Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jon and Kate Plus 8

I've thought about writing this post for a while, but I wanted to take some time and pray about it before I did.

First, I hope that you will watch this short video before reading further or leaving a comment. It is an interview with Kate's brother and his wife who have been a part of the show up until a year ago.
Watch CBS Videos Online

I started watching this show when it first started. I found it fascinating simply because I am a mom of multiples and I also was intrigued by how tight of a ship she ran, all while promoting a healthier way of living by eating organic foods, etc.

I have now committed to stop watching this show (including reruns) and I will not contribute to their empire by buying their books, etc. I am and have been very troubled about the exploitation of their children as I have noticed more and more shows being filmed each season. I, for a while, have also said that I don't like the way that Kate treats Jon on the show and I feel like if the roles were reversed and if Jon spoke to her the way she speaks to him, the show would have been canceled long ago.

I am typing this because I am asking you to commit to pray for this family. I am also asking you to please stop watching it. Did you know they had almost 10 million viewers on Monday night for the season premiere? That's a record for cable tv and although I am admitting I was one of them, I am also admitting that I am ashamed that I was. I am seriously concerned about their marriage, their children, and the effects of this show on these children as they grow up. I hope you will join me!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Waterpark in the backyard

The wonderful couple (that I still haven't blogged about) bought this awesome blow up waterpark while we were visiting in Houston. They have three kids (10, 5, and 3) who had an absolute blast playing and we were amazed at just how cool this sucker was. Now, I'm tempted to buy one.

We just bought a LARGER Rainbow swing set that is a monster, so I guess I am a little worried that our entire backyard will be nothing but toys, but then the other part of me thinks "how cool is that?"

I guess I am also thinking that we could use the money we would have spent on M.E.'s birthday party/gift and do a water themed party for her second birthday in August. Heck, for that reason, we could use all the money for each of the kids birthdays and buy this sucker and actually get something that they *might* remember for more than a millisecond.

So, if you have one of these Banzai monsters currently parked in your backyard OR are thinking about buying one, leave me a comment and let me know if you love it/hate it/want it/etc. Oh, and if you have one and your water bill went through the freaking roof I would love to know that too!

Friday, May 22, 2009

A week ago today...

We were on an airplane leaving Houston to come home and see our family. I had been gone for 10 days and oh, how I missed the kids. Here's a pic of us as we saw the kids for the first time.


A week later I am sitting here in bed with Joshua and Mary Elizabeth. The kids are doing wonderful with Joshua. Mary Elizabeth walks through the house and says "Of JT" which translates to "love JT" She likes to give him kisses, pat his back for burps and try to steal his paci. Isaac and Luke are totally in love and so glad we have a boy. They have actually both already fed him and hold him constantly. Anna is also madly in love with Joshua. She loves to take care of him and already thinks of him as her newest real live baby doll.

Jonathan and I are doing great, totally exhausted, but great. As I told one of my dear friends today, I am trying to set small goals for each day so I don't get overwhelmed and in turn, beat myself up for not getting a whole lot done. I'm trying to rest when the little ones are resting so if I don't answer the phone, please don't take it personally. Leave me a message, I promise I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Joshua is a hoss. Eating like crazy and sleeping a lot. He's already in size 2 diapers. Alison B. was here today and got some beautiful shots of J.T. so I am excited to see those and share those with you. We had a little hair party today. Jamie (M.E.'s hair goddess) came to the house and did Norah, Charlotte and Jordyn's hair today. Their hair looked beautiful and I enjoyed getting to hang out with my friends. Angie V. and Lisa H. also stopped by to visit.

I am off to eat a wonderful dinner prepared by Melissa, Jordyn and Isaiah's mom. THANK YOU Melissa for all the wonderful food you brought today. I'll try to update more often this next week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sweet Joshua

Joshua is doing great, eating like a mad man and growing like a weed. We went to the doctor today and he has gained a full pound in just 13 days! He's officially 9 lbs. Doctor said he looks great and we agree...he is such a happy little guy!

Here's a pic from this past Saturday. To see more, check out the post here. A big THANKS to Uncle Josh for taking some pics for us.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And the winner of the Veranda gift certificate is....

K.N. (email me and I will mail the certificate to you!)

We actually went to the Veranda for lunch yesterday. It was our first official outing as a Party of 7 and we had a fantastic lunch! THANKS to the Veranda crew for taking such good care of us on our first day back home!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

MIRACLE HAPPENED...We're Home!

Yesterday morning, D (our case worker here in Nashville) called at 9am to tell us that TN ICPC had not even received our paperwork yet. To say we were bummed was an understatement. I had spent a lot of time Thursday night in prayer, letting HIM know that I would be ok if we couldn't come home. That I would not allow Satan to steal our joy if we didn't get that approval. That I would continue PRAISING HIM!

