Monday, July 25, 2011

Being Chosen...

December.  It was getting close to Christmas.  We were all settled in our cozy new townhome, starting to put decorations up and lights on the house.  I headed to the grocery store one Monday morning, and right when I got there, Roxanne our case worker was calling on my cell phone. 

"Hi Roxanne!" 

"Hi Kari.  So, I am calling to let you know, that there is a couple who has looked at your adoption profile."   My heart began to get hopeful.  Details followed.

They actually have met with another couple, but now they aren't sure and so they are reconsidering their options.  They are expecting a little boy in January."  (My heart begins to beat a little faster with anticipation).  "The only thing is they are looking for an adoptive couple that would be willing to consider openness." 

"what type of openness?"

"Well, they aren't fully sure yet, but visits once or twice a year maybe, those things could be talked about." 

I can't explain it, other than God, but I had completely peace about this situation.  It was almost like He had given me a glimpse of what He had planned.  
See, even though I thought I wanted a girl first, I felt that God wanted us to have a boy first, to be a big brother, something I never had. 
Even though I didn't know if I wanted openness, with this birth couple living in Washington I could embrace the idea, because there would be space.  I wouldn't risk running into them into the store and being emotionally caught off guard.  So God gave me peace to be willing to consider this option. 
And the final thing, with it being right before Christmas, and right after our first niece had been born, it brought me back to when I wrote to God starting to tell Him what I wanted for Christmas and then stopped because He already knew and I just needed to trust Him. 
PEACE filled my heart... 

"Their names are Rachel and Evan.  they would like to meet you.  Can you drive up to Tacoma on Wednesday?" 
(Yes yes yes!!! my heart cried out!)
"Let me talk to Nick and we will pray about it and I will get right back to you." 
After hanging up with Roxanne I wasted no time at calling Nick and we prayed together and both had peace to pursue this.  Plans were made to go up to Tacoma in two days. 
I remember sitting in the car afterwards just glowing.  It was a beautiful sunny amazing day in December.  Even if it had been raining I think it would have been sunny to me because of HOPE.  I was beginning to see a beautiful ray of hope after all the heart ache and waiting. 

We made the drive up on Wednesday and when we got there we met our caseworker whom had also driven up.  She took us to a room and we waited for Rachel and Evan to arrive.  A few minutes later they did and we were escorted into the room with them and I began to fall in love with this couple that was before us.  I remember I was wearing a red shirt, and they both had red shirts on and we made a comment about that.  I remember seeing Evan's red hair and thinking in my head how amazing it would be to have a red headed baby.  I remember their bright smiles and how cute Rachel looked with her baby belly. 

We hit it off pretty quickly.  Again I can't explain it by anything other than God.  They asked us questions to get to know us.  They said they loved the pictures of our baby nursery, and then Evan asked if I had been hoping for a girl, and I sheepishly smiled and said, "maybe, but I would love whomever the Lord would have for us."  Rachel made a cute comment about "I believe that the Lord has ordained for us to all go the hospital right now and I will have this baby today." 

They asked us about names.  They said they would honor whatever the adoptive parents would choose.  They told us they had been thinking about William. 
We said we liked the name Josiah, that we had that name picked out since we were dating, and that it meant "fire of the Lord."  They both liked that, and we all thought it would be cool to have a red headed baby with a name that meant that.  They said, if they chose us, if we could just let them know what we decided so they would know what to put on the birth certificate that would be great. 

We left and began the drive home to Portland.  We didn't know if we had been chosen.  Everything about the visit indicated that possibility, but it ended with "we will let you know as soon as we decide." 

It was Wednesday night and we made it in time to go to our Wednesday night service at church that we LOVED.  We were surrounded and prayed for by those that were walking this path with us. 

The next day we didn't hear anything back until late afternoon.  We had been chosen.  We were going to be the adoptive parents to Rachel and Evan's baby boy.  His due date was January 7th. 

