Okay...I figured out what I'm going to do. I have changed my blog address completely. I have saved this blog as a book, so I could probably email it to you if you ever had a need to have it or would like to share it with someone who may need the encouragment.
So, the new blog will be open to the public, again and I hope you will all keep reading...and commenting. I love comments! (That's for all you lurkers!!)
Here is the new blog address...it's still in the works, so bear with me.
Wow...it's been awhile! I've missed you all! So much has happened, but I am pretty sure you don't have 6 weeks to sit here and read my blog!
Life at our house has been full, to say the least. Everything is good...SO good. I have just been swamped with good things! We had our homeschool convention a couple of weeks ago and that ate up any extra time I had. It was a huge success though. This year was our first year to do TWO conventions in a row. The first was in Tulsa and then our annual convention here in OKC. Our trustee board felt God calling us to Tulsa. Doors opened and we prayed for 500 people...that's what we needed to cover our costs. We thought 700 people would be a HUGE answer to prayer. Well, we walked away from that 2 day conference with 1600+ people! Can I get a "Praise God"??? It was fabulous. Then in OKC, we had 3300+ people. We were praying that our numbers wouldn't be affected by the conference in Tulsa and they really weren't! We were only down by 200 people from the previous year. God is so good...in EVERYTHING! Oh...and my convention highlight? I got to meet my bloggy friend, Sara, who is now my "in real life" friend!I just love the way God brings people into our lives! It was SO good talking with Sara. Even though it was the first time we had actually SEEN each other, it was like we had always known each other. How cool is that??
So, I have spent the last two weeks trying to get everything and everyone back into a normal routine. Not sure it's going to happen! :)
So...are you wondering how Emma Claire is doing??? Well, what do you think??
She is such a joy. As you remember, I spent the first five days with her at the hospital. Now, I don't really buy into all of the "bonding at birth" stuff...some of it, yes, but I also believe you can bond outside of a hospital, at different points in life. That being said, Emma heard my voice almost every day for 9+ weeks before birth and then we spent 5 days together at the hospital. If I heard someone tell me what I am getting ready to write, I would probably roll my eyes...on the inside of course because I try not to be rude out loud! Emma came back to us after 7 1/2 months. From the time the worker handed her to me, it's like she knew I was her momma. She attached immediately. I know...it sounds crazy. But I know what attachement looks like. I know what the inability to attach looks like. Emma knew and I believe with all my heart that God protected the relationship and bond that He allowed us to create way back in the beginning. It's the only explanation there is.
Emma is 9 months old now. She started crawling this week, although she still cannot roll over front to back or back to front. Weird. She just started eating baby food and loves it. She gets really irritated when I am giving "X" fruit snacks or any other food that she cannot eat.
Speaking of "X"...we are praying that all works out and we will be able to adopt him by the end of the year. Right now, everything is looking like that will be possible. This will be a private adoption with details that are, well, just too much to share. What I can share is that the way we found out about him and all of the details were clearly from God. If Emma had come home with us when WE thought she should have, we would never have considered "X".
"X" and Emma are 8 months apart...the same age distance as Josiah and Jacob. I think that's pretty cool. They are SO cute together. I am posting some pics of him on here, but only because it's a private blog.
And speaking of that...I don't like being private. So, I think what I am going to do is start a different blog. It will have a different name, look, etc. I am hoping to write about many different topics. I will let you know when it's ready to go. You won't have to sign in or any of that junk, either. I had a life before Jacob died. We had other issues that when shared, I am hoping will be helpful to you and others. Did you know that Josiah is RAD? Did you know that Bryce was a severe asthmatic for four years and then he was healed? Would you like to know about our experiences in foster care and what the needs are in that arena? Did you know that I am an organizational freak?? And that I have done workshops on just this thing? Did you know that I like to cook for 3 months at a time?? Did you know that I'm a MOPS mentor??
I have so many ideas and experiences running around in this brain of mine that are just now ready to come back to the surface. Grief is going to have to take a back seat!!!
Okay...I DID go private for a few days, but realized when I was trying to add all of you who wanted to keep following me, that if I didn't have your email address, then I couldn't add you. There are some of you who do not have a blogger profile, and therefore your email is not connected to your comments. I CAN'T FIND YOU!!!
