Bring Bennet Home

Saturday, August 18, 2012

To The Woman I Can Never Be...

To the woman who carries my baby,

My heart rejoices and breaks at the same time for you and over your choice.
I rejoice because you are giving my baby life. You are doing something that I will probably never be able to do. You are allowing him time to grow and to use your body as his nourishment, shelter and sustainer. I can't begin to imagine how that feels. To have a tiny human rolling around inside you, kicking and stretching your body to its limits. I'm so thankful you chose life for my boy. I'm grateful you chose Chris & I to be his parents based only on pictures and some get-to-know-you facts. We are waiting anxiously to meet this beautiful boy and to grow our family. We are busy planning and painting and washing and arranging. We want to be ready when the time comes to come get our baby.
But as I sit intoxicated by smell of baby lotion and overwhelmed by the nursery ideas, sweet tiny outfits, and thoughts of what those first days with a new baby will be like -- my stomach also ties in knots for you and the choice you are making. There is something about a mother placing her baby in someone else's arms for care that is gut wrenching. It is the ultimate sacrifice. I can't imagine anything more difficult. I think dying would be easier. Making these tremendously tough choices is something I think only a mother's heart is capable of. Despite everything we want, we choose what is best for that little life. Some of us make small sacrifices like alone time, new things for ourselves or eating hot meals, but Birth Mothers truly give all. You are trusting me to raise your son and love him in a way that usually only comes from one woman. My boys are so blessed because they are loved that unconditionally by two Mommas. Both of us will always do what we think is in his best interests. Both of us will wonder about the man he will become and pray for him despite his choices, attitudes or behaviors.
I am sad that I will never get to see you or know your name. I won't get to tell you the things that I hope you know. I won't get to share our son's victories and disappointments with you. But no matter what you and I are forever linked because we are both doing something the other couldn't in order to make our son. I am honored to be his Momma. I'm anxious to know him. I'm excited for the journey.
We are going to name him Bennett Harris. Harris is my grandmother's maiden name and we are so privileged to get to share a family name with our newest member. She is so excited we've chosen that name and said how honored her daddy would've been to know that someone was carrying on his name.
I promise we will always have his best interests at heart and will parent him the best way we know how. We will love him unconditionally. We will do our best to guide his decisions and help him know Jesus. We pray that he will love God and people with a special compassion. We welcome him with open arms and hearts.
I'm praying for you all the time because I know how much I'm thinking of this baby and know his every move keeps him on the fore front of your mind as well. May God give you strength, grace, peace, continued wisdom and comfort only the Almighty can provide as you finish this pregnancy. May you continue to place Bennett's needs before your own and be encouraged by the decisions you have made. Thank you for choosing us. We will always strive to live up to the honor of being his family.

All my love,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Snakes, Snails & Puppy Dog Tails...

