From 1 to 4 in One Year
My Cup Runneth Over
Another (Extra)Ordinary Miracle
Don't Stop Believing
And Babies Make SIX
God Is So Good
God's Plan is Better Than Our Own
Blessed Beyond Measure
Beyond Our Greatest Dreams
Dreams Really Do Come True
Overwhelmed with Joy
The list goes on and on....
I am just so overcome with joy, with love, with happiness right now! I spend each day wiping noses, changing diapers, feeding and putting kids down for naps, playing with toys and games, singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and thanking God for blessing us beyond anything we ever dreamed. I love to just sit back and marvel at these beautiful children He has given us. All the tears and all the pain we went through just melts away when I see them smile at me. When I let myself think about what's happening and just how blessed we are, I cry every time. I watch as the children play and think back to not too long ago when our house was empty. It was clean, but it was empty. We were missing something and knew it and wanted so much to fill that emptiness. We have always loved each other so much, and we could not wait to share the love we had with children.
I always wanted to be a mother. As a child, I pretended to be a mother more than anything else. I had to have "real" baby dolls, the ones that were heavy like a "real" baby. I carried my cousins around when I wasn't that much bigger than they were. I mothered my sister and my friends and never wanted to see any of them hurt or left out. I have always loved children and made sure Jim knew that early on in our relationship. I don't think we had been on more than 2 dates when I spilled out how I wanted to have children someday and how I knew I wanted to adopt children. I told him about having a close friend who was adopted and about meeting a child who was adopted when I was just 8 or 9 years old. I'll never forget that day. We were in Seattle for my dad's leukemia treatment and bone marrow transplant. It was raining outside, and my mother, sister, and I were walking down a sidewalk by a hotel or condo's front entrance. We passed by a little boy who didn't look like his parents. He had more olive skin and different eyes, and I immediately noticed. I asked my mother why he looked different from his mommy and daddy. Noticing he was (obviously to her) adopted from an Asian country, she explained to me that he was adopted. I believe she allowed me to talk to him and his parents, and they explained he was adopted from Vietnam. Not long after this meeting, my father passed away from leukemia. On the plane ride home, my mom asked us if we would like to get a puppy. I told her, "No, I want to adopt a baby." She didn't say no at the time, but we ended up with a puppy. My heart was forever changed. I knew I would adopt a child someday.
When I spilled to Jim on our 2nd date that I wanted children and definitely wanted to adopt at least one child, I knew I fell even more in love (yes, I was already in love after the first date!) when he said, "Okay." He said he always wanted to be a Daddy, and with both of us coming from families of four children, we both thought four children would be wonderful. Little did we know what God had in store for us.
Fast forward 8 years...
We had been married 2 years, I had graduated from graduate school and had my dream job, and we had bought our first house. We decided it was time. We were ready to make our dream come true of having a family of our own. We were blessed to conceive after trying just a few months, and I will never forget that day, the day I told Jim I was pregnant. I wrapped up some tiny Christmas pjs and told him it was his Christmas present. The look of pride and happiness on his face when he opened the gift was priceless. Our dream was coming true.
We were so excited to share with our family just a couple of days later that we were having a baby and that my parents were becoming grandparents for the first time. Everyone was so surprised and so excited. We were thrilled to see a baby with a good heartbeat at 8 weeks and then devastated a week later when the baby passed away. I remember the hurt, the disappointment, the pain. I remember wondering why God didn't want us to have a baby, why we couldn't have the thing we wanted most and dreamed of for so long. I kept praying that God would show us the way, that He would give us the desires of our hearts, and that we would have peace while waiting for Him.
Within the next year, history repeated itself not once but twice, and we became pregnant again only to say goodbye after seeing a tiny baby with a beating heart and a blighted ovum (empty sac). We couldn't help but wonder, "Would our dream ever come true?" At this time, I felt God tugging on my heart to explore adoption. We knew we wanted to adopt a child or children, and I had been working with some very special kids adopted from Russia in speech therapy at work so I already had a heart for these little ones. The more we explored, the more we realized God was telling us it was time to adopt. How would we ever afford to adopt a child? Where would the money come from? We had no idea, but that didn't stop us. God was calling so we answered. Our dream was coming true.
In June 2006, we sent in our application to adopt a child or children from Russia, and one year later, we brought home one of the most special little boys on God's green Earth when we adopted our sweet Owen. Our dream had finally come true. We were parents.
