Update! It has been six months since Oliver and Ruby's little brother and sister Grace and Gannon were born. God knew exactly what was best for them, and I believe He protected us and guided us, as to what was best for our family. Grace and Gannon have amazing adoptive parents who love Jesus and adore them. We have been able to see them and keep in contact with them these past six months and I am so thankful for that. When I see pictures of their big smiles and beautiful brown eyes that remind me so much of Oliver and Ruby, I am a tiny bit sad because my heart misses them, but mostly I am thrilled and thankful, they are exactly where they are supposed to be.
Ruby just stared at Grace and gave her kisses, I am excited to see their relationship grow!
Gannon is so laid back and is such a sweetheart.
Oliver wanted to roll around and on top of the babies!!
Meanwhile, these last six months with Oliver and Ruby have challenged me so much as a mother. God knew. He knew once the babies were mobile, and into everything, my days would get much busier. He knew that juggling 4 kids and all that comes with that would stretch me, I just didn't know it yet. I am thankful that He knew and that He guided us.
While our birth mama was in surgery, Jarrod and I talked with our social worker from Deaconess and just poured our hearts out. We told her how much we already loved these babies because they are Oliver and Ruby's full siblings and we consider them our family. When we thought there was only one baby, we knew it would be challenging but we would make it work. I imagined myself wearing one baby and pushing the double stroller, or chasing after the twins. I was tired just thinking about it but I knew we would get through it.
Now that there were two, it meant 4 babies under the age of 14 months plus of course our older two Lily and Jett. It meant buying a full size van, a quadruple stroller and hiring a nanny because it would not be physically possible for me to feed infant twins and care for Oliver and Ruby, pick up Lily and Jett from school, take them to soccer, track and piano. Plus of course help them with homework and oh yeah, spend anytime with them without loosing my mind!
It was a lot, it was more than a lot, it was too much and we both knew in our hearts it was not the best choice for anyone.
It broke our hearts. This was Oliver and Ruby's brother and sister, we wished so badly that things were different and we could take them home. But as we prayed throughout the week we asked God to be clear about His will and if there were any red flags we would know without a doubt what was best for these precious babies.
After talking with our social worker we knew that there were several families that were waiting for babies and were PRAYING for babies and would be over the moon excited to adopt these sweet twins.
Then, the nurse came in with a big happy grin telling us that it was A BOY AND A GIRL and they were healthy and big and ready for us to come and see them!
Before we walked into the NICU Jarrod and I stopped and prayed again, we asked God to show us clearly if these were our babies or not, we were OK with whatever He had for us.
We walked in to see those precious sweet healthy babies and when I saw them I instantly loved them so much but I knew without a doubt that they were not our babies, that God had another plan for them. Jarrod knew it too.
It made us sad but there again, was a sense of peace that this was a part of God's plan.
We went home that night and we were sad, we were grieving the fact that we thought we were bringing home one baby and now we were not. And we were sad that we had to say no to adopting these precious twins. I was also dreading having to tell our birth mama the next day.
When I woke up on Saturday morning I had a good long cry and went back up to the hospital to check on everyone. I asked God to give me the words to tell our birth mama that we would not be able to adopt the new twins.
I went to her hospital room and mustered up the courage to tell her what we had decided. I cried and shared my heart, I told her how I didn't feel like it would be the best choice for our children or the new twins for us to try and take on all 4 babies. I told her I loved her and loved Oliver and Ruby and I already loved the new babies and wanted the very best for them.
She told me that, she completely understood and that she considered us her family and that she was so thankful for our kind hearts and that we pray and seek God in all our decisions. We ended up crying and talking for hours and it was just so incredibly amazing.
Then she asked me if I would help her choose a family for the new twins. I told her I would be so honored to help her do that. Again God knew, I needed to be there that day.
It was pretty surreal reading family profiles and looking at families photo books just a year after we had turned in our own. I silently prayed as I read the profiles that God would make it clear to us which family the babies belonged too.
We instantly agreed on a family, they were perfect and I was excited again. I remember how life changing our phone call was 13 months ago and I knew this was their day, a day they would never forget!
