, but I was praying for a miracle. Obviously I'm feeling pretty down about it all, so please pray for strength and encouragement for us.

Thanks, everyone!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Calling all prayer warriors!

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. ~Isaiah 26:3-4


If you follow me on facebook, you may have noticed that I've stopped posting the days that remain until we bring Lydia home. And there's a reason for that, unfortunately...

On Thursday, Carrie called us and let us know that the birthfather had a translator contact the guardian ad litem for him, stating that he had chosen to change his mind regarding the adoption plan. Obviously, this has caused things to become rather complicated for us.

If that wasn't enough, Heather was also hospitalized earlier this week for post partum depression, and we aren't sure when she will be released yet. If the birthfather had not stepped in at all, we were looking at the possibility of having our court date postponed due to Heather's hospitalization.

The court hearing is still scheduled for this Thursday, the 17th. But obviously we have no idea what will be happening that day, exactly. As it stands, the birthfather is (as far as we know) living here illegally. I think this will affect whatever choices he makes in court (leading to possible deportation or at least arrest), but at this point, we're not exactly sure.

I wanted to let anyone know we may have missed, so you can be praying for us. We need your prayers so badly right now! It's been emotional for us and our families, but we are trusting God's sovereignty and the plan He has for Lydia and our lives.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

Here are some specific prayer requests:
  • Pray for Heather to recover quickly and be released from the hospital by Monday. She still needs to meet with the guardian ad litem herself (for a required meeting) and if that's not done before the court date, it will have to be postponed (by about a month).
  • Pray for the birthfather (Juan) to either
    a) Realize that he's making a foolish choice, and that he has a better chance of having a relationship with Lydia if he goes forward with the adoption plan.
    b) Grow lazy and not follow through with his words. If he is not present in some form at the court hearing on Thursday, he won't have any more options, since he has already signed the consent forms.
    c) Be gripped with fear of the law if he moves forward. (Fear of deportation, arrest, etc.)
  • Pray for Lydia and Laurie, the Bridge Care mom who's taking care of her. Pray that they would be at peace throughout all of this. We chose not to visit Lydia this weekend because we knew our emotions would be easy for her to pick up on, and we want her to not have any added stress.
  • Pray for us - for peace and strength. So far we have been blessed by the "peace that passes all understanding" that is found only in the Lord Jesus. I have moments of weakness where I fear the worst - but overall we are placing Lydia and our future in God's hands. He knows best.
Thank you for your prayers. Please know that as we have updates, we will share them.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13