Monday, May 26, 2008

Manifestation of God's Love

This phrase blurted out of my mouth yesterday in reference to Esther's arrival. It seems like this adoption process has been one little God gift after the other with Esther being at the middle. Each time I think we are done experiencing the blessings He has for us, something else happens. Today, for instance, I received a beautiful email from a friend who just happens to have a slightly used girl patterned stroller that she has offered to give us. James and I had just talked about our needs for her, in starting from scratch, and we are already so grateful for the crib, the infant car seat, the borrowed bjorn, the meals, the gifts of clothes, bibs, socks, etc and now this stroller. It seems a little too good to be true, to feel the provisions of Gods love in the flesh. I remember in college, scraping by just to buy Ramen and lemon cookies from Food 4 Less and the gratitude to be able to pay our rent and eat, but it seemed stressful. That is not the case in the current provisions, it's oddly peaceful and freeing. The way that the people around us have looked in their hearts to not only come alongside us in our excitement, but actually offer things we have needs for is beyond my comprehension.
Beyond the physical things that we need being provided for, what I've really enjoyed the most is hearing those around me open up by sharing their desires for adoption. What a wonderful connection to experience with someone in having this type of passion in common!
The manifestation of God's love....we all see it in different things when we listen to the nudging of our hearts. Mine, for today, comes in the form of a beautiful baby girl that we've been given the privilege of having and holding and I truly hope that all who meet us have their passions, whatever they might be, ignited or re-ignited so they can experience this beautiful thing called love.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One Week Later

So we've been home for a week now and it's been a little crazy. As I'm typing this I'm watching my mom rock Esther in the chair across from me and she just said to me, I've never held a baby who sang herself to sleep. Esther makes this cooing sound as if she has a lullaby tape going on in her little head that she is humming. Self-soothing, resilient, adorable baby Esther. It makes me wonder what her short time with her birth mom was like for her or maybe this is how she was born. Either way it's very different from the ever demanding, much like my personality older girls and to be honest, it's a welcomed reprieve that is making it especially wonderful to bond to this new life and therefore causing me to be more emotional, a weird feeling like post-partumy with gratitude overwhelming me every time I look at her. This journey is like one I've never known and I'm beginning to feel empowered in my knowing I am walking it...and not walking it numb. I'm feeling every bit of it, not running from any of it, not hiding, not bitter by the lack of sleep or by having to "eat in shifts" as James calls it. My life is again not my own (not that it really ever has been for the last 8 years), but somehow I thought I had reclaimed myself recently and what I'm now realizing is that I was tending to not embrace the fun that each of the older girls ages offered. That is not the case now. I am not wishing us onto a more independent stage, thinking things like I can't wait until she can walk, potty train, drive, etc. For that I am grateful at the fortitude in being present, for today, for this moment. Is that maturity? Am I too tired to think beyond the next feeding? OR is it that the newness hasn't worn off yet? Whatever it is, I don't care. I want time to freeze and imprint the picture of Rory & Chloe's 4 big blue eyes staring at me as I stare into the eyes our little brown eyed girl. It's amazing, it's questions like when will she crawl mom? Can she have a tortilla chip? Why doesn't Esther have to eat salad? I LOVE IT! It makes me laugh to have our girls embrace this new life in their own ways. Are they adjusting? Somewhat, some moments more than others. Expectations of what their role in our growing family is come out in comments like, I used to be the baby, then Rory came, and now Esther. I get it. It's a lot. It's also about looking beyond our own selfish desires (at whatever age) and stretching to make accomodations for something new. What I know is that each one of us, even with the stretching and growth we are forced to do in this experience, that somehow it has brought an energy of excitement and hope to our home. Beyond that of birthing a new baby, this is a more unique sense of God's got this one, entirely. Get on your knees Susan, eyes on Me, focus, I got this one. Focus.....on priorities, on new life, on lives already here. Adoption, the gift that keeps on giving, beyond all expectations.

A couple pix off cell phone....

This was our last time in Texas before going home. Is that a smile?