Around noon, I drug myself into a nice, hot bath. As I sat there, tears streamed down my face as I literally clung to Jeremiah 29:11. God knew what this process would look like to bring Joshua home, I just needed to trust him.

I came downstairs to face J, who was watching Joshua and asked if he minded running to the store. We were almost out of wipes and he was taking the rental car back at 5pm as he went to the airport. Our host family continued to let me know that I was not being an inconvenience and that no car was needed. They would happily take me to the airport whenever I needed to go. I will do a post later about this family, they are AMAZING.

J headed to the store and to Whataburger for lunch. If he's leaving, we gotta eat there right? Around 2pm, he called me and when I answered the phone and he was crying. "Great, he's wrecked the rental car!" is all I could think. He choked out that we had just gotten verbal approval to come home from ICPC in TN. I immediately started crying and Angel started saying "OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!" We were totally praising God right there in her living room! I texted Joy who let me know she had not heard from TX ICPC yet, but we were probably safe to make travel plans.

What proceeded was literally the most stressful three hours of my life, literally. We now know that TX ICPC decided to close early yesterday, so even though we were technically cleared to go home, there was no one in the office to call and verify that with Joy. Finally at 5ish, D was able to call Joy and let her know she had gotten verbal and the fax had been sent and we got clearance to go. We were on a plane by 7:40pm.

So, yes, our paperwork got to TN at 10am via Fed Ex and we were approved by 2pm. If that's not a miracle, I'm not sure what is. You see, the paperwork that TN combed through was over 3" thick.

Joshua did great on the flight home. Only a handful of people even realized we had a baby on the plane. A sweet couple sat behind us and even came over to say goodbye at baggage claim where they got to meet our entire family.

Walked down to baggage claim and seeing our families there was AWESOME! I, of course, cried. Anna bawled like a baby. JuJu, Papa Eddie, Grandmother, Papa Sam, Angie, Robert, Alexandra, Abby and all of our kids were there to great us. It was late (almost 9:50pm when our flight got in), but M.E. was so happy to have us home and just kept saying "Baby! Baby? Baby! Baby?" She passed out happily in the car on the ride home.

We got home and everyone took pics and then the grandparents went home. I fixed Anna, Isaac and Luke popcorn, got bags unpacked with J and we got Joshua settled in his bassinet. Overall, he did awesome last night considering things were stressful yesterday and his schedule got mixed up a bit. As I type, he is laying there with the hiccups.

We are SO thankful to be home. Visitors are more than welcome, just please call first if you are coming and make sure you aren't sick or that your kiddos aren't sick. Tonight I plan to upload more pics, draw a winner for the Veranda drawing (feel free to enter til 5pm today), and do a post on our host family and their non-profit which I'm sure many of you in blogland are familiar with. THANKS to all who have prayed for us during this journey, supported us financially, and kept up with us. It's a new, exciting chapter for us and we can't wait to spend our first full day at home wtih ALL of our kids. A big thanks to our families who literally kept our household right on track while we were gone. I even came home to find my tupperware shelf organized so I know JuJu stayed busy while we were gone! Love you guys!

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're Coming Home

This is Laura, a friend of Brea's. I just got off the phone with her and they are on there way home. Jonathan, JT and her are about to board a plane and will be in Nashville tonight at 9:15. Praise God! He is truly a God of miracles. YEA!!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ICPC Prayers Needed

So, when you adopt from a state other than where you live, you have to deal with a little thing called ICPC. It basically stands for "making you wait in another state for a long time" Technically speaking, it's where the state you adopted from gives you permission to leave the state with an adopted child and the state you live in gives you permission to re-enter with the adopted child. It involves a bunch of paperwork from your homestudy being sent from state to state via Fed Ex.

Why do we need prayers? Well, first our paperwork went to Austin, TX for TX approval. Then, it leaves from Austin to Nashville and TN approves it. Once Nashville approves it, they give a verbal approval and we can leave. Wouldn't you know the day our paperwork arrives in Austin that one of the TWO people in the whole state is on vacation. So, now we wait. We don't know if it really backed us up or not as there is no system in tracking our paperwork. We could still be given permission to leave tomorrow but basically as our caseworker said, "it would take a miracle". Well, guess what...we believe in those!

Regardless of approval or not, J is leaving to come home tomorrow night. We are DYING to see our other children and although they have been taken care of wonderfully, I know they are dying to see us too. If we don't get approval, it means that J will be flying home without J.T. and I and we won't get to come home until Monday.

So, please join us in praying for that miracle. We want to come home TOMORROW! We know that all things are according to his will and we are so being taken care of here in Houston, so you won't hear me complain if we don't get that approval, but oh, how I want to come home. I want my other children to meet their new little brother, I want to be able to sleep in my own bed and soak in my own tub. I want to give our host family a nice weekend without us before they have more guests arriving Tuesday. I realize I want all these things and in reality, I want what God wants for us, but selfishly can we please come home?

