Not my will, but your's be done.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Luke's Heart

This evening I was doing some cleaning in my kitchen and I found something that touched my heart.  On top of the fridge I found a construction paper heart that Luke had cut out and written his prayer requests on.  On the heart it said,

prayer requests
a dog

He made his little prayer request heart last August when we sat him and Ray down to talk to them how God had laid adoption on our heart.  Our vehicle at the time was at max compacity, so it was a given that we were going to have to get a new vehicle before we added another child to our family.  Once Josh and I revealed to Luke and Ray that God had laid adoption on our hearts, we began to pray about it nightly as a family.  We prayed for God's guidance, we prayed for God protection of our future child, and we prayed for orphans in general. 

Almost immediately after we began to pray as a family about adopting, Luke penned his prayer request heart.  We placed it on the refrigerator to be a reminder to us all to be praying about our adoption and the things God was going to have to provide for us, like a van.  He request for a dog seemed out of place, in light of the other two things we were praying for.  Especially since we already had a dog, which was Luke's dog.  I have to say that I prayed about the first two requests numerous times, but not neccessarily for the third.  At some point, I guess the heart fell off the fridge and was placed on top of it.  We adopted an orphan(or THREE), God provided the prefect van for our family.  Prayer requests answered.  Or atleast the important ones, anyway.

God is interesting though.

About two weeks ago we added a dog to our family.  She was a free dog that a friend had found abandoned on the side of the road, but couldn't keep her.  I couldn't resist her sweet face, and neither could Josh, so we decided we would take her.  This might sound strange, but that dog has been such a blessing.  She is the prefect dog for our family.  Also, a couple of days ago we started to foster a dog that needs is in need of a permanant home, and that too, has turned out to be a blessing, especially to Luke. 

So when I found that little heart on top of the fridge tonight, I couldn't help but smile.  God is good, and sometimes he not only gives us our needs, but he also gives us our wants.  That is what a loving father does.  Lavish special gifts on his children, even when we might not need or deserve them.

A dog might not seem like a big deal.  But that dog that Luke spent all those months praying for, has been just what I needed.  Once again, I am reminded that I am incapable of planning my life better than God can.  And once again, I am reminded that God hears even what might be considered the "unimportant" of requests. 

I guess I need to brace myself though, because Luke's newest request to God is that I will either get pregnant with twins, or that we will adopt a baby boy and girl....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day.  It is a day for all of us who have lost a child through misscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or other infant death to remember our sweet babies.  Do we need a special day to bring them to mind?  Of course not.  I feel that I can confidently speak for those of us who have experienced this type of loss, that there is nothing that can make you forget and almost anything can be an excuse to remember.  So, while this special day isn't something that is needed for us to remember, to is a wonderful opportunity for our unique community to honor the babies we had to say goodbye to against our will.  It is also an opportunity for those who have not been touched by a loss of this nature, to be made aware of the loss that so many of those around them have had to endure.

When I found out that I was pregnant with Raylen, one of my first thoughts were, "It's twins."  It was a very random thought because during my pregnancy with Luke, I don't remember the thought ever really crossing my mind that I could be having  twins.  But the very evening I found out I was pregnant with Ray I almost immediately got a feeling that it was twins.  What was even more alarming, was later that evening my parents came by to tell us congratulations, and one of the first things my mom said was, "Your dad thinks it's twins."  My eyes got as big a saucers!  My dad has a special intuition, when it comes to babies.  Before the day of ultrasounds, he could guess with an eery accuracy a baby's gender before he or she was born.  Pregnant women come to him to find out what gender he predicted.  I'm sure at some point he has guessed wrong, but not in my recollection.  So when he said twins, it confirmed that feeling that I had. 

I had been seeing my OBGYN regularly trying to figure out if we had any fertility issues or not, so we were able to get in earlier than usual for my first prenatal appointment.  I was between 7 and 8 weeks along, so it was too early to hear a heartbeat with the dopplar, so my doctor did an ultrasound just to make sure that things were progressing as they should.  Little Ray looked great!  Her heart was strong an she was developing right on schedule.  What the ultrasound also showed, was what appreared to be Ray's twin.  Unfortunately, that baby had stopped developing and did not have a heart beat.  Talk about bittersweet.  We had tried so hard to get pregnant with Ray, that it was glorious news to hear that the baby was devoloping well.  There is nothing like getting to see your baby's heartbeat for the first time.  On the other hand, we had that "just got punched in the stomach" feeling hearing about the other baby.

