Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Love Bug

I took Jackson to have a few Valentine photos taken this past weekend. It was kind of a bust! He screamed and screamed and screamed. Thankfully we got a few good ones before the screaming started. His poor little tummy was hurting. We went to the doctor today and on top of the colic, Little Man also has a bad case of acid reflux! He's been pretty miserable. Hoping things get better now that we have some medicine for the acid reflux.
Enjoy my sweet Love Bug, who will be 2 months old on Valentine's Day (and he already weighs a whopping 12 lbs!)

 This sweet face will be on Jackson's Valentine to his grandparents and aunts! I think they will smile when they open their cards!

 He is NOT feeling the love....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

9 Months - What Does the Future Hold?

Today marks 9 months on the Ethiopian Wait List. I wish I had better news, but we got some new numbers from our agency and the wait times have increased AGAIN. We are now looking at 19 months before a referral and that doesn't factor in the fact that we will have to go on hold until Jackson is a little older. Currently there are about 90 families ahead of us on the wait list. Two years ago our agency placed approximately 150 children in families. Last year they placed about 55 and this year they have matched about 20. Kind of depressing. We are looking at another 2 years or more before bringing Ethiopian children home.
It's not that we mind waiting. Really we don't. But as we've been praying and talking about the future of our Ethiopian adoption, we've really had to stop and think about a few things (and pray for God's wisdom).

1. The longer we wait, the more money it will cost! We will have to update our home study, fingerprints, dossier paperwork, etc. etc. (probably more than once). I know that God will provide, but I also have to consider that a TON of people have helped us financially and we have to be good stewards of the money they have donated to our adoption. Right now we are looking at needing another $10,000 or more to complete an Ethiopian adoption, which would mean more fundraising. I just don't feel comfortable asking for more money when people have already donated so much to us. Looking at our adoption account we currently are only $3,000 to $5,000 short of what we would need to complete a domestic adoption through our local agency. We could save and come up with that money on our own over the next year - since we technically can't start an adoption until Jackson is a year old.

2. We have gotten to know the executive director of our local adoption agency and she has shared some interesting information with us. There is a HUGE need for families to adopt African American and biracial children. In the past 10 years, there has NEVER been an African American family wanting to adopt from this agency. There seems to be a huge need right here in our own state, and of course, God has given John and I a heart for African children.

I believe with all my heart that John and I clearly heard God calling us to adopt from Ethiopia in February 2010. I struggle with walking away from the program, but I also know that God may be calling us to do so.
I have often wondered why we started on the path to Ethiopia if we aren't going to finish. God showed me something pretty incredible through my Bible study last week. I was supposed to map out periods (good and bad) in my life and see how God used them for His plans to be accomplished. Here is what I wrote in my workbook:

Infertility and Depression led to
the decision to adopt which led to
God leading us to Ethiopia, which led to
God giving me a heart for the poor, the orphan and the world, which led to
Me praying for God to show me how I could serve that population here in the U.S., which led to
My job at City Rescue Mission, the states largest homeless shelter, which led to
Meeting our birth mom, which led to
Our incredible adoption story and amazing son, Jackson Henry.

Whew! Maybe, just maybe, God called us to Ethiopia, if for no other reason than to change me. To prepare me for the journey He had in store. To give me a heart for the poor, the orphan and a heart for African children and biracial children.

We are still praying, but there a chance that we could walk away from the Ethiopia program to pursue adopting an African American or biracial child through our local adoption agency. Please know that it will not be an easy decision. I see the faces of the children in Ethiopia who desperately need families and my heart aches. All I know is that God has an amazing plan. He knows who are children are and already has the details worked out. I just have to trust. I just have to be obedient to follow where He leads. And sometimes that's not always easy.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Destined to be Buddies...