So, although I have SO much to share with you, I am going to wait a little while longer. If you are a lurker and emailed me, or not a lurker and emailed me, would you please leave a comment with your email address? Or you can email it to me at email@example.com . I won't stalk you...well, maybe....but probably not.
If you are a friend of mine on facebook, don't worry...I will be linking you to my site. And I promise none of you who want to follow me were the problem! (You guys are so funny!) The troublemakers wouldn't dare ask to follow me!
Alright...hurry up...I'm anxious to post!!! OH! And if you already received a notice that I added you, disregard this...you don't have to do anything else!
UGH! I so did NOT want to do this. But, at least for a little while, I must. There is some slandering going on that could cause (and has) major problems for us and while I know who it is, I can't stop it with a public blog. At least until Emma is final, and then hopefully I can come back.
I don't want to shut anybody out...well, other than about 2-4 people, but I feel like God has used this blog to minister to others and I have met SO many great friends through this blog. Sigh.
So, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post if you would like to still read my blogs. I hope you will hang on as I have learned so much from you all! Even if you are a lurker...email me and nobody will have to know! LOL!
I'll leave this for a couple of days and then I'll have to disappear! I feel like I need to go into the witness protection program. What's really sad is that some of the people involved were friends. Guess I didn't choose my friends wisely enough!
Emma Claire made her SECOND appearance (haha) on Thursday, March 18th, at 4:35pm. She is such a good baby. She sleeps all night, eats well, and smiles 95% of the time. She weighs 13 1/2 lbs...she's little. And adorable. And perfect!
Samara came over to me this morning and as she was smiling at Emma, she said, "Mommy, isn't Emma the perfect baby you've always wanted?" I told her that Emma was the exact baby God wanted to give to us. She agreed.
So, as far as adoption specifics, think of this like a private adoption where there is a 6 month waiting period for finalization. That's what we are doing. When DHS places a baby in an adoptive home (that was not their previous foster home) there is a 6 month waiting period. Basically, DHS is giving you a period of adjustment so that there is not an adoption disruption. Not gonna happen in this case, but sometimes problems become apparent in those 6 months when you have older children placed with you. The other difference is that a DHS worker will come to visit Emma once a month. Not a big deal to me. She is here. That's all that matters, right?
God is a good God. Always. In all things. Every time. Just sayin...
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." Jeremiah 17:7-8
"God is not a man that He should lie. He is not a human, that He should change His mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through?" Numbers 23:19
It's March 16, 2010 and in TWO MORE SLEEPS, I will see a promise fulfilled with my very own eyes! And so will you!
I spoke with the worker yesterday and she said Emma will be here sometime Thursday evening. (March 18) This is just three weeks after we went to court, six weeks since we recieved the phone call from Raychel.
When the Phillips get a baby...you know...the DHS way...the very first thing we do is give them a bath! (Actually, that was one of the first things I did with my bios, too! I need them to have our scent I guess!) I cannot wait to get my hands on that baby fro that Emma has on her head! And smother her with pink baby lotion! And rock her while she sucks her thumb!! OH MY GOODNESS!!
I cannot begin to tell you how easy this has been. I have NEVER had DHS go this smoothly. I don't know why I am surprised...God told me to sit back and let Him do this. And can I just tell you how much better it is this way???
I haven't shared this with you until now, but I believe it is just another sign that God has been in this entire story. (Not that there is any doubt...but...) Back in August when we pretty much gave up on Emma coming home with us, ever, I remember a still small voice saying "March". That was all. There wasn't anything else like, "Hey sister, I'm gonna give you your baby back in March, so hang in there." Or "Hey chica, I'm going to take care of your financial worries in March, so just be still." (Patrick got a raise and a bonus in a time when many are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts.) I have remembered that, and have had a peace about it all since August. Now, I'm not saying I never got anxious or frustrated, but in my spirit, I knew we would have answers in March. Isn't God good?
On the morning of court, I was pretty nervous. DHS court has always made me nervous, but this time was different. I had my phone playing my Pandora station and a song by Crystal Lewis came on that I had not heard before. I can't tell you how many times God has spoken to me through music...it's as if He is speaking to me face to face sometimes!
