March 18

It was just yesterday we heard our governor shut down the idea of a traditional school setting.  I am not at all upset with Laura Kelly; I can’t imagine the process.

Since the announcement I was feeling all kinds of emotions. Some of them that were leading me down a dark hole.  It wasn’t until I had a conversation with Carmen I found hope in the situation teachers across Kansas will feel in the coming months.

In the next coming days I will meet with my colleagues to discuss how we are going to finish the school year with our kids.  We will make sure our year finishes as strong as it can.

I don’t know what that plan is, but I am ready to fight for my kids.

House Updates

When we first moved into the building we now call our home, we instantly took inventory of the projects we wanted to do. It was a long list and there wasn’t much money for them. Fast forward almost 12 years and we the majority of these projects done.

But I am still feeling a restlessness. And I’m trying to understand why.

My style has changed over the years, but also has my understanding that good decisions take time. Decisions need time to incubate and I don’t necessarily have the patience for it. This often makes me even more frustrated because I haven’t processed enough.

My challenge for myself is to think and research through the projects I want to do.

How do you exercise this process?

This past weekend the time change went into effect and it kicked my tooshie today. I felt sluggish and my brain was definitely not firing on all cylinders until mid morning. By the end of the day I was somewhat back to normal and was able to cross a few things off of my list. Whew!

This evening was fun. It was just plain fun. Tonight was a fundraiser for our local high school after prom. So that meant a night off from cooking and a trip to Freddy’s.

Eating out with the kids is quite the adventure at this stage. Tonight was no exception.

While we were in town, we went by the mattress store to look at mattresses for the kids.

You read that right. We are preparing our kids to transition from their crib.

In talking with others, I’ve realized we may be a little late to the game. But, in my defense, they haven’t had any interest in climbing out of their cribs. So it hasn’t hit me until recently this transition might be needed.

While we didn’t buy mattresses tonight, when we got home we finalized our Target order for kids’ sheets. I can’t wait to get them. They are so cute!

Walks and Strawberries

I was finally able to go on a walk with a dear friend. It had been a while since we had seen each other and it felt like there was a lot to get caught up on. We spent about 40 minutes walking our small town streets talking about school and life.

Every few weeks a truck comes with fresh fruit. Sometimes it’s oranges, sometimes it’s apples, etc. but the fruit is typically drool worthy. Today’s load of strawberries was no exception. Gabby are a pint by herself and I, who is extremely picky when it comes to fruit, couldn’t get enough!

Lights

Usually after a passing of a loved one, it isn’t uncommon for that person to visit me in my dreams. And it wasn’t until recently I realized I haven’t seen my uncle Craig.

Then just last night a light went out in our family room. Nothing too unusual. Just one of those moments where you think “dang. Now I need to get out the ladder.”

Fast forward to tonight when not only did our hall light burn out, but within an hour one of the under cabinet lights burned out.

And it made me ask the question out loud:

“Craig, are you here?”

Gabby

We chose our daughter’s name because Gabriella in the Hebrew translation means “God is my strength”.  But knowing how long her name would be, we immediately called her “Gabby”.

Little would we know, our sweet baby girl would live up to her nickname “Gabby”.

In the weeks after my uncle’s passing, we have all been going through pictures or videos, holding on tight hearing his voice or simply seeing his smiling face.  It’s becoming a hard reality to understand he is truly gone.

So this morning when my aunt e-mailed us a video of baby Gabby and my uncle, it became an instant treasure.

I present to you Baby Gabby and Uncle Craig:

Psalm 139

“For You shaped me, inside and out.  You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.”

 

After our first miscarriage, I was laying in bed attempting to find sleep and struggling with our loss when a voice in my head said as clear as day “He is coming.”  At first it was as though someone was leaning over me and whispered it directly in my ear.  Initially I thought Adam had come into the room, but a quick glance showed he was in another room.  I have always wanted to believe the Holy Spirit was true.  This piece of theology was taught from a young age that as Christians we believe not only in the Father and the Son, but also the Holy Spirit.  In my lowest of lows a message of hope and truth was delivered.  For the next five years I would hold on to this nugget.  I knew our son was coming; I trusted.  And at times I doubted.  But I trusted and I kept holding on to this truth and I needed to be ready for when he did come.  I didn’t know how, I didn’t know when, but he was on his way.  Never would I have thought our son would also bring his sister.  But that’s the magnitude of God’s love.  It was because I wanted to be prepared I continued to dream of the moment our son would be home.  Preparation of our home was always on my mind, but preparation of our hearts kept both Adam and I living with our eyes open for his arrival.

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And then, Jake and Gabby were here coming through the gift of adoption.  Arriving three months after we saw their profile and felt a stirring in our heart we became their mommy and daddy.  Two different cultures, ethnicities, and worlds began the work of becoming a family.  God wasn’t just forming Jake and Gabby; he was forming two families’ hearts.