I had mentioned in a previous blog how the Lord had gave me a song in the midst of my grieving.  After I received the phone call from Roxanne I got to go back to the piano and with tears streaming down my face, my song became one of pure beautiful joy.  I called my friends with the news, and Leah and Jamie and Tricia announced they were taking me out to celebrate!  We went to Red Robin for dessert - I even tried a sip of Jamie's Bailey's Irish cream drink - which is the only time in my life I have ever had any alcohol.  :) 
To be surrounded with these friends that had walked through this season of life with me and now they were all there to share in the joy with me, I was SO grateful for this gift. 

Nick and I began preparations to be receiving a little boy.  Baby boy clothes shopping was top on the list!  We had decided to choose the name Josiah William, choosing William as a middle name to honor them by - (William means resolute protector, which in reflection now, is very applicable to a big brother with 3 little sisters) and we wrote them a note expressing our gratefulness and letting know the name we had chosen. 

We continued on with our Christmas festivities, anxiously wondering and waiting if and when we would receive a phone call that Josiah had been born.  We waited all the way through Christmas and New Years, and I will share the rest of the story another time...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Grieving

I wanted to share one other short lesson that the Lord showed me during my infertility time. 

Grieving. 

When we chose the path for adoption, I was so excited!   Finally no more brick wall that I couldn't kick down.  We were on a fast track that I could barely keep up with and it was so freeing. 

But every once in awhile I would have a moment. 

A moment where my heart would ache over the loss of surrendering not being able to get pregnant on my own. 
A moment where I would not get to feel the baby inside me and know it intimately that way. 
A thought where I would ache that I would not get to wear all those cute maternity clothes that I would see my other friends wearing. 
That I wouldn't be carrying a child in my body to show out of an act of love between my husband and I. 

And God showed me, it was okay to grieve those losses.  I would have my time to cry, to ache over the hurt.  The stings of the reality that pregnancy was something that was not to be for me.  And He also showed me, that I was not to be consumed by the grief.  That when those moments came, that I could tend to those heart aches with HIM, but once I had, I needed to let it go and keep moving on towards the different dream that God was calling me to. 

So, that is what I would share about with grieving.  If you are in a spot that you are grieving the loss of a dream or something even much more deeper than that, it's okay to grieve.  Just don't let it consume you that you would miss out on the different plans that God has for your life. 

Real basic stuff, but it is just a little lesson that God taught me the last summer I would spend childless.

Everyone needs a Loie :)

I was reminded a few days back of a lesson God taught me while waiting for pregnancy.  So, I thought I would share. 

I was anxious.  Waiting and left with no direction and no clear answers of how God wanted me to spend my time while waiting for a baby.   I had swirls of dreams and ideas going around in my head of things I could do to fill the void.  I wanted to be pursuing some dream, and if God wasn't going to take care of this baby dream, then I guess I needed to figure something else out.  I would often get asked what I was doing these days and I felt so stupid sometimes answering with: "waiting to get pregnant."  I wanted to have purpose in my daily life. 

During this season, I started my short stint of selling Mary Kay.  I actually started off really well - I had a big starter party, and a lot of parties that got scheduled from it.  One of those parties was an amazing group of ladies at Cedar Mill.  It was 3 older women that had raised their families, and now were spending their time mentoring young wives and new moms.  A beautiful set up to watch - definitely after Titus 2.  They invited me to one of their group nights to do up all the young women, and the leaders of the group as well.  All three leaders invited me back to do individual make overs for each of them. 

To be able to do make up and sit down with these beautiful older wiser women and talk with them for an hour or two was a HUGE gift to me.  They were encouraging and kind with their words, as they empathized with my heart of wanting to start a family but unable to by my own efforts. 

One of the ladies was named Loie.

As we picked out make up ideas, she started asking me questions.  I started talking about my different thoughts and pursuits.  Maybe I would go to school and get a degree - since I had the time.  Although I wasn't sure of what - but it seemed like a good idea.  Or maybe I would find work again...  I rambled through my thoughts trying to make sense of the disorganized chaos going through my brain. 

