9 days

Only 9 more days. 9 days left until my son finally has my last name. Nine days left until he can legally be called by the name I have been whispering in his sweet little ear for 18 long months. 9 days until we are a legal family of four. I can’t even begin to process all the emotions I am feeling. I feel such joy that there aren’t even words grand enough to describe it; like the very best our english language has to offer cannot even begin to convey the depth and the breadth of the feelings this day will signify for me.

18 excruciating months of just NOT knowing. It would look good, and then look bad, visits would be kept, then blown, then decreased, then increased. Court decisions would get postponed, then go our way, and then visits would increase again. To say it has been an emotional roller coaster does not do justice to what my heart and mind have been through for the last 18 months. It has been an emotional blender. The other part of me is experiencing such an extreme sadness at the same time. I feel like I am grieving the loss of biological family my son is too young to comprehend. when I look at pictures and think back to the off and on times my son was with them; I am immensely thankful he has remained unharmed and thank the Lord everyday for placing him in our protection. But I am so sad. Sad for everything they should be but aren’t. I grieve the fact that they will never be what he needs and that they will never know the joy that he is to everyone around him. I am sad that they will never have even basic information about him; where he is, how he’s doing; they won’t even know his new name. and I am sad for him; that these people couldn’t get their life together in time to know an amazing little boy. I am so torn because throughout this entire process, for us to keep our son, they had to fail. Every victory for us was a defeat for them or a mistake on their part. I never prayed that they would fail or mess up, but I did pray that God would allow me to keep the child He so clearly placed in my arms, and that prayer had implications. For one to win the other must lose; for one to gain the other fails.

Watching your son, your very heart get carried out of your home by a stranger, while crying and reaching for you, knowing there is nothing you can do but wait until his visit is over is one of the worst feelings ever. Not knowing what is happening, not knowing if he is ok, or scared, or being cared for. Not trusting the workers assigned to monitor the visit any farther than you can throw them and trying to implore them to keep an eye on your son, your baby, your precious boy; while they look at you like you are just another client and you are getting way too attached to your foster kid.  Trying to find out information about how the case is going; something, ANYthing. Being told they will tell you as soon as they know but then being left out of the loop time and time and time again. Not knowing what else to do so you go on about your life. Trusting in God, but scared to death all at the same time. Bonding with your son, teaching him, watching him grow, listening to his giggle; all the while knowing that someone could ring your doorbell at any time and tell you to pack his things. Fear, joy, pain, anger, hope, helplessness, frustration, happiness, wonder, sadness, love, and disappointment all mixing together in such a violent cocktail you wonder if it won’t surely rip you in two; but then you look down into those big brown eyes and think “pour me a double, let’s do this again, I will fight for this child until my very bones turn to dust, you do not know me, and you surely do not know my God if you think this is even close to over!” 

 

Want to hear the best part? Let me whisper it to you: our God reigns. 

Did you catch it? Let me tell you a little louder: OUR God reigns! 

There is no use trying to contain it, let me shout it from the rooftops at the top of my lungs:

OUR GOD REIGNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He has calmed every storm, overcome every obstacle, moved every mountain, and changed every circumstance and HE. HAS. BEEN. VICTORIOUS! All glory goes to Him, all honor and praise are due Him, He is STILL a God of miracles. I have never been so humbled in all my life, I feel like if I spent every day of the rest of my life on my face before His throne it would not be enough; His love is amazing! I know it is only through the power of Jesus Christ that this little miracle is sleeping in the room next to me right now; and that is where he is going to STAY! 9 more days and the clouds of fear and doubt will be blown away because he will (legally) be MY child and NO one can take him from me! What a day that will be when I hold him in my arms for the first time as his legal mama, and the Lord allows the law to confirm what He declared in the quiet of my heart 18 months ago!  It is just almost too much for this poor heart to bear; but isn’t that just like God? He is Good, friends. He is so good. 

Substitutions

 

I know this blog is usually about fun, and family, and craziness, but I feel like talking about something else today. I want to talk about addictions. Several of my friends have been talking recently about struggling with addiction; most of these friends are believers in Christ. It has caught me off guard that so many people I care about are succumbing to things the world promises will make them feel better, yet they have walked with the Lord. They know Him. 

