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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 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


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.


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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lydia's Story Part II: The Meeting all liked my cliff-hanger ending to Part I, right?? goes Part II -- I hope you enjoy it! :)

The rest of that Sunday night was spent anxiously awaiting for another phone call from Carrie. I kept praying for a safe delivery, for strength for Heather and that things would just go well. The following morning, Monday, Jan. 17th, I went through my normal morning ritual. As I prepared for work, I expected my phone to ring at any second, but it never did. I debated on whether or not I should share the news with my co-workers, since nothing was "for sure" yet. I didn't want to tell them anything - I knew it would be difficult to have to tell them that Heather didn't choose us, or that things didn't work out, and yet, how could I hide my excitement?

I entered the bank as I normally would, greeting my co-workers and checking my normal things. Finally, about half an hour after I got there I said, "I'm going to keep my cell phone in my pocket today. We're having a bit of a "family emergency", so if you see me running to the kitchen, it's just that I got a phone call I have to answer."

Jessi, one of my co-workers looked at me with wide-eyes, "Adoption???" I couldn't prevent a smile from creeping across my face. Immediately she and Mary began pestering me with questions. I held up my hand, "Wait! I don't want to give you a lot of details right now, because nothing is for sure yet." But still, I couldn't keep from smiling. Then the questioning began:

Jessi: How soon would the baby be born?
Me: Soon.
Jessi: a month?
Me: soon.
Me: [smile] Maybe...

And so it went. Jessi and Mary asked me as many questions as they could think of, and I answered them somewhat ambiguously, and some I chose not to answer. At 9:30, my phone buzzed in my pocket. I yanked it out, saw that it was a long distance number, and bolted for the kitchen. I answered my phone nervously, and Carrie greeted me on the other line:

Carrie: Hi, Liz...well...we have a baby!"

My heart leapt with joy.

Carrie: It's a girl...

A grin began spreading across my face.

Carrie: She's only 4 lbs, 12 oz, and has some dark fuzz for hair.

Tearing up, a laugh/sob escaped my mouth.

Carrie: I'm going in to talk with Heather in about an hour and explain to her what's happened with the other family, and to show her your portfolio and ask if she wants to meet you.

Me:'ll call me back when you're done talking with her to let me know the results?

Carrie: Yes. It shouldn't be any later than noon by the time I get back to you.

And with that, we hung up. I couldn't believe it...a girl!! And so tiny! I immediately called Joe, waking him up to tell him the news. I told him I'd call him back once I heard the news on Heather. Then I called my mom and Joe's mom, hurriedly explaining what had transpired so far, and to please pray!

I walked back to my desk. They looked at me expectedly, waiting for me to share something. Again, I had a stupid grin on my face that I just couldn't get rid of!! I told them that the baby had been born, and Jessi immediately guessed that it was a girl. They started asking more questions and again, I said they'd have to wait, as the social worker was going to talk to the birthmom and find things out.

And again, I waited...

Finally, at about 10:45 or so, my pocket buzzed again. I saw the long distance number and raced back to the kitchen area for the second time that day. "Hello?" I answered breathlessly.

Carrie: Liz? This is Carrie.

Me: Hi Carrie!

Carrie: I just got done talking with Heather, and she is comfortable with moving forward with you.

My heart stopped.

Me: Really? (I think it came out as a bit of a squeak)

Carrie: Yep. She remembered your portfolio, and would like to meet you if that's possible...

My eyes began filling with tears. Could this really be happening?? Finally?? An answer to all our prayers??

Carrie: Do you know when you'd be able to make it over here?

Me: Today! We can leave right now!

Carrie: Well....we are supposed to be having a snow storm this afternoon, so that may not be the best idea. How about tomorrow, Wed. or Thurs?

Me: Tomorrow! We can leave tomorrow morning and be there by 1pm or so.

Carrie: Okay. I'll let Heather know you'll be here around 1pm.

