Best for her.

Mira has been on the progressive care floor for several days now and has been getting around the clock care from mommy and daddy, who have had countless trainings on her medical care. We do almost everything - feeds, diapers, administering medication, wound care, bath, you name it. Her vitals have been beautiful, barring a little bit of tachypnea (or fast breathing) that's become her standard. Talks of home started happening fast and yesterday we even got to take Mira off the floor for her first exploration of the hospital off a monitor. She even got her first breath of fresh air and sunshine. The only thing in our way for going home has been her wet sounding lungs, breathing rate, and weight gain, then last night she spiked a fever, which had us concerned about a virus or infection. 

Yesterday, Mira had a swallowing study done while due to concern about her slow weight gain. The worry is that the milk was aspirating into her lungs if she didn't have a strong swallow. She failed the test and showed signs of aspiration every time she took the bottle. We were super disappointed. Now, that means we have to find out if she's also aspirating from her NG (nasogastric)  tube into her lungs as a result of her reflux. Think of it as "pouring" milk down her tube and into her stomach, only to have it rush back up and go down her trachea into her lungs. She's taking nothing by mouth for the next day to see if her lungs clear up and she sounds less junky. That means the aspiration wasn't related to her reflux. If so, we might be able to go home with an NG tube relatively soon. We'd come back for an outpatient swallow study in 4-6 weeks to see if she's able to swallow more strongly then. But if she doesn't show improvement, then they will bypass her stomach, give her an ND (naso-duodenum) or NJ tube that goes further down in her intestines and then "grow her" with high calories for several weeks untilshe can have a G-tube surgically put in place, and then go home. The reason she can't just have the G-tube surgery now is that it involves anesthesia and with her failed extubations and struggles to come off the breathing machine, they don't want to risk putting her back in ICU for not being able to breath on her own. She's just too small and weak now. Unfortunately, if a ND or NJ are the only two ways to get her nutrition needed in order to grow without risk of aspirating in the lungs besides the G-tube, and that could possibly mean we're going to be here even longer. It's completely disheartening to hear. 

I had to meet with the "counselor" at the RMH (I'm pretty sure it's a college intern but nonetheless, it's a weekly check-in to see how things are progressing) tonight, and I was pretty annoyed at having to miss bath time/weigh-in and her 8pm feed, but then low and behold, I actually enjoyed the talking. I was frank with her and it felt good. She also said something that was obvious yet profound. She said "whatever's best for her," and it dawned on me that what's best for me is to come home soon. But what's best for Mira might be waiting and growing and getting a G-tube. Rushing her home with aspiration into her lungs, causing pneumonia, a collapsed lung or worse isn't worth it. And suddenly, a wave of peace about it crashes over. 

Yep, so it might be a few more weeks... It sucks, but if it's what's best for her, we'll gladly take it... It's a continued sacrifice, and like true sacrifice, it hurts... but, it will be worth it so when we take her home thriving and growing.

It's amazing how a five pound baby can teach you so much. 

Four weeks of obedience training.

As I have explained before, I knew when we said yes to Mira that she had a heart condition. I researched and Googled and Pinterested raising and caring for a child with a CHD (congenital heart defect), and I pulled apart medical journals and science-based documents all about HLHS. We knew the first surgery was complex and risky, and we knew recovery time could be a very, very long time.  

I knew it, but that doesn't mean I grasped it. You can say 3 weeks to 3 months and your brain can "hear" it but not get it. Tomorrow, Mira will be four weeks old and it seems impossible to comprehend life before her or life once we go home. All I can now know and understand is life now, with her here in the hospital. It has been long and exhausting.

