Thursday, April 30, 2009

Child Abuse

I'm lucky my firstborn wasn't removed from my home and placed in protective services this afternoon. His head looks like I took a bat to it. And Matthew had a well baby appointment with the pediatrician. And Garrett went with me. And trust me, he did not look good. And though my reasons sounded better than he fell down the stairs I was still a little worried. And it was special. And yeah.

This morning was my last session of MOPS and, after picking him up from his childcare room, I took Garrett to the bathroom. While I helped him maneuver little Garrett so that we didn't christen the restroom with his urine, I noticed that his ear was completely bruised and swollen. Concerned, I went back to talk to the adult in charge to see if I could figure out what had happened. They had no recollection of him hurting himself. Garrett insists that he did it at MOPS and that it happened when he somehow got into a fight with the table. This confuses me since the table only goes up to Garrett's waist. Troy thinks it may have happened when he ran into the door this morning, before we left.

Matthew's doctor's appointment was at 1:10 and I left MOPS at 11:40. I stopped at Costco to fill up the gas tank and then headed over to McDonald's. As I flung the door open, so that it would go wide enough for me to fit through with a car seat, Garrett stepped right into the oncoming metal. The edge of the door hit him dead in the center of his head. He stumbled back and flopped onto the ground, screaming. I quickly set Matthew's car seat on the ground and scooped Garrett into my arms. There was no blood, just a two inch dent on his forehead. We're trying to pinch every penny these days so I took a sandwich for Garrett and got him fries off the dollar menu to go with his PB&J. And I got a cup of ice--for the head. I called my mom to tell her that the pediatrician might take my son away from me on account of the fact that I throw doors into his face. After he consumed his sandwich I told him he could go play and he could come back for fries when he wanted them. Happily, he took off, with a fry in each fist. After he clomped around in the play area for several minutes, he emerged at the bottom of the slide. Still holding a fry, he shoved it into his mouth as he smiled and ran, head down, toward me. Poor little guy never saw the support beam coming.

Though it was padded, the beam, which held up the structure, left a fast growing goose egg on the right side of his forehead. I held him, iced his egg, and called my mom. "You are not going to believe this..."

Well, the doctor never said a word. When the nurse came to give Matthew his shots, Garrett was just desperate for a Band-Aid. I said, "Well, you don't need any shots today. Maybe we could put one on your head."

The nurse replied, "Yeah, what happened there?"

I launched into the story complete with, "I was kind of afraid to come in here after that."

She replied, "Oh no, they all look like they're self inflicted."

"All except this one." I ran my finger down the dent. "That one was mommy inflicted. Maybe I should teach him not to throw himself in front of doors at the last second." She laughed.

I wish I could tell you that Garrett's child abused head was the most mortifying part of my day but it wasn't. No ma'am. That would belong to the moment when the doctor pulled the rolling chair up next to me, turned a chart in my direction, and talked to me about childhood obesity, since that is where Matthew is headed.

Okay, honestly, she said that she "had to talk to me" but she wasn't terribly worried about a two month old. There is nothing I can do at this point. He has to eat when he's hungry. Etcetera. Etcetera. Etcetera.

But let us compare for a moment, shall we. Garrett, at two months was in the 42% for weight and the 48% for height. Matthew, tank that he is, is in the 67% for weight and the 16% for height. He truly is, as Troy calls him, the bowling ball with limbs. He weighs 12 lbs 8 oz and is 22 inches long. At this rate he just might be our little running back. If we can turn that chub into muscle, that is. I told my mother that if he was my first baby I'd have died of horror. But well, I'm much more worried about losing him than I am about his eight week old rolls. Formula=liquid fat I suppose. But she must not have been too worried because she said she'd do anything she could to help us during our legal battles. Like writing a letter, if needed. Well, that was quite a relief because I spent the whole time trying to keep the other kid away from the soap and the sink. And I probably said no five hundred times. But I didn't ask for a bat. That probably earned me some points.

Ah...motherhood.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Awareness Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and well, if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know how I feel about infertility. If you are walking or have walked the journey, you know how important advocacy is. If you've never been touched by the disease, I encourage you to learn more. For now I will give you just two reasons to make yourself aware of the physical, emotional and psychological effect that infertility has on your friends and family.

Reason #1


Reason #2



Obviously, my reasons look very different. Reason #1 is our biological answer to countless prayers and petitions that I would have a child. Reason #2 is our (contested) adopted answer to the same prayers. In our wedding ceremony, my father-in-law said we were coming together for the purpose of having a family (among other things--that wasn't the only reason he listed). Building our family has proven to be...uh...difficult. And there are so many things we can be doing. Like beating down the doors of the insurance companies for one thing.


Can you tell if those are Garrett's or Matthew's feet? I mean, obviously, they are baby feet...but was this picture taken in 2006 or in 2009? If you look closely, you can tell. I just find it amazing that it's hard to tell at first glance. You know, given their difference in pigment.



