Baby Rainn

I’ve always said my husband was born a city boy in a small midwest town and loving God before he ever knew Him.  I was born a rebel without a cause so thank God He and Derek found me or I think I might be 30 and still on my senior trip in Cancun.

One night in college Derek was sitting on his college house porch reading his Bible, looking for answers and a sign that God really is who He says He is.  Rain was flooding the ground as he read a passage about the grace God has for us.  It was in that moment God began to show him that His grace is like the rain that was falling down all around him.  The rain gives life to all things, no matter how tired or worn out. It washes away all of the bad to bring the best things forward.  It nourishes the flowers and makes the grass grow.  It washes the dirty streets.  After the rain the world always smells fresh and new, giving even wilting things a second chance.  God taught Derek His grace is like the rain.

When we started dating it rained on our first 5 or 6 dates. We nervously laugh-joked that maybe this was a bad sign.  We were shopping at Kansas City’s outdoor plaza and it was raining…of coarse it was.  Derek grabbed my hand and drug me out into the water.  He twirled me around and asked me to dance.  People were scurrying in and out of buildings trying to escape being soaked and there we were dancing, laughing and drenched.  And if your still reading and haven’t choked on the cheesy rom com scene… while we were dancing Derek gave me a new vision for the rain and for us.  He said he thought it was a good thing, all our soggy dates and weather induced change of plans.  It meant we would endure all things, in meant we could survive anything because we had learned to dance in the rain together.  Oh to have known then, my little 19 year old self, the storms we would face-yet we settled on the rain being a good thing…our thing.

Derek asked me to marry him on a scorching hot August night, not a cloud in the sky.  All the moisture that evening was dripping and draining from all our own hot, sticky, soggy parts.  He popped the question and before he could hop to his feet it rained for about 3 minutes.  And on our (outdoor) wedding day rain was our greatest fear. Yet after our ceremony, just before pictures, it rained for about 5 minutes leaving a big rainbow stretched across the sky.  God has always revealed himself to us through the rain.  Somehow rain has always been a part of our story.

We’ve been talking about baby names for years and years sorting through trendy names, silly names, names for boys and names for girls but only one name has been near and dear to our hearts through and through.  When we got the call that we were matched, that we were going to have a baby boy we knew his name would be Rainn.  Rainn has always been a part of us.  He has always been a part of our story.

It rained the day we left Kansas City, it rained for every take off and landing of the 4 flights it took us to get to Alaska. Flying through the Dallas tornado was an extremity of the metaphor and a little unnecessary but sentimental non the less.  It rained in Kansas City that whole January 7th day.

When he decided to make his grand entrance into this world, almost 4 weeks ago, we were anxiously awaiting him with the only name we could have ever had for him.  His short life has already nourished worn out relationships, brought new hope and new starts to us all.  Rainn is a constant reminder of God’s steadfast love and goodness.

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All Of The Things

I woke up the other morning thinking I really might be having a heart attack.  The air felt too thick to breath, my palms were sweaty, my heart was racing… So I laid there next to my snoring husband, of course, trying to relax and asking myself

Have I been drinking enough water…never

Am I pushing myself too hard at the gym…not likely, but it was a fun consideration

Did I wake from a scary dream… maybe

And then it hit me…Ohhhh, it’s just all of the things.

Baby Names

Finding a baby name is like a long day of thrifting.  You start off picky on the hunt for something unique and great, but by the end of the day you have some random piece of furniture that has to be re-built and re-upholstered, 2 pairs of colored pumps some 73 year old women finally parted with and 4 “vintage” coffee mugs-but really they’re not vintage, just old, faded and stained.  But the worst part of it all…you don’t realize you bought TRASH not treasure  until 7 weeks goes by and it’s all still in a “retro” smelling bag on your living room floor and you open it up and are like…

Wait, what?!?

But why?

Why would I purchase these things?

But with a baby name you can’t just donate it back to the thrift you purchased it from, oh no, that’s your kids NAME! It’s just hard times over here.  His first name is good, that’s solid, we love it with our whole heart and have for years, but his middle name has us like woa.