The following day after Jake and Gabby were born, it became very apparent there was  major concern with Jake’s feedings.  He had been moved to Olathe’s NICU floor for more observation.  At this time, we were at the hospital, but parenteal care was not turned over to us yet.  The kids’ birth mom was staying one more night and were sharing care.  This meant we took shifts with Gabby in our room and then taking turns being with Jake on the floor down below.  Adam and I desperately wanted to be sure our birth mom felt respected.

We were concerned, but at this point were too naive to be really scared.

“For You shaped me, inside and out.”

An NG tube was placed to insure Jake could feed safely.  Every time he would be fed with a bottle, he would spit it up with it going through his nose and out of his mouth.  Something was definitely wrong, but it wouldn’t become clear until more extensive tests could be run.

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We found refuge in the nursing staff as they took care of Jake, but we were becoming frustrated with the molasses speed it seemed was being taken in figuring out Jake’s mystery.  Not having ever been sick or actually in need of medical attention other than yearly check ups, we were quick to put our complete trust in the doctors.  But it became very evident we needed to be Jake’s health advocates.  And the sooner we figured out how to do this, the better off Jake’s care would be.

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That last sentence may seem like it has a strong tone to it.  But until you have a had a child with medical needs, you won’t understand how limited a doctor’s time is.  And unfortunately the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

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The twins were born on a Tuesday and by the next Monday morning we still didn’t have answers as to what was going on.  It was Monday morning where Jake became upset and pulled out his NG tube causing the end of the tube to come out in his mouth.  An uncomfortable sight for anyone, but an alarming sight for us prompting us to push hard for answers.  We were tired of hearing our doctor say that Jake “calls the shots.  He runs the show.”  We were confident we knew what show Jake was running, but we didn’t think he was getting the shots he deserved.  Thank God the right team was in place that morning that allowed action to be taken to work on getting us moved to Overland Park regional.

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Overland Park’s transport team arrived late morning.  We were informed to not follow the ambulance in case they had to turn on the lights.

Turn on the lights?!  Why would they need to turn on the lights?!  Is our son more fragile than we thought??

The medical team quickly assured us there are times when the lights need to be turned on for a variety of reasons, not necessarily because our son required immediate medical attention.  I will be forever indebted to this transport team.  They took the time to calm my nerves and answer any question I had.  I did my best to not look to hard at all of the control, air valves, and connections the incubator had as they placed our two day old son in it.  I trusted them.  I had to.

We ended up staying at the hospital for another hour or so to eat lunch and then take Gabby to her first check up.  Both Adam and I were stressed, but quickly found some reprieve when our sweet daughter peed all over the doctor’s bed when we undressed her for her weight check.  We needed to laugh or we were going to cry.

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After we found our way to Overland Park Medical and to our son’s room, we were met by the doctor we had at Olathe explaining we were now in a place that could explore more what Jake needed to help him with his feedings.  I found myself sitting there hearing what the doctor was saying, but feeling numb.  Why was this happening?  His twin sister was born healthy?  What does this mean for our little guy?

During our stay we were absolutely loved with meals provided by loved ones.  The first evening we were there our friends Brooke and Andrew brought supper to the hospital cafeteria.  The fellowship they provided was much needed after a very stressful day and for them to listen to us as we word vomited all over them was the best support they could have given us.

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Over the next few weeks we would be gifted meals through a dear church friend (she even brought Joe’s for us!), family in the Kansas City area, and former classmates from high school and college days.  They didn’t need to say anything.  The fellowship was a gift in and of itself to keep us grounded.

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During his stay, Jake was visited by a telegeneticist based in Arkansas.  This particular geneticist visited Jake by way of screen time hence “tele”geneticist.  He literally rolled into Jake’s room and could zoom the camera into measure the different parts of Jake’s body; the distance between his eyes, length of fingers and toes, etc.  It was fascinating to watch him.  We would eventually learn that Jake had no known syndromes or disorders that was causing him to not swallow.

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Twelve days into his time in the NICU it was determined Jake would have a g-tube placed in his abdomen that would enable him to feed.  It would be another week of learning how to use the pump, measure his feedings, and working on increasing his feeds before we were allowed to go home.  We would still not receive answers why our son was not swallowing.

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We were in the hospital for twelve days.  I wanted to bring our newest members of our family home to share their gift with friends and family so badly.  I was incredibly frustrated when my plan wasn’t coming to fruition.  It wasn’t fair.  Sounds really mature, doesn’t it?  But it was while grabbing a quick snack from the parent’s room (a sacred place for sure), my reality was put in its place.  A dad of a newborn was in the room washing his wife’s breast pump.  After a bit of warm chattering he told me they had been there since the beginning of September and would be leaving until their child’s due date.  In December.

Our son’s lungs were fully developed.  Our son could regulate his own body temperature.  Our son’s heart was healthy.

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After this interaction, I found myself much more patient with our timeline.  God is good.  God was (and is) protecting Jake and blessing the hands of those who are caring for him.  I had to let them do their job.  We would be coming home soon.

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October 4, 2017.  Our family’s homecoming.

Three weeks of Jake and Gabby.

They were finally coming home.

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“You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.”

