Our Miracle Boy

Most of you have seen our video, introducing our newly official son, Dalton. Our adoption day was Friday, and we spent the weekend celebrating big.

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We wanted to show off his handsome face and let you oooh and ahhh over those blue eyes like we do. But what we couldn’t fit in the video was the miraculous entwining of Dalton’s story and ours. God’s hand moved mightily through our lives, and I don’t believe the details are small coincidences.

The first miracle of our meeting was announced during the first home visit after Dalton was placed with us. Our support-worker said, “he never should have come to you. They made a mistake.”

On the day Dalton was to be moved, the DCS employee making the call mixed something up, and called us by mistake. She was supposed to have called a waiting family, pre-selected as an adoptive home. She was supposed to call someone else. But she called us. And we said yes. Thank God for her mistake.

I also discovered, reading through old journals, that on the day Dalton was born, I had a dream that woke me in tears about our baby. We had adopted a newborn baby and it felt so real, my heart ached for weeks afterward. I believe God was telling me I was a mother. I only needed to wait.

But my favorite detail of our miracle boy’s story is this: on the day Dalton went into state custody the first time, we signed up for our first foster care classes.

It was our first step toward each other. Both of us stepping out into the unknown at the same time. Our stories took time, both stories moved through pain and fear. But God knew. The stirring in our hearts was big and planned from the start.

As Dalton so beautifully explained a few nights ago before bed, “I was in your heart and God told you, ‘be patient’ and you were waiting for your Dalty and God told you, ‘wait for that Dalty!’ and then I was here!”

Thank you, Lord. My son is here.

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So Many Things

It’s been quite a while since I blogged. There are so many things I missed, so I’ll just go over the main points for now. I really want to get back into the swing of blogging – I so miss this outlet!

So chronologically, here we go:
1) One of my very best friends in the whole world (who happens to be my little sister) moved to Nashville and is staying with us for a while. We are thrilled to have her here. She brings us much joy.
2) We got settled in to our new house and we are loving it! Especially the back yard.
3) We had lots of meetings for D’s case, and later this month we have some bigger court dates.
4) Had our first Christmas, first snow, and first hockey game with D. He loved every moment.
5) I got to meet up with a small group of foster mama friends who have been such wonderful strength and encouragement to me over the past several months. We shared hugs and fears and laughs and temporary tattoos.
6) I went to Atlanta on a girls-weekend-away with some of my closest friends and had a complete blast (despite leaving town under some stressful circumstances that all worked out fine). I’m already ready for my next trip, I think.
7) We got a foster care call for a newborn baby boy, 7 days old, coming straight from the hospital. Baby K was welcomed into our home Wednesday, March 5th. (More about K boy in a future post)
8) Baby K got sick and spent 48 hours in the hospital for monitoring. It ended up being a little virus, no big deal. I also got very sick with my first stomach flu in 18 years. No really. It was no fun to be sick at the hospital with K, but we are both on the mend and enjoying being home again.
9) While we were in the hospital, our D turned THREE YEARS OLD! The nurses made the biggest deal of it and we had a small party for him in the play room of the pediatrics floor. He kept telling us he was having a great birthday. Thankful he’s so cheerful and that he was young enough to not really be bummed about being at the hospital for K on his special day.

So that’s a quick overview of our last few months. Lots happening over here!

Six Months

When I was standing in Chipotle six months ago, talking on the phone to the DCS worker and I said, “YES! How long?” I heard, “we think 6 months.” Knowing full well that things are never that cut and dry with the foster care system, I geared up for 6 months but earnestly stepped into the unknown.

The thing about foster care is that plans get changed, people have small victories and large ones – small setbacks and large ones, court dates are scheduled and rescheduled, paperwork gets shuffled, caseworkers quit, unknown after unknown, delay after delay, we plug along because God asked us to step into this unknown. We say, “for however long our family looks like this, we thank you, Lord” in our nightly prayers. We ask for strength for the possible worst outcomes and we hope and we hope and we hope for what we think is the best.

In most hard things in life, I have found that the unknown is the hardest part… the part that makes me think, “I can’t do this,” so many times. And I can’t do it. I am sometimes bitter and possessive, I am fighting a battle that is hard and foreign, and I am always forgetting to trust.

But this week we hit the six month mark of our life with D, and we have some upcoming meetings regarding his future and our future. We still don’t know if D will be with us forever or if our D is only “our D” for a short while. In this small milestone, I’ve been thinking and praying for all of us who know this boy and love this boy and call him “our D.” Our happy, determined, strong and smart boy. He doesn’t have Dave’s nose, but he is a hard and determined worker, just like his Daddy Dave. He doesn’t have my eyes or my hair, but he is cuddly and loves to be silly, like his Mama Steph. He’s SO polite and smart, like his Mommy J and he is kind and brave like his Daddy J. He looks just like his birth mom. Just like her. There are so many more people who know him as “their D”- people I will likely never meet, never even know their names. So thankful that our D is so loved.

