Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Three Words or Less

January - waiting for baby

February - 6 month mark

March - adoption match failed

April - foster baby placed

May - foster baby removed

June - matched with "E"

July - Emma Claire born

August - Emma Clarie lost
1 year mark

September - time heals nothing

October - drowning in depression

November - starting to resurface

December - we have hope!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing you a Blessed CHRISTmas!




Here in Oklahoma, this is what we awoke to:

The first picture is out my back window and the second is out our front window. We received 14 inches of snow! There is a snow drift between our house and the next that is at least 4 feet tall. My kids are going to have a blast tomorrow!





I have lots to tell you about, but have been really busy getting everything ready for Christmas. I have been able to actively participate this year, which has been a blessing in itself.


The picture at the top of my page is of Jacob's handprint ornament. (I got a new camera for Christmas and have been playing with it!)


So, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, with wonderful memories made with your families!




Friday, December 4, 2009

little of this...little of that...

This post doesn't really have a specific point, just lots of little bits of info to put out there.

I found out some very interesting information this week. I know I have talked about wanting out of the county we are in according to DHS. If you read through all of my posts, I am quite sure you would read about this on many occasions. For one thing, we live ONE block from the county line. I can SPIT into OK county. (Okay...I can't, but it makes for a good imagery!) All the offices are closer than our county, all of our cases have been in OK county, and I could go on, but I won't bore you with all of that.

So, I mentioned in one of my last posts that we have signed up to do straight adoption through DHS. It was totally a God thing and still is as He is opening doors like you wouldn't believe! So, a couple of days ago, I got an email from MY county worker telling me that she had not checked our address when we adopted S&J, so when she put it in for this adoption, it came up OK county. WHAT??? Are you kidding me??? So, I talked with her about it a little to make sure she had the right info. I know for a fact we do not live in OK county. She assures me that according to them, I do. Okay. Whatever. So I do what I do and I go higher up. I sent an email to my old worker and she confirmed that no, we are NOT OK county. I am starting to get the feeling that nobody wants me!

Not 30 minutes later, I got a phone call from the adoption supervisor in OK county. Evidently, Adoptions and Foster care do not go by the same guidelines. Why I was surprised by this, I have no idea! So, if we want to foster, we are one county...if we want to adopt, we are OK county. Evidently, my zip code is an OK county zip code. Talk about identity issues!!

I am happy with the change, though. I will miss MY worker (she knows who she is) because she was so good at fighting for our causes, but I won't miss those she was fighting against. I am also very excited that OK county contacted me so soon. My info was just sent to them 2 days ago and they called me today. They will be scheduling a time to come out and do a walkthrough of our home in the next 2 weeks. We will have to redo some of our study, but most of it they will be able to use from S&J's adoption. (Yes, I can post their names, I am just too lazy to type them out.)

I also wanted to share something that I am continually learning about. It's what a personal Savior we have. I love when an issue comes up and I take it to God in prayer and within a day, He is speaking to me specifically about my issue. That happened just this week.

It never fails. Just as you are seeing and feeling God's presence in a situation, Satan will attack. And so many times, we are so blinded by the attack, we totally take our eyes off of God and the glorious thing He has just done in our lives. UGH! Why do we do this???

I have been lied about recently. In such a way that had it been believed, it could have caused severe damage to some people. Fortunately, it was very obvious that it was not truth, but still. I don't really care if people like me or agree with me, but when you call my honesty into question, uh...yeah...not good!

So, as I am processing all of this information, I went straight to the Word. Here is what God said to me:

"Arrogant people have made up lies about me, but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart. Their hearts are dull and stupid, but I delight in your law. The suffering you sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your principles." Psalm 119:69-71

The Bible says that "God's word is living and active". It's really hard not to be bitter and just furious when people wrong you, but according to God, I need to be paying attention to Him...not the lies...not the injustice...but to Him. He knows. He will take care of it all. But I would be lying if I told you it wasn't really hard to allow Satan to steal my joy!

So, I am working on all of this.

And because I said this would be random, I now weigh what I weighed when I gave birth to my 4th child. Yeah, me. Gotta run and put my fat pants on so I can go eat Mexican with my friends tonight!! (Oh...and when I say "run", what I really mean is hollering to one of my kids to bring the pants to me!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

4 years old...gotcha day....






Saturday was Josiah's 4th birthday. It was also Samara's "gotcha" day. We have had them for three years now. The day we got Samara, the worker said, "She has a brother...will you take him?" Well, how could I say no? She asked for him all day long. So, 2 1/2 weeks later (and thanks to a fabulous judge who told DHS that 6 children in a home was not a law and court ordered them to stay in my home) Josiah joined our family.


He was the saddest thing I had ever seen. Josiah had been in DHS custody for 8 weeks and when I got him, I was his 5th placement in that time. 2 1/2 years later, I learned that we were actually his 7th placement in 8 weeks. Josiah cried for hours on end. He did not want to be held. He would bang his head on the tile multiple times a day...it was a terrible sound. He was the angriest baby I have ever known. Fast forward 1 1/2 years and he is diagnosed with RAD, after trying to strangle me...twice.


I say all of this because I want you to know what a work God has done in Josiah's life. (There is SO much more I could tell you that happened with Josiah...but that would probably require a blog of it's own!) Josiah is a NORMAL 4 year old boy. He has an imagination that won't quit. He says everything that passes through his little head. He has all of my friends who know him in stitches, all the time.

For example...last week I went to pick him up from Sunday School. His regular teachers were not in there, it was an older couple. I get to the door and he is the only one left. I smile and they say "is he yours?" I say yes and I hear them say "Russell, your mom is here." RUSSELL??? I laughed a little and said, "His name is Josiah." They said, "Oh, well, he lost his name tag and told us his name was Russell." What a dork!!! The whole month before that, if someone said "Hi Josiah", he would say, "My name is Monk!" I had no idea who Russell was until my kids reminded me that Josiah had watched the movie "UP" over the weekend! The really funny thing is the next day, I said, "Hey Russell" and he said, "What??" UGH!!

So, I am thankful for Josiah (or Monk, or Russell). I am thankful that God chose to heal this child so that he could one day bring glory to God. Josiah has an amazing story, although he is too young to know it just yet.

This is a video of his birthday cake. The candles I used were leftovers from another party. Evidently they were "sparkler" candles, but they didn't work the first time we used them.




Thursday, November 26, 2009

Complete the ministry God has given you....

I haven't been posting as much as I would like to. I haven't been sleeping, so by the time I am alone for the day where I could post, I am just too tired. Plus, all my "good stuff" comes to me while I'm driving or at the grocery store! Maybe I should have one of my slaves start taking notes for me.

So, for those of you who have read ANY of my blog, you know that I despise DHS. Right? And with good reason...right? I mean, seriously...who tells someone who just lost their child to a tragic accident that it was because there were too many children in the home? Who does that??? And then in the same breath tell you that the whole time that said child was alive, DHS was losing money because we had "one too many children". I told them many times that I didn't want their money...but they won't place a child with you unless they can control you and how do you control someone??? With money. How convenient.

With that being said, I have felt like God was leading us to adopt again. Not through a private adoption, but through DHS! WHAT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? "God, You of all beings know what these people did to our family. Yes, I know we got three wonderful blessings from all the drama, but seriously??? Again????? UGH!!!!"

Have you ever fought God on something?? I know we all have, but this was one of those stomping my feet "I'm not doing this" kind of fights! I had all the paperwork that needed to be filled out laying on my chair. I just kept ignoring it. And then I got this verse in my Bible study...

"But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at bringing others to Christ. Complete the ministry God has given you." 2 Timothy 4:5

Complete the ministry God has given you....DHS was/is our ministry. I threw my hands up in the air as any good, obedient Christian would do, and said, "FINE, GOD...I'll do it!" (Well, after a few more words with the Master!)