The Nursery

Let’s just say we started with no electricity or heating and cooling so things are really looking up for him.  We bought an 85 year old house about a year and a half ago and renovated our whole first floor.  The upstairs was going to be our winter project… so we were going to take all winter to renovate it, but then we just did it all in 6 weeks so it’s been a great marriage enrichment activity.  But really, it has been so fun getting that space ready.  It has many of our friends and family’s fingerprints all over it who have showed up to help in every way you can imagine.  Right now it’s loud with saws and hammers and I have moments when my eyes fill with tears thinking about the quiet and peaceful space we are tirelessly working to make for him.  And when I say we, what I really mean is my husband and the incredibly talented people who have been generous with their abilities in helping him.  I pitch the vision, he swings the hammer.

When Do We Leave

Well 2 1/2 due dates ago we were plotting and planning and it felt like manageable chaos.  It now just feels like chaos.  Like most adoptions and unplanned pregnancies the conception date is unknown so his doctors have been going off of his weight and the size of his femur bone.  In the last couple of weeks his due date was moved to January 20th yet Monday morning we got a call from our coordinator that she had visited the hospital Sunday night, but was sent home and is dialed by 3cm.  So we really don’t know.  After I panicked, totally lost my mind pacing our house and word vomiting all over my husband I washed his wardrobe (babies wardrobe), packed the diaper bag and started packing our bags.  We’re ready for anything and will be keeping up with her appointments to make good and educated decisions about when to go…which implies I am no longer a part of the decision making because I’ve insisted we leave a week and a half ago and just live there until he comes.

Motherhood

My house has never looked so awful and I have never been more exhausted, but I must say I look great for being a few weeks from becoming a mom for the first time.  But really I’m learning a lot, from how to keep all the poop in the diaper to learning God loves my baby more than I do.  I’m resting in that, because I’m not really resting.  I didn’t think I would worry so much but I’m worried about everything.  Not so much that he’s not being taken care of or loved well but just everything else there ever was to worry about.  In the whirlwind of these last few weeks I have moments when everything stops for just a second and I’m overwhelmed that God knew this was going to be our story the whole time.  He knew it would be our birth mom’s story and our baby boy’s story.  He knew he would knit our hearts to two others 3,656 miles from here.  Knowing that he knew all of that brings me peace, because I can’t coordinate walking and drinking a cup of coffee these days-but really.

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A few weekends ago some friends organized the most beautiful shower/celebration for us.  We drank wine, laughed and cried our way through the night with all the people that have carried us this far, all the people that have loved the three of us for years and years and are as anxious as us to get baby Poe in our arms.  It was beautiful in every way and far more than I ever imagined our baby shower would ever be.  Waiting is brutal and completely awful but our home is full of the sweetest little baby things while our hearts are full with such thankfulness and love and all of the things.PoeShowa 030PoeShowa 027

**Photos taken by the incredible Andrea Larson who is always doing the most beautiful things with her camera, so thankful she shared some of her talent to capture all the details of our most magical day.

 

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The Year There Was No Christmas Tree

I’m a loud, seriously crazy, over do-er when it comes to celebrating everything.  If you ask my husband I’m a loud, seriously crazy, over do-er for possibly all of life, but that’s neither here nor there. The holidays are really my jam.  We have so many traditions Martha Stewart can’t keep up.

But my very favorite day of the entire year is the day after Thanksgiving.  Because the day after Thanksgiving is the day we get all bundled up, get the best hot cocoa, listen to Christmas music and go cut down our very own Christmas tree.

It’s the best day of my whole year and I think probably the most dreaded for my husband because I want the biggest tree they have, which wouldn’t actually even fit on our front porch.

I love it, I love cutting it down, I love the smell in my house, I love decorating it while watching our favorite Christmas movie and  drinking egg-nog and then sleeping under it’s twinkling lights.  It’s precious time with my family and I love every second.

But this year there will be no Christmas tree

and I’m not even mad about it.

Because this Christmas

WE’RE GETTING A BABY!

We’ve been matched!

