Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Yesterday I spent a couple hours visiting with families on the 5th floor of Duke.  Those halls have become so familiar to me over the past four and a half years; I'm confident I could navigate them with my eyes closed if need be.

On one hand, it's hard to believe they were our home for nine and a half weeks; some of the memories have faded, our scars have healed, our life has gone on.  But, on the other hand, our time there feels like it was only yesterday.  It sounds so cliche, but it's so very true.  Memories flood my mind with every pump of the soap dispenser and every beep of the monitor. 

My heart still drops standing outside of 5324.  I remember exactly what I was doing the moment Ethan's monitor told us he was flat-lining, but I can no longer picture the nurse who finally retrieved my phone from our room so that we could call family and friends.

As I snuggled with a precious four-month old baby yesterday, just six days out from open-heart surgery, it was hard to remember Ethan just two months older, being discharged on that sixth day.  Memories of how to hold a baby with a freshly opened chest awkwardly came back to me.  "It's like riding a bike", her mama assured me.

I spent a lot of time remembering yesterday.  Remembering the hours of pumping, remembering the feeding difficulties, remembering the scary times and the joyful times when sometimes only tears could express how we felt.  As I hugged another mama who was preparing her own heart for a surgery that would fix her baby's, I remembered.  The fear, the grief, the hope.

Some days, like yesterday, I think back to those early days of Ethan's life and I wonder how in the world we made it.  Then, I remember.


Your prayers.  Your encouragement.  Your support.  The kingdom of God was alive through you.  I remember the calls, the texts, the blog comments. (I've saved most of them!) I remember the visits.  I remember you making us laugh and I remember you sitting with us in silence.  I remember the way you prayed with us and for us, sometimes around the clock.

I remember all that, and so much more, and I'm thankful - thankful for where we've been, thankful for where are are now, and thankful for the opportunities to remember.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.  We are so thankful for you.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Heart of the Matter

Happy Monday, friends! We've had a beautiful weekend here in North Carolina. Even as I type this, the sun is shining brightly and our windows are wide open! How's that for mid-November? The past few weeks have been home to some wonderful family time, a long weekend for Jeramie and me, and a great balance of productivity and relaxation.  Have I mentioned that I love fall?

Ethan gets cuter and funnier by the day, and equally as challenging! He and I have had some rough patches lately, but a trip to Granny and Poppy's seemed to be just what we needed to take a breather and reset our attitudes.  Praise the Lord for grandparents!

So, the question I get asked most often these days is, "How's the adoption going?" Let me just tell you - it is not easy.  We haven't even gotten past the application and we've already done more soul-searching and wrestled with more questions than my feeble mind could have imagined.  It's tough, but I am more than confident that it's exactly where we're supposed to be.

As far as where we are in the process, we've chosen an agency and we're about half-way through the application.  Our goal is to have that sent in before Thanksgiving.  There are some outside factors that could hold us up, so we're just trusting that God's timing is perfect.  Please continue to pray for us as we check boxes, lay out our financial information, and attempt to sum up our family and our faith on a series of blank lines.

I've also gotten a lot of questions about how this adoption is related to the trip to India, and how it plays into us having additional biological children.  While the timing may cause you to think otherwise, we are not adopting from India (yet, at least!). We are pursuing a domestic adoption and would be thrilled if we're on the waiting list by late spring. This adoption is, in no way, intended to "replace" having additional biological children.  As Christians, we are commanded to care for orphans, and adoption is one way God has called our family to do that. 

This is not "Plan B" for us.  We know that God is bigger than my infertility. We are not "just adopting" because my body doesn't want to grow babies right now.  I believe with all my heart that I could birth another baby again someday, but we are pressing pause on our plan for our family while we pursue His.  I'd even go as far as to say that God has used this "momentary affliction" to point us to that plan in order to break our hearts for the things that break His.

And, man.  When you hear that the world-wide orphan population would make-up the 7th largest nation, that's heartbreaking.

Figuring out how to care for these children can feel daunting and overwhelming.  No one I've talked to since starting out on this journey has the answer, and adoption is not always that answer.  Some of these children need to be reunited with their families, some don't. Some are available for adoption, some aren't.  So what do we do?

Isaiah 1:17 has been on my heart for a few months now, and I think there are no simpler instructions...

"Learn to do good; 
seek justice,
correct oppression; 
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause."

Do good by one another.  Work toward justice for all.  Help the poor and needy.  Shut down stereotypes.  Defend those who can't defend themselves.  Show love and compassion.

We can all do that, can't we?  The way I live that out day-to-day may look different from how you do, but the big picture remains the same.  Even after Jeramie and I bring a precious new baby into our home, we can't simply check Isaiah 1:17 off our list; our job is not done. 

I have a feeling adoption is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to experiencing the "pure and undefiled religion" that James describes.

I can't wait to see how we'll continue to be led into that.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
-James 1:27

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