Friday, February 10, 2017

It's a BOY!

From my last post in June to our adoption home study becoming expired in November, it was really hard. It was a count down that I didn't want to end. I had asked God why we were getting to this point? Why would he ask us to get here and have more heart ache? One of the most hardest times from me is when the kids went back to school in August. But then I started working more and keeping busy between that and school volunteering.

Talking about our home study expiring... from the beginning, we knew that there needed to be some type of timeline for ourselves. We were on an emotional roller coaster for 5 years from start to finish. So it was how long we could put that emotion into the adoption before we decided to move forward with life. Turn a page and leave the past in the past. Then there was also the financial aspect. Each home study renewal cost another $350 to the agency, $170 for finger printing, $60 for CPR training, and then the doctors appt with drug testing etc. (whatever that costs) and it was time to update our profile books at about $100.

So the week before Thanksgiving, when our home study was due to expire, we got one "last" profile. This was it. I was already starting to delete things from my computer, like pinterest boards, links to learn how to raise a person of color, anything to do with baby stuff, even my "Kendall" board. I had been preparing for "calling it quits" for a few months. I think my most "down in the dumps" was sometime in August 2015. Many friends saw me cry. I was having some quiet time in the rocking chair on my front porch, when a friend drove up and I burst into tears when she asked me what was wrong. She without hesitation, prayed over me from her car window while I had my head down on it.

We knew, while we waited for this last profile, that our case worker wanted to talk with us. But Kirk and I both were saying to each other, "She knows we are done, what else could she tell us? What's the point. What words of sympathy could she say to make us feel better?" By this time, I had already heard the Lord in a quiet time say "I love you and I hear you". But I was also giving Him back, "Why have we come to this place?" I did know and feel comfortable with the fact that God had asked this from us, and even if it wasn't during our timeline, He'd work it one day. I just didn't like not knowing when "one day" would be.

Our case worker called the day we found out we weren't picked for our "last" profile. She was actually the one to tell me over the phone, but that wasn't why she was calling. She wanted to let us know that we had become #2 on the "longest waiting family" list. We knew we were already #1 from the year before for an African American child. This list was for all children, meaning that the person ahead of us was not open to AA. She also said the following year had 8 agency placements and to that date last year, there had been 3. Not saying the word "guarantee", that was what she was telling us if we renewed for the next year, but still with a chance that might not happen. I told her I would talk with Kirk and get back to her. We slept on it.

This was the week before Thanksgiving still. Kirk's dad was in the hospital till the day after Thanksgiving. People were coming to our house that week. WIth everything going on, when we decided to go ahead with our renewal, we didn't announce anything. Some people had asked how we were doing, so they found out. Some friends knew because I had asked for a Shutterfly coupon code that week, to buy new books.

The phone call with our case worker was on a Friday (Nov. 18th)... by Tuesday (21st) we had a CPR training class. We could have had our drug testing on Wednesday, but I had a small window to drag everyone out of the house during a holiday week, so we scheduled it the following week. That Saturday (26th) we had all our finger printing and background checks complete. And within three weeks, we had our case worker come out to the house. We couldn't waste anytime, or they would have had to put us on "hold" till we were in the process, since we did expire on he 25th,

We did receive one more profile in the meantime on December 13th, although our case worker was not finished with our home study. We were not chosen for that one. We knew she was looking for someone who could not have children biologically.

December 19th rolled around and we were told about a baby boy born December 17th. We said yes to show our profile. Under the circumstances that a mother didn't want to choose a family (we didn't know this yet), BCS was going to pick the longest waiting family. Knowing that this boy was African American, we were top of the list. His birth mom could have come back to choose or parent, so the time frame with 10 days. We didn't get our hopes up... it was now Christmas break and we didn't tell anyone till day 8. I received an email that told us to be "cautiously optimistic" and prepared. And on day 10, we knew we'd get a phone call after 5:00pm.

Day 8, December 27th, my mom came over and I was starting to frantically get the nursery ready. I think this was the day we told the big kids. I had mentioned it to Kristen before Christmas, just as a heads up, but nothing final. They were both very excited!
Day 9, December 28th, we went to help Kirk's dad clean up his larger yard, since he couldn't do it after his hospital stay. "Oh by the way" conversation happened. They didn't know we had renewed up until this point. And we had gotten an email that our case worker was frantically and finally done with our home study, as she had to rush it.
Day 10, December 29th, my parents came over and had my sister on their phone. The kids watch the clock till 5:00pm and asked every minute afterwards "When are they going to call?". About 5:30pm is when we got the call!!  And were told we could meet him at 11:15am the next morning.