A Poe baby! A Poe baby! A Poe baby!

Our baby BOY is due on Christmas day in North Pole, Alaska and I’m seriously not even joking.

All this waiting and hoping and praying…and all this time He had the craziest, sweetest, most magical surprise waiting for us.  I mean is baby boy Poe even going to believe us years from now when we say “well 6 Christmas’s ago on Christmas day we flew to North Pole to get you… and that’s why we named you Buddy.

I mean Nicholas

I mean North… that’s why we named you North Poe.”  (How very Kanye-dashian of us)

I’ve never felt more known by my God.  There are so many beautiful pieces and parts to this story but I think the best part is the laugh cry we do every time we talk about and pray for our sweet baby boy growing and growing in North Pole, Alaska.  It’s hilarious and magical and such a surprise.

So Christmas is about 6 weeks away. 6 WEEKS! We get to see his sweet face and hold him and squeeze him and smell him and be all his in 6 short, horribly long weeks.  We have so much to do that we can’t do anything but be incredibly grateful, and stunned and awed by the beauty of the story He’s written for us.

And a part of the magic is also needing $6,200 to complete our budget.  This adoption ended up being about $2,500 more than we had planned on.  We have also been saving for travel, which will be about $5,000 for our 3 week trip and stay in Alaska. But if we’ve learned anything in this… love can move mountains.  It can and it has, mountains and mountains of paperwork and mountains and mountains of Benjamin’$.Baby Poe - 8x10 Framed2 copy

As a token of our gratitude, from now until Christmas day when you donate $50 or more we will send you this beautiful print, designed by Ashtin Byrd of Hush Art Co.  She dreamed up this pretty print with “the North star will always lead you home”  guiding her hands, because he is coming from the very very North.  The star is also reflected in the Alaskan flag.  It’s a beatiful print with so much heart, we’re honored to have had her design something just for you and us.

We never imagined this part would be this good.  We never imagined our hearts would flood with love so fast.  We never knew we could miss a person we’ve never met, but somehow knowing he’s out there, that he’s been out there for the last 34 weeks makes our hearts and arms long for him.

Thank you for the mountains you’ve moved to get us to this most precious and perfect gift.

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Letting Go

I’m a part-time substitute teacher lending myself to middle america, suburban classrooms for students to devour, kindergartners and high schoolers alike.  The high schoolers are scary in the same way they were scary 11 years ago.

#SheDoesntEvenGoHere #WednesdaysWeWearPink #ThatsSoFetch

And the kindergartener, kindergarteners are wolves in sheep’s clothing!  They lure you in with their sweet smiles and seemingly innocent-ness, but by the end of the day you realize they’ve gobbled you up with their gnat-like attention spans, one question and re-re-sharpening of their pencil and “when’s lunch, when’s lunch, when’s lunch?!?”question at a time.

I subbed the very first week of school so I got to see all those darling Kindergartners make their way to class, their eyes bright with excitement; their mama’s big with tears.  You could almost hear their mama hearts stretching and cracking a little as they pulled their littles in for one last kiss and one more hug, before letting go of their tiny little hands.

I’ve learned from watching my mama friends that parenting is a long and steady dance of letting go.  You spend a lifetime teaching your babies to eat without you and sleep without you and move without you.  All their small firsts are exciting, a celebration of their independence.  But that first day of Kindergarten, that feels like a bigger risk, an oversized step in your mama waltz.

The excitement + joy + pride + terror of putting your baby on a bus with a person you do not know

Praying they arrive safe at a school you aren’t very familiar with

To be shaped and molded and taught by a stranger

To make friends with other little people who say and do things you can’t imagine your baby ever saying or doing.

That part is very legitimate.  Guys I watched a kid eat an entire cup of ketchup the other day.  The whole cup.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Starbucks makes double the money that day from all the latte drunk moms celebrating their 6 hours of freedom.

But no amount of double steamed, non fat, gluten-free, sugar-free, coconut-almond-rice milk can make letting go less hard.

That’s where the adoption story begins.

That’s where our babies brutiful story begins.