The big question since July 25th when we stood frustrated and confused in Will Rodgers Airport is why didn't God want us to go to Zambia? After almost two years of planning and saving and fundraising why did He only want us to get to OKC before our plans derailed? Lots of people have asked us these sort of questions. Parents. Church members. Financial supporters. And our answer is the same every time. We don't know, but we trust that God does and He has a purpose for our cancelled trip.
When we didn't leave on Thursday, July 26th, I called DPAS to tell them to start showing our profile. If I wasn't going to be out of the country I was ready to get the ball rolling on welcoming our second baby. I was excited to call and officially become a waiting family. On Friday, July 26th, we went to the lake with my sisters and mom to play on their new boat, "The Fiesta." We spent all day on the water and it was great to just relax after a very stressful week.
Around 4:30 I checked my phone and saw I had several texts and missed calls from a number I didn't recognize. After reading my messages I figured out they were from our Pastors daughter. She and her husband have struggled with infertility as well and they have one adopted and one biological son. We have had several conversations about these commonalities so she knew we were ready to start the adoption process again.
A friend of theirs from Lubbock had contacted them about an adoption agency in Midland, Texas called Addy's Hope who is just beginning domestic adoptions and looking for families to join their program. They were offering to waive all their fees until you were chosen by a birth family. They had a birth mom that was due in October and wondered if they would be interested in this baby. They have thought of adopting again, but haven't started any paperwork or background checks etc and those things take time that they wouldn't have with this particular situation. So they thought of us.
That evening we emailed the agency for a little more information and creeped on their website. We heard back that the baby was full Hispanic and the 6th child in its family. The sex was unknown, but it had very minimal exposure to alcohol in the first trimester of the pregnancy and no drug exposure. We really wanted this next baby to match Tucker's skin tone (any mixture of browns) and exposures of any kind just make us nervous. With both of those things in place we decided to move forward with Addy's Hope and do a little more research.
They were out of the office the entire next week at a conference so we didn't hear back from them until last Monday, August 6th. Holly Ann, Director of Addy's Hope, called us and we finally got to visit with her and ask through a list of questions. The entire week before when we didn't hear from them Chris and I both went back and forth wanting to throw our hat in the ring with another agency or not. It made me nervous not to have the experience and relationship we have with DPAS. I didn't love the idea that this is their very first go around with domestic adoption because its a lot more about managing people/relationships then paperwork and government offices like international adoption. We prayed a lot and sought some wise council from trusted friends and family. Friday the 3rd I woke up and knew I wanted to send our stuff in. I just felt like I would wonder if that baby was supposed to be ours if we had to wait a long time with DPAS. I thought if we got six months down the road and still hadn't been matched I'd think we missed our chance. After talking to Holly Ann and getting more details. I sent in our application and extra profile book. We also faxed DPAS a release to send Addy's Hope all of our information and paperwork. We had done our due diligence and left it in God's hands. Our prayer was if this baby was supposed to ours that he would be and if not the birth mom would choose another family.
I tried not to worry and to trust the Lord with this HUGE possibility, but I struggled. We found out on Monday the Birth Mom wants a totally closed adoption and we began believing this probably wasn't our baby. On Tuesday we learned that the baby was a boy and I questioned if he was ours even more. On Friday Holly Ann called and said that there were now five families she was presenting instead of just two. My hope waned. She also said that she hadn't received our stuff from DPAS and wondered if I could have someone call her to verify it was on its way and we were who we say we are. I did, but no one called. (VERY unlike our agency) We thought for sure this wasn't our baby.
We knew Holly Ann was presenting families to the Birth Mom at 3 pm. She called us around 4:30 and we were sure she was going to tell us the birth mom had chosen another family. But she didn't say that. She asked us if we were ready to be parents again!
She felt like she was supposed to show the Birth Mom our profile book even without any paperwork in hand. Just like DPAS showed our book to Tucker's birth mom also lacking some steps in the process because of a very similar feeling. Our God is faithful!
So we will be welcoming another beautiful, brown baby boy into our home in October. The Birth Mom isn't due until October 31st, but she was four weeks early with her last pregnancy so we will be on standby from the end of September until this guy arrives. We get to be in the hospital with him and take him home from there.
There are a lot of details that still need to be worked out, some fundraising that needs to be done, and questions that need to be answered but for now we are relishing the fact that God's plans are better then our own. We know He is sovereign over cancelled trips, random connections and all our doubts. Man, oh man are we thankful!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Long before I became a mother I thought I wanted my kids to be two years apart. In my (emphasis on the my part throughout this little tale) I also thought I'd carry these first two babies and when the first one was about 18 months old we'd start trying and get pregnant again a few months later. So when the whole pregnancy thing didn't work out I adapted my perfect plan to begin fertility treatments when Tucker was 18 months old, if they hadn't worked by his second birthday we would stop and adopt again. Last October would've been the time to make the appointments and begin the fertility process. When the time came I just couldn't do it. My sister was doing it and I felt like I should want to, but I just didn't. Before I knew it we were ringing in the New Year and I began to formulate another derivative to my plan. We would just skip the fertility and go straight back to our wonderful adoption agency. (shameless plug just in case... But as I began thinking that through I realized we had planned an overseas mission trip to Zambia in July and I was afraid. Afraid I'd have a new baby and have to leave two. Afraid that we wouldn't have been placed yet and then somehow miss it because we were in Africa. So we decided to wait till August. We'd have everything ready to go and as soon as we got home from Zambia we'd go on the waiting list. Well, we did have everything ready but since we didn't go to Africa we officially began waiting for our sweet second baby on July 26th. We didn't have to wait with Tucker. We barely had things ready and we were placed. We didn't even realize DPAS was showing our profile yet when we got the call that Tucker was coming. And so we enter unchartered ground. I'm learning a new meaning to waiting with anticipation and praying with expectation. It's SUPER exciting to know any day we could be matched with another incredible woman who thinks we are a great fit for her baby. 
So please join with us in asking Our Father to bring the perfect baby to us and prepare our hearts for the sweet addition to our family. Also ask special blessings for the woman who is carrying our child. Pray for safety, health, peace, wisdom and grace as she travels through unthinkably difficult waters.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

No Zambia

Chris and I were supposed to be in Mapanza, Zambia this week leading a team of nine others from our church. The planning for this trip began almost two years ago. I spent a summer in Zambia when I was in college working at a school and with two missionary couples. My days were landmarks for my walk with Christ. It was the first time I was ever really alone and had to stand without the close support of my family or friends. While the whole experience wasn't fun it was a huge time of growth for me as a believer and as a person. I was going to get to take my mom and my husband and five of our students back with me this time to fall in love with a place that I love deeply.
Last Wednesday I kissed my Tucker good-bye (which was completely excruciating!) and met the team in OKC. We gathered early to eat one last American feast at Chili's. It took a lot longer then we planned so by the time we left the restaurant we were all a little antsy. We arrived at Will Rodger's to get our boarding passes and tickets. Right off the bat stress met us. The airline was insistent that we pay $70 a piece for our second bags when three others had told us we wouldn't have to and as we quickly figured out how to handle this piece of new information things began to continue to unravel. After three hours, lots of rudeness, confusion and hasty decisions our team of eleven sat at the baggage claim as our flight took off. 
Our travel agent or one of the airlines we were flying with messed up. One of the three of them booked seven of us, double booked one of us and left three without tickets. It was crazy and while were at the airport no one would help us or answer our questions. Our travel agent was already closed for the day and so we couldn't get connected with her. The people working the automatic ticket booths were hateful and all but pushed us out of the way without answers. Six of the eight got on the plane and Chris made the decision that we all had to stay together and we pulled them and all of our luggage off of the plane with minutes to go before we were to take off. 
To say we were disappointed would be a huge understatement. But let me brag on my kids of a minute. Not one of them questioned our decisions. Not one of them complained or griped about not getting to go. All of them handled this unexpected set back with grace and patience. We really couldn't of asked for more support or maturity from these kids who can see God's protection from the closed door. 
The next morning Chris got in touch with our travel agent and see worked until early afternoon to get all eleven of us on a plane to Africa. Around 2:00 she called to tell us we were going to Zambia. We all got excited and called family members to tell them the good news. About thirty minutes later she called back and said that she had only confirmed EIGHT seats...AGAIN! We just believe that God closed the door and that He didn't want us to go. Maybe for our protection or someone elses. Maybe for something that was going to happen here. We may never know but it did give my family ten days of being home together without anything planned and after three months of lots of plans it's been really nice.