We had a follow up ultrasound several days later to see what was happening in there.  At that point, baby B was just a shrinking sac.  Apparently that was a good thing because it didn't look like there were going to be an negative repercussions to baby Ray.  Ray's twin was what is called vanishing twin syndrome.  If we would have had our first ultrasound at 12 weeks or so, there most likely would have been no trace of what was once a twin.  God used this to help me learn to more fully trust my mama insticts.

Our next loss was Treyson.  This blog was started during my pregnancy with him, so you can read all the details of when we walked that journey, if you so desire.  The work that God in my life through Treyson is more than I could sum up in a novel.

Our most recent loss was less than a year ago.  I got pregnant shortly after we started the process to adopt Danil.  This pregnancy was kept underwraps for a plethora of reasons.  I ended up miscarrying the week of Christmas.  My selfish concerns of how I was going to manage having a newborn only a few months after bringing home a child with Down Syndrome from the Ukraine, suddenly felt like just that.  Selfish.  That baby would have been 2 months old now. 

Each loss was different and was grieved in a different manner.  Each loss brought something to my life that wasn't there before.

At 7pm tonight, our family will be participating in the "wave of light".  We will be burning a candle for one hour, in rememberance of our lost little ones. 

One this day of rememberance, if you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear of the little ones you may have lost.  For those of you mothers who have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, of other infant loss, it would bless my heart if you would let me know so in a comment.  This is not just for my benefit, but the for the benefit of others who have walked or are walking this path of loss themselves.

I pray for those of you who may be dealin with a recent loss.  I want to encourage you by saying that even though the pain never fully goes away, it won't always be this raw and consuming.  While it might not seem like it now, God can bring good out of even the darkest situations, if you allow him to do so.

Here is to all our sweet angels who are populating God's kingdom.  You are gone, but never forgotten.  Always loved and held dear in our hearts.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Half a year....

Today marks 6 months since our court date where Alik, Danil, and Josslyn legally became our children. 

6 months.  Half a year.

I can hardly wrap my mind around this.
In some ways it is like they have always been mine.
And in other ways I can re-live our court date like it was yesterday.

I was in somewhat of a tizzy after our court date, and then life turned in to a blur after that.  So I never had the opportunity to blog about the details of our adoption hearing.  My dear bloggy friends are probably waaaay past being interested in the details of that day, but they are so fresh to me, and I feel that there are things worth saying, so here I go...

April 13, 2011. 
What a day.  While our court date was not neccesarrily the adoption milestone that I was the most nervous about, it was still a very important bridge that we had to cross.  If you do recall, Kellen took ever step of our adoption journey with us.  While the thought of bringing Kellen with us to court made me nervous, it was not enough to deter us from bringing him to Urkaine with us.  Even though it seemed our only option was to bring him with us to court.  My baby boy is a sweetheart, but at this point in his life, he couldn't sit still quietly for more that a minute.  I didn't want him to fuss thoughout our entire hearing, but leaving him at home(in the USA) wasn't an option, and paying for someone to come with us just to take care of him during court wasn't an option either.

God tends to have things He calls us to do planned out ahead of time.  So when he called us to adopt internationally, he already knew that my mama heart couldn't physically separate with my baby.  HE had our courtdate planned out ahead of time, even though in my head I just planned to wing it.

When we traveled to Ukraine for our first trip(to have our SDA appointment, meet our kids, and have court), another family that played a very pivitol role in our adoption story was walking the adoption path a few feet ahead of us.  That family was the Buricks.  One day I will tell "Danil's Story", which is how our adoption journey officially began.  That story has Buricks(and God) written all over it.  The Buricks obedience to God's call on their life has forever changed my life. We were blessed beyond measure to have the Buricks not only in Ukraine, but, uh, in the same hotel as us for the first part of our stay in region.  It was surreal to lay eyes on, hug, and talk to, people who played such an enourmous role in the direction our lives had taken. 