THANK YOU for your prayers. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Day Three Recap

We wake up Saturday morning and J is full of nerves. I've had the luxury of spending 2 days with birthmom and Joshua while J is not only getting ready to walk into a room and meet birthmom, he is also getting ready to meet his son. We shower and get ready and J goes next door to IHOP to get breakfast for birthmom. After we eat the continental breakfast at the hotel (I wolfed it down, J barely touched his), we checked out and headed for the hospital.

We arrived around 8:30am and I went in first to make sure it was ok for J to come in. Birthmom was nervous to meet him too. J came in and introduced himself and we all spent a few minutes talking. I excused myself to go get birthmom something to drink and by the time I got back, she and J were comfortably talking. He got to hold Joshua for the first time and I snapped a few pics.

The whole time we were in the room that morning (around an hour), I had this feeling of a rock in my stomach as I knew what was coming that afternoon. She would be signing and handing over this little guy.

You see, with M.E., we never met her mom. In some ways, it made the adoption easier as I didn't have a birthmom to fall in love with. With J.T.'s birthmom, I now love her. I can see she is a wonderful mother to her other child AND to Joshua. I can see the love she has for Joshua in her eyes. I almost feel like a thief in the night as I know under different circumstances, she should be leaving the hospital that day with her baby. But the circumstances aren't different and I have to swallow the difficult pill that she wants us instead.

For the last two days, she has kept Joshua in her room with her THE WHOLE TIME. For some adoptive parents, this might intimidate them. I am glad. This is her time. I want her to take every last second to make sure she is doing the right thing. Yes, it has made it hard for me to bond with the baby, but I have decided that it's not my right to bond with the baby at this time, it's his mom's time. I'll have the next 18 years. Every time I go in, I ask her permission to pick him up, feed him. I'm sitting here trying to remember if I even changed a diaper and I don't think I did. She did a wonderful job with him in the hospital.

J and I leave the room around 9:30. We have realized we forgot socks for Joshua and we also need to buy formula, diapers, wipes, etc. We also decide to go get birthmom lunch as the hospital food sucks. We go to Walmart first and Joy, caseworker, calls. She is going to be tied up and won't be at the hospital until early afternoon. No problem, we are planning to be back at 12:30pm. We buy all the essentials, pick up KFC for lunch, head to CVS to pick up pics that Alison has sent down for birthmom, and head back to the hospital.

When we get back, we all eat and again, J and I spend about an hour in the room. We then would come out and sit and read in the lobby. About 3pm, we go back in and birthmom asks us to stay with her until it's time to be discharged. Around 5pm, we headed down to the cafeteria to get dinner for the three of us and when we get back, Joy has arrived. J and I sit in the lobby and eat while Joy talks with birthmom. Legally, she can now sign. Joy comes out of her room and meets J for the first time. She walks us through what is about to happen. Baby will be discharged first and we can leave. Then, they will discharge birthmom and Joy will take her home and get her settled.

Birthmom is insistant that we do placement in her hospital room. I think I started crying the minute I walked in that room. She looked so beautiful sitting in that chair holding Joshua. I know it sounds crazy, but I was filled with so many strange emotions, but mainly the feeling that life isn't fair. In a perfect world, I kept thinking to myself. But our world isn't perfect and I have to swallow the fact that she chose us. I KNOW no one forced her to make this decision. I was even able to ask her several times if she was sure she wanted to do this. Had she really thought about parenting? Because it's Joshua's story, I won't share the reasonings, but I can tell you that I felt like I caught of glimpse of what God felt like letting go of his son. I couldn't stop crying as the nurse went through the discharge paperwork. She would tell birthmom the information and then realize she needed to tell me, which was so weird. Finally it was time to say goodbye. I was crying so hard I couldn't catch my breath, which led to these horrible gasping sounds, but I didn't care. What was supposed to be a wonderful, joyous day was so heartbreaking for birthmom and for me. She kissed him goodbye and told us to take care of him and then handed him to me. I wrapped him in a blanket, and then turned and just hugged her. Told her how much I love her and how we promise to stay in touch and take good care of him. That's when I realized J was sobbing as well. I'm not sure what he said to her as he engulfed her in his arms, but Joy later told me it truly touched her to see how much we loved her.

We gathered Joshua's things, promised to see birthmom Wednesday, hugged Joy and walked out of the room. I was hanging on to Joshua for dear life as I sobbed. All the nurses looked up at us as the discharge nurse walked us out. They all were crying too. Shade, our discharge nurse, hugged us and talked to Joshua. Told him that he would make a difference, that he was to do great things in his life and that so many loved him. Those nurses saw a different side of adoption that day and for that, I am so thankful.