So, we turned in our paperwork about a month ago. This means we will probably not be adopting a newborn, and maybe not even a girl. But God has been working with me on this area, too. I asked God 4 years ago to enlarge my family...give me babies. He did. He even gave me a tiny chocolate baby girl named "Emma Claire"...even if only for 5 days...I had her. The name on her birth certificate is "Emma Claire".

So, we are waiting again. There are a couple of situations that have been presented to us, but we are waiting for God to intervene. Please be in prayer that we will not step in front of God. And when I say "we", I mean "me"! I know God's plan is so much better than mine. And I gave my plan up to Him recently and am allowing Him to do what HE has planned for our family. I know...big of me!

Today I am thankful. Last year I was not so much. Last year at Thanksgiving, I was still in shock. But 15 months later, I can say that God has been faithful to our family. He has been faithful to me. While I still long for Heaven and those skinny chocolate arms around my neck, I am thankful today that I still have the rest of my family and that God's purpose for me is not over. There is much to be done.

"For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion according to the greatness of his unfailing love."

"But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the well, and you heard me! You listened to my pleading; you heard my weeping! Yes, you came at my despairing cry and told me, Do not fear!"

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's like a giant rat maze

I have lots to say, but then again, I have nothing to say. The past 2 1/2 months since the anniversary of Jacob's death have been extremely difficult. God is still good, and because I can say that and mean it, I believe I am on the way out of the valley...for now. So, I will post something meaningful and easy to read...later.

I am also trying to get past this headache which just might be an aneurism, so this will be short. I'm kidding about the aneurism. Maybe. It's on both sides of my head and sometimes goes in circles. My brilliant 14 year old daughter explained to me, because her spiritual gift is sarcasm, that if I did indeed have a "moving aneurism" that the doctors were really going to want to have a looksy!

I have been wanting to update, but after reading my last two posts and having nothing better to say, I decided "if I can't say anything nice, then I won't say anything at all."

But, I was thinking in the tub...which is where all my good stuff comes from...and God reminded me of a time when He answered a prayer of mine in a mighty way. I believe I am supposed to share this with you all.

In March of 2008, Samara had her tonsils and adenoids removed, and tubes placed in her ears. We had her surgery at OU Children's Hospital. If any of you locals have been there, you know too well what a rat maze that place is.

Patrick used to work at Children's, when Ashlee was about 2 (she was young enough to still call the elevator an "alligator" and she was an only child!). We would go up and meet Daddy for lunch occasionally and I remember him giving me directions to his office...which I found...but getting out of that place, well, that's a different story. Let's just say that after that, Patrick walked me to my car!!

Anyway, Samara and I had to be at the hospital at the butt-crack of dawn for her surgery. For those of you who know me in real life, well, there wasn't enough Pepsi in that hospital to help me!! I parked and got Samara and myself where we needed to be. Surgery went fine. I prepared myself to carry this drugged, heavy duty 4 year old down the rat maze of halls and alligators to the parking garage where we had parked earlier...in the dark...during construction.

Thirty minutes later,after what should have been a "follow this hall to that sign, turn left, take the alligator down one floor, turn right and out you go", I found myself literally crying out to God to help me find my car. I had no idea where I was. For awhile, I was convinced that we were no longer at OU, but now we were at Mercy! So I prayed. And I found another elevator that I KNEW I had not seen before, nor could it take me to my car...because remember...I hadn't seen it before!! Plus, I am not even in Oklahoma anymore!! But, I got on and I said, "God, when I get off this elevator, I need my truck to be right in front of me. I am lost and I don't know what else to do."

The elevator door opened. I picked Samara and all of her stuff up, looked out the door, and there was my beautiful, red truck, right in front of me, just where I am pretty sure I had NOT left it. I cried a little. I thanked God out loud and scared Samara a little.

Was this an emergency? No. Was I in danger? No. Did Samara care? No...she was on drugs. I was just tired. That's all. I could have walked around the hospital again, asked for more help, or many other things to find my truck. But I asked God for His help, and He gave it to me. Why? Because He loves me. He loves me in the big things and He loves me in the little things.

Jacob was/is a BIG thing. Finding my car because I was tired was very small. But God did not care for me or meet my needs any differently. He LOVES me. Bottom line. That's it.


As I was typing this post, the following song came to mind...it's by Mark Schultz:

Father, let the world just fade away
Let me feel Your presence in this place
Lord, I've never been so weary
How I need to know You're near me
Father, let the world just fade away

Til I'm on my knees
Til my heart can sing

He is
He was
He always will be

Even when it feels like there is no one holding me
Be still, my soul
He is

Father, let Your Holy Spirit sing
Let it calm the storm inside of me
As I stand amazed
Lift my hands and say

He is
He was
He always will be

Even when it feels like there is no one holding me
Be still, my soul
Be still, and know
Be still, my soul

He is!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It is what it is...

For the third time this year, we are no longer "matched" with a birthmother. First there was "T", who ended up in the witness protection program. Then there was "E", who allowed DHS to talk her into going with a "family" member, because according to DHS, "family is always better". And then most recently, there was "K".

Not long after we were contacted by "K", I started to feel uneasy about the situation. I couldn't put my finger on it at the time, but there was an uneasiness in my spirit that I couldn't explain. I just rode it out because I felt like we were helping "K" in other areas of her life and I would have helped her without a baby dangled in front of me. "K" was the birthmom of our first two foster babies. She got them back from DHS and had another baby about 6 months ago. I was able to be with her some then, helping with the boys (which if any of you have been foster parents, it is VERY COOL to get to see your previous kids). So, when she called us about 6 weeks ago asking us to adopt the baby she was pregnant with, we were very excited! I mean, what a cool story that would be! And then last week, we found out it was all a lie. I asked God for confirmation of my feelings, and boy did I get confirmation!

It is what it is...

Since Jacob died, and probably before that, I have tried to make sense out of the things that happen in my life. Maybe God is trying to teach me this, maybe God is protecting me from that, maybe God put her in my life for this reason, maybe God is preparing me for that, on and on and on! But maybe, just maybe....

It is what it is. And that's all. It just is.

Through this last "match" and all that it entailed, I have realized a few things about myself. God promised us a baby 4 years ago. Of that I have no doubt. God has also told me that HE will handle the details. HE will do this thing He has promised. All I have to do is sit back and rely on Him.

No matter what I have said, what I have written, in some ways, I have been running this show. To be quite honest, I used all of this adoption drama as a distraction from what was really going on in my life...the loss of Jacob, because seriously, who wants to deal with death? Not me! Because of this, I made a LOT of mistakes with these "matches".

I spent so much time with "E", catering to her needs, her demands, at the cost of my family. I wonder if I had truly been relying on God for our baby, would I have dropped everything when "E" called and put my family second? I don't think so. Although I didn't realize it until it was over, I really thought if I didn't bow to "E" and keep her happy, that we wouldn't get her baby. Turns out, no amount of helping "E" would guarantee us that baby. I assumed that because the situation was presented to us, it must have been from God. I don't know now. What I do know is that I don't EVER want to be in a situation like this again...the agonizing feelings and loss that were experienced were something I don't know if I can go through again.

But, it is what it is.

When "K" called us, again, I thought this was God's answer to our loss of "E's" baby. And so quickly! What a gracious God! And while we did not bow to her every need, we did "help" "K" out a lot. Again, where was my reliance?

It is what it is.

For the first time in a year, my focus has totally changed. My focus is not on adoption. It's not on DHS. It's not dreaming about our promise baby. My focus is on God. My focus is on growing in Him. I am memorizing Scripture and teaching Sunday School. I am working on getting our homeschool back to the way it was before we lost Jacob. I am focusing on the relationships with the children I have. I am allowing God to do His work in my life. I am working on our homeschool convention and have recently become involved in our women's ministry at church which has the potential to be HUGE!

