"If I were to ask God why He lets poverty and injustice exist, why there are so many orphans and why He does nothing about it, I am SURE He would ask me the same ..."

author unknown

About Us

My name is Jessica and my dear sweet hubby is Kelly. We have three beautiful girls, big sis and little sis plus our newest little baby sis :) Welcome to our site where we will blog about our journey to grow our family through adoption in Africa.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

So Excited, but Waiting

Let me just tell you how excited I am.  One family just came home with their precious little girl from China and 2 other families just arrived in China this weekend!  They both have their Gotcha Day tonight!!!  I am bursting with joy for these families.  If you have a minute, hop over to their blogs and say a prayer for them.  One family is traveling with their 2 small children and the time change is proving to be hard.  I am faithful that God will give them the strength they need.

The Bullington Board

Brown-Eyed Digsby

As for me, well....these precious families, one who has been a wonderful source of information for me on Ethiopia and a cheerleader for our adoption....the other...a cheerleader for us from the start, her family started their adoption just 3 months before us, I am so happy for them, truly....but my heart waits.

If you look up at our counter, we have been waiting since we said YES, for 11 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days.

And still....we wait.

It really makes me realize where we SHOULD be in our adoption....

We SHOULD be waiting for "THE CALL"

We SHOULD be checking our phones every day waiting to here from our agency.

Instead, we wait.


In God's time....it would be so easy for me to encourage someone else in my shoes.

It would be so easy to say to another mom..."God has the child hand-picked for you and he's not ready for you to bring him home"

But for myself....the waiting is torture.

The waiting makes me sad.

The waiting makes me mad.

The waiting makes me anxious.

I am struggling to bring this to God.  Maybe that's because I have a feeling I know what He will say.....

Wait

Be Patient

Rest in Me


I am terrible at waiting.  I mean, really bad at it.

I thought I was doing pretty good lately...you know I've had a lot on my plate ;-) like the impending birth of a little sweet girl, and then the said sweet girl to take care of.  But I am getting out of the sleep deprived haze, and my sweet friends are in China, hours from meeting their babies, and I regress.

So, I will obsessively check my friends' blogs, waiting for sweet pictures and then cry my eyes out...happy and sad tears at the same time.  I will love on their little girls when they get here and I will wait.  I wish you could hear me say it, it's like a bad word in my vocabulary.

Surely God is trying to teach me something in the waiting....I would have maybe preferred a different life lesson.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some pictures of my THREE girls!

So, I have some really awesome pictures of my THREE (wow, that still sounds a little weird!) girls that I want to share.  No words really necessary...enjoy!

From oldest to youngest....



 The big girl on her birthday!  Oh my, she's 9!






And last, but not least, the newest sister.  I could just eat her up!






I've come to realize that I am NOT Normal

So, I have just about decided that it's time to admit something to myself....are you ready for it?

I am not normal.

Most of my life, I have never really been bothered by what others have thought of me.

As a child, if someone believed something differently as far as the Bible went, I would (very confidently) correct them (based on my knowledge) and move on with life, not really worried of their opinion of me. Mind you, I may or may not have always been correct.

In college, I had no problem going about a daily task in my sweats or comfy pajama pants. If someone thought I was a slob, oh well...hey I was in college and didn't really care.

As a young mom, I was doing good to get a shower and brush my teeth.... good for you if you had a matching, stylish outfit and make-up on, I didn't have the time or the energy.

The thing is, most of this time, I have felt pretty normal.  I felt like I was the same as most people. Maybe more passionate about somethings, but still within the normal range.

But here lately, I have been making choices that have put me out of the ordinary. They all don't necessarily go together, some have nothing to do with each other, and maybe one of the choices by itself, I would still be considered normal.

The problem is, you put all the decisions together and someone finds out about all of them at the same time (like when you are having dinner with your dh's work people and you are casually chatting about life) you realize, when it's all said out loud, wow, we are really NOT normal.

So here is it, all of the reasons that I am not normal (yikes, the list seems to be growing the older I get!)

We are adopting (even though we can have biological children). This is my favorite reason that we are not normal. Something that I have come to realize that as a Christian, God calls our lives to really look different and to stand out.  This is one way that my family wants to look different. We want to adopt because God adopted us, His heart is for adoption, and there are plenty of orphans all over the world. So we will answer His call to care for the orphan by bringing one or two or three....if my hubby is reading this, he is smiling and shaking his head, his blood pressure is rising and he is wondering about all the dollar signs ;-) ....orphans into our home and call them our own.