You know the times, when God uses someone to speak in to your life, just something very practical, and it ends up being so profound that it sets everything at rest?  This was one of those moments. 

Loie looked at me thoughtfully, and she very practically asked, "Why would you spend the money going to school if in the end, when you are all done, you still just want to be a mom?" 

I know I had thought that in my head plenty of times, but to just listen to it from someone else, that had walked through more life than me, was completely different.  Those words coming from Loie gave me permission that I didn't have to have things all figured out right now.  That just because pieces of this dream weren't all coming together, did not mean God was wanting me to pursue a different purpose or life direction.  He had laid being a mom on my heart as the plans He did have for me.  It just wasn't the right time yet.  He wanted me during this season to learn patience and to wait. 

It was a release that it was okay to just spend this time to keep pursuing Him, and even just find rest in Him, and comfort in Him when it was hard.  And that was all I needed to do. 

I am so grateful for that small gift of time God gave me with Loie.  I don't ever see her anymore, although I did receive a very special phone call from her when I was on bed rest waiting for my twins to be born. 

Someday, I hope to be a Loie in someone else's life.  I have struggled a lot lately with not being able to be involved in other women's lives, the way I was able to when I only had one or two children.  Four children consumes my time in such a way that I sometimes feel I have very little left to give at the end of the day.  So a current lesson God is teaching me is this. 
Right now, I still have a lot of learning and growing up to do.  When I think of Loie, or other amazing women like her that have touched my life being those Titus 2 women who are finishing their lives strong, I have found a dream for a later date.
And here it is.  When my children are all grown up, and I am wondering what my purpose in life should be, I pray that God can allow me to be that Titus 2 woman to other younger ladies around me.  That I will not grow weary of doing good, but that He will use me to be able to bless and encourage those around me. 
And for now, I will keep loving the four little ones He has blessed to my care :)  A gift I will never stop being grateful for in this season of life :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Trip Sabotage:Planning a Vacation, and sabotaging every single dream

I have decided I am a trip sabotage mode right now. 
I know I know, when you hear this, you will feel very sorry for me, I am sure :P
So, I really haven't been on a vacation - like a good real vacation, since before I was pregnant with the twins.  We have done little weekend trips, but a trip a way, to go do what I love to do - explore places, walk around and take pictures and see things and eat food and shop and learn new things.  Living in the same place your whole life will definitely create a desire for traveling... 

Nick got an extra week of vacation last year added to his benefits for working at Intel 10 years now.  (Like I said, I know how bad you are going to start feeling for me!)  Last year he used it for going on a mission trip to Haiti. The other time off was used at Christmas(which actually he got really sick for two weeks and we stayed home and let him recover), and also on a trip that he went on with his side of the family, with Josiah and Ava, while I last minute stayed home and took Mallory to the hospital for an emergency surgery for an infection. 

This year, he has offered me this week.  I have a budget.  I could go with the family, I could go with a friend and he would stay and watch the kids, I could go with him... well, no, see this is where the trip sabotage begins to come into play. 

So, I thought I would write out my great ideas, and share how I am sabotaging each one. 

First dream ideal vacation: Trip to the East Coast.  I have never been before, think the fall would be a lovely time of year to go back.  They even have a cruise you can go on - how cool would that be!  I have lots of different scattered thoughts on my list - like go to Serendipity's for dessert in New York, see a Broadway show, go on a run through central park - and visit the place that the World Trade Center Towers once stood.  Or visit DC.  Or Boston...  or or or... 
but hmmm...  I have 4 kids.  Do I really want to haul four little children around the east coast.  Or maybe this is a shelf dream that I need to stack back on the top out of reach shelf until our children would be old enough to appreciate it more. 
Sure would be nice to take Nick - but oh yes, we have four amazing children - and with the time it takes to fly to and from east coast, plus the amount of days to make that trip worth it, would I really want to be a part from them for that long, and who would watch them... 
But maybe a friend...  but who is free - we all have children :)  The options get checked off the list and then hmmm...
well, Yes, need to stack this dream back up on the shelf for a later time. 