As I hung up with Carrie, I was in a bit of shock. This was actually happening...we were going to be meeting with a birthmother...who'd already had her baby!! Unbelievable!! I quickly called Joe, my voice shaking as I told him "She said yes! We're leaving tomorrow to meet her!" Then I called my Mom and Joe's mom, asking them to pray, and we all shed a few tears. As I walked back out to my desk, I couldn't help but jump for joy - Jessi and Mary saw me and their eyes lit up with excitement for me. I hurriedly explained to them the details that I knew so far, and their faces beamed back at me.

The rest of the day was a blur...all I could think was, "Oh my word. This is actually happening. I can't believe it. Praise God!" I tried to make a list of the things I needed to pack, and tried to think of something to give Heather as a gift, since I knew not many people would probably be giving her much, since she was placing her daughter for adoption.

That night I picked out a gift for Heather - a coffee mug that said, "Free to be Me: 'I am fearfully and wonderfully made'", with the reference from Psalm 139. I also grabbed a travel size lotion and a bottle of shower gel, and planned to buy some chocolates to add to the mix, cuz what woman doesn't like chocolate?? :) I also wrapped a 0-3 month pink outfit with birdies on it, and a soft, fleecey blanket that my Mom had sent with me the previous weekend, hoping that our meeting would go well so that I could give that outfit to the baby girl.

As I packed my things, I tried on outfit after outfit, trying to decide what I would wear to meet Heather. I also called our social worker, who encouraged me and gave me some tips, as well as made a few phone calls to some of my closest friends, letting them know what was happening, and to please be praying for us the following day at around 1pm!! Somehow, I fell asleep that night...and woke up feeling super nervous. We managed to load up the van and left the house on time for once, and began our 4 1/2 hr journey.

And let's just say....I'm very grateful there weren't any cops along the road that day, because I was definitely doing at least 80 mph....hehehe....


About half an hour before we arrived, I began to feel extremely nervous. My hands started sweating and I asked Joe if we could pray, since I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my body. He prayed, and I tried to not let all the worst case scenario's run through my head. We made a quick stop at Walgreens to pick up the chocolate for Heather's gift, and then attempted to find our way to the hospital.

After only 3 wrong turns, we finally we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital. As we walked through the front doors, Carrie called Joe's cell and told us where to meet her. We sat down with her in the cafeteria area, and she explained to us what we should expect and asked if we had any questions. I inquired about the gifts, and she said that I could bring Heather's gift in with me, but to hang on to the baby gift until after we talked to her. Carrie told us that Heather wasn't very chatty, and could sometimes be hard to read, which made me even more nervous - I'm terrible with small talk, let alone with someone who holds your future in your hands!!

As we made our way up to the birthing center, my heart pounded in my ears, and I kept praying that God would give us the words to say and that His will would be done. I prayed specifically that if this was not meant to be, that Heather would turn us down so that we'd never meet her precious baby. After we arrived on the third floor, Carrie had us wait in one of the waiting rooms while she went to tell Heather we had arrived. Joe put his arm around me as we waited, and I said, "I am so scared." "Me too." He answered, and we looked at each other, knowing that day could change our lives forever.

Carrie came back to get us, and we followed her into Heather's room. As we entered, Heather was sitting on a rocking chair, looking towards us. Carried introduced us, and I gulped, told myself to smile (because it was either smile or burst into tears!), and stepped towards her, "Hi. Here's a gift for you." I said with a smile. She looked surprised. Then she opened it, commenting on how she liked the body products and the mug. *Phew!*

We sat on the couch across from Heather, with Carrie sitting on a chair kiddy-corner from us. Carrie said that she would have us talk about a few things, and then if there was anything we didn't cover, Heather could ask a few questions from her list at the end. We all agreed. Carrie asked us to begin by talking about our families. At this point, I realized I hadn't really prepped Joe at all....and though he is more than capable of having a conversation with someone, what if he froze and seemed stand-offish?? I gulped again, and offered up a quick prayer for my husband. We both shared about our siblings and parents, and I was so proud of how relaxed and confident Joe seemed. Thank you, Lord!

Next, Carrie asked us to explain how we met. In the middle of explaining how we met in college, there was a knock on the door. Carrie looked surprised, and got up to answer. Two older ladies entered the room -- they were Heather's aunts, coming to visit her. I could tell that Carrie was not expecting visitors, and so she asked Heather if she wanted them to be in the room while we finished talking, or if she'd rather them wait outside until we were done. Heather said, "It's fine. They can be in here." I could tell that's not what Carrie was expecting...but...oh well! So the aunts came in and introduced themselves to us, then sat down to listen to the rest of our meeting.

