Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Update

First of all, my wonderful friend Joelle made the Praying for Matthew's Future button in my side bar. If you want to grab it and take it on over to your own blog, we'd appreciate anyone and everyone praying for him.

We got a call this evening from the new attorney in California. Without going into legal detail in such a public forum, we are MUCH encouraged after talking to him. Of course, anything can happen but it was wonderful to hear him telling us that case law is on our side! Additionally, he's a believer (Praise God!) and he told us that he would try to keep our costs to a minimum. I'm not sure what that's a minimum of exactly. Could be the GNP of a small nation for all I know.

Again, anything can happen but it was certainly good to feel our spirits lifted.

What We Know

We don't know much but here's what we know so far:

We need our own representation in California. We have a call into the recommended attorney. Hopefully we'll be able to scrape together the retainer. We have no idea how much that will be. Please pray that it's a figure we can get ahold of.

We are struggling with this. We certainly don't want to steal a baby from his birth father but we have been given reasons why we feel like he might not be the best option to raise Matthew. We really don't feel like this is the right forum to speculate on someone's character or ability, but such concerns DO play into our decision making and prayers. Additionally, I spoke to Jennifer yesterday and she is still completely committed to us raising Matthew. She wants him here and will back us 100%. So, if we chose not to fight this, we'd be going against her wishes. She said that I am his mother and that I love him as though he came from my own womb and I show no difference between my love for him and my love for Garrett and that he absolutely has to stay with us. Um...I'm glad that Matthew's birth mother can see what I know to be true.

I was talking to God. I asked why. I didn't mean why is this happening to us and not someone else. I simply meant why is it happening at all. What are we supposed to be learning and how should we proceed from here? I know that Troy and I didn't do anything wrong in this situation. We didn't go in with our eyes closed. There were no red flags. Yesterday Jennifer reiterated that God had led her to pick us and she believes that he is exactly where he is supposed to be. It struck me when she said--again--that God led her to us. I know that he is in control but it just made me realize that, for some reason, we are exactly where we're supposed to be. Whether we are supposed to be Matthew's parents for two months or a lifetime, God placed us here.

I take some small amount of comfort in knowing that my God trusts me with this. I sure wish he didn't have as much confidence in me. I certainly don't see whatever he sees. But I'm being held by a force much, much bigger than myself.

Monday, March 30, 2009

DNA Results

He just went from the potential birth father to the birth father. I don't know much else. I don't know where we go from here but I know it involves a third lawyer. And I know, through my tears, that God is in control.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

28 Days

Dear Matthew,

You are not one month old already. It's impossible. I mean, sure, you were born in February so you were technically cheated out of two or three days but still. You cannot possibly be 28 days old. See because that would mean that I've spent 28 whole days feeling like I'm trying not to drown. In some ways, I think you've been a part of this family for much, much longer than a month but, in other ways, I know that it was mere moments ago that I first laid on eyes on that head of hair as it emerged from within your mother.

In the hospital, on the day we were discharged, she was holding you and you started to fuss. She said that it sounded like you wanted your mom and she handed you to me. And you stopped. Just like that. Maybe I mentioned that before but it made my heart swell.

Matthew, I hate that it's hard for me to think about all the adorable things you've done in the past month because all I focus on is please, God, let me have a lifetime with him. You look at me with the deepest chocolate eyes and you trust me. You smile in your sleep and melt my already mushy and emotional heart. You coo and I wonder if it's the only voice I'll ever get to hear. And so I contemplate fleeing to Canada. Your father says we'd be safer in Ireland and it really makes no difference to me, as long as we're together. I won't do it, of course, even though the mother in me wants to stop at nothing to keep you here with us. In some ways, I'm angry that I'll never get the last 28 days back. I'll never get to snuggle you, fresh from the womb, without worry about what tomorrow might bring. But, if these are the only days I have with you, I'll be thankful that I had them. I'll be glad I pulled you into bed with me and breathed you--you smell like baking bread, don't ask me why--into my nostrils. I'll be thankful that I kissed your chubby cheeks two thousand times. I'll be so proud to have called you my son and to have felt you grip my fingers tightly in your fists.

