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. 

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Jonah is 1

This blog is a little later than I had hoped, but nonetheless it is here!

My baby boy turned 1 in January! I cannot believe how quickly a year flew by! Looking at old pictures of him as we prepared things for the party, it felt like he was just placed in my arms yesterday! I knew that I wanted to make his first party a big one, even though he would never remember it ;) 

We went with a whale/nautical theme; I think this post will be mostly pictures. enjoy! 

 

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I took a picture of Jonah every month and here they all were lined up for the year <3 

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Such a wonderful time with friends and family! 

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. 

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The beauty of fall

It has been a WHILE! I said in my very first post that I may write a blog every day, or every 6 months, and I am certainly holding to that idea! So much has happened in the last few months, I don’t know where to start!

Mazie is doing well; she just started rolling over and I believe there will be a tooth or two popping through those gums any day now. Ashton is growing like a weed, sitting up on his own and scooting all OVER the house! He is also trying big boy food and is finding it very much to his liking!

Things at the house are good; my wonderful husband just put up new blinds for me last weekend and we just got mazie moved into her own room a couple weeks ago.
It has been a busy couple of months!

Hmmm, what else is new? One of my closest friends just had her baby girl, my sister is having a baby boy in january, my other sister is having a baby girl in early December, and my very best friend is having a little girl around Christmas! It will be a wonderful new year indeed!

The title of my post was “The beauty of fall”. I love fall. That’s really all I wanted to say when I wrote that title. I love the smells, I love the flavors, and I Loooove the colors! Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s the time when the leaves turn beautiful, it’s the time when coffee, tea, and soup make you feel oh so cozy, and it’s this very time of year, 8 wonderful years ago, that I fell in love with my best friend. This fall also marks the 10 year anniversary of my mom being cancer free. The sights, smells, and colors of fall bring back some of my very sweetest memories.

Wherever you are in life, I hope you can take a minute this fall and just relax. Breathe deep the smell of pumpkin spice and apple cider, listen to the wind howl and the leaves crunch beneath your feet. This is a special time of year, let it welcome you into the fast approaching holiday season!

I will try to become a little more regular with my blog posts…but my kids are just so cute! Maybe when they are asleep I can write ;) Hope you are all doing amazing.

She’s a Vance

Friday was a monumental day in the life of our growing family! Little miss Mazie’s adoption was finalized, and she is now officially a Vance! We got her all dressed up in her brown and white dress, with a matching head band that mommy made just for this occasion! 

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Ok, well, someone wouldn’t sit up, but hopefully you can get an idea of how stinkin’ adorable she was! :) 

We went before Judge Trish Rose, who signed all our official paperwork and was even kind enough to pose for a few pictures! 

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We were so blessed to have most of my family there to share in out special day. The girls were so well behaved I hardly knew they were there! 

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Here is one of us outside the courthouse. Holding little Ms. Vance! 

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That night we went out to celebrate!

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This day was the culmination of so many years of waiting, so many prayers, so many tears, so many dead end roads. We know countless friends and family had been lifting us up in prayer for so long; we know God has heard your prayers, and we are so thankful for all of your intercessions on our behalf. We truly could not have made it through some of the valleys without the knowledge that you were all there for us, praying, waiting, and supporting us the whole way. We are beyond blessed and words fail to describe what we feel knowing that this sweet little girl is OURS. SHE IS OURS! And nobody can ever take her away! :) Now if only we can get things worked out on the other side, we will be a family of four for good. We continue to covet your prayers on that front. We are just so thankful to all of you. As much as this day was for us, it was for all of you too; everyone who has prayed, called, stopped by, and supported us. We are so thankful to have each and every one of you in our lives! 

Week 1, done.

This was my first week home with both kids. Tyler has been home helping me these last two weeks, thanks to a wonderful and understanding church family,  and it has been amazing to have him here while we figure out how our daily lives look with two babies. Unfortunately, it had to end and he had to go back to work :) I was nervous about having both of the kids all day. I didn’t know how I would get anything done; I learned that you don’t. but that’s ok! I also learned that sometimes, no matter how well you can multi-task, one of them is just going to have to sit and cry while you tend to the other; then they can switch off, and for the grand finale they cry in surround sound! :) 

I have been so overwhelmed with emotions this week. Sometimes I look down at this sweet baby and my eyes just fill with tears at the wonder of it all. Who am I and what have I done to deserve a God who can take time out of being the Alpha and Omega, the Great I AM, to come alongside this silly, sinful girl; who never seems to talk to Him enough, and who doesn’t always  make her daily devotions happen, to reach into her life and give her the desires of her heart? Who am I that he would even hear my prayers? With all the junk going on in the world, all the hurting, the hunger, the natural disasters, the slavery, God takes the time to listen to our little requests and grant us the desires of our heart. Just because He loves us. 

My heart swells with thanksgiving and tears of gratitude are always springing to my eyes. What an amazing God we serve. We can do nothing, we deserve nothing, we should receive nothing; but He gave everything; everything He had down to his last breath. Doesn’t that just blow your mind a bit? 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! We are heading out of town today, to buy some more cloth diapers. Wish they would get them in a store here! I may have to stop by a craft store as well. Poor Tyler. We are sure to be there forever. Hope this weekend finds you with loved ones making beautiful memories as we head into summer!