Brutiful-both brutal and beautiful at the same time.

We start with letting go.  We start with not knowing where they are, or who they’re with, or what they’ve been exposed to, or what they haven’t been exposed to.  We start in a free fall of letting go.

I shared that with a friend (who sent her first baby to Kindergarten this year) and a few weeks later she showed up at my door with the most thoughtful and perfect swaddle blanket gift.In the palm of his hand

Our story starts with letting go, but not just to the great abyss.  Our story starts with trusting the story God hand picked picked for our baby, the birth mom He chose for our baby and for us, the place and the time and the people He picked for our family.

I can’t wait to wrap our baby up, all safe and sound in this blanket and this promise.  While sometimes it kills me to start at letting go, I think it’s good practice for what’s to come.  Letting go is our job.  They will one day rise and fall and love and live without me, and I’ll be praying the worst habit they pick up is eating cups of ketchup.

We are officially an official waiting family.  So today or tomorrow or the next day for weeks or months to come we could get a call at any moment about a baby that will be ours.  They could be born in any of the 50 states, any race, any gender, we really know nothing.  I’m so grateful for all the friends and family and strangers that stop me to ask about our adoption.  I love sharing our excitement with everyone around us.  We are $4,315 dollars away from our goal and waiting to hear back on a grant we applied for months ago.  We’re so close that some days I think I can’t wait one more second, and others I panic because, what a baby?!? Like a real, living, eating, crying, needs a crib and probably some diapers and stuff baby?!?

I’m finding beauty in this waiting, in this letting go.  In the letting go of how I though it all should be, in the fear of how things might or might not end up, in the worrying that they are safe and sound.  In this long and steady letting go He is growing a mama heart in me.

The Middle

I never pictured this part of the journey.  I pictured the beginning, zero dollars in our adoption fund, a mountain of paperwork and a planner full of appointments ahead.

I can picture the end.  Getting a call, GETTING PICKED, boarding a plane, waiting in a hospital, meeting our baby-maybe their birth mom, getting back on a plane to come home…. I actually think about that part all the time, the getting on plane with a brand new baby part, it gives me sweaty palms.  It’s my “Bottles on a Plane” ft Samuel L Jackson daydream/nightmare .  There’s crying and dirty diapers and bottle making and death stares from other passengers.  And I’m all “Hi, Pinterest said everything would be fine.”

I never thought much about this part though.  The middle.  Half way.  Half way to our fundraising goal.  Being stuck somewhere between an official “waiting family” but really we’ve been waiting for 3 1/2 years.  The middle is collecting documents and pictures and watching our life run through a copy machine over and over again.  The middle is searching for grants, applying for grants, hoping and praying on grants.  The middle is endurance and just keep swimming.  The middle is the mundane, a step closer yet still so far away.  The middle is the middle, but it’s closer than we’ve ever been and being closer than we’ve ever been has breathed new life into us.

Becoming Mothers-3

The moment those teeny-tiny little baby shoes showed up in my mailbox.  The moment we finished our home study. Every moment we talk and dream and pray for our baby that’s coming… Every person that has given to the coming together of our family, every everything we’ve experienced in the last two months are our moments, our milestones, our reminders that our most precious and amazing gift is in sight.

We are $5,242 away from going live with our profile, $15,242 away from our total goal.  The way our agency works, your full balance is due within 48 hours of being picked. Our estimated wait time is between 1 and 6 months.  So it’s sort of a gamble. It would be devastating to get picked and not have the money.  But we could wait until we are fully funded and not get picked for 6 months.  So we’ve decided that once we are within $10,000 of our $35,000 goal we are going live, trusting our God that has brought us this far.

Thank you for all the moments you’ve shared with us, the moments you’ve made for us, all the celebrating and hoping and praying with us, the waiting in the middle with us and pushing us to the end.

Home Studied

Ok so this is how I pictured our home study going:

A prudish middle-aged woman showing up at my door in a bad 90’s business women’s suit with her magnifying glass ready to inspect everything from my underwear drawer to my 85-year-old dusty baseboards.  I imagined she would be mildly offended by my husbands freshly inked tattoos nor would she laugh at any of my nerve-induced, terrible, awful jokes.