Close your eyes Take a step It's okay I know where we're going
Don't fret I've been before through these valleys down these long and dangerous roads yet dark as they seem
Trust me though you can't see you can trust me the way may be steep you can trust me let me lead....trust me
Open your eyes but don't let go of my hand let your tears give way to smiles see the joy inside the trial
Don't worry, you're safe with me around rest assured I'm on your side I won't let you hit the ground but close as it seems...
It's true that what's in front of you isn't always clear but you must believe it in your heart that I'm here...I'm here.
I just can't stop thinking about this verse and how good God is. He always does what He says He will do. ALWAYS!
Some things have changed since my last post. And I have yet to lift a finger. God is moving DHS like I have never seen them move before. As a matter of fact, this has been so easy that there is NO denying that God is all over Emma coming to us.
Our homestudy was turned in on Monday. If you recall, we started the DHS adoption process long before Emma came back into the picture. We had no idea....but God knew. Do you think that's why He was so insistent on our turning in our paperwork?
I also found out that DHS did want to open our home as a kinship foster placement so they can get Emma here sooner. I was a little worried that we would have to deal with our old county, but it wasn't even mentioned! So, the all walkthru was done and all paperwork turned in.
Yesterday, I received the email that said our home had been approved and opened. The five day notice was mailed to the foster family who has Emma (this is common procedure) and we are scheduled to get Emma placed in our home next Thursday, March 18!!! WOOHOO!! God is so good. No more hurdles. Our adoptive homestudy should be completed within a couple of weeks.
Now, we are not sure, but Emma may have to be in our home 6 months before we can finalize, which is common. I'm not worried about those little details.
I cannot wait to share her with you all! In the meantime, I will be attending the Oklahoma Homeschool Winter Summit this weekend. I have two workshops to give, one is easy...menu planning. The other is on grief and I just have to tell you, God has written this workshop Himself. As of tonight, at about 5pm, I had no idea what I was going so say. I had a LOT I COULD say, but not in any logical order. Then God started speaking through me. I am praying that God will bring those women who need to hear His word on Saturday. I would appreciate your prayers as I speak this weekend.
I will let you know when Emma gets here. There is a chance the foster home could say go ahead and take her and not wait the five days, so we COULD get her sooner, but I don't want to get my hopes up!!
Five years ago I asked God to give me more children. A girl. A tiny baby girl. God promised me through many scriptures that He would give me the desires of my heart...eventually.
Emma means "complete" and Claire means "with clarity". I felt then and now that God was telling us that when we received Emma Claire, our foster care/adoption/whatever journey would be over. Our family would be completed with this baby girl.
On July 31st, we believed that our Emma had been born. We would be taking her home forever. God had other plans.
But the promise had not changed.
Fast forward to February 3. I got the call from Raychel, Emma's cousin, asking if we would adopt Emma and could she still be a part of Emma's life. Ummm...it took me about 2 seconds to answer: YES!!!!
Fast forward to today. Court. Here is the prayer I wrote in my prayer journal on 2/5: "My prayer for Emma's adoption is that it will just happen - no red tape - no hoops - she will be handed over to us and DHS will be the one to make it happen."
And the verse I received that same day? "Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you. The Egyptians (DHS) that you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you! You won't have to lift a finger in your defense." Ex. 14:13-14
And that is exactly what happened in court today. Every player showed up. I took pictures of Emma as we were waiting for our name to be called. We were second on the docket! We all walked up and the worker started with her update. (Normal.)
And then Raychel spoke. And cried. And she said, "I want Tracy to have Emma because she was theirs first and they love her like I do. I will get to see her still and I know this is the best thing for Emma."
And with no other explanation, everyone agreed. PRAISE THE LORD! Our next court date is May 28 and the court is expecting that we can finalize at that time, if not before.
We did not bring Emma home today. I will try to explain it, but please understand that most of DHS doesn't make sense, even to them.
We are an adoptive couple. Emma is an adoptive placement. Our file and hers have to be sent to a "staffing" which is basically where they throw all the files out, mix them up, pull one from the adoptive couple pile and one from the adoptive child pile and stick them together to live happily ever after.
Okay...not exactly like that, but close. Basically, they will say "We have Emma. We want the Phillips to adopt her. K???" But until the staffing takes place, we can't accept placement of her. She will come to us as an adoptive placement, not kinship or foster, which is another praise. We did NOT want to have to deal with Cleveland county ever again.