In the next year, we were blessed with two more pregnancies and were excited for Owen to become a big brother. Although we tried treatment for my predisposition for blood clotting due to the homozygous MTHFR gene mutation, history repeated itself again, and we lost our babies after seeing healthy beating hearts on the ultrasound screen. We learned through my d&cs that the babies were chromosomally healthy, but no one could explain why they kept dying. Ultrasounds became so hard to see and just going into the hospital, smelling the smell there, walking into my ob-gyn's office for anything at all could make my heart race. There was so much anxiety that had been created from all of the negative, sad experiences there. Our dream of having more children wasn't coming true. Maybe we were supposed to have just one? We didn't feel like that was so. God kept telling us to keep trying, keep praying, keep waiting and listening.
Not long after losing our fifth baby, a healthy baby girl, we were asked to adopt a baby girl from New Jersey. We thought, "Maybe this is it, God!" "It's a girl just like the baby we just lost!" "Will our dream come true of having more children in our family?" As many of you know, we were there when she was born, I cared for her for three days as her mother, and then when her mother was ready to see her to say good-bye, she just couldn't let her go. I also felt I couldn't let her go. Letting go of this child was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I had never held my other babies I had lost, and this baby already felt like mine although I knew she wasn't. I loved her with all my heart just as I did Owen. When we had to say good-bye, my heart literally hurt. I felt so empty inside. I cried all the way home, hours and hours, trying not to let my sensitive Owen hear his Mommy so sad. I will always remember the days I shared with this precious baby girl and will always love her.
After letting go of this baby, my heart was so hurt and also so guarded. We had other potential domestic adoption opportunities arise and then fade away almost as quickly as they came to us, and I told myself I would not let myself attach to another baby the way I did to Ava until I knew for sure he/she was going to be ours forever. I wouldn't change a thing about the time I spent with her. Those 3 days were 3 of the sweetest most special days of my life, and I will always be grateful and remember singing to her, rocking her, the way she smelled, the sounds she made, the way she looked at me, everything. She is one special little girl!
When I found out I was pregnant once again not long after coming home from NJ (which was totally unexpected because I was lactating from preparing to nurse Ava), I wondered, "Could this be it, God?" "Is this the baby we'll get to keep?" "Will Owen become a big brother?" Unfortunately, I was already 8 weeks along, and although the baby looked great, and I had seen a new specialist and had a new "plan" for medicines to try, etc, it was too late. A week later, the baby passed away. That baby was a healthy baby boy. Our dream didn't come true.
Less than a month later, I received an email from a friend who had a friend who had an ob patient in our town who was considering adoption for her child. Were we ready to even consider going through another domestic adoption process? Were we ready to possibly experience more heartache? God said, "You can do this. Just keep an open mind and heart. You got this email for a reason." The coming months were full of uncertainty. After sending our profile/letter and pictures to the potential birth mother, we didn't hear from her. Something (or rather someone named God) sent me to look at waiting children around the world. We had one precious child who came to us with some special needs, and we knew we could do it again. I was especially drawn to Korea's waiting children with one agency I had contacted. I kept inquiring about children only to learn other people were already reviewing their files. So, I kept watching the list, but I also kept wondering what was going on with the potential adoption situation. Why didn't the birth mother respond to us? Did she not receive our profile? Did she not like us? So, I sent another letter just to be sure.
Not long after, we received our first call from "A." She was considering another family for her baby boy but also wanted to consider us. After what happened with Ava's adoption, I wasn't feeling too confident that "A" would choose us and go through with an adoption plan. She had already been talking with another family for a few months and had even met with them multiple times. So, I continued to watch the Korean waiting child list. One morning, I received a call saying the little boy's file I had inquired about was ready to be viewed. I was also told there was a little girl who was about to go on the waiting child list and asked if I was interested in seeing her. Of course I was! When I got the file and saw her birth date and realized it was the day Ava went home with her mother, I knew this little girl was meant to be ours. Not only that, but her name was Soojung (which in Korean means beautiful crystal), and in English Sue (which is my mom's name) means Lily, which is the name we had planned to name baby Ava. There were some things in "Soojung's" file that were unclear so we requested some testing to be done to be more informed before accepting her as a referral. Well, we waited and waited for the test results, and during this time, we were asked by "A" to meet her. We met with her a few different times, and she decided not long before her baby was born that she wanted us to adopt him. We were there when he was born, cut his umbilical cord, and our hearts swelled with joy as we dreamed of taking this baby boy home with us. Well, as you know, he didn't go home with us. Some new information came up at the hospital, and we decided to prepare to walk away. At the same time, "A" decided to keep her baby, and our dream of having a baby brother for Owen, another child to share our love with, didn't come true.