Then we left. Just walked out of the hospital. Buckled him in and drove off. I cried so hard I think Jonathan was worried I had checked out. I sobbed. I'm sobbing now as I write this. I called my mom and dad and cried to them. They cried. Joshua slept the whole time. Little guy had no idea that his life had just changed and I had just promised his mom that I would do my best to make sure he grows into a strong, black man.

We drove to J's friends house and although I had never met them, they welcomed us like old friends. I'm sure I looked like someone had punched me in the face (not a pretty crier), but they didn't seem to mind. We sat around and talked until 11:30pm and then turned into bed.

I wish I had some wise words to sum up this day, but I don't. It is what it is. In a perfect world, babies could stay with their moms. I write this so others can see what adoption is truly like. It is hard, sad, wonderful and happy all at the same time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day Two Recap

Well, for some reason, blogger decided to erase my two entries I had made to keep things in order on here. I'm sure as soon as I finish retyping, they will magically reappear. Isn't that how it always happens?

I am backing up to go through my second day at the hospital with you. Alison B. and I arrived at the hospital around 8:30am. I immediately went to birthmom's room to check on her. We had a great time talking and then Alison came in and took tons of awesome pics of her and Joshua together, the pics of Joshua you have seen on here and a few of me with Joshua and birthmom.

We left around 10:30am to go run some errands and pick up lunch for birthmom. She was really hungry and the hospital food sucked so we decided to get her favorite food, chinese. We headed down to the First Colony mall in Sugarland, TX. This is a really nice area of Houston and Alison and I checked out the mall for a few minutes. Then, we headed to a local florist so I could get some fresh flowers for the birthmom. After that, we did a Sonic run and picked up the Chinese food. Then, it was back to the hospital.

While we were gone, the birthmom's family came to visit but we got stuck in traffic so we missed them. We got back and while birthmom ate, Alison went to the cafeteria and got us lunch. Joy (caseworker) was great about guiding me with what to do. She suggested I only spend about an hour at a time in the room so that neither of us got overwhelmed and no one got to the point of being uncomfortable. I should tell you that the conversation with the birthmom just flowed. She is a LOVELY woman and I know we will be lifelong friends.

I visited with birthmom again until about 4:30pm. She was exhausted and both Joy and I encouraged her to get some rest. J's flight wasn't getting in until 7:40pm and by the time we could get back to the hospital, it would have been close to the end of visiting hours so we made plans to be there first thing Saturday morning so she could meet J. We also wanted to bring her breakfast from IHOP, one of her favorite places to eat.

I left the hospital with Alison and took her to Bush airport. I was so sad to see her go. I don't know how I would have done the previous two days without her. For anyone adopting out of state, I encourage you to go with someone, even if your spouse can't go right away. We told stories, laughed, people watched...having her here made the time fly by and it was great to decompress each day with someone who gets it (Alison is an adoptive momma to two girls).

I left Bush and immediately drove to the other airport, Hobby, to pick up Jonathan. He and his luggage arrived with no issues and before we knew it, we were back on the Stafford side of town checking into our hotel. We walked next door to THE LARGEST Chinese buffet I have ever seen. Seriously, I took pics. If I wasn't so exhausted right now, I would post them, but I will do that later on. It was so big, we called Uncle Josh who loves to eat and explained it to him in detail. Seriously, five LONG lanes of sushi, everything Chinese, salad bar and dessert. AND it was really good. What made it even better was that my wonderful husband was finally here with me.

We headed back to our hotel and were in bed in no time. We were both EXHAUSTED. I was so tired because I think the emotions of everything were wearing me out. He was so tired because he had worked all day, caught a flight, and he was a nervous wreck about meeting birthmom and Joshua the next morning.

So that's the Day Two recap. I'll post Day Three later on.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Our First Night with J.T.

Last night was our first night outside of a hospital with J.T. We arrived at J's friends' house (who are awesome people, more on that later), got our bags in the house and fed him. This was about 7:30pm. By 8:30pm, he was hungry again but we were able to hold him off til 11:30pm where he took a full 2 oz. bottle (did I mention he's going to be the size of M.E. in no time?) Also, around 9ish, he took a gigantic crap and peed all over me so I am now officially christened with that. I had the worst headache from crying, so I crashed and then woke up to feed him at 2:30am. I changed his butt, gave him a 2 oz. bottle and he went right back to sleep. Love this kid. J took him at 6am for a 2 oz. bottle, butt change, and burp and then he went right back to sleep where he is still currently sleeping as I type this.

I should note we have never let our infants sleep with us in bed, but it really wasn't an option and I think we all slept better because of it. J and I are both very pleased with how the night went and are excited that we have such awesome hostesses that we are able to just lay in bed this morning and chill.