We didn't know this at the time, but during those ten days of waiting, Kolby was in a neighborhood near us, that we would pass a few times a week, sometimes daily.

Chad Bradley Kolby Cribb came home with us about 2:30pm on December 30th, at 13 days old.

He was born December 17, 2016 @ 9:59pm, 8lbs 9oz, and 20.4" long.

And now today at 8 weeks (tomorrow), he is close to 14lbs, 22+" long, and wearing some 6mo clothes.

And now is waking up from his nap... so my break is over... and is this blog.

Turning a new chapter in our book of life. Pictures to come after Finalization.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Filling the Adoption Wait

Waiting hasn't been easy, it's a mind game. Sometimes it seems easier not to have a profile showing, but when we do it gives hope to be picked. Although, I'm 100% sure that God asked us to go this direction, not being picked has me wondering His plan for this situation. It makes me second guess certain decisions we made along the way. The adoption journey is different for every family, as there are so many ways it could be done. I'd sometime ask, "What do you want from me?" "What are we waiting on?"

Drew went to kindergarten this passed year, and the extra time is something I was dreading. I wasn't supposed to have this time. Kendall was supposed to be here. How will I fill it? Should I get a job? Would I volunteer more? I was thinking at a local pregnancy center. I didn't want to commit to something that I would have then had to pull out of if we had an adoption match. Although my heart was in the right place, I didn't go to the pregnancy center to volunteer, to then feel like I was there to scope out pregnant moms, so I put that off for the time being. 

Different events happening in our lives over the past four years have built up my desire to go deeper with God, to know him better, to know the Word better, to understand the Bible more as a whole story and not the way we all grow up learning pieces that I didn't understand how they all fit together. Like what did Jonah have to do with Zacchaeus? And where were they on the grand timeline of events? I knew the stories individually, but only as I remembered them as a kid. I've made friends with other views, in which made me want to have a better solid foundation on what the Bible really teaches. We did a spiritual gifts test in which I was quite surprised my strong suit was evangelism. I'm more of a listener than a talker. So, I knew I needed to strengthen that area of my life because I didn't have that confidence. So I watched this to know how to start studying the Bible better. 

Sure, I'm not ashamed of what God has been doing in our lives and not ashamed to talk about it, But that is only a part of what God was calling me to. Not loving to read or study, I started with a few Biblical questions and reading Genesis, not expecting to get an excitement to continue, reading the Old Testament in 6 months, 8 days in the gospels and less than a month to finish the New Testament. I had a pen, highlighters and post it notes, and really understood many things for the first time. 

Now that I'm "done" (which has really fueled me to do it again-- it's like a good movie in which you have to watch again and again and catch something different each time), I can look back and know my time waiting has been well spent, and nothing could have been better, not even if we were matched already. Which makes me tear up and I can't decide if it's tears of joy and thankfulness or tears of frustration and pain. I choose the first, but know some of the second is what brings me to the first. 

I accomplished one major goal. So now what? The question that I keep having over and over since Kendall died. It's still a daily goal just to make it through that day... whether or not we are waiting for a profile showing.  But maybe now the laundry will get done. (Maybe) There have been times in which Kirk would want to ask, "Are you still reading?" He knew he couldn't. I had dinner on the table each day.. just maybe haven't had the floors cleaned or toys picked up. More doors have been opened for me to talk with the kids about the Bible. Kristen asked one day, "what are you going to do today?" and answered her own question with, "Oh yeah, what you did yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that." YES! Let your kids see your Bible open! I love having friends over to keep the kids entertained, but what else is cool is when the friends ask what I'm reading. Then come over another day and ask, "Are you still reading that?" YES!