Esther & Big Sister Chloe & Rachel Trostrud-thanks for my new swing Rachel!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rough Night

The honeymoon is officially over, at least for a little while. Esther slept so awesome for the social workers and the first couple nights for me, but these last couple nights, last night especially, you would of thought she drank a Red Bull for dinner. This quiet little cutie apparently thinks she needs to expand her lung capacity and therefore showed me what she could do from 9:30 to midnight. I gotta get a new copy of Babywise and figure out how to get her to stay asleep. She'll eat, wake, sleep (for 30 minutes)'s keeping her sleeping that's puzzling. She jumps at every noise and in a hotel with no sound proofing it's getting tough. In fact, housekeeping woke her up this afternoon when they wanted to change the duvet covers???? I was a little bitter, but compliant, and it was my bad since in my sleep deprived haze I forgot to put the Do Not Disturb sign up. I guess all the noise is good practice for when we get home.
I am tryinig to rest when she does and my cell phone is dead, so if anyone's trying to get me, I hope to make call backs tomorrow. No word on any exit plan.....keep praying. I did contact the attorney today and we are putting them on retainer so they can start the finalization process. Our finalization anniversersary is November 6th, which means they can set the court date to complete it any time after that date. I'll update more if I hear anything. We can't wait to come home, although I heard it's rainyish there and we're enjoying the heat of Houston as we wait....

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crib Set

I was talking to my friend yesterday (the crib lender and car seat finder) who happens to be very resourceful about our needs for Esther. Just now, my husband calls and says, I have great news!! Instantly, I was hoping we were going to be able to leave. Nope. He did have great news though, he found the Nelson girl original yellow checkered crib bumper set all complete (graciously purchased by my in-laws for Chloe at the Lake Elsinore outlets) and the white baby hamper!! Who knew we held on to those? He's so excited, he's actually washing it and getting it ready! Do I know this man? Of course and so does Esther. It's the little things like using the same sheets, comforter, and bedding that's been passed down from baby to baby that makes a hubby do a yahoo and a load of laundry without being asked!! You go daddy:)

I'm in Love

For all the skeptics out there....this thing called adoption tugs at heart strings that I didn't even know I had. As she is snoring on my chest in the borrowed Bjorn and I'm in the poorly lit, ever humid, Texas business center, my heart is swollen with new mother joy and love. Our brown eyed girl has now smiled at me (possibly gas, but who really knows), she's peed on me, spit up on me, and best of all cried until I picked her up and instantly stopped when she was snuggled into my neck. I no longer feel as if I'm babysitting someone else's child. I know this cry is for me. It's addictive, it's sweet, it's genuine. I'm her mommy. Could I have asked for a better Mother's Day gift? I keep telling her that over and over again. Phrases like Hi, it's mommy. I'm your mommy. Esther Marley is mommy's baby girl. Does my stomach turn when I think about the upcoming 6 months until finalization? I'd be lying if I said no. The growth for me is in knowing that deep down everyone I hold dear is on borrowed time. Every day that I get to look in your eyes, her eyes, my families and friends eyes is a gift. I know that busyness and routine is something that distracts us all from that reality. I am in this thing moment to moment. Feeling all of it, regretting none of it, loving God's awesomeness, and trusting His goodness and plans. What a way to live. I wish I could figure out how to upload pictures from this computer. I will post some as soon as we get home. No word on that as of yet...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


James and I are so happy to announce we have a baby!!! God, in His Divine wisdom, has given us a baby girl. I am typing this from the La Quinta in Pearland, TX where I have to wait until the ICPC clears. James went back home last night, but we are having some paperwork issues, so we may be looking for a way for him to bring our big girls and himself back to me here in Texas. Yes, I know, we were asking for a boy. When the agency called on Monday and asked us if we would be willing to take a baby girl in Texas, all of a sudden the sex of our little gift no longer mattered. I have to say, she's adorable. What's happening now is that we wait for the ICPC to clear and then after that it takes 6 months to have finalization in Utah. We have decided to call her Esther Marley Nelson. I started out wanting to call her Penelope and then all of a sudden James looked at me, as we were driving over to meet her, and said what about Esther? I said isn't that a grandma type name? He said think about it. When I think of Esther, I think of Queen Esther from the bible and how she stood up for her people to her husband, the king. What strikes me is not only how she is described as beautiful, but I get the feeling she was thoughtful and had a quiet confidence. The words quiet confidence is what I felt from this little beauty as soon as I met her....she's an Esther. God has great plans for her and He has entrusted us to nurture and love her. It's funny, last week my sister, in my frustration said we will just pray that God will show you He loves you. I am here to say, I am loved. It's time to warm the next bottle so I have to run. Please pray that the paperwork clears quickly and that there are no hang ups. Also pray for the birth mom that her soul is comforted and she knows deep down that the gift she gave is being loved and cherished. Now we wait to get out of Texas....will write more soon!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Weekend Update