Today the church gave us a baby shower--or, as your brother called it, a baby bath--and it was wonderful. I was truly dreading it on account of the fact that I burst into tears at extremely random times these days. But, buddy, you deserved to be showered upon. Your little life is worth something more than a giant custody battle. Hoards of people showed up to celebrate you and it was perfect. I wore regular mascara just so I wouldn't be tempted to cry. I certainly couldn't walk around the church with raccoon eyes. I am happy to report that I did not cry a single tear, though Allison did choke me me up once during her devotional. It was completely unintentional because it was a part that I certainly wasn't supposed to cry over. As she talked about hearing her son's deep belly laugh for the first time on account of dancing around the living room with him instead of doing the dishes, I couldn't help but wonder if I'll be privileged enough to hear your own laugh ring through my ears.

You will always be mine. Even if they take you, not a day will go by when I won't wonder how you are and what you're doing. Not an hour will pass where I don't love you. But, through it all, I want nothing more than to stand firm. If I were to leave you anything from our 28 days together, I would want it to be an unshakable faith. People have said that they're finding it hard not to be angry or upset with God because this just doesn't make sense. They've said that if they are feeling that way, surely I am. Matthew, I'm not. I've been there. The road that finally led us to your brother was painful and I questioned God more than a few times. I shook my fist at the heavens on several occasions. But I lived to tell about it and I regret that it showed me what a pathetic lack of faith I had. My heart ached but it did not break. God did not give me more than I could handle. We were blessed immeasurably with your brother and I wouldn't trade a second of our pain for that spirited toddler who is obsessed with touching your nose. How, on earth, can I be upset or angry at a God who allowed me these past 28 days and may, very well, allow me your life. Sure, the days have been filled with anxiety and stress, but he could have not given you to me at all. I am confident that's not what I would have wanted.

So I'm sorry that your first month has been full of turmoil, but at least you can know that we are loving you fiercely and standing firm in our faith. It's been a tough month but the beginning of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult! That's Kate Chopin and, if you live with me long enough, you'll be introduced to her again--if I have anything to say about it. I took that quote completely out of context and I don't even care. I'm not even going to apologize.

I love you, Matthew. Happy 1 month.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two Funnies and a Bloody

Today, as we exited the store, Garrett spied a cigarette lying on the ground. "Ew, yuck yuck. People die!" And the "die" was so overdramatic it was almost ridiculous. It was like bad acting where the performer grabs his neck and chokes several times. But at least he's learning young.

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Yesterday, as I quizzed him.


Me: Where is Jesus?
Garrett: In my heart.
Me: What happened to him?
Garrett: He died.
Me: Then what happened?
Garrett: He rose again!
Me: Who was his mom?
Garrett: Mary.
Me: Who is his dad?
Garrett: God.
Me: Who was his earthly father?
Garrett: Mary.
Me: No, Mary was his mom. His daddy on earth was Joseph.
Garrett: Doe-huff.
Me: Who was the disciple Jesus loved?
Garrett: Mary.
Me: No, his name was John.
Garrett: Uncle Jon and Heather!
Me: Well, he loves them, too, but a different John. Who was the naughty disciple?
Garrett: ME!


I corrected him.

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This morning I had to lug the boys to the pediatrician because Matthew got a nose bleed. He's been shooting bloody boogers out of his nose for over a week now but this morning was different. This morning it actually bled. All over two baby wipes.


After several medical professionals conferred, it was determined that we would do a strict regimen of saline nose drops and some sort of jelly junk to try to heal the bad blood vessel. If it isn't cleared up by next Tuesday, we'll have to see an ENT for a possible nasal surgery of some sort. Because the hits just keep coming.


