Monday, April 30, 2012

I need someone to explain it to me

I am tugging on Olivia's hair, forcing it into submission while combing out sand and dirt from her morning playing outside in the near-perfect weather. We are headed to the funeral home tonight. We go to offer our condolences and to say goodbye to her toddlerhood pal...the little boy she's been praying for every night for the last year or more.

And I'm trying to figure out how best to explain to her why Jesus didn't "take Isaac's sick away." Isaac, who was two weeks older than Olivia and so very sweet. Well, He did take the sick away, but not in the way we were all hoping. Isaac is no longer sick and rests in the arms of Jesus. But does that make sense to a 4-year-old? Does it make sense to me?

Last night, Olivia prayed again for Isaac. It went something like this: "Please help Isaac not to be sick anymore and to be in Heaven with Jesus and don't let any sick monsters come to Heaven with him so he doesn't die anymore because he died already, but Jesus loves him anyway and he ALWAYS takes care of kids who are sick even if they die." Yeah. So maybe she does understand it better than I do.

Meanwhile, all I can think about is his mother, who, for the last 18 months, poured all of her energy into getting the best care for her sick child. She spent more time in hospitals during those 18 months than anyone should spend in a lifetime. Tomorrow, she and her husband will bury their only child. And then what? What do you do after that?

How does one face the next few years paying medical bills for a child who doesn't get to grow up?

I do not understand. I don't really think anyone can.

Friday, April 27, 2012


On Wednesday, I posted this:

"Today, I read a facebook update about my friend's son...the one who is two weeks older than Olivia and battling lymphoma. He recently had a bone marrow transplant, and today he is battling with some sort of mucousitis and is having trouble breathing."

Early this morning, little Isaac went home to Jesus, after an heroic battle with cancer that lasted 18 months...much of his short life.

He was the only child of his parents and the only grandchild on both sides of his family. It would be devastating to lose a child whether you had ten kids or two. But his mother struggled with infertility as did HER mother, both of whom have a history of some of the same reproductive maladies that I have faced. Isaac was a sweet, sweet gift. I cannot imagine what they are all going through. I cannot.

Please pray for Isaac and his family. Let's all help lift them up during this unimaginable time of grief.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


The single most terrifying experience of my life came after a routine third and final one. In September 2010, as a follow-up to the major surgery (laparotomy) a couple weeks earlier, I was to have a laparoscopy to clear out some surgical wrappings.

It was supposed to be outpatient.

When you have an abdominal scopic procedure, the medical team pumps your abdomen full of gas in order to have the organs sort of "float" and avoid puncturing something that shouldn't be punctured. Then they remove as much gas as they can before closing. But some always escapes, leaving pockets of gas that drift upward inside the body, usually causing left shoulder pain as it dissipates or gets absorbed.

Having had this particular surgery two times previously, I wasn't expecting a problem with this. But, for some reason, this time was different. My shoulder started hurting a bit very early, and then by early afternoon I was having trouble breathing because it felt like my chest was tight. Pockets of gas had released and moved upward into my chest cavity, and I literally had very little room to breathe.

I'm not sure exactly when it happened...maybe early afternoon. One of the nurses came in to check my swelling and started to recline my bed. As she did, it felt like someone was squeezing my chest in a vice. I couldn't breathe, and I started getting hysterical and crying and sobbing in a lack-of-breath kind of way. The nurses sat me back up and started rushing around, ordering blood tests and an EKG and all sorts of things while my husband stood there in sheer terror.

I decided then and there that suffocation would be the worst way to die. Because I thought I just might, right there on that bed, hours after an outpatient surgery.

Today, I read a facebook update about my friend's son...the one who is two weeks older than Olivia and battling lymphoma. He recently had a bone marrow transplant, and today he is battling with some sort of mucousitis and is having trouble breathing. I am thinking about that terrifying experience as I pray for this brave little guy today. He has gone through a lot. Please pray with me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Olivia the stubborn, Olivia the bossy

Last week was intense. This week is insanely busy. I haven't had a moment to think about the wait for baby #2, so I guess at least there is that.

Had a parent-teacher conference last week. We were told that Olivia is ahead of the game, academically. Quite bright, quite friendly, a good helper to teacher. She is having trouble behaviorally, though. She's not a troublemaker, but she's bossy (no surprise there). She can't seem to understand that Mrs. B is the teacher, not Olivia. She passed all of her skills tests with flying colors with the exception of one...following directions. When given a sheet and asked to "color the square blue, trace the medium circle in red," she pretty much does whatever she wants. She'll have this same teacher for pre-K, and they are going to focus in on this because, teacher says, it is VERY important that she learn to follow directions before kindergarten.

So. Our girl is stubborn and strong-willed and independently-minded. And she knows a better way to do everything. Just ask her.

(It is no wonder that her grandpa's nickname for her is "dynamite".)

In other news, she has discovered the '80s punk rock look (minus the make-up) and is the household rock star.

But we already knew that.

We may have many struggles with her strong will. But I wouldn't trade her for a dozen cute, passive, obedient children because she is my unique and beautiful child. She is interesting and full of leadership qualities and will change the world someday. God, help us direct her energy in positive ways.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tiny clothes

Today I have an unexpectedly light day...three kids instead of five. Two kids are asleep on the couch. The youngest of my charges today is adorably toddling around, happily carrying her sippy of milk around and talking to random pieces of furniture in her baby-babble-speak. And smiling...she is full of smiles today. Olivia is off at preschool. So...easy, at least for the moment.

