Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I am just in awe of what God has done for us this Christmas and for so many other families in the adoption process. Some friends brought their son home from Taiwan, another couple traveled to meet their daughter Constance, another friend traveled to Ethiopia to meet her daughter Ruthie and another couple were matched with a birth mom who is due early 2012! God is SO faithful! BIG prayers were answered for each of these families.....what a very Merry Christmas!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jackson's Pop

When we were asking our parents what they wanted to be called, my dad didn't really have a choice. If you include my dad, "Pop" has been the name for grandfathers for 4 generations - so of course Jackson needs a Pop.
I have literally been moved to tears watching my Dad with Jackson and by some of the text messages he has sent - wanting to know why we hadn't sent very many photos one day and the best one was his response to this photo I sent him

I wrote "Merry Christmas" and my dad's response made me cry. He wrote "he's a true gift of joy!" Talk about melt my heart....
I have always been a daddy's girl, so although I am just as thrilled that my mom is over the moon about Jackson's arrival, something about seeing my dad choke back tears at the hospital just tugs at my heartstrings more than I realized it would.
Maybe it's the fact that my dad had 2 girls and now he has a little guy to be his hunting buddy and wear camo, boots and jeans. I'm sure he will take him to Colorado and show him the mountains and look for moose. I'm sure that even though my dad said he would NEVER go back to Disney World (he took my sister and I 5 times) he will be first in line to It's a Small World when Jackson is old enough to meet Mickey Mouse.

Jackson already has Pop wrapped around his finger!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, December 16, 2011

He's Here and He's Perfect

I would like to introduce you to Jackson Henry Linck. He made his grand arrival at 4:02 p.m. Wednesday, December 14.
He weighed 8 lbs 13 oz. and was 19 1/2 inches long. He is perfect! I am SO in love. There are so many things I want to share about his birth but right now I am soaking up every minute with my little man.
What I can tell you is God was in every detail and He has done some amazing things the last few days. I promise I'll share soon. But until then please enjoy the cutest baby boy EVER

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Music, Toaster Struddles and Tears

Yesterday was my last day of work for 6 weeks. When I left it felt so surreal. It didn't hit me until this morning that we will be holding our son tomorrow.
I should be giving the dog a bath, packing my bag and finishing up some things around the house, but instead I'm listening to Christmas music - "Christ is the Lord, oh praise his name forever" and bawling.
Tears over Toaster Struddles.
John and I will leave today and return home parents.
It's been a crazy few months - between my mom's cancer diagnoses, surgery, holidays at the Mission, my sister getting married and preparing for a baby, I haven't had much time to just sit and soak it all in. This morning it's soaking in and I am excited, anxious, nervous and grieving the loss part that comes with adoption.
But more than anything I think I am just humbled to tears that God wrote this story for John and I. When we first found out about this baby, we thought there was no way it would ever work for us to adopt him. But God worked miracles and every piece of the puzzle fell in to place.
I have seen the hand of God on every detail of the past 5 months. The other day I was driving to work, praying and I couldn't help but think how awesome it is that this baby boy is our Christmas miracle. I prayed that the people in our life who need to know the love of their Savior would take one look at Jackson and would never be able to deny that there is a loving God who loves us so much! He knows the number of hairs on our head and wants nothing more than to have a personal relationship with us.
That's my prayer this Christmas - that we will all remember it's all about a baby. A baby born in a manger in Bethlehem changed everything!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, December 8, 2011

We Have A Game Plan

If Jackson doesn't make his arrival beforehand, Tuesday will be the day that our birth mom is admitted to the hospital and she will be induced early, early Wednesday morning!
I am SO excited knowing that we have a game plan! My last day of work will be Monday and John and I will drive the 2 hours to the hospital on Tuesday evening and be there for the whole shebang!
Prayers would be greatly appreciated! I can't believe we are less than a week away from meeting our little man!
SO....this weekend will (probably) be our last without a little nugget. So here's my plans...