Hey, mom, I'm just going to rub this flower all over my brother, okay? Then he'll smell good instead of smelling like old spit up.


Quick, take the picture, he's losing me. Pretty soon he'll just move his arms altogether and I'll be forced to roll happily onto the blanket.



Can I tell you her secret? Usually I close my eyes and smile like a big giant goober. She got me laughing by telling me to say, "Poopie!" Since that is generally something she discourages me from saying, I'd like to submit that she's not being terribly consistent, which, as we all know, is rule number one of parenting.


I always look startled. I think it has something to do with my baby Einstein hair, my perpetually wide eyes, and my flared nostrils. What do you think?


Be aware of NIAW. If not for me, do it for them. They wouldn't be here if I'd never dealt with infertility.


Well, Matthew would be here. He just wouldn't be here. Which may happen anyway. You never know. Yes, I'm surly today. I'm fending off the feverish plague my son has been battling for three days. But I'd be better if you took a moment to look infertility in the face and vow never again to ask someone, "So, when are you gonna have a baby?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Call

For those of you who have been waiting for an update on the phone call, I am sorry. It got pushed back and then, right when we finished, the doorbell rang and our dinner party was standing there, waiting to be fed. I just got a chance to sit down at the computer.

It would appear that we have a long court battle ahead of us. While the call with the birth father was not really hostile, it was uncomfortable. There is so much that I wish I could tell all of you who have been lifting us up in prayer but I don't feel that it's appropriate to divulge the details of a private conference call for all the Internet to browse.

At one point I cried, though certainly not loudly enough for him to hear me. I just hate that there is no scenario here where everyone can win. I've decided that what has to be the only thing that matters is that Matthew wins.

It felt unproductive to me.

When he said, "It's been almost two months--" I wanted to scream, It's been exactly two months. Two months as of three hours ago! But then I remembered that there isn't really a bad guy in this situation and taking it out on him certainly won't do any good.

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

I can tell you, with great certainty, that there is only one set of footprints right now.

Two Months

Matthew,

Where have the days gone? The newborn look has left and, in its place, a chubby two month old wiggles and coos and stares at his hands with a look that says, "How marvelous that these things are attached to my body."

This month has been heaven and it has been hell. Heaven, for the peaceful days we've had where you are simply you and I forget to worry about a life without your squirmy little body. Hell, for the times when I forget to forget that this is a real possibility. You are bound to my heart. End of story. I just can't say it more simply than that.

You babble all the time. I think this must have something to do with the fact that your daddy talks for a living, your mommy has talked since birth, and your big brother never, ever, shuts up. You're learning young that, in order to get a word in edgewise, you need to hone those verbal skills early. It's the sweetest sound and I can feel my heart melting with each squeak that passes through your lips.

Three nights ago you had a setback in "Operation Getting You to Sleep Through the Night". You were not happy with the smaller amount of food and you pitched a fit. Two nights ago you repeated the night before and shrieked, angrily. I knew you'd never "beat" your brother, who slept through the night at nine weeks. Last night you woke up at 3:45 and let out one cry. I replaced your pacifier. You woke up at 4:15 and let out another cry. Again, I put the paci back in your mouth. I woke up at 7:00. You were still asleep. So, do you think that going over seven hours without being fed constitutes sleeping through the night, even if you did let out a couple of squawks in the early hours of the morning? If so, congratulations, you did it at exactly two months! I suspect that, in ten or twelve years, if I ask your brother he'll say it doesn't count and if I ask you, it certainly would. I have a sneaking suspicion that the two of you may be slightly competitive in some areas. For now, we'll just have to wait and see if you get through another night.

Your brother has taken to calling you Little Buddy and it is the cutest thing. Of course, it prompted your daddy to say, "Where are we? Gilligan's Island?" Honestly, I have no idea where he came up with it. I often refer to you and your brother as Buddy but I can't say that I've ever called either of you little buddy.

I weighed you on my scale this morning and, unofficially, you're about 12 and 1/2 pounds. Oink. Oink. But, other than the occasional stink of dried formula that takes up residence in your neck folds, your rolls are ridiculously edible.

You smile constantly and what I love most about that is how you aren't bothered by any of this battle. You're happy. You're healthy. You're well cared for. You're loved. And that is all that matters to you. Thank you for your smiles. They touch my soul just like your brother's did, even though you didn't grow under my heart but in it.

I love you with every beat of my heart, every muscle and every sinew, everything that I am.

-Mommy

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tomorrow's Call

Tomorrow we will hear Matthew's birth father's voice for the first time. We have a conference call scheduled tentatively for 2:00 pm PST. The lawyers will also be on the line. According to our attorney, this is an opportunity for the BF to tell us his side of the story. We will listen and offer him reassurance that his son is being well cared for while the state works out his permanent custody.

