the story begins nine and a half years ago in a land far, far away. a land of horses and basketball and a young couple ready to enter into the world of parenthood.

october 20, 2000

eric and i were at the doctor's office for a routine check-up, awaiting the arrival of our first born. he was due october 24th - i was measuring small (those were the days - would never be accused of that here lately!) so the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound just to make sure everything was looking good.

and then..................our world was quickly put into a frenzy! baby josiah was not where he needed to be! suddenly what was a quiet and peaceful day turned into the final 18 hours before we were going to have a baby! c-section scheduled for the next morning, 6:00a.m. i went home and finished painting our guest room (yes, i was perched on a ladder painting when i was 9 months pregnant), my mom booked a ticket to fly out that night, eric wrapped up things at work. WE WERE HAVING A BABY IN THE MORNING!

it was a restless night. i didn't sleep much - i was excited, nervous, oh my gosh are you kidding me we are having a baby! we were at the hospital at 6:00a.m., eric and my mom were there and i remember sitting in the prep room while all the nurses told me how wonderful c-sections were. it didn't really occur to me to not want one - my mom had all her babies via c-section so it was sort of all i knew. but they went on about how wonderful it would be and i couldn't wait to hold our little boy in my arms. i was prepped for surgery, our dear friend jamie was my head nurse, the surgeon was there, we were counting down the minutes until sweet josiah would enter this world. all we were waiting for was the anesthesiologist to come and do his thing (which i later learned during a c-section with micah is a VERY important part of the procedure. turns out c-sections without proper anesthesia are not a pleasant experience).

in comes the anesthesiologist who requests one more ultrasound before we head into the operating room. we couldn't wait. this would be the last time we would need one of those things - in just a few minutes josiah would be outside of that warm cozy womb.

and then...

it happened.

josiah had turned around sometime between the appointment the morning before (which evidently is unheard of) and suddenly all bets were off. pull the tubes. get dressed. no c-section. no baby. we would have to go home.

i was speechless. a minute ago i was preparing to see my first baby and now i was getting dressed to go home and plant flowers. i felt like my sweet boy had been ripped away from me. he was stolen. of course, i knew that he would be here in a matter of days but at that moment i was crying the tears of a mother whose child had been taken. (add in the small detail that i was in the SAME room as someone preparing for infertility surgery so i am trying to quell my emotions from the woman who really and truly may never see her child. seriously bad planning on the operating room schedule!)

i got over it. i went to lowe's. and i planted flowers. i made cookies. i made 100 cinnamon christmas ornaments. i did a whole lot of things cause it was a very long 11 days before i would finally be induced and we would hold baby josiah.

march 30, 2010

my baby was ripped away from me again. i received a phone call that we would have to complete 14 credit hours of parent education before our home study would be released. what was supposed to be a document to be picked up today and the adoption process was to take a huge step forward, turned into our social worker telling me to go home, work on our online courses and then we could have our home study released. seriously? this hellish document that we have been waiting on for months now has a new requirement? you have got to be kidding me. never mind we could have been working on this for the two freaking months we have been waiting - no, don't worry, just give me another hoop to jump through that will take more time, because there is no way i want this process to move forward. that would just be too much to ask. that we would actually stop and think about the fact that there is MY BABY INVOLVED HERE! AND SHE NEEDS TO COME HOME!!!

and every stinkin' day is one day longer that our family is without her and she is without us.

i was so angry. really angry. to those who have not walked the adoption journey, i get that it makes no sense at all. but that is the miracle of adoption! that somehow God gives me the ability, without a second thought, to love sarahjoy as much as i loved baby josiah in my belly. i want to hold her just as bad as i wanted to hold every one of my belly babies and every delay is excruciating.

josiah came at just the right time (i got my guest bedroom painted, my flower beds looking good, spent a week and a half hanging out with my mom...) and i know sarahjoy will too.

but boy, sometimes it just doesn't feel that way.

the adoption journey is not for the faint of heart or the weak in spirit. it will test every fiber of your being, have you questioning every truth of God. today, i will make a conscious choice not to question. i will grab hold of truth, despite the emotions.

God's timing is perfect. God knows all. God is even in charge of home studies and parent education credits.

i think. and actually, i am still really angry. and brownies are not helping.

UPDATE: after discussions with eric, i decided to be a bit of a squeeky wheel. to make a long story short, we were able to come to an agreement and we should be able to pick up the home study tomorrow. should. i'll not believe it until i have it in my hand. we still have to fulfill the requirements but can do it in the next little while like we originally had planned.



spring has sprung here in our parts and whether it is the season or something intuitive, i can't stop thinking about our baby girl. i had not been feeling attached to her like i was with lydia - maybe it just seemed so far off or it was the 2nd time around. i don't know, but nevertheless, that distance is all but gone and not a day goes by that i am not thinking about sweet sarahjoy. that ache is there in my gut and its presence will no doubt be felt until the day i hold her. it's the miracle of adoption; that somehow God weaves in you a bold and vulnerable love for a child that is yet a stranger. how that is i don't know, but i am experiencing it for the second time and it is no less real than my three pregnancies.

