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LOVE

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Our Errett Love was born on September 16, 2013 at 3:04pm.  She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 20 inches long!  Overwhelmed by God’s blessing!  It was such a surreal feeling to hold our beautiful healthy baby girl…so perfectly made….instantly in love with a stranger…I held her, not yet knowing her personality…all her actions being selfish..what SHE needs, when SHE needs it.  Loving her not because we share DNA, but because she was given to me and called mine.  I delight in her…her every yawn…every blink…every sigh…every smile!  I would give my life for her…but I would not give her life for anyone.  I have been living in this more palpable understanding of God’s love for me.  He loves me, not because of anything I’ve done, but because I am His.  He would not only give His life for me, but He gave His SON’S life for me.  Unimaginable…completely humbling.

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Our sweet girl is growing so fast and we are settling in as a family of three…however normalcy..or at least our new version of it is still a while away.  During labor, I irritated my femoral nerve and have been having trouble walking and moving my left leg.  I fell once (not while holding Errett) but I am still too nervous to carry her anywhere!  We do think that my nerve is improving and I am praying for strength and for patience during this time of waiting for it to heal.

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Waiting is life…life is waiting.  There is always something…waiting to get married…waiting to get pregnant…waiting to give birth…waiting to meet our little one(s) who are waiting across an ocean for their family…waiting for God’s return…waiting…waiting.  Waiting is hard…exciting…exhausting…thrilling…hoping…changing.  God does something…something huge…transforming…during the wait.  He breaks me, shapes me, pulls me close and changes me into a closer reflection of Him.  I am learning to not only live in the wait, but embrace the wait…truly love the wait…it is where He meets me…it is where I am alive…looking forward while enjoying the now…all at the same time.

We have been number 19 on our agency’s wait list for the past two months while court has been closed.  We are having a huge fundraiser at the end of November…if you want more info, let me know!  Pray that we will raise enough to be fully funded for the remaining expenses.  So excited!!

Fun with Burp Cloths

I found some awesome fabric a while back and finally got to use some of it to “cutify” some plain white burp cloths.  I am happy with how they turned out even with my inexperience and extremely beginner sewing abilities.

E for Errett

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our love

our love

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dress

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I just cut out the fabric, sewed around the edges and in the middle to help reinforce and left the edges rough.  We shall see how they hold up! 😉

Little Love’s Nursery

Here are some pics of our little girl’s nursery…ready and waiting for her arrival!!!

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Heart mobile I made

Heart mobile I made

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I have a feeling I’ll be spending quite a bit of time here!

floating bookshelves

floating bookshelves

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close up of shelves

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dresser/changing table we refinished

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It’s been a while!

Wow, I have neglected this little blog for quite a while!!  For the month of May, we were number 46!  Our June number was 44 and our July number was 36!  But August was a HUGE jump!  Throughout the month of July, 19 children were matched with their forever families!!!!  For August we are number….20

So amazed at the power of God and so excited for the movement!  It has been so incredible seeing families matched with their children!  Families in our Called to Care (orphan care group) at our church have started coming home with their kiddos and it has been so powerful to see!  Love the full circle and getting to witness God’s story playing out!!!

At the same time, I am getting so close to my due date!  I will be 35 weeks along this Friday.  Around 19 weeks, we found out that it’s a GIRL!!!  We are naming her Errett Love.  🙂  Errett was my great-grandmother’s name and Love because God has been taking us on a journey of discovering the true meaning of that word.  Love is not this fluffy, feel-good, light as air feeling that it gets pegged as so often.  Love is hard…brutal even.  Love is messy…completely and fully selfless…sacrificial even to the point of death.  Love is the ultimate gift…a gift that is so undeserved, but so fully and completely given.

We have been crazy busy trying to finish up the nursery and getting as prepared as possible!  Planning on posting pics of the nursery next!