And, it makes me want to call up Potential Birth Father and declare, "Alright, fight us for custody, but you'll want to have a good ENT lined up if you win. He has a bum nose. I can explain what that is if you need me to. I can also answer any plethora of parenting questions you have. Really I can. Try me."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Friend, Michelle

I've been meaning to tell you about my friend, Michelle. I met Michelle in the fall of 1999 which seems entirely impossible because that means that we've known each other for almost TEN YEARS. We lived on the same floor together during our freshman year of college and each year after that we lived in the same room. We canceled class together, we laughed together, and we cried together. After graduation, I was in her wedding and she was in mine. I love Michelle.

In the past several weeks there have been days when I want to blog a little something like this, "@^&#!" and leave it at that. I don't, because good little Christian boys and girls aren't supposed to say bad words, much less make them a topic of their latest blog. But on those days I think of Michelle. Michelle is pregnant with her first baby, a girl as far as anyone can tell. I'll let Michelle's blog tell you the story because I'd probably get it all wrong but, to make a long and painful story short, there have been complications in her daughter's development.

Michelle is getting me through my days. While I am anxiously awaiting DNA results and feeling the anguish of not knowing, I know that Michelle is anxiously awaiting her own test results. When I am feeling ridiculously sorry for myself, I think of Michelle, and of course her husband, Kevin, and I pray for them. And every night Troy and I lift them up in prayer together. It helps, to turn the focus outward.

I am so thankful for all the people who are lifting us up in prayer on a daily basis. Some people have linked back here on their own blogs and that kind of networking has led to an outpouring of prayer from across the nation. So, if you have linked to my blog, thank you. I want to pay it forward and send you to Michelle's blog. I believe, completely, in the power of prayer. If you throw a prayer out for Matthew, please add on another name and pray for little Karsie who, at just 13 cm, has certainly stolen my heart.

www.karsiegene.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Uncomfortable Moment

So, the most mortifying part of yesterday's shenanigans was the fact that the woman who took the swabs of Matthew's mouth kept making me lick all the envelopes.

Initially, I didn't think much of it. But toward the end of all the happenings, she explained to my husband, who had just returned from taking a walk with our squirrely two-year-old that she didn't want her DNA on any of the envelopes. "It's better if the only other DNA besides his is his mom's." I can tell you that a dozen thoughts clattered through my mind as I quickly corrected her. "I'm not his mom*."

I thought about how, clearly, Garrett is our biological son. I thought about how we're both wearing wedding bands. I thought about how this woman must have been thinking that our second child popped out black three weeks ago and my husband still loves me--despite my obvious cheating. I thought about how I'd explained to her that we couldn't have any identifying information on the paperwork because we're afraid of some of the things the potential birth father has threatened. So, she must have really wondered about my morality if, while married, I conceived a child, who was born African-American, and I don't know for sure if this guy in California is even the father. I thought all of this before she could even reply, "Oh, well, you just never know."

*Of course I'm his mom. I'm his mom enough for me to have been really exhausted last night because, even when he was sleeping he was coughing and sneezing and snorting and snoring and whining and so I wasn't sleeping. At all. I'm his mom enough for me to try explaining, at 1:30 am, to him that he really needs to work on his temper and not go from sleeping to screaming like a pack of rabid coyotes in less than two seconds flat. I'm his mom enough for him to answer my weary pleads for him to please stop crying by shooting a stream of urine into my face, all over my arm, and all over my side of the bed. But, for purposes of wanting her to understand that Matthew is adopted and not the product of a rift in my marriage, I am not his mom. I realize that I should have said "biological." And, by the way, California court system, if you happen to be reading, I really don't think you can even consider taking him away from us. He peed on my face for crying out loud. That has got to count for something!

In other news, my other son has been calling me Mommy Lori all morning. It's odd but it's really hilarious. If I don't answer him right away, he drops the Mommy altogether and calls out, "LORI!"

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fiery Furnace

Matthew's inner cheek was swabbed this morning and his DNA was sent off to California. Provided that the potential birth father gets his own cheek swabbed, we'll have the results in five days.

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us. There are good days and there are hard days but we can feel your support and are so thankful that you've prayed on our behalf. I've spent a great deal of time on my own in prayer and the Lord has revealed much to me.