So where does all of this leave us with our adoption journey? Well, we will be going back online with our adoption ministry, www.christianadoption.com and go from there. Adoption will happen, but it can no longer be my focus. My prayer is also that the adoption will just land in our lap...baby already here, or at the least VERY close. Unless God changes my heart, I just don't think I can be "matched" again. I will admit, a part of me is very sad that I keep hearing about all of the babies in DHS needing homes and mine is unusable. KILLS ME! But, I do know that God gave us THREE children through DHS and I need to be okay with that.

It is what it is.

Something that was made aparent to me by our fabulous adoption ministry leader is that while my heart for babies and children, especially those that nobody else wants, is a very noble and righteous cause, it is also my weakness. This is an area in my life that Satan has and can use in order to bring me down. Who would have thought? But it makes perfect sense. If you tell me about a baby situation, DHS or otherwise, my immediate response is "bring me that baby...I'll fix it"! I never even THINK about the fact that God may not have THAT baby in mind for me. How can that be?? How can a good thing, I mean a REALLY good thing, not be God's plan? Well, sometimes it just isn't! And I have to accept that.

So, life goes on. God is still God. Nothing has changed for Him!

"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

And can I just say that not being "matched" has been so peaceful?

It is what it is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It is what it is.....

According to the last post, the owner/writer of this blog has some serious issues that she needs to take care of.





And fortunately for you, some things have been dealt with. I'm not going to lie to you. I was in a really bad place for awhile. It started about 3 weeks ago and took a downward spiral, FAST. I can't explain what happened, there is no rhyme or reason, all I can say is Hallelujah, it's over.




I now believe that I was under a spiritual attack, that ended with physical illness. Now that it's over, it's easy to see what the problem was, but when in the midst of it, WOW! The enemy is powerful. He is so much more detrimental to our every day lives than we give him credit for. And I, for one, am not going to take it any longer.




Here's the thing. I am a child of God. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, an encourager, and most importantly, a witness for Christ. I have many gifts and talents that God has given me in order to do His work. And I believe that God has MUCH work left for me to do. Now, somewhere in God's infinite plan, tragedy was allowed to invade my life. And God planned to use this for my good. For HIS purposes. For HIS glory.




And for the most part, I was on board with all of this. I NEEDED this loss to mean something. I NEEDED God to show Himself faithful. I was growing in Him. He was showing me parts of His character that I had never seen.




And then it was like He was gone. I couldn't feel Him. I knew He was still here, yet I was plummeting into the darkness.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What's wrong with people?????

Seriously???? I guess I'd be stupid to think I could put myself out here on my blog, write about all of these things that happen in our lives and expect not to be touched by it all. Mostly, we have been touched in good ways. Prayers, encouragement, new friendships, you know, stuff like that.




But recently, today especially, we have been touched by what can only be described as evil. I always knew that there were people out there who prey on those of us who have lost something and must seem desperate to get that something back. In our case, a baby.




We are no longer "matched" with that "sweet" couple I spoke of a few blogs back. To be honest, I never really "attached" to that situation. Having known these people




Monday, September 28, 2009

Just so you know...

Whomever said "time heals all wounds" was a complete moron who never had a wound! Well, maybe he was right in a sense. Wounds do heal, therefore, I suppose the grief that comes when we lose someone to death shouldn't be considered a wound. I would argue that it is rather a gaping hole, never to return to it's prior shape. There is no scabbing over. There is no new skin to grow, just the hole. (By now you are probably sensing my mood so it is now up to you as to whether or not you continue reading!)

Thirteen months have come and gone since Jacob died. Do you realize that this time next year I will have grieved for him longer than I actually had him? I am not exactly sure what is wrong with me. I thought that it would be easier after we hit the "year" mark. And in some ways, it is, but I keep going back to what we were doing last year at this time. What we were feeling. I truly think my body is having "physical" memories. The little's therapist explained to me one time that even though they were too young to remember what really happened to them on a conscious level, their bodies remembered and when those "physical" memories were triggered by whatever (sounds, smells, etc.) their bodies responded with a physical response.

I think my body is responding to those things that were going on a year ago. I am extremely fatigued for no reason, could spend days sleeping in my bed, have no desire to go anywhere or do anything, struggling to go to church, and I could go on. A year ago, I was still in shock for the most part. The reality of what our life would be like without Jacob was still unknown. I was still just trying to breathe.

I also think that I have a fear of people not remembering that we had him. The sound of my telling people we have 6 children at home is getting easier to say and that scares me. There will come a time when people will walk into my home and ask about the picture of the chocolate baby boy on the wall. I will make new friends who never knew me as Jacob's mommy. Just the thought makes me want to vomit.

And on one hand, I don't want to go back to where I was this time last year. On the other hand, spending hours on my bed by myself is such a comfort. I could live there easily.

For those of you waiting on the "old" Tracy to come back, it's not going to happen. Did you really think it would? I have a gaping hole in my chest that cannot be fixed. It will be there until the day I die. I have been forever changed. Just like I was forever changed when I went to pick Jacob up at the DHS office 3 years ago.

On a positive note, God is the Almighty comforter, healer, maker of my heart. Although I will never be the same, God is growing me. He is teaching me about His grace and mercy, His unfailing love, and that His promises are rock solid.

" 'My thoughts are completely different from yours,' says the Lord. 'And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9

And that is where I will find my peace and rest.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I suppose I should post something....

but all is quiet here on the homefront...for the moment! We have been busy with school starting and getting back into the swing of all things homeschool! Summer is not my favorite time of year. I do not like for my schedule to change. And when I say schedule, I mean my ENTIRE schedule, whether it be schooling, television, church, whatever.

So after next week, all things will be back to normal. Our Fall Bible studies at church will begin, our PE/Coop classes have started, and all the Fall premieres will start a week from Monday! (I know it's sad...don't judge me!) I just love Fall!

I have been doing a bit of respite for a friend the past week. She is a beautiful 5 month old baby girl and is SO easy and good natured. She has a smile that makes you melt! I suppose that's why I feel we have been so busy lately! Our family has enjoyed having her here. Although, one night, after her bath and fresh jammies, Josiah said, "Did you get ANOTHER new baby???" Nope...just changed her clothes. Poor messed up little kids. My kids are going to think babies come from phone calls.

My fourteen year old has decided that she would like to be a child psychologist/counselor when she grows up. I was very impressed with her decision. She said she wants to help the older kids...you know...like the ones in foster care. If you wonder how doing foster care might affect your children, there you have it.

She also informed me that in a year from now we would be getting ready to get her learner's permit. ACK!!! I wasn't ready for that comment. Not that I don't enjoy her maturity, but she is just a constant reminder that I am getting really old!

As far as adoption news, everything is the same. We are waiting on a doctor's appointment and basically just waiting. Our birthparents are very comfortable with their decision. But please keep them in your prayers. They are such a sweet couple, just trying to do what's right to get their lives on track and put their family first. Please keep them in your prayers that God would continue to give them the strength to do what's best. We spent some time with them this past week, both of our families, and had a very nice time. Just please keep them in your prayers as I can't share much out of respect for their privacy.

While it doesn't make for a very interesting blog post, my life is at peace for a little while. I am enjoying it and hope it continues. Oh...one more thing to share:

A sweet lady at my church stopped me in the hall last night. Her little girl and Jacob were in the same classes at church. Remember, Jake had just turned two when he died. She said they were out somewhere and saw a little chocolate boy walking. Her daughter said "Look, that's like Jacob." Her mother was a little confused as she had not mentioned him in over a year. She said, "You mean Jake from your class?" She said, "Yes." How sweet and sad all rolled into one. It's hard for me to see the little ones that were in class with him. I feel sad for me, but also for them as they will be growing up in church without him. He was supposed to be their friend for a long time. Actually, he was supposed to marry one of them if I recall...we already had it all arranged! I am sure God will provide her with the husband she is to have...there is time...they are only 3!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised,

cannot stand against the Lord." Proverbs 21:30

"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1

"Many will see what He has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:3

God, is this what you are doing??

