Archive for 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Afternoon Mystery

Once upon a time there was an unsuspecting mama in the basement doing laundry.  She heard one of her little ones calling impatiently and decided (rather foolishly) to ignore the grumpy imploring voice.  After emptying the contents of the dryer into her basket, she headed up the stairs to be greeted by a scary sight!
"Someone" had hauled the footstool from the bathroom all the way into the pantry, presumably, in order to reach something that "someone" had not been authorized to partake of.  The mama began to speculate.  "Could it have been the leftover chocolate from Grandma?"
Nope.  "Hmm...could she have gotten into something even more sugary?"  The mama wondered.
Wrong again.  The mama began to panic.  "She didn't!!  Oh no!!!!!"  The mama raced upstairs as fast as she could to find the "someone" exactly as the mama had feared.
The little thief was stuffing her mouth chipmunk-full of D'Noir Prunes.
Never one to eat sparingly, the sneaky little girl had stuffed prune, after prune, after poop-inducing prune into her mouth to savor.
The mama silently thanked God that a babysitter would be soon taking over all bathroom related activities in a mere two hours.

The end.  (Well, actually, this is probably only the beginning of a loong night ahead.)

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Life feels pretty much like this right now:

An absolute blur.

I have four children ages six, four, two, and 2.5months and I stay at home with them.  My day starts around 6amish (thank you evil Time Change) when this one tiptoes into my room to whisper very loudly, "Mommy, may I please lay with you?"
Seconds later, she's followed by one or two of the others who also climb in begging for the chance to snuggle Mommy before the day really begins.  All the while, I'm feeling groggy and not wanting to open my eyes but being too squished to possibly remain asleep. And so begins the day. :)

From then on, there are lots of tears, fights, laughter, messes, food, music, dishes, whining, Wild*Kratts, crafts, bottles, texts, Pando*ra, hugs, hair pulling, and "Jesus, PLEASE help me be a patient mom.  I cannot be kind on my own," prayers.  Each day is really a blur.

I'm struggling to figure this whole "mom of 4" thing out.  There are so many things I'm just not doing well.  The blur can feel disorienting or infuriating or even futile in the sense that each day I just keep messing up all over again, struggling to look beyond the blur to clearly see the blessings in front of me.  Behind the blur are four real children that I GET the blessing of being home with.  Addie discovered last week that her stomach makes noise when it growls; I got to be here for that.  Tali's starting to grow in confidence while she reads; I get to help her with that.  Owen loves making Titus smile; I get to watch that.  Titus is cooing and smiling and trying to roll;  I get to hang with him all day long and watch him grow.  

I GET to be a mom.  I don't want to take it for granted even though it's kind of crazy right now.  Behind the blur are four real people that call me "Mommy."  I'm asking God to sharpen my eyes, that I wouldn't get lost in the blur but would see the sweet little people behind the blur that make it all worthwhile.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apple Orchard 2012

I am a sucker for traditions. I LOVE THEM.  I love having special things to look forward to each year, things we can count on and dream about and wait for.  A trip to the apple orchard kicked off our fall traditions...although this time we didn't actually pick any apples, but that's beside the point-we made a memory.

Addie's version of roping is to wind the rope around the ears...very resourceful!

My big four-year-old cutie lassoing away!

Tali would have bounced all day!

It was so much fun watching them laugh together.

My girl's got some rad hair!
Don't be fooled-Josh jumped, too...not with Titus!

Family trip down the big slide

Serious duck race competition

My little farmer

So excited that my daughter can take good photos!  Finally, some pictures of us together!

Can't get enough of snuggling our baby

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Amazing Generosity!

We're smiling pretty big around here these days!  You all are BLOWING US AWAY with your incredible generosity.  Josh and I were looking at all of the adoption funds that have come in, completely stunned and humbled!  We were talking about it and I said, "It's just so humbling because we COULD NOT have done this on our own.  We couldn't have!  There is just no way we would have been able to adopt on our own."

It brings me to tears again as I write, thinking about how generous so many of you have been.  Both friends and "friends of friends" and strangers and even couples who are raising funds for their own adoptions have given to us.  Thank you!  Thank you for loving Titus along with us and for helping us do what we could never have done on our own.  Thank you for helping us bring our little guy home to our family forever.  There are simply no words to adequately convey our thanks...

(Head on over to AdoptTogether to see how close we are to reaching our goal!!)