We are homeschooling our children. Now, in some circles, this is a big one. But, since I am so surrounded in our town and in our church by homeschooling families, I forget how different this is....until I get the "Wow! Really! I bet that's really hard" or "You must have a lot of patience, or energy, or insert whatever misconception people have about homeschooling moms." Really people, some days I have very little patience, probably less than you do if you send your kids to school because you had a break from them :-)

And yes, it's really hard, but I am doing it anyway. I believe, as I do with adoption, that God has called me to this. It didn't start out because of my beliefs, but it it has defiantly evolved into one of my main reasons. God just used the initial reasons to convict me and help me to see that this was the best option for my children.  Again, God calls us to look differently. Without sounding like I am trying to condemn those who send their children off to school (that is completely not what I want to do! This is just how God has shown me we need to look different), I feel like we as a family cannot look different from the world if my children spend the majority of their time being influenced by someone other than me (i.e. teachers, classmates, people whose beliefs might be very different than mine).  I feel like if I put them out in the world before they have a good foundation, I am setting them up to fail.  As a young man that has been homeschooled said, "A little sheltering is good.  Why stand out in the rain if you don't have to?"




We had (well, my hubby had...) a vasectomy reversal and will probably have more children (biological). I went a little more into this subject here, but in a nutshell...we are trusting that God will provide for our family.  I'm not sure how I will handle it, but I can see us with a large family.  Not Duggar large, but hey, with the American average family size at 4, we are already bigger than some.



The above things are big decisions, here are some smaller things that I do that really add to my abnormality ;-)


We had a homebirth.  Love, love, love this new decision that I made with Baby Sis, it turned out awesome and you can read about it here.

We are cloth diapering with this new little one.  Yes, I have gotten some serious reactions to this one.  Some are entertaining, some are a little hurtful, but hey, I love it so far.  I am even currently using the diapers that your great grandmother used....flats!  EEK!  You actually have to fold them!  Now, we have cool velcro tabbed covers to go over them, and really...folding them is a novelty, so it's fun.  By the time the novelty wears off, she will be big enough to fit in our cool, 21st century cloth diapers...

like these.....




Some things that are soon to come in our life of not being normal, but are not in effect yet....

I am leaning towards courting for my children.  I am starting to believe that dating and breaking up is just practice for divorce.  With Christian divorce rates almost exactly the same as secular rates...something has to change.



I would love to go live in Africa for a time period and help or run an orphanage.  Not sure this will ever happen, but I bring it up to hubby all the time....we'll see :)


So there you have it, I said it!  I am not really normal.  I'm okay with that, I still really don't care what others think.  I mean, sometimes I catch myself wondering, but I am striving to only please God.  I do want people to "like" me, so I need to work on that a bit more.  But, more and more I am trying to live radically for Christ, with my family and as an individual. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Sister is Here!!

So, finally the little one is here! We welcomed the youngest sister into our family in the first hours of Friday morning at 12:44am. As some may know, I decided early into this pregnancy that I wanted to have a home birth. This is the story.

I went into labor with very sporadic contractions at 5pm on Thursday and was cautiously hopeful that she was finally on her way. I put everyone on notice and got in the tub. My contractions kept coming but really didn't hurt at all by this point. When I got out of the tub awhile later, I called my midwife and let her know what was going on, she had me lay down to see if they would keep going or if they subside. Once I laid down, I felt like my contractions had doubled in intensity and could only stand it for about 3 contractions. At this point, my best friend was on her way to be part of the birth team and my other friend was on her way to pick up the girls for a sleepover.


I called my midwife, Tavish back and gave her the update and she said it sounded like she should head my way. That was fine with me, I didn't really feel like there was a big hurry. After all, Little Sis took about 13 hours of labor.

So, girls were off to sleep at my friends' house, best girlfriend was here and hubby was busy prepping all the birth stuff. He had a mental list of things that needed to be done once labor had started like getting supplies out, and moving a few things around. He was a busy bee for awhile and I left him to it while I enjoyed a popsicle and BF folded some laundry.

Midwife got here just around 10pm and got right to checking my vitals and to see if I was dilated. Blood pressure was a little high and I was 4 cm, we were on our way! So, since my blood pressure was high and my contractions had picked up I wanted to get in bath tub again to relax. I think I spent around an hour in there.  Kelly finished up his set and and was sent off to the other room to rest since he was going on 4 hours of sleep and a very long day at work, and my midwife set to work getting supplies and the room ready.

I sat on the birthing ball now having to concentrate on the contractions, and no real energy for chit chat in between.  At one point I remember asking my girlfriend what time it was and I was surprised that it was already 11:30, time was flying by for me.  At some point things changed, my friend said she visibly saw it, the only thing I can pin point is that I was going to be sick...and I was...

I have never threw up while in labor and I think this threw me for a little loop. On top of that I had a couple really bad contractions and I decided that I really wanted Kelly.  So, Tavish went to wake up Kelly and I think at this point she said that she was going to call the birth assistant.

Meanwhile, I tried to change positions from sitting to leaning on the ball.

NO THANK YOU!

That did not work for me and as soon as I could move back, I DID!  From this point on, I really had to breath threw the contractions and had to be reminded of my breathing by my midwife because I was losing focus.  After maybe 2 contractions where I felt like I was not going to make it, Tavish suggested that she check me and maybe break my water; so my friend went to fill up the bath tub so that I could get back in.  It was about all I could do to get on the bed and I about came out of my skin as I had a contraction right when she started checking me.