Yesterday, Mira was extubated for the third time. Extubated means they removed the breathing tube. In Mira's heart, blood going to her body and lungs are mixing together, so telling how much oxygen is going to her body is always like hitting a moving target because it depends on how strongly the heart pumps and how deeply the lungs breath and at the same time the rate of how much blood flows to her lungs and how much flows to her body. Imagine her heart as a lake where salt water (oxygenated blood) and fresh water (unoxygenated blood) mix and then flow out two different streams, one heading to her body and one heading to her lungs. So it really is hard to keep the flow balanced, especially considering the stream bed to her lungs is wider because her shunt is so large. We had really thought that it would be weeks before Mira would be extubated again because one team of doctors felt that she needed to grow into her large shunt. After a few days of extra calorie formula, increasing her hemoglobin, upping her heart meds, and then seeing some increased sizes of her breaths while on pressure support trials, they felt like it was worth another try. I was thrown for a loop because I legitimately prepared for multiple weeks before another attempt. I just couldn't get my emotions in control of the worry that she was not ready and would fail again. It made me sick to my stomach. I asked countless questions and probed them for ideas and methods we could try to make this time different. I apologized to every doctor or nurse on her team (and there's a ton of them) for being overbearing momzilla and then my eyes would fill up with tears and I'd tell them just to please hold my hand through it because I'm just so scared.

Sunday, they extubated around one pm. The doctors began to trickle into the room, the CPAP was rolled in, the lights turned on, and everyone was foaming up their hands and rubbing in the hand sanitizer. I picked up it was our cue to step out, told her I loved her and to do a good job,  and I made it around the corner just out of sight before I blubbered into a mess. I was nauseated. It was the same feeling I vividly recalled feeling during moments of motherhood with Makinzy - the first time she rode a bike without training wheels, knowing I had to let her try and that I couldn’t protect her from falling. It made me queasy and sad and so, so helpless. It was literally all I could do not rush back in there and say no I can’t let you do this. Granted, I knew better. You can’t protect them from hurt. I can’t stop Makinzy from getting hurt because she didn’t make the team, I won’t prevent her first accident (let’s pray it’s minor) when she gets behind the wheel, I can’t stop her from making stupid mistakes. I just have to let her and trust in God’s plan for her life and I have to believe in her success. It dawned on me that I have to do the same with Mira and I will have that same feeling over and over and over again as her mama.

The wait to hear how she did was excruciating. I paced. I flopped. I stared. I scrolled.  Repeat. It was supposed to take around 45 minutes to an hour, and they gently shooed us out around one… and then it was after 3 before Jake finally just called from the waiting room. In turns out, one of the doctors who was going to come get us never made it out to see us because she was whisked away with a critical patient (no hard feelings on that, because, you know, it’s the ICU, understandably). It also took extra time because the doctor sat by her bed for a good hour making sure she was okay. In some ways, this was harder than surgery day. With surgery, it was going to be good news or bad news, and we had hourly updates. It just was what it was. This meant waiting and watching and nail-biting.

Her lactate levels (which elevate when she is under stress, exercise, or in her case, heart failure) stayed low and didn’t bump up like last time. Watching her blood gases have been dance-inducing, amen-shouting, fist-pumping moments.

Mira’s heart condition is a life-long fight. It isn’t a quick repair and done. There’s no way to fix missing half of an organ, short of a transplant. But thanks to these surgeries, she has a chance to go on and live a full life. She has hope. Every stage is a process. Right now, she has to ween from the CPAP to a high flow oxygen nasal cannula and tolerate her feeds when we resume them again. Her lactate levels need to stay low during that so we know her heart can handle the increased work of digestion, and then we can move up to the floor.

I’ve heard people call us good people for taking this on. For living in a hospital for weeks. For choosing to love a baby this sick, this fragile, this risky. It makes me feel weird to hear it. Because, truthfully, I don't believe we are any different from anyone else. I feel guilty hearing this knowing the doubts and protests I’ve had inside. Really, we’re just a family who was prepared to love whatever child laid in our arms. We just wanted to be obedient. Jake and I have been striving for spiritual maturity in obedience. We have learned to long for our Father’s praise of “well done.” It is that desire that formed the words yes in us. Our mission work is not in a foreign country but within our family. Our mission is to love the children He gives us.