Please pray!

Specifically, pray that he would have a softening of his heart after speaking with us. Pray that we would be able to adequately handle anything he might throw at us and that we would be able to convey our love for his son in a non threatening way. Pray that our toddler would not interrupt our conversation. And, as always, please pray for Matthew and that whatever is best for his future would ultimately prevail.

Please tell anyone and everyone you know who might lift us up in prayer.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Strawberries

Last night, after dinner, I was putting the lid on a Tupperware bowl full of sliced strawberries. Somehow, I applied the pressure all wrong. The bowl went skidding across the counter top and then fell to the ground, throwing strawberries and juice across the floor.

G: Uh oh. Strawberries on the hoar.
T: Yeah. We can let the dog have them.
Me: (Simultaneously said with Troy's statement) You can eat some off the floor if you want, buddy.
T: (Without missing a beat) Garrett, now you see where you rank on each of our list of priorities.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's The Year of BeeBeeBee

On the adoption front: We haven't heard from lawyers in over a week. While this is certainly less expensive than hearing from them, and allows us to pretend that nothing crazy is happening in our lives, it also makes activator people, like myself, a bit neurotic. I've been having some really nice, quiet, days with my boys so that has been a blessing but whenever I accidentally start rehashing the events that transpired in the hospital, I start to feel like I am on the brink of an anxiety attack. Generally, I just kind of breathe in and out and pray my way through it. God is good.

I'd just like to take a moment to say something that's been on my mind. Perhaps someone is reading this blog who is considering adoption and might be starting to rethink that given what they've seen us going through. I want you to know that I back adoption 100%. Our situation is certainly not the norm and, even having gone through the past two months, I fully support adoption. It has been wonderful to welcome another child into our home. It's been such a huge blessing to experience that all encompassing love for our son, even though it's been a tumultuous and gut wrenching eight weeks. If you take anything from what we're going through, I would want our story to lead you into the arms of adoption and not away from them. The way things have transpired, I believe, now more than ever, that Matthew needs us. If not for life than at least for now.

I know that this blog isn't titled, "The Funny Things Garrett Says" but it maybe should be. It seems that's all I talk about lately. Truthfully, I'd much rather spend every day chronicling the hilarious things he says as opposed to writing all the insane things that are happening with Matthew and his plethora of parents.

Yesterday:
G: I love you, mom.
Me: Ohhh, thanks. I love you, too!
G: But I love my daddy so much better.
Me: Oh. Okay.

We sing a song at church called Days of Elijah. Garrett really likes it and he's gotten pretty good at singing it. Sort of.

G: There's no God Jehoba. There is no God Jehoba. Hold he comes. Riding clouds. Shining like sun the trumpet calls. Lift voice year beebeebee.

Translation: There is no God like Jehovah. There is no God like Jehovah. Behold he comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun at the trumpet call. Lift your voice, it's the year of Jubilee...

I leave you with this video of my boys. The best part is that, when Garrett uses incorrect grammar, I correct him by saying, "That's not good English." I only wish that he had looked at me and said, "Mother, it was not proper English."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I So Did Not Need To Know That

I try to keep this blog family friendly but the following story must be told.

So today I went to the farmer's market style store where I've been getting most of my fruits and vegetables. With my toddler and my seven week old in tow I entered the check out line. The woman in front of me had several things including corn dogs.

G: Hockey dogs!
Me: Yep.
G: Those my hockey dogs?
Me: No, they are hers.
Her: (Turning around) Do you like corn dogs?
G: Oh yes!
Her: (lifting up a huge dog bone) I'm also getting this for my dog. She'll love it.
Me: Oh, our dog would love that.
Her: What kind of dog do you have?
Me: A golden retriever.
Her: I have a miniature Australian shepherd*. She's is so spoiled.
Me: Our dog is pretty spoiled too.
Her: I love her so much. I'd rather have my dog than *insert word for male appendage here*.

Okay, now, you have to actually insert the word and say the whole sentence out loud or something. I think that is the only way to actually get the effect. I. Could. Not. Believe. It. Now, I am certainly not the most modest individual. I'll talk about a plethora of topics. And I am surrounded by lots of male appendages given the fact that I am the sole female in this house and that includes my dog and cat. But, to inform a complete and total stranger who has a two year old--who repeats everything--in her cart that you'd rather have your dog than, well, that...I was floored. To say the least. I stood there and kind of felt perplexed and wondered what I was supposed to say in response to that.

So I said nothing and she said, "I have to see your baby." I jumped at the chance to change the subject. Anything to keep me from discussing dogs vs. men with a total stranger. All the while I was thinking, Can I blog about this? No. Well, maybe. No. Yes? I have got to call my mom.