A couple days after writing the above, I was watching this Secret Church message, which at minute 1:14:00 started to talk about the anticipation of a child being born. Everyday, when a due date of a child approaches, one lives in suspense and excitement of that child coming. When it's a biological child, this anticipation is days, maybe weeks, but it's definitely known that it would happen soon. When it comes to an adoption where the mother picks the parents and the parents feel like they will never be chosen... it feels like forever, you question whether it will happen. But like the clip says, it effects every part of our lives. Checking our email for news, waiting on phone calls, how and when we travel, telling people where we are when we're out of the state... It here is related to how we anticipate the coming of Christ. And the look on his face when he, or anyone else, talks about the love for that child that we haven't even met yet. "I lived all of my life with the constant anticipation that each day could be the day...." and "With each passing day, I knew I was getting closer and closer to seeing this person, that I could not wait to express love and affection for." Is your life a reflection of this picture for Christ? It makes the wait a lot better.... although I need constant reminders.

Don't be ashamed of your past
If you're shattered like a piece of glass
The more broke you are the more the light gets through
Show your wounds and your flaws
Show them why you still need the cross
Let them see the work He's doing in you

Thursday, January 28, 2016

God is amazing!

Today was a day to cry happy tears!

I haven't updated my blog in a while. It's not much fun when there isn't any new news on the adoption. I'm not going to sob on here about how hard "the wait" is (that would be depressing to read, I know), so it's been a quiet few months.

Have you ever wanted God to do something in or through your life? Much of what God does in our lives are never seen. I think that is more because we live our lives closed off and don't share, even the depressing parts, of our lives. We keep to ourselves and we shut out the opportunities to see how God really works through the events of our lives. So here it is:

A friend (F1) came to me today and told me of "a friend (F2) of a friend (F3)" of hers. I don't know any names beside my friend, so I'll keep to numbers so not to confuse everyone. F3 had an unplanned pregnancy and F2 was trying to help support F3 in the decision to choose life for the baby. F2 asked F1 if she knew anyone adopting and F1 gave her multiple names, one being ours with our blog.

Time goes on and F1 finally sees me today and says she's been meaning to get in touch with me. She told me that because of something we wrote in our blog F3 decided to go forward with her pregnancy!!! And I cried happy tears!! That makes me SO excited! And gives me so much comfort! There is a purpose to my madness! THIS is how God works!

It was not because of us that this child will have life. It was God through an orchestrated chain of events. It was a person reaching out to support a friend. It was another friend handing off information. It was through my brokenness that I write my blogs, that gave someone hope and strength to make a huge decision in their lives. It was through God that leads us to adopt, to write this blog. It was through hard losses and a LOT of pain and suffering that got us to a place to adopt. But THESE moments are what makes it all worth it!

I'm thankful for friends who tell me about moments like these. Thankful for moments where I receive a letter in the (snail) mail that a friend receives Christ. That's in my box of Kendall things and I look back on it all the time! And this one will be too!

I'm on my preachin' box now, and I know some will jump ship. I'll try to keep it short. We all want the easy life. Unfortunately, that's not how life works. But when we realize that we have a Savior and a hope for that perfect life one day because Christ suffered, we are able to realize this life isn't about "me" and be opened up to see how the little things can add up to amazing things! God has plans for that baby! AMEN! No matter our outcome in this journey, that makes it worth it!

If that person returns to read this, you are awesome and a part of something greater than you can imagine! And I know you will see that one day.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The most stressful cruise we might take.

Go ahead, they said.
Plan your cruise, they said,
Just get trip insurance, they said.
Relax, they said.
You deserve it, they said.
You need the breather, they said.

Remember in January, when I posted the craziness of living day to day, hour by hour... now we're down to minute by minute. My life has been a handful of  "1% chances". We leave for our cruise TONIGHT. And got a profile request yesterday. *Gulp* as I open the email.

Backing up....

It's an email we've somewhat seen before and ended up saying "no" to our profile being shown. I text Kirk that we have an email and anticipate the same response. God's been working on us over the last year on how open we should be and what 'we' can handle. Kirk text back and after conversations and prayer, we say "yes" to have our profile shown.

There are a few things that immediately stick out as God, if this ends up being our child. And my prayer becomes, "You have got to be kidding me right now, really?"

Scenarios and questions are starting to play out in my head. We had to reply by 3:30pm today, but she didn't tell us when the mom might be looking at the profiles.

The baby (sex known, but will keep quiet) was born September 20, 2015. Kirk's brother's (you know his story) and our nephew's (brother's son) birthdays. A well as his parents' anniversary.