i dream about the princess. what she looks like, when we will get to hold her. how old will she be and what her special needs will be. should her room be pink or yellow, what will lydia think, how will the boys react to being WAY outnumbered! : )

and so it goes. this part is the hardest. i feel like i am in my last month of pregnancy when you can't wait to get your little hands on that baby and every day you wake up and think, "what if this is the day!" but alas, there is no 'day' anytime soon. we wait and we wait and we wait. and sometime, hopefully before the end of 2010 we will see our baby (and God help us all if she is actually a baby)

so what's going on? our first set of paperwork (the 'homestudy') should have been done a month ago. in typical adoption form, there has been one setback after another and so we are hoping to have it in our hands by april 1st. if we don't, i may be found on the front page of the paper (or the local jail). then we go to our second set of paperwork, 'USCIS' (aka immigration). then the 3rd set of paperwork, the 'dossier'. the dossier's documents have all been notarized before we turn them in. then they must be certified by the state. then they must be certified by the federal government. just in case i am a terrorist and the FBI fingerprints, the police checks, and the child protective service checks missed it.

once obama has met behind closed doors and debated the pile of papers with a completely democratic committee, they will be flown to china and we will be 'logged in'. AT THIS POINT...we will be eligible to lay claim to the file of our sweet sarahjoy. at which time we see medical files and pictures and are able to officially accept a child as our own. currently, there is no waiting list at our agency so theoretically once those papers are all sent to china we could know who our sarahjoy is pretty quickly. theoretically...if there are no filibusters or castaway reruns.

so...based on the fact that everything important in our journeys to lydia and sarahjoy has happened while we were vacationing in the outer banks, i am banking on us knowing our little girl the last week of august. : )

so we continue to pray for sarahjoy and for God's provision to get us there debt free. we know this is His will and we are so excited to be in the midst of his blessing. we have currently received $16,000 towards our adoption - people handing us money in the most generous of ways. we have about $14,000 more and we are actively sending out grant applications and praying that we have favor.

to you who walk besides us and faithfully pray for us...thank you. you hold my heart in your hands as it aches for a little girl across the ocean. and you provide encouragement when the circumstances seem endlessly bleak.

to those who have given so generously...your tangible encouragement quiets me. the hearts from which your gifts come are amazing and inspiring. my hope and prayer is that you will be blessed tenfold for your sacrifice.

and to those who are watching...keep doing so. God is moving and our miracle is not over. may you be encouraged and brought hope by sarahjoy, even as she plays across the ocean, oblivious to her influence in the world.

and to sweet sarahjoy...we love you already. we are your mommy and your daddy. we can't wait to hold you, to kiss you, to give you a bath, to dress you in clean clothes and shoes that fit. to bring you to a home where you will be smothered with love and affection. hold on, sweetie. soon, we will cry together.



i am trying to type. but i can't quite get the words to come out on paper that i feel need to be written. which is rare - usually i am pretty good at getting my feelings on paper. but once again we find ourselves in the grip of the miraculous and as moses stood speechless at the sight of God, so i stand as i see him in his glory and splendor. i knew this was going to be a miraculous ride but the lack of predictability is stunning. or at least i feel like it is. i suppose someday i will grow to expect God's miraculous. not there quite yet. still shocked that he would smile on this family, this sweet sarahjoy, these needs - which are so minimum in the scope of the world. why?

his glory. proclaiming his glory. everyone needs to see his glory. every single person who hears our adoption story is going to be able to say nothing else except..."God.....is......amazing."

we drive two cars. a 2000 sienna minivan and a 1993 tercel. not exactly the newest cars although they have been gloriously reliable. until thursday. when for the third time in recent memory we had the tercel in the shop. i mean, it is 17 years old and there comes a point where you have to decide whether to replace the thing or keep fixing it. i was pretty convinced we had come to the time of replacement. not exactly great timing if you ask me. yay, we are staring at adoption expenses and now we get to replace a car! i even stopped by the toyota dealer and took a look at the used selection. in my heart, i knew that if this was how God was making it all come down he was going after some huge glory. so bring it on!

i woke up on saturday and checked email. one from a friend who asked if she and her husband could come over for a few minutes today. that was a bit odd - i mean i like them a lot but it's not exactly a typical thing to ask. beings the pastor family that we are, eric immediately went into "the husband is having an affair" mode and i went into "she is going to stop volunteering" mode. not that we said that. but that's where our minds were. they came. they waited for eric to get out of the shower. they sat down. they said they had been really blessed and wanted to share. they said they had a check for us.
a one. and four zeros.
five figures
10, times a thousand


God is bringing himself glory. God is SHOUTING to the world, through sarahjoy's story that he is glorious. he is the provider of all. he is in charge of this world and when he wants something done, just step aside and watch as he makes it happen.

after they left, eric and i just stared at each other. what in the world? who does that? who gives away that kind of money? who receives that kind of money? and what God works in such obviously miraculous ways that we should call him Father?

the story wouldn't be complete if i didn't include the voicemail that eric had on his phone after all was said and done. the car, the one i thought for sure was dying - well, turns out it was a faulty oil filter that the mechanic put in a couple of weeks ago when he changed the oil. he replaced it, no charge, and we get to keep driving Old Faithful.

and about that prayer we have had - that we would have our adoption 100% paid for when we stepped on the plane to China - well, it sure seems like we have heard the voice of God and are going to watch the miraculous happen right before our eyes. let me never forget that we started this adoption with $0. that's right. a big fat goose egg. (we won't take the time right now to say how CRAZY it is to walk into something that is going to cost you $30,000 when you have NOTHING!)

and now, God has given us $15,500. with more to come. i know.

God is doing a miracle. sweet sarahjoy is coming home.