Since his time in the NICU, Jake has had a full gamut of doctor’s appointments to figure out why he is still not swallowing.  We’re getting closer to answers, but this has been truly a journey of learning, advocating, and loving on them.

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Disc Golf Partners

The weather this summer has lent itself to some great games of disc golf. Typically Adam plays with friends, but in a few months he’ll be playing with two new partners.

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Adam and I are so excited to announce that our twins, yes TWINS, will be making their appearance in September! We can’t wait to meet our sweet baby boy and baby girl!

As you might imagine we are over the moon to meet them and can’t wait to share their journey with you!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we have journeyed toward parenthood.  We have felt incredibly humbled by your thoughts over the past five years!

Adoption Update

For this update I want you to imagine a reporter standing in the middle of a field that looks like nothing is in it.

When the anchor at the main desk asks them to report on their story, the field reporter has a look on their face of “what story is there?”

That’s kind of what it’s like for us while we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

But unknowingly to the reporter standing in the field, there is a story unfolding.  It just isn’t visible to the eye because everything is happening just under the soil.

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There was a lot of life that happened this past spring.  My grandma died, which left a large hole in my heart.  She was the grandma I thought would always be there; there was plenty of time for her to meet our babies.  But then all over a sudden her health went downhill fast and it became very evident her time with us on this Earth was quickly coming to an end.

What does this event have anything to do with the reporter standing in the field?
I feel like it was her passing that lead to the events that we experienced in the events that could have lead to meeting our baby.

A few days after she passed away, we received a call from our agency saying they had an interesting case come up with a potential family and wondered if we would be interested.  Immediately, I felt that my grandma had something to do with this turn of events. Weird, I know.  But the feeling was there.

Fast forward to the fact that we were eventually shown to the potential birth parents.  It was exciting!  Oh, my gosh it was exciting.  Even though we were technically still on the waiting list, in this particular case our location was thought to be a plus for the couple as they made the hard decision to place their baby up for adoption.  The couple stated they wanted an open adoption (something both Adam and I are open to) and our agency thought our particular location would be a factor the couple would look for when making their choice.

For me, all the check marks were being checked:

*the baby’s gender

*the due date

*the location of the couple to Adam and I

Then we received an e-mail from the agency the day after they showed the birth family our profile.

They didn’t choose us.

It was like a miscarriage all over again for me.  The hope I had placed in this situation was so high.  As you might imagine, we were extremely disappointed.  And we were placed right back on the waiting list.

But, remember how I said there is growth under the soil?

Shortly after this experience, I felt God telling to me prepare to wait.  What I mean by this is is that while we are in the wait we are working on projects or other things that help us prepare for our baby.  It is what is giving us hope at this time.

So, while we don’t have anything to show and the reporter doesn’t really have a lot to report on, there is something happening.

We can’t wait to report when there is more news! 🙂

 

This is US

Not only am I completely hooked on this new show, but it completely describes the place where Adam and I are currently.  The show follows a family of “triplets” as they grow up throughout the last 3 decades.  If you enjoyed Parenthood, you’ll enjoy this show.  And go ahead and keep a box of Kleenex next to you.  You’ll need it.

As you may have noticed I have been absent from this blog for a few months.  With varying obligations I simply didn’t take time to share events.  I kind of felt like we needed to go through the motions of life; begin a new flow with a new school year.

The last 3 months have been a time of finishing up a few projects.  Tiling in the upstairs bathroom and finishing shelves in our family room have been really fun projects to complete.  It’s like the whip cream on a chocolate peanut butter pie.  You don’t really need it, but by golly it sure makes everything nicer.

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In late August we had a friend stay with us while he completed his rural medicine rotation.  Not only did he help cook, but he also shared some awesome stories from his day.  Teacher stories and doctor stories are a bit different in content, but definitely make a great laugh.

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Our respective school years have started off well.  I have 13 amazing kids I get to experience the joy of learning with and Adam has 64 kids he gets to inspire every day.

But there’s more to be excited about this year.

We have been on a long journey.  A journey that has given us both strength and grace.  This time last year we were beginning an IVF process that challenged us mentally, physically, and spiritually.  After we found out that this procedure would not lead us to Baby Robb, we were lost.  We weren’t exactly sure where God was leading us.

We took time to be silent and truly listen.

At times The Call seemed to be pointing to another IVF.  In fact, in late February we did another IUI procedure with no luck.  So we continued to listen.

But it was through this silence we heard it.

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God is calling us to adopt.

Four years on this journey through light and darkness has lead us to this moment of clarity.  We have always wanted “our baby”.  And now we know that God truly is leading us to our awesome baby.

This stage of our journey is in infancy.  Our home study is complete.  Tomorrow we mail our application to an adoption agency.  And then we wait and pray.

We pray for God’s guidance.  We pray for a healthy child.  We pray for birth parents who will be making one of the toughest choices of their life.  And we appreciate your prayers for these things as well.

 

*All photography credits go to the very talented Charlie Ramseyer at Charlotte Jane Photography