"Look and see, for all your children will come back to you. As surely as I live, says the Lord, they will be like jewels or bridal ornaments for you to display." Isaiah 49:18

I mentioned in my blog a few days ago that I had laid out a fleece to God in regards to Emma. I read up about Gideon laying out the fleece when God told him to go and fight the strongest army and decided to try it. I thought God had promised me this baby. And here I am WITHOUT this baby. So I laid out the fleece. Only I didn't just lay out ONE fleece. I laid out FIVE! I know...overkill. Here is how it went:

"God, I need your guidance. I need to know if we are on the right path. I need to know if Emma is coming. If she is coming, I need to know:
1 - through a phone call
2 - through my husband
3 - through my friends (you know...that they "FEEL" it, too)
4 - that for some reason we would not be placed back online with Christian Adoption as planned,
5 - and just for fun, could you please send me something in the mail so I will know????

Yeah...that last one was just for kicks. I also told God that I trusted Him completely in whatever He was going to do, I just wanted a glimpse.

Here are the answers to my not ONE, but FIVE fleeces:
1 - "E" called (yeah...even though it didn't work out, it was a phone call I thought I wanted)
2 - I was ready to pack everything up and put it away, but Patrick said to "wait"...not what I was expecting from him
3 - A couple of very sweet messages about faith...very helpful.
4 - we were not placed back online due to a bad email address??? still can't figure out what happened.
5 - And just so you know that God does enjoy His children, when I opened the mailbox on Friday, a can of BABY FORMULA had been mailed to us! I know God was laughing at me!

And yet, we did not get a baby. And I was at peace. TOTAL peace. Not just fake peace. I knew in my spirit that everything was going to be fine and to be just the way God planned it.

Today, I received a phone call that I never expected. For privacy issues, I cannot give you all the details right at this moment, but we have been asked to adopt a couple's baby. They are due in January. These are people that we are acquainted with and the circumstances are totally God. While I cannot share details, I want you all to know how God has answered our prayers...even though they were not answered the way I thought they would be. This baby will be born healthy, no drugs, no alcohol, birthmom will go to doctor's visits, she IS NOT a crazy drug addict, but I do consider her a friend.

Please pray that God will have His hand upon this family as they have made this very difficult decision to try and give their baby the best life possible.

Praise God for His plans. And praise Him that we don't know ahead of time what He is doing. Otherwise, we would never be okay with the journey.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting off the roller coaster...

Well, at least this one!

I did not go to court today. "E" called yesterday morning and everything was still on for court today. A few hours later, she called and totally changed her mind...the cousin that has the baby was with her. She was high again.

And I was at peace. I cannot tell you how I began to enjoy my day after that phone call. I wasn't upset, or sad, or anything. Just at peace. I know that God spoke to me about the promise of our Emma this past week. He confirmed and told me that Emma would be mine. I believe Him.

I did talk to the DHS worker today and she was in shock as well. Evidently, "E" had called her on Friday and told her she was going to pick us today. The worker doesn't think the judge is going to allow "E" to choose ANYBODY. She will have her rights terminated and the baby will be adopted out through DHS. The cousin will be looked at first, because she is "family". (Not the kind of family that supported "E" throughout her pregnancy, but, whatever.) Now, if something happens and the cousin is not allowed to keep her, then they will call us. I am not holding my breath. I am moving onward. I am not going to keep on trying to figure out what the purpose of this process has been. Maybe it was to teach me how NOT to be used by crazy drug addicts!!!

I know I keep getting you all excited about all of this and I feel bad when I have to come and tell you my crazy life has changed, ONCE again. I am really not a dramatic person...I hate drama. It just seems I can't get away from it right now!

I appreciate all of the prayers. We are going back online with www.christianadoption.com and we will also be filling out our adoption paperwork for DHS. I want to be ready no matter what God brings to us.

Thanks again for praying and thinking of us today! Now I must clean out the garage!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Whatever He wants to do, He does..."

so He will do for me all He has planned." Job 23:13-14

WOW! Where do I start. Monday was the start of a new day...a new year. No more "firsts" since Jacob died. We were moving on (again and again). Then the phone rang. This is the conversation that took place:

DHS: May I speak to "E"?
Me: She isn’t at this number, may I help you?
DHS: Well, this is her DHS worker and I need to get in touch with her so I can go over her plan.
Me: Well, she is homeless and has no phone. (I gave her Northcare’s…the mental health counseling place she goes to… info and told her about E always getting her check there on the first) But, E is not going to do a case plan.
DHS: Oh, I know. I’m not offering her one, but we would like to see if she will relinquish. How do you know E?
Me: We are the couple who were supposed to adopt the baby.
DHS: OH! I know who you are. Well, it says in my notes that you are not interested in adopting through DHS. Is that right? Are you wanting to be totally out of this?
Me: Well, when I said that, I was a little emotional and no, it would not be my first choice. Besides, I didn’t think there was any possibility of us adopting this baby at this point. If we did decide to adopt, it would have to be a pretty much done deal…I can’t have her again and then lose her.
DHS: Well, we are going to tpr E and I just need to know if you are willing to adopt the baby.
Me: Is she still at the hospital or in the shelter?
DHS: No, she is in a kinship home…with a cousin.
Me: Is the cousin not wanting to keep her?
DHS: Well, we don’t know yet, but I wanted to see where you stood in case. When we TPR, we need an adoptive home ready to go.
Me: Yes. We will adopt her if that option were to open up.
DHS: Okay. That’s what I needed to know. I will let you know when I find something out.

SERIOUSLY??? And my first response is "GOD????? WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME????"

So, I put out a fleece. Confirmation...whatever God wanted to give me. And I asked Him to show me what to do, how to move forward (and then I got bold) through a phone call.

That was Monday. Yesterday was Thursday. I was helping at my sister's garage sale. I had run home to get a few boxes of girl baby clothes. I was going to really thin them out and give some things away. I loaded up my truck, and headed back to the sale. I took in the box of boy things I had, and prepared to unload the truck. My phone rang.

It was "E". She needed me to take her to court so she could sign over her rights to me. WHAT????? She was told by the worker that she needed to be at court to relinquish her rights and choose who she wanted her baby to go to and she said she wanted me to have Emma.

Well, she had some of her facts right, but court was not yesterday. It's Monday at 1:30pm. And I have talked to "E's" worker, and she has confirmed what will happen.

Basically, "E" will go to DHS court. She will tell the judge that she wants to give guardianship of Emma to us (or whomever she chooses) and she can sign right then and there. Guardianship means that we will be OUT of DHS!!! We will still be under the judge's eye for a year, but guess who the judge is??? JACOB'S JUDGE!!! The one who shut his court down to come to Jake's funeral! He loves us!

After a year, we can file tpr on "E" ourselves and proceed with the adoption. This option is TOTALLY fine with us. No DHS involvement, we get our baby, and "E" will be finished with her part of all of this.

"For I have stayed in God's paths; I have followed His ways and not turned aside. I have not departed from His commands but have treasured His word in my heart. Nevertheless, His mind concerning me remains unchanged, and who can turn Him from His purposes? Whatever He wants to do, He does. So He will do for me all He has planned. He controls my destiny." Job 23:11-14

That was my passage of the day yesterday...rather fitting, don't you think??

Here are my prayer requests:

1 - "E" will remain sober. (She spent 3 weeks in detox and is now in outpatient rehab...and doing well!)
2 - The court will recognize that DHS should not have stepped in at all.
3 - We will have peace no matter the outcome.
4 - "E" will follow through with her plan this time. (I am confident that she will show for court...she gave me her ID. She has to have it on Tuesday to cash her check. This is her way of letting me know she is serious.)
5 - That "E" will have clarity of mind on Monday. She gets flustered easily.

No matter the outcome, there will be closure. And for that I will be grateful. "E" and I have talked in depth about what happened at the hospital and some things that went on that I had suspected, and now have proof...it will be addressed to the higher ups, but not until Emma is safe at home.