“It is written that we shall “stand before” Him, shall appear, shall be inspected. The promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of Christ, that some of us, that any of us who really chooses, shall actually survive that examination, shall find approval, shall please God. To please God...to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness...to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain.” - CS Lewis

Mira FAQs - two weeks in

So, I typed up a huge blog post a while back and accidentally deleted it from my phone, but I really feel like it's important to answer the big questions friends and family have been asking us about our sweet girl, so I am re-doing it all for you guys. We're so grateful for all the love and concern for our sweet Mira.

1. What's wrong with Mira’s heart?

She was born with a condition known as HLHS or hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning because her mitral valve did not form in the womb, her left ventricle did not form either, and therefore she has a tiny aorta that is not capable of supplying her body with blood. This means she only has a right ventricle, which is meant solely to pump blood to the lungs. So the doctors performed a surgery that basically took her pulmonary artery and used it to build her a new aorta, then gave her a shunt to replace the pulmonary artery. This first surgery is called the Norwood procedure. She still only has half a heart, and her oxygenated red blood and unoxygenated blue blood are mixing in that one side of her heart. But now, blood can reach her body. The next two surgeries will change the route of her unoxygenated blood so that it will bypass her heart and go directly to her lungs. This will improve the quality of oxygenation to her entire body.

2. Did you know about this condition before you adopted her?

This tends to be the *really* big question everyone really has. And the answer is yes. We found out about her in March, and decided we would say yes to having our profile shown to her family. We had no idea they would select us, but we found out they did in May. We felt like it was important to be willing and obedient to God; that we needed to be waiting with open arms if He were to lead her to us. The crazy thing is that Jake got a promotion on the same day we discovered we were chosen by her birth family. Things happened fast! Within a few weeks, we met the birth family and started making hospital plans.

While we had some prior knowledge about HLHS, no amount of research can prep you for this rollercoaster. Throughout the entire process though, we felt sure that God would provide all we would need to handle her unique situation.

3. How long will she be in the hospital?

Well, that is an excellent question... one I wish I had the answer to. Babies with this condition tend to respond very differently. It is a very tricky procedure with lots of possible complications, and so each baby has to progress at his or her own speed. For the Norwood procedure, the average hospital stay is around 32 days so that is our goal. However some babies come home in as little time as three weeks and others stay as long as three months.

4. What's going on with the birth parents and have the contacted you? Can they change their minds?

The birth parents are very young and know that their circumstances would not be the best for Mira. And they love her very much and made the choice of adoption with her best interest in mind. We have an open adoption which means we have a relationship with them and share information. There is no legal requirement to this, we just have a covenant or promise to maintain contact. They have asked for a yearly visit or two at a neutral location. Depending on how our relationship evolves over time we may be open to more contact than that, but it will just take time to naturally build that. So far they have texted us a few times to see how she's doing. At this point they cannot change their minds, so it is a done deal. In the state of North Carolina, there is a seven day revocation period during which a parent can change their mind. After this time is over the decision is final. We are past that window! We will have a birth certificate with our names on it, just like her big sister Makinzy.

5. How are you guys? Do you need anything?

Well, we are doing okay. We are exhausted, scared, and hopeful too. We have been overwhelmed by the kindness of so many people who have reached out to love on us during this time. We are trying to take it day by day and just enjoy every new milestone.

Not really. So many people have offered to pitch in and give big sister a break from the hospital, cut our grass, and take care of any need we have. Visits from friends who just want to pray with us in the waiting room, grab coffee at Panera or go out for a bite of dinner off-campus, have been uplifting and helpful. Gift cards, notes and cards mean the world too. Truthfully, what we really need more than anything it's just prayer. We really appreciate people sharing her story and lifting her up in corporate worship and private prayer time. 

6. Where did her name come from? 

Her birth mom and I came up with it as a blending of our wants. While we had final say on her name, we wanted their input and wanted them to love her name. They had their heart set on the name Ira, but it felt a bit like an old man name to me, and I wanted a two syllable M name, so Mira was the compromise that we both loved. Not to mention predictive text suggests the word miracle when you type it! It also means peace in Hebrew, and made for a pretty darn perfect hashtag, #mightymissmira. It fit perfectly. 