Since the Buricks were walking this path a few feet ahead of us, that means that they had their court date and went home for the 10 day waiting period before us.  As the timing would fall, though, Josh Burick would return back to our region(and our hotel) while we were still there on our first trip.  It just so happend, that Josh arrived back to the great region of D'nepropetrovsk the day before we were to have our court date. 

At the orphanage there are two time slots a day that visitation are possible.  Since Josh Burick was staying at the same hotel as us, that means we shared a cab and from orphanage visits.  It was so nice to see him again, when he arrived back in region.  While I couldn't fully imagine it at the time, I knew that his reunion with his son was a sweet one.  So it blew me away when the day that he was reuninted with his son he offered to babysit Kellen during our court hearing.  He layed the facts out plain and simple.  He said that this was a day that was going to change our lives forever and that, in his opinion, he thought that we should be free to fully concentrate on and experience this life changing day.

He made a plea that couldn't be argued with, so we said yes.  As it turns out, Josh Burick was an angel in disguise.  On the much awaited day of our court hearing, court ran late, and then our hearing lasted long than we anticipated.  Kellen would NOT have handled any of this well at all.  First off, Ukrainian court houses are from Soviet times.  They are old, dirty, and practically falling apart on the inside.  As attached at KK is to us, he isn't exactly a sit still on your lap type baby.  He's a mover and a shaker, and would have been cover in dirt by the time we finally got in the court room.  As we neverously sat on a bench in a dusty hallway, waiting for our time in court, I was thanking God that Josh Burick was taking care of Kellen.

Court was everything I expected, yet a surprise at the same time.  Maybe I will post about what that was like at some point, but I'll just say this.  I don't cry.  You could litterally count all the times I cry in a year on one hand.  And 4 of those times most likely involve me watching a musical of sorts.  Yet, when the judge said that the Alik, Danil, and Josslyn were officially ours, I let out one of those ugly loudish sob cries and threw my arms around Josh like we were the only two survivours of a neuclear attack.  I pulled it together quick, but I couldn't help but hug nearly everyone that came within hugging distance. 

They were ours. 


Officially ours.

All those papers I had prayer over had suddenly materialized in to living breathing children that belonged to me.  It was a birth, of sorts.  The day my children became my children.

Of course that is only the beginning of the story, but what a beautiful story it has turned out to be.

While I was sobbing in public like a freak, Kellen was wreaking all kind of havok for poor Josh Burick.  Josh claims that KK was good for the most part, but at some point Kellen took an enourmous(and messy dump) that not only covered himself, but various parts of Josh's apartment.  Josh was super good natured about it and quite the trooper.  He detained Kellen the the bathroom while he, uh, cleaned up his apartment.  I guess Kellen was just breaking Josh in to being a dad of 3 boys. 

I felt terrible about the heck that the baby put Josh through(even though Josh was super good natured about it), but at the same time I wouldn't change a thing.  Having Josh B baby sit Kellen was such a blessing because I feel like I could fully experience everything that happened in court.  My hat is off to Josh Burick, who will forever be one of my heros!

Maybe on the one year anniversary of our courtdate I will describe what the actual court hearing was like.  It is something that I never will forget.

Here is to six months of being a legal family of EIGHT!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jossy Update

So, my Joss can walk....sorta.  This video was taken a few days ago, which was the first time she started taking unassisted steps.  She has been on the go since the first day she got the cast off, though.  Here is a video from a few days ago(her walking ability is still pretty much the same today).

This is how I found her the day after she got her cast off
She was trying to climb over the baby gate.

The doctor said no running, jumping, climbing, rough housing for FOUR WEEKS, but the day after she got her cast off she was climbing over the baby gates in the house!  SHE was so proud, and I almost had a heart attack.  I don't know if I have mentioned this here or not, but Joss is fully in that 3 year old "WHY?" stage.  I keep having to tell her to stop climbing or to play more gently, and then the "why?" go in to full swing.  I really can't count how many times I have said, "Because the doctor said you couldn't do that yet."  Oh well.  At least she is feeling better.

Loving baby brother

That girl truly is a lover, not a fighter.  She'll take all the lovins that me, her daddy, or her siblings are willing to bestow on her.

Even though she isn't walking, she is all over the place. 
Here she is wearing my practice drill team hat from college.  Cutie pie.