I have saved titles to two posts that I will be uploading hopefully later today. They are Day 2 and Day 3 recaps, but I just don't have the energy to type it all up right now. When I post them, they will precede this one, so definitely check back if you want all the goods.

Now, we stay in Texas and we wait for ICPC clearance. Basically that's both TN and TX deciding when we can leave and re-enter our home state with a child we adopted. PRAY this goes quickly. We already have plans to visit with birthmom on Wednesday, so we are excited about that. We miss the kids at home desperately, but they made me the sweetest mother's day cards that I absolutely LOVE so that made today a little more bearable. I'm signing off to go back to sleep. I shouldn't be surprised that the emotions of yesterday have made me exhausted, but yet, I hate that I am so tired. More updates later!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pictures of J.T.

Pictures by Alison Bynum










Friday, May 8, 2009

He has a name...

and it's Joshua Tucker. Birthmom picked out his first name (which we love) and his middle name is my great grandpa's name. He looks like a Joshua. I can't wait to show you his picture (hopefully tomorrow, have to wait until TPR is signed). The older kids are already calling him J.T. and I'm sure I'll refer to him as that on here. We were thinking his name would either be Benjamin or Myles, so everyone was pretty shocked with Joshua, but we all love it. We especially love it as Uncle Josh (Aunt Ali's husband) is very special to us and J.T. is very laid back and happy just like Uncle Josh.

I'm going to keep this update short and sweet as honestly, I am EXHAUSTED. Alison got home safely, J just got in, we ate a bite at the largest buffet I have ever seen (more on that later and yes, I did take pics), and we are ready to sleep. Pretty sad that we are in a hotel with no kids and all we want to do is sleep! HA!

Looks like J.T. and birthmom will be released tomorrow so TONIGHT will be our last night of good sleep. He is such a good baby, seriously. Very laid back, very alert and just checking us out. Birthmom and I have decided he is VERY blessed to have two mommas that love him so much. J will meet him and birthmom for the first time tomorrow morning around 8:30am. They are so excited to meet each other and he can't wait to get his hands on Joshua.

I will do a more detailed post about today later on, but in the meantime, say a prayer for all involved tomorrow. Tomorrow birthmom will sign the TPR (termination of parental rights) and be leaving the hospital without her baby. I. CAN'T. IMAGINE. what she will be going through. She is a wonderful woman and God totally put us all together. We are already making plans to visit her in September. Yes, this will be an open adoption. We are so excited to have contact with her and her daughter and I think this will be very healthy for Joshua.

God has given us so many little silly things that tell us we are where he wants us to be......the hotel we are staying at tonight has the same name as the street we live on at home. How cool is that?

I'll try to update tomorrow night, but please be patient with me. We will be "moving in" with some friends of J's so I'm not sure what time I will be getting on to update with pics and more posts. THANK YOU for your prayers, messages, phone calls, etc. If I don't answer, please don't take offense. I barely spoke to my own husband today. When I am at the hospital, I am with birthmom and baby.

I miss Anna, Isaac, Luke, and M.E. like crazy but they seem to be doing well. We have an amazing family that has jumped right in to take care of everything. We can't wait to get back to TN but are thankful that everyone here has been so great. More tomorrow!

Silly Little Things

1. Slept awesome last night. So good.

2. I know that it's called a shuttle not a shuffle. A shuffle is what my taxi driver called it when I got to Houston so that's why I keep calling it a shuffle. I've now had several people let me know they are concerned that I think it's called a shuffle. Rest assured, I did learn something on that Greenbrier education.

3. Got to talk to the kids this morning. We are pretty close to coming together on a name so hopefully I'll have that posted tonight.

4. Say a prayer for safe travels today. Alison flies out around 6pm and J flies in around 7pm. We are really looking forward to staying and visiting with lots of new and old friends while in Houston so I'm excited to see what the next few days hold.

5. We found out last night we are 45 minutes from a beach. We will definitely be going there at some point in this trip. Nothing more relaxing than the ocean.

6. Houston is not my favorite city. It is however, a HUGE city. It's kind of yucky and crowded and it is HOT. Driving to get Alison yesterday at the airport, all I kept seeing was Jack in the Boxes and adult bookstores. UGH. I'm hopeful that the outskirts of the city are nicer than what I have seen inside so far. That, or maybe I'm just in the wrong end of town.

7. Alison and I have already successfully located a mall with a Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Baby Gap. Good times are in our future today!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He's Here and He's SO Cute!

Again, I say "what a day!" and "God is in control!"

I slept like crap last night. Woke up several times throughout the night and if you facebook, you noticed I was up watching TLC at 5am. It's not that the room was bad, I just didn't feel safe in the part of town I was in AND I'm sure nerves had a huge part in the non-sleeping.