A Sensitive Day

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to post something. But how do I put so many emotions…years…into words? Here goes nothing…
I have always viewed Mother’s Day as a Hallmark Holiday. Not evil or wrong in any way, but a secular “holiday” created to encourage the purchase of things. My mom is amazing and I love her so much (“her children rise up and call her blessed” Proverbs 31), but I do not feel that this should only be expressed on this one day, nor should I run out and spend money on a $4 card and a necklace. But as we began trying to conceive and month after month were “unsuccessful,” I began dreading this “holiday.” As April ends and May begins, the commercials, the conversations all seem to focus on Mother’s Day…what are you getting/giving? For three years, I changed the channel, shut it out, did my best to hold in the flood that threatened to tip over my eye lids. But on THAT Sunday…Mother’s Day…it was different. I NEEDED to go to church…more than anything I NEEDED that to be a safe place. But that day in May, it wasn’t. I held my breath as the slide show played…all those sayings about moms…I tried my best to cry quietly through the sermon when all I wanted to do was sob uncontrollably from the pain in my heart. When it was finally over, I resisted the overwhelming urge to run to the car. The Mother’s Days following that one, we skipped church. I wanted to stay inside until the sun came up on Monday and Mother’s Day was over. With every cute quip about how mom’s are the best and so underappreciated, the Enemy would flood my mind with shoutings of “you are NOT a mom…you ache and long for children but you don’t have any and may never! You would give anything to be an overworked and underappreciated mom, but it doesn’t matter.” My eyes still overflow as I write the words that haunted me for so long. I went through the grieving process…sadness, frustration, confusion, anger, numbness, pain, and finally surrender. I grieved the loss of a dream…of something I longed for…of the picture slipping from my fingers. God continued to speak into my life…that quieter voice…the still, consistent…POWER. God’s whisper eventually drowned out the shout of the enemy. God took the pieces of my heart and held them together. God took the picture I had for my life and shattered it…broke it into a million pieces. He destroyed my dream and began weaving His…the story HE has for my life. He broke us, ruined “our” lives. He opened our squeezed-shut eyes to the least of these. He flooded us with faces of orphans. Now, our lives…the picture of my family…will look completely different from what I thought I wanted…I am so humbled and overwhelmed by God. He did not remove our pain, but gripped us IN our pain and redeemed us THROUGH the pain. He did not save us FROM the pain, but USED it and for that I am so thankful. I pray that this pain…this raw aching sensitivity will not be removed from my heart. I want it forever so that I will be acutely aware of the ache/pain in those around me and hopefully be able to provide a loving shoulder instead of be so removed from it that I make a flippant remark that causes the knife to twist a little.
I am so thankful for what God has brought me through, but am keenly aware that the sensitivity and encouragement that Mother’s Day should evoke is sadly lacking. This week the morning show on a local radio station was debating when a woman is deserving of a Mother’s Day gift…when they are pregnant or only when they are “really” a mother…making sacrifices for her children? I cringed and changed the station…so sad that this day can cause and bring so much pain when we should be building each other up. I want to encourage whoever is reading. If you are experiencing the torture of infertility, suffering through a miscarriage, grieving the loss of a child or your mother…God is with you this Sunday…He is with you EVERY day. God hears your wordless cries. Keep crying out to HIM and listen for that whisper that drowns out the shouting. If you are a mother…be sensitive during this time…open your eyes to those around you that may be suffering…don’t try to answer or console their pain, but LISTEN and SERVE them. Cherish your babies…speak of them as the blessing they are to you. Don’t let Hallmark convince you that you deserve a day or even a moment when it is ALL about YOU. As followers of Christ, we are called to ALWAYS be all about OTHERS.

Update and Big News!

We went from number 55 to number 52 for the month of February.  Our March number is…51

Isn’t it great when God overwhelms you with His power…with His love…His timing…His grace?!  When He overwhelms to the point of speechlessness!  When all you want to do is shout at the top of your lungs praise to His name, but the words just aren’t there…they aren’t sufficient.  So often this feeling comes through pain…through submitting to His wiping away of your idea of how your life should be and embracing His plan…His perfect plan for your life.  I have had this feeling several times since beginning the adoption process.  When the obstacles seemingly in our way disappeared and when money seemed to come straight from Heaven and we would suddenly have the amount we needed on the day it was due!  I have no doubt that I will experience this feeling many more times and especially when we bring our little one(s) home from Ethiopia!  How amazing He is…how there are NO words to fully describe Him and His work in our lives!

We have been very much experiencing this wordless awe of God recently.  On January 20th, I took a pregnancy test so that I could call the doctor the next day and tell them I had exceeded my previously set record of days between my cycles and to ask if there was anything medically concerning about that.  Well….the test was POSITIVE!  After almost 4 years…too many pregnancy tests to count…this test had an extra line that I had never seen before!  The only words I got out to Blaise when I looked at the test was, “Umm…what is this?”  Hahaha…a little bit of disbelief!  We managed to go to church, although I must admit I am not completely sure what the sermon was about that day.  When we got home, I took another test and it was positive also!