*I cannot actually remember what she said she had because the events that followed shocked that particular bit of information right out of my memory. I know it was a miniature something or other.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring

We've been having some nice (warm!) days lately and I've had the wonderful privilege of just hanging out with my boys and enjoying life with them. Garrett is now 2 and 3/4 and I just don't know where, on earth, the past 33 months have gone. He cracks me up multiple time a day with his antics. This morning he walked into my room and said, "See ya later, mom, I'm going to WalMart. Back soon."

Alrighty then. Take care. Can you pick up some more milk for me while you're there? I mean, as long as you're so gung ho about running errands, you might as well earn your keep.

He loves going to the mailbox so I usually have him accompany me when I need to send something. Today he was playing with a Little People Airplane when I asked him if he wanted to help me.

G: Otay.
Me: Put your plane down so you can carry the mail.
G: (looking at me like I am dumbest person who ever walked the face of the planet and waving his unoccupied hand in my face) I have dis hand, too. Silly mommy.
Me: Oh. Okay. Precocious stinker.

Currently we are in the backyard playing in the kiddie pool. Or, rather, Garrett is playing in the kiddie pool, Matthew is napping on an activity mat and I am soaking up the sun. It's wonderful and peaceful and Garrett keeps getting drinks out of his pool and referring to it as wemowade, which is code for his favorite beverage, lemonade. No worries, I did not fill his pool with sticky lemon juice.There is nothing more perfect than his cackle as he slips down the slide into the chilly water.

These are the days I hope I never forget.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gift

Yesterday I found out that the birth mother's lawyer was court appointed effective April 3. This means that we don't have to pay for the 3-16. We totally thought we'd have to pay for those two weeks so praise God that we don't!

Today I took Matthew with me to a women's conference. A room full of mothers and grandmothers and wannabe mothers and grandmothers well, let's just say, he was definitely a hit. I won a raffle prize and I was going to pass him off to my friend while I headed up to receive it. The woman calling numbers (who I've met at MOPS) would have none of that and I had to traipse up there with Matthew and display him to the rest of the women. She called him edible and talked about how darn cute he is. I was pretty much okay with it. It's not even a pride issue because I had nothing to do with making him. And he's totally delicious, it's true.

At the end of the day a little boy, maybe five, walked up to me and said, "God has given you a wonderful gift." I replied, "He sure has." But what I was thinking was, What kind of kid says that? Are you for real? Are you an angel? Did God send you to remind me that he. is. in. control? Of course, when I walked over and relayed the story to my friends I had to swallow down the lump in my throat.

I don't think he was really an angel but I certainly think that he was sent into my pathway today to remind me of God's blessing. This boy knew nothing of the legal fees or the fiasco we've found ourselves in. But what he saw was Matthew--our gift of God.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Terribly Two

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. This morning, not long after Garrett entered into an agreement with his underwear (Hello, Wall-E underpants, I won't go potty in you because it makes you sad) he wandered upstairs where I was doing my hair.

G: I poop in my diaper.
Me: You need a diaper to go poop? (Apparently he's afraid of pooping in the toilet.)
G: No. I go poop in my diaper. I did.
Me: You're not wearing a diaper.
G: (looking a little surprised) I pooped in Wall-E.

Let's just say that it was everywhere. I ended up with poop on the toilet seat, poop in the bathtub and poop on the floor. High times.

He has also been decidedly two lately. This means that he does not listen to me. I must sound like every adult on Charlie Brown because Garrett does not hear me--or he just doesn't care. He got put in time out this morning because he dumped the dog's water all over the place. I sat him on his stool in the middle of his room and told him not to get up. By the time I was back from checking on the baby, the stool was empty. I sat him back on it and held him there while he wailed. When he finally stopped crying I attempted reasoning with him. "If you stay here for two minutes without crying and without getting up, I will let you out of timeout." Then I went next door, to the playroom, and started picking up toys. Suddenly, I heard his voice.

G: I'm on my stool.
Me: Good. Just another minute.
G: I'm on my stool.
Me: (To myself) Why does it sound like he's getting closer?
G: I'm on my stool.
Me: (To myself) Clearly he's walking toward me. What a little liar.
G: I'm on my stool.
Me: (Whirling around to greet his voice, which is now in the room with me.) NO YOU ARE NOT--

There he stood, four feet from me, holding the stool to his butt.
************************************************
To answer the question left a few times in my comment section, Matthew's birth father filed his case in a particular court that does not often deal with adoption and with a judge who may not be familiar with adoption law. We went on the offensive and filed in a court with a judge who has a great deal of experience with California adoption law. The two cases were consolidated together yesterday with the judge of our lawyers choosing because our court date was before his. Hope that helps.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hearing Results

1. Birth mother's lawyer was court appointed. This means we won't be incurring anymore cost on that front. Praise God!

2. Birth mother's case is consolidated with birth father's case. Praise God!

3. Status Review Hearing is scheduled for May 5. The birth mother will need to be present. We will not.

Hearing

I don't know what to say. I'm staring at a blank screen, knowing that Matthew's case is (or soon will be) in court. Granted, placement won't be decided but legal things will be happening regarding the future of this case. I feel tormented. I don't really know why. It's just awful this business of not having any control and wondering how many more weeks or months I have to wonder...