I understand that life gets crazy; it did for Jesus and it has for anyone who has chosen to follow Him since. I hear them say things like “things are just so stressful right now” or “I just can’t handle the pressures I am under”. I get it, I really do. What I don’t get? Thinking for a second that anything other than the arms of Christ are going to grant  you the serenity you are chasing. You can’t have peace without the Prince of Peace. The world holds up a broken, dirty, disgusting solution and tries to convince you your vice will get you through this. Jesus longs to wipe you clean and carry you through it. Why can’t He be enough? When you choose worldly coping mechanisms over Jesus, aren’t you, in essence, saying “I wish you were enough Jesus. Maybe if you made me forget like this alcohol does.”  “I wish you were enough Jesus, but you don’t calm me down like this nicotine.” “I know you gave me the very breath in my lungs, but you can’t fix this problem like my favorite drug can.”

There will always be stress; there will always be busy-ness and craziness, drama and upheaval, pressures and demands. If you are waiting for those things to cease so that you can quit, they aren’t going to. You need to find a new coping mechanism. Jesus said “Come to me all ye who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you REST.” So stop trying to find rest from the chaos in things that were designed to give you MORE chaos! Not to mention steal the very breath from your lungs and the life from your bones. Jesus said “I have come so that you may have LIFE“; the devil wants to rob you of that life and you let him with every sip, drag, gulp, and snort. Let Him be enough, He is ALL you need. 

 

goodbye 2012

This year is drawing to a close and for the first time in I don’t know how long, I’m not sure I like that. On New Year’s Eves past my sentiments have been “good riddance 20XX” or “20XX was certainly not our year, so bring on the next; it has GOT to be better than the one we just had.” 

This year, I don’t know. 2012 has been so beautiful to us, so amazing, so life changing. It started the same as any other year, but before we were even a full month in, 2012 changed the game forever. This year has been indescribable. I literally cannot put into words what this year has meant for our family. It has been the fulfillment of every promise God has whispered to me in the midst of prayers said in anguish; the culmination of a Holy dance of trust the Lord has been leading me through for the past ten years of my life. The Spirit filled crescendo of a song Jesus wrote just for me. 

This year has been amazing for other reasons as well: we celebrated my mom’s 10 year cancer remission anniversary, my sister, sister in law, and my best friend all found out they were pregnant this year, Tyler started his first pastorate as a senior pastor, and my brother started his senior year of college. Yeah, 2012 has been great to us. 

Part of me wants to hold so tightly to it, because I know it can’t always be this way. Right now we are all happy, we are all healthy, we are all together. (All too soon Jeff will be graduating and heading out on his own, which means leaving Kansas) I just want to take all these pieces of life and gather them up around me, and hold them tight. I want to squeeze them in my arms and make everything stay just as it is now. I know great times are ahead, but I know some really hard times probably are too, and I want to hide in the warmth and security of 2012 just a bit longer. I want to bask in this feeling, this beauty, this year, just a little more. It’s been like feeling the warm sun on my face after a never-ending winter, like wrapping up in a toasty towel fresh from the dryer after getting soaked to the bone in a freezing cold rain :) The Lord has revealed so much of Himself to me this year and changed the way I understand so many things, I don’t want that to stop. I know He is in control and change is inevitable, but with such a sweet year filled with baby yawns, and slobbery kisses, can you blame me for wanting to stretch this year out for as long as I can? 

Have fun with your loved ones this New Year’s, be careful and be safe. Treasure the moments that make it all worth it this next year; recognize them as they are happening and just soak them in; allow yourself to feel every facet of every emotion they gift you with. Let the Lord lead your steps, let go of the things that hold you back from Him, leave them on the shore and let him sweep you away in His current. It will be scary at first, with the rushing water, the sudden drops, the spinning and twisting in the water; but I guarantee you will never feel more alive! 

As for me? I am going to soak up the precious last moments of 2012 like a lazy cat on a sunny patch of carpet. I am going to wring every last drop of comfort, warmth and security I can from this year, because it has been the literal best year of my life; Glory be to God. 

IMG 0485

 

The business of Fear

Fear is a powerful thing. It has a way of squeezing our chest and restricting our throat until we are sure the only way to breathe again is to run far away from it’s icy grip. Think about what people do out of fear; or maybe just to prove that their biggest fears about themselves aren’t true: Lie. Steal. Cheat. Nothing. (I’ll come back to that one, it’s the most dangerous)

     People lie all the time because they are scared; scared to be wrong, scared to be caught doing something wrong, scared to hurt someone’s feelings. People who cheat on tests are scared they will be inadequate. People who cheat during sports are scared they will be “the loser”. People sometimes even cheat on their spouses because their biggest fears are feeling unwanted, not needed, or undesirable; and they have to prove that this fear has no foundation because they are so scared that it’s true.