The only catch with this is that they only have adoptive staffings ONCE a MONTH! So, we have to wait until the March staffing.
After court, Raychel spoke with the worker and was told that she had already spoken with her supervisor and they are going to have Emma in our home by the end of March. This was yet ANOTHER confirmation that this is really happening.
I will be calling my adoption worker on Monday to let her know what is going on and try to find out when they do their staffings.
I am full of awe tonight. I knew that I knew that I knew God had promised this baby. To God be the glory, great things He has done.
Please keep Raychel in your prayers as this is very hard on her. Maybe I should wait to tell her that her visits with Emma will now include the rest of the kids...it's a package deal!
Oh...and to be clear...I did not have to lift a finger in my defense. Amazing!
I don't have time to give you all the details, but I promise I will blog about it later. God was in control of the entire situation and we have been told by those in charge that she will be in our home by the end of March!!! We are just waiting on the regular DHS process, which is to be expected and would be the same with ANY child we were adopting...I promise to be more detailed later!!
How can I EVER thank you all for all of your prayers????
Now it will spring forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19
I have been re-reading some of my posts tonight as I am preparing for court tomorrow. God is so good. How He has held me in His hand for SO long.
When I started writing last night, the words just filled the page. It was not what I had planned on writing. As a matter of fact, when I went to bed, I thought "Crap! I didn't even get to tell them what awesome thing God did for me!" You know...in addition to all the other awesome stuff He has done.
So, the night before we go to court, I wanted to tell you what God did for me last week. On February 3, when "R" called me, I called the private adoption attorney we had retained for Emma. I figured since we never actually went to court at anytime (other than when she filed the custody papers) that we had at least some to half of our retainer left. I give the info to the secretary and she tells me they will see me in court.
A week later, the secretary calls and asks for $1000 to be put toward my account. WHAT??? Okay, I don't mind paying for a service, but first of all, I want an invoice. Secondly, my biggest concern was losing that $1000. Court is going to go one of two ways: 1 - We get Emma, she is now a DHS adoption, which DHS pays for, or 2 - We don't get Emma, but are still planning on adopting through DHS, which they pay for. It seemed to me that I was going to be losing $1000 either way.
I prayed. I prayed for a check in the mail (you know how I love mail!) or that God would close the door on my attorney. (Let me be clear...she is a very nice woman...I don't have any ill feelings toward her and would recommend her if someone asked me.) I just didn't have $1000 to give. So I prayed for the next week and a half. As I prayed and thought about it, I realized that I really didn't NEED an attorney with me. This is all about DHS's own policy...as long as they choose to follow it. So I sent my attorney a letter letting her know we would no longer be needing her services.
I then decided to contact our DHS attorney that we used for all of our adoptions...just to see what needed to be done, etc. Long story short, she offered to come to court with me tomorrow. And are you ready for the "God" part???
Wait for it.....
Wait for it.....
She is NOT charging me a DIME!!! Hallelujah, what a Savior!! Talk about a road in the wilderness and a river in the desert!!!
"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for." Jeremiah 29:11
I have received this verse TWICE today. Not once, but TWICE. And it's not like I wasn't listening the first time...I was. I guess God just knew I needed it more today.
(about 20 minutes after I finished this blog, I read that verse yet AGAIN!!!!)
Court is 36 hours from now. If I sleep for 16 of those hours, you know...the eight hours a night that my body screams for but rarely gets, that leaves me with 20 hours to wait. OH the waiting!
I believe God is going to give Emma to us. With all my heart, mind, and soul, I believe Him to be a keeper of His promises. With every tiny detail that He has orchestrated, not only in the past 5 1/2 years since I recieved the promise, but also in the past 3 weeks, since I received the phone call, He has been in the process of answering my prayers.
But, if it doesn't work out and Emma doesn't come home with us, again, God is still the keeper of His promises. I believe that with all of my heart. It will just mean that God needs to grow me some more. I'm ready to grow. I believe I have grown mightily since Jacob died. Too bad tragedy had to happen for me to get my big girl pants on and do what I needed to do! I have always said I never wanted to be a "Beth Moore" or "Anne Graham Lotz" because they both experienced a lot of pain and suffering to get to where they are spiritually. Well, while I will NEVER compare to either of them, I am thankful that God is making beauty from my ashes.