For starters, Matthew isn't mine. He is God's. I should be thankful for each moment that the Lord allows me to have him and hold him.

In terms of finances, we probably have thousands and thousands of dollars worth of bills coming our way (especially if he is the father), but we've been blessed by several donations. When we look at the big financial picture it makes us ill and we still need a whole lot to be able to adequately fight this but, slowly and miraculously, the Lord is providing for us through the kindness and generosity of others. THANK YOU!

To answer a common question, if he is the father, we can win because the Lord can do whatever he chooses. In the book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar tells Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that he will have them thrown into the fiery furnace if they refuse to worship his image of gold. They reply, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." What I want everyone to know is that the Lord can choose to keep Matthew right here with us. And, in fact, the courts in California often elect to do exactly that and we've been told that we have a strong case. God can rescue us from this hand we've been dealt. BUT, even if he doesn't, we will remain committed to our faith and our Lord, who works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Through prayer, we believe that, if needed, we must risk everything to fight for this child and if we lose, we'll lose while being faithful. But, sparing legal details, the short answer is yes, we can win. Whether or not we will remains to be seen.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The One In Which I Talk About Members...Again

Alright so, I'd post a picture but it would be wildly inappropriate. See the thing is, you all know that poor Matthew had part of his little boyhood removed earlier this week. The doctor said that the ring (PastiBell method) would fall off within 4 to 7 days and that, if a week actually passed with it still attached, we should bring him back. Well, it's been four and a half days and, while the ring is still technically attached, it's hanging on by a thread. We were told not to pull it off.

Earlier this afternoon I was changing a poopy diaper. Garrett is absolutely obsessed with the fact that his brother poops and wants to assist any and all diaper changes just in case there is a poop inside. Whenever I get ready to change Matthew, Garrett screams, "Matthew is poopy?" Sometimes I reply with yes and sometimes I reply with I don't know yet. Any time that I say the latter, Garrett gleefully yells, "Maybe!" So, being that I knew this particular diaper was poopy, Garrett was so excited you'd have thought it was Christmas. Matthew was shrieking so I sent Garrett in search of the pacifier while I took care of his business. The ring is literally laying next to Little Matthew and is only attached by a thin piece of skin.

When Garrett ran back into the room with the pacifier he quickly pounced on the bed, crawled speedily over to the baby and exclaimed, "Matthew's penis has a tag!"

And if I told you I didn't almost die laughing, I'd be lying. Then I had a hysterical vision of people heading out to the local WalMart to hand select their own, personal, members. "Can I get a price check on...um...male appendages?" Just don't forget to cut off that tag when you get it home.

Oh man, I really need to stop talking about penises on my blog. It's getting out of hand.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Memorizing Matthew

Tracing the bridge of your nose with my pinkie finger and scrutinizing your lips, your ears, and your deep, black eyes, I am trying to stash every bit of you in my mind. Your squeaks and coos reverberate in my ears but I know they won't bounce around in there forever. I love you. So much. Your warm skin on my face when we're lying together, cheek to cheek, your fist wrapped tightly around my finger and the contrast of your perfect dark skin and my own milky variety, are things I am trying to remember not to forget. You don't know. You haven't got a clue that there is a battle raging for your little life. You are mine. Wholly. Entirely. I don't know how to put a price on that. And when your brother climbs up on me and states, simply, "Mommy's really sad." you have no idea the catastrophic understatement of such a sentence. You're not quite three weeks old and, if you are taken, you will never remember my face or my voice or the anguish I felt over losing you.
I know that life will go on. But how? How will I go on without you, knowing that you are there, living and breathing and being but doing it without me or your daddy or your big brother. We prayed for you for so long to have you for so little. Each day I try to forget about what might happen and focus on what will. You will be fed and clothed and loved. And next week, when your DNA is tested, you will be his. Or you won't be. If you are, we will fight for you because you are ours. Because you've been mine from the second you were born and I know your cries and your schedule and I've been up all night with you gosh darn it.

