Saturday, November 22, 2014

Are you Blessed?


I have seen so many blog posts and Facebook statuses about people being upset about other people describing themselves as blessed. And it makes me sad that among Christians we are starting to quarrel about whether or not we can say we are blessed.

 So I've had enough, and have to throw my 2 cents in on the subject. I'm gonna set the record straight.

Did you know there is a difference in saying you are blessed and blessed (pronounced blesid)?

It's true. I consulted a dictionary.

Blesid is an adjective. If you remember from English class and adjective describes a noun. Like when Jesus says in Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in Spirit; for theirs in the kingdom of Heaven" he is describing the poor in Spirit. That word in Greek is actually saying that they are fortunate or prosperous. Jesus was literally telling those people that they were fortunate to be poor in spirit because Heaven belongs to them.

Blessed is a verb. An action word that means to "express or feel gratitude to; to thank" So when someone says "I am blessed." they are essentially saying they feel gratitude.

I say this because I feel like it is important to acknowledge that we have been giving many things in this life, one of them being life itself, and we should be thankful for that. We should be telling people we are blessed. We should be acknowledging that which God has given us.

So if you are one of those people who felt ashamed for saying you are blessed, and you meant it because you are grateful for ALL God has given you, you are free from shame my friend.

And if you are one of those people who was like "Yeah, stop saying you are blessed! You're not! That's not how Jesus meant it!", then know that those who are saying it are being grateful, and it's okay for you to be grateful too.

Hugs my friends!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

And we said No

She came into our living room and sat in the yellowish-orange chair. My girls ran around her and giggled. She played with Julia, and listened to all of her stories about My Little Ponies. She told Julia that Rainbow Dash is her favorite.

I sat on the couch under a quilt; tired, cold, worn down, nervous. I looked around my house and saw boxes of kitchen cabinets in the corner, clutter all around, and I could feel the vomit wanting to come up.

She asked us about our wedding, our parents, where our adoptive child will sleep. She asked if I would do my one on one interview with her and Paul took the girls for a walk.

She asked me about my relationship with my dad. She asked me about being sexually abused. She asked me if now was the time to adopt. I cried. I felt humiliated. I felt like all of our friends were judging us without even knowing the conversation was happening. I felt like I had failed.

Tears welled up in her eyes as she told me she knows that God has called us to adoption, that she knows we are good parents, that I am a good mom. She told me that God didn't give me a spirit of timidity but of power.

She asked me again...is now the time for you to adopt?

She told me that there is no shame in postponing. She said that I am doing good, hard work in counseling and she doesn't want me to be distracted by the adoption process and stop healing. She asked me again "is now the time for you to adopt?".

She asked Paul to come in and talk with us. She told him our conversation. She asked us again "is now the time for you to adopt?".

She told us our options. She told us we could complete our home study and postpone referral. She told us that we could stop the home study process and start over again when we were ready. And she asked again "is now the time for you to adopt?'

Paul took a deep breath, and paused. He asked questions. He said that finishing our home study and postponing referral was a good choice. She gave us time to talk. We told her the same thing.

She got up to leave, and told us that she would see us in the morning.

Everything in the pit of my stomach told me that we needed stop. Paul was hesitating, and that meant we need to figure out why. Continuing this process wouldn't be right if we didn't know.

She hugged me, told me she was going to be praying for me, and left.

We have spent today trying to figure out why there was hesitation, and we don't know. We honestly don't know. but we know that God knows. We know that God is going to show us in His timing, and until then we will wait.

Waiting is hard, but we know He has called us to adoption. So we will wait until he says it is time.

So we said no when she asked if this is the right time to adopt.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween...4 years later

We spent the day with my mom and some friends in College Station. We went to eat lunch at Potbelly Sandwiches, we shopped for Aggie Outfits for Owen and Julia, we went to Step Off and then enjoyed the game. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we be Texas Tech. Paul and I took a picture on the field after the game "with" the babies. You can't ask for more.

We drove back to Giddings, and had dinner with my parents before heading home. On the way home someone cut Paul off, and he cussed at them. We joked about how if our children are born cursing it will be his fault.