Kathleen and I met in October of 2010. I stumbled across her adoption blog, realized she lived in Oklahoma too and we met for lunch soon after. The rest is history. Since that time we have prayed fervently for one another and our adoption journeys and for our babies-to-be. We spent lots of time talking about how amazing the day would be when we both had our kiddos and were having play dates. Today those dreams became a reality as Jackson Henry met Lyla Rose for the first time.
They are destined to be great friends. They were born one month and 2 days apart. It's just amazing how God blessed us both with sweet babies in the span of a few short weeks. What an amazing story we are going to be able to tell these kids as they get older. Here are a few photos from today!

 Jackson Henry, meet Lyla Rose
 Jackson is HUGE compared to Lyla. He was never as tiny as she is. I could carry her around all day - Jackson, not so much!
 This photo is a reflection of God's amazing work! Lots of answered prayers. Living out what we've dreamed for so long. Being mommy's together! Let the many play dates begin!
 Both these sweeties were blessed with hair! :)
Well, hello, cute things! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What I've Learned the Last 6 Weeks!

I can't believe it's been 6 weeks! Tomorrow I go back to work, but thankfully I am only going back part-time. I will only have to leave Little Man 2 days a week.
Just this morning Jackson gave me a huge smile! His first, real smile! I was singing the song I sing to him every morning and he just beamed! Melt my heart! I am so glad I didn't miss that moment! 
I feel like I have learned a lot about myself the past 6 weeks, have had to trust God like never before and have had SO much fun snuggling Jackson and being his mommy. Here are just a few things I've learned...

1. Colic SUCKS! There's no sugar coating it! I would not wish a colicky baby on my worst enemy. It's hard! Nights are long and there's not a whole lot you can do. We have tried everything in the book - switching formula, rubbing his tummy and moving his legs, putting the car seat on the dryer, taking car rides, letting him sip a little Sprite diluted with water, gas drops, gripe water....you name it! The good news is, we have had several REALLY good nights. (I am knocking on my wooden kitchen table as I type) and I am hoping and praying that 6 weeks will be our lucky number and the colic will be GONE!

2. I'm not as patient of a person as I thought.... read #1 and you might see why my patience have been tested! I have felt like a crazy mad woman at times. Lack of sleep can do that to you! Praying for patience and strength to handle those long nights has been on my daily prayer list.

3. I'm more selfish than I realized....having a baby makes you see just how selfish you really are. I used to do WHATEVER I wanted, WHENEVER I wanted. I went to bed at 9:00 and slept until 6:30 or later....those days have flown out the window! My world now revolves around an 11.5 pound (yes, he's already that big!) little dude who decides my schedule for me (for the most part!).

4. I am more like Martha, less like Mary....(sigh!) I have always been a busy body! It drives my husband crazy. He would love for me to just sit and watch TV after work, but I just can't. There's dishes to do, laundry to fold, etc. I have struggled very hard not being able to keep up with these tasks the past 6 weeks. I am kind of a neat freak. My house has not been as clean as I would have liked. I know, I know, you're probably thinking I need to just let it go. And I do. I've had to pray for God to help me get a grip and just "Be Still" and enjoy these sweet moments with Jackson, because they will be gone in a flash and I will never get them back. So I have learned that it's okay to stay in my pj's all day, without makeup, with laundry piled on the kitchen floor and dishes in the sink. It still drives me crazy, but I am slowly realizing it will be there whenever I get to it.

5. I LOVE Being a Mommy....and I am so glad that I only have to go back to work part-time (and that my job is letting me!). I love lazy days with Jackson, loading him in the car to run errands, getting dinner ready and chores done (as much as I can...). I am not sure what the future holds, I feel like God may be asking me to stay home full-time, but I am going to giveworking part-time a shot! I know that I don't want someone else raising Jackson 40 hours a week, but I also love my job and believe God has put me there for a reason. Taking things one day at a time....

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One Month!

