Saturday, December 29, 2012

christmas at home...

Christmas Day at home.  A new tradition for us.

This year, with four stockings.  :)

A first Christmas smile.  (okay, this guy is totally going to be a heartbreaker, am I right?)

A slinky in the stocking for her.  (I'd say she loved.)

Desitin in the stocking for him.  (Umm, not so much.)

That afternoon,

She played with her presents.

He wanted to snooze.

Little did we know we'd land ourselves in the hospital that night.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful Christmas day.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, too!
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christmas away...

Christmas with our South Carolina family.  A tradition.

Presents piled high.

Cousins to enjoy.

Hot chocolate before bed.

Aunt Sharon's car broken into.  (well, this wasn't tradition, of course...)

Wake up, gather 'round, and listen to Nanny read the Christmas story.

Even the little ones celebrate.

This year, we welcomed the newest cousin to the crowd.

Singing Christmas carols as a family before the presents.

My little family is the greatest present of them all.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

not all roses...

Well, speaking of adoption...

As amazing as it is, I can't always paint it out to be all roses.  So shall I give you a peek at some of the realities?

We are HOME.  Jameson's breathing and fluid intake was finally sufficient enough to let us come home this evening.  He seems to be doing much better each day, although he still has a ways to go.  We follow up with his pediatrician first thing in the morning, and from there, the hospitalist wants us to go see a pediatric specialist to look at Jameson's airways for any abnormalities.

Sounds logical enough.  And it may put some of the puzzle pieces together about why he's had the problems he's had thus far.  But emotionally, it's another thing to watch your infant being poked and prodded for two days straight to the point that he can't even make a SOUND anymore.  Totally hoarse. It's so heartbreaking.

And then, finally leaving the hospital tonight still fighting a virus, while my daughter is completely melting down from spending the entire day cooped up in a hospital room watching Dora the Explorer movies, (that'll make anyone crazy) while Marc and I are trash exhausted and sleep deprived, while my house still looks like it did when we came home from our trip and literally dropped everything on the floor, while there's not hardly a single thing in my fridge, while I need to get ready for my family who is coming into town in 2 days... you get the picture... I will stop complaining now.

But seriously?  Now I have to start considering that something may be wrong above and beyond this virus?  Something that might potentially require surgery in my little guy?  Something that might be restricting my baby's ability to breathe?

Noooo.  Please God.  I'm not ready to go into battle mode again.  I'm not ready for anything right now except to curl up in bed and sleep.

If I must, I know I can do it.

But I look down at the peaceful, precious face sleeping in my arms as I type, and I do not want to think about what the near future might hold for him.  Sweet boy.

But back to adoption...

So in the course of our hospital stent, as kind and professional as the doctors were, something really began to grate on me.  It wasn't anything new really, as nearly every single doctor I've encountered has done the same.

You see, as amazing and beautiful as adoption is, there seems to be a different reality about it in the medical world. (at least in my experience thus far-- I'm sure there are wonderful, understanding professionals out there...)  Because my child was lovingly placed for adoption by a birthmother, doctors meet that with suspicion, negative assumptions, and leading questions that make presumptions upon the birthmother.

As if my children are second class citizens.  As if surely there will be something wrong, then.  As if they're not like all the rest of the population of children.

It's oh-so subtle.  Doctors have enough sense not to be outright insensitive. (most of the time, right?) But trust me- it's there.

Even as Marc held sweet, sick Jameson in the emergency room, workers were coming over to make sure he was indeed the father (understandable, I get that), and asking if he had custody of him. (assuming he was a foster parent or something, I'm sure)

"He's my SON," Marc told them.

We were prepared for that one, I'd say.  By adopting transracially, we figure that question will come over and over.

But here was the kicker today from the physician... "Well... [clearing her throat] when you ADOPT a baby," (her voice trails off as she gestures towards Jameson with a slight hint of condescension in her tone) "you just never really know what you're going to get..." and on and on she went... at which point I honestly couldn't listen anymore because I felt my blood start to boil.

Um, I'm sorry.  Does ANYONE know what they're going to get? I thought.  Just because I adopted, I didn't know what I was going to get?  I've know PLENTY of biological children who had health problems at birth that were unexpected, even with superior prenatal care!  And I bet the doctor didn't blame those on their mother!  Can you just treat my child as if he or she has the same medical standing as anyone else please?  I may not have all of the family history or helpful information for you, but please-- let's not always immediately point to the fact that my child is ADOPTED as the cause for what's happening.  

Once again, birth mothers get a terrible rap.  Stereotyped.  As if each one of them did something intentionally wrong to cause even a cold virus in their child.

Thankfully this time Marc and I held our tongues.

Next time, I can't promise the same.  (It might make for a teachable moment, after all, right?)

So all that to say- I hate taking my kids to the doctor.  (I know none of us do.)  But I can't fill out those darn family history forms as thoroughly as I'd like to, and I don't know which great aunt died from what cause.  It's just a reality we live with in adoption.  

But I do know that I couldn't love my kids any more than if they had come out of MY tummy.  And I'm going to fight for their health no matter what comes up, just like any biological mama would.