  • Sleep LATE and take a few naps!
  • Clean house REALLY GOOD and get all the laundry done
  • Buy the last two Christmas gifts I need - why does my dad have to be SO hard to buy for??
  • Go see a chick flick Friday night
  • Make sure my sweet dog is good and taken care of while we are at the hospital
  • pack a snack bag for the hospital - John will really appreciate this one!
  • Pay some bills
  • Just bubble with excitement and thank God for this amazing journey!
We will post photos and updates just as soon as we can!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ready to Fill In the Missing Dates

Jackson's due date is Friday. Tomorrow our birth mom goes to the doctor and hopefully we will have some sort of a game plan. A date for her to be induced if little man decides to be stubborn and stay in the oven a bit too long.
John and I are biting at the bit to get the call. I realize there's a good chance  they may have to induce, but I am really hoping she will just go into labor. I want the surprise. The phone call in the middle of the night (or whenever it happens).
Anyway...I've been looking at birth announcements, washing a few Christmas outfits to prepare for our Christmas baby and trying to enjoy the last few days of life without a kiddo.
Here's how our adoption has played out up until this point - so ready to fill in those last few dates.

7.6.11 - A coworker approached me to ask if I was interested in adopting a baby from a young girl who was currently living at the Mission where I work.

7.26.11 - John and I met with the young girl and let her know that we were interested in adopting her baby.

7.28.11 - John and I met with an adoption attorney

7.29.11 - Submitted paperwork to the attorney to get the ball rolling

8.20.11 - Shared the news with my family!

8.24.11 - We got the go ahead from the board at my job to pursue the adoption!

8.25.11 - We shared the news with John's family!

9.13.11 - Went to the sonogram with our birth mom and found out IT'S A BOY!!!!

10.11.11 - John and I signed the adoption petition

10.12.11 - Adoption Petition was filed with the court

12.9.11 - Baby Jackson is due to arrive!!

?????? - Jackson's Birthday!

?????? - GOTCHA DAY! - Our adoption of Jackson is FINAL!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Help Bring A Baby Boy Home to His FOREVER Family!

Our friends Matt and Sarah found out they leave in NINE days to meet their baby boy in Taiwan and bring him home! Merry Christmas Habudas! God rocks! Just yesterday I was praying for them - that Levi would be in their arms by Christmas and he will be! Only God!

Here's the deal...since they are having to book plane tickets on such short notice and right before Christmas, the price has skyrocketed. They are several thousand dollars short and need to book the tickets NOW!

Please, please consider making a donation to their adoption fund and help them bring their sweet boy home! What a Merry Christmas this will be for Matt, Sarah and Levi.

Here's all the details strait from Sarah:

We are still in complete shock over the idea that in about 9 days (216 hours...12,960 minutes!!!!) we will be on a plane heading to meet our son Levi.

The child of our heart.

God is SO faithful.

We've seen Him work in every aspect of our adoption journey. He has guided, provided, and directed us every step of the way. Our family story is full of miracles.

And now, just days before we leave, we're trusting Him for another miracle.

Over the past year and a half we have saved, planned, and fundraised to pay for the adoption expenses. International adoption is expensive. Crazy expensive. But, we knew that this was the calling God had placed on our family and we knew that He would provide.

And He Did.

We are so incredibly thankful to our friends and family, and even strangers, who have prayed for us, encouraged us, and supported us financially. We would have never been able to do it without you. We can't wait to tell Levi about the amazing village of people who gave so freely and sacrificially in order to bring him home. What an amazing testimony of pure love.

We believed that we had saved and raised enough money to pay for our adoption...until now.

We knew we would have to buy 2 last minute international plane tickets.

We had budgeted for that. It wasn't a surprise.

BUT we had no way of knowing that we would be blessed to bring Levi home right before Christmas...and we had no idea that the price of of tickets would SKY ROCKET due to the holidays.

Because we have to be in Taiwan the week of Christmas we are now short several thousand dollars.

We don't have the time to create an elaborate fundraiser or to come up with a super creative idea to make that much money. We need to buy the tickets immediately. So we are humbling ourselves and asking for help.

Would you consider helping us bring our son home? Anything would help make a difference. Would you pray for us? Would you pray that God would move mightily in this situation? Would you share our story and need with others?