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Smiles and Tears: Adoption Joys and Grief

(Bear with the junky picture quality as it's easier to grab my iphone w/a newborn in hand than it is to grab my Nikon.)

When people ask how it's going over here, it's difficult to know what to say.  We're experiencing such a mixture of joy and sorrow all wrapped into one.

There is deep joy as I stare into Titus' dark brown eyes, amazed that he is really here, really with us after years of praying for him.  There are smiles as I hear Addie Beth talking to her little brother ("Titus, will you tackle me when you're a big boy?  Yes, I bet you will!") and smiles as I watch the three big kids fight over who can hold the baby next.  There is incredible rejoicing over this baby's life and the gift of having him in our family.

But do you know what else there is?  There is sorrow and there are tears because adoption isn't just beautiful-it is loss.  The very first thing that happened in my son's life was loss-he lost the only voice and presence he'd known for nine months.  Each day as I hold him and watch him grow, I am so aware that his birthmom is not holding him and not watching him grow.  It is heartbreaking to imagine her loss.

There is such joy in snuggling my sweet boy and kissing his soft skin and marveling at all that God did to bring him into our family.  There is joy in holding him close and loving him with such a depth that only God can orchestrate.

But there are also many tears as we grieve losing the twins.  Please understand, Titus is not "second best" to us or anything like that at all.  Titus is fiercely loved and we would not trade him for any child or children in the world.  But we still grieve the lives of the little boys we thought would be our sons.  When we were matched with the twins, we saw them as our children.  We planned and dreamed and imagined what life would be like once they came-much like we did with each pregnancy I had.  So not having them enter our family is like a death to us and it is certainly not erased by the joy of having Titus.

I wear my sweet boy throughout the day, holding him close and whispering to him, "We have always wanted you.  We have always loved you.  God has a plan for your life, Titus."  Sometimes I say it through tears as I think of the twins and their birthmom and wonder how she's doing.  Sometimes I say it as I smile and remember meeting him for the first time a little over five weeks ago.  Sometimes I say it as I cry for Titus' birthmom and wonder what she's feeling and thinking.  Sometimes I say it as I wonder what he will think years from now as he tries to make sense of out his adoption.

We have a lot of smiles going on over here and that's for sure.  But there is a lot of sorrow that accompanies the joys of adoption, too.  My comfort is knowing that God, the Author of adoption, understands and He relates.  His adoption of us into His family cost Him the very life of His Son.  That is a grief and sorrow unimaginable.  God understands that adoption hurts because it hurt Him, too.  He is my comfort and I pray that He will be Titus' comfort one day as well.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Junior High And Adoption Help

(Enter awkward junior high photo.  Don't you love my bangs?)
Yep.  I was always that junior high kid.  You know the one I'm talking about-the one who came home with a huge box full of candybars to sell for the band fundraiser but who never attempted to sell a single one to anyone...anyone except, of course, her parents.  Yep-that was me.  Asking someone for money just seemed awkward and rude and I didn't do it. Instead, my parents bailed me out and bought all my candybars.  (I don't think they ate them so I don't know what happened to all that chocolate...but I digress.)

Funding an adoption can feel like the band fundraiser to me...weird and embarrassing and sometimes I just wish I didn't have to ask anyone for help.

But asking for help in adoption shouldn't feel embarrassing; the truth is that very few people come with the $20,000-$60,000 they need to give a child a loving family.  Maybe it seems strange to hear someone ask for your financial help as they adopt.  But here's the deal: funding an adoption isn't like asking for help so my softball team could buy new uniforms or so my junior high marching band could take a trip.  This is something of eternal significance.  At a minimum, it will change at least one life and our family for good.

We have saved for years, applied for grants, run an Etsy store, had a garage sale, did photography fundraisers, and more.  And we have already been helped tremendously by extremely generous friends and family members (and even a few acquaintances and strangers along the way!) who have given given gifts ranging from $20 to thousands of dollars.  We are so blown away by the amazing generosity we've been shown!

Still, the reality is this: when we headed to Florida, we didn't know we'd be returning with our son.  With remaining costs for attorney's office fees, birthmother assistance, paying off travel expenses, and post-placement visits (for state requirements), we still need about $11,000.

I was thinking today how amazing it would be if the 400+ people who read Titus' story and were affected by it were to give even $20.  We'd be way over halfway funded!  You wouldn't get a yummy candybar to eat as a reward, but you would know that you got to partner with our family in the process of Titus becoming our son.  Pretty amazing to join God's work in something that important.