We have seen him change so much in just these 6 months. He loves to talk. All day every day chatting away. He trusts that I won’t hurt him when we are playing. He believes Dave when he tells him he’ll be home after work. He says, “I love you too,” when I tell him 1000 times a day that I love him. He just fits here, with us. It feels like it has always been us. It is fulfilling and joyful and life-giving work. So this week when more unknowns arise and more details get thrown into the mix, I will thank God for our D, for *this* family- however long our family looks like this- and I will choose to trust.

We are still walking the unknown. We are hoping for our family to be forever, but trying to hope with our hands lifted high, opened to release him if we must. It will be fiercely painful if D leaves us. We are not superheroes. Our “we could never let go” feelings are not gone. We have just begun. Still we pray – for however long our family looks like this, we thank you, Lord.

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No Control

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August. I don’t care for it. It’s hot and humid (my two least favorite weathers), and I’m usually on the tail end of a “everyone gets vacations except us” sort of a pity party, and it marks another year of infertility. This marks the end of year 4. It’s hot and humid, dumb old August, and it’s 4 years of unanswered questions and “trying not to think about IT.”

Maybe this 4th anniversary of noncontrol is triggering my growing realization that I have no control over anything. It could be my inability to control my own sleep, as more nights of insomnia warp my brain into emotional, useless mush. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m pouring every piece of me into a child I love endlessly but can’t even call my own. Or maybe I’m feeling like I have no control because of court dates and meetings and nightmares I can’t fix, but want to so desperately. Or the utter out-of-control chaos of life with a toddler in general (meal times, date nights, travel, tempers, leaving the house, schedules, all of it really). Or it could be the fact that I have my heart set on THINGS of this world that I shouldn’t have my heart set on. Bigger houses, cuter clothes, another paycheck. It could be the pressure of being a freelance artist I am beginning to really feel in this busy season- the working so so hard all day and making hardly enough to pay one bill (definitely not enough to repair the car for the 5000th time, because what I really needed was another dadgum car repair) and not knowing when the next project will come through. It could be work schedules for Dave and more nights of putting D to bed by myself, knowing I will have only one evening this week to really see him, so we better get all our sweetness and fun and all our arguing and all our relaxation into those few hours. This life is insanely hard. Though it is blessed through and through, it is hard. Whatever the reasons are, I am feeling them all at once. I am racing to grab on to the last thread of control in my life and I can’t find it. Anywhere.

So tonight as one more pretty house I wished for slips through my fingers, one more year of infertility ticks by, and one more night of being physically unable to sleep when I JUST WANT TO SLEEP, I bring it all to the feet of Jesus.

Because many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Because he said, “come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Because, Lord, weary doesn’t even begin to cover this mess.

And because the only reassurance I have in being wholly out-of-control is knowing that I was never intended to be in control. For that I am thankful. In that I find peace.

What’s Best For Us All

Going in to foster care, my brain was trying desperately to align with my heart and my reality. My heart said, “mother.” My reality said, “not now.” And my brain stood in the gap, grasping at puzzle pieces, trying to fit it together.

If you had asked me at the beginning of that foster care journey what I imagined it looking like, I would have told you I imagined a newborn baby girl. It’s what my dreams held, what my home felt most prepared for, what I longed for the most. As my plans often do, that idea got pushed away and reformatted and became something new and wonderful.

Today I got a call for a 4-day-old, drug-exposed baby girl. I don’t know her name or her history. I know I would have loved her fast and deep. I believe my heart would have realized a dream it’s been dreaming since I was a little girl. But I know it wasn’t what’s best for us.

What’s best for the sweet boy asleep down the hall is that he is my priority. I am fighting a hard battle for him and with him. It is us against history, against genetic wiring, against statistics and generalizations. He deserves every bit of the fight I’ve got in me.

So, sweet baby girl, I’m praying you are safe and sleeping tonight in a room down the hall from a mama who is ready to fight for you.

Super Fun Weekend of Treats

I decided last week to have a weekend full of special treats with Dave and D. Fun activities, delicious food, and little gifts. Dave had a three day weekend (a rare and special treat in itself) so we filled it up with fun.

We started off with a back porch picnic.

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Then we went to the drive-in for the first time with D.

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The next day we had lots of fun outside time (D’s very favorite thing) and some delicious frozen yogurt. He had such fun eating samples out of the little cups.

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The next day was an Arrested Development costume party. We dressed D up as a “never nude” but didn’t get any good photos, unfortunately. We got plenty of photos of our Hot Cop and Rita costumes though. This party with friends was LOADS of fun!

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Our last full-of-fun day started off with delicious donuts from Fox’s Donut Den (a Nashville gem) and another outside day with a cookout with friends.

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I’m trying to soak in all our favorite moments with D. We are loving our time together. I think every weekend should be a super fun weekend of treats.