Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Once in a while I'll get one word in my mind and I'll have trouble moving past it. Sometimes I know where it came from... a song, a verse, a conversation, etc... and sometimes I have no idea where it came from. More often than not and as the days pass, the 'why' will inevitably make itself clear.

I heard a song the other day that used to be one of my favorites... one of those songs that just sticks in your mind and makes  sense (or at least changes your perspective) no matter the situation you've found yourself in....

The song's not even about miracles but if you were to reverse each of those situations, you would consider them miracles. ..

It's like rain on your wedding day....
It's like a death row pardon two minutes too late...
It's the good advice you just didn't take.

I know what God says about miracles... HE'S the one who performed them. In fact, He's the ONLY one who has performed them.... in all of history!

Have you ever noticed that every time someone refers to a miracle, that miracle is somehow attached to God?

Always. No matter if someone believes in Him or not... because He's the ONLY "god" in History who is known to perform miracles.

Because He's the ONLY ONE who can.

Who has.

Who does.

"He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted."
Job 9:10 NIV

It has made me sad lately that we only seem to give credit for *big* miracles... healing someone who has Cancer. Finding out that someone who was declared dead is now alive.

What about our elderly grandparents who are still alive to meet their great-grandchildren? How about this morning when you lost your keys and were sure you'd be late for work but they showed up in the fridge? And when your parent had been so sick that you were sure within a couple weeks you would know what it would be like to live your life without him/her? The car accident you witnessed on the way to work this morning that you weren't a part of but should have been if you hadn't left your keys in the fridge? The unexpected check that came in the mail when you had just been begging God to show you how you could pay your bills this month?

I don't know each of you (tho I wish I did!) but I think I can guarantee with 99% certainty that every one of you have experienced one or more of the above 'coincidences'.... 'happenings'.... 'strokes of luck'....


Because they are.

Definition; A surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.


I like that word.

I have spent the past couple weeks just observing... I've watched and listened. I've found that I am completely surrounded by miracles each and every day... many that I'm too busy to notice.

"Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles..."
1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV

I've made it a priority lately to take a second at the end of each day to reflect on the day's miracles, however small they may be.... finding my keys. Getting a full night's sleep. Having dinner planned and ready before 5pm. The great coupon that came in the mail precisely when I needed a new faucet for the kitchen sink.

And I've found that when you take a second to reflect on the small miracles, you'll end up even more grateful for the large ones....

My daughter. My period (something I NEVER imagined I'd be thankful for.... but without it, I wouldn't be a mom). My husband's job. My Daddy's job. Our savings account, however small it may be ;-).

My life.

When you get right down to the nitty-gritty you realize how complex and intricate our lives actually are.... and you become even more aware of the miracles that surround you every day.

Every. Single. Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Possessive much?

Here's the 'thing' about adoption....

Ok, ok.... here's ONE MORE 'thing' about adoption;

An amazing woman carried my child in her belly for 9 months..... she loved that child and stayed healthy for her and there's no doubt in my mind that she talked to her, sang to her, and connected with her as a mommy should with her baby throughout her pregnancy.

But that woman wasn't me.

And I'm my baby-girl's mommy.

But she was, too.

My baby didn't hear my voice talking to her and singing to her for 9 months. She wasn't calmed by the beating of MY heart or by the rhythms of MY breathing. She didn't snuggle into my chest in her first few moments after birth, inhaling my scent and feeling my skin on hers. I wasn't the first person she saw the very first time she opened her eyes. I wasn't the first one to feed her or change her or put her to bed and tuck her in.

All of that? That's ok with me.

Her First Mama deserved to claim those first experiences and I would never think to take those away from her...she did them perfectly. 

But I'm the mama who holds that same baby-girl on a daily basis. When that baby-girl smells my perfume or lotion, it's me who she connects it to. She is comforted by the sound of my voice talking to her or singing to her. She's calmed by the feel of my skin on hers and by the feel of my hands stroking her back or hair. She counts on our nightly routine and the feeling of safety and security she gets from me.

Our adoption agency emphasizes the importance of bonding. They claim that it is absolutely crucial to a baby's development and security. They hold their families to extremely high standards when it comes to ensuring that the babies they place have every opportunity possible to KNOW their parents and feel safe and loved with them.

Because with adoption, nature doesn't trump nurture.

In every way possible, nurture trumps nature.

Our agency insists that in the first few weeks home with a baby, no one but that baby's parents or grand-[parents should be feeding, changing or even holding the baby... those proven bonding experiences need to be cherished and protected.

This goes against the grain of what is commonly known as 'the bonding process' for a newborn.... but it's true.

When we first brought Hannah home we were what most of our friends and family called 'possessive' of our time with her, holding her, feeding her, comforting her, touching her.

We were the only one's to do any of the above.... for months.