It's hard to believe that it's been a month since we became a family of three! It really hasn't flown by (long nights of colic seem to last forever!) but it's crazy to think that a month has already passed by. This little guy is doing much better! We still have a few rough nights, but we have good ones mixed in. He is more alert during the day and is growing like a weed. The outfit he has on is a 3 month outfit and it fits him pretty good. We might need the grandmother's and aunts to go shopping for bigger clothes soon....
My bloggy friend Molly sent me an e-mail saying how she loves seeing all the photos of Jackson and our other baby (Story the Yorkie). Here's another cute one...Story seriously loves Jackson to pieces. She's very protective of him. I love it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

4 Weeks Ago....

It was pretty surreal when I left work 4 weeks ago for maternity leave, and even more so, as John and I drove to the hospital knowing that we would return home as a family of three- life never to be the same.
There were times when we were waiting on Jackson to make his arrival that I really wanted to get the call in the middle of the night! To grab our bags, jump in the car and rush to the hospital. I am super glad it didn't happen that way, because if it had, John and I might have missed out on some really awesome moments.
We got to the hospital at the same time that our birth mom checked in and were with her each and every step of the way. The night we arrived the nurses asked me what the game plan was for the delivery room. Previously our birth mom had said she wanted to see the baby, but not hold him. I sat down with her and asked her how she wanted things to play out the next day during the birth. She requested that I be in the room with her, get to hold Jackson first and get to cut his umbilical cord. Then she told me that she did want to hold him. For a moment my heart stopped. The thought flashed through my mind that she would hold him and then decide she couldn't give him up for adoption. But just as quick as that thought entered my mind, a peace (that only God can give) flooded my heart. I believed that this baby boy was our child. I was confident that our birth mom knew without a doubt that she could not take care of him.
That night I stayed in the room with our birth mom, listening to Jackson's heartbeat throughout the early morning hours and silently praying that everything would work out. That God would calm my nerves and remove the huge knot in my stomach. There were times I wanted to just burst into tears, but I couldn't do that in front of our birth mom. I didn't know how in the world I could listen to his little heart beat all night long and not be his mommy. John was sleeping in a hospital room down the hall and he said he prayed all night long too - we were both a nervous wreck - not sure how things would go or how she would feel once she saw the baby and held him.
The next morning, I went to our hospital room to freshen up and I burst into tears. My emotions were off the charts! I was excited, scared, nervous, sleepy (we got very little sleep the first night because Jackson was so awake that they couldn't keep the heart monitor on him).
Wednesday was a long day. They induced about 6 a.m. and our birth mom made very slow progress. We watched her contractions on the monitor, hung out with her and tried to patiently await the arrival of our son. My parents and sister got to the hospital about noon and boy was I glad.
John and I struggled at first with whether or not to have anyone at the hospital (since it was a unique situation) but I am very glad my parents just told us they would be there. We needed that support. I am so glad they were there the moment he entered this world -that they got to share that moment with us.
Each hour passed by and I was prepared for it to be a long, long day. Friends kept texting asking for updates, letting us know they were praying. About 3 p.m. my parents left to go check in to their hotel, my sister curled up to take a nap (she works nights as a nurse and had worked the previous 2 nights) and John had gone to Sonic to get me a Dr Pepper.
I went to check on our birth mom and the doctor announced that she had gone from a 6 to ready to push! Holy Moly! I rushed down and woke my sister up. It went something like this:
"Myka, Myka (in somewhat of a whisper). It's time, it's time!" She fumbled around and called my parents who rushed back without checking in to their hotel. I called John and before I knew it I was in the delivery room and our birth mom was about to push.
I prayed and prayed that I wouldn't pass out! I am very squeamish when it comes to blood and doctors, etc. (This could be the #1 reason that I didn't have biological children).
Our birth mom was a rock star! In about 3-4 pushes, little Jackson made his grand arrival! My first thought when they brought him out was "He's huge!" The night before our birth mom and I had been guessing how much we thought he would weigh. We both thought he would weigh around 7 lbs 8 oz. One look at him and I wasn't sure the newborn clothes I had brought would fit!