     Fear can drive us to some ugly choices, but the worst thing fear can cause us to do is nothing. It can cripple us. Make us stagnant. Render us ineffective in every area. Fear really can paralyze you; your fight, flight, or freeze response is triggered and that’s what leads most people to run. Every once in a while however, the fear is so overwhelming it freezes you in your tracks. This can do the most damage to a person’s life, but it’s sneaky, because they may never even know it happened. They will never know what could have been , what life could have held for them, had they just pushed through the fear.

   People often ask me, when referring to our decision to do foster care, “aren’t you scared?”. Yes. Yes I am. I am scared today, I was scared when we decided to do it, and I will probably be scared every minute  of every day until there is a definitive direction that this case is headed. I want to share pieces of a conversation I had with a wonderful friend about this very thing: 

  

 2/17/12

hey! yeah, it’s crazy, it all happened so fast! we are very scared in this waiting process, but it’s in God’s hands.  When we first got the phone call about him, tyler and I were scared. he had obviously been put into foster care for a reason, he was not up for adoption yet, and he has visits with his family often. We considered waiting; seeing what else God brought along;   waiting for an easier road. but then we realized: this is everything we have been praying for for the last 3 years. what is it that would    hold us back and make us pass up this opportunity? fear. that’s the only thing we could come up with; it was fear that would hold us  back. fear of the unknown, fear that we would grow to love him and then have to give him back, fear that we would not be equipped to  handle the challenges we might face with his unique circumstances. it all came back to fear. Fear doesn’t come from God. Fear is  nothing but faith in the enemy. and if we had let that fear win, we would have missed out on this sweet little blessing that I cannot  imagine life without! 


so we jumped. and we will love this little guy for every second we are with him, whether it’s 6 weeks, or 6 years! Thank you for your prayers, I feel like we have never needed them more. it’s hard; some days I’m just so scared that he will disappear and we will get “that phone call”. God knows what He is doing though, and I pray that He would not let that happen.

[ she replied, expounding on the role of fear in her life]

I know, you wouldn’t think it could be so powerful, but fear is one of the greatest tools of the enemy, in my opinion. At least on me anyway! 


I understand what you mean; I fear having to see this baby leave our home. I fear raising a child with a difficult background, I fear telling him he is adopted one day, if we get that chance, and having him wish he could have stayed with his biological family. I fear what it would do to me to love him with all my heart and then lose him. I’m scared! but I’m taking it one day at a time, with God. I knew this is what He was asking me to do, and doing it doesn’t mean the fear is not there, it just means the fear is not winning. 

If he gets to stay with us forever, I will praise God, because He is on the throne!

If he has a difficult life because of the circumstances he was born into, I will pray to God to equip us to handle that, because He is on the throne. 

If he has to leave our home, it will likely break my heart, and just maybe my spirit, but I will fall into the arms of God, because He is still on the throne. 

Whatever happens; whichever path God has us walk down, we will walk down it hand in hand with our savior, and somehow; I know that it will be ok. There may be parts of it that are terrible, or it could be the most abundant blessing we’ve ever experienced, but either way, at the end of the day He is on the throne and that is the only detail I need to know.  

                                                                                        -Kate

Fear could have made us do nothing; it could have crippled us. It could have tightened its grip on us to the point that we just did nothing, because nothing was safe. Nothing was familiar. Nothing didn’t have the potential to be awful. But nothing didn’t have the potential to be great either. 

God tells us in His word that perfect love casts out all fear. If you rest in the creator, if you run TO Him instead of away from your fears, He will give you the strength you need to face anything, because He will face it with you. 

So dear reader, what is fear holding YOU back from today? Tyler and I decided that very day that fear would not be a factor in our decisions from that moment on. We have not regretted that choice for a second! Fear has no place on a pro/cons list. You can’t stop fear from coming; but you can stop it from winning. 

The girl who almost wasn’t.

Friday, March 16, 2012:

I am in the kitchen washing some bottles while Tyler plays with Ashton before his last bottle and bedtime. The phone rings, and I think about letting it go to voicemail since I am elbow deep in a soapy sink, but considering it is 7:30 in the evening I figured it was probably family. Tyler picked up the phone to answer it and I went back to my dishes. A couple minutes passed and Tyler was standing in the kitchen, talking in his “formal voice” :) 

 I turned the water off and waited for him to speak. “There’s an attorney on the phone and she says she has a birth mom coming in tonight to look through their profiles. she wants to know if we want ours added to the stack.” My brain did a quick monolog: “oh geez, can you imagine, another baby?! I’m exhausted already and I only have one. I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night and I can barely keep up with the laundry as it is. HA! another baby. can you IMAGINE?! pfffft.” After that mental huff of defiance I looked at Tyler and just shook my head no. “I’m busy enough with Ashton” I said. He politely conveyed our decision to the woman on the phone. I turned and went back to my dishes. Still talking away in my head; “I don’t think I even want to think about another baby…the one I have keeps me busy enough.” 

