Friday, January 1, 2016


I don’t need a best nine instagram feature to remind me of my top moments.  It has been The Year of the Wave.  Last year closed with Waverley coming home to us.  This year has been about the movement of Wave coming home to us. Not an event but a movement.  A year of figuring out that this was going to take years not months or weeks to make right.  A year of her not feeling safe in her own room and so moving into Harper’s room.  A year of crossing the legal finish line and becoming Wave’s for real parents.  A year of helping Wavy feel secure and helping her learn to trust us.  A year of her trauma stirring up my PTSD which resulted in lots of counseling for me.  Lots of counseling for her.  Harper and Everett adjusting to life with a new sibling; not a baby but a little girl with issues.  This has been a year of Wave’s laugh coming more easily, her meltdowns becoming smaller, her load getting a little lighter.  A year of progress.

This was the year I finally got to hear Waverley call me “Mom” again after four years of silence and then several months of being called Molly. 

2015 brought life into the dead or dark memories of my life as Waverley’s mom.  Songs that made me cry after we lost her made me smile again.  Certain books were safe to read again after being relegated as too hard for me to get through.  Memories too painful to rifle through could be explored at my leisure.  We crossed over into a place where I am thankful every day that Wave has come home to us, but I am no longer surprised by it.  It feels comfortable and normal.  It feels right.  We have three children and they are all right where they belong —at home with us.  It has been a year of celebration.

On the other hand we dealt with and continue to deal with things that stagger me.  Waverley in our life makes me miss Matt in a fresh way.  How badly I want him to laugh with me at her funny insights and her quirks.  How badly I want to rejoice over her presence in our family with him.  The damage of three years of mistreatment and then a year of transitions to bring her back to us have left their mark on this little girl.  I continue to grieve all that Wave has been through.  She battles the ability to trust.  She has deep fears.  Her thoughts and at time her behaviors reflect what she has been through.  That is hard on the rest of us. Overcoming trauma is hard, it takes work, and it is a long term project.  

This life is a hard one.  And a good one.  I’ve learned that lesson a lot of times, and this year I learned it again.

If I had guessed at the end of 2014 where we would be right now I would have guessed further down the road.  That’s ok.  It just makes our best moments that much better.  They are so hard won.  Our therapists say there are peaks and valleys as Wave grows and heals.  I’m ready for a few more peaks.  And I’m trying to adjust my expectations.  To keep them reasonable and realistic.  

Don't get me wrong.  We have lots of happy times together.  This morning Jake, Wavy, and Everett got donuts while Harper and I slept in a little.  They brought the donuts home to us, and the kids were sitting around eating — talking and laughing in their pajamas.  I was drinking coffee on the couch and Jake was telling me about something.  The light was streaming in, even brighter than usual as it reflected off the snow.  We were so happy in that moment, and it was all I’ve ever wanted.  And it happened in 2015.

Monday, February 23, 2015

the one where she comes home

A year and a half ago I heard some news that made me stop writing.  A record scratched, and there was a long silent pause, a flurry of activity while we all tried to fix the record, and then we lifted the arm on the record player while the record wobbled to a stop, and all was quiet.  Recently, out of the blue, the music started playing again.  Now we have a story to tell.  Because the song that started up was a really good one.  Today will be a synopsis, and then I will add a little more over time.  When you are dealing with a child or the grown ups in these situations you are not allowed to talk about it.  And if I couldn't talk about this particular situation I really didn't have much to say about anything.  This will probably release more words than people have a threshold for hearing.  You might roll your eyes and laugh thinking, "why does this lady think we all care about her story?" I will tell you exactly why.  The days and years of my life have taught me that life is hard, and life is beautiful.  And through it all we have a Mighty God.  And He is Good.  While bad things have happened, continue to happen, and will go on happening His goodness is unchanging.  And spoiler alert: out of this goodness He is the original author and creator of two of my favorite words.  I bet they are two of your favorite words as well. Redemption. Restoration. And those two things make for a pretty good story. Here is ours.

Some of my friends and I are on a group text that chimes all day.  One of these friends might come out of a meeting to find she has missed thirty texts.  Some days are quieter, but this is our form of communication.  Whenever my phone starts going off Jake brings me the phone without looking and says, "it's the girls." We say things all day long by text, but we never call or email.  This is our way.  One evening my friend called me.  Which was worrisome. I said, "hey; what's going on?' in a pleasant voice.  She said, "are you home?' in the way people talk to you when they know things that are about to Change Things.

Twenty minutes later this group of friends assembled in my living room.  I could not imagine what was coming since all of this group was in attendance. Had someone died? That impacted me more than them? I couldn't imagine what they knew that was so important to break to me as a unit.  My friend who had called took a breath and said she had gone to a soccer game that day.  And as she walked over to her son's assigned field she saw Waverley on the sidelines.  My heart started that hard, slow beat that makes it hard to hear over. My brain quickly scanned for a reasonable explanation.  She was there with a friend? To watch a family member? This was a big deal but not the kind of deal to make their faces look like this.  I couldn't find the right solution. I knew I was wrong, but I couldn't get there fast enough... My friend took another breath and said that Waverley was there with a family my friend knew well.  And they were Waverley's foster parents.

Physical reactions are odd.  Because I know it can't be true.  But I swear to you my heart slammed a few last erratic beats and then dropped in increments into the pit of my stomach where it laid heavy and hurting and weighing one hundred pounds.  I blinked and then I cried.  And we all cried. For a very long time.  Do you know? Do you know how much has to happen before a child will be removed from her home? Do you know? Do you know that every day after Waverley left our house (but never our family — she was always in my family) that this was what I feared? That there were things going on in that place that would make authorities forcibly pull a child from a house and give her to strangers?

Jake came into the room from putting the children to bed.  I said, "Wavy's in foster care." He hugged me tight as I cried and said, "we have to try to go get her." He assured me, "We will. We will. We will do everything we can.  We will go fight for her." And in that moment the man who loved me and our children claimed Waverley as his own too and became her father.

It was October of 2013. We called our lawyer who referred us on to someone more specialized in what we were needing.  Side note: there is no actual such person.  No one we encountered has handled or known of a situation like ours. A situation where parents fight to keep a child in the child's loving home, but then birth parents fight to have the child and then lose that child to the state because of their gross conduct, and then the adoptive family tries to parent again.  If you were wondering if this is common - the answer is no.

Now here is a topic for another post but an important detail to share at this time.  No one had contacted us about Waverley, and no one was going to.  We had raised her for two and a half years.  Brought her home from the hospital. Changed every one of her diapers, put her to bed every night, and loved her more than anything on this earth.  But we were not blood relatives so they did not approach us at all.  They did however, decide to contact Wave's birth mother and see if she would come back and get involved.  Her birth mother had not parented Waverley at all.  She did not live in the state of Kansas.  She had not kept in contact with the birth father or Waverley at any point.  But she was the state's one and only solution.  Now thank goodness she was a loving and capable person.  She is the actual representation of a birth parent in an adoption situation who is selfless and loving towards a child she knows she is not in a place, for whatever reason, to parent.  This is not a story where I glorify adoptive parents and slam birth parents.  If you take it as such you are mistaken.  That is not our opinion or position.  We are against a specific man and his mother who dragged a child to hell and back so that they could lay claim on a child they were unfit to love or parent in any way. 

Waverley's birth mother came into town to do whatever she needed to do to help Wave.  We were able to obtain Interested Party Status because of our history with Waverley.  This status allowed us to go to any and all court dates and have access to all information in the case.  It also positioned us to be considered to have custody of Waverley in the future depending on what happened in her case.  Whenever a child is taken into custody the parent is given a plan of tasks needed to accomplish for the child to reintegrate back into her parent's home.  The grievousness of the original cause for removal and the success with which the parent completes this plan determines the child's future. In the mean time some plans are worked on for what the state will do with the child should they not be able to reintegrate her back into her home.  From the beginning, it was clear that it was a long shot that Wavy would go back to live with her birth father.  She was in foster care, and despite how horrible that was, and despite all of the horror I knew she must have lived through, I slept better than I had since she had left knowing that she was safe.  I knew she was with someone my friend loved and trusted.  This gave me some measure of peace.  At the same time, poor Waverley.  My poor, sweet, innocent, little baby girl.  All that she had gone through.  All that she would continue to go through.  This broke me in a way I don't know that I will ever recover from.  I was so glad she was safe, but my darkest fears for her had been realized and confirmed.  I burn inside at the negligence of a court system that was desperate to protect the "rights" of a man who did not have to prove to even one person that he could safely care for a little girl.  I burn inside over a justice system that watches vigilantly over the needs of a grown man fully capable of making his own choices and living with their natural consequences but turns a blind eye to the needs of a vulnerable child who has no say in her own life.  For the moment, I knew Waverley's needs were being met, but was desperate before God to know that she would be able to overcome all of the grief and loss she had been dealt.

We were eager to talk to Waverley's birth mother and figure out what she was here to do.  Was she just in town to advocate for her birth daughter? Was she wanting to parent? If so would it change things for her to know that we wanted to parent?  We soon found out that Wave's birth mom did, in fact, want to parent.  When the court had ruled in favor of Waverley's birth father four years before it had nullified the birth mother's relinquishments of rights.  So this young woman had every legal right to parent.  In the eyes of the court blood trumps all.  Even if we protested and made a case for ourselves it was one hundred per cent clear to us: birth mom would parent at the end of the day, and all that we would have accomplished was dragging things out longer for Waverley.  She would be caught in the middle.  It would keep her from getting to her next, and last, forever family.  My hopes of parenting her again were painfully taken from me.  Again.  I kept thinking of the concept that we were made from dust and to dust we shall return.  It felt like I was just a paper shell over a heap of hot dust, blowing around inside of my empty body.  I wondered if this would be the loss that I was not able to come back from.  Even though I had a beautiful family — a loving husband who means the world to me and two of the dearest children the world has ever known, I couldn't be appropriately grateful for them.  Or present to them.  I was dust.  Just waiting to return to more dust.

I had one more conversation with Waverley's birth mom.  Did she know we wanted to parent? She said yes.  Did she know I was desperate to be Waverley's mom again and would love her with my whole heart? She did.  She wanted to parent.  That's all there was to it.  She was sympathetic to me, but her choice was unwavering.  There would be no changing her mind.  So we came along side of her and did any small thing we could to help her get to Wave faster.  It was still slow going.  Wave remained in foster care until the summer of 2014.  Then she came home to her birth mother.  Waverley loves her birth mother in a deep, deep way.  She refers to her lovingly as Mom.  Her birthmom was a mother to her by choice.  She wanted Wave and chose her when she didn't have to. She was committed to parenting her.  

At the exact same time that Waverley permanently joined her birthmother's family, that family began to unravel.  This young woman faced some serious losses that changed the pending plans they had made and the direction their family would take.  The birth mother began to struggle.  What had under previous circumstances been a family she was eager to have now seemed like more than she could manage.  We did not know this was going on.  One day my father in law felt compelled to reach out to the birth mother's mother.  They did not have an ongoing relationship but had met during the course of all that had happened several years before.  Waverley's birth grandmother said her daughter was not doing well and might want to talk to us.  She set up a time for her daughter and my father in law to meet to talk about talking to us.  I made that last sentence ridiculous on purpose.  If something was going on with Wave's family and they might need me I was cutting to the chase and reaching out.  I texted Wavy's birth mom to please call or text me when she could.  She called me and explained what was going on.  We asked her to come over that night after we had all put our kids to bed and talk more. She informed us that she no longer felt like she could adequately parent Waverley.  However, her lawyer had advised her that she couldn't really do anything about it for some reasons I won't get into here.  We loved our lawyer and asked if we could get him to weigh in on the matter.  She said yes.  

I just said we love our lawyer.  As you might imagine, the reason that we feel this way is because he had a solution.  I am not going to go into that part.  I don't think it would hold your interest.  Over the next few weeks we met with lawyers and counselors and professionals in both encouraging and ridiculous appointments.  Jake was in his element.  If you need someone to take care of something, you just call my husband.  He handles problems and overcomes issues like a super hero in a business suit.  We needed to be Waverley's parents again, and if someone was going to make it happen at this specific point in time it was him.  And then one day, just like that, on a day that was just a day, it was decided.  There was an official plan.  And that plan was for Waverley to come home.  To us.  She was Coming Home.

I saw Waverley for the first time since the worst day of my life in October of 2014. Four years had passed since we learned we were losing her.  That encounter produced more words than I have time for here.  So I will just say that I saw her.  Take a second and imagine how wild that was.  How dream-like that felt.  How amazing and how complicated.  How much I missed Matt.  In December she came home for good.  As of last week most things were wrapped up legally.  She has a room in my house.  She goes to school each weekday and comes straight home to me.  She has a booster seat in my car.  She has a place at our table.  I know her again and can tell you things she likes and doesn't like.  She calls Harper her sister and Everett her brother.  She asks Jake to pray for her each night.  She tells me she loves me.

Of all of the things I missed when we lost Waverley, it was the little things that cut the deepest.  One killer in particular was catching sight of my children in the back seat when I looked in the rear view mirror and feeling a sharp pain at not seeing her face.  I will tell you what I never take for granted these days.  Every time I look in that mirror and see three faces I remember to thank God and relief floods over me. Making something new happen inside of me.  The dust settles and a garden starts to grow in place of those ashes.  Interestingly, Wave reveals things from her time away from us the most often in the car.  She will say something that will make us catch our breath or cry hot tears and say, "Oh honey. No one should ever have that happen and we are so so sorry." Usually when we say that she looks at us with still, serious eyes and nods slightly.  She weighs our words and we don't  know how much she trusts what we say to be true yet.  The other day after church Harper was talking about our old red Volvo station wagon.  Waverley has hardly any memories of her life with us from before she left, but she remembers that car.  "That's the car you took me to (birthdad's name)'s house in." These words are accurate and they kill me.  That she remembers this is one of the worst truths in my life. 
"Wavy that's true," I said with the saddest sounding voice. "And I promise you that was the worst thing I have ever had to do.  I would never, never, never have done that if I had had a choice," I explain desperately again.  And what a shitty explanation for a kid.  Aren't parents' whole job protecting their children? How can this be? "I am so so sorry, Sweet Love."  She looks at me with huge, sad, brown eyes.  She smiles slightly. 

"Well.  I'm glad I'm home now."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

expensive earrings

There is a place in Colorado where Matt's family has a cabin.  We went there for the first time the week we got engaged.  We honeymooned in this beautiful little town.  We went there in summer and winter.  We celebrated Wavy's first Christmas there.  Harper took her first steps and celebrated her first birthday in that house.  We threw things in the car and drove straight there when we lost Waverley, grieving and looking for a little bit of peace.

I had purposefully not gone there since Matt died.  I just couldn't face it.

A few weeks ago I gave into the stirrings that it was time to come to back to this spot, and I planned a trip with Matt's mom.  Jake encouraged and supported me in going.  I wanted so badly for Harper to see me face something hard for me.  Of course, we did not talk about all of that.  We just talked about her first dad.  How much we loved being there with him. How much we miss him.  She can't know how scary it was for me.  But maybe when she is old she will think of me as brave.  Unwilling to limit my family by backing away from potentially feeling pain.

I want people to say of me, "there goes a woman of strength." It seems as though strength is a form of art.  Right now I am in the early stages.  The finger painting and learning to cut stages. I want to develop the kind of strength that you consider over wine and pricey cheeses.  I'm working on it.

So we went.  Last week, Matt's mom, Harper, and Everett and I got in my Jeep and headed for the mountains.  We took the essential items we would need.  A fun part of traveling with women and children and no men is what we considered to be our essentials.  A sheepskin for Everett to sleep on.  A sewing machine and more fabric than clothes to wear.  Chocolate and gummy bears.  Nancy Drew books and Wild Kratt DVDs for the baby woman.

I was scared but determined.  And do you know what?  It was beautiful.  I felt a happy connection to Matt.  I felt celebratory of the dozen years I had with him.  I felt thankful for the daughters we enjoyed together.  I missed him with a fresh and deep grief, but it was a happy kind of sad. Every view from every window of the cabin and from the top of every hill reminded me of Matt. Every piece of furniture holds a vision of him resting or reading or playing cards or cooking dinner.  This was Matt's favorite place.  He was happiest when he was there.

In Joshua 4 Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan river.  When they get to the other side he has 12 men, one per tribe, each take a stone and set them in a certain place to stand as a memorial.  In that way, when their children asked what the stones were for the grown ups would tell them about that monumental day and they would remember it forever.

I very much like the idea of this.  Sometimes you need a marker.  A stack of rocks to look at and remember what miracles God has given you.  A pile of stones to remember that God has taken my broken life and given me one that is whole.  I will grieve Matt and Waverley every day of my life.  I will also praise the Lord for blessing me so dearly with Jake.  Everett.  The constant gift of Harper. Hope for a future.  Rocks for loss and pain and people lost to me.  Rocks for healing.  For His unfailing love.  I wanted a pile of stones from this trip where the past and the present were all mixed up into one.  I say I'd rather remember with jewelry.

So in our favorite place, North Moon Gallery, I picked the loveliest pair of earrings.  Ones that made me happy.  Ones that I would feel the weight of when I wore them.  Ones that I could wear when I was sad or happy and remember all of these important things.  Ones that I could someday give to Harper and tell her why they mean so much to me.  Ones that I could celebrate both of her fathers while I wear them.  My past and my future.  Those are the kinds of rocks I can get behind.

wearing my pile of stones

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

be strong

Joshua 1:9 says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged.  For the Lord, your God, will be with you wherever you go."  This is the verse I pray over my children.  This is the mantra I use when life is closing in on me.  I taught it to my girls when they were little things.

Over the years I have closed my eyes and said it in a firm voice before walking into court rooms where we fought to keep a child.  I have spoken it to Harper when she was nervous about starting something new or woke up scared after a bad dream.  I have chanted it as a victory praise when The Lord has seen me through different things.

I am grateful.  Because this verse has been His reminder and charge to me in lovely and terrifying times.  I pray it over my newborn baby as a promise to him, trying to teach him about how great our Lord it.  I have looked deep in a daughter's eyes and said it with a quiet intensity knowing I had nothing as important as that to tell her as parting worlds.  I have whispered it in a husband's ears as he slipped out of this life. Those words are a blessing.  A benediction.  A lifeline.  I am so desperately thankful for the truth in those words.  The promise.  The comfort.

How wonderful He is to share His beautiful words with us and let us store them in our hearts to use whenever we want to.

This year at Harper's Meet the Teacher night her teacher told us that each year she picks a verse to pray over her students.  A different one each year.  This year she chose Joshua 1:9.  Isn't that perfect?

When she recited the words my eyes teared up.  I caught hold of the past part and cheered inside.  The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  I like the thought of Harper marching into second grade each day this year with those words flying over her like a banner.

I have some fears I can't seem to let go of.  Fears about something awful happening to my family members.  Or to me, leaving Harper and Everett without a mother.  And when I am totally rattled by them I lean into the comfort of His mandate.

"Be strong.  I'll be with you-- wherever you go."

I am trying each day.  To be strong and courageous.  To not be terrified or discouraged.  It's hard, but He is with me.  And so I try.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

and then he was here

When I went into labor I was thrilled.  I was terrified they would send me home from the hospital and tell us to come back later.  Instead they said, "stay."

My mother is fabulous.  She had come to stay with Harper while we went to the hospital.  I felt so happy that she was home taking care of Harps through the night.  I called her and asked her to bring Harper up in the morning when they woke up.  If things moved quickly I would call her with that update and have them come sooner.  I had really looked forward to telling some select people when I was in labor.  So I called a few people.  My sisters didn't answer their phones.  I was pissed.  I wanted to use the, "I'm having a baby" tone on them.  Eventually they got back to me.  They came and checked on me in the middle of the night before going back home to take care of their own tiny babies.  I called my friend.  Her family was in from out of town, her tiny baby was keeping her up nights, and she had a lot of bad hospital hours logged with me already.  I thought she would squeal and tell me to call her every time something new happened and come see me in the morning.  She didn't.  She said, "don't have the baby in the next twenty minutes." She hung up and brought that baby and camped out all night long.  In fact, she didn't leave until the baby was born, 19 hours later.  Her husband came.  My brother in law Marky came.  They sat up in the lobby all night.  I felt so loved.  I felt so peaceful.  My two sets of in-laws came.  Jake's parents had been dealing with a small family crisis and came up after midnight to see how we were in person.  Matt's parents came up and said, "Mol! You're having a baby!" One of the sweetest moment I have ever known was when that night my father-in-law Brian stood by my bed and fed me italian ices.  All my people were for us.  They were rallying around us.  Happy for us.  Happy for this baby to be coming.  Happy to be in a hospital together to bring new life into this world instead of telling someone we loved goodbye.  It was a time of healing.

The next afternoon a small boy was born.  He was eight pounds even of pure deliciousness.   He charmed us immediately.  He made us all happier.  He wound us all the more tightly together.  We named him Everett Gray.  We find Everett to be a nice sounding name and it had some subtle components that really mean a lot to us.  The name has elements of Waverley and Matt's name in it.  I had wanted to name him after my father in law Brian in some way, and Everett means strong and courageous; as strong as a boar.  Brian's college nickname was The Crane because he is so strong.  He is still in possession of an almost bizarrely strong form.  He also has a quiet strength that I pray Everett shares.  His initials are EGL which reminds us of the word eagle.  Jake's grandfather was dear to him.  He loved a particular Bible verse about soaring on wings like eagles.  Yes.  This was the name for our son.

I had prayed for a good head of brown hair.  After the dark beauties in my life I just couldn't get excited about a little blondie.  God agreed that would not be for the best.  Everett had lots of dark brown hair.  He had long feet and big hands.  He looked at me and winked.  Not really.  But he wanted to.

I had been so scared to have a son.  And let's get real.  Some parts are gross.  Harper suggested holding an umbrella while we change his diaper.  This morning I was holding my baby son while it was still dark out.  Giving him a bottle.  When I was done I had him at my shoulder.  He was snuggled into me and breathing quietly in my ear.  A perfect, tiny person in fire engine jammies.  I whispered how much I love him and how I always will.  And I longed for a thousand more perfect boys just like him.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

9 months

"I" and "pregnant" in the same sentence.  After a decade of not-pregnant-ness it took a very long time to believe it.  I was one day late, and I still have no idea what possessed me to take a test at all, but sure enough there I was glancing almost passingly at that stick and freezing.  Plus sign. "Okay," A few hours later and several more tests just to be sure (did you know there is no such thing as a false positive? I didn't.  Maybe that will save you a few dollars one day), I was convinced that something was going on.  I sat in a state of shock until Jake came over that evening.  I sat him down to tell him something.  I babbled on about our relationship while he was convinced I was saying I wasn't ready for "us." Finally I said, "well the thing is... I... am... pregnant..."  If you have met Jake you know how much he has to say.  This time, he was speechless.

I was starting to feel a thrill in my heart that I hadn't experienced since we had met Wavy almost five years earlier.  A hope was rising up in me that I was so scared of.  Could it be?  No.  I kept telling myself.  I told my parents quietly.  I told seven friends and two sisters.  No one else.  I was convinced every day I would miscarry.  The midwife I went to see told me kindly but cautiously that as I had never been pregnant before we would have to see how this went.  She wasn't predicting a miscarriage, but she was not predicting a healthy baby down the road either.

As the weeks went by I started to believe that this was happening.  As bizarre as it was.  A baby? Inside of me? My fears that the pregnancy wouldn't last started to abate.  Not to worry.  I like to keep my fear level high, so I got some new ones to replace the initial ones:
That the baby would be still born.
That the baby would be unhealthy.
That Harper would one day resent this baby.
That people would think I had grown dissatisfied with adoption.
These thoughts hounded me.

Additionally, I have been of the mindset for quite some years that pregnancy is overrated.  That pregnancy is glorified.  That people obsess with the fact that they are carrying a baby instead of focusing on the baby itself.  I one time wrote a blog post about reasons I was happy to avoid pregnancy all together.  Now I was going to know all of the downsides of pregnancy first-hand.  I have to tell you, I was not altogether wrong with my original position.  The way babies are born is a miracle.  I do not have to experience it myself to understand that.  I contend that is still true.   It is wonderful to feel a tiny babe moving around inside of you.  There are a few things I could have done without.

The 9 months held sleepless nights that no amount of pillows between my knees would help. Joints in my feet spread so that every step I took was miserable.  My skin was painfully tight around my swollen feet and ankles.  I gained weight in every conceivable spot including my rear end and my arm pits.  That's right.  I have fat arm pits.  And that is just the front end! Recovering from a delivery that got rough at the end was harder than I expected.  The thrill of my huge chest was pretty short lived.  I was left with only regret over a failed breast feeding attempt and a low riding bosom.  A formerly flat stomach now jiggles like a bowl full of jelly.  A closet full of clothes I liked well enough mock me when I go to put on my several sizes larger pants.  The shirts fit okay mind you.  I recommend gaining weight in the top half to balance out the bottom half if you want to avoid looking like a light bulb.  It's not glamorous.  Not one bit.  

As I got used to the idea of having a baby my thoughts got darker.  Most of me was elated.  Some of me was scared.  I had lost two of the three people I loved the most.  Now that I had Harper AND Jake AND a baby it seemed there was too much on the line.  That surely I wouldn't be able to keep all of this.  That something was bound to happen to someone in my family.  That it was imminent.  I also worried about mothering another person when I felt like I was barely capable of taking good care of Harper.  And how could a poor baby take on the weight of being the kid that comes after the child its mother lost? I tried every day to let it go.  We learned that we were having a boy.  I was freaked out.  I don't know anything about boys! I'm indoorsy and bookish.  I don't understand football.

Despite my panic the happiness rising up in me felt unstoppable.  A hot air balloon and me in the basket.  I heard this song on the radio by Matt Hammitt.  I would sing it quietly to the baby when I was feeling especially unsettled and it would calm me.  If you want to read the lyrics, here they are.  If you want to listen to the song click here.  I was trying to hard to think of these words, and when I heard them I was excited to be able to articulate my thoughts.  This little one was worth all of me.  Remembering that helped me put myself in my place.  And then of course I met him.  And I didn't need reminding any more. I just know it to be true.

Afraid to love
Something that could break
Could I move on
If you were torn away?
And I'm so close to what I can't control
I can't give you half my heart
And pray He makes you whole

You're gonna have all of me 
You're gonna have all of me
'Cause you're worth every falling tear
You're worth facing any fear
You're gonna know all my love
Even if it's not enough
Enough to mend our broken hearts
But giving you all of me is where I'll start

I won't let sadness steal you from my arms
I won't let pain keep you from my heart
I'll trade the fear of all that I could lose
For every moment I share with you


Heaven brought you to this moment, it's too wonderful to speak
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me
So let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed
You're worth all of me, you're worth all of me

Chorus (X2)

It's where I'll start

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


When I was sixteen years old I went to the Lady Doctor for an annual exam and a renewal on my prescription for birth control.  I started taking the pill when I was fourteen years old to regualte some otherwise completely crazy cycles.  She casually put out there, "well, you'll probably have a really hard time getting pregnant."  I was bewildered and didn't know what to ask so I said nothing.  It was not an especially helpful comment and I had no idea what to make of it.  There was no context so I wasn't sure if she was guessing that based on some unknown factor she was considering or if this was a serious diagnosis.

When my boyfriend Matt and I were getting serious I brought this up with him.  I told him I had no idea what it meant.  I just thought he should know.  We discussed how little we both cared in that moment.  That we thought adoption was pretty amazing, and we would be fine building a family that way if it came to it.  About nine months into our marriage I somehow messed up the birth control I had been taking for the last eight or so years.  I stopped taking it figuring I would resume it in a few weeks. However, some health issues came to light instead.  For a whole host of reasons that don't really matter anymore we would not use any form of birth control again.  My doctors assured us a couple of years later when my good health was restored, that there should be no long term impact on my child bearing abilities.  Great news! So we tried getting pregnant.  For a year.  And nothing happened.  Never a pregnancy.  

So we stopped actively trying and started down a path that would bring the most wonderful little girl to ever walk this earth straight to our home.  It was a beautiful experience. Why would we use birth control? It didn't matter.  I surely wouldn't get pregnant, and if I did, that would be fine too.  But we didn't.  

So time and life and happiness and grief went by.  I wrote last about the gift of Jake in my life and about marrying him.  I celebrated God's goodness in providing me with someone to bear the pain and celebrate the sweetness with.  Now let's get down to the part that I am typing slowly with reluctant fingers.  I am super into my relationship with God.  So is Jake.  We each hold that as our highest value. As part of that belief we embrace that God has certain ways He wants us to live our lives.  These "ways" don't always follow cultural norms or mainstream lifestyles.  We believe that He intends sex to be between people that are married.  The thing about His plans is they are to free us not to hinder us.  They are so we experience the best there is, not to beat us down.  I do the best I can, but at the end of the day, I am just a broken and messed up person living in grace. Jake and I should have waited until we were married.  However, we did not. I am not making one excuse.  I am putting that out there so that is not glossed over.  Also to save anyone from doing the math.  I will not bring that up again, but wanted to be very clear what my take on that is.

Now, in one of the sweetest realities I have experienced in my entire life, God is so loving, that even though we messed it up, He did not withhold his love or blessing. One very memorable, very wild, and very amazing day I took a test.  It was positive.  I was pregnant.  Pregnant! Something my body was not capable of was happening.

It was so hard to believe, but I am here to tell you -- it was true. Pregnant.  If that isn't the bottom line of grace I don't know what is.  Even in disobedience, God gifted me with something I didn't even know to hope for.  A complete blessing.  Pregnant.  The word still tasted funny in my mouth.  It was as if He was saying to me, "I love you! I am rebuilding your hope.  I am giving you a future.  You lost much, but you will have much.  Full arms.  A full heart.  A new family to add to the parts of yours that remain.  I care for you and want good things for you. I am here.  I am good." Because He is good.  So, so good.

What started with Jake continued to grow -- a new family for Harper and I.  And just like with Jake, my grief had a joyful counterpart.  Our numbers were increasing.  What had previously been broken was being healed.  A perfect babe was headed our way.