To an average parent, we were possessive.

To parents who weren't the first to hold their baby, or talk to their baby, or touch their baby, or smell their baby, or comfort their baby.... to the parents who didn't meet their baby until they had been out of the hospital for days or weeks or months....

to those parents, we were bonding.

When we brougnt Hannah home, we were blessed to be 'backed' by an amazing agency... an agency that had enough experience to know what expectations and guidelines they needed to place on their waiting families.

With Hannah, it was easy for us to place the 'blame' for our 'possessiveness' on our agency... on our contract and on their rules.

We were criticized by *some* of our family and friends... we were questioned when we refused to let our baby-girl be held or to be passed from person to person. We were written off as possessive when we insisted on being the only ones to feed and change her. We were given a lot of 'looks' from those 'more seasoned' parents we knew when we adamantly insisted that those who DID hold her, washed their hands before doing so and limited the time they held her.

People in general, thought we were crazy.

And we were.

We were crazy in love with our baby-girl; The one we had been waiting so so long for. The one who, at times, we never thought would come. The one who our arms physically ached for. The one we loved deeply and the one we were desperate...

to bond with.

There are many many things that differentiate the journey of bringing home a biological child and an adoptive child but this one? This one tops my list of 'Most Important'... it's not even Top 5...

It's #1.

Adoptive parents have to be intentional when bonding with their child. They have to focus and work and yes sometimes, they even have to be...


In Hannah's first few months at home with us, we were crazy parents who didn't let anyone else hold or feed or change our baby. In those first few weeks after our work to bond to our daughter, there was no doubt in anyones mind who she belonged with... who she was comfortable with... who she *knew* and who she was bonded to.


We might have missed the first 11 days of our daughter's life and it may have taken weeks or even months to make up for it...

but it was worth it.

What's my point?

Bringing a baby home is exciting for everyone... for the parents, grandparents, close friends, neighbors, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. It will always be exciting!

But when a family brings home a baby through adoption, there are a few differences....

and if you're reading MY list, *bonding* is #1.

If you're a hopeful adoptive parent;

Don't let anyone make you feel bad for wanting to bond with your baby. Make sure you set boundaries and expectations of the people who love you and your baby. and explain them thoroughly... but make sure that YOU are his or her number one love and his or her safety and security and comfort.

I have never for a day regretted the time and effort Joey and I put into bonding with our baby-girl.... it was difficult in the moment to explain and defend the boundaries we had set and we might have hurt some feelings in the process.... but the end result is having an irreplaceable, unbeatable, and unconditional bond with our daughter that no one else is capable of having with her.

And that's the way it should be... in families who grow through conception or in familes who grow through adoption.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Her Last Day As My 'Only One'....

.... Is not today.

Or maybe it is....

But maybe it's not, too.

Welcome to adoption, friends!

I've thought so much lately about the differences and similarities between the experience of conceiving and the experience of adopting... there are so so many of both.

This is the difference that has stood out to me.... it's the one i've been painfully aware of.... the one I loathe and at the same time, the one I appreciate most....


We've talked about 'waiting' but we haven't touched on 'timing'.... a different topic, entirely.

Most couples, with the exception of a few, know within a week or two of when their family will grow.... at the very least, they have a due date; something those of us in the adoption world don't know much about.

At all.

Those couples can plan and prepare and they can dream.... but their dreams have an end date. They know when their dreams will come true.

We don't.

Couples who conceive, with the exception of a few, know HOW to prepare for their family to grow... and they know how to prepare those around them.

How do we prepare?

We tell those around us when we're hoping to adopt.... and we are accountable for answering questions and interrogations about our intentions. When everyone understands and chooses to be supportive, we then answer questions like "when is your baby going to be born?" and "when do you get to choose your baby?" and "why is it taking so long?"

We prepare a nursery.... and know every second of it's planning that it may remain empty for a long long time. The process of preparing the nursery is exciting and exhilarating... and when it's done, it represents emptyness, no matter if it's empty for a day or for a year.... you remember it's emptyness.

We prepare our hearts... knowing full well that God's plan is better than our own but nonetheless, fighting His perfect plan every step of the way.

We walked through every one of those things in our wait for Hannah and have walked through many of them a second time in our wait for Baby #2.... but there is one new addition to that list that no one can prepare you for....

Hannah will always be our first born. She will always have that special place in our hearts as the first one we waited for, the first one we prayed for, and the one who gracefully and wonderfully and perfectly introduced us to parenting... she's the one who taught us how to be parents.
She was the first dream we had together ... and it came true.
I wonder every day lately if today will be her last day as my only baby. I wonder if I've shown her enough attention, if the time we've spent alone together will carry her through the next weeks, months, and years as our oldest child. I wonder if we've been able to instill in her, bury in her the depth of our love for her.... our unconditional love for her. I wonder daily if she's ready... if we're ready; if we've had enough time with her.... if she's learned everything she needs to as the oldest and for a short time, only child. I wonder where the rule-book is that teaches us what to do on our child's last day as our only.
I wonder if we've learned enough.