This is incredibly hard for Matt and I to do, but we know and trust that He will provide. We're humbled and forever grateful to each of you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Can't Sleep

It's 11:30 and I've been tossing and turning, eyes wide open for the last hour. I have a knot in my stomach and my mind is racing a hundred miles an hour. I decided to get out of bed and blog the crazy thoughts running through my head:
  • when will we get the call? Am I going to cry when we get the call? (probably...I almost tear up thinking about it.)
  • Will Jackson have hair?
  • Will he come before or after his due date?
  • Will our birth mom be okay?
  • Do I have everything I need in the diaper bag?
  • Is my ringer on (then I check my phone for the second or third time to make sure)
  • Will he be small enough to fit into newborn clothes? If not, I better throw some bigger ones in the diaper bag.
  • Good grief I am a big mess. I'm not even the one having to birth this baby and I am a nervous wreck
  • How can John be sleeping like a rock?
  • We have to get a pack and play....especially if we go to Texas for Christmas
  • I hope Story (our dog) is okay while we are at the hospital. She's kind of like a baby herself...her world is about to be rocked!
  • 6 a.m. is going to come way too early. I have to go to sleep.
  • Why am I not sleeping. My sleep schedule is about to be completely altered.
So now that I've written down some of the thoughts running through my head, I'm going to TRY and go to sleep (but I wouldn't be upset if the phone rings and we have to head to the hospital!)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

5 Reasons Why This Weekend Has Been Great...

1. I had my work Christmas party last night and it was a blast. I work with the best people EVER at the best place EVER. After the party, we went with our friends Justin and Jessica and looked at Christmas lights. Love, love, love this time of year!

2. I slept till 9 a.m.(because my days of doing that are almost up), woke up to cold, rainy weather and went and had a pedicure, manicure and my eyebrows waxed. It was a very nice treat. I have decided that I need to keep my nails painted on a regular basis. I don't take near enough care of my hands - I bite my nails and they look so good when they are well manicured. I always splurge on pedicures, but tend to forget my fingers. Going to have to change that!

3. I did a lot of baking today. I made cookie jars and cake pops. I love to bake! It was fun to just spend the afternoon in the kitchen. Here's a few photos of the finished products. If you are interested in purchasing a cookie jar for $10 I am selling them to raise money for our adoption fund. They make great gifts for teachers, coworkers, neighbors, etc.

4.  I tried another Pinterest recipe today and it rocked! It's the easiest Potato Soup recipe - only 4 ingredients - I'll share the yummy secret. In a crock pot put a bag of frozen hash browns, 1 can of cream of chicken soup, 3 14 oz. cans of chicken broth and cook on high for 4 hours or on low 6-8 hours. An hour before you are ready to eat, add 1 8 oz. cream cheese and let it melt. Serve with bacon bits and shredded cheese. It's so good on a cold, rainy day. Here's a picture:

5. I had several autographed Taylor Swift CD's left over from our golf tournament, so I decided they would be the perfect stocking stuffer for crazy girls who love Taylor Swift and the perfect way to raise some money for our friends Clint and Kathleen who are also adopting. I posted on Facebook about the CD's and so far we have sold 2! I have 4 CD's left and one of them could be yours for a donation of $20 or more. I plan to mail them on Monday, so they will be in your stocking just in time for Christmas. Just donate through our blog and all proceeds will go to the Ellis Family. Make sure you leave your address so I can mail the CD to you! Here are our sweet friends and a photo of what the CD looks like. (the CD package actually comes with a copy of Taylor Swift's Christmas CD too!)

So that's been my awesome weekend in a nutshell! Trying to enjoy these baby free moments because they won't last much longer! Remember to take a guess at when you think Jackson will make his grand arrival! The winner will get a fabulous prize! You'll be surprised, I promise!

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Week....

We are ONE week from Jackson's due date. As of yesterday, our birth mom has not begun to dilate. I have a feeling our little man may take his time entering the world.
I am starting to get really excited and anxious! Two of my coworkers have had baby boys in the past 2 days...I am ready for my baby boy to get here and join the party.

Prayers would be greatly appreciated in the next few weeks. Pray for our birth mom, pray for the delivery, pray for Jackson, pray that everything goes smoothly when we get to the hospital and take our little man home, pray for us as we learn the ropes of parenthood. Pray for everything really....we need it!

My wonderful husband bought me an iPad for Christmas (yes, I already got it...I'm spoiled!) so I will be able to update the blog while we are at the hospital. Don't worry....all my bloggy friends will know when Jackson makes his grand arrival! Anyone want to guess when that will be?? Comment below. The winner will get some sort of fun prize! Guess away!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I almost forgot....

