Sunday, August 20, 2017

These will be short little bursts

These will be short posts as thy are written using the new Blogger app I bought for my phone. The pictures above include:

1. All four of the kids sleeping in one room (our room) last night. It is hard to see but that is for kids on our floor. Thank goodness as of right now the kitchen and our bedroom and bathroom are not affected by all of this. Every other room in the house is completely unusable.

 In good news, the kids and I had a little trip planned to my friend Michelle's house this week while JB was working a lot. It is actually perfect timing. I am also blessed we have our camper right now. 

Oh did I mention John's sister Elizabeth and her twin boys came into town te day after the flood for two weeks? The good news is they are staying at dad and mom's place. 

Also they clean-up crew had warned us that they may need to pull up the tile in the kitchen due to water ....

2. In the midst of the chaos yesterday I decided to make brownies and let Hannah lick the spoon. The kitchen was the one room thst wasn't affected so I cleaned it a lot.

3. We decided to move furniture out of the big house in an orderly fashion instead of just pushing it to the side in our house. We wanted to make things as easy as possible if this ends up being a "long haul" project. We set up the bookshelves in the garage.

In addition to the downstairs renovations, the upstairs has also been completely torn up. It is a disaster.

John and I have talked often of doing some extensive renovations to this house. We bought a farm that came with a nice house. But it had a lot of quirks and things we didn't like.

About theee months ago we decided to let the renovation dreams go. It would cost a ton of money and we just wanted to focus on enjoying our lives and the farm. We decided to tackle some small projects (like the demo we did in the girls' room.) 

Now we feel as if our hand had been forced so to speak. If we are halfway there, let's just do the demo work we had in our dreams.

We are discussing .......

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Typing from my phone

I only ever write posts on my desktop computer. I'm a writer. I like to use all my fingers. But our house is in shambles right now. Our computer is under plastic somewhere. Floors are torn up. Ceilings are cut into. Molding is ripped off. Tile has been chipped away.

Water is powerful. Our house is a disaster. I am typing this on my phone using the Blogger app which I've never used before so hopefully this looks right.

Here's a few photos of some of the demo: 

Friday, August 18, 2017

So many emotions

Watching Ryan and Briana get their little boy has been an incredibly emotional experience for me. 

All of the couples that have adopted their child/ren have moved me and excited me. But Ryan and Briana are on a whole different level.

I think this is for two reasons.

The first is that Briana and I have grown incredibly close during their journey. We became friends because she married my cousin and because we shared a painful reality: what it feels like to be a barren woman. And then, secondarily, their journey has been so long. We bonded deeper through so many years of waiting.

Most couples wait somewhere around nine months for a domestic newborn adoption to go through. Sometimes their wait is as long as two years. But FIVE years is nearly unheard of.

In Ryan and Briana's case it was nothing they did or didn't do personally that caused this unending wait. It was simply bad timing and location. They happened to choose an agency that was seeing no movement. They had a shortage of birth mothers and too many couples. Dozens of couples were waiting those five years with their agency and only a handful became parents.

Less than a year ago, the decision was made that they should leave that agency and try a different one. It was a decision that was met with much prayer, fear, and hesitation. We talked at length about it, and I talked at length with our Because of Isaac board members as well. Finally we decided they just had to switch despite losing some money in the process. This wait was just too painful.

That ended up being all it took. Within days (maybe a few weeks?) of making that decision, they were chosen by a birth mother through their new agency.

And the rest is history.

And that history is spelled: C-A-L-E-B.

Here's the thing I didn't know or understand or foresee ... 

I had no idea that walking them through this process would stir up so many memories deep inside me. The night before their birthmother signed the papers, Bri and I talked at length on the phone. As she went over all the emotions of sitting in a hospital room watching the clock tick by, my heart was suddenly reminded of what that wait felt like. I was talking to her and I got choked up. I started crying. I haven't cried over infertility and adoption memories in a very long time. But I could remember so vividly how excruciating it was to be at the mercy of someone else -- with your only option being to wait. And wait. And wait some more.

It is hard to believe that it was in May of 2008 that our little Isaac finally emerged into the world. I won't bore you with the whole story as many of you may know it well (and if you don't, you can click here to be reminded), but I will say that there were moments of that story I hadn't thought about in a long time.

Specifically ...

I will never forget standing outside the nursery window. Isaac was on the other side of the glass. There he was. There was our little boy. My body yearned for him, and yet the nurse was shaking her head, telling me that I couldn't go back and see him because I wasn't the mom. I remember feeling so resigned. I remember thinking: Of course I'm not the mom. I'll never be a mom.

And then suddenly Joan was arguing with the woman on my behalf and the door was opening and they were bringing him to us. And they were saying "No pictures" but Joan wasn't listening and I just couldn't bring myself to hold him first. I was just too emotional and so JB scooped him up, and it was just like this burden was lifted off my shoulders. It was like all the years of trying to have a baby sort of bubbled out of me.