I want God's will and I want what's best for Matthew. But is it alright to ask for their DNA not to match? If you'd like to pray for that very thing, well, I wouldn't try to stop you. For now I'm just going to try to live each day. One of them at a time.

...Well something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day
Ive looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
Its life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
-Joni

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hottie Dogs

My son is so hilarious now that he can carry on conversations. Today, at Costco, he was explaining to everyone within earshot that he was about to get a hottie dog. He started calling them that several weeks ago which is weird because, until that point, they'd just been regular old hot dogs. Now they are affectionately referred to as hottie dogs which, when he says it, sounds very much like hockey dog. Anyway, so he was excited about getting a hottie dog and he informed everyone that his mommy was going to have a hottie dog, too, but that Baby Matthew couldn't have a hottie dog because he didn't have any teeth. Despite his sound logic, he was still sad that he couldn't share his beloved hottie dog with the baby. Several times he begged me to let him.

From formula straight to hot dogs. That, coupled with the couch cookies while we watch shows about weight loss, would probably put me in the running for Mother of the Year. Doncha think?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Biggest Loser

I confess, I've gotten totally into The Biggest Loser. To be perfectly honest, I'm always kind of bored for the first hour and 50 minutes but I absolutely love the transformation moment. Dropping that kind of weight is phenomenal. I mean, some of them lose entire me's and I find that incredible.

So last night we had our community life group so I didn't watch it. This afternoon I wanted to relax on the couch, baby on lap, and fast forward through the episode on DVR. But, alas, I have a toddler. Usually he's somewhat interested in The Biggest Loser so I figured I'd give it a shot.

When he quickly lost interest the following conversation took place.

Garrett: I want a tookie.
Me: (pause) If I give you a cookie will you sit on the couch and watch Biggest Loser with me?

No sooner had it come out of my mouth that I realized there was not a single redeeming quality about that sentence. Maybe I can sign the kid up for some diabetes while I'm at it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The One In Which I Talk About Members

***As for yesterday, well, apparently the woman never showed up. We appreciate your prayers and know that God's timing in this whole thing is perfect, even when we feel ourselves slowly going nuts. Legal things are happening on a daily basis but I won't go into detail. At this point it seems that we will not learn anything new until the court date which is scheduled for April. Currently the potential birth father is refusing to take a DNA test unless he can first see the baby. We're not likely to agree to that anytime soon. Please keep praying. We are stressed!
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Blood and guts don't bother me. I should have been a medical professional. Aside from the fact that my mind was far from wired for the sciences and I'd likely have failed straight out of school, I think I'd be great. I stay calm under pressure. Oh sure, I completely freak out when my house is cluttered but give me some blood and some real distress and I tend to remain totally level headed.

We kind of had to get out of the hospital really quickly on the day we were discharged. There was so much baby daddy drama going on that we were escorted out before we could have Matthew circumcised. Not only did we want him circumcised for a plethora of reasons, it was also the desire of his birth mother. So the nurses told us to have it done by his pediatrician. Today was the big day.

We all went to Matthew's doctor's appointment. He weighs 8 lbs 15 oz and is just shy of 21 inches long. He was actually 21 inches, according to the nurse, but I was supposed to be holding his head against that back and, well, that little booger is strong and wanted no part of it. So let's just say he's 21 inches if you count his hair. When it came time for the circumcision, the doctor said that we could attend or we could not attend, it was completely up to us. She then added that they make the dads sit down because they never handle it as well as the moms. I can understand that. Men seem to be a whole lot more concerned about the ahem business than women. I quickly informed her that Troy and Garrett would certainly not be in attendance. I had no intention of scarring my toddler for life. As for me, well, I hadn't yet decided. I hadn't been given the option with Garrett, they just took him away in the hospital and he came back a little, uh, shorter. She left to set up the O.R. (which was just a different exam room and wasn't really an operating room at all). I sat down next to Troy.

Me: Should I go?
Him: It's up to you.
Me: I should probably be with him.
Him: Okay.
Me: Plus then I can blog about it.
Him: There is seriously something wrong with you.