Talk about intimidating. I was really freaked now!

We finished explaining how we met, and Carrie asked us to talk about our jobs, where we lived and a few other things that I don't remember now. :) Then it was Heather's turn. She asked what our hobbies were, what family traditions we had, what our dog was like, and then she asked about our religious beliefs. I gulped again, sent up a quick prayer and answered, "We're Bible believing Christians. We believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross so that we would have a way to be with Him for eternity." She seemed content with that, and I didn't take the time to analyze my answer! Then she asked what the schools were like in our area. We described them briefly, and then shared that we had both been homeschooled, and that we hoped to homeschool our children in the least for the first few years. Again, she seemed content with that answer.

Then, she asked us to describe our personalities. Ugh. I hate that question! And I swear that it was on every. single. adoption paper that we filled out! I sighed, and Joe and I laughed as we looked at each other. Carrie laughed too and quipped, "No pressure! It kind of feels like you're in the Miss America pageant or have to have a charming and winsome personality!" We laughed, and then one of the aunts suggested that we describe each other's personality. "That's much easier!" I said, and we laughed again. Then Heather spoke up, and with a completely straight face she said, " know that your answer to this question determines whether I pick you or not."

*blink* *blink*

My heart stopped, and there was a moment of pure silence, and then Heather began to grin, and we all burst out into nervous laughter. Sheesh! Talk about a terrible time to make a joke!! ;) We described each other's personality, and then Heather asked us if we had any questions for her. I couldn't think of any, and she assured us that if there was anything we wanted to know, that now was the time to ask. I asked her to describe her family life, which she went on to do. After a bit more small talk, Carrie said she'd have us leave the room while she talked with Heather.

She escorted us out and back into the waiting room we had been in before. "I'll go talk to her and I"ll be back." She said, as she slipped back out of the room. We sat down and I just began to bawl. All of my pent up emotions and nervousness came flooding forth and I just cried. "What's the matter?!??" Joe asked nervously, to which I replied, "I don't know! I'm just crying cuz that's what I do!!" Poor guy. He has a bit of a dramatic wife. :)

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....

To be continued...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lydia's Story Part I: The Phone Call

In exactly TWO WEEKS from today, we will be bringing home our little girl, Lord willing! So I figured today was a good day to start sharing "Lydia's Story..." Enjoy! :)


It was Saturday, January 15th. We were in Iowa, visiting my family for a late celebration of my birthday, which was 2 days prior. We were exhausted, due to various family events, and so we had slept in a little that Saturday morning. When I finally roused at about 9am or so, I headed to the bathroom, and while I was in there, I could hear my phone ringing.

"That's odd..." I thought to myself.

I got back to our room and began listening to the voicemail that was left. It started with,

"Hi, this is Carrie, from Lutheran Social Services..."

My heart stopped.

"...I'm calling from our W______ office, and I have a situation with a birthmother here, but things are progressing rather quickly..."

At this point, Joe's eyes flew open, as he could hear what she was saying. We both stared at each other wide-eyed as we continued to listen.

"....Laura [our social worker] gave me permission to call you directly, so if you wouldn't mind calling me back so I can give you a little more information, that would be great. My number is..."

I hurriedly grabbed the notebook by my bed and began scribbling down her phone number. As I hung up the phone, I stared at Joe in disbelief, and then started squealing. And jumping up and down. Because if you know me, that's just what I do. :)

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!! I have to go tell Mom -- wait! We should call her back! Ah! What should we do?!?!?" I screeched. Joe just grinned, and in that split second I decided I needed to call her back to get more information. My hands were practically shaking as I quickly dialed Carrie's number and waited for her response.

One ring....two rings....three rings....finally she answered!

I explained who I was and told her that I had gotten her message. Carrie told me she was expecting another phone call any minute, but that she would start explaining things to me while she waited.

Carrie: Well, I have a birthmother who wasn't due until February 6th, but she went into labor last night...