Before I roll into bed, I will share one more "coincidence" with you. (Knowing full well that I don't believe in coincidence!) If you remember, back in August, I posted this ://http://2blessedtobestressed.blogspot.com/2009/09/human-plans-no-matter-how-wise-or-well.html. I have no idea how to post a link with one highlighted word like all those smart bloggers do. UGH! Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I had sent out a fleece. Well, actually five. The last one was sort of a joke, because God made me this way.
I truly said, "Oh, and by the way, God, could you send me something in the mail to let me know all of this is going to work out?" He could if He wanted to. Do you remember what God sent me in the mail?? (Yes...He DID speak to me through the mail!)
A CAN OF BABY FORMULA!!! I still laugh at how personal our God is. He didn't have to answer ANY of my silly fleeces, but He chose to because He loves me and likes to see me smile.
Anyway, fast forward to a few days after the phone call about Emma. "R" and I are talking and she and her fiance are very concerned about Emma's formula. I told them I would use whatever formula they were using for her as long as she did well on it. She told me the only kind they had found that worked was Enfamil with Lipils. As I was talking with my mom about it, she said, "Tracy, I just had a thought. What kind of formula did you receive in the mail?" I had not thought about it because although I kept the can, I had put it in a cabinet. You probably know where this is going...
YES! It was the SAME formula that Emma needs!! God takes care of all the details, doesn't he??
Wow. I still get goose bumps when I think about it.
Court is at 9am on Friday, 2/26. I can already feel your prayers!!
and we finally have the marker for Jacob's grave. The iron part was donated to us by wonderful people. The marble slab was chosen when my uncle, who died in January, was laid to rest next to Jacob.
It is finally here and in place:
I have decorated my house...many times...perused designing magazines, websites, and walked through more Open Houses than I can count, but never did I imagine planning or designing the grave marker for one of my children.
I gave Jacob's information and the Bible verse I wanted and the rest was done for me. I could not have chosen better myself...nor did I want to. Some people are very much about the details of a funeral/grave. I really never cared. I remember saying to our funeral director, more than once, "What would you do?" I am grateful for him. I have never cared about graveside etiquette, as I don't make a habit of visiting them.
Lest you be offended, it doesn't bother me if that kind of thing is important to you. It really doesn't, but my memories of Jacob are NOT at his graveside. As a matter of fact, I can't remember ANYTHING good about that dirt covered coffin in the ground. My baby is not there. When I think about that place, his graveside, my mind fills with sadness. There was no happiness there the day we buried him. People were crying. Who wants to dwell on that?
Eighteen months later, some days at least, I would rather remember Jacob climbing on the furniture...here in our home. Or watching the pictures of him play across my computer. Or listen to my kids talk about the memories they have of him. Other days, I try not to think about it at all. Because that's how I roll...whether it's good for me or not!
So I just wanted to share, eighteen months later...
Oh...I almost forgot! The verse was one that God gave me when we were praying about doing foster care. It was also the verse on Jacob's funeral program (chosen by I don't know who) so we thought it would be very appropriate for his marker.
"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come unto me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.'" Matthew 19:14
If you come to my blog to be encouraged, well, this may not be the day for it. If you are a serious type reader, you can stop reading RIGHT NOW. Today's post will be neither encouraging, nor will it be serious. As a matter of fact, for some people, it could be plain offensive!
Although in reality there is really NOTHING funny about what I am going to share, if we don't laugh at ourselves sometimes, then we end up a heaping mess crying in the corner of the closet, hoping we don't find mouse poop sitting there with us!
For those of you who don't know me in real life, I have spent 35 out of the last 37 years of my life trying to either gain weight, or keep weight on. I had a weight problem, but it was one that most people envy...it was a problem, none the less. As I have always said, if your clothes don't fit, it's a pain in the rear, whether you are big or small!
Take heart! I no longer have this problem. Stop the applause...that's just rude! It all started about the second year we were doing foster care. I had been warned that one of the symptoms of being a foster parent (other than collecting babies) was weight gain. Whatever. I had never been able to gain weight before, so I wasn't worried about it. (Seriously...when my 4th child was born, I tried to KEEP all of my baby weight!) SICK...I know...and I'm sorry.