You have no idea.

I'll spare you the details but it was incredibly fascinating. The form of oral medication administered to my seventeen day old baby: sugar water. We've always believed that sugar, in moderation, is completely acceptable and our child has been allowed to consume cookies, cake and ice cream in small quantities. Or, as was the case at our Christmas Open House, huge volumes since everyone who walked in the door helped serve Garrett cookie after cookie. In any case, even he didn't have sugar at two weeks of age. Obviously the pediatrician isn't too concerned about keeping children completely away from the stuff since it was her drug of choice. His little member was numbed and the "surgery" took about fifteen minutes. He screamed a couple of times and each time the doctor instructed me to squirt more sugar into his mouth. At one point he was particularly upset and, as I pressed the tube into his mouth, I said, "Do you need something stronger? A Costco cake, maybe?" The nurse and the pediatrician thought I was kidding*.

He survived the ordeal but he is a gigantic grump now. I feel like a total heel. Currently he is sleeping and making the most adorable coo sounds with each breath. And, okay, so I know this is completely politically incorrect but I want to eat him. He is just so deliciously chocolaty. I wanted to consume Garrett, too, when he was that age, but he didn't look like the finest milk chocolate. I am positively in love with his skin tone. Positively.

I kind of feel like I'm going to lose a lot of readers (which of the six of you is going to jump ship?) after talking about male appendages and circumcision and eating my African-American son. Please forgive me. It helps me keep my mind off of the ulcer I'm working on growing.

*Of course I was kidding but we Doozleberry's do like to self medicate with buttercream frosting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Please Pray!

PLEASE PRAY!

One of the lawyers is meeting with the potential birth grandmother today at 1:30 PST to try to talk some sense into them. (So to speak). Please pray that, miraculously, she has a softening of her heart and is able to convince her son that this is the best place for Matthew. There will probably be some legal specifics discussed between the two of them and I won't go into detail on that right now. Just know that we covet your prayers regarding their meeting.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekends

Weekends around here are good. On the weekends, we don't hear from lawyers. On the weekends, we don't get updates about what the potential birth father may or may not be doing. On the weekends, Troy is home and Garrett is a big brother and I am the mother of two. On the weekends, I don't feel quite so pressed to memorize every pore on Matthew's face and I know it's okay to let him nap somewhere other than my arms. Weekends are really good.

But Monday is coming.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pictures!

First of all, to answer all your questions...we are likely having a paternity test done next week.
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My emotions are like a pendulum swinging back and forth. I almost cried today in WalMart when someone told me he was beautiful. But we just keep doing what you do when you have a newborn. His umbilical remnants fell off yesterday so you know what that means...

Bath Time!

When we first bathed Garrett he liked it for, like, a minute and then screamed his head off. Not this baby. This baby was totally calm and perfectly happy for his whole bath. He loved it.

Here is a little video of the excitement of the bath. Garrett climbed in and helped me bathe his brother and then he decided to give himself a little bath...except he was fully clothed.


video
Here is a picture of him that was taken when he was exactly two weeks old. If you're keeping track, that was earlier this afternoon.
Finally, when Matthew was just six days old, a dear friend of ours took pictures of our family. I wanted to share a few with you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hope Does Not Disappoint Us

My body aches. One day at a time has become one hour or, perhaps even, one minute at a time. I don't really want to share too many legal details on a blog but Matthew's adoption is being contested. He is certainly ours for now but in a couple of months he may not be. And, unfortunately, we don't have the kind of money it takes to fight. We've already taken out a loan to pay for the costs we've incurred and we haven't had a tough legal battle yet.