Please feel free to ask any questions you have and I will try and answer them!

Oh...and I didn't sell any girl things at the garage sale!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

One year ago today...

I have thought a lot about what I wanted this days entry to say. Some days it was going to be a very strong post about how God has pulled us through this tragedy. Some days it was going to be a very weepy post with me feeling very sorry for myself. Some days, it was going to be filled with pictures of Jacob...and I mean pictures until you puke! LOTS of them! But now that the time has actually come, I really don't know what to post. Maybe the truth would be the best way to go with this today.

A year ago today, as we were preparing for a day of celebration, Jacob Levi Phillips, was climbing on his dresser. It fell and caught him between the dresser and the end of the bed. He breathed his last sweet Jacob breath before falling into the arms of our Savior.

Two days before Jacob died, this is what I underlined in my Bible:

"The Lord gave me everything I had, and the Lord had taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!" Job 1:21

A year ago today, although I knew that God would see me through the worst day of my life, I wasn't sure exactly HOW He was going to do that. I remember being afraid of how I would view my Savior. Would I be angry? Would I blame Him? Would I be able to breathe again? Will I be able to sing praises? Will I be able to tell others about Him? Will I ever stop crying? Will I ever be joyful again? So many questions.

As I was reminded this week by a dear friend, Jacob's life was never meant to be any longer than it was. As his mommy, I had great plans for his life. As his maker, God's plans for his life were completely fulfilled. As his mommy, I wanted to watch him grow up. I wanted to listen to him learn to talk. I wanted to watch him learn to ride a bike. And read. And give me chocolate grand babies. I wanted to hear him pray the sinner's prayer asking Jesus into his sweet little heart. I wanted to watch him on stage singing with the children's choir. How CUTE that would have been. How he will be missed.

But God has been faithful. He is a good God. He holds me in the palm of His hand each and every day, gently guiding me through my own personal hell.

I want to take time in this post to sincerely thank all of my friends whether in real life, or in the blog world, who have lifted us up and interceded on our behalf. I know that this day...the year anniversary of our baby's death...could not have come and gone in such a sweet way without your prayers. I will forever be grateful and have asked my God to bless each and every one of you.

I know that our recovery will not be complete until we are in the arms of Jesus ourselves, but in the meantime, we will allow the grace of our Jesus to cover us. There will always be a hole in my heart where my baby belongs, but I am extremely grateful that God allowed that baby into our home for the time he was here.

We love you, Jacob Levi, and we will not forget you!



I would love to hear your thoughts...if you knew Jacob, a memory would be nice, or a thought you have had since reading my blog. I would really like to end this year with a time of reflection and remembering. I appreciate you all! (Even if you have never posted...this is your time!!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

He was a little baby...

We started school today. For writing, I require my kids (who are old enough) to write me a page each day about anything they want. Then I make corrections and they rewrite the final draft. As I was grading Ashlee's writing today, I happened to look back at something she had written a while ago and would like to share it with you. Ashlee was 13 years old when she wrote this.

"He was a little baby, not yet a boy, but for some reason we do not know, God called him home. He was the light of our life, a star shining throught the mist. And like everything else in this life, we took him for granted. He made us laugh when he laughed, and we became sad when he was sad. He was not perfect, but in our eyes there was no better. We are comforted to know that he does not miss us, but that he will know he is missed. My little brother, our shining star.

Life comes and goes. When it comes, people rejoice, but when it leaves, people don't always know what to do. Some people hide and cry, others aren't that subtle. A few choose, or cannot cry, for their grief is so great. A lot become angry. Angry at God and at people, but they shouldn't, for if you don't have God during these horrible times, who do you have? Family? Sure. Friends? Perhaps. But they will all fade away and leave you. God will not. So, don't be angry at God, or even other people whether or not it's their fault. For anger leads to bitterness and bitterness leads to death...or worse."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I could feel it coming...

And when it did, I found myself curled up in the little's room, on the floor, in front of the dresser, where Jacob died. I have one more week to go until he has been gone for an entire year. I didn't just cry, I wailed. I am not even sure I have ever cried like that before. I suppose it needed to be done, and I am quite sure I have been avoiding it like the plague. There was some screaming, too, and my sweet husband, who probably wasn't quite sure what to do with me as I wigged out, just sat there and cried with me, as I was reminded I wasn't the only one who had lost our baby.

I want little two year old chocolate arms to hug my neck so tightly, the way Jacob did. I want to hear the sound of his little voice. Did you know that I can't remember what he sounded like? I happened to find the video of pictures I had made to play during his adoption party...you know...the one we were preparing for the day he died?? I hit play to see if I could watch and had forgotten that I recorded his little voice saying his name on the video. It wasn't the same voice that I had remembered. I have to really try hard to remember his laugh...and it was a hilarious, chipmunk like laugh. How could I forget that? Sometimes I have a hard time picturing him in my head.

I WANT MY BABY BACK!!! I want my LIFE back. I want to stop crying. I want to go a day without being reminded of what I have lost. I want to be satisfied with what I have. I want to sleep through the night. I want to have energy during the day. I want to enjoy my kids. I want to be a good wife. I want to stop having to drive past the @#$% cemetery every stinking day. I want to be able to walk past little chocolate kids without feeling that knot in my stomach. I want to be a good friend...the kind that you all have been to me. I WANT OUT OF THIS!!!!! I AM DONE!

And then I am reminded...that none of this is any surprise to God. I know this in my heart of hearts. Patrick knows it, too. And I know everything is for my good. I also know that without suffering, there can be no mercy.

And mom...I will be fine...please don't call me because I don't really want to talk about it. I am going to bed early and will fine tomorrow.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

One more thing...

I know...two posts in one day is truly a record for me! (Don't miss the post below from earlier today.)

Sometimes I forget what I pray for. Then the prayers are answered and later I suddenly realize, "Hey...I prayed for that!" Such is what has been happening today. A few days ago, I prayed that God would show me encouragement and confirmation regarding His promise of adoption to us through my friends. I was also searching the Word, but I needed it from all sides.

Yesterday, several of my dear friends were talking and revealed some things that confirmed what we are doing and also encouraged me greatly. Today, I received a phone call from a dear friend and we had almost the exact converasation as I had yesterday. Yet more encouragement and another confirmation. And here within the last 15 minutes, I have had two different emails of encouragement. I am going to share one with you as it has touched my heart in a way I cannot express and now I just sit here in awe of our Father and His love for our silly little needs and desires.

Hi Tracy,

I just read your blog and I thought of this devotional that someone sent to me recently. This is your time for rest and healing. God will strengthen you in due season, but for now, rest in Him, just like the prophet Elijah had to rest right at the height of his ministry.

God bless you,
Ladonna

Contradictory Truths, Part Two
by Charles R. Swindoll
1 Kings 19:9-21

God often delivers His best gifts to us in unexpected ways . . . with surprises inside the wrappings. Through apparent contradictions. Somewhat like the therapy He used when Elijah was so low, so terribly disillusioned.

How did the Lord minister to him? By an earthquake? In a whirlwind? Through a scorching fire? You'd expect all the above since Elijah was such a passionate, hard-charging prophet. But no. The story from 1 Kings 19 makes it clear that Jehovah was not in the earthquake or the wind or the fire. Too obvious. Too predictable. That's not the Sovereign's style.

After all the hullabaloo died down, there came "a gentle blowing" and shortly thereafter, ever so softly, "a voice" came to him (vv. 12-13) with words of reassurance and affirmation. Not, "You oughta be ashamed of yourself!" Or "What's a man of your stature doing in a crummy place like this?" None of that. No blame, no shame, no sermon, no name-calling, no blistering rebuke. In contradiction to the popular idea of confrontation (and surely surprising to Elijah himself), the Lord encouraged His friend to go on from there. He gave him a plan to follow, a promise to remember, and a traveling companion to help him make it through the night.