I got to cut his umbilical cord AND I didn't pass out! The nurses grabbed my camera and took photos of me doing it. John, my parents and sister, were all outside the door and could hear Jackson's first cries.
Once they got him cleaned up and weighed and measured, they bundled him up and handed him to me. I was overcome with emotion! I got to take him to the doorway for John and my family to see. There was not a dry eye! Tears of joy all the way around! I will never forget the looks on my families faces! We were literally witnessing God's plan unfold - a miracle that none of us could have ever imagined!
After a little bit I took Jackson over to his birth mom and handed him to her. In that moment, I had complete peace - I knew that this little boy was my son! I knew God had written this story and was in total control. She only held him for a few minutes and then told him he needed to go back to his mom. I have photos of the three of us that I will always cherish - that I will one day get to show Jackson. The one thing his birth mom did say as she was holding him was "I hope that the next time I have a baby, I am in a place where I can take care of it and not have to give it up for adoption." As I choked back tears, I told her I hoped the same thing.
She handed Jackson back to me and I got to wheel him to our hospital room. From that moment on he was in our care.
When we first found out that our birth mom would be delivering the baby 2 hours from Oklahoma City, I was a little hesitant. However, God had some big reasons for Jackson to be born in small town Oklahoma. From the moment we got to the hospital, the nurses and staff treated our birth mom with respect and were sensitive to the fact she was giving the baby up for adoption WHILE celebrating the joyous time John and I were experiencing.
Words can't describe how smooth everything went. I had tried to play the birth out in my mind so many times and never dreamed it would go as smooth as it did.
It wasn't until the morning after Jackson's birth, that I discovered just how much God's hand was all over the delivery.
The nurse who took care of our birth mom the first night was amazing! She stopped by the morning after Jackson was born to meet him and share a really cool story with us. She said she was really glad she was our nurse because she could relate to all sides of our adoption story. She was adopted (so was our birth mom) and she ran away from home at 15 and ended up pregnant. She said she had every intention of giving her baby up for adoption, but when she held him she couldn't do it. She said because of her story, she understood every emotion that our birth mom was feeling, every emotion that John and I were feeling. Only God! He placed that sweet lady in our hospital room because He knew we would need someone who truly understood the complicated and emotional journey we were on. It was a time of great joy, but also great sadness.
The stories about adoption don't stop there. One of Jackson's nurses shared with us that they had adopted a little girl and another one of his nurses had a brother and sister-in-law who were in the process of adopting.
God placed just the right people in our lives those first 2 days - it is not a coincidence that Jackson was born in Elk City, Oklahoma. God knew!
Another incredible story that my mom shared with me was about the preacher's wife (from the church our birth mom attends). The preacher's wife was adopted. She was outside the hospital room after Jackson's birth and witnessed my families reaction to his arrival. She told my mom that seeing our joy gave her a glimpse at what it must have been like for her family when they adopted her. I have to choke back tears writing that!
Although we were not planning for my parents and sister to meet our birth mom, they did. She asked to hold Jackson one last time before she was released from the hospital, so John and I took him to her room and let her say good-bye. She never cried (that I saw) and walked out of the hospital completely confident with her decision. I guess God had answered her prayers - she told us that she prayed throughout her pregnancy that she wouldn't form any kind of attachment or bonds with him because she knew she couldn't take care of him.
I am completely blown away at the story God wrote for us! The way He weaved together two lives at City Rescue Mission so that a baby boy could have a family. Tears. Falling. Now!
Here are a few photos from Jackson's birth. It is truly my hope and prayer that everyone who hears our story, or reads our story would see God's glory! It's really ALL about Him! I am humbled that God would choose John and I - we definitely didn't deserve such an amazing story! He is SO good. I pray that people who don't know God, who need to know Him, would read our story and see that He is real! That He is powerful. That He answers prayers and that He will take you on the ride of a lifetime if you will just surrender to Him.