The next day, Monday, I called my doctor and told the nurse that I thought I was maybe pregnant and needed to come in.  She asked if I had taken a test and I told her I had taken two and they were both positive…her response, “then you’re pregnant, honey.”  🙂  I mean they could have put two broken tests in one box, right??  They thought I was a lot farther along than I really was so I got to go in and have a sonogram.  They found that I have a bicornuate (heart-shaped) uterus and a cyst on one of my tubes.  So these things plus the fact that I didn’t ovulate every month would point to difficulty/not likely to get pregnant.  The first time we heard the heartbeat, I was 6 weeks 4 days and the heart rate was 127 bpm….a week later it was up to 155 bpm!  Here is a pic at 7 weeks 4 days…tummy baby 7w4d

I went to the doctor for the third time this past Thursday (10 weeks 6 days) and the heartbeat was 177 bpm!  So now I am starting to allow this amazing news to fully sink in.  It is a unique feeling…I was already expecting…I had a baby or maybe two growing in my heart while physically in another country…on another continent… and now I also have a baby growing in my tummy.  All equally mine and all fully in God’s hands.

We will continue to move down the waiting list for our referral and when we are next, our agency will pause us until this little one is 6 months old.  Then, we will be available for our referral!  We are so thrilled and amazed and cannot wait to have all our littles in our arms!

January 2013 Number Update!!!

We got the monthly update email from our agency today!  We are so excited about more movement!!!  For the month of January, we are number…..

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In the month of December, NINE orphans were matched with their forever families!  So thankful and excited for them and their families!  We are so encouraged by the amount of referrals that have been going out!  A smaller number each month is very exciting and reenergizes our hope in the wait.  It’s so neat to see the list of children that were matched each month…not only does it mean we are getting closer to our child(ren), but we get to rejoice that those families have seen their child(ren)’s face(s) and that God is setting the lonely in families!

Looking back on 2012…what a whirlwind…what a transformation!  The middle/end of February will mark 1 year in the adoption process and 6 months of “officially waiting!”  God has done so much in our lives over the past year.  Trust…probably our word for the year!  Trusting God…in timing…in strength…in money…trusting His provision…His power…His LOVE!

I’ll leave you guys with a picture of one of my Christmas presents from my amazing hubby! 🙂  Isn’t he the best!

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Merry Christmas

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Every single time “Merry Christmas” by Third Day comes on the radio I end up sobbing.  I convince myself that it’s a healthy outlet. 😉  This Christmas is full of many different emotions…the waiting…ahh the waiting.  Pure torture!  Something is missing…someONE is not with us!  During this waiting, I am becoming more aware of the good in the wait.  I have the opportunity to advocate for my child…for orphans…increase awareness of the orphan crisis…educate people on the adoption process.  While fundraising, I have realized that asking for money or selling things to hurry up and get “fully-funded” isn’t really the point…the point is to tell our story, to share what God is doing with our lives.  God is using people to bring our child(ren) home and I am blown away…by people’s financial contributions…by their willingness to help…by God…by God’s provision…by His use of people and His timing that is nothing short of perfect!

On Christmas day, my grandma, mom, sister and I went to see Les Miserables!  Words cannot describe how amazing it was!  I have seen the play…not on Broadway or anything, just a local theatre.  This movie was very well done!  I was familiar with the story line by Victor Hugo, but was better able to understand it and follow it since this was my second time seeing the story played out.  The Gospel message is undeniable.  Not only did the intense emotion displayed by the actors and the goosebump-causing music, but the truth in the lyrics brought me to tears….this blog post is giving the impression that I have been crying all the time!  I really have not…promise! 😉  The line that went straight to my heart…”to love another person is to see the face of God.”  WHOA!  So much depth…so much truth…even in just that one line!  Definitely a must see!

We had a white Christmas and are so blessed!  Trusting in this wait, but longing for our child(ren) to be home!

December Number!!

We got our monthly update from our adoption agency today!!!  LOVE it when it’s early!  There are 10 less orphans in the world!  Their families have seen their beautiful faces and will soon bring them home!

We moved down the list 8 spots…I am beyond excited to announce that our number for December is….