Two days after Jossy got her cast off all the kids were playing in the backyard when several of the kids started yelling for me.  I came running to find Joss sitting at the top of the slide.

I thought, "Oh goodness, Joss climbed the ladder."
Much to my surprise, the kids informed me that Joss climbed the ROCK WALL to get to the slide.
Heart attack #2.


I really have no idea how I am going to keep that girl from re-breaking her leg for 3 weeks!

Friday night we took the kids to the Nederland football game.
Don't they look precious in their black and gold?  And, yes, Kellen is wearing a batman shirt, as opposed to a bulldog shirt, because I couldn't find his bulldog shirt so that was the only black and gold thing I could find....which is actually Danil's, but luckily they are pretty much the same size.

Josslyn  Alina Carlin

The whole fam

The twins

This feller loves him some football!!
(even though he called it either soccer or baseball the entire time)

Well, that is what we've been up to.  My head is FULL of blogging topics that I feel like I need to share, both for the sake of others and for my own get-it-off-your-chest type thing, but who knows when I'll find the time.  If is much easier for me to just post picture of my cute kids doing cute things......

Night Ya'll!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Monster is Removed....and one little sneak peak

Joss got her cast off today!  Can I get a Whoot Whoot?!

This is my little princess all ready to head over to Houston.

Silly Face

Joss and Mama right before we left.

Like always.

It's time to get that baby off!!

The nurse was litterally waiting with the saw thingy while we took this picture.

The part I was most nervous about today was when she actually got her cast removed.  I knew that it involved the cast being sawed off by a little electric saw thing.  Loud noises can upset Joss.  Not to mention that the loud noise was going to be applied to her "hurt leg".  I fully expected a full on freak out from her while they sawed her cast off.  That didn't happen though.  She took it like a champ and even giggled about it.  Once the cast was actually removed was a different story.  Parts of her skin had sores on it and her leg was/is super sore and tight.  After her first taste of pain she pretty much lost it.  I almost lost it at one point too.  I just really have a hard time seeing her so upset.   

After her cast was removed they took more x-rays.  Once again, her femur(thigh bone) looked very funky to me, but the doctor and nurse insisted that it was healing up well.  Lots of new bone has formed around the break, so that is a good thing.  The doctor doesn't want to see her back for 3 whole months, although he did say that it could be 3 weeks before she walks again.  He also said that she can't jump, climb, swing, or rough house for FOUR MORE WEEKS.  That is going to be very difficult at our house.  We are a rough and tumble sort of group, not to mention that Joss is VERY un-coordinated.  I honestly think I am going to be more paranoid the next 4 weeks, than I was while she was in the cast.  At least I knew her leg was protected then.  Anyway, she has really surprised me since getting the cast off.

Here she is on the way home.

She isn't interested in putting any weight on her "hurt leg", but she is moving much more than I anticipated.  I was able to give her a bath and scrub a little bit of the grime off her foot.  Six weeks without bathing your legs can wind you up with some pretty nasty legs.

Joss and Alik

I totally have to commend my other kiddos for showing Joss so much love.  They swarmed her the second we got home and showered her with attention and love the rest of the night.  When we said prayers before bed, everyone thanked God that Jossy got her cast off.  Alik even said, "Thank you that Josslyn can walk again and play with us outside."  I love that my kids love each other.

Last but not least, here is a little sneak peak at a cutie I got to play with yesterday.  If you don't know who it is, then I guess you will just have to wait for me to tell you.  But I can't tell you how many times I thanked God that I was able to hold, hug, kiss, and play with her after spending so many hours praying for her. 
God it good.

'Night, ya'll!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mostly My Joss

New Tattoo

We had a little visitor one day this week.  Here is a sneak peek at who it was. 
Can you guess who that little feller with Alik is?

So beautiful

I simply adore that face.

She is such a ham!

The twins

Those two really do have a "twin-like" connection.  God is good.

She adores her baby brother.

The cast comes off in two days!!  Whoo hooo!

Have a great week!  And I promise that in the next several days Shannon and I will be posting pictures of Anton, Lena, and Alik's reunion.  Between the two of us we have 11 kids(10 of which are five and under!).  That can make finding time for blogging difficult. Stay tuned though because this is the week we will make the long awaited post!