I am taking this opportunity to do a little Spring cleaning. Yesterday I cleaned too-small clothes out of Olivia's closet and bagged them up for her cousin. Today I decided to tackle the pack-n-play in the third bedroom...supposedly a prepared haven for second baby, but which has lately become a storage bin for anything-that-doesn't-have-a-home-at-the-moment.

After cleaning out non-baby-related items, I organized what was left. One huge Thirty-*ne style tote full of blankets. Two boppy pillows. One mostly-empty diaper bag (ready to be filled with diapers, wipes and formula) and one diaper bag full of the cutest little yellow-and-green newborn onesies, pants and sleepers. And bibs and burp rags, because I remember what Olivia was like. Gah!

It occurred to me that I first packed that bag more than three years ago, when we finished our first homestudy post-Olivia. Three years. That is one ridiculously long gestation.

Yes, we have switched agencies. Yes, we are only 8 months in with the new agency (whose reputation says we should have been placed or at least matched by now, though...). But the is getting to me.

Back when we were assessing our options for baby #2, we attended an information session at a local agency for international adoption. We were very interested in China and/or Vietnam. But at the time, it appeared that there would be a 2-3 year wait (after 6-9 months completing paperwork and homestudy), and we really couldn't fathom that kind of wait. One to two years, maybe, but three? That seems like a really long time and Olivia will be so much older than #2 if we do that. There are babies here who need homes. Let's do domestic again.

Three years. We are there, friends.

It appears that, once again, the old saying is true. If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. Looking back, I can see there were times when having a baby in addition to Olivia and her behavior and developmental needs would have been more than challenging. But that doesn't make it any easier to wait.

I know that God can draw straight with crooked lines. I know that the child who ends up in our family will be there because, in some unique and divinely-inspired way, the birthmom will connect to us and to our family and we to her. We are creating a different kind of family here. We know that. We've seen it in our ongoing relationship with Olivia's birthmom. God places people in our lives (and us in theirs) for very good reasons. So maybe we are still waiting for that specific connection that God has in mind that will benefit all parties the most.

I just wish I had some indication of how long that wait would last. And maybe a special money tree to pay for the monthly marketing fees while we are wishing for impossible things.

Monday, April 16, 2012


I don't really know what to say here. There are some undercurrents going on in our local area that are really just intense. I want to whine and complain about our lack of a birthmother match and other things, but I can't bring myself to do it because these other things are just so bad and make me NOT want to complain at all about myself. These bad things are happening to a friend of mine who does wonderful and amazing things to spread Catholic teachings around our area. And she is under attack...I believe she is under spiritual attack and absolutely needs to be COVERED in prayer. That's about all the detail I can give, but if you can spare some time to pray for her, I would appreciate it greatly.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lenten Prayer Buddy Reveal

Wow. Time if flying here. It seems there was this season of Lent followed by the celebration of Easter somewhere in there, and now it's time to reveal my Lenten Prayer Buddy!

I offered up many prayers and my daily struggles with kids (mine and the ones I watch) for Megan at My journey to get fit and battle PCOS. I enjoyed getting to know her a bit through her blog. She and I are both farmgirls by birth (and she by marriage), and between that and the infertility bit, I felt like I knew her. Megan, I hope your Lenten journey was fruitful and that you received some extra graces.

I was also blessed by the prayers of Kristina from Quiet Light, Morning Star, who was assigned to pray for my intentions this Lent. Thank you, Kristina! Waiting is never easy, and it was particularly challenging this Lent as I reflected on our wait for the Risen Lord while waiting for a birthmother to choose us to be her baby's parents. Your prayers helped so much!

Many thanks to This Cross I Embrace for organizing the Prayer Buddies. I think one of the biggest benefits of the internet and blogging is getting to "know" other women and families who are going through some of the same struggles that I am. This online community has helped in so many ways. Thanks!!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Whoa! What happened to March?

So, Spring Break was one big road-trip-ish blur. And now it is over and Holy Week has begun. And everything is happening at once.

Today, a guy showed up early to assess our drainage issues and take measurements for an estimate for putting drainage tiles in the yard. Another guy showed up later to do an appraisal for our refinance (lower interest rate and pay it off in 10 years...rock on!). The new backyard neighbor had a billion nursery plants delivered for her landscaping. It is Spring and things are moving along.

Also, our house currently looks like this.

I was a little disturbed by the rapid arrival of Spring at first, but now I'm used to it. I also took the bold step of buying and planting annuals in my flower pots. I may be extremely upset with the weather if it dares to return to normal and kill off my pretty, pretty flowers. Because the blooms in this picture are already starting to fade and I need some color in my life. April 2, and my irises are already blooming out. April 2!

The babysitting kids returned today, and the baby, who is soon to turn one year old, is drinking milk now out of a sippy. She has definitely moved from babyhood to toddlerhood. Toddlerhood is a lot less work for me.

This baby-turned-toddler is making me ready for a new baby in the house. I keep thinking and praying about a match with our agency. It is very hard to wait. Ideal timing in my mind would mean new baby in mid-summer. I mean, life is moving at lightning speed right now. So much is going on in these next couple of months. But I wouldn't argue if a baby entered the picture right now. We'd make it work. It is just hard to sit and wait. It is very hard.

I guess there's not a lot of "sitting" going on, though. I suppose I can be thankful that we ARE so busy and keeping ourselves occupied. Life just seems like a non-stop whirlwind right now.

I suppose I must feed the children so I can send them outside for awhile. Sun! Heat! April!