I worried what would happen if our Otis starting barking or even worse, humping.  What if I can’t answer a question, what if I can and can’t stop talking, what if I have to poop in the middle of our 5 hour interview?

And that was just the start, I looked around our house and found 3 dead plants.  Dead plants, shit, that can’t be a good sign.  I looked pathetically at our faded pine cone Christmas wreath hanging on our front door.  If I don’t even have time to make a Spring wreath how am I going to prove that I have the time for a child?

The night before our first interview we didn’t get to bed until 1 in the morning.  We cleaned the bathroom for about 2 hours and I am not kidding.  We scrubbed the tub and the glass shower door.  We swept, we mopped, I WAXED the wood floors on the entire 1st floor of my house.  We cut grass, we potted plants.  I stole a wreath.  Technically, borrowed.  I have amazing friends, one willingly gave my the wreath right off her own front door.  Some people have friends that would give you the shirt off their back, but how many people do you know that would give you the wreath off their front door, holler if you hear me.Blog

Saturday morning came, we made muffins…Derek made muffins, I think I was re-cleaning the bathroom.  We ironed our clothes.  We braced ourselves and opened the front door…

Guys it was fine.  She was wearing jeans.  She didn’t have a magnifying glass.  In fact she came in my front door, sat at my dining room table and went out my back door.  She didn’t even go into the bathroom.  I was pissed.  When I realized we were wrapping it up and she hadn’t been in there, I was tempted to offer her a shower and a fresh-out-of-the-dryer bath towel.  I worked hard on that.  During the week she is a drug and substance abuse counselor, so we sort of had a leg up on her usual clients.  I didn’t have to poop and she laughed at my terrible, awful, jokes.  It wasn’t 5 hours, only 3.  Otis barked and she actually laughed, he’s 5 pounds.

Dare I say it, but it was kind of fun.  She asked us about our story… how we met, what we do on Saturdays, what we’re looking forward to about having kids.  It was fun to share our life and our dreams with her.

The second visit, she did inspect our house-but she didn’t look in my underwear door or at my baseboards.  She checked for legitimate concerns like carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and emergency numbers.  Who would have thought?

It was good, it was all good, and we’re done and we passed!  It will take her about a week to write her report, then it will take a few weeks to get it officially approved by us and the agency but our part is mostly done!

We’re on to our next big task, making our family profile.  100 pictures, 6-7 short blurbs about our life and dreams for our family-oh and a cheesy adoption video that they will show to birth parents.  No pressure.

The nitty-gritty is that we are adopting domestically.  We are working with an agency that only deals with infant adoptions.  They are a national agency that works with birth parents in all 50 states.  Their average time span before a child is placed in your home is about 1-9 months (after you are activated, we’re not activated quite yet).  We are open to either gender, every race, all the babies.  It’s actually been a heart wrenching, soul-searching process filling out questionnaires and forms about what kind of child we think would fit best in our family.

Thank you, thank you could never express the gratitude we have for the love and support we have been shown.  People from near and far have opened their hearts and their wallets to support our family and thank you a million times over is all we can think to say.  I can’t wait to share with our little Poe babe how many people were apart of bringing our family together.  Thank you, thank you, thank you forever.

GOLF TOURNAMENT FUNDRAISER

The last week has been overwhelming in the most beautiful way.  So many people have been incredibly generous with their stories, their love, their time and their money.  I’ve only been on this journey a few months and each day I am more and more stunned by this beautiful coming together of people.  A birth mother, a baby, the two of us and the tribe that is standing with us. It’s already some kind of beautiful I can barely describe.

Some of our dearest friends have come together to run a golf tournament on behalf of our adoption.  They are as eager as we are to get a baby in our arms and for that we are forever grateful.  Mark your calendars now, online registration will be available later this week!

Golf Fundraiser

If you are not a golfer yet still wish to give you may sponsor a hole for $100, or you can always make a donation by clicking below.  Thank you a million times over for providing this opportunity for our family!

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