So here's my candybar schpeel with no arm twisting or hype:  Would you consider stopping by AdoptTogether where you can be a part of Titus' adoption by giving a tax deductible gift?  Thank you so much for considering!
Titus says, "Thank you for caring about me!  I'm way sweeter than a candybar, too."

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Our days are somewhat crazy but filled with fun. Four little people to love and cherish and cook for and clean up after. I still can hardly believe that this is our life...we are so blessed.

Titus fits so perfectly into our family.  It's incredible, really, how three weeks ago we didn't even know anything about him and now it's as if he's always been a part of us.  I could say it a million times-adoption is beautiful.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012


I'm sitting here holding Titus, feeling like I'm in some sort of a dream.  This is my baby.  The baby we've been praying for and longing for.  He's my arms.  It is incredibly surreal.

Titus is our son and our hearts are so full, yet there is such a mixture of emotions as we pause to consider all that's happened in the last three weeks.  There really has been extreme emotions of sorrow and joy that have exploded in our hearts over such a short amount of time.

There's still a sorrow over the situation with the twins ending.  There's a mourning when I think of their birthmom and how much I miss talking with her and about the precious little boys that won't be a part of our family.  But there's an incomparable delight as I look at our Titus with gratitude and realize that he is everything we've been praying for!  There's an aching grief as we consider Titus' birthmom and all that she must be going through. There's a grief as I think about how I wasn't there for the nine months of his pregnancy, how I didn't get to talk to him in utero and tell him how much he is loved and wanted.  But there's awe and wonder as I kiss his little cheeks now and touch his soft hair and marvel that he is home with us.

These days feel very surreal, as if we're living in a movie or a dream.  Still, each morning, I wake up to the sounds of little baby grunts waiting to be answered with milk.  It is almost too much to take in...

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Broken and Beautiful Path to Titus: Part 3

We woke up late that Thursday morning yet still felt tired.  Few words were spoken as we got into our rental car and headed to pick up lunch before we went to the airport.  We sang a sweet song we'd heard on xmradio the night before.  "My God is Awesome, He can move mountains, keep me in the valley...hide me from the rain.  My God is Awesome, heals me when I'm broken, strength where I've been weakened, forever He will reign."  Rain fell softly on the windshield and we drove some more in silence.

I started wondering aloud.  "Why are we even here, Josh?  Isn't it just weird?  Why are we in Florida?"  He shook his head slowly and said, "I don't know."

A minute or so later, around 11am, my phone rang.  I looked at the name: Tracie Loux (our dearly loved adoption consultant) and my heart began to beat faster. "Katie, where are you?  Are you still in Florida?"  Now my heart beat wildly out of my chest.  "Yes...What's going on?" I asked as I started to tremble.  

"Ok, I'm literally shaking.  Katie there's a birthmom being induced in a couple of hours there in Florida and she wants to make an adoption plan.  Are you guys interested?"  I started crying as I relayed the info to Josh and we immediately said, "YES!"  "Ok, don't go anywhere!"  Tracie replied.  We pulled into the closest spot we could find to wait to hear more: Bruegger's Bagels.

As Josh waited in line for our food, I opened my Bible to Psalm 27 and prayed through the familiar verses again.  Soon we found ourselves emailing our profile to the attorney's office.  Someone from the office gave us a call to relay their initial conversation with the birthmom.  "I told her [the birthmom] all about you guys and your situation.  She said, 'I'll look at the profile but tell them to put a smile back on their faces. God does everything for a reason.'"  We could hardly believe what we were hearing!  A couple minutes later the amazing attorney's assistant called back and said some of the sweetest words I've ever heard: "Y'all aren't going back to Illinois."  I started crying and frantically packed up all of our things.

We just happened to be minutes from the attorney's office so we met her at Starbucks to take care of a few legal details, and then we hit the road to drive to Pensacola.  Just like that, two hours after we had heard about him, we were on the way to go meet our son.

Around 1:30 we got a phone call from our much loved attorney's assistant again.  "The baby was born!  He's 6lbs 15oz.  They will be waiting for you when you get there."  We were in shock and started to work on a name for the little guy.  We stopped once on the excruciatingly long 3 hour drive to go to the bathroom but we literally RAN to the bathroom and back to the car, refusing to waste any time.