So, well, we could go to Victoria...  that kind of would have a New England flavor to it - I have been there once before.  But would the kids really like it?  And I can't find the perfect rental home that has the right amount of bedrooms, the right price and the right location and the right atmosphere inside (I am all about what things look like on the inside).  And renting a hotel room for 6 is really hard... 
Hmmm...  I think I have sabotaged this idea too. 

Disney land or Disney world.  We went on our honeymoon to Disney world.  Would be a lot of fun....  but oh yes, 2 babies with nap times and it sure would be nice to have a nanny to take a long with us so we could go out at night.  And there is the fact that we have been to a Disney location for 5 times since we have been married for vacation.  I think this mama is a little disneyed out and would like to wait until the twins are old enough to appreciate it before we go again.  Although I did find the CUTEST rental house that does happen to be available the week of our anniversary/my birthday. 

So there is San Diego - Josiah really wants to go to Lego land.  I would love to go back to Seaworld when it's not so hot.  But again - girls need naps, it sure would be nice to have a nanny to take with us.  Do I really want to spend all the money to go to San Diego.  I just don't know...  and if we went, airfare isn't as cheap right now - would we dare road trip it?  With two toddlers that have just been potty trained...  but it sure would be nice to have our minivan... 

Or Hawaii!  Nick has never been - he would LOVE it. 
Except that he would need to use sunscreen and the girls would need to use sunscreen and I am majorly allergic to sunscreen and do not want to get hives while I am on a tropical island.  Maybe all 6 of us could just go to a tanning salon for a month and all build up tans so we wouldn't get fried when we are there?  I wonder how young you can be to use a tanning bed?  ;)  (just kidding just kidding...  I would never take my babies to go do that, although I would definitely insist that Nick should!) 

Sigh...  would hate to leave the little girls with someone, and have them revert back on potty training.  Right now Lena has me trained that I have to sit next to her, without making eye contact with her while she poops - or else she freaks out and screams... which then leads to constipation...  Yeah... got to figure out how to change that up. 

See - wow, I am negative about every option!  And that is just the basic ideas.  Throw me new ideas, I will tear them down. 

I am so grateful for a God that loves me, regardless of my negativity, and is patient with me.  It's not my job to bless myself.  It's my job to seek Him and find out what He wants me to do daily, and with this opportunity that Nick has offered me.  To see how God wants me to use it.  I am praying about it, and definitely wanting His will, His best - because if I try to take control of it, every time I am left with discord and NO PEACE. 

So I am going to keep lifting it up to Him in prayer - and waiting to see what we will do with this extra time off.  I know He does not want me to worry about it.  Sure, pursue ideas, pray about them, ask Him, but don't let it consume my thoughts and time.  A vacation will not satisfy - not one I plan.  But God will satisfy, and if He chooses to show us how to use that time as a vacation going somewhere, then that will satisfy too because HE is in it. 

And who knows, maybe HE plans to bless us in a completely different way and we will just stay at home and use the money to get a puppy dog instead :) :) :)  Maybe that idea might motivate my honey to become proactive in vacation idea suggestions!!!  LOL I love you Nick. 
Anyways, just sharing my thoughts for the day.    Hope you all are enjoying your summer time!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Preparation of the Heart...

March 2004.  My last cycle on chlomid and insemination came to an end.  That night Nick was out with a friend, and I was feeling pretty down about everything, when I picked up the book a Purpose Driven Life that someone had given to me awhile back.  I decided for the next 40 days I was going to go through that book a chapter a day.  In the back was Scripture references, so I spent each morning writing out those verses and God used that time in great ways for encouragement - and poured into me exactly what I needed as He was preparing my heart for a change. 