Another mysterious back-door delivery . . . another victim of despair rescued from the pit. No wonder Paul burst forth in praise of God's wisdom and knowledge by exclaiming:

How unsearchable are His judgments . . . [how] unfathomable His ways! (Romans 11:33b)

About the time we think we've got the whole picture in finite focus, an infinite hand quickly grabs the camera, changes lenses on us, points in another direction, and has us take an entirely different picture. Yet to our amazement, when everything is developed, we get the one thing we wanted all our lives through a process we would never have chosen.

It's like the anonymous poet's profound admission:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn to humbly obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for,
But everything I had hoped for.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

Dear God...thank you for my friends and may your blessings fall on each one of them.

"The Lord merely SPOKE...

and the Heavens were created."



That's all. So why do I doubt that God can give us the baby He promised us? I don't know. That's why I am asking all of you blog stalkers!! Is it true that I have already forgotten, after only 3 months, how God brought "E" to us out of the seemingly "blue"?? Her situation was not one that I had to go out and hunt after.



"He breathed the word, and all the stars were born."



Patrick and I had a talk on August 7, our 16th anniversary, about how to proceed with our lives after our failed adoption last week. I was fully prepared for him to say, "Tracy, we have been through enough this year. I can't watch you lose anything/anyone else. We need to be done." I was ready for this answer and was at peace with whatever Patrick said. But, this wasn't his answer. His answer was, "I still want to adopt a baby girl. We are not finished."



As many of you only know Patrick through the little bit I write about him (it is MY blog you know), you probably have no idea of the impact of his statement. While God promised me Emma Claire almost 4 years ago, now, God had not changed Patrick's heart to be on board with this until recently. Until Jacob died, we were not even sure that Samara and Josiah were to be ours forever and now I wanted to add yet ANOTHER baby to the mix. Patrick has always been my Mr. Steady. He wants whatever makes me happy and don't think I haven't used that to my advantage! And yes, all you people who are much better than me...I know it was wrong!



But this time, I just shut my mouth and prayed. I finally matured enough to know that I needed to hear from God, through my husband. And last week, God spoke through Patrick. I have also been asking God to reaffirm that promise. Let me know if somehow I misinterpreted what has been going on. I'd like to share with you some of what God has been speaking to me this last week.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

"How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps." Proverbs 20:24

"I trust in the Lord. I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to my enemy but have set me in a safe place." Psalm 31:7-8

And today...as I was praying for a Word to tell me we need to keep moving forward with adoption and the promise I was given:

"For the word of the Lord holds true, and everything He does is worthy of our trust. The Lord shatters the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the Lord's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken." Psalm 33: 4, 10-11

We will go back online with http://www.christianadoption.com in the next couple of weeks. We are waiting until we get past the one year anniversary of Jacob's death to move forward with this.

As far as prayers, you guys are so good at it, I don't even have to tell you what to pray anymore! :) I would appreciate prayers for strength. Since coming home from the hospital last week, I am just exhausted. I want to sleep all the time. I am pretty sure it is my body dealing with the emotional stress of the situation, but still...I hate needing a nap 2-3 times a day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The day after...

I am still okay. God has intevened in a mighty way here in my life the past few days, a way that I am having trouble comprehending. I keep waiting for this tragic turn of events to hit me in a way that would leave me unable to function. I just don't think that is going to happen. Today, I woke up without trembling. I am able to eat. I am able to think about the future and am excited about the planning that will involve. (For those of you who only know me as the mom who lost her 2 year old, I used to be quite the organized planner type person...enough to make you sick!!) My kids are still color coded, but that's for another blog.

As I look back on the past week, I can see now that God protected me from attaching to that baby. Sure, I held her, fed her, changed her, loved on her, comforted her, but today, I am not mourning that loss. I don't even miss her. What's wrong with me? Maybe because I knew she was never mine? I suppose I had been looking forward to the IDEA of Emma for so long, the IDEA is what was lost. I have absolutely no attachment to that baby. I am sad that Emma will be forced into the foster care system, just a number, but God is ultimately in control of her life. I did not conceive a baby that was born addicted to cocaine and marijuana. Just like my other kiddos...I did not give Jacob his Sensory issues, Josiah RAD nor did I give Samara attachment issues. Fortunately, God has used me in their lives and I am thankful for that, but a lifetime with this little baby was not the plan. God used us for whatever purpose He had for us and that purpose has been fulfilled.

I have had many people say they think DHS will call us for this baby...I don't think so. I also do not believe, unless God were to change my heart, that I could take her even if we were called. She is a DHS baby now. I am out of DHS with no regrets! My focus is on my family that is here, living in my house daily. I don't know what God has in store for us, well, I know SOME things, but they do not involve a new baby. And still, I am at peace. TOTAL peace with how this turned out. And here is what God promised me today in my Bible reading:

"Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14


And then right after:

"Don't say 'I will get even for this wrong.' Wait for the Lord to handle the matter. The Lord despises double standards; He is not pleased by dishonest scales." Proverbs 20:22-23

Lest you think God has forgotten me.

About 8-9 years ago, I was in a Bible study. I don't remember the details, but I do remember popping off in class, saying "I am totally fine being a mediocre Christian, if it means I don't have to go through any heartache." It must have been a Beth Moore study, but I was thinking along the lines of Anne Graham Lotz, and some other very spiritual people that I looked up to. Each one of them had gone through some sort of tragedy in their lives. I didn't want that and if that's what had to happen to become "spiritual", then I would pass.

Ummmm...yeah. Well, God obviously had different plans for this "mediocre" Christian! The journey has been very painful, but I am reaping what has been sown. There is a song by Point of Grace called "Heal the Wound" that I hope to sing one day as I give my testimony...somewhere...because as painful as this journey is, God has shown Himself to me in a mighty way, in a way that I know whatever comes my way, God is good, all the time. God does EVERYTHING...not just some things, but EVERYTHING for OUR own good. Knowing that makes the process a little easier.


Heal the Wound:

I used to wish that I could rewrite history
I used to dream that each mistake could be erased
Then I could just pretend
I never knew the me back then
I used to pray that You would take this shame away
Hide all the evidence of who I've been
But it's the memory of
The place You brought me from
That keeps me on my knees
And even though I'm free

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything
I don't take pride in what I bring
But I'll build an altar with
The rubble that You've found me in
And every stone will sing
Of what You can redeem

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Don't let me forget
Everything You've done for me
Don't let me forget
The beauty in the suffering

Heal the wound but leave the scar
A reminder of how merciful You are
I am broken, torn apart
Take the pieces of this heart
And heal the wound but leave the scar

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Call to me and I will answer you...

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

I have called out to Him and He has answered. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, His answer is "no".

We will not be adopting Emma Claire. It's done. I am done.

"E" showed up at the DHS office, with a family member (whom I didn't know existed after spending the majority of my time with "E" for the last 12 weeks) and said she would NOT relinquish her rights to us, she did not want me to have her baby. Now...before I get anymore "anonymous" comments about what I should or shouldn't say regarding "E", all I have ever done is try to help her. It hasn't even been about the baby most of the time, it has all been about "E". If you are trying to be a friend to me and are worried about my well being, please sign your name.

I have not ONE regret as to how "E" was treated by me. God is my judge, and while I am sure I didn't do everything right with "E", I did my very best to care for her. My only regret at this point is the time she took away from my family. I will not allow that to happen again. My children are just now getting their "mom" back since Jacob died. We cannot put them through this rollercoaster any longer.

As far as pursuing further adoptions, I really can't say. Today, at this time, I would say "no", but I am exhausted. I do know, however, that I will not be working for one. God will have to lay it in our laps. And who knows, my promise was that when we got "Emma Claire", we would be done. We had her...so maybe we are done.