After stopping to pick up some flowers, we met the social worker at the hospital and were taken in to meet our son's sweet birthmom.  Though she had known for months that she would choose adoption, God kept this lovely brave warm woman from making a plan until we were in Florida.  We loved our time with her; she is articulate, strong, warm, funny, and beautifully brave.  It was completely surreal to hear her excitement about choosing our family.  Then we went to a small room in the hospital and waited for the nurses to bring in our son.

Around 5:30pm, we saw our little boy for the first time.  Words can't describe all that we felt in that moment.

Only God can author a story like this.  Adoption is beautiful.

     I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
                                                                                   in the land of the living!
                            Wait for the LORD;
                                                                           be strong, 
                               and let your heart take courage;
                                                                                                  wait for the LORD!
                                           (Psalm 27:13-14 ESV)

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Broken and Beautiful Path to Titus: Part 2

Amidst the sorrow of processing the unexpected end to our match with the twins, God continued to show us His love.  But experiencing His care didn't make all of the hurt go away-far from it.  There were many many tears, many unanswered questions, and a sense of complete confusion as to why in the world we were in Florida.

We drove to a Starbucks, planning to spend some time writing a letter to the twins' birthmom.  We wanted to tell her we love her dearly and wanted an opportunity to share with her again how thankful we are for the chance we had to get to know her.

We pulled into the Starbucks parking lot and Josh said, "Let's check out a different one, this one doesn't look that great."  So we went on for a couple more exits and then went inside a nice spacious Starbucks.  We sat down, extremely burdened and overwhelmed as to what we should write.

Suddenly, Josh looked up towards the doorway with a strange expression on his face.  "Is that Jesse," he asked?  "It can't be.  I didn't think he lived in this part of Florida," I said.  But walking towards us came a dear pastor friend that we've known for over seven years.  He just happened to be in the area visiting a church member that was in a nearby hospital.  He just happened to come to Starbucks for the second time that day before he headed home.

After sharing with Jesse why we were in Florida, he and the co-pastor with him said, "We're going to pray for you right now.  Let's sit down."  They prayed for us, encouraged us, and grieved with us.  Right in the middle of one of the hardest weeks of our entire life, right in the middle of some random place in Florida where we'd never been before, God sent a kind, compassionate friend to pray for us.

As we drove away, I was overcome by the absolute unmistakable care of God for us.  He didn't have to bring Jesse into Starbucks to pray for us but He did.  My grieving heart felt such a deep comfort in knowing that God was very near to us and He was going to great lengths to let us know He cared.  A sense of peace mixed with sorrow reigned as Josh and I drove on to Tallahassee for the night.  We expected to fly back to Illinois in the morning.  Little did we know that our entire lives were about to be changed forever.

To read Part 3 go here.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Broken and Beautiful Path to Titus: Part 1

God's ways are often so mysterious; they rarely make sense when we're in the midst of a dark cloud of sorrow.  Our week began under that cloud, ridden with tears and disappointment that our match to adopt twins had ended.  We love those twins and their selfless birthmom immensely so ending our match with them was excruciating and felt much like a death to be greived.

That match ended as we were heading to Florida to meet the twins' birthparents.  (In fact, when we arrived at Midway Airport, Josh asked if we should just stay in Chicago.  Then while we were in line, I asked him, "Should we really just go?  What for?")  Instead of arriving and meeting the twins' birthmom who we love, we had a phone call with the attorney's office and then headed to the beach, heartbroken and confused as to what had just happened.  I have never seen my husband cry so hard and I have never felt so numb in all of my life.  All we had hoped for, all we had imagined, all we had dreamed about these twins had been crushed.  It was devastating.
But amidst the tears and the questions and the exhaustion, God was there.  He was there and He went to great lengths to remind us that He cared.
In the spectacular sunset over the ocean, He reminded us of how beautiful He is.  
Psalm 19:1"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork."
With the raised hands of a father, praying over his son on the beach, He reminded us, "I'm here."
In the quirky stillness of a local beach shop...
In the peaceful emptiness of a charming bed and breakfast...

In the freshness of a bright blue sky, God was caring for us.  He led me to Psalm 27:13,14 and we clung to it for dear life:

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living!
Wait for the LORD;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the LORD!
          (Psalm 27:13-14 ESV)

Wednesday morning, I texted with my friend and adoption consultant, Tracie, who had been praying for us (my writing is in green).  Here was our short conversation:
(a "stork drop" is adoption lingo for a last minute adoption situation)

You can read Part 2 of the story here.

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