Carrie: ...she was going to - oh! There's my phone call! Can I call you back?

Me: Sure! Sure!!

As we hung up the phone, my eyes were even wider than before - and Joe was too. Oh my word! We sat there frozen for a second or two, and then I burst out, "I have to tell Mom! C'mon! Let's go downstairs and tell Mom!!!"

We raced downstairs and I gushed, "Mom! LSS just called! There's a birthmother in labor!!"

I think Mom's face turned one shade whiter and she started crying, "What?!!??"

I briefly explained what had transpired so far, and we decided to go into the living room to pray. We prayed for the baby that was about to enter this world, for the birthmother's comfort and strength, and for wisdom for us...and then my phone rang. (My ringtone at the time was "While I'm Waiting" by John appropriate, eh?)

I leapt to my feet and answered, and Carrie began giving us more information.

It turned out that this birthmother had been planning on adoption for several months. She hadn't wanted to choose a family for her child because it was too overwhelming, but Carrie had encouraged her to look through some portfolio's. She had narrowed it down to our portfolio and one other family's, when she met a family independently from the agency. She liked them. They had adopted recently, and were willing to adopt her baby as well. Carrie began interacting with them, explaining the details of the adoption and the birthmother's medical background, when they suddenly changed their minds. They had just finalized an adoption of their own, and they weren't sure about adopting another child so close in age to the one they had. So they backed out.

However, before Carrie had a chance to explain this to the birthmother, she was admitted to the hospital due to high blood pressure and some contracting, so Carrie hadn't had a chance to explain all this to her yet. Since they were inducing her that morning, she didn't think it was wise to break the news to her until after the labor was over.

Talk about a lot of information to swallow! Carrie asked that we think about it and talk it over and get back to her on our decision. The rest of the morning was spent talking, questioning, wondering, and calling dear friends for wisdom and advice. It was a strange mixture of emotions. My mom put it best by asking me at one point, "So....what are you feeling right now...besides sheer terror??"

Terror was right! In one moment I was petrified of what lay ahead of us, and all the emotions that I'd be facing very shortly, and in the next moment I was ecstatic that we would maybe be meeting our future son or daughter very soon! Needless to say, it was a very emotional and draining day.

But Joe was so strong through it all. From the moment we got the phone call with all the information and I looked at him with questioning eyes, he was in it for the long haul. Even when I asked, "What in the world are we doing? This is CRAZY!" he remained strong and confident, never doubting that this was the answer to our prayers.

By supper time, we had hashed out every possible scenario, and had decided to give Carrie our answer: a solid YES. AsI huddled over my phone at Pizza Hut, waiting for Carrie to answer my call, I wondered if the baby had been born yet. She had been in the hospital 2 days now, and had been induced with petocin, so I expected some news on her progress. We told Carrie we were confident about moving forward, and she seemed glad to have our names to present to the birthmother, whose name we learned was Heather. However, there was no news on the baby front. Carrie told me that the doctors planned to induce Heather for a second time the next morning (Sunday) if she hadn't had the baby overnight, and that she would call me either way on Sunday afternoon to let me know what happened.

We went to bed that night hoping and praying for a safe delivery and for a favorable outcome to this surprise situation. I prayed over and over that if it was not the Lord's will that this situation would fizzle out and we'd all move on with our lives.

The next day at church, we tried to hide our secret...but we ended up sharing our hopes with a few close friends. They were all excited for us, and praying for the best. I nervously checked my phone just before the church service call from Carrie. Then we went to lunch at Panchero's and enjoyed talking and laughing with friends. I checked my phone call from Carrie. We finally went home and packed up our stuff to get ready to call from Carrie. We departed on our trip, with me ready to jump at my phone's ring at any call from Carrie. Finally, at around 5pm I couldn't take it anymore! I finally called her from our booth at McDonalds. After I introduced myself, she exclaimed, "Oh! I completely forgot to call you!" Thanks a lot, lady. :) However, there was no more news. Heather was still in labor, and had not moved along very quickly at all. Carrie told us that the next plan was to deliver by c-section if she had not given birth by later that evening. Again, she assured us that she'd call as soon as she knew any information.

And again, we waited....

(To be continued....)