Joan snapped this picture:

I didn't show anyone this picture for a long time. I'm not sure why. For some reason it just felt too personal to me. Looking at it made my heart just cry, and I kept it hidden in the back of a photo album. And then, at some point, I can't remember when or even who it was, but a friend did some snooping and found my hidden picture and she told me I had to share this with the world. That it really explained what the pain of infertility and the miracle of adoption felt like in just one quick photo.

Here's the other very cool part to this story. My friend Joia took some newborn photos of little Isaac. From what she can remember, this was the first time she took photos for anyone in a "formal" sense. Here is just one of her cute little pictures:

And here is a picture of Joia and me with the little boy who changed my life forever:

This story goes even deeper because it is Joia that just so happened to live in the same town that Ryan and Briana's birth mother was delivering. And she just happened to have a little mother-in-law apartment that they could use. And she just happened to still be taking pictures. (And man, she's always been good, but she has gotten simply ... amazing!) as you can see!

Here are a few more pictures Joia has taken. I will share more as Briana and Ryan share them. I want to give her the opportunity to present her little boy at the speed she feels lead: 

I don't know exactly what Briana is feeling. Her adoption story wasn't exactly the same as mine. But I mostly know her heart right now. I know what it feels like to have that pain just filled up and bubbling over. Adoption doesn't heal infertility. Infertility pain will always be with me and always be a part of me, and I had to grieve the losses (and sometimes I still do). But my little Isaac just filled us up so full. Here are some photos that really stir my heart when I look back at them:

I'm still processing all these emotions ... I encourage you to stay along for the ride!

We Bought a Farm: The Great Flood at the Bauernhof

Why can't something go wrong when people are here

For the past few weeks and especially the last few days, our house (which runs on city water) kept having the water go out. I had called the water company who said they had leaks in our area and were trying to isolate the issue. 

At some point yesterday, while the water is out, one of my children turned the faucet on full blast upstairs -- only to find it waterless. They therefore didn't even realize they had left the sink on. 

Our friends John and Becky headed out around 9am to return to their home near Washington D.C. John's parents headed out around the same time to pick up his sister Elizabeth and her boys in South Carolina so that they can spend a few weeks here on the farm. And John headed out to work. Only our intern, Jacob, was here with us. 

We did some schoolwork and animal chores and then loaded up the truck to run a few errands in town.

When I came home, Abigail ran into the house to go potty while the other kids started helping me unload groceries. Abigail ran back out in a panic.

"Mom, it is raining inside the house."

Let me tell you: those words do not feel nice on your ears.

I ran inside to find it was, literally, raining int he living room downstairs. I yelled out for the kids to try to find Mr. Jacob. They are not allowed in the WWOOFer apartment above the garage so they quickly started asking if they were even allowed to go up there to find him. I told they they were.

Thank the Lord Jacob was here. If I hadn't had another adult, I might have ended up in a corner somewhere sobbing. Jacob and I quickly assessed, called Dad and John to get their advice, and went to work to stop the bleeding. 

The kids, meanwhile, were all stars. Isaac lead the way and had them all put away the groceries and go into the camper for a movie and a drink while we were working. Our neighbors drove one hour round trip to a friend's house to get us a dehumidifier, and we pulled out every fan we had.

In the end, the damage is fairly extensive. Even worse is that we only have a three bedroom house. The girls room, as you can see form the video below, is gutted for a huge rennovation project. And now the boys room is out of commission. Not even sure what to do with six people and a one bedroom house. Not to mention all the other people who use this main house for home base (guests, in-laws, and WWOOFers.) 

Anyways, here is the video -- really shows what happened. John has a call in to the insurance company. "It is ... what it is." :) We are all healthy. We have a roof over our heads. Things could be much worse. 

But it is a pain in the butt!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Friday Funnies

Hannah: "Daddy was chasing me!"
Me: "He was?"
Hannah: "Yeah!"
Me: "Should we give him a spanking?"
Hannah: "Yes, we should."
Me: "Okay. You go do it."
Hannah: "I can't."
Me: "Why?"
Hannah: "Because I just cannot spank hard enough."


Hannah to my friend Becky: "Why did you marry him?"
Becky: "Because he is my husband and I love him."
Hannah: "Hmmm ..."
Becky: "Why? Do you think I made a mistake?"
Hannah: "I do."


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ryan & Briana: "HE turned our mourning into JOY!! Caleb is OURS!!"

I was counting minutes.
Counting hours.
Until 12:30EST.
When Ryan and Briana's birthmom was supposed to sign the papers.
And make Caleb their son forever.
They have faced SO MUCH disappointment. 
Five years of waiting.
And two second place finishes.
And then the text came in.
And I tried to do a video to send to Ryan and Briana.
And ...
Well ...
I'll let you watch for yourself.
(Excuse my messy self. I had just come in from feeding the animals.)

I have walked alongside my cousin and his wife for close to six years.
And I had no idea what this moment must feel like for them.
But I can sort of imagine.
Because as their Caleb came into their arms ...
My heart remembered so many emotions from our own adoption of Isaac over nine years ago.

I have a lot more to write.
But for now, a few photos: