Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Psalm 82:3

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Third Day: "Merry Christmas"

We have listened to the Third Day Christmas album for several years, but never actually listened to the words of this song until this year.  "Merry Christmas" is our favorite song this Christmas and is full of hope for orphans and adoptive families. (You can scroll to the bottom of this post to listen to the song.)

There's a little girl trembling on a cold December morn
Crying for momma's arms
At an orphanage just outside a little China town
There the forgotten are

But half a world away I hang the stockings by the fire
And dream about the day when I can finally call you mine

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

As I hang the tinsel on the tree and watch the twinkling lights
I'm warmed by the fire's glow
Outside the children tumble in a wonderland of white,
Make angels in the snow

But half a world away you try your best to fight the tears
And hope that heaven's angels come to carry you here

It's Christmas time again but you're not home
Your family is here and yet you're somewhere else alone
And so tonight I pray that God will come and hold you in his arms
And tell you from my heart I wish you Merry Christmas

Christmas is a time to celebrate the holy child
And we celebrate his perfect gift of love
He came to earth to give his life
And prepare a place for us
So we could have a home with him above

It's Christmas time again and now you're home
Your family is here so you will never be alone
So tonight before you go to sleep, I'll hold you in my arms
And I'll tell you from my heart, and I'll tell you from my heart
I wish you Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where We've Been, Where We're Going

As many of you know, we have been on quite a journey over the past four years. We battled with infertility for two years, then late in 2008 we got pregnant and were so relieved and thrilled to be adding a baby in June of 2009.  That wasn’t meant to be and we lost Brady James in January of 2009 at just 16 weeks.  We were devastated to say the least but decided to give it another try and became pregnant again with a due date of March 2010.  Then the unthinkable happened and we lost Brinley Madison – again at 16 weeks.  Wow, where do we go from here?  We were broke and thoughts of “will we ever have a baby?” constantly bounced around in our mind.  A number of specialists reviewed a variety of tests but were not able to give us a clear reason why this was happening.  More importantly they were not able to provide a specific cure and talk with a high level of confidence for future pregnancies.  At that point in late 2009 and early 2010 we started to think about adoption.  We prayed about it but we decided that we should try one more time.  The doctors did have a few ideas to try after all so we moved forward with cautious optimism.  We became pregnant again in May of 2010 – this time twins were on the way.  The entire pregnancy was filled with complications and scares. Knowing our past and realizing that our pregnancy was extremely high risk we held our breath during each of our weekly ultrasounds.  On July 20, after one week of bed rest at home, Stacey’s water broke and we lost Carson James at just under 17 weeks.  We were crushed but didn’t really have time to mourn as our other baby, Hudson Scott, still looked healthy.  Our doctors quickly advised us that we needed to keep Stacey’s health as the number one priority.  The fact that we lost Carson greatly increased the risk of both Stacey and Hudson becoming infected.  We both lived at Spectrum Health hoping and praying for the next 9 days, but on Thursday, July 29 Stacey’s temperature spiked to over 103 degrees, which meant an infection had set it and we had to induce labor.  At only 18 weeks, there was no way Hudson would survive.  At just after 8:00 p.m. Hudson arrived and took a few breaths before heading to heaven to join his brothers and sister.

During our last pregnancy, it was easy to say that this was our last try.  After we lost Carson and Hudson it wasn’t so easy to stick to that plan.  We so badly wanted to have “our own” children.  But as we grieved we also healed.  God drew us close to him and continued to remind us that he was at work and that we just needed to trust him.  Easier said than done for sure.  After many good talks together, walks on the beach talking about our kids, and many hours spent in prayer, it eventually became clear to us that adoption is the direction we needed to go.  While we didn’t envision this when we got married we can clearly see how God has shaped us through our past challenges and know that he will continue to use us in this next chapter of our marriage.  We long to be parents and know we can provide a loving home for our child.

Infant or toddler?  Intercountry or domestic?  If intercountry, what country?  There was a lot to think about as we started to dig in.  After attending an Orphan Sunday event at our church, we both felt God pushing us down the intercountry path.  We reviewed some information from Bethany Christian Services and we quickly focused in on Ethiopia.  There are over 4 million orphans in this nation who long to be in a loving home.  This number seems overwhelming but we are thrilled to be the answer for one of those kids!

We now have a sense of freedom and are excited to be looking forward instead of dwelling in the past, while not forgetting how those tiny lives changed ours.  This process will be filled with hurdles and challenges, but we are starting out with a flexible attitude.  I am sure our patience will be tested numerous times throughout the journey so we would greatly appreciate your prayers!