I don't even know how to start explaining this weekend in writing, so I'm just going to start and hope it makes sense. First, I've been working with the local agency that did our home study to see if they have any cases that fit our requests. So far they don't and on top of that I'm struggling getting clear info from them. Also, anyone reading this that may be adopting domestically-note to self-MAKE COPIES OF EVERYTHING YOU GIVE YOUR HOME STUDY AGENCY. This includes the reference letters you get from people. I didn't do that and now I'm at the mercy of the home study agency to pass on our info to other agencies we want to apply to. That' s VERY frustrating especially since they aren't that forthcoming in their communication.
So, I contacted another local agency that offers an African American Infant Adoption program and I totally connected with the "information" person on the phone and the agency happens to be in our home town. During our conversation she asked what we were looking for and she asked me-How set are you on a boy? OK, I know-pretty set, right? I don't know what happened, but I said-Tell me more. So, she proceeded to tell me about a situation they have where the baby is already born, but she's a girl. Again, I don't know what happened, but I asked if we could be shown to her mom. Keep in mind, our home study is in some kind of state of limbo, being held hostage with some unknown timeframe of release, I haven't done our profile with pictures, our birthmom letter had to be changed to meet this agencies requirements, our birth certificates have to be notarized, and I have to fill out their application (which I still haven't done yet). This conversation took place on Friday afternoon at 3pm and their representative was leaving at 6pm and we had re-arranged our whole night to go from a MOPS date night to the Jazz winning playoff game getting home at 1am to try and work on all this. So Saturday morning we put a video slideshow together that we are hoping they can show the birth mom on a computer. Somehow I feel extremely calm about the whole thing. Chances are VERY slim that we could be matched, but at least it's practice in the process. As far as the girl vs boy thing, I don't know, all of a sudden the sex of the baby doesn't matter as much as the fact that a baby needs a home and we can do that. We appreciate your continued prayers and look forward to hopefully hearing something this week. And we wait....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Saga Continues

When the home study gets completed it then has to go to an approval committee. That was supposed to be approved yesterday, but now they're saying next week. In the meantime a couple things have happened on our end. First, I met someone who had a negative experience with the agency we were considering using. We are grateful for the information and will be taking it into consideration as we finalize where to apply. Secondly, since we are going to pursue partnering with the local agency that completed our home study, we need to do our profile. It sounds like a case on Law & Order SVU. Unfortunately, it includes scrapbooking or something like that. Any of you that know me know that's not a doable thing. I have written the birth mom letter (that in and of itself was ridiculously surreal). How do you tell a mother about yourself in a way to allow her to trust that you are capable to raise her baby? How do we say thank you for allowing us to even be considered to do that? I can't even begin to understand a birth mom's state of mind, the courage it would take to carry a child with the understanding that they will not be with you. I did the best I could and now I have to put pictures to the words and put it on some overpriced, oversized paper with special glue to preserve the memories. Gotta be honest, not looking forward to it and not really sure where to begin.
With that said, the highlight of this week happened today. First, I was able to share a meal this morning with a beautiful woman who helps me put my life into perspective and appreciate the people God's planted me here with. Thank you!! The second thing gives me goosebumps in just typing it. The same friend that lent her crib to me was talking to her neighbor and long story short, she has a brand new infant carrier with base that she could sell for cash, but has agreed to give to us! This is one of the things that is giving me hope that this adoption is actually happening. I have never experienced something that seems so out of reach in one moment and then becomes completely real the next. Talk about surreal! I am so grateful for the way this friend has chose to invest in this process and my gratitude continues as I feel our relationship blossom as well. (Insert tears here). I've done a lot of boo-hooing over the past couple days, some tears selfish, some hot with the sting of frustration, but today they are sweet like a fresh spring raindrop-full of gratitude and emotion as if God sprinkled me as His oar plunged into the water. Thank you for paddling and for the refreshing splash and I pray that I don't grab the oars from you as we wait....

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