7. What does the future look like for her?

The next surgery will take place relatively soon and will require significantly less recovery time, at least that's typically the case. The second surgery is called the Glenn and third surgery is called the Fontan. The Glenn will be done around 3 to 6 months old and Fontan will be done around the age of 3. At some point in her life, she will likely need a heart transplant, but who knows what advancements in the field will be by that point! She may never be a marathon runner, but she can live a fulfilling and relatively normal life. Despite how normal she may appear on the outside, we will always have to advocate for her because she will be operating on half of the heart doing twice the work.

8. Will you go back to work?

Yes, eventually. My hope is that I can stay out six weeks, then go back and come out another six weeks when they do her Glenn, but we really won't know until we get there. She will also have in-home nursing care for several months.

9. How is she doing?

Well, it seems like she is progressing slowly but surly. She definitely does things a little slower due to her tiny size. She did so well after her surgery we kind of jumped the gun and she failed her extubation and had to have her breathing tube put back in. She wasn't strong enough and her lungs seemed to have too much fluid around them. So the goal lately has been to grow and get stronger. Once she has drier lungs and can take a full feed through her ng tube, they begin her on pressure support trials to practice breathing on her own. If she can do this well consistently, she'll have her tube removed and then we can move up to the 8th floor and begin learning to take a bottle. Mommy and Daddy will also learn all about caring for Mira there in preparation for going home.

 10. Was she a premie? When was she born?

Nope! Mira was born on June 20 at 2:37 am and weighed 5 lbs and 2 oz. at around 38 weeks, meaning she was considered full term. She just was in the NICU for a brief time before going to the CVICU (cardiovascular intensive care unit). They induced her early due to the heart condition so it could be planned at a hospital equipped to handle her situation. 

 

Our one goal has been to be obedient to God by being willing. We have been blessed by so many hugs, messages, texts, cards, donations, visits and more. The way our friends have surrounded us in prayer has been huge. We really want to thank everyone for the love and support we've received on this journey! One look into Mira's bright eyes and you'll agree she is worth it all!

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A tale of labor

Once there was a little girl who had two mommies... a tummy mommy and a forever mommy. 

Before she ever even existed, forever mommy was planning for her arrival. She fundraised, organized a massive yard sale, educated people on adoption, filled out massive loads of paperwork, took countless classes. She labored. 

Soon after she was conceived, tummy mommy labored away looking for just the right forever family for her growing girl. 

Forever mommy labored with preparations and doubt and fear.

Tummy mommy labored with pregnancy pains and worries and heartache.  

Then tummy mommy and forever mommy got together. And with hands held, with help from the daddy who created her and the daddy born to raise her, we labored through an emotional, awkward, difficult two days and witnessed her entrance into the world.  

And now she's here. Twice loved. Twice labored. Welcome, sweet girl.

Mira Frances Wilson.  

 

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CHOSEN.

I've been asked a lot more details about our adoption, so I'm trying write down all the details.

We had called to update our homestudy in March, played phone tag all through April, and finally had a date set for May. I felt like it was three months wasted, but our social worker promised the move and subsequently required update wouldn't prevent our profile from still being shown in the meantime. So, anyways, A, our spunky and lovely social worker (whom I genuinely enjoy working with!) comes over the Tuesday after Memorial Day and takes a grand tour of the house and updates things like square footage, fire/carbon monoxide detectors, and other home study details, and such. We then talk about the desire to change our service plan to be a little more open to having our profile shown to legal risk situations in order to find a prospective BM. Right after I gave this spiel, she gets all excited and drops the bomb that changing our service plan was a moot point because we were chosen. WE were matched! She told us we matched with a 16 year old EM (expectant mother.. EF is expectant father... BM is birthmother and BF is birthfather in adoption language) in our state who was having a boy and that the baby might have a heart defect. We were still over the moon! 