Alison B. called at 6am to inform me she was worried about me and considering flying down to be with me. At 7am, Angie V. called to inform me she was also worried about me and considering flying down. I begged them both not to come, but Alison came anyway. At first I felt guilty, but when I saw her face at the airport at 1pm, I realized how glad I was to have someone here.

I checked out of the hotel around 11:30am with the intent of going to rent a car. The front desk lady informed me there were NO CARS at the airport as there was some convention with 120,000 people in town. Great. She took me to the airport in the shuffle and I literally got one of two cars left at Houston Hobby airport. PRAISE GOD! Now granted, I spent more on the car than I did my hotel last night, but hey, I have a car.

I left the rental car place and headed straight to the other airport to pick up AliB and then we jetted to the hospital. We stopped on the way and got some Taco Bell, which I might add was awesome (TX does Taco Bell better than TN) We got to the hospital and I was calm. Totally God. Alison got busy snapping pics including a great one of me applying some deodorant in the waiting room (hey, I was not about to meet this little guy stinking ok!)

After we had been in the waiting room, Joy (caseworker) came in and introduced herself. She was EXACTLY what I had pictured. So loving and warm and just made you feel comfortable. She told Alison and I the game plan and I immediately went with her to meet e-mom. I still wasn't that nervous, just excited. We walked in the room and let me tell you, e-mom is beautiful. Seriously. Gorgeous. We had such a sweet time in the room, talked about our kids, talked about nerves, we cried together, oh it was sweet. Crying right now just thinking about it. It was so awesome!

I came back out and sat with Alison in the waiting area. I worked a crossword puzzle, we told stories, people watched, laughed and the time went by so quickly. We knew at this point that the c-section was pushed back until 3:30pm. Joy came out and let us know things were beginning to start around 3:40pm. A little bit later a nurse came and asked for me and let me know that I would be getting the fourth bracelet which would allow me to visit Little Man just like his mom. She walked me through what would happen and I was so impressed that they thought to include me. She also let us know that the doctor was running late. Finally around 5ish, another nurse came in and asked for me. She looked at me and Alison and asked us to grab all of our stuff. She had a very serious look on her face and I just knew something was wrong. I cautiously said, "is everything ok?" and she perked right up and told me everything was great. She led me down a hall to our own birthing suite and let us know that the hospital wanted me to have a private room to visit with little man. A few minutes later, she brought little guy in. And they kicked Alison out :(

I sat in a rocking chair and held little man. Oh, he is so beautiful. A head full of hair, beautiful dark complexion, his mommy's eyes and nose (did I mention she is beautiful!) I told him how much J and I love him, how we promise to take care of him and keep him in touch with his mom, how I hate that he can't be with her. How excited all his brothers and sisters are to meet him. It was wonderful and horrible at the same time. I hate that this sweet woman can't raise her precious little man. I feel so unworthy. I also felt so blessed to be there.

After I spent some time with him, it was time to go visit e-mom with him. It was so surreal to walk in the recovery room holding her son. She looked amazing to have just had surgery and so happy to see me with him. So unselfish. I held him up for her to see him again and laid him on her chest. It was beautiful. She asked me if we had thought about names. I told her J and I wished to honor her by allowing her to help in naming him. We are going to talk more about it tomorrow.

The nurses then asked me to walk little man to the nursery which I did with Joy and the nurse. Come to find out, the nurse was an adoptive mom herself! We walked in the nursery and they said it was fine for me to stay with him. I snapped some pics and they measured him, took blood, etc. He weighs exactly 8 lbs and is 20 1/2" long. All the nurses were talking about how beautiful he is! It was a sweet time visiting with him and he was so alert...eyes wide open and so chill. M.E., I think your brother is going to be laid back like you!

After a while, Alison and I went back to the private room and I called J and my mom. Alison did a great job updating facebook and texting J during all the madness. Joy came in and we had a great time talking and making plans for the next few days.

We left the hospital, checked into the Crown Plaza which is SO nice and went next door to eat one of the best steaks I have ever had! Dinner was super yummy and I felt myself just relax while we sat there and enjoyed dinner. We are now back at the C.P. and listening to praise music and I'm in tears typing this.

I couldn't have asked for a better experience so far. Joy is awesome. The hospital staff has been very adoption friendly and birthmom is doing really well. She seems very confident in her decision and we are already making plans to visit her in September when we come to visit friends in Houston over Labor Day. Come to find out, our daughters are 4 days apart so M.E. is going to have a buddy to play with!