This sweet couple had experienced heartache as they waited for a baby and now they were getting two! God answered so many prayers that day, he answered their prayer for a baby and doubled it (:
He answered our prayer for clear direction and peace with whatever the outcome.
Our birth mama asked us to be there when they arrived so that they could meet Oliver and Ruby the BIG brother and sister, believe it or not! We were so thankful to be able to meet them and see what a loving family they were. They agreed that they would love for the new babies to know us and Oliver and Ruby and we already have summer BBQ's planned!
God carried us through, he gave us constant peace amidst the storm and our faith is stronger because of it. It is all as it should be. We are thrilled for this new family that was created this weekend and our bond with Oliver and Ruby's birth mama is so much stronger.
We serve a loving God.
Every hard moment this week was worth it.
I wish you could see their smiling faces, but this will have to do for now. God is good!
It was a typical Monday morning, the big kids were off to school and I was feeding Oliver and Ruby breakfast when my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number so I let it go to voicemail.
We continued our morning playing and getting some things done around the house, when a few hours later my phone rang again with the same number. Now I was curious who this might be when I realized that they had left a voicemail.
When I heard the message, my heart started to race.
"Rebecca, this is Sarah from Deaconess Adoption Services and I need you to call me back right away."
My mind was racing with all the reasons why she would be calling me, we had not spoken since we finalized Oliver and Ruby's adoption about 7 months earlier. So I called her back.
The news that she had for me, was the beginning of the most challenging week Jarrod and I have ever had. She informed me that Oliver and Ruby's birth mama was pregnant, she would like for us to consider adopting her baby, AND she's been having contractions so baby could be here at anytime.
Just to give you a little insight into our lives, we have four children. Lily is 8, Jett is 6 and Oliver and Ruby are 13 months old. Jarrod and I were in that sweet spot where we made it through the first year of twins, they were sleeping through the night and we were just loving our family. Although our year with four kids has brought us so much joy and we have honestly loved every minute of it. We also had no plans of adding on and felt pretty sure our family was complete. But we know things change and sometimes God has plans different from our own.
And so we began to pray, constantly. We asked our closest friends and family to pray. We knew this decision was so much bigger than us, there was no pros and cons list that could help us know what we were supposed to do. This had to come directly from God.
As we prayed God began to remind us of verses in the Bible about how Jesus loved and accepted everyone, how he was never too busy to help someone or heal someone. How Jesus the Son of God always put others above himself. During Easter week I remember feeling impressed by the fact that the night before Jesus went to be beaten and hung on a cross, he had the last supper with his disciples and during that time he washed their feet. Our Savior who was about to be brutally beaten and killed took the time to wash their feet, because he wanted them to know that this was what it was about, serving others.
This verse also came to my mind.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. " Romans 8:28
So this is what we know, God calls us to love and serve others and put them before ourselves. God loves us and wants what is best for us. God is in control and already knows the outcome of this whole situation. Peace washed over us. We gave it all to God and said your will be done.
On Tuesday, our birth mama went into the hospital to have all her tests run and check on baby, everything was looking great and their was a strong heartbeat. We told the social worker that we felt like we needed to proceed with yes, we would adopt her baby boy as long as there were no red flags that came up.
We began preparing for baby #5, and after a few freak out moments of "OH MY WORD I'M GOING TO HAVE FIVE CHILDREN!" We started to get excited, we picked a name, and we bought a car seat. We had to do some major rearranging of our mini van to accommodate 3 car seats and 2 booster seats, which was not easy.
We could not believe how quickly our lives were about to change again, but we were ready for anything. We knew God had this and we felt such peace and joy knowing that we were walking with Him. We knew He would give us strength when we needed it and His will would be done.
Friday morning, baby still had not arrived on his own, and our birth mama had an appointment for an ultrasound. Jarrod and I took Oliver and Ruby with us to meet her at the hospital. This would be the first time she has seen them since they were about 2 weeks old. We were so excited to see her and for her to see the babies in person! When we got there she let us know she was having some major contractions all morning and there was a good chance baby was coming today. I went with her into the ultra sound while Jarrod went outside with Oliver and Ruby.