So I gained about 10 pounds...in about 2 months. Fine. That was good. Now I could shop in the normal stores. BUT...since Jacob died, I have increased my weight by about, ummmm, well, A LOT!!! And unfortunately, that weight gain, combined with my terrible skin tone (a gift from my mother) has caused quite the jello belly.
(Side note...the skin tone thing...evidently this is a curse from my mother's side of the family. Not only are we stark white in color...I don't tan...I bleach...but we have dimple skin, no matter what our weight. I once weighed 107 lbs and had cellulite that should have been on an 80 year old woman's body! I wish I were exaggerating here.)
So, as I sit with my homeschool mom friends one Wednesday morning, the subject of jello belly/muffin tops came up. See, I hang with a group of gals who have all had at least 3 children. It's where I feel most comfortable. :) They also battle this fierce jello problem. Evidently, they had a secret I wasn't aware of. SPANKS. So they explained the idea, explicitly. I was told where to buy them, how to wear them, etc so that I would no longer have to deal with the jello belly that had become my nemesis when trying to put on a pair of jeans!
I did it. I faced the jello beast that had become my belly and I bought the "extra firm control" pair of fake Spanks. (I was told they were just as good.) I couldn't WAIT to get home. As I was driving home, eating my bag of M&M's and drinking my Pepsi, I had glorious pictures of a once flat tummy returning to me. I almost couldn't eat the whole bag of M&M's! (But I did.)
I got home, snuck my fake Spanks into the bathroom so I could take them for a spin! But wait. Where are those instructions??? Yes, I put them on correctly. But this is not the look I was going for!
Instead of my fake Spanks flattening my oh so jello belly, the muffin roll moved. Yes, my tummy was indeed flat, my jeans were loose even, but now I had this roll sitting right under my, err, breasts. WHAT????? Now I needed TWO bras!
My belly looked fabulous, but that extra bulge in the sweater?? Not so much. And then I tried to sit down. I truly believe that the fat roll was cutting off my oxygen supply. I almost couldn't get out of those fake Spanks before I passed out from lack of air! I looked again at the instructions...there was no warning label. There should always be warning labels on dangerous products...like fake Spanks.
So, I have decided to embrace the jello belly that is mine. I am a 37 year old mother of 7. I worked hard for this jello belly. My husband loves me anyway, so I guess I should work on the inside and not worry so much about the outside.
Besides...as my friend reminded me last night...everybody loves jello!
I am kind of a blog stalker. I read many, but post very seldomly...unless I know you well. But I came across this new blog (well, new to me blog) and she had a great idea. We bloggers are all about the followers! We want lots! This is a fun way to get to know some other fabulous bloggers. Here's how it works:
1: Click on the Getting To Know You Button on my sidebar...it's at the top right.
2: This will take you to Dancing Barefoot...then leave a comment about your blog. Tell what you write about and what type of blog you have. (She has great instructions for you.)
3: Grab the Getting To Know You button and place it on your sidebar. That way we know you are a participant.
That's what this feels like. When I look back, I feel like when we left the hospital in August WITHOUT Emma in her little carrier with the carseat cover I made for her (you know the one with the matching diaper bag, burp rag, and going home outfit that all matched because I am anal like that???) it was the end of a movie. One of those movies that kind of leaves itself open to a sequel. Of course, I had no idea if/what/when/how/where/why this sequel would be written. And now we are living out the sequel.
I told "R" (Emma's cousin who has her) last night that it feels like she is the one giving Emma up and I am adopting from her. I keep getting these thoughts and feelings like I had when I was waiting for "E" to give birth to Emma. Although, I do have to say that "R" is MUCH less stressful than "E" because she is NOT a crazy drug addict! And as my mom said, for some reason, Emma and probably "R", too, needed these past 6 months together. If we had taken Emma home in August, it is extremely likely that she would have never known her family, her history, her past. "R" is here to make sure that doesn't happen and for that I am extremely greatful. I will have to tell you more about "R" one day, if she approves, as I think you will love her the way we are starting to.
At this point, for all intents and purposes, Emma is HER baby. (Minus the DHS involvement!) She is making an extremely difficult decision to do what she feels God is telling her to do. Give Emma to us. Please keep her and her fiance in your prayers as this new story unfolds. (AND she is going to teach me how to fix Emma's hair! WOOHOO!!) I will share more of the details of little things like how she just could never make herself erase my phone number. ("E" had called me one time from her phone.) It's one of those little details that God orchestrates that we would miss if we aren't looking for His hand in our everyday lives.