I can't post pics yet, but I'll do it as soon as she signs TPR on Saturday. J is flying in tomorrow and we have now decided we will be flying home versus driving. We got cold feet about driving 13 hours with a newborn. I am so happy with this decision, but tomorrow will be a busy travel day. Alison is flying out around 5pm and J is getting in around 7pm so it will be hectic. On top of that, it looks like Little Man might get to get released TOMORROW so that's exciting.

THANKS for your prayers. Today could not have been any better and I know God totally had his hand in this situation. I'll update tomorrow with more news...as for now, everyone is healthy and I am off to bed for my last good night's sleep for a LONG time!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Finally Here

Whew, what a day. This post is probably going to be long and full of sarcasm. I'm going to be detailed in these posts as I want others in the adoption process to see what traveling for a newborn looks like.

My day started at 12:08am. I woke up. Wide AWAKE. Could not go back to sleep. Finally, a little after 4am, I fell asleep. I woke back up at 7am so Isaac could read me his book from school (he forgot the night before) and by 7:30am I could feel the migraine starting. I called Gram who came and picked up M.E (not realizing this would be the last time I would see her). Took my drugs for the headache and thought, "now I can sleep" HA HA HA HA HA HA

Not only did the phone ring about 4 million times, but I got a text saying they are delivering e-mom tomorrow via c-section at 3pm. I started checking flights after lunch only to find that really my options for flights were to leave at 5ish tonight and arrive here at 7ish, leave Nashvegas at 7ish and arrive here after 10ish or fly out first thing in the morning which meant I would have to be at the airport by 6am. After talking to J, we felt like this flight was the best option. I called JuJu to see if she could take me to the airport (remember, we only have one car right now) and she was happy to do it. I quickly finished up packing, got the kids off the bus and we were on our way to the airport by 3:30pm. I wish you could have seen Anna's face when she came in from school and realized I was leaving. She was SO excited, literally shaking all over. I'm very sad she isn't with me this time. She's my sidekick and got to go with us when we adopted M.E.

I got the airport and got through security by 5pm. I didn't pack a ton of stuff as J is planning on driving down in a few days. I stopped and had dinner at the food court and then picked up a magazine and some candy in the gift shop. I've already decided that this week is not going to be a good one for eating healthy. I flew Southwest here and was very pleased with the flight. For those of you that like to read like me, you'll be tickled to know that I swear I sat next to Ranger on the plane. I even giggled a few times expecting him to have "rangeman" embroidered on his shirt.

Arrived to Houston 20 minutes EARLY, how awesome is that! Original game plan was that we planned to stay with friends while in Houston, but since I was coming in late and I feel like I will be at the hospital tomorrow, J went ahead and booked a hotel for me near the airport for tonight. Our goal is to spend as little money as possible, but I can already tell a rental car is in my future as I just found out that I am an hour away from our friends I plan to stay with tomorrow night. I also have no idea where I am in relation to the hospital so somethings going to have to give and I think the rental car is the best option.

I get off the plane and J assures me that the hotel shuttle is waiting for me in 8A. I get to 8A and no shuttle. I call J. He's on the road and says he will call them and call me right back. Guess what? They can't find my reservation that he had made hours early through Expedia; therefore, they won't come pick me up. At this point, I've been standing in 8A for about 20 minutes, it's hot and it's dark and I'm definitely near tears. I finally give up and take a cab to the hotel. I get in the cab and the driver says "oh great, you only go to the Best Western!" I wanted to smack him. "Why you no take the shuffle?" he asks. BECAUSE THEY WON'T PICK ME UP! THE SHUFFLE WON'T PICK ME UP!

We arrive at the hotel I walk in and the front desk lady (who turned out to be a doll) explains that they have no reservation from Expedia. I call J and bless him out and then call Expedia. Sure enough, they admit they FORGOT to let the hotel know about the reservation. After an hour and a big ugly cry (my second in 24 hours), I am now finally in my room. She upgraded me to a suite, but considering I'm at a Best Western, that's not saying much. The bed is comfy and I've got wireless, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

I honestly don't like being here by myself. It's not that I'm scared or any of that crap, I just wish I had J or someone else here with me experiencing this. It honestly doesn't feel real that in less than 24 hours, I will see this little boy. I will meet his mom. Our life will change.

So, it's 9:42pm and I'm laying in bed eating a honeybun and drinking a Dr. Pepper. Did I mention that healthy food is out the window? I guess I will take the shuffle back to the airport in the morning and find a rental car and a map. I hope tomorrow goes a bit better than today. My ugly cry meter is running pretty low, so it isn't taking much and I really don't want to scare the e-mom or anyone at the hospital, so I'm hoping that well dries up tonight. Please say a prayer for me. I'll update tomorrow as soon as I can!

Leaving on a jet plane...

I am literally walking out the door to get on a plane.