I think the worst part is that I love my son. I would certainly throw myself into oncoming traffic for him and I can't imagine a life without him. Trouble is, I'm sure that is exactly how his birth father feels. I hate that, for someone, this ends with a throbbing ache that, at best, can only dull over time. Should we keep Matthew, I will know that someone is hurting on a daily basis. But, my primary concern has to be the boy. I believe that he is better off with two parents and a brother and a church family and a golden retriever.

Please pray for what is happening/did happen in court today. Please pray for our family. Because we are just that, a family. And I just can't bear the thought of my family being torn apart.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Answers

Concerning my precious second born, I've received several questions in person, on this blog and through email. I figured that now is as good a time as any to (try to) answer them. If you ever have a question, feel free to ask away--while I won't share everything, I feel that the more informed you are the more you can lift us up in prayer. If you don't believe in prayer you can send good thoughts in our direction. (Of course, I believe, wholeheartedly, in the power of prayer and you can always ask me about that belief. I'd love to share my Savior with you.)

What, exactly, is supposed to happen at the hearing tomorrow?
Good question. While we're not entirely sure, we know that the lawyers are seeking a consolidation of the birth father's case with our case. Jennifer's lawyer, who we've been paying, will hopefully be court appointed to the case. That will mean that we'll only continue paying two attorneys instead of three. To our knowledge, nothing will be decided regarding Matthew's future.

How much does that baby weigh now?
He's a total chunk. He was 7lbs 13oz at birth and is now almost 12 pounds. He is certainly not failing to thrive. I keep wanting to compare him to Garrett (the skinny mini baby) but reminding myself that they have completely different DNA. It's a good thing I adore rolls and chubby cheeks. ;-)

How is he sleeping?
Usually he's up once at night--around 2:30 or 3:00. Garrett slept through the night at nine weeks. It's not looking like Matthew will break that record. So far, he's a great napper.

How much is this actually costing?
We did our homework and anticipated that this adoption would cost about $12,000. We are currently sitting just shy of $19,000 and we haven't really begun our portion of the "legal fight". The good news is that we have received about $8,000 in donations from our church, friends and families. Praise God! The bad news is that we started this journey on a loan. I'm clinging to Philippians 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

Would you have made a different decision if a DNA test had been done in the hospital?
Had we chosen not to bring Matthew home with us, I'm not entirely sure what would have happened to him. Since his mother wanted him with us, he may have ended up in the foster system until father and mother could work out his future. Or he may have defaulted to his mother--who was sure about her decision to place him for adoption. In any case, I am sure that if we had decided not to hold him and love him and leave the hospital with him, I would have spent every day for the rest of my life wondering if I'd made the wrong decision. If, on the other hand, we lose him now (while spending thousands and thousands of dollars that we don't have) I won't regret that I didn't leave him in the hospital. I'm confident of that. Matthew West sings a song where he says, "I don't wanna spend my whole life asking, 'What if I had given everything?'" He is talking about the Christian life and not just going through the motions but that particular lyric rings true to our situation. I have to believe that we are right where God wants us because we've prayed through every aspect of this entire process. I believe, deep down, that Matthew belongs here and, painful as it is on a daily basis, I'm glad that I don't have to spend my whole life asking, "What if I had brought him home?"

How can I pray for you?
Short term, please pray that tomorrow's hearing goes the way our lawyers hope it does. Long term: Pray for Matthew. We've always only truly wanted what is best for him. Pray for finances. We hate begging for money but it's basically come down to that or stripping and I know God definitely doesn't want me to do that. Also I can't dance so it would be a problem on so many levels.

Is Garrett jealous?
He's had a combined total of about three minutes of jealousy since the moment he met his baby brother. He absolutely adores Matthew and, truthfully, we worry the most about him in this situation.

How do you get through the day?
Sometimes I feel like I barely escape the day in one piece. It is by the grace of God, and the fact that I know His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, that I make it through. I'd be lying if I said that I haven't made any "attitude mistakes" during this trial but I'm trying to lean not on my own understanding. I think I make it through by knowing that what matters is Matthew and God loves him infinitely more than I do. In the end Matthew will be okay and we'll be okay and this too shall pass. So, all that...and chocolate. Chocolate helps.

Header

Joelle did my new header! I will likely blog again later, although my house is in desperate need of cleaning so we'll see. In any case, I wanted to make sure I gave credit where credit was due. Head over to her blog, gaze into the eyes of her RIDICULOUSLY PRECIOUS BABY BOY, give her some love. Between Joelle and Bridgett, I could just stare at my new blog all day long.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fixed

So Bridgett totally hooked me up and I was able to revamp my entire blog. Granted, there are no fish swimming about but I like the bubbles and daisies.