To add to the joy (and stress?) of the situation. J had just literally received a huge promotion for a new job as a principal of a large elementary school on the SAME DAY (made official before the board of education just a few hours before) we found out we were matched with Baby Girl. And his official start date? July 1. Our due date. Talk about a wild day.

I first told a friend and Jake's coworker who is stepmom to one of M's best friends. We were so surprised by this news we were late picking M up from the middle school cheer tryouts and this friend volunteered to drop her off at our house. This friend had also adopted and has been a confidant and understanding ear in this process so the news tumbled out! We called friends and family but kept the news unofficial until EM met with her social worker to sign documents to officially select us. Over the next week, we learned that Baby W is actually a girl (!) and that  EM was a student and was still in school (a huge praise! I had been hoping she had not dropped out - supporting her education will be a huge goal for me as her cheerleader and friend) and that her grandmother had had a stroke. Despite the scheduling difficulties, she met with her social worker and made it official so we made our baby announcements public. 

This started the mad dash to prep and prepare the nursery! Several dear friends at work planned a shower for me, and Jake's school had a surprise shower for him with nearly the entire staff in attendance. My mom and aunts have thrown us one planned for Sunday. We've been given countless stacks and bags and boxes of baby things from my nieces and from friends, so I have sorted, labeled, cleaned and washed it all. We bought a rocking chair for the nursery and pulled together the finishing touches. 

In the meantime, I have also scoured the internet for stories of babies with HLHS, in an effort to learn as much as we can about what's coming up. Jake and I are so very hopeful and positive. We will have a long road, but we feel that God picked this little girl for us for a very special reason. 

We meet the EM (I now know her name but will just refer to her as S here!) and EF as well as their families tomorrow!!!!! I am baking a homemade pound cake and bringing her a Dr. Seuss book written to read to baby in utero. I don't know her expectations for openness (visits? emails? phone calls?) or her expectations for the hospital plan (can I be there and hold her hand? I hope... C-section or vaginal birth? What hospital?) and such.... but we will talk about that and exchange contact info to start forging a friendship. I love her already. I can't wait to hear her opinions for baby girl's name. I want her to help chose. We know the monogram will be mWf if you are dying to know that... #southernlife

I am so eager to meet them and start a relationship with our baby's first family who loved her enough to give her us. I will share more as I can! 

Long time coming!

WOW, guys. 

We officially began the wait about this time last year. July 18, to be exact. At first I thought, we might have a baby by Halloween! Then, more realistically, I thought Christmas, New Years maybe. I had then set my eyes on April 18, 9 months of paper pregnancy. I held on to that "due date" during the wait with fervor. And then the 19th came and I wanted to crumble. I distracted myself with the business of spring and with settling into our new house, which we moved into February 17. I did all kinds of crafts and projects and gardening and it was such a welcome distraction from the agonizing wait.

We scheduled an appointment with our social worker to update the home study to reflect our new address and decided to change our service plan (what we agree we are willing to consider/what situations we would like to be involved in) and take some more risks in an attempt to get our profile into the hands of more birthmothers interested in adoption. At that meeting, the Tuesday after Memorial Day, we learned we were chosen! We had been matched with a EM in NC who is expecting on July 1. JULY 1ST!!!!!

To make things more complicated (but joyful), on that very same day, J received a great promotion to principal of a large elementary school about 16 miles away. His official start date? July 1... 

We held the news to ourselves and immediate family initially until it was official and we made to official Facebook post.

We were originally told it was a boy, so when we got word it was girl, it kind of threw us for a loop! I had always hoped for a boy, but I am quite an experienced girl-mom and Jake is the BEST daddy for a little girl. We were overjoyed. 

We have learned that baby girl is expected to have congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. It's pretty serious, but there is hope. Patients with HLHS undergo a series three (scary) open heart surgeries in early childhood that basically rework the heart to make it function as a single ventricle unit. If there are no other defects or complications, there's a high probability that our baby girl can grow up and live a relatively normal life. She may not run a marathon or be an Olympic athlete, but chances are good that she can have a very full and normal life.