Music to my ears....."well, you are fully dilated"

But, I'm sure everyone else's blood pressure went up since no one thought we'd be here this early.  Did I mention that Tavish's assistant wasn't there yet?  Oh yes, my poor best friend got tagged to be the helper. I am laughing as I type this because she tells how she was a little unprepared to be the one handing my midwife supplies and such with medical terms she had no clue of.  But... Tavish stayed calm, and my BF rocked it as a birth assistant.

As for me, I was having terrible urges to push, and I was in the one position I didn't want to be, flat on my back and quite frankly not really sure how I could move out of that.  I remember asking if I could make it to the tub...no idea what answers I got, maybe everyone was too busy getting their game faces on :)  I finally made myself clear that I NEEDED to get off my back, Tavish grabbed a leg and I was half way there before a contraction stopped an more progress.  Kelly held up my leg thru the contraction, but it still wasn't better and I was determined at this point to get on my hands and knees.

I did make it to my knees, but not the tub....oh well, maybe a water birth next time ;)

After only about 15 minutes, Baby Sis was born at 12:44am on March 11, 2011.

She was born in the peace and quite of my bedroom, in the presence of one 3 special people (and me, but you know, I only really saw her after she was out).

She came out awake, wide eyed, and didn't make a sound.  It took about a minute for my midwife to get her to cry and even then it was one short cry.  She was content to quietly look around the room at what was going on.

(A side note, I was told afterwards that while I was pushing, my dogs that had spent the evening in the backyard, were trying desperately to break into the bedroom thru the window.  Poor doggies were worried about me!)


By the time I had laid back and baby was handed to me, the birth assistant had arrived.  I simply could not believe that I had done it, I had had a natural, drug-free, homebirth.  I simply could not believe it.  I'd had silly doubts along the way.  It's been 6 and a half years since I'd had a baby, did my body still know what to do?  Did I have it in me to do it naturally again?  Would everything REALLY be fine with no medical problems?  Would I have to be transferred to the hospital?

Everything was fine, she was finally here and perfect.  I lost very little blood and felt....honestly.....pretty darn great.

A little of my thoughts on homebirth.  Two years ago, I would have told you there was NO way that I would have a homebirth.  I was all for the natural, don't interfere with labor as I went that route with Little Sis 6 years ago.  But, I just felt it better to be close to medical attention.  I had no idea what a midwife was, or what a homebirth would even look like.

After a close friend of mine had told me some of her stories (all 5 of hers were born at home) and told me to ask questions and that it just might be different that I thought.....I started doing some research.  I started asking questions, I started wondering if this could be for me.

        

Once I found out I was pregnant, I met with my friends' midwife and really started leaning towards a homebirth.

           ______________________________________

Some of the reasons I choose this are:

I knew that my body could do it naturally, I had already done it once.

I wanted no drugs and no interventions without having to fight for it tooth and nail.

I wanted to have a relationship with the person delivering my baby. (I can honestly say that I love my midwife, she is awesome.  Never have I had the attention and care from an OB.)

My pregnancy, my body, and my baby were healthy throughout. (I would have never don't this with a known risk to either of us)

I believe birth is a natural occurrence, not a medical issue.  I do believe it can become a medical situation and we had an emergency plan.

My midwife has been delivering babies since about the time I was born.  She is licensed by the state and is certified to do what she does.

       ________________________________________

Some benefits that I think were gained from a homebirth: (I am NOT a medical professional, these are just my opinions)

My labor was very fast.  I know that all kind of factors can go into this, but....I feel like being at home helped.  About the time I would have been headed to the hospital, it when things really picked up.  The drive, the new (uncertain) place and people all could have easily slowed or stalled labor at that point.  Instead, my body pushed forward.

I lost very little blood.  I also know that this can happen in the hospital because I lost very little blood with Little Sis.  BUT.....I believe that this is a benefit of no interventions.

My sweet girl was as calm as could be when she was born and she has had the most peaceful first 4 days of her life than any of my girls.

    ________________
(This seems a little morbid considering the topic, but it's on my heart and I want to remember it down the road as something to pray for)
On another note, we take medical assistance and even midwifery care for granted in this country.  In Ethiopia, I have heard that a woman who is pregnant is said to  have one foot in the grave.  That is because so many mothers die in childbirth due to not enough trained midwifes, poverty, poor conditions and other reasons.  While I don't know what Caleb's situation will be and that most likely, his birth mother  will have passed away....I pray that she does not die in childbirth.  I pray that she gets to snuggle Caleb and love on him, that Caleb gets to hear her heartbeat on this side of the womb and feel the softness of her skin.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Call to Action

Please, take a moment to look at this post about the changes that have been proposed in Ethiopia and then take action.  It breaks my heart that we may now have to wait even longer to have our sweet boy in our arms, but more that that, it breaks my heart that so many orphans may NEVER leave the orphanage because of this decision.

Ethiopia has 4 MILLION orphans!

Jesus come quickly!
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