How is Tracy doing? I am at perfect peace. I can't tell you what a relief it has been to know it's over. I am disappointed, of course, but I know God isn't finished with me. I have a new ministry in the wings that I am excited about, I get to spend time with my kids without interuption (oh how I have missed that!), I don't have to worry about all the phone calls, worrying if "E" is going to show up for her appointments, worrying if she is safe, and DHS is still out of our home! I will have time for my husband, who has been so supportive and helpful in all of this.

It's kind of strange, but there is also a bit of excitement. I believe the not knowing is the hardest part. And now we know.

Please pray for my kids...they have been through more than they deserve. They have planned for Emma as much as we have. I feel like this whole process has been so much about ME, that I have ignored their needs some. I am finished! I am the mom!!

And due to recent events...our school year will start SOONER than planned...sshhh...don't tell my kids yet...remember...they've been through a lot! :)

It has taken me awhile to write this post due to interuptions, but since I started, I am even MORE at peace. We have already started making some plans as a family and I am excited!

Do I feel like I wasted my time with "E"? Well, yes, as I have nothing to show for it, but I am sure if I could see the BIG picture, God would show me that kindness is never wasted. "E" was brought into our lives so we could be Jesus to her. That has happened and cannot be changed. A couple of weeks ago, when "E" was at the mental hospital, one of the nurses was laughing at her because she calls me "mama". The nurse told her I couldn't be her "mama" because I sounded too young on the phone. (We are the same age.) We were laughing about that and I said, "E, why DO you call me mama?" She got a little embarassed looking and said, "It's because you treat me just like I'm one of your own and nobody has ever treated me that way before." She knows. I believe Satan has her mind right now, but ultimately, "E" knows I loved her and tried to do what was best for her.

"In my distress, I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me." Psalm 120:1

"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act." Psalm ??

"Don't be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along His path. He will honor you, giving you the land." Psalm 37:34

"As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now." Psalm 40:17

I found these verses in a notebook I grabbed to write down a number this morning. I had written them down 2 years ago. God can use just about ANYTHING to speak to us!

Monday, August 3, 2009

No weapon formed against you shall prosper...

Amazing how a phone call can change your day, your plans, your life. But that's really all it takes.

After being told the hospital just needed our paperwork faxed, we were still told Emma would not be released to us until they went before the asstistant district attorney (ADA). So, I came home last night, intending on staying here with my family for the evening, and then going back today. I no more than got out of the parking garage that I couldn't leave Emma. I did...so I could take my bath and grab some new clothes, but I went back to the hospital to be with Emma. I was gone maybe 2 hours! I just couldn't do it as much as I wanted to be home. People were praying and we had a really good night, with Emma sleeping about 3 hours at a time. The best part was because she has been released medically, nobody came into our room to mess with her at all hours of the night.

Then we awoke today, hoping the ADA would look at our paperwork and say we could take Emma home, then get the relinquishment paperwork to them when we got it. This is a totally normal thing to do as birth moms aren't even out of the hospital this quick sometimes, and sometimes they go home on heavy medication and are not up to showing up in court right away. It was a slam dunk...what they always do.

Well...if you have been reading my blog for long, there ARE no slam dunks! ADA said that as soon as they received a copy of the relinquishment papers for "E", then they would release the baby. So we got a court hearing this afternoon. Problem was...no "E". She got her check and no telling how much of it she spent on drugs. I spent an hour praying and driving around looking for her before going up to court hoping she would show. (Her brother was looking for her, too.) About 10 minutes before court, she called me yelling...she was high and is a mean druggie. Needless to say, she was in no condition to go into court. So, no Emma today.

At this point (my attorney is STILL working on this, bless her heart, as well as the DHS workers involved...minus the ADA...nobody understands why this is all happening and really want Emma placed with us) we have two options to get Emma into our home.

1 - "E" calls me and shows up sober to relinquish her rights. Emma would automatically come to us.

2 - DHS would open our home as a kinship foster placement. Then if/when "E" shows up to relinquish, DHS would dismiss the case and we would go on with our adoption.

#1 would be the best outcome...easiest/quickest for all involved, but #2 seems the most likely outcome as "E" won't likely call for a few days, if ever again. Worst case, "E" never shows again, Emma becomes a foster/adopt placement and we adopt her through DHS. While in some ways, I am tempted to go this route. I know...I hate DHS...but it's for Emma. Also, I am worried about "E's" behavior in court. No telling what she might say, plus if she decided to change her mind, the baby would go into DHS custody, anyway. If Emma is ALREADY in DHS custody and "E" comes around saying she changed her mind, it won't matter. "E" would be considered an automatic termination case due to her past DHS history (which I just found out about.) Same result, would just take longer.

Our next issue. We need DHS (our county) to approve us to open our home back up. I have spent this afternoon talking to many higher up people regarding this and am hopeful. Our prayer is that those in control will open our home and be done with it. We can bring Emma home tomorrow if that happens. Please be in prayer about this (I know you all have prayed enough for me already to last my whole lifetime.)

My "old" workers in our county are on top of this. One person (the hardest one to reason with) was out today, but will be back tomorrow. As long as she okays it, we can open our home again. I just wanted to mention that my licensing worker has been a God send...she has been so helpful and encouraging and she didn't even have to take my call. I love her. (I did the whole time she was our worker!) The OK county workers want us to have this baby. They are making calls like you wouldn't believe and trying to get around the ADA's ruling (as is my attorney tomorrow.) So...I left Emma tonight at the hospital. I am almost sick because of the stress and not being home since last Wednesday. I need to be home. I felt a peace leaving her tonight (after talking with the hospital's social worker for an hour in our room...she thinks we are the perfect placement and can't understand all the crap.)

I think I am also letting go a little bit. A couple of days ago, I wasn't ready to let her go. I wasn't okay with this being God's plan. Today, I am. Maybe because I'm exhausted and have no feelings left in me, I don't know, but I do know (mostly because of all you facebook friends who have encouraged me daily) that God has a plan...STILL! So, whatever happens, I am okay. I think. Don't get me wrong...I want more than ANYTHING to bring that tiny baby home. How will I tell my kids that we lost ANOTHER baby? I can handle me...I can't handle my kids grieving anymore.

So...I come home. I spend some time with my husband who I missed terribly, ate some real food (lost 5 pounds at the hosptial) and took my bath. As I was ready my "Power of a Praying Parent", today's prayer is on protection. Fitting, huh? And I read the first verse...then the second...then...well, here...you read them:

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Psalm 91:1-2

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." Isaiah 43:2

"No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord." Isaiah 54:17

"Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling." Psalm 91-9-10

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

And earlier, I chose to read Psalm 31, because it's the day Emma was born and I didn't have my regular "through the year" Bible...read it...it was perfect for me today.

So, I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I have many people to call, but I am so weary. My prayer is that those in charge will do all the work and just call me to tell me it's time to pick up my baby.

In the meantime, I am still aware of who is ultimately in control and tonight I will "both lie down in peace and sleep".

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update...






The morning didn't start out well, as I was told that we would have to stay another day because - guess what? DHS didn't do their job. I know you all are SHOCKED!! As am I! :)

Needless to say, I was in tears. I haven't slept since Wednesday and Ashlee is leaving for camp tomorrow. I need to be home TODAY! So, I am reminded that God is in control of all of this and is and will always be, bigger than DHS.

I told God that He was going to have to intercede because I can't stay here again and I need to be home with my kids. (I know...I'm such a baby and I know there are lots of worse things that could be going on...but remember...no sleep since Wednesday and I am an eight hour a night kind of gal!)

About 10 minutes later, the nurse came in and said she had talked to the hospital social worker (who started all the mess) and said all they need is a copy of the signed by the judge order giving us temporary custody. We did this on Friday and it was faxed to the worker already. (By the way...the hospital needing a copy of the order is totally normal.)

The next prayer was that I could get in touch with my attorney. I did within about 30 minutes and she is going to take time away from HER family (thanks DHS) to get the paperwork from her office and faxed AGAIN to the hospital.