Please pray hard for us in the coming weeks. I can't wait to meet our precious gift! 

Baby Wilson Quilt Drawing

Months ago, my mom, Jeanette share with Briana and me that she would like to design, make and raffle off a quilt to raise money for the adoption. Quilting is something that mom enjoys and she is great at it. The quilt she made is a beautiful lap quilt perfect for picnics or evening ball games. Many people contributed to the raffle and one lucky winner gets to take it home! Check out the video below to see who won! Thanks again to all who bought tickets and to my awesome mom for her hard work and love!

Pride... Not about me.

 

 

I feel it’s important to share as we embark on this journey the internal conflict we felt about year ago when we first thought maybe God was leading us to discontinue pregnancy efforts and pool our time, energy, and money into adoption.

 

 

About a year ago, before our last-ditch pregnancy effort with REACH, a family member brought up the idea of fundraising for an adoption, and I quickly felt a squirmy feeling inside. I hate asking people to do anything. I never host parties for direct sales companies (like Mary Kay, Origami Owl, Thirty-One, the list goes on) simply because hate feeling like I am pressuring someone to spend money on something. It makes me so uncomfortable. I won’t even do school fundraisers. You won’t catch me carrying an order form for cookie dough or wrapping paper around to family get-togethers. Goodness, I cannot imagine myself in a career that involved sales! I’d never make it.

 

 

Anyways, the idea of domestic infant adoption seemed like a pipe dream since there’s no way we’d ever be able to afford $30,000 after 4 years of 6 high-risk pregnancies, high-end medication and specialist visits, and subsequent surgeries. Add all that medical debt to the average student debt typical of 20-somethings, and well, it just seemed impossible to even consider. We thought about DSS, but having already been through the classes (their goal is always reunification over adoption) and having them lose our paperwork and witnessing first hand how broken that system is, we knew it would be unhealthy (at this point in our lives and Makinzy’s life) after 6 losses to risk more heartbreak. And there was such a burden on our heart for domestic infant adoption. The very idea of a birthmother, uneasy about her pregnancy, struggling with the idea of abortion, and choosing life and love for her child hits the heart at what we believe in as pro-life Believers. The church MUST be there to welcome these children and help birthmothers see a beautiful alternative to abortion. When you feel God’s burdening of your heart for something, you just don’t ignore it. Which meant I had to have a head on collision with my pride. God lead us to the road of domestic infant adoption, something we cannot do without asking for financial help.

 

 

Asking for donations has made me hyper conscious of my own spending. I get dressed in the morning and wonder if my outfit looks too expensive for someone fundraising. I get anxious in the grocery store worrying that if someone sees me buying name-brand Greek yogurt instead of the store-brand (sorry, it just tastes better) they might somehow think less of me. Yes. That’s my pride at work there.

 

 

I’m in a constant battle with this feeling, but God continues to give me comfort through the scriptures that we are NOT meant to go at this alone. Asking for (and receiving) donations and planning and executing fundraisers is a humbling process. I have had to lay down my pride to be obedient. As I have poured over scripture relating to adoption, I read over and over that God expects His church to care for the orphans. This is meant to be a community effort. When Believers see a Christian family seeking to adopt, we are supposed to jump in and help make it happen! This is not about the money in my bank account, but the plan God has to care for His children. I have to stop making it about me.

 

 

I can’t wait to kiss the cheeks of our future family member. Likewise, I hope someone else is inspired by our family to adopt, and you better believe I can’t wait to come alongside them in support.

 

 

Identity

My all time favorite Jackie Chan movie is, Who Am I (1998). This was a predecessor (and arguably better version) of the Jason Bourne concept. Not to mention, a fight scene that is beyond all fight scenes.