I read this quote in the Bible study I am teaching at our church: "If I knew everything God knew, and had His heart, I would allow what God allows." Wow. That means even the really bad stuff. The terrible things that happen, like when your two year old gets caught between the dresser and the bed and dies in your home.
So, even though I know that God is in control, my flesh continues to question and worry. I know, someone should put me in time out! "R" and I only know each other through email and phone conversations. She only has my word telling her we are going to take care of and love Emma. I only have her word that she is going to let us do that. But, I also have the promises and the fleeces that I sent out and God answered!
Last night as I was doing my Bible study, I was really enjoying it and God was showing me many things. But it hit me, "God, you haven't said anything to me about Emma and what is going on with her." As I am flipping through Hebrews, looking up a verse that had NOTHING to do with Emma, there is a verse on a page that literally jumped out at me. Yes, like in the movies when the print jumps off the page...like that!! And here is what God said to me:
The Certainty of God's Promise "When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying 'I will surely bless you and give you many descendents." And, so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." Hebrews 6:13-15
God promised Emma. Last night, I was talking to my mom about all that has happened. If Emma had come home with us from the hospital, like I had planned, then God's promise to me would have been fulfilled. He would have received all the glory, all the praise, it still would have been His answer to my prayers. But as I told my mom last night, God is a showoff. And please don't get me wrong. I mean absolutely NO disrespect by what I just said. But as I think about it and all that has happened in my heart since we lost Emma, isn't it just so GOD to present us with the unimaginable?? Bringing Emma home from the hospital wasn't really a big deal. People adopt and bring their babies home all the time. But to get her after 6-7 months? THAT is GOD!!!
I leave you with a verse God has given me from the beginning of His promise of a baby to me...
"Look at the nations and watch, be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days, that you would not believe, even if you were told." Habakuk 1:5
...that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
This is the verse that God spoke to me on August 5, 2009, the day after we came home from the hospital WITHOUT Emma Claire.....
Last week, we had an ice storm. That left us stuck at home for MANY days in a row. My normal "stuck at home" activities would be to clean out a closet or bedroom or something like that. You know you aren't going anywhere, therefore, you know you can stay on task! Instead, I rediscovered my love of digital scrapbooking. I started digi-scrapping about the time we started doing foster care. It served two purposes. Much easier to get in and out and I needed the closet space that all of my scrapbooking supplies were occupying! So I began. I collected the digi papers and elements and learned the program well. And then Jacob died.
Only recently have I TRULY begun to feel like the old me. I decided it was time to organize my scrapbooking stuff...on my laptop! I had experienced a hard drive crash since I last used the program, so I had to reinstall EVERYTHING....like 4000 papers and elements. It took me 2 days sitting in the recliner, while watching "What Not To Wear" and "Cake Boss". (It was that or the psycho weathermen talking about the "liquid rain"...not sure what other kind of rain possibilities there are, but whatever.)
And then the creativity began. I decided to move from the most recent pics and go backward. I was doing well, but pictures of Emma kept popping up. I was actually tired of looking at them, so I did a two page layout so I could delete the pics. I journaled about our hopes for her and God's plan, finished the page, and felt like I was closing that chapter, for good. It was nice to be mentally and emotionally able to do so in a way that I felt remembered Emma, but didn't dwell on her.
Today, I received a most unexpected phone call. "E's" cousin called me today asking if we had a baby yet. I told her that we did not. She asked if we would/could adopt Emma Claire. (That is what SHE called her...I found that interesting.) We talked some and she explained to me some very valid reasons as to why she would not be able to adopt Emma. She seems very sweet. Evidently, she was told that I was providing "E" with drugs and trying to buy/steal her baby. That is why the cousin stepped in and she said had she known the truth, she never would have taken Emma from us. I laughed because that is what "E" had told us about her cousin!
I don't know all the details of what might happen, but she asked me to please go to court with her on February 26. She plans on telling the judge that she will not be adopting and explaining the situation we had. We are considered a kinship, and our adoption homestudy is in the works, so having her placed with us should not be a problem. (They were willing to open us up as kinship when she was born.) We just need clarity and guidance.