Kirk has been saying that he has felt we were to end up with a baby saved from abortion. I'd tell him that all babies born have been saved by abortion. But this profile is the first one to specifically say something about abortion.

With our yearly homestudy renewal coming up and us starting to fill out more paperwork, I've been down and out with our "timeline" and if adoption will even happen. I'm always hopeful in Christ, but also a realist and know His will be done. I feel Him with me, but things have been quiet. Just waiting, out of my control. I don't want to give up, I don't want disappointment. I told someone last week that if we don't have a child, we're going to have to get a dog... because we keep telling the kids, "adopting a child comes before getting a dog, don't you want a baby more than a dog?" And with starting our new paperwork, I said, "this is it". We don't' want to give God an ultimatum or timeline, but "You have a year". I've just started to come to the end of the road feeling.

I haven't told many people about my "hair cut plans". January, I mentally said to myself "I'm going to wait till we adopt to cut my hair." The summer came and it was long enough to donate but Kirk's high school reunion was coming, so I said, "after that". Sept 21st I set up an appointment for the chop for today Sept 24. I've given up, I can only hold out so long. And now this... "for real?"

I called our adoption case worker this morning for questions. Questions she need to ask someone else. And questions we might not have the answers to till tonight at the end of the work day. Or tomorrow.She is supposed to call me back this afternoon. The mom will start seeing profiles at 4:30.

I don't know if the mom will take hours, a day, or the weekend to look over profiles. If the weekend, then I can at least relax a little on the boat. If we know before we leave that we aren't chosen, then there will be disappointment but we won't be in limbo. If chosen, she wants to meet the family. Will they want to meet ASAP, or can we wait till Tuesday when we could be back? If we know we've been chosen before the ship leaves, can I really step on to that boat knowing my child is back at home? And if we are expecting to find something out while on the ship, we get to pay $20 a day for internet (which will be worth it, but it won't be relaxing checking for emails.)

This is where we are. I'm packing bags, nervously waiting to cancel at least part of our trip, if not more. The first time for the kids on a plane, the first time for us on a cruise, the first time they go out of the country. And we are down to the wire. I'm in cruise mode, ready to just to mommy of a new born mode in 2.5 seconds. The list for the cruise could become a list of things we need from the baby store and a list of  things we could talk about with the mom, a list of attorney questions....

But Kirk said he's not worried. *insert sideways dog head tilt*

I'm learning to talk to Drew in football terms... do I fake left and toss right or just run with it up the middle?

Monday, March 16, 2015

2 1/2 months

2 1/2 months is how long it took to change my outlook or attitude. We had a roller coaster January, a little in February, and it's been quiet for almost a month now. I've gotten back to a normal pace of life, settled down on excitement, and the Seasons are starting to change. We had two weeks of ice and snow a couple weeks ago, and today I'm in shorts for the first time this year, trying to relax and watch the kids play in the sun.

Then we got an email from BCS. And instead of being excited, I started to cry. I couldn't keep it together at church yesterday either. The battle of giving my heart to a child and in 24 hours all could change, is too much. So I'm trying not to "go there"'. Not to think about this child who is at the hospital without any family right now. Not to think about (his or her-- we know) black hair. Wondering who is holding and feeding (him or her), Not looking at the list of names we've picked out and wondering which one we could pick. I won't go in the nursery today or tomorrow. (Which I just got curtains for and painted canvases for the wall)

I want to be happy. For myself, for this child to find a forever family. But it's too heartbreaking to be happy. Because happy is fake.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Looking For Me

The last two weeks have been low and high again. Not much has happened adoption-wise in the last two weeks up until a couple days ago. But not all our ups and down have to do with whats going on with the adoption.

Grief comes and goes when it pleases and sometimes unexpected, out of nowhere. I do know weather is a big trigger for me. Having multiple cloudy, rainy days in a row can make many people not want to get out of bed, but on top of that it spins me to emotional lows. Sometimes we expect emotional lows. Sometimes we expect certain times, like one coming up, "D-day". And sometimes that day comes and goes and we look back and say "that wasn't too bad." D-day is diagnosis day. The day I talk about as the worst day of our lives. The day a Mack truck hit us. February 16th is when we found our Kendall wouldn't live after birth.