When I learned of all of this today, the following passage crawled into my head:

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

This is incredibly difficult. If you would please join us in praying for the well being of Matthew, we would be thankful. We would love it if you could share our story with people who might lift us up in prayer. Pray for Matthew and for Garrett. Pray for a peace that passes understanding. Pray, if you will, for our financial situation. We worship a God who is much bigger than our check book but, when a mother looks at the dwindling funds and then looks into her child's eyes, the anguish is almost tangible.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Story

Dear Son,

Watching your birth was one of the most profound experiences of my life. To be privileged enough to sit, two feet away, as you came into the world was incredibly moving. Though I would have understood if she'd chosen differently, I will be forever grateful that your mother picked me to sit by her side. When I first laid eyes on your face, before the doctor wrangled the rest of your body from her abdomen, I knew that it was a face I would love forever, a face I would plaster on my mind's eye for the rest of my life.

You were supposed to be induced on February 27 but, despite the fact that your birth mom had an appointment with the doctor at 3:30, she wasn't seen until 7:15. She was dilated to two and her doctor scheduled induction for 6:00 am on February 28. He didn't figure the hospital staff would be thrilled to start an induction in the late evening. We took her and your biological aunt and uncle to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then put your aunt and uncle up at the local Holiday Inn because they had intended to spend the night in the hospital and had no where to go. Your birth mother ate Jambalaya pasta in the hopes that throwing some serious spice around her stomach might pique your interest and get you the heck out of her womb. You kicked her so hard during that meal that I actually thought she was having contractions.

After dinner we dropped your aunt and uncle off at the hotel and then stayed at a friend's house in a nearby city where we tried to get some sleep. By 4:30 we were up. By 5:00 we were headed back to the hospital. They took your mother back at 6:00 and the four of us hung out in the waiting room while they admitted her and got the IV started. By 7:00 they still hadn't called us back but we were having a good time talking and laughing in the waiting room. I think we were all pretty jittery because we found the early morning infomercials to be utterly hysterical. Remind me sometime to tell you about the PX90 and how your uncle exclaimed that, "X is for extreme!" and we all died laughing. It doesn't sound so funny now but maybe one day you'll meet your uncle and he can try to explain just why it made us all crack up. Or maybe we'll just chalk it up to the looming excitement of the day.

Your aunt and I were finally called back to be with your mom who, without Pitocin, was having regular contractions. They were still about seven minutes apart but it seems like you were attempting to start making your way into the world. Maybe it had something to do with the jambalaya. As the minutes passed by, we talked and laughed and told stories and in the middle of it all a nurse rushed in and put your mother on oxygen. (Your birth mother, that is, I was totally breathing fine and not freaking out about how I was about to add another bouncing bundle of dirty boy to my arsenal--in case you were wondering.) It seems that your heart rate decided to decelerate. Silly boy, trying to be just like your brother who gave us all a little scare when I was in labor two and a half years ago. At 9:24 the nurse examined your mom and she was still dilated to two. That, too, is a common denominator between yours and your brother's labor story. I was dilated to two f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

Your heart rate stabilized and remained between 130-150 for quite awhile. Your aunt and I timed the contractions and talked your mom through them. The nurse decided she could probably start the Pitocin and went to confirm with the doctor. He came in, spoke with your mother, and told the nurse to go ahead and start the drip. And then your heart rate fell again. The doctor thought that your umbilical cord was wrapped around your neck so he ordered a C-section. Your mother was really worried about you--and worried about getting cut open. I told her that everything would be fine and together we all prayed. I knew, in the deepest recesses of my soul, that you would be perfect. Everything about the whole situation seemed covered with the fingerprints of God. I didn't feel nervous or anxious at all--which is awfully strange because I am a worrier.

Your mom thought your aunt and I could both accompany her but I explained that only one of us could. I assured her that I would see you at first opportunity, because I was sure she would choose your aunt. I wanted to be there but I wanted her to be as comfortable as possible. She seemed slightly saddened that her sister couldn't come but was positive she wanted me there. She told me, "You have to be there for him." I couldn't have agreed more.

I was dressed in enormous scrubs. Seriously, those things are not one size fits all. I was practically distributing my bra for the commentary of medical personnel. I followed as they wheeled you two into an O.R. As they got your mother started on the epidural I sat outside the operating room and chit-chatted with your doctor, who has a house in Park City and wanted to shoot the breeze about Utah's snow. When they called me into the operating room I quickly tied my mask around my face and tried to act my age and not imagine that I was on a medical drama. Outwardly I succeeded. Inwardly I was shouting that I needed 50 cc's of something or other stat!