ADOPTION AGENCY DECISION

Nick and I talked and at the end of March he gave me the go ahead to start researching out adoption agencies.  And research I did.  I talked to people, looked online, asked around for packets, figured out questions to ask, called different agencies and asked those questions.  We visited a few agency meetings, and then I talked to my friend Anastasia who had also done some research recently, and she told me about Bethany Christian Services.  We found out they had an evening meeting close by, so we went to it. 
Everything they said and their heart behind what they did lead us to choosing them to be our agency.  We had 100% peace that by the end of the evening we left them with our first deposit and thus began the first stage of paperwork.
The next step we needed to do with them, was attend an all day class in Seattle.  We found out the next meeting was at the end of June, but it was on a friend's wedding day, whom I was suppose to do all the make up for.  Nick and I debated about it a bit, prayed about it, and I talked to my friend and her family.  The next meeting wasn't until September, and we would not be able to start our homestudy until we attended this meeting, so with my friend's gracious understanding, I left them with all the make up supplies that they would need, and off we went to Seattle the meeting. 
It was an interesting meeting.  One term that Nick and I had discussed a little was "open adoption."  That idea scared me.  There was an adoptive couple their with their birth parents, acting like such good friends with their little boy, and I did not understand this.  I knew I would not be able to handle something like that, so I made it very clear to Nick after that meeting I would only be okay with a semi-open adoption, but not at all up for anything like what we had just witnessed today.  One thing Bethany did share was that there was actually a lot of birth moms they were counseling through the decision of whether or not adoption was best for them, and they had a shortage of adoptive families right now.  For some reason that just encouraged me and Nick as we walked along this path, that the time was right. 
I immediately got to work on more paperwork, and on 4 original scrapbooks about Nick and I, that we needed to submit for each Bethany office in the Northwest.  We had to write autobiographies and answer specific questions about how we were raised.  We started our homestudy and met Roxanne - our caseworker who would walk us through the process.  I started going online and looking at pictures and letters written by hopeful adoptive parents that were waiting to be chosen, and I started praying for them.  One couple in particular stood out to me and I prayed my little heart out for them.  Then at one of our homestudy times Roxanne shared how there was a couple that had been waiting for a long time that just got placed with twins - and I went back online that night and saw that the couple I had been praying for had been placed.  I was SO excited for them.
By the end of September we had all our paperwork done and were approved for adoption, but we decided to wait to go one the waiting list, until November.  We were moving at the end of October, and I wanted to be settled in our new home and have a nursery ready before we went on the list.  In the middle of November we finally went on the list, and we then we waited.  During that time, my niece was born right after Thanksgiving, and I remember praying - so excited for Joy and Sam, and yet so aching that my time would be soon too, and I started off with my prayer... "Lord, I so badly want for Christmas..." and then I stopped....  and changed.  "Lord, You know what my heart wants for Christmas - I don't need to tell you that - Your timing is perfect, and I would rather have that than take control of this anymore."   So I surrendered the dream once more, and was willing to wait for HIS best. 

THE LORD'S PROVISIONS & BLESSINGS

I want to say, that after feeling like I kept hitting a brick wall in trying to get pregnant, that the moment we started the adoption process, there was nothing I could do to STOP what was going on - it was me and Nick along for the ride that God had planned for us.

One of the first things the Lord provided was a Job.  Solid Rock was planted on Easter of that year.  During that time, we wanted to help however we could.  Nick was working and in school for his master's degree, so I was the one with more free time during that season of life.  I started helping once a week in the office and then Doug Rathkey called to talk to me about having me work part time as a church secretary.  I was beyond excited to do it.  I hadn't worked since Nick and I were married, so me and my lack of tact wanted to make sure that Doug knew I had bad cramps that put me in bed once a month, just so he would know if that happened on a work day I might need to leave in the middle of the day.  Poor Doug - but he was very gracious and understanding and I committed to working through the end of September and thus began a very fun season of helping the pastors with a wide range of needs as our church was beginning.  I will always cherish the memory of that time, and the priviledge of getting to work for 3 godly guys, and see the heart behind the church that was being started, in a very real way.  It was a beautiful gift from the Lord that helped us save for adoption, and also allowed me to play a very small part in the HUGE thing HE was doing. 

