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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:4

This is the thought that allows a respite from the pain of these last few days. First, this is where our babies live. They have never known the pain our family has experienced and they never will. They were created only to know a life beyond the confines our of sinful, human history and know God in His perfection throughout eternity. It is a beautiful thought. It is also the hope that moves us- especially me- through grieving and not be driven to despair. Our grieving is only temporary. Broken hearts, even ones this side of eternity, are the specialty of our Savior. He came to heal them. Until our complete healing, He weeps with us, just as He did with Mary and Martha.

I read a long time ago- and it stuck- to press into pain. It is a part of our created life experience to mourn. All the physical and emotional responses are built into us. It is defensiveness that causes us to run from feeling pain... to distract ourselves... to cover over it with something else. But pain is a good thing. It is in pain that many times I have an intimate knowledge of my need for redemption. Don't get me wrong, I have spent sufficient time trying make sure that God knows that I thought I was signing up for that other line... you know... the one where people adopt and get to hold their children this side of eternity. I have even used the word "crap" a couple of times!!! But when Micah and I made this choice to be obedient to the calling of adopting these embryos, we became willing participants no matter what. Even if the path is pain. We would have preferred a different outcome. It is much more fun to hear "Congratulations!" instead of "so sorry". But God heals us and God moves us. I have said it before and I will say it again; He brought us to this road, He loves us, and He is good.

Micah reminded me of this passage in Lamentations that relates pain and hope. It is now hanging over my sink in the kitchen.

Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him." The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.

I certainly do not know what beauty He may create from these ashes but indeed, His salvation is sure.

It feels a little crazy to go ahead and talk about doing all of this again, but we still have two embryos that need a chance at life. Again, a humbling, terrifying thought. Since I am called to obey and not fear, all I can do is plead, "Lord I believe, help my unbelief." We only have a couple of weeks until we start the whole process again. Prayers from friends and family have been priceless. I have no doubt that my weary soul has leaned on the prayers of others this past week. We all still need them, maybe now more than ever.

The boys have been dealing with things in their own way. It is inspiring to see their childlike faith. They have been entrusting these babies to the Lord in their prayers. They made plans for them. They valued their lives. They are disappointed, but they easily trust their siblings are in Good Hands. I have wondered how God is going to use this experience in their lives in the future. That remains to be seen. Micah and I are so blessed to share our lives with Andrew and Elijah. I learn so much from them.

Christmas was weighty. The day itself was relaxing. It is fun for our kiddos to get new toys for Micah and I to play with:) One of my favorite moments was when Elijah opened his new Razor scooter and yelled "I can't ride a scooter!" and began crying! Only a few minutes later, he was scooting all over our apartment. Andrew has been teaching me about his new "DS System". You would think that he was born with a knowledge of all things electronic! They learned a new Christmas song this year called Joy complements of Seeds Family Worship. They led Micah and me in worshiping as they sang throughout the day.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year- to all those walking with us.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We Say Goodbye For Now

Our little ones are no longer with us, but are safe in the arms of the Father. I can only imagine their little faces- eyes opening for the first time to see the face of Jesus- being surrounded by everlasting, perfect love. We grieve, but not as those who have no hope. We look forward to knowing them throughout eternity. We sure are going to miss them until then. It has been such a privilege carrying them, even for such a short time.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Frozen No More

The good thing about being on bed rest for three days as a page of life turns, is that one can truly experience said turning. Usually as something remarkable or momentous happens, life is so busy at the time, I struggle to remind myself afterward of what that time was like. It was indeed the pinnacle of an adoption journey that started long ago. It felt very maternal though, being still, protecting my little ones. Micah and I were more devoted in those days to constantly entrust these little souls to God as we cared for the vessel that now carries them. The boys had a blast at friends houses for a couple of days so they were sufficiently loved on. Strange time though. Still kind of science-experimentalish. But no less miraculous and incredible- the journey of our little embryos from a lab to five days old, to a freezer for one year, back to a lab, and finally into a happy home. Since then, I have been walking around with them all the time! There have been moments I have been out running errands and wanted to just tell the gal at the checkout or our waitress or the vendor at the mall that I have two of my adopted children with me... just to see what they'd say~ Of course the question of whether they are with us or are we carrying them straight to the Father has been on my mind. We find out next week the answer to that question. Pray for us- that we are ready for the answer. It is easier to take one day at a time and one truth at a time.