My parents headed back to California today. I kept Garrett's tears at bay by feeding him jelly beans in exchange for not crying. When the dozen jelly beans were gone he started this overdramatic wailing. When I said, What, on earth, are you doing back there? He replied, "I'm crying for my Papa." Oh brother.
***************************************************
Leah tagged me in a meme and so...

8 Things I am Looking Forward to:
A day when Matthew is ours
Getting out of adoption debt (somehow)
The rapture (that's my long term plan for getting out of debt)
September
naptime (for the boys that is)
Hearing Matthew laugh
Taking Garrett in his pool in the summer
Seeing Troy when he gets home tonight

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
Took the boys to the park with my parents
Ate salmon
Changed diapers
Went to a Worship meeting
Messed up my blog layout
Did laundry
Prayed
Took a shower

8 Things I Wish I Could do:
Act on Broadway
Pay legal fees out of savings
Get paid to write
Play the guitar
Go to Italy
Live without worry
Get Matthew to sleep through the night
Make really good cheesecake

8 Shows I Enjoy:
Friends (on dvd)
Survivor
Amazing Race
Biggest Loser
Lost
Dragon Tales (keeps my son way entertained)
Grey's Anatomy
Private Practice

8 people I tag:
Joelle at The A-Priori Mommy
Crayl at Beyond Black & White
My husband at Empty Wooden Horses
Heidi at NothingButBlueSky
My mom at Empty Nest-Full Life
Veronica at Amazingly Life-Like
Jen at Buckeyes in the Sun
Jessica at Mama Unplugged

Monday, April 13, 2009

Help

Alright blogging world, here is the deal. I am basically html illiterate. I need to have my BlogHer ads up higher on my page and I also want my donation button and the Praying for Matthew's Future button up high as well. I want a three column blog but, in an attempt to do so, I screwed everything up.

Here is what I would love. I'd love a three column (preferably one small column on either side of my actual blog entries) layout with some kind of fish or aquatic theme. I'd like the BlogHer ads at the top of one column and my Matthew stuff on the top of the other side. Can someone help me out? Please?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Easter Is About

Happy Easter!!!

This morning, while talking to several people, I told them a story.
My parents are here for a visit and my dad put Garrett in his sweater vest. Then he commented that Garrett looked, "Sharp." Apparently, Garrett didn't want to look sharp because he started trying to rip his sweater vest off. I told him that if he didn't leave it on he wouldn't get to have Easter fun after church. At that point, Garrett shaped up.
As I was telling the story I said, "Garrett's attitude changed right away because he knows what Easter's about."
And then I inserted my foot so far into my mouth I choked on it. Quickly, I added, "I mean, he knows what Easter is really about. But he also knows..."
And another person replied, with a smirk, "What Easter is about."
Well, yes. The pastor's wife basically said that Easter is about candy. Good grief, what is the world coming to? Seriously. Thankfully, if you ask my son what happened on Easter he replies, "Jesus rose again."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

60520 Minutes

4639. That's the number that did me in last night. That's the figure we owe the attorney in California who represents the birth mother. I was sort of expecting a bill for half that. The number went through the end of March so I haven't a clue what we might owe, on top of that, for April.

Perhaps some of you think I've been handling myself well. I feel it's important for me, in the interest of full disclosure, to inform you that I've kinda turned into a basket case. When I'm not stressing out about money, I'm having nightmares ranging from going ballistic and screaming my head off at a group of women to searching for Matthew and not being able to find him. But I still know that God is in control. And I believe that his plans are to prosper me and not to harm me.

Still, I've told people that I'm not entirely sure what to do when I see bills like that. He's not a boat or a car or even house. He's not something I can just stop making payments on. He's a child. He's my son. And if I could convey, through words, the sharp tingling of my nerve endings when I grind my teeth and, through clenched jaw, mutter those words: my son, I surely would.

60520. That is how many minutes we've spent feeding and bathing and hugging and burping and changing and loving our boy. That's how many minutes have passed since I watched his head enter this world for the very first time. And despite my fears over money and over losing my son, that is the number that matters. Each minute that ticks by with him in my life is so much more important than the number that sucker punched me last night.

My husband keeps reminding me to just sit back and wait on the Lord. A Lord who came down and went to the cross for me and for you. A Savior who owes me nothing. To whom I owe absolutely everything. A God who conquered the grave. It is still Saturday but I know that He is risen. He is risen, indeed.

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On a lighter note, last night I taught Garrett that, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he should respond with, an attorney. It was so precious and hysterical coming out of his mouth. Of course, when I asked him again this morning he replied with, "A basket player." (Translated= a basketball player.)