Just a couple of weeks later, we received the test results we had requested for "Soojung." They were just what we needed to hear to move forward with her adoption. In December 2009, I brought home our precious baby girl we named Lily. Our dream had come true. We became parents again, and Owen was a big brother!
During the past few months, I have lived in a bit of disbelief. Just a few weeks after bringing Lily home, I had this feeling I was pregnant. I was so excited to finally have our little girl home, and we were going through so much with her not sleeping that I was so tired. If I were pregnant, it would be my 7th pregnancy. I was only 3 weeks into my cycle, but I just knew it. So, I called the specialist I talked with last year, and he told me to call him back as soon as I had a positive test. Well, a few days later, I got that positive pregnancy test and called him right back. He saw me immediately and started our "plan" we had developed last January. I had an ultrasound at 4 weeks to confirm that the pregnancy was viable, and then I started progesterone injections that Jim had to give me in my bum 2x/day and a prednisone (steroid) pill 2x/day in addition to my prescription Folate, prenatal vitamins, and aspirin. I had taken progesterone before, but I had never had the injection form even though my progesterone levels had never been great during pregnancy. The prednisone was in case my body had been rejecting the previous babies like an auto immune response. After seeing a heartbeat at 6 weeks, we started Heparin injections as well 2x/day. We continued to monitor my progesterone 2x/week through labwork, increasing the amount in my injection as needed until we saw it stay stable and high enough to help sustain the pregnancy until the placenta could take over the progesterone production. I had ultrasound after ultrasound and bloodwork after bloodwork done week after week, and we finally made it past the point when I have miscarried each time (between 8 and 10 weeks). The day of my 10 week ultrasound, I cried and cried. My doctor videoed the ultrasound for me, and he and the sonographer became teary eyed as we celebrated this milestone. Each week I have gone into the office holding my breath, waiting to see if that little heart is still beating, and each week it has been beating beautifully. A miracle. A true miracle. Our dream is coming true.
I am now 17 weeks pregnant and still in a bit of disbelief most days. I walk by a mirror and take a second glance every time. I just stare at this belly growing, at my body changing for this little angel, and I marvel at the fact there is a little person LIVING inside of me, something I never ever thought was going to be possible. God makes all things possible IN HIS TIME!!
Also during the past few months, God has opened all the doors that needed to be opened and closed those that needed to be closed so that He could bless us even more. He made it clear to us that the sweet baby boy we said good-bye to at the hospital last June was still meant to be our son. We are thrilled to announce that Owen and Lily have a baby brother!! I won't be sharing his name for privacy reasons, but we are so thrilled to be able to share with you about this very special child we love so much!! He is just a doll and is doing so well!!
Each day I feel so blessed. Sometimes I suddenly realize I'm not talking but just watching my children. I love to watch them learn, to see the wonder in their eyes, to hear the joy in their laughter. I LOVE being a mother. I am doing what God created me to do, and I couldn't be happier. My house was once empty. It had furniture and pretty things. It was neat and clean, but it was empty. I now have so many toys and crumbs scattered everywhere that it could pass for a daycare, but I am so blessed. I am so thankful that I have these beautiful children who play with all of these toys everywhere, these beautiful children who leave crumbs all over the house that have stuck to their little bottoms in their chairs at the dinner table, these beautiful children who have blessed us so much by letting us become their parents. There were so many times we never thought we'd have a child and that we'd never have a brother or sister for Owen. We didn't understand God's plans. We were hurt and disappointed, but we didn't lose hope. We kept believing that He had big plans for us, and we knew He would reveal them in His time, but it was so hard waiting!! A year ago, we never would have dreamed we would have three children come into our family in just a little over a year. This was more than we ever could have dreamed.
I always wanted to be a mother, a mother of four, and my dream is coming true.
I will always have hope. I will praise you more and more. Psalm 71:14