“What about what I want? Did you even think to ask me?”

Does Jesus ever come in and intrude on all the thoughts you are trying to think in private? He butted right in there, and wielding his rolled up newspaper of conviction he swatted me right on the nose. We hadn’t asked Him. We hadn’t thought about what He might want. We hadn’t prayed about that answer before giving it to the lady. 

Conflicted as I was, and scared to pray because of the answer I might get, I did what any girl would do: I stalled God and called my mommy. :)  She confirmed everything I already knew and gave me the encouragement to actually do it. After I hung up with her I talked to tyler for a long time and we prayed together about the decision. 

We felt like the Lord was telling us to at least put our profile in the mix and give Him the opportunity to work. I figured that was not too scary of a step; she was probably only a few months along, just starting this process, and what were the odds that she would even be interested in our profile in the midst of the stack of what I was sure were more qualified parents, with much fancier lives :) We called the lawyer back and asked if it was too late for her to add us to the pile. She said not at all, and that they would be contacting the couples chosen early next week for a phone interview. 

After a long weekend wondering what decisions were made, Monday came and went. Then tuesday, followed by Wednesday. At this point I realized that we were probably not chosen, and could put it out of my head. I was not sad, I actually felt a little relief. We had told a few people closest to us, and they were worried I would be taking it hard, but I kept saying “it’s really ok with me, honest!” ( and I meant it. The idea of two babies under a year kinda freaked me out!) 

Friday, March 23, 2012: 

8pm the phone rings. Tyler is out of town for a spring break work trip with the youth group so I am expecting it to be him. When I pick up the attorney is on the other end. “Well, I have some good news for you! Our birth parents have narrowed it down to 2 couples, and you guys are one of the two! Congratulations! We want to get this moving as quickly as possible so we will need you and your husband for a phone interview on monday afternoon, does that work? By the way, this mommy is due next month.” 

Total.Panic.Mode. Next MONTH?!! what?! I somehow let her know  that Tyler is out of town but I would be available for the interview on monday. We set up a time and she says some more words that I don’t hear over the roar in my ears and we hang up. 

Due in a month? Forget two kids under a year, that’s two kids under 3 months. “Really Jesus? Do you know what you are doing here Lord, because this just went from funny to crazy… I will trust you…but you better have my back in this, ok? This isn’t cute anymore.” 

The following monday I had the phone interview and the lawyer told us that she would be getting back to both couples at the end of the week to let us know what decision had been made. 

THE NEXT DAY: they chose us. aaaaaand my mind is blown. 

That Friday, March 30: 

We met with the birth parents, and the maternal grandparents as well. They were all very nice and polite, well dressed, as were we; but that didn’t stop it from being the world’s most awkward meeting. What do you say to someone who is going to give you the person in their belly? “thanks” just doesn’t seem to cover it. They asked a few questions and we had a few of our own. Everyone left feeling comfortable and at peace with the decision. From there it was only 20 more days until our sweet girl was born, and the rest is history. 

It was such a whirlwind experience, but God knew what He was doing all along. And I could’ve messed it all up that night, exhausted and covered in suds. Praise the Lord that He is gracious enough to thump us on the head and ask us if we’d like a minute to re-think that answer. 

I can’t imaging missing out on this special girl: 

IMG 0496 IMG 0504Gorgeous eyes Love this girl

2 + 2 = Family.

I am starting a new blog. I am not sure what all it will be about; I may share recipes, pictures, “words of wisdom”, and things the Lord is teaching me. I may write three times a day, or three times a year, I’m not sure yet. What I am sure of is that the Lord has done great things for me and I want Him to have all the glory. Some of you had been reading my other blog about the struggles and trials of trying to grow our family through adoption; this one will focus more on the joy of being blessed with a double portion! It’s sure to be an…interesting blog; but those of you who know me well know I’m a little quirky, so this blog will be too, but if you can make it through the silly jokes and sarcastic comments, you will hopefully find some common ground with a girl who loves Jesus and is learning what it means to finally be a mommy.