Family isn't just who shares blood.  It's who shares a name.

Doctor, you may see my kids as "greater risk."

I see them as MINE.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

adoption in the christmas story...

Wow.  As I'm laying here in Room N202 of the pediatric wing of the hospital with my 7 week old baby boy this evening, I'm blown away by something I've never thought about before (thanks to a link to a sermon left by one of you on this blog!):

Jesus himself was adopted!

Okay, hold on.  I know, I know.  I should probably fill you all in first on what's happened and why I'm here in the hospital with Jameson in the first place before I get to that.

So, we had a wonderful Christmas.  We traveled to South Carolina to spend time with Marc's family, and came back here to enjoy a quiet Christmas morning as a family of FOUR.  (heavenly, I must say.)  But, when you have over 20 family members of all ages in close proximity during cold and flu season, chances are you'll come back with more than just presents...

So judging from the cough and congestion from my dear husband and precious four year old daughter and my one-and-a-half month old son, it appears we have passed around more than just lots of kisses to our sweet baby once again...

Yep.  Same drill as a few weeks ago.  Ugh.  I know.  Gunk in the nose, throat, and chest.  Trouble breathing.  Not eating much.  This time was worse since he was running a fever.  So that precipitated a middle-of-the-night trip to the ER.  Once again, Marc packed him up and made the 2am pilgrimage  (great dad.) while I stayed with Caroline until she woke up and we could join the boys at the hospital.

And of course once you're at the hospital, all sorts of tests have to be run.  For a baby of his age, running a fever is no laughing matter.

So they admitted him.  For at least tonight to observe him, and possibly tomorrow. (though my fingers are crossed we can go home tomorrow...)  Apparently, it's typical protocol in pediatrics when there's a fever, I'm learning.

Thankfully, all the tests have turned up negative:

no RSV.
no pneumonia.
no flu.
no urinary tract infection.
no meningitis, etc. etc.

They are just waiting on a few cultures to come back to make sure there is no bacterial infection, though they are convinced it's just viral.  Better to play it safe, I suppose.  (I will spare you all my it's-the-day-after-Christmas-and-I-don't-want-to-be-in-the-hospital whining... I really have mixed emotions about being here.)

Nevertheless, here he is.   Sleeping oh so peacefully next to me now in nothing but a diaper, a hospital bracelet around his tiny ankle, and a little IV line taped onto his arm for the times when they need to administer fluids or medication.  Poor little one.  My heart breaks for him.  He's gone completely hoarse, too, so his crying is so pitiful.

(Someone please tell me when cold and flu season ends, because I want a countdown NOW.)

Good news is his fever has dropped throughout the day, though, and he hasn't needed any Tylenol for the last six hours.  Hopefully he is on the mend now.

But I've had a few quiet hours alone with him that I wouldn't take away.  Marc went home to catch some sleep before he takes the night shift tonight and a wonderful friend took Caroline to her house for the afternoon (you are a life-saver, Laura!).  I've had a sweet afternoon to hold my baby boy, tell the nurses and doctor all about both of my children's adoption stories (we're only one of two patients on the floor today, so they had time...), and after listening to a sermon online, I really am mulling over this thought that has never occurred to me before:

Jesus himself was adopted!

Jesus was the son of David!  I had never thought about the logistics of His lineage, but it wasn't that way through birth.  No, Jesus' family tree traces back through Joseph's lineage.  It wasn't through a bloodline that God saw fit to redeem His people: it was through adoption!   (how beautiful is that?!?)

God saw a messed up, sloppy bunch of sinners (see his lineage in Matthew 1) and said, That's the family from which my perfect Son, the Redeemer, will come.  God wasn't ashamed for Jesus' ancestry to carry such tainting of sin.  Even from his birth, He was born of sinners in order to die for sinners.

God called Joseph to adopt Jesus.

To raise a child that didn't have his nose or his smile.

To name him and make him a legal heir.

And through this, all the prophecies of the savior coming through the line of Abraham and David would be fulfilled...

through adoption!

Oh my goodness, that is so exciting to me.

And then I think about Joseph's fear, as he even contemplated leaving Mary at the news of her pregnancy.  As an adoptive mom myself, I get it!  Adopting a child that is not your own carries risk.  And fear.  As excited as I was for both of my children to come home with me, there were many natural fears in my heart, too.  But Joseph did not let his fear override the Lord's call upon him.  And don't you know he must have been the happiest dad in the world.  (I mean, come on.  He got the kid who never sinned!  ha!)

I'm simply astonished.  The Eternal Son of God was adopted into Joseph's family!   Even through Christ's birth, God was displaying how WE, too, must also be born again--adopted-- into the family of God.  None of us are in the Covenant through a birth.  It's through adoption.

My children have a Savior who can understand them even more than I imagined.

Thank you, God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

save us from our yuck...

Christmas is...

cooking with Nanny.

and spending precious time with loved ones.

But if we're being honest, Christmas also reveals the "yuck" inside of each of us, doesn't it?

I'm not really talking about the literal "yuck" of my newborn's spit up, though even THAT is proof that there is nothing good in us!  ha!  (and notice he looks somewhat proud of himself, doesn't he?)