Today marks 7 months on the Ethiopia Wait List....between work, the holidays, Jackson's upcoming arrival, it just slipped my mind.

It's not that I don't think of our Ethiopian adoption. My heart yearns to go to Ethiopia NOW. I have fallen in love with a country that I have never stepped foot in. I can't imagine our family without Ethiopian children. My heart hurts when I let my mind wonder to that place of uncertainty - what if we wait and wait and wait and never get on the plane to get our babies in Africa. It's international adoption. You just never know what's going to happen. Our agency has handed out a few referrals the past week or so, so that gives us hope. International adoption (all adoption) is a roller coaster of emotions. One day there's good news. One day there's slow downs. It's up and down, high and low.
I am feeling a hodge podge of those emotions this week as we wait on the call from our birth mom. The call that she is on the way to the hospital. I make sure the ringer on my phone is turned up at night so that I don't miss the call.
I am feeling excited, anxious, nervous, scared...sometimes like this really isn't about to happen. It's weird really. At the drop of a hat it feels like I could burst out in tears.
I usually have adequate words to describe how I'm feeling on any given point of this adoption journey - right now I really don't.
Prayers are greatly appreciated as we wait for the call. For John and I, for baby Jackson and for our birth mom. For all the details to fall in place when we head to the hospital and bring our little man home.  And for the knots in my stomach to go away :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meet The Carmona's

I just love how God works! During our Orphan Sunday event, a couple from our small group, Carlos and Stacy, asked a lot of questions about adoption. They said God had been tugging on their heart for a while to expand their family through adoption. They have a 10-year-old son named Austin, but Stacy isn't able to have any more biological children.
John and I went to dinner with our friends last week and got to answer all their adoption related questions and share our adoption journey. We got to encourage them and we're getting to pray for them as they step out in faith and trust God on this journey He has called them to.
I am SO excited that the Carmona's are officially starting the adoption process. They have decided to adopt domestically and they are gearing up to start all the paperwork, as well as, some fundraising!
Will you join me in praying for this awesome family? Will you consider donating to their adoption fund?
For the entire month of December, any donations made through our blog will benefit the Carmona's. They don't have a blog yet, so let's bless the socks out of them and raise a little money! What better gift can you give than a donation to help bring a family together. Any amount will help. $1 or $10 or $ all adds up! God will provide the resources for this family - no doubt!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Thanksgiving Traditions

This was the first year in 29 years that I was not with my family for Thanksgiving. I will admit I was a little sad this morning. I really like tradition, however, I made some new ones today. I work at the largest homeless shelter in Oklahoma and we have a huge Thanksgiving Banquet - my coworker Justin and I are in charge of making it happen. We had approximately 400 volunteers there today and that doesn't include the homeless that came to eat! It was crazy insane but also a lot of fun!
After the banquet, John and I had our Thanksgiving meal at Cracker Barrel and then headed home and took a LONG nap! This has been a crazy week and I was pooped. John and I drug all the Christmas decorations out of the attic and set up the Christmas tree. I still have ornaments to put on it, but I'll finish tomorrow. Now I am waiting until midnight - going to hit up Target. Told myself I wasn't going this year, but I have to keep some tradition, right??
Here are a few photos from our Thanksgiving! Now that the Thanksgiving chaos is over, we can focus on a little man who will be making his arrival SOON!

 Jordan, Justin, John and I at the Mission for the Thanksgiving Banquet.
 Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving Dinner...
 John didn't leave anything on his plate!
 My sweet friends Josh and Joe digging in to their dessert
 Maya and I..isn't she a doll??
This is the cutest little turkey I know!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2500 Food Boxes

A big part of my job at the Mission is to coordinate our holiday events. Today we had a BIG one. We handed out 2500 Thanksgiving food boxes to the near homeless in our community. The holidays can be very stressful at work - there is a lot going on - but today it was ALL worth it! Getting to hand out these boxes was such a blessing and a lot of fun - even though it was a bit cold! I really do LOVE my job! Here are a few photos from today:

 This is my coworker Justin. We work together to make sure all of the holiday events happen!
Loading food boxes

 Handing out food boxes and wishing people a Happy Thanksgiving!