As we laid in bed that night, I realized I hadn't felt much movement from the baby that day. I tried to chalk it up to all of the moving I did, but my stomach was in knots. We decided to call the OB on-call to get his thoughts on it, and he casually told me that it was normal to not feel a lot of movement at 18 weeks, but if I was really concerned I could go to the ER for peace of mind. Paul didn't want to go, but I told him it was better to go and everything be fine than to not go and regret it. My momma instincts kicked in way before my children were born. I knew something wasn't right.

We got up and went to the nearest ER. When you are pregnant and say that you haven't felt movement from your child/children...they don't make you wait.

We went back to a room, and a nurse came in pretty quickly to check fetal heart tones. She could only find one heart beat, but reassured me that the babies were still small so it is sometimes hard to find both of them. The doctor came in and said he wanted to get an ultrasound to see what was going on. He said we would have to wait awhile because they had to call in the on-call sonographer.

Paul and I chatted while we waited. We were sure that everything was fine, but we just wanted some reassurance.

Once the sonographer arrived, she came in to get me. She told Paul that he wasn't allowed to come back to the ultrasound. This was devastating, but we knew that I would be back quickly. She told me that she would let me watch the ultrasound, but that she couldn't answer any questions.

She squirted the warm jelly on my protruding belly, and began the ultrasound. She asked if we knew the genders of our babies. I told her yes. I told her we were expecting a boy and a girl. She first found Owen, confirmed his gender, did his measurements, and checked for a heart beat. I never saw a heart beat on the monitor. I never saw movement.

She moved on to Baby #2.

She confirmed that we were having a little girl. She immediately got measurements, a strong heart beat, and I saw LOTS of wiggles (this little girl still wiggles).

She told me we were done, that she was taking me back to my room, and that a doctor would be in talk to me shortly. I asked if her there were two wiggly babies and two strong heartbeats. I was hoping that was I saw was wrong. She simply said "I'm sorry. I can't answer that." The doctor will be with you shortly.

I knew in my stomach that something was right, and I wanted desperately to be wrong.

As I went back in the room, Paul looked at me and said "Is everything okay?' I looked at him and whispered "I didn't see Owen moving. I didn't see his heartbeat."

A few minutes later the ER doctor walked in, and he looked like he had seen a ghost. He was very solemn. He sat down in the chair, and with tears in his eyes said "I'm sorry. One of the babies doesn't have a heart beat."

I felt like someone stole all of the air out of the room. I couldn't breathe. He said "I'm going to call your OBGYN and see what they want to do."

After he left, I felt like the room was spinning. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't cry. I couldn't think.

I looked at Paul and told him we needed to call my parents. As soon as my dad answered the phone I burst into tears. My dad knew something was terribly wrong. He calmly said "Cynthia, take a deep breath. What's wrong?" Through sobs I mumbled "We lost Owen." He asked if I wanted him to call anyone and I said yes. He told me to let him know what was going to happen, and we hung up.

The doctor came back in and said that my OB wanted to admit at the hospital where I would deliver. He asked if I wanted to go by ambulance or if Paul wanted to drive me. We said Paul would drive. (It's crazy to me that in the midst of all that was going on I could think about how expensive an ambulance ride would be.) We then waited to be discharged.

As we waited, my aunt showed up and I just started bawling. She held me. Prayed for me. Held my hand. She asked if I wanted her to come to the hospital with me and I said yes.

Once we were in the car we knew we had to tell Paul's family. I called my sister in law and Paul called his mom. Both were at church, but answered their phones. I could barely speak the words when I talked to Jenny. Saying it didn't make it more real.

We got to the hospital, and I was admitted into labor and delivery. The nurse checked for contractions and monitored Julia's heart.

The OB on call came in, and held my hand. He said he was very sorry. He told me he had talked to the doctor that was on call before, and he apologized for not having me come there. He said "we just couldn't have known."

Since I had seen the Maternal Fetal medicine doctor before, he let her take over care.

She came in, and did an ultrasound. She explained what had happened. She said it was a placental abruption. My sister asked if there was anything I could've done to prevent it, and she said no. These things just happen and we don't know why.

She said that I would need to see her throughout my pregnancy, and that Julia would need to be delivered between 37 and 38 weeks.