Jackson Henry Linck

 John's first glimpse of our little man
 Holding him for the first time
 Joy! Meeting Lolli and Aunt Myka for the first time
 I will always cherish this photo. See the tear hanging from the tip of my nose? See my sister's ugly cry in the background! :)
 Two mom's who love him!
 He has already stolen Pop and Lolli's heart!

Monday, January 9, 2012

When Pop and Lolli Visit

Several things happened when Pop and Lolli (my mom and dad) came to visit this past weekend.

1. Jackson got spoiled!
2. I got a full night's sleep!
3. They bought us formula and nursery water - seriously...huge blessing!

I love watching my parent's with Jackson. I love that they decided to spend their anniversary (Jan. 6) with their grandson - and John and I too! They love him so much! Here's a few photos I captured from our weekend together. I should have taken more, but we were pretty busy and I was pretty sleep deprived!

 As soon as they got to our house they wanted to take over - they held him, fed him, rocked him, stayed up while he fussed and we slept. It wasn't long after this photo that Jackson decided to spray my dad with spit up - I mean all down the front of him. It might be the worst spit up episode he has had. My dad didn't seem to mind. He said it was nothing compared to the way I used to spit up.
 Two big milestones occurred while my parents were here...Jackson started taking all of his naps in his crib! We are still working to achieve that goal at night - however - his tummy still hurts and he still has to be held, or bounced or something to calm him down. But at least during the day he is napping in his crib and not his swing or bouncy seat. Jackson also played with his activity mat for the first time. My parents seem really into it too from the photo!
 Have I mentioned that Story LOVES Jackson and is always right beside him or guarding him? Just this morning she was laying in front of the crib while he took his morning nap! I can't wait to see these two together when Jackson gets old enough to chase Story around....
 Lolli and Jackson!
Pop and Jackson
Jackson had to wear this onesie that my mom got him. His Lolli (and Pop) love moose and all things wildlife! So we made sure he wore this outfit for them!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To Make You Smile....

 I LOVE this picture! Look at those eyes! We are seeing more of them these days!
 Christmas came early for us! 12-14-11
 Sweet Baby Boy! Look at his sweet little mouth...
 Wearing Daddy's tie
 The photographer was so impressed because Jackson was the first baby who could pose like this without us having to constantly hold his head up. He's a genius :)
 I love the look on his face!

 Our Santa Baby (Christmas Miracle)
 Daddy is starting him out young. He will be a Cardinals Fan!
 Mommy's Little Man

 Sweet Little Smile
Kissable Lips! Smooch! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Jackson is sleeping in his bouncy seat, which means I should probably be sleeping. However, it's 11 p.m. and I just finished icing a cake WHILE bouncing him to sleep in his bouncy chair - man, I totally have this mommy thing down....NOT!
About a week ago I locked myself in the bathroom and bawled my eyes out. Major Mommy Meltdown Moment! I think I might have even contemplated how to run away. Blame it on the sleep deprivation, a really bad reaction to my T-Dap vaccine or a screaming baby.
The past 3 weeks have probably been the hardest weeks of my life. My mom warned me parenthood would be the hardest thing I would ever do. But, seriously! I knew I would loose sleep, I knew he would scream but I NEVER THOUGHT I would have thoughts like running away! (now I'm bouncing the bouncy seat as I blog...)
I have felt so guilty. After such a long wait to be a mom, I should not be feeling like this. I should be savoring every moment and shouldn't be taking anything for granted. But, that's just unrealistic. The nurse at the hospital even told me to not be surprised if I experience some baby blues the way any mom who gives birth does.
Thank goodness I am not the only one! Friends have said I am totally normal! One friend said she stood in the shower and contemplated divorce. Another said she had the crazy thought of sticking her baby in the oven, late one night when she was crazy from lack of sleep. Whew...thank you Jesus that I am not the only one!
Now don't get me wrong...there have been amazing, joyous moments since we brought Jackson home. I have cried tears of shear joy and admiration at all that God has done. However, I have to be real here...I have cried tears of sheer frustration and selfishness. I have had some major FAIL moments.
But thankfully Jesus covers me with his mercy and grace each and every day! Just when I need the strength and the will to go on, He gives it to me. Just look at some of the promises He has whispered to my heart the past few days....

"Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that I might have great endurance and patience..." ~Colossians 1:11
I have been clinging to this verse. Repeating it to myself, especially late at night when I just want to go to sleep and Jackson's tummy hurts. I have been amazed at the strength that God has given me. I am one of those people who needs 8 hours of sleep. Before kids I was in bed by 9 or 9:30 each night. God has given me the ability to function on very little zzz's. It's really an answer to prayer!

Yesterday morning after I fed Jackson I was reading "Jesus Calling" and God gave me two verses to encourage me. It's funny, I used to really hate early mornings, but yesterday as I was sitting there, spending time in the stillness and quiet with God, I thought to myself - I could get used to this. These are the verses I wrote in my journal.

"...he gently leads those that have young." ~Isaiah 40:11
"God's hand will guide me..." ~Psalm 139:10

Oh how I need God to guide me, to lead me as I raise Jackson. I know I can't do life without Jesus, but I realize I REALLY can't do life as a mommy without Jesus. Need HIM desperately!

I know this blog probably sounds like I'm on the verge of an emotional breakdown - I am not. We have lots of good days, but a few not so good ones mixed in. The one thing I will not do is put on a happy face and pretend that being a new mom is just peaches and cream. I secretly loathe people who do that! Ugh! Because it's not all glitz and glamour. The thing I will do is be real. I will share the joys and the frustrations. I will share how Jesus is giving me just what I need each day to take care of the sweet baby boy He has entrusted to me.

(P.S. I finally finished this at 8:46 a.m. Jackson is sleeping in his bouncy seat and I am NOT having to bounce it. )

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Highs and Lows

I haven't had a ton of time to sit and reflect on 2011 - a new baby kind of keeps you busy. However, I am floored by all that God has done this year! I have seen His hand on every inch of my life. He has put the pieces of an amazing puzzle together and just blown my mind! Here's my list of highs and lows from 2011....I will start with the lows. There aren't many, but God used each of them to teach me something and to draw me nearer to Him.

  • My Mom being diagnosed with breast cancer: when she told me the news I cried myself to sleep, yet at the very core of my being I had peace and knew that God was in control. My mom might just be the toughest woman I know. I might even go as far to say I'm scared of her (not really, but she seriously threw a desk at a little boy in grade school because he wouldn't stop poking her butt with a strait pin). My mom has handled her diagnoses, surgery and recovery with such an amazing spirit and fight! I don't believe for a second that God GAVE my mom cancer. But I do believe He will use her story to bring glory to His name. (P.S. This story continues in my highs of 2011)
  • Ethiopia Adoptions slowing WAY down: Our Ethiopian adoption journey has been an emotional roller coaster this year. In December we celebrated 8 months on the wait list (I am a failure and forgot to blog!) and we still have a LONG ways to go. Our hearts have ached over the slow downs and all the children who need mommy's and daddy's. We have been so invested in Ethiopia for so long, yet we really have NO idea what is going to happen or how long it will take for us to bring children home. We are praying, seeking God's wisdom and direction and trusting in His perfect plan.
  • Saying Goodbye: I work at a wonderful place full of hurting people and this year I have witnessed some tough stuff. The hardest is saying goodbye to the kids who have stolen my heart. Watching them walk out the door, into situations that are so, so, not good and not being able to do anything about it. Helpless.
  • Broken Friendships: This might be one of the hardest things I have struggled with this year. I have grieved, cried, struggled with bitterness and asked forgiveness so many times. I have wanted so much for things to go back to the way they once were, but that hasn't happened. It has been hard. But once again God is teaching me things, He is changing me.
  • Our Little Man Jackson Henry: I just don't think there are words to describe the AMAZING adoption story God wrote for John and I. When we least expected it, when we thought we had YEARS before welcoming a child into our home, He did the unimaginable. He weaved together two lives at City Rescue Mission all for the sake of a baby boy who He loves SO much. I am just moved to tears when I think about it! He is so faithful! I am humbled that He used me to fulfill His purpose and plan for Jackson.
  • My Job at City Rescue Mission: At the beginning of 2011, I spent my lunch breaks sobbing in my car, absolutely miserable with my work situation and desperately wanting to be in a job position that God wanted me in. Once again He was faithful and within a weeks time I had sent my resume in, interviewed with the Mission and was hired. I absolutely love my job! Through our adoption, God has given John and I a passion for the poor and the orphan - for social justice. Each day I get to pour into the lives of those that Jesus calls us to love! It has been such a rewarding job (and stressful and emotional). I have fallen in love with so many kiddos. I get to be the hands and feet of Jesus each and every day!
  • My Mom being declared CANCER FREE: Told you this story continues...after my mom's surgery, she was declared cancer free! God is so good! She still has a long road to a complete recovery but she has already come SO far. She will start chemo at the end of January - just another precaution to make sure the cancer doesn't come back and once she finishes chemo then she will have reconstruction. My mom pretty much kicked cancer's butt! I told you she was a tough cookie!
  • John was Baptized: I have watched God do amazing things in John's life since we began dating in 2007. He has become an amazing man of God and I had the honor of watching him get dunked this year! I was also excited when my parents and sister decided to be baptized - to renew their commitment to Christ. I am so glad my family will be praising Jesus together in Heaven some day!
  • Witnessing God do AMAZING things in friends adoption journeys: from one couple bringing their son home from Taiwan, from another traveling to meet their daughter who has down syndrome, to our friends Clint and Kathleen who will have a baby in just 26 days! (Woot Woot!), to a friend traveling to Ethiopia to meet her daughter, to the thousands and thousands of dollars I have seen God provide each of these families and families I don't even know. Being able to host Orphan Sunday at our church and discover that a couple in our small group have started the process. To an old friend from childhood contacting me to talk about her and her husband adopting. It's been amazing to watch each of these stories unfold! WOW!
  • An amazing small group: In February, we will have been going to our church for 2 years. This fall we finally got plugged in to a small group and God has just blown me away by this group! We laugh together, we pray together, we stand in the gap for one another. I can't imagine a better group of people! I can't wait to see what 2012 holds for our group!
  • New Friendships: Between my new job, church and the adoption community, John and I have met some pretty incredible people. All of which, have encouraged us, prayed for us and continue to do so as we figure this parent thing out. We are beyond blessed by the new (and old) friends in our life.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quick Update Through Photos...