As it stands now, as soon as the paperwork is faxed here, we can go home. PRAISE GOD!!! Our prayer now is for no more bumps in this rocky road! Tracy needs her recliner!

As for Emma, she is a miracle, as we all know. The doctors keep saying how amazed they are that they can't find anything wrong with her. Just from the things I DO know about her life in the womb, she should have major problems. But this baby has been bathed in prayer (and know in pink Johnson's lotion) for the past 10 weeks, so we shouldn't be surprised.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Meet Emma Claire





We had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday, July 29, just a regular visit. Because of "E's" behavior and addictions, the doctor decided that Emma would be safer outside the womb. We had an amnio done to check for lung maturity and were back at the doctor on Thursday for the results. Lungs were good, so they sent us to labor and delivery to be induced. WOOHOO!!!



At about 11:00pm, the doctor came in and said "E" was in a latent phase and would not deliver until the next afternoon. I decided, in all my wisdom, to go home and sleep. The nurse was to call when "E" was at a "9". At 3am, I got a call that "E" was at a "6" and her water broke, I had better get up there. As I was walking toward the room, "E" called to tell me she had had the baby. I called her a liar and she laughed. When I got to the labor and delivery floor, the nurse said that not 5 minutes after she called, she couldn't find the baby's heartbeat, so she lifted up the blanket to adjust the monitor, and there was Emma's head already delivered! So, I missed it. But I am okay with that. I am a results person, I don't really care for the process. Oh...and "E" slept through the entire thing...the nurse was in shock!!



So, Emma Claire was born at 3:04am, July 31st, weighing 6 lbs, 5 oz, 19 inches long. She is perfectly healthy, other than some tremors that are getting better. We were moved into a room by ourselves to start our lives together.



All was going well, when DHS decided that they hadn't interfered with our lives enough. Evidently, they are afraid that "E" will not show up to sign the relinquishment papers next week. I have no doubt that she WILL, besides the fact that I know where to find her. SO, we had about 5 hours of DHS telling us that they were taking the baby into custody and going to try and get us approved as a kinship home. WHAT???? I told them in not very kind words that there was NO way we were doing DHS again, all the while trying to explain to them that we had a lawyer and all the paperwork in place already. Well, the worker enjoyed her power and also had very little knowledge of the system. (That last statement is purely my own opinion.) I proceeded to call my old licensing worker (remember...we closed our home to DHS a couple of months ago!) and she was all over it. She couldn't believe the gall of the worker, stating that there was NO reason to take the baby if there is already a plan in place. Our county called the OK county director to have this stopped, and the county director agreed. The worker here at the hospital was still demanding a bunch of crap from us, but in the meantime, our fabulous attorney filed the paperwork for temporary custody to go to US. Last I heard, the documents had all been faxed to the appropriate people, so PLEASE pray that when we go to check out of the hospital tomorrow morning, that everyone has done their job and we can go home. It's one thing to sit in a hospital room when you are sick, but I AM NOT SICK!!!! And my family is doing things at home like ordering pizza and having movie night...WITHOUT ME!! (I have a fantastic hubby...who happens to look HUGE when he holds Emma!) So....if I have to stay one more night because of DHS...Howard Hendricks WILL be hearing from me. (As a matter of fact, my worker told me to call him yesterday! He's the director of DHS!)


So...today is a better day. I also found out (since writing that last paragraph) that social workers do work weekends here at the hospital, so that is a huge relief.

"E" left the hospital today. She was scheduled to have her tubes tied, but backed out last minute. And by last minute, I mean laying on the table with the IV already in. Please continue to pray that "E" will turn her life around and surrender fully to Christ. She has the information, she just has to choose to follow. She did not hold Emma, but she did come and visit us frequently and talked/touched her. She said she is very happy with her decision, and she genuinely acted happy and relieved. But somewhere, deep down, she has to be sad. I have seen a sadness in her eyes before...like she can see a life that could have been. I love "E" for the gift she has given our family. I would also ask that you would continue to pray as "E" will need to show up for court sometime next week to sign her relinquishment papers. I don't doubt she will do it once she is there, but I am pretty sure she is anxious to get back to her lifestyle. I will see her on Monday and promised her pictures of Emma.

I want to thank you all, again, for your continued prayers. I wept as I read all of your responses when I would ask for prayers for different issues yesterday on facebook. I am amazed at God's family and how He has designed His children to pray for one another. I have spent the last year of my life being fervantly prayed for and I feel a little guilty that there has been so much for you to pray for me about! I want to be the one praying for YOU! But, God has kept me in a place of healing and used you all to intercede on my behalf. How glorious is the family of God! I want you to know that God is allowing me to come out of this state...I can feel it.

I suppose I should sleep while Emma sleeps...I just wanted you all to see God's promise fulfilled in our Emma. This song from the new Selah CD explains how my heart feels...we have not been "unredeemed".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfGbcjCVDOs

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The time has come...

"Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and always be prayerful." Romans 12:12

I took "E" to her OB appointment today. I was a little disappointed because we have conflicting due dates ("E" keeps giving them different dates) and the dr last time wouldn't go by our ultrasound because it wasn't done at their hospital. (Picture my eyes rolling!) So she said we could induce on the due date, August 17. So I asked her if it was really safer for the baby to remain in the womb at this point with all the drugs that "E" is on, both legal and illegal. She said she was thinking the same thing and would talk to her boss. She came back in and said "We have two options. We can deliver the baby next week, OR, we can do an amnio to check lung maturity and deliver you today." WHAT?? But, "E" has a date with a "friend". (Another eye roll.) So, we are scheduled to go in tomorrow for a non-stress test and decide when she can be admitted. The doctor who did the amnio said he wants baby out by the weekend! WOOHOO!!!

That means Emma will be here in the next few days! This was a very welcome surprise and an answer to many prayers on Emma's behalf.

I will post pictures as soon as we have some to post!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still waiting...

(Patty...this is for you!)

Well, still no baby Emma. "E" will leave the mental hospital tomorrow, so Praise God she has had 10 days of great care. He hasn't let me down so far, so I refuse to worry about "E" and the rest of her pregnancy. "E" is doing so much better, has gained weight, has her diabetes under control, etc. BUT...tomorrow she goes back to the lifestyle she is accustomed to, so please pray for her protection and health for the next 3 weeks. "E" did tell me that being in the mental hospital made her feel good about herself...you know...being around all those crazy people. (Her words...not mine!) I am still praying she goes into labor before she actually gets out tomorrow...just so you know!
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On Sunday, July 19, Jacob would have turned 3 years old. The actual birthday was not as hard as the anticipation of the birthday...but then again, I had SO many people praying for me. I will NEVER be able to thank you all enough, or repay you even a portion of what you deserve. One of my faithful friends gave me this for Jacob's birthday:


It's a little hard to see, but it has Jacob's name, with 2 each of three stones. July, for his birthday, September for the day we got him, and August for the day we finalized his adoption. I had mentioned to a group of my friends that I had found a place that would make jewelry of "your story" and I was thinking about getting something, but had no idea she would do this for me. I cried. But it was sweet tears.




Another one of my faithful friends and her family went to Jacob's graveside and let off balloons in honor of his birthday.



How sweet was that??? She also offered to bring me chocolate! But I was doing okay. I have the BEST friends, EVER!! God is so good to me.
Today, I started working on school stuff for the next school year. God has healed my heart in such amazing ways. I get so excited when I look back at the day and see how much I have accomplished. I have only just started to feel like the "real" Tracy and I have truly missed her.
At some point at the beginning of this long journey, I pretty much told God that I couldn't do this for more than a year. My kids need me. Of course, He told me that they really didn't, they only needed Him, but whatever. :) I am just so excited for the future. God is my hope and He has proven Himself to me over and over again.
"Yet what we suffer now is NOTHING compared to the glory He will give us later..." Romans 8:18