I was getting excited to see for sure if it was a boy and see how far along she was because at that point we were not sure.
The ultra sound tech was taking a really long time to tell us anything and was having a hard time figuring out what was going on, so after about 15 minutes of her looking, she said well, I think I have finally figured out what we are looking at here.
"Has anyone told you that you are having TWO babies?! There are definitely two babies in here!!!"
I froze and my heart dropped, because I knew in that instant this was our red flag there was just no way we could take on another set of twins so soon. To say we were both shocked was an understatement.
We just couldn't believe all this time no one caught that she was having twins again. I sat there in silent prayer asking God, what now Lord? During this time I was timing her contractions and told her that she needed to get checked out because these babies were coming today.
The next few hours were a complete whirl wind. They took her upstairs to labor and delivery, while I went outside to tell Jarrod the news. We both started crying because we both knew that this was going to change things for us.
I went back to be with our birth mama, while the doctors quickly prepped her for a c-section and while she was having painful contractions. I was sitting there with her while she told the nurses I was the adoptive mama and they looked at me excitedly and started to give me information on the babies.
I silently cried out to God, what am I going to do Father, and I felt Him say to me, don't worry about the future right now, hold her hand and be here for her in this moment. So I wiped my tears and told our birth mama I loved her and I was here for her. She looked at me and said I am just so glad you are here, thank you. God put me right where I needed to be, by her side holding her hand. I will never forget that moment.
They took her back to surgery and I knew in about 45 minutes Jarrod and I would be holding twins again, just like we did only 13 months earlier.
I am so excited to see you all again this Christmas Season! I see
that you have two new babies in the house! Oh, how wonderful! I also have
noticed what a great job you two have done being their big sister and big
Lily I am so excited to hear that you are doing so well in school
and are so helpful to your mom and dad!
Jett you have also been doing a wonderful job in school and WOW you
are reading books, that is so awesome!
This year I have decided to do things a little differently.
I have come to help share the magic and love of what Christmas is
really all about. JESUS! Each day I will bring you a new message of kindness
and grace from God.
The bible says in Ephesians 2:8
For by grace you have been saved through faith.And this is not your own doing; it is the
gift of God.
God has saved a place in heaven for each of us.He forgives us and gives us grace when we do
as God asks.
Each day I will send you a note, it will have a verse that Lily can
look up in the Bible and read to Jett. The Bible is God’s perfect and Holy
Word! He asks us to read it and to do what it says! So after you read the verse
there will be an activity that you can do that will help you to apply the Bible
to your life!
This is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to get started!
In May of 2011, God clearly told Jarrod and I that we were to grow our family through adoption. God has taught Jarrod and I so much through this journey. We have grown closer to Him through our constant reliance on Him in prayer as we made so many tough decisions these past 3 years. For that I am thankful.
One of the most amazing parts of this journey has been experiencing God erase our fears and give us the ability to fully trust Him and his plan for our family. It started with the fear of adoption in general, there are so many unknowns that your mind can race with different scenarios of all the things that could go wrong. When we felt God wanted us to pursue Ethiopia there was the fear of traveling so far and leaving Lily and Jett, and all the things that could happen with bringing a child from a 3rd world country into our home; unknown diseases, behavioral issues, attachment disorders the list goes on. But as we prayed and gave God our concerns, he calmed our fears and told us to TRUST Him.
The period of waiting was hard at times, but mostly it was a time of maturing on our part, of being happy with the season of life we were in and trusting and praying that God had it all planned out and we just needed to follow His lead. Being completely submitted to God in our decisions gave us great JOY and PEACE knowing that He was in control.
And then God's plan began to unfold.
It started with a stirring in my heart back in the spring of 2013. I was spending a lot of time in prayer while I was on a mission trip in Costa Rica with my sister. We had lots of quiet time to pray and think. God clearly told me He wanted me to quit my part time job and stay at home. I had no idea why, and although it took me a good 6 months to FINALLY obey him, I did. I quit a job that I really loved. I spent every morning after that praying and reading His Word. I knew that He wanted my undivided attention and I had better give it to Him.