Baby boy is being delivered by c-section tomorrow, May 7, at 3pm. The only decent flight is tonight at 5:30pm. Did I mention that M.E. was born on the 7th and our wedding anniversary is June 7. I love it when dates line up! Makes it easier to remember.

I am taking the laptop so watch for more updates!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

Today has been a hard day emotionally. We started out the day being told by the case worker that she was taking the e-mom to the hospital at noon. She is now 41 weeks pregnant and basically, she's done. She's miserable, getting light headed and felt like the baby wasn't moving as much. She told us to standby and as soon as she knew whether the hospital was keeping her, she would let me know if I needed to get on a plane. JuJu came down and helped me pack. We went to lunch at Ruby's (YUM!) and ran some various errands. Came home only to find out that the hospital didn't admit her. They are hoping the doctor will schedule a c-section tomorrow so now we go back to waiting for the phone to ring.

I fixed a mexican meal for dinner tonight, but by the time J came home from work, I was done as well. Emotionally spent. I honestly wanted to crawl in bed and sleep, but no time for that. M.E.'s hair was NASTY which meant that it needed to be taken down (a 30 minute job), washed (a 20 minute job), and conditioned and picked out (a 30 minute job while she screams). Also, the guy came and picked up the van so now we are down to one car with no prospects for a new one. I know we could just go on craigslist and buy one, but I feel like we would be making a rushed decision and I really don't want to do that. I was DONE!

That's when I opened my laptop and found a message from an old friend offering me a ticket to Houston. Yes, you read that right. A plane ticket to Houston. Seriously. I did the BIG UGLY CRY. Sobbed. Hard. What an amazing random act of kindness. It made me think about when the last time I just freely gave something away. I like to think I am a giver, but I'm not sure I'm that good at it. I want someone else to feel the same way I felt when I opened that email.

So, I'll leave you with that. THANK YOU (you know who you are) for challenging me tonight. THANK YOU for being the hands and feet of Christ and blessing me today. I promise I will pay it forward, I promise.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Much Of An Update

It's Monday afternoon, M.E. is napping and I am sort of caught up for a bit so I thought I would take a few minutes to do an update.

The inspection on our house was Friday. I think I had forgotten to mention that we had a "minor" leak in our basement that with the help of an awesome contractor and $685 we thought we had fixed. Well, on Friday morning while they inspected the house during the monsoon (am I spelling that correctly?) it started to leak again. Lovely. Now, I don't know about you, but a leak in a basement would totally freak me out, especially if it started leaking while inspecting the said house that I wished to buy. I was a wreck. I just KNEW they were going to back out of the contract even though we promised to get it fixed. I was doubting that everything God had so perfectly orchestrated the week before was going to fall apart. Friday afternoon came and went, as did the weekend without a word from the buyers. Were they backing out? This morning Ray called to say they were moving forward so that is a total praise. We still have to fix the leak, but I am so glad they trusted us enough to make it right, which we will.

E-mom went to the doctor on Thursday. She is dialated a little and basically left the appointment knowing that unless she decides to schedule another c-section (she has had one prior), we will just wait for labor to start. So we wait. I finally pulled a suitcase down out of the attic and I need to start semi-packing as I know when I get the call, I won't have long to get to the airport and board a plane. I'm really not nervous about the last minute traveling, etc. I am probably more nervous about being there for delivery and making sure that she has her time with the baby. Texas law allows her to sign TPR (termination of parental rights) at 48 hours and then unless she can prove fraud, etc. she can't change her mind. Honestly, this makes me sick. I know what shape I was in 48 hours post delivery and I can't imagine having a clear mind to know what I was signing, especially something that is permanent. If I could tell her anything, I would tell her we support her whether she decides to place with us or parent. I know that some of reading this are probably thinking "yeah right" but we really do. Will it be hard leaving Texas without a baby? Yes. But we know we couldn't live with ourselves if this woman truly wanted to parent and no one ever gave her that option. We are not owed another child, we don't deserve another child...and only if it's God's will do we want another child.

I am also taking the day to do a floor plan of this house for the homestudy which is required by Texas law, but not by Tennessee law. We must draw out a floorplan and include pics and descriptions of each room in the house. This is something I have been meaning to do for a few days, but other things keep jumping ahead. While walking room to room, I realize that we have some serious furniture to sell that won't fit in the new house. New house is 2200 sq. feet but a large portion of that is bedrooms. It has 5 which is awesome. At this point, I think I will just list everything on craigslist as I certainly don't have the time or the energy to have a yard sale and honestly, I think I will get more for it there on craigslist. Right now, I know we are getting rid of the boys bunkbeds, a red desk, the table and chairs in our eat-in area and I'm sure there will be a bit more. In the new house, we will only have a formal dining room so I'm really excited to finally use it as you and I both know it won't be that formal!

That's it for us. Hopefully the next post from me will be that I am getting on a plane!