You go, short white boy. You go.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

He's Not Just Anyone

I'm down on my knees again tonight
I'm hoping this prayer will turn out right
See there is a boy that needs Your help
I've done all that I can do myself
His mother is tired
I'm sure You can understand
Each night as he sleeps
She goes in to hold his hand
And she tries not to cry
As the tears fill her eyes

Can You hear me?
Am I getting through tonight?
Can You see him?
Can You make him feel all right?
If You can hear me
Let me take his place somehow
See, he's not just anyone
He's my son
-Mark Schultz

I know that song is about a sick boy but most of it feels pretty relevant to me right now. I look at him and, while it's true that we look nothing alike, his heart feels as fused to mine as if we were conjoined twins. Certainly I cannot take his place. I understand that it would be awfully strange for a young guy to fight for custody of a 27 year old woman. I just wish that Matthew's future wasn't so up in the air. I know that, really, none of us knows what tomorrow brings but the uncertainty of Matthew's tomorrow seems so much more...uncertain.

So I lean on the fact that God's knows.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Conclusions

I just got a bill from the lawyer here in SLC for just shy of 1,000 dollars. That was after a courtesy discount of an additional 1,000. And that was after we paid him a 3,500 retainer. I need to send the new lawyer in California a retainer of 2,000 dollars. I am waiting for a bill from the other California attorney which will probably be a couple grand in addition to the 3,000 dollar retainer we already sent her. This has led me to several conclusions.

1. Praise God my grandparents had given us a loan.
2. Praise God that people are sending us donations of 25, 40, 100 and, in a couple cases, even more than that.
3. If the Lord allows us to keep Matthew, he'd (Matthew that is) better never, ever talk back. And also, better play in the NFL or be the president or something.
4. If we lose him, I should probably be locked up. You know, somewhere with padded rooms and finger painting.
5. I should have been an adoption attorney.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Banshees

I know I've been a little quiet but my MIL was in town. Garrett had a blast playing with her and she enjoyed meeting Matthew. Because of her stay, Troy and I have decided we need a nanny to work the hours of 6-10 am. It was much easier to get a few extra minutes of sleep, get out the door in the morning, and feel entirely sane with her assistance.

We don't really want a nanny (do we, Troy?) and I have to say, praise God for infertility and contested adoptions. Did you ever think I'd say that? Here is the thing, without the aforementioned nightmares, the world might be short a couple of adorable little boys tonight.

Garrett is exhausted. He played hard today and he's emotionally edgy and it all came to a head during his bath. I got the baby out and all jammied up. He was happily squirming on the bathmat, staring at the lights, while I attempted to get Garrett out. Something snapped in my firstborn's brain and he was crazily screaming about not getting out. After making several attempts and not being able to pick up his kicking and slippery body, I told him he was making Jesus upset. That actually worked (thank you, Jesus) and he got out. But then he immediately began shrieking again. At this point Matthew decided that, what with Garrett making a scene, he probably needed to join in. Additionally he was due for a bottle and thought that very moment was a great time to remind me. Seeing as how I was busy dealing with a wild-eyed, kicking monster, I had to let the baby cry. And cry he did. Actually, it was more like the wail of a pack of coyotes.

As they both shrieked, I took a deep breath and thought about ripping out all my hair in two fistfuls. Then, like a freight train colliding with one of those teeny European cars, it hit me. I thought about all those long months I spent praying for a child. I thought about how no toddler tantrum even comes close to stressing me out the way infertility did. I thought about how every minute that I get to spend with Matthew is a blessing and if he's crying, well, I will try to remember that sound because maybe I'll never get to experience him throwing a toddler tantrum. And I laughed.

I did not yank my hair out. Eventually I got Garrett's pajamas on him. I got him to go from screaming to whimpering and hiccuping and I got him into his room for a Bible story. I picked the baby up and bounced him as I read to Garrett. I think he was out cold within two minutes of his head hitting the pillow. Then I cuddled with Matthew while I gave him his bedtime bottle. Both boys are asleep now. The house is quiet. Their cries are now only a memory as they sleep in peace.

Thank God for infertility and contested adoptions. I am certainly a better mother because of them. I know I appreciate my boys more--even when they are acting like a couple of screaming banshees.

It should probably be noted that Troy is at a board meeting.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 16

Again, I don't know much. What I know is that we have a new hearing date of April 16. I don't think we need to be in California for that. Custody will not be decided on that day but rather it is basically a chance for attorneys to sit down and talk. We may be on a conference call with the lawyers and the birth father.

In any case, please pray for a softening of the birth father's heart. We appreciate his feelings but are, obviously, respecting the wishes of the birth mother. She wants him here. We want him here because we think it is the best place for him. Please pray that he would realize that we only want what is best for Matthew. I don't think we'll know a whole lot more after April 16 but please lift our family up in prayer between now and then as it will be the first time people actually come together to start trying to figure this mess out.