So, from the beginning of January and the first time we showed our profile, I also started Advocare's 24 Day Challenge. This was the second time doing this "mini diet". I wasn't thinking about how the emotional roller coaster of life, adoption, and dieting would all crash together. At one point towards the end of the 24 days, I stepped on the scale and it said I had gained four pounds! Some people fluctuate here and there, but going up was NOT an option! I hadn't seen those numbers in a while and I was not happy. Meanwhile, I knew my BFF of 19 years was going to call and ask how the challenge was going.  The truth was I did still lost an inch in the waist. I stayed off the scale for a week.

Now I know some people will read this and roll their eyes at last paragraph, but the truth is my body image in very closely associated with the grief of Kendall. Many of my friends now didn't know me more than 3 years ago, much less before all babies. We all know after a baby, most bodies don't go back exactly where they were pre-baby. Post three c-sections is probably worse. Although I know a friend who it didn't effect (yes you...). Right after Kendall, I wasn't ready to lose all the weight because we planned on trying again, and did, and got pregnant, miscarried..... I wasn't sure where we'd be until later, and wasn't ready to lose all the extra weight. People started to know me the way they saw me, but the way I saw myself wasn't what was in my head. I'll come back to this subject....

On top of adoption, grief, body issues, and having a lack of control over my future... I still try to plan as much as possible for our future as I can. I pre-registered Drew for Kindergarten next year. Only to find out during that down week, that there is a bill that could be passed that changes the birthday cut off for entering school and effects whether Drew will be able to go. So that's in limbo. And a couple days before that, Kirk and I were talking about me maybe getting a small/ part-time job, as Drew would be in school full time and if we hadn't adopted yet.

So we have adoption, grief, body issues, school issues, job? Could anything else be thrown my way? I'm also in the middle of trying to find a good time to switch Kristen's gymnastics to, since she is moving up a class level. We were told our BFG leader was going to teach middle school next year (which is wonderful... not calling you out or trying to make you feel guilty, just came at a bad moment for me) and our adoption case worker emailed us to say our case would be handled by a new lady in the office. Someone who doesn't know us from Adam, except what she had been told and through our paperwork. I wanted to crawl under a rock, I think I cried every day for a week. Those were little things, but it all added up. Nothing seemed to be normal. And I need stability.

It was the first time in three years that I really wondered if I need to talk to a professional. I have a pride issue when it comes to me getting help. I have a lot of respect for people who seek Stephen Ministry at church. Being a Stephen Minister myself, doesn't excuse me for sometimes needing one for myself. But between blogging, talking to Kirk and analyzing myself, asking myself all the questions I would to someone else, and praying, God puts all my cracked pieces back together.

Adding something to my plate this week was actually a good thing. For a couple days I didn't have anything besides house work that really had to get done and I was in la la land. Being creative helps me, and we had a bookfair meeting. I decorate the halls at the school. Something on a short term scale I could quickly fit in and keep my mind busy. Yea, I had a small purpose.

My week was turning around, the whether was turning around, and we got an email from our new caseworker about a possible match and now are waiting a few more days for the mom to look at profiles. I had a couple friends who probably have only seen me here and there, wearing sweatshirts, see me in a t-shirt and ask where the rest of me was. I stepped back on the scale and saw that I was not only back down to my previous weight before gaining four pounds, but I had lost an extra two. And I cried with joy, as I'm back to my pre-Kristen and drivers license weight!!!!! And I moved a belt loop!! What- What!

It's not only about the weight or my body, but it's about getting ME back. And that makes me cry. Because many people don't really know who I am. And I've lost who I am. Part of me thinks back to who I was and I know I've grown and I will never be who I was. And some of me doesn't want to be who I was. And the other part missed the good parts that have been masked with pain. It's just one part that finally gets to say "Hello old friend, I'm back!" Too bad I can't run to own arms and give myself a big hug. I know a small part of what people feel like on the Biggest Loser.

SO as this week comes and goes, no matter the outcome, it's going to be an awesome week! And if this week turns into game winning out of the park grand slam, fireworking, Ric Flair whooo-ing, Nascar donut making, MC Hammer pants wearing, happy dancing week... there is only and is always only One to thank. That's what I'm looking forward to. That's my prayer. That's the Stephanie that is still missing.