I tried to make jokes about how Julia would be stronger and smarter because she survived. You know the jokes people make about eating their twin and such. I wanted to do anything to make the pain go away.

I finally gave into crying. Then I started vomitting.

I made my dad take Paul to run errands so that Paul could talk and not have to worry about me.

He is so gentle. I knew he would avoid talking about how he was feeling to be strong for me.

I asked my grandma to come to the hospital. It was a moment that I just needed her gentle hugs. She sat and let me cry.

I asked if Owen when to heaven. No one could give me a straight answer.

The next morning my OB came by and expressed his condolences. He told me to come down for an ultrasound after I was released. He told me that I would need to come in more often, and for more ultrasounds. He told me I couldn't do anything for a week. I needed to be on pelvic rest.

That was 4 years ago on Halloween. 4 years.

My daughter arrived safely. She is healthy and happy. She loves dressing up and is excited about Halloween and getting candy. She has become a big sister. She is beautiful and brilliant.

She is so excited about Halloween that she has been wearing her costume for 4 days.

And all I can think about is that day, 4 years ago when I lost my son. I was never able to hold him in my arms. I was never able to see his face. And I dread having to take my daughters trick or treating.

A few weeks ago Paul said "I wish I had a son." And I know what he means. One that he could see, hear, smell and touch. One that he could teach about football. One that he could teach how to blacksmith and work on cars.

My heart sinks when I think about our son. Owen is our son. But sometimes it doesn't feel like it because we can't see him and hold him.

I often wonder what he would look like, what he would like to play, what his favorite food would be. I wonder if he were here if I would I want to try for another baby.

I wonder if every Halloween for the rest of my life is going to be this horrendous or if one day I will enjoy it.


Monday, October 13, 2014

It Isn't Just a Dollar

Last week I was out running errands with my girls. We went to the dentist, Wendy's for lunch, and then Target. While I was at Target, I looked through the dollar section and grabbed a couple of bath things for the girls. One was some bath wash in crayons (that I thought came in the color of the crayon, but it turns out are just clear. Not fun.), and the other was bath paints. I like for my girls to have fun in the bath.

We get home, and go about our day and a couple of days later I remember I bought these nifty bath things for $1 each and it would be fun for them to do in the bath. (Paul was doing something downstairs so I was in charge of bath time. For some reason this is the most boring part of my day. I digress). Anyway, we quickly learn that the body wash crayons are clear body wash, not colored, and they get bored with them. But the bath paints were a huge hit. They used all five in a matter a minutes. The girls are giggling while they paint everything around them.

I remember sitting there thinking that I would like these $1 paints to last longer than this one bath, but then I thought to myself...what does it matter? They were just a $1.

Suddenly, I felt this tremendous weight on my conscious as I thought about that $1. That day I had spent $3 on bath things for my girls. I didn't think about that money when I spent it. I just thought "Oh, this will be fun for them, and it's only $1". But as I sat there as they played I began thinking about the 2.2 BILLION people that live on less than $2 a day. I had spent $3 on bath toys that my girls didn't like or used up in less than five minutes when there are 2.2 BILLION people* who don't even have that for food or clean water.

I became an Ambassador for Noonday Collection a little over a year ago. I decided to be part of this company so I could create a marketplace here among my friends for artisans across this world to be able to live on more than $2 a day. For those artisans to be able to have access to food, clean water and medical care that I often taken for granted.

I have worked hard to try and spend my money as as wisely as I can when it comes to where I purchase from so that I know that what I am buying is being ethically made. These things have become important to me after meeting Jalia, hearing her story, and realizing that she came from NOTHING and each purchase that I make wisely has helped her create a pathway out of poverty for her and the other artisans in her group.

But I sat there the other day throwing away money on things that my girls can survive without, and I didn't even think twice about it before I spent it. I very easily could have said "I would like to spend this $3 on bath stuff, but instead I will talk to my girls about those living in poverty and we can save it to support a child through Compassion International or put it towards our adoption fund." I could have taken that moment and made it a teachable moment for my girls. (Can I just say that my girls didn't even ask for these things...this was something I did.)

I know that I live in America and things are more expensive here than in many other places, but I also strongly feel like I should think about where I spend my money and what I spend it on.

Because for some people that $1 could change their lives.

*information from http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/overview