"E's" cousin said that she had been praying really hard about what to do and God brought me to her mind. She feels He answered her prayer. As far as DHS is concerned, Emma is free for adoption. The judge is the same judge we had for Jacob. I feel like God has been moving in this all along. DUH!
Although I don't seem to do this often enough, I got home today and went straight to my Bible. I will leave you with a request to pray for us and the verse God spoke to me, again, today:
"Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14
I have been struggling. I am going to be quite honest here today. It may not be pretty, but it all needs to come out. If you have followed my blog for very long, you will remember that back in June-August of last year, we were matched with a homeless woman who wanted us to adopt her baby girl. "E" was talked about and prayed for here on my blog. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, check out my archives from June-August...I have no idea how to attach posts like those professional bloggers do!)
We all know how that ended...badly. "E" was/is a homeless drug addict by choice. I learned so many things about her world while spending time with her. I came to really resent homeless people. They are living on the streets, collecting social security checks for their "mental illnesses", spending those checks within about 2 days of getting them, and we are ultimately paying for their addictions. (Now, I really haven't had a change of heart in this regard...I believe these people should be drug tested before receiving their government checks. No, I don't know how you would oversee it, or care, I'm just saying!)
And then there was the mother of my former foster kids who used and abused us with the promise of her baby (that she wasn't even pregnant with). Burned by yet another homeless person.
So, fast forward a couple of months after "E" and I am asked to head up our women's ministry at church. I wanted to, I knew God was leading me to this, but there was something missing in my spirit. First of all, they wanted us to help the homeless. Ummm...nope. Sorry. I will support you all in what you want to do, but I am done with homeless drug addicts. DONE!!!
I felt totally justified in this. Those homeless people deserve what they get. They chose to do the drugs. They chose this life. And on and on the excuses went. I mean really, can you blame me? Just look what these people did to us and all we were doing was trying to help them!
So there. Someone else will deal with the homeless, I'll help with everything else. And our women's ministry moves forward.
As you know, Patrick and I are praying to adopt through DHS. This is straight adoption, not foster care. The children available have already served their time in foster care and need a forever family. Because DHS changes their rules all the time, there was a 3 hour class that has been added since we first started doing foster care. So, last week, the coldest night ever (in my opinion), we head downtown to take our class. We stop at a Taco Bell to eat, and because of the temperatures, there are some homeless people coming in and out to warm up. We were just blocks from the bridge where "E" lives. Patrick and I were finishing eating and this homeless couple walks in. They are freezing. She was carrying all of her belongings and her hands were frozen. When I say that, I am not talking about when you or I get out of our warm vehicles to pump gas, or run to the mailbox from our warm homes and claim that we are freezing. This woman was in pain. He was trying his best to warm her hands, but his hands were cold, too. I watched them as they were trying to figure out how to get her warm.
I walked over and handed her my gloves. Her eyes lit up like I had handed her a million dollars. My heart was breaking for her. She said, "Oh, thank you! Bless you!!" He said, "We were trying to get her warmed up, this is going to help."
And we walked out, got in our truck that was warm in about 2 minutes, and I put on the extra pair of gloves that were in my truck. It wasn't even a sacrifice for me. Not only did I have a pair in the truck (you know, a different color so that my ensemble is never an eyesore) but I have a couple of pair for EACH of my coats!!! If I wanted to, I could have had Patrick take me to the nearest store to replace my gloves. How I wish I had had the time to go buy a bunch of gloves and pass them around downtown.
Let me clue you in on the bigger thing here. God told us to go back to DHS. I did NOT want to go to a stupid 3 hour class that is supposed to tell me how wonderful it is to be friends with our adopted children's parents. (Been there, done that, they stole my t-shirt!) It was SO cold and I almost cancelled. But God had other plans. You see, he knew from before I was born that I was going to be hurt by homeless people. He also knew that I would have this encounter that would totally soften my heart towards the homeless again. Praise God.
That bitterness and hate that I was holding onto was gone the moment the gloves passed from my hands to hers.
"He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses." Proverbs 28:27
"We are weak BUT He is strong!"
I am THE wife of Patrick, for 18 years. We are the biological and adoptive parents of nine blessings, learning to lean completely on our Father after the death of our 2 year old, Jacob, in 2008. We have homeschooled our children for twelve years and would not have it any other way.