Friday, April 3, 2009

This & That

It's been brought to my attention that my donation button was malfunctioning. It has since been fixed--I think. Should you choose to send us a donation, I will, in turn, let you know which part of my child you own. Of course I'm kidding but wouldn't it be cool if you could say, "I own Matthew Doozleberry's pinkie finger nail on his left hand." Or, "Oh shoot, suddenly I am in need of a kidney. Good thing I bought Matthew's."

There is something I really want to blog about but I can't, exactly. See, currently, Matthew has his birth mother's last name and will until the adoption is finalized--if the adoption is finalized. We had chosen his name long before we realized that, for the first many months of his life, he would technically have her name. As far as things like going to the doctor are concerned, Matthew has our last name but, for legal purposes, he has hers. And, when you put his first name with her last name it happens to be the name of a famous person. It's funny. It makes us laugh every time we hear it.

To all who are praying, linking back to this blog on your own, or sending us donations, we truly could not be more appreciative. Thank you~

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Scrumptious

My son is fat. He's in the 53% for weight and the 17% for length. I thought about calling him a more politically correct term like husky or rotund or even plump but the bottom line is, he's fat. That's almost the exact opposite of my firstborn who, as a baby, was always average length and pretty low on the weight chart. Garrett, by all accounts, was skinny. Matthew, well, he has folds in places I didn't know could grow excess chub--places like the back of his neck. I'm finding things in the creases on this kid that you wouldn't believe. Things like soured formula, grime, and a decent sized piece of thread. Heck, the other day I couldn't find my car keys but, there they were, tucked away between a couple of rolls in Matthew's thigh.

I've always loved chubby babies. They are so squishy and delicious. That, on top of the fact that Matthew keeps getting darker and my favorite kind of chocolate is that which has a high cacao content, makes it difficult for me not to eat him. Seriously. You have no idea how much will power I have to exert on a daily basis.

I don't have much to report on the contested adoption front. Our possible new lawyer in California is in court today but we're waiting to hear back from him to get the ball rolling. Stand by. I assure you I will update whenever I know anything. For now we've been able to enjoy some almost normal days around here. Moments go by where I almost forget altogether that we could still lose him.

I love my boys. Garrett, who insists on referring to himself as Echo and introduces himself as such (that's a story for another day), is melting my heart every day by being the sweetest brother ever. He hasn't even been close to the nightmare I envisioned he'd be when a baby moved in. When I remind him that Matthew might be leaving--try explaining that to a toddler and not completely shattering his sense of security--he looks at me with big eyes and emphatically tells me that, "Baby Matt-ooh lives here. In his bed."

And Troy, well, he takes one of Matthew's two night time feedings (the upside to formula bills) and he continues, the second time around, to be such a hands on dad. I know there are men out there who won't change diapers and won't give baths and generally don't view parenting as a 50/50 job. Not my husband. He changes diapers. Even poopy ones. I've been wearing the engagement ring he gave me for six years as of yesterday and I'd say yes again in an instant. Even with the knowledge that I'd be moved to a state that refers to its residents as Utahns which, I'm pretty sure, doesn't even follow the rules of word morphology.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Even

I'm obsessed with even numbers. I don't really know why but I've always liked them much more than their odd friends. Six is my favorite number because when I was six years old I decided that it was the best age. All play and little work or responsibility...that was the life. I also love 8. It's so cute and robust.

Not terribly long ago I discovered a bizarre phenomenon. Okay so it's not actually a phenomenon but it is an incredibly interesting coincidence. It involves birthdays. I'll just show you what I'm talking about...

1. Troy's Dad=June 30
2. Troy's Mom= September 30
3. Troy=June 6
4. Troy's Sister=October 22
5. Troy's Other Sister=January 12
6. Troy's Other Sister= February 8
7. My Dad= October 18
8. My Mom= December 14
9. Me= September 8
10. My Brother= December 24
11. Garrett= July 20

Additionally, I'll just throw in there that Troy's parents, my parents and Troy & I all have anniversaries that fall on even days.

Matthew was supposed to be induced on February 27. I was thrilled to be adding another child to my family and didn't really care when he was born but not a single person in our immediate families has an odd birthday. So, while I didn't actually pray that God would give Matthew an even birthday (I realize he's a little busy curing cancer and stopping train crashes and all) I did seriously hope that he'd be born early or her induction time would be late enough on the 27th that he wouldn't be born until the 28th. Well, as you know, his birth mother wasn't actually able to get the induction until Saturday...

12. Matthew=February 28

So now I have even more reason to love even numbers, my family has this insane trend going. It should be mentioned that brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews and my FSIL have odd birthdays but the families we were raised in and the family we are raising are even.

That's probably not really blog worthy but I just find it to be incredibly interesting. And, while I am not, at this point in my dramatic life, planning on having anymore children, should I find myself pregnant or be led into another adoption, I would seriously hope for an even birthday-ed kid.