...but even at Christmas, we see the "yuck" in our own hearts.   (...leave it to the pastor's kid to misbehave at church...)

One way the "yuck" in our hearts comes out at Christmas is in our insane amount of attention on gift buying and wrapping (or as Caroline spells it- "raping"), while the real meaning of Christmas-- a baby boy who was born to save His people from their sins-- lies sleeping in the background of our minds.

But that's exactly why He came!  To save us from our "yuck."

When we're stressed about all the to-do's left.
When family gets under our skin.
When my four year old doesn't obey a word I'm saying for the 100th time.
When plans don't quite live up to our expectations.
When people don't respond up to our expectations.
When we get so caught up in the gifts that we can't enjoy His numerous gifts to us.
When we feel the disappointment that we didn't get enough, and find ourselves longing to have more.
When we're exhausted and weary and busy and we can't stop to take a breath from it all...

Christ was born for this.  Christ was born for this.

Let us worship and adore Him.

This Christmas, our family is celebrating this precious son that He has given to us.
But more than that, we are rejoicing that there is an even greater Son that He has given to us ALL-- a Savior-- who is Christ, the Lord!

"Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given..." Isaiah 9:6
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Friday, December 21, 2012

a sleep-deprived lament...

Oh my.  Feeling especially ragged and sleep deprived.

How can something so little get SO much sleep, yet simultaneously wear us down SO much?

Thankfully he's oh so cute and sweet.

But we're so, soooooo tired.  Up around the clock with baby Jameson every two & half hours.  Thankfully Marc and I can rotate feedings... he takes a shift, then I take a shift, etc.  My hat is OFF to those of you who breastfeed every night with no help.  I honestly don't know how you function.

Is there a way to package up sleep for a Christmas present??  :)  And how, HOW, do people do life with two or more children?  I'm feeling a little like I'm drowning sometimes trying to balance it all.

And I'm so grateful my husband has been around to help thus far since the semester has ended.  How do women do it solo?  I feel like such a wimp.  I can't even think about how I'm going to survive without him once he goes back to work...

Having a newborn is so, so wonderful... snuggles and cuddles and cuteness GALORE.

But man.  It's also physically so, so demanding.

(Loads of caffeine and an ungodly amount of Parenthood episodes are helping us to cope at this point...)

But then, I take one look at this little guy and it's alllllllll good.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

really, she loves you...

Oh Jameson,

When God was picking out big sisters for you, He sure gave you a good one.

She's just as crazy about you as the rest of us are.

I cannot, for the life of me, keep her away from holding you or picking you up (when you're trying to sleep) or kissing your face for more than a few minutes.  I'm sorry.  I'm trying.

Sometimes it's aggravating, I know.  But really, it's so sweet how much she wants to care for you.

You get to have a little mommy! (as if one isn't enough...)

She's even wanting to help change some of your diapers!  Now that's true love, I'd say.

She wants to hold you ALL the time, and it's particularly sweet to see you curled up in her arms each night at her bedtime.  She thinks you are the CUTEST thing.  Every time you smile or make a cute little squeak, she squeals in delight and hugs you close to her.

Now, don't get me wrong, she still LOVES her preschool time away from home three mornings a week...

(especially when a sugar high is involved...)  ha ha

but she's always super eager to get back home to see YOU.

Here's proof that she sees you as one of her baby dolls.

Sorry, bud.  I had nothing to do with this except running to grab the camera.

(You can give her a hard time for this when y'all are teenagers...)

But really, Jameson, she LOVES you.  With her whole heart.

I'm not so sure what you're thinking...

but I, for one, love HER.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

four stockings...

This year, FOUR stockings hang from the mantle, not three.

(let me take that in for a minute.)

You see, I bought four silver stocking holders a few years back, in the hopes that the Lord would grow our family someday.

But every year as the Christmas decorations came out, the fourth holder would stay in the box.  Maybe next year, I'd think.

And I had given up hope that this would be THE year!

What a joy it was to purchase the fourth stocking. (the red one on the right, above)  As I handed my credit card to the girl at the cash register, it was literally all I could do to keep from telling her.  On second thought, maybe I should've.

Four stockings.

Four stockings in our house means so much more than simply counting heads.

It screams out to me that the Lord has heard my little family's daily prayers and pleadings, and has graciously said "it is NOW time."

Four stockings in our house means that my daughter now knows what it is to be a big sister.  (and she's wonderful at it.  Seriously.)

But four stockings in our house also means many, MANY! lost hours of sleep.

Which means many, many impatient moments with one another.
And sharp words.
And many "I'm sorry's" and "please forgive me's."
And much calling out to Jesus to help transform our hearts full of sin.  (especially mine)
And many opportunities for extending and receiving grace.

As we adjust from three stockings to four.

Four stockings also means it's the time for Daddy's beloved truck to go, (poor, sad Daddy... see how he grieves...) in exchange for something that will seat all of his family comfortably.

(and if you happen to be interested in buying it, let us know...)

What a surprise you were this year, baby Jameson!  Out of left field.

But the Lord is so good and gracious.
And I've got four stockings to prove it.
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