Most of those mornings I spent on my knees crying out to God, praising Him for the time I was allowed to spend with Him and asking him what He needed me to do. I will always remember and be so thankful for that time of closeness I had with Him.
As I prayed for our adoption journey, God once again began to stir in my heart the desire to adopt domestically. I had my list of fears that I brought to Him about domestic adoption and through prayer and several friends who had adopted domestically God put all those fears to rest.
Again, He said trust me.
In May of 2013 I knew we were going to need a bigger home. For some reason Jarrod and I both knew that God wanted us to adopt two children. This was all GOD because Jarrod and I had always said we never wanted four kids. (HA!) But he changed our hearts and we knew we needed to be open to two children.
We found a house that we loved. It has four bedrooms and one of the bedrooms is HUGE, a perfect room for twins, I jokingly said when we toured the house.
He began to prepare us for something we didn't really know was coming. Jarrod and I both agreed we needed a mini van, something silly maybe, but actually a little odd that Jarrod and I would both agree that we needed to buy a mini van when we only had two kids and honestly were not real into the mini vans. (: But on New Years Eve we drove home in an eight passenger mini van. OK God, what are you up to?
As I was spending time with the Lord while my big kids were at school, I felt a peace about starting the process of domestic adoption. Our agency we were working with for our Ethiopia adoption continued to give us bad news about more slow downs and even possible shut downs of all international adoptions from Ethiopia. We really prayed about whether God wanted us to continue to wait it out or move on to a domestic adoption.
Close to the end of January we started talking with Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption services about pursuing a domestic adoption, we prayed through each decision we made and felt that this was what we needed to do. It only took a few weeks to get all the paperwork done since we were home study ready. I felt this urgency that I needed to get our paperwork done quickly. The paperwork was a breeze (which never happens in adoption) and on February 20, 2014 I turned in our last form and birth mother letter and book.
On February 21, I decided I needed to buy a few baby items and some bottles, and diapers just in case. I felt really silly jumping the gun when I knew we could wait anywhere from 6 months to 2 years as Deaconess told us in our orientation. But just in case I bought a few girl sleepers and few boy sleepers.
On February 23rd just 3 days after our paperwork was turned in, on a Sunday afternoon at 4pm we got our call. The call we had waited for for 3 years!
A birth mother had chosen us, she wanted to meet us.
Jarrod and I were shocked and filled with joy at how quickly this had happened. Then the most exciting words came next.
It's TWINS and they are already HERE, a boy and a girl.
Recently I was asked the question what gets your heart racing what are you most passionate about? The point of the question was to try and discover what makes you as a daughter of Christ unique, with the end question being how can you use your unique talents and gifts to serve Christ and serve others.
My easy go to answer was that I am passionate about my children, parenting them, raising them, teaching them everything from tying their shoes to what it means to love and follow Jesus. Well of course I am passionate about my kids, MOST moms are. But then I thought about it for the rest of the day and night. I began to really search my heart. I did two things to try and discover what my talents, gifts and passions are, I first asked my mom. She is the one person who has known me since birth (obviously) has seen my good and bad sides and has watched me grow up. Her insight was such a blessing for me to hear. The next thing I did was go to God in prayer and open His Word. My prayer is that I would be passionate about the things that Jesus is passionate about. He took me to the story of Jesus feeding the crowds that came to listen to him speak. Most of us have heard the story of Jesus feeding over 5,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. Why did Jesus feed these people, why didn't he just send them on their way to eat on their own?
I looked into some verses on what the Bible says about feeding the hungry and caring for the poor. Here are just a few:
Proverbs 14:31 (ESV)
Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Proverbs 22:9 (ESV) Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.
Proverbs 28:27 (ESV) Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
Isaiah 58:10 (ESV) If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
1 John 3:17-18 (ESV) But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Jesus is compassionate for the poor and the hungry. He cares about people's EVERY need, not just their spiritual need. Because we do not SEE people who are truly starving and hungry everyday it is very easy to forget that world hunger is a HUGE issue. I read an article that stated that "The world's 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over," (www.rt.com)
When I think about what God sees looking down at the world he created and the HUGE imbalance that there is, I am ashamed. A quick search online informed me that taking care of the poor is mentioned in some form 300 times in the Bible. Why are we not listening?