Second thing He provided.  We sold our house - the home I dreamed of bringing my children home to. 
And we sold it very quickly.  We found an apartment to rent from my friend Jennifer for the exact amount of time that we needed while we would wait for our new Beaverton townhome to be built.  Our house closed just a few days before we went to go pick out all the features for our new place at Arbor Homes, which made it really special because it showed me God cares about the little details too - and allowed us to choose a few extra touches on our townhome to make it special.  Timing is everything.  We got to move into our new townhouse and thanks to a great suggestion I spent time painting rooms ahead of time, to really make our new place feel like home.  And the money from the difference in moving was enough to help us pay for our adoption. 

At the end of working at the church and before we moved, He even gave me the gift of a mini vacation with my friend Katherine - kind of a one last hurrah before children.  I will always be so grateful for that refreshing trip and the time spent.  

The Lord showed me so much during this season.  We can spend our lives discontent and unhappy because God isn't giving us what we want, or if we surrender, we can wait and follow what He calls us to, and He blesses us beyond what we would ever ask and think, in very different ways, but ways that place His fingerprints all over it to confirm that it is what HE has planned for us, and go along for the ride of seeking and following and obeying His leading. 

In Psalm 37 it talks about delighting in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.  That is something HE wanted to teach me - it wasn't about my desires, it was about how He made His desires mine.  Phil Comer once asked me when I was working at the church, if I would ever want to go back and change the way things were working out.  I didn't have any children yet in my arms, just the hope in my heart that we were moving forward to the direction God had for us, and I was able to confidently say, "No, because I would not have learned anything that the Lord wanted me to, and I would not be who I am today if I had gotten things the way I wanted."  God was so good to us. 

This is the verse that the Lord gave me during this season of waiting: 
Luke 1:45 Blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord. 

Praying that whatever season you are in, that you will believe in what the Lord has shown you and commit those heart desires to HIM! 

Babies are awake :)  Gotta run!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Day in the sun...

Today I did it.  I braved taking all four of my children to a park, with water, in the beautiful sunshine today.  I was a little nervous of how it was going to go.  But I really wanted to make it a special day especially for Josiah and Ava.  And let's just say God totally blessed that desire - because we had so much fun.  Josiah and Ava were so excited when we pulled up to the park.  They kept saying over and over how they "loved this park" and "thank you mommy for taking us to this park." 
They ran and played on the playground equipment for a little bit, and then came back for their swimsuits and got ready to go play in the water.  I had Mallory and Lena's suits.  But I was again aprehensive.  I showed Mallory and Lena the suits and asked if they wanted them on, and they did.  And it was so cute! 

I loved watching my older two fly about from fountain to fountain in the water with so much excitement and joy.



  
I loved watching Mallory and Lena try out walking in the water, and walking around in their cute little suits. 



I loved watching Josiah and Ava take turns helping Mallory and Lena to test the waters out. 

I loved how Josiah wore his BIG brother shirt today because he wanted to surprise Mallory and Lena. 

I was so blessed to see all four of my children having a beautiful time outside.

I was so blessed to be able to take them to Costco afterwards and get them treats to share from the Food Court.

We of course had our stressful moments of getting back loaded into the car at the park, or 3 in a tiny stall at Costco with Lena needing to poop and not being able to with all the noise and distractions, but it was SO worth it all.  I just had to share, because it has been awhile since I felt like I had a "successful" mom day, where I could take all four children out and find so much joy in watching them all truly Enjoy themselves.  I hope for many more days like this down the road.  I am so BLESSED!  Thank you Lord!