I sat by your mom's head and watched over the screen. Holding her arm and her head--as instructed--I heard the anesthesiologist explaining everything to her as it happened. And I watched as a thin line of blood trickled from her side. Then there was general medical jargon spouted between the two doctors and, finally, a flood of amniotic fluid pouring from her side. Her abdomen was jostled and yanked and suddenly, your head was pulled from her body. It seemed like an eternity before your body was born and I locked in on your precious face, informed your mom that you had a head of hair, and fought tears of epic proportions. Then, at 12:42 pm, the doctor pulled hard on your head and removed the rest of your body from hers.


I followed you over to where they were suctioning your mouth and using a tube through your nose to get the fluid out. They asked if I wanted to cut the cord. Something felt so monumental about your dad cutting Garrett's cord and me cutting yours. Of course, the important part had been cut by the doctor just seconds after you were born but it still seemed so symbolic. With Garrett, the cutting of his cord essentially separated him from me for the first time and forever. But with you, a simple snip of the umbilical cord seemed to join you to our family, to me.

Not long after, a plastic hospital band was wrapped around my wrist and your ankle and you were whisked away to the nursery. I followed you and, eventually, was able to get your dad into the nursery for a quick peak before the nurses instructed us to leave your side for a couple of hours while they examined you and bathed you and generally made sure that you were healthy. We left the hospital in search of lunch but I quickly realized that I couldn't be away from you. I'd spent your entire existence away from you and I had no plans to stay away for a moment longer. I took myself back up to the third floor and stared at you through the window. For an hour and a half. I tried to memorize all 7 pounds 13 ounces of you. I examined each of your 19 and a half inches. I felt fiercely proud and wholly in love.

You are nine days old. The drama that has surrounded these past nine days is incredible and tumultuous. But those first two hours, watching your birth and watching you through the window, were the definition of peace. Regardless of what happens in our lives and what the Lord chooses to lead us through, I will always find blessed comfort in the memory of those moments.

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that Jennifer signed under Utah law which means that, as far as Matthew's birth mother is concerned, he is 100% ours.

The bad news is that I was speaking with our lawyer today and, unfortunately, the potential birth father told the hospital social worker that he intends to get a lawyer and fight for his rights.

We still know that God is in control.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name
Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name
You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord blessed be Your name

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Few Things

We are having an open house on Saturday, March 7 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. If you'd like to visit with me, Garrett and Matthew, feel free to stop by. It will be at my parents house.

Please let me know if you plan to stop by so that I can get drinks and munchies accordingly.

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Also, I'd like to announce the winners of the Starbucks guessing game. My grandmother correctly picked Matthew's birth weight at 7lbs 13oz exactly. My good friend Joelle chose the correct date and got the closest to the time.
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Matthew David

Matthew David was born on February 28 at 12:42 pm. He weighed 7lbs 13oz and was 19.5 inches long. His birth story will follow at some point but what needs to be said now is that someone is claiming to be his birth father and is possibly going to contest this adoption. Without going into detail, the hours surrounding his birth were wonderful and it was a perfect day. Two hours after his birth, we were all blindsided by this development. He's been with us since birth and is in our custody. We are waiting to see if this man takes any legal action.

What we do know is that the birth mother chose us and is still choosing us. She wants us to raise him and so we've been caught in the middle of a lot of unknowns. For now, we are loving him and caring for him as though he will be with us for always. One thing I've learned in my life is that I only desire God's will. He knows the plans he has for each of us and all of our days were written in his book before one of them came to be. We are NOT praying for Matthew to stay with us. We ARE praying for what is best for him. We love him immeasurably and have bonded with him just as we did with our biological son--when there was no threat of losing him. Should he be taken away from us, we will be devastated but we will move forward, knowing that God is, and has always been, in control.

Please join us in praying for him. Please pray that Matthew's best interest would be all that matters to everyone involved.