Recently I watched the movie Lee Daniels The Butler, I highly recommend this movie. But as I sat there watching this movie and seeing the real footage of white people beating black people to death and setting them on fire and acting so crazy, in the 1960s for the simple reason that they were a different color as them, I had to ask the question WHAT was being taught in the church during those times? What were people doing to stop this insane unbiblical behavior. Did they just not read the Bible? Did they not read the story of Jesus talking to the women at the well who was a Samaritan and he a Jew? Jesus didn't care that in their culture Jews and Samaritans were not to speak to each other. Did they not read the part in Galatians where it says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, their is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all ONE in Christ Jesus." Or in Romans 2:11 when is says "God shows no partiality".
The gospel is all about loving your neighbor, and that we are ALL created in Gods image. It just blows my mind that so many people sat and did nothing while this was going on.
So my question then turned to, so what is it now in our generation. What awful crisis is happening right under our noses that we are sitting by and doing nothing about.
Two BIG issues came to my mind.
The first, people that die everyday because they simply don't have clean water or anything to eat. The second one is the thousands of girls and women who are being beaten and abused into slavery every day.
God help us if we sit by and let this go on and do absolutely nothing about it in our lifetime. God help us if our goal in life is to have the perfect family, the perfect house ,the perfect car, the perfect vacation and think about me, me, me while this is happening all around us.
These issues are so big and so overwhelming that a lot of us have used that as an excuse to do nothing. But what IF, we all did a something? What if we all sponsored a child, or gave money to the many great organizations who are on the front lines of fighting these issues or better yet joined them! $35 dollars sponsors a child through Food for the Hungry which will provide medical help, clean water, food and education for one child. That to us is sacrificing one dinner out a month.
I know that I am opening a can of worms, I know that we have heard the horrific stories of human trafficking and starving dying children. But oh how easily and quickly we can forget.
My prayer is that we would be an active generation who does not sit by and let this continue without a fight. I DO NOT want my grandchildren to read about the 1 in 5 children who die in Africa because they are starving or the 8 year old girl who was sold into years of sexual slavery and for them to say grandma what were you doing when this was happening? How could you bare it? and then for my answer to be well, I was too busy worrying about myself and enjoying all that I had to care about them. I can just see the look of disgust on their face. I know I am dreaming big when I say this, but my prayer is that we will ALL be able to tell them I didn't sit by, I fought, I prayed and we ended it through nothing else but the help of God Almighty!
My six year old daughter said something pretty mature yesterday that made me a proud mama. We were talking about how everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We all have things that we are really good at and then we have some things that we need to work on in order to get better. I was actually getting ready to talk about some academic things that she needed to work on. But she interrupted my thought to tell me she already knew what she needed to work on. I said " Oh you do, what do you need to work on?" She said "patience, I need to be more patient."
Don't we all Lilybug. Patience is not my strong suit. I am an OCD planner, I love planning my day, my weekend, and my year! I like to see what's coming and be prepared for it. I could never be one of those women who waits to find out the sex of her baby on labor day, I need a gender, a name picked out and a room decorated! But our loving, all-knowing God likes to challenge us, teach us and mold us. He is teaching us patience and teaching us that we are not in control.
I don't know when this baby will arrive, I don't know what the gender will be, I don't know if he/she will be 1, 2, 3 or 4 years old, I don't know if they will have special needs and I don't even know if we will be blessed with one or two babies.
The fact that I can write all of that, accept it and have a total peace about it, is ALL GOD. He has given me a joy and peace about this adoption that is nothing short of a miracle.
God has taken away every ounce of fear and anxiety I have had about this process, and turned it into excitement. I am so thankful for this hard journey we are on, because it has brought us closer to Him. We are learning to TRUST Him, to praise Him for being sovereign and for loving us enough to work out all the details.
"God cares, cares right down to the last detail." James 5:11