 Canned ham anyone???
 Cars were bumper to bumper around the block waiting to get their food box

 So these cute things weren't helping with food boxes, but I couldn't resist snapping their photo! They make my heart so happy! Love them!
 Just a few of the 2500 boxes...
 My friend and coworker her!
 I seriously work with the greatest people....
 The OKC Barons Hockey Team came out to help hand out food boxes

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Bittersweet....

Grief is a part of adoption. Sometimes in the midst of all the excitement, (that our baby is due in 21 days) I forget that sadness is mixed within the excitement of our story. It's that way with all adoption stories.
I saw our birthmom on Sunday. Her spirits were high and she reassured me that she isn't having any doubts about her decision to give her baby up for adoption. She knows she can't take care of a baby and is up front with anyone who comments on her pregnancy- she tells them about John and I and that we're adopting the baby.
Even though I believe she is 100% sure of the decision she is making, I also know that at some point the emotion and reality is going to hit her full force. Her decision is hard. Sometimes it's gutwrenching for me to think that she has carried this child for nine months, felt him kick, is going to have him and then immediately hand him to John and I to raise. I don't know if I could do what she is doing - I admire her, she has courage and I will forever be gratful that she wanted better for her child and trusted John and I to provide that for him. That she is literally giving us the gift of becoming parents.
As I drove home on Sunday after seeing her, I cried. Grief flooded my heart. I have to be so careful not to get too wrapped up in my own excitment of becoming a mommy, that I forget the pain and loss that our birth mom will be experiencing.
I grieve because even though God has written an amazing story - one that I will someday share with our son, there are parts that are hard to explain, parts that are sad. One day he will ask about his birth father and I won't have all the answers. We know very little and what we do know are hard topics to discuss with a child. But it's part of our story. It will be part of Jackson's story and we trust that God will equip us to handle those questions.
I remeber when John and I first started discussing adoption. The thought of domestic adoption scared us. We were afraid of having an open adoption. It's funny to remember all of those fears and to see how far God has brought us. The way God has weaved our lives with our birth mom's is beautiful. It's a story only He could write. He has replaced all of my fears with His peace and has made me realize that He has a purpose for our adoption being open. We have a chance to not only impact the life of this little boy, but to love, encourage and pour into the life of our birth mom.
On Saturday our birth mom called me to say she had bought Jackson a gift. She wanted to give him something that he could always keep. She told me that she bought something to keep him warm on the way home from the hospital.
She said she wasn't sure how to sign the card, so she just wrote Love, Alicia. I told her she could sign the card however she wanted. She said she didn't want to offend me because I am Jackson's mom. I told her that Jackson has two mom's and that no matter how she signs the card, it won't offend me. I'm not sure how she chose to sign the card, but she will always be Jackson's mother. Her picture sits on the table in his nursery. It's his story.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Showered With Love...

Jackson isn't even here yet, but he is already SPOILED! Some amazing friends threw me a baby shower this weekend and it was so much fun! They did such an awesome job - the invites, the decorations, the cupcakes and cookies! It was all fabulous!
John's mom and sister came in town and so did my mom and sister. We had a blast celebrating this baby boy who has already stolen our's a glimpse of the awesome day!
 Yummy, yummy sugar cookies with Jackson's initials on them - it's funny. I noticed that everyone is referring to our little man as Jackson Henry. Not just Jackson. Huh...I wonder if that's going to stick.
 The awesome invite my friend Kathleen came up with. She is beyond creative! She made me a diaper cake, burp cloths and the cutest onesies!
 We drank from these cute mason jars with these adorable straws. Love!
 The wonderful hostesses: Jennifer, Kathleen and Shelli - minus Annette who was at her mother's 85th birthday party.
 John's mom and sister came from St. Louis for the shower
 Jackson's first pair of boots - from Shelli! My dad is so proud!
 The beautiful table...
 Me with Ellie Kate - doesn't she look like the cutest little cabbage patch doll??
 My mom is a trooper! Two weeks after surgery and she made the 4 hour trip to be at my baby shower! I am so glad that she and my sister were there!
 All the girls - opening lots and lots of stuff for Jackson.
 My friend Kay gets really creative and always puts together the best gift baskets!
 This is probably John's favorite gift....hope the little guy likes Cardinals Baseball
 John says he can't spit up on this...better not use it then!
 Wishes for Baby....
 More gifts...butt paste!
 The awesome diaper cake Kathleen made!
Most of the guests. A few had to slip out early but this is the majority of them!