In the meantime, it is already Christmas at our house. After Thanksgiving, the boys found one of their Christmas gifts. They had been playing in the back of our apartment. After a quiet pause (which always means they are up to something:)), Andrew came racing down the hallway screaming, "Papa and Mimi left something at our house! I think it is a Nerf gun!". "It's a CX-35!!!" Elijah added. I, always vowing to be honest with my children, explained, "That must be for Matt and Chelsea for Christmas!". I even tried to employ my mom (evil loves company!) in convincing them that this was true, but needless to say after a couple of days, the lie had to be put to rest. They are pretty smart boys.
What a nice time of year to be thinking about babies. We love Christmas; when we remember the One Baby who came to rescue us. We were like our little embryos, and now we are a part of His family. There is no greater love than this or hope for frozen hearts~

Friday, December 10, 2010

Transfer Complete!

First of all, we have had so many people praying for us... and it was so clear. This morning was peaceful and went as well as it could have. Both embryos survived the thawing process and were in great shape. The Embryologist showed us where the cells have organized to one side to form the fetus and the area for the placenta on the other. We were thrilled! The whole transfer process took 10 minutes. Again, the staff at our clinic exceeded our expectations of showing dignity and respect for life. Even the nurse said she'd be praying for us and the babies when we left. God has been so abundantly gracious. It was so humbling and miraculously amazing to walk out of the clinic knowing there are now two little ones in my belly.

The proud parents

Our precious, little ones.

These are some of the words I have held on to today and know I will continue to throughout the next two weeks while we wait to go back to the doctor. They are again from The Valley of Vision; "God the All".

I am well pleased with Thy will, whatever it is,
or should be in all respects,
And if Thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair
I would choose to refer all to Thee,
for Thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss
as I am in danger of doing.
I rejoice to think that all things are at Thy disposal,
and it delights me to leave them there.
Then prayer turns to wholly praise,
and all I can do is to adore and bless Thee.

I can of myself do nothing to glorify Thy blessed name,
but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to Thee.

Monday, December 06, 2010

We Have a Date!

Today, Micah and I learned that all those hormones and medications I have been pumping into my body have made a happy home for our embryos. It was glorious news that all can proceed as planned. We are scheduled for their transfer on the morning of Friday, Dec. 10th!

The past couple of weeks, I have felt carried along. The best way I can describe it is like I have been in a vessel of grace on a turbulent sea. Dealing with all my emotions and fears has tried my perseverance and tested my faith. I am not under the delusion that I do anything apart from God, "for in Him we live and move and have our being" ~Acts 17:28. But there are some sacred experiences that clearly leave me on my knees at the throne, pleading nothing but the mercy of my Father. Thinking about what my family has been called to in this embryo adoption has been one of those things. Knowing that Christ has had perfect faith when I have been afraid and continues to do so now on my behalf has given me rest in my restlessness and in turn, all I have needed to continue on. Prayer is a gift and has been my only offense for preparedness. God listens to my pleas for His breath of life for our embryos, Christ intercedes on my behalf, and once again, my soul hears, Trust me; I have brought you here; I love you.

One other gift has been listening to an album I had downloaded from Christine Dente called Voyage. From that, I was directed toward this reading from The Valley of Vision; A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions called "God All-Sufficient":

O Lord of Grace,
The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to Thee for strength;
If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved's arms I am firm as the eternal hills.

It goes on toward the end to list how our deficits are met with all the lovely attributes found in Jesus. I have needed prayers like this one as well as the others found in the book. They have served as summary statements: theologically thick, yet simple phrases that I can easily hold on to as I move through the day that remind me of the scriptures they describe.

So, we are moving through the week, waiting for the big day~ When we meet (in a petri-dish) our tiny ones and introduce them to their home. As if we don't have enough going on, Micah and I are also starting a marriage enrichment program called "Micah has to start giving me intramuscular injections every day"! I know Nurse Micah would appreciate your prayers (and Me too!) for steady hands.