In one quintessential cheesy moment of the film, a frustrated Chan screams in exasperation, "Who am I!" It was a turning point in the movie because it highlighted what must be an incredibly frustrating feeling to not know one's own self. I used to fear this feeling for our daughter Makinzy. This used to be a concern for me for all people with major life trauma or kids who lose parents early in life. However, I've come to understand something. We all struggle with identity; that is until we find it in Christ. 

Before I was a Christian, I was still me. But my identity was build on just that: me. And let me be the first to tell you that me as a foundation is not a very good foundation. Even when I became a Christian early in 6th grade, I had not quite begun to work out my salvation with much fear and trembling. Therefore, my foundation was still in me. Justification had occurred. Sanctification had only begun. 

It was shortly after this time in my life when my earthly Dad took a new job. He left the construction business and began driving a truck. For me, this was like taking a limb. I loved my dad, and I leaned on him with everything I had. Granted, my dad was (and still is) a great dad, and he supported his children with gusto. However, as long as I leaned on dad, I was never going to have to lean on Christ. What a gift (in hindsight) to have my dad taken from me during the week. I didn't know it at the time, but this would lead to a connection between me and God that was never there before. I began to read some scripture. I began to pay attention on Sunday mornings. I began to talk to my friends at school about Christ. I began to find my identity. 

I didn't know it at the time but this would lead to a connection between God and me.

Later in life, after meeting (and falling completely in love with) my beautiful wife, I attended UNC Charlotte for my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education. One thing I found I had on campus that I had not had before was time. Being a natural introvert (which I did not know at the time) I flourished. I began to find that I had time to read my Bible. I realized that the depth of scripture was farther reaching than I'd ever imagined. I began to get a clearer understanding of my own identity. I began to understand what it meant when I said, "I'm a Christian". 

Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend of mine who has become something of a mentor in my life, and I was talking about the struggles of adopted children and understanding that it is not the past that defines them but what they do with their future. This good friend of mine made the apt point that really, we all struggle with our identity until we find it in Christ. 

Drop. The. Mic.

It was like a veil had been lifted. Of course! We all have the same struggle that many adopted children face. Who are we? Whose are we? Of course, when we find Christ, that question gets a clear answer. We are children of God, adopted into the kingdom of God. 

One day very soon, we will welcome a baby into our home. That baby may one day ask the question, "Who am I?" We will talk about birthparents and adoption and how all it all works together to make up who he or she is. But most importantly, I pray that the answer to that question, Who am I? will be God's kid, and that he or she will come to feel the comforting joy of belonging to the family of God. 

-J

Open door.

Here we go! We have been planning and dreaming and hoping and thinking about this process for a little while now, so it's finally time to share our plans and goals with all of our friends and family. I'm scared and nervous. 

Getting the news that conceiving and carrying a child would not be in our plans was hard. So hard. We've grieved that, and may continue to grieve that for who knows how long. Even with surrogacy, we loose the opportunity for feeling baby kick and for the labor and birth experience. For those who say it's not a great experience to mourn, well, it's easy to say that when you've had it and haven't dreamed of it your whole life. Nonetheless, the insurmountable joy we find in the promise of adoption helps immensely. Adoption and surrogacy were about the same in costs, but with our cause of miscarriage so unknown (most likely an autoimmune response in my body as our chromosomes and genetic testing have come back perfect each time), there's still a chance that it is more "deeply" genetic and we could miscarry even in a gestational carrier. Without our state insurance to cover IVF, we knew it could be costly risk.

So it became clear. We had ALWAYS known we'd adopt. We have Makinzy. We have thought often about adopting again but each time it was a question of how and when without clear direction or focus. And then this news... It was finally clear to us. DNA has absolutely no effect on our love for a child. You can look at Makinzy and see elements of us in her that have been born and given through love and not genetics. So what was our real purpose in having a child? Was it to have someone to pass on a legacy of eye color and genes? Or a legacy of love? It was a door closed and door open. I feel so much relief to have miscarriages behind us and adoption in our future. There will always be sadness in the closing of that door, but again, what joy awaits as we open this new door! 

-B