I've been dying to blog all the details of the day Jackson was born, about the mommy meltdown I had and just HOW hard the first three weeks have been and my highs and lows of 2011 - but between diapers, feedings, NO sleep and lots of visitors I haven't had a chance. But I will! Promise!
We are starting to get into somewhat of a routine - the best we can for a 3 week old (on Wednesday that is). Until I have time to sit down and share all the amazing (and not so amazing) things about the past few weeks, I will just share a few photos.....

 A coworker gave Jackson this hat and it's so perfect for him - my dad is a huge hunter/outdoors man. I told my mom he needed some camo pants to go with it and she didn't waste any time finding some.
 Our little family
 John's mom and dad (Missie and Dude) came to meet Jackson a few days after he was born...
 This is Autry - I have blogged about her and the sweet letters she wrote me while we waited to adopt a baby. When we first told her we were adopting from Ethiopia she and her mom researched Ethiopia and she explained Gotcha Day to me. She was SO excited to meet Jackson. She held him for an hour and a half and even fed him. My mom told her we were going to have to pay her to babysit and she replied "They can just pay me in Baby Love!"
 This is my family in Texas on Christmas Eve! They are just smitten with our little man!
 Daddy is starting him out young - only Cardinals Baseball will do!
 Pop and Lolli and Auntie Myka made sure Jackson had
plenty of Christmas gifts
 Christmas Day 2011
 Aunt Adrienne meeting Jackson
 This was my New Year's Eve Date (well, and John too!) What a sweet little man to smooch at midnight!
To say my dog Story is spoiled would be an understatement. She has been my baby for six years. Her little world has been turned upside down but she LOVES Jackson. She guards him and is always close by. Right after I took this photo, Story decided to get IN the car seat with Jackson! I didn't get a photo because I was too worried about getting her out before she suffocated him!