When I find myself lost in these thoughts, I can't help but wonder if my fear and anxiety come from a place in me that truly wonders if...

if WE'RE enough.

For Hannah or for Baby #2 or 3 or.... (I better stop at 3 or I'm gonna really scare my husband ... what he doesn't know can't kill him, right? ;-))

(Ok.... so now you're thinking "you REALLY want to do this again???)

(The answer is yes. No one said it didn't suck... but everyone says it's all worth it in the end ;-))

The truth?

Hannah will ALWAYS be our oldest and will ALWAYS have that special place in our hearts as our first....

but our second will ALWAYS hold that special place as our second.

And our third will ALWAYS hold...

you get it :-)

Something about waiting for number 2... something about knowing that today could be my last day with an 'only child'....

makes me grieve.

But I guess baby #1 didn't come along until Joey and I were ready....

and baby #2 won't come along until Joey and I and Hannah are ready.

I like that.

I want so badly to make every day count with Hannah... I want to know that she knows how special it is to be 'an only'.

Maybe you're in the wait for number 1..... this applies to you, too.

It's so easy to get caught up in 'the wait'.... but it's also easy to lose sight of your 'first love'...

your husband (or wife :-)).

Spend your last few moments of each day (after time with the Lord and time making babies) to engrave your day in your mind. Write it down, list the day's events, blog it... do something to remember that day as if it was your last day with your First Love.

Because Joey and I know all too well that your last day could be today ;-)

(If you have a minute, head over and read my friend's newest post... I LOVE her concept of 'Birthday Nights'!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making Babies (If you can't handle a little TMI, just move on)

I remember the night we learned about Hannah....

We had met Hannah's First Mom when she was a day overdue... we had plans to meet her again the next day but she cancelled about 2 hours before our meeting.

We were devastated.

Our agency told us to move on... "your baby is around the corner... this just wasn't him/her!"

10 days later we learned her reason for cancelling...

She was in labor.

Ok, fine. You are allowed to cancel a meeting if you're in labor.... but that's the ONLY reason!!


Hannah was 10 days old when we met her First Mom for the second time and her First Father for the first time. We spent 2 hours getting to know each other ... then they went to dinner to talk and we went...


At 9:23pm that night my phone rang...

"If you and Joey can be at the agency office tomorrow morning at 10, you can pick up your baby girl!"

Hmmm.... nope, sorry. We're busy.


Our agency had/has fairly strict rules about who you can/can't tell when you receive placement of a baby... relinquishment in NC gives birth-parents 7 days to change their mind after placing their baby so the thought is that the less people who know, the less painful it will be if they do, in fact change their minds.

I admit... it's a tough rule to follow on one of the greatest, most waited for days of your life!

But, they've been successfully building families for 30 years and well, they know the ropes and we followed them.

But of course we called our moms :-)

I distinctly remember calling my mom that night. We spent about 5 minutes laughing and crying and then I panicked and realized that I had to clean the house, run to WalMart for all of the necessities, put the car seat in the car, wash some baby clothes, and so much more before 10am.

As we neared the end of our chat my Mom said,

"Lindsay, those things will take care of themselves. Your house will get messy with a baby in it, the clothes will pile up no matter how much you try to stay on top of them, and a baby needs only a place to sleep, food to eat, and a mommy and daddy to love her. Tonight, you need to get a good night's sleep...and you and Joey need to spend time together making your daughter."

I know, I know... it sounds completely wrong coming from anyone, much less from your Mom but her words have stuck with me for 3.5 years now. 

Mom and Dad suffered through infertility while trying to have what ended up being me ;-) so anything my Mom says to me comes from a place in her that truly 'gets it' and because of that, I take her words to heart... and I rarely forget them.

I've spent a lot of time recently thinking about 'making babies.' The phrase just means something different for those of us who have traveled through infertility.... at any level.

Can we be honest?
(of course we can... it is MY blog, after all ;-))

It doesn't matter if you have been given a life-sentence of never bearing children or if you've been given an 'umbrella diagnosis' of "I have no idea what's wrong with you".... every time you have sex with your husband/wife you wonder,

"Will I get pregnant this time?"

"What if the Dr's are wrong?"

"2 weeks from now I will be peeing on a stick no matter what 'just in case!'"

"What if we're making a baby RIGHT NOW?!?!"

"I should elevate my hips just to be safe!"

Am I right?

Because miracles DO happen! And people who never thought they would, get pregnant every day! And  WHY NOT YOU!??!?

I'm not sure why yet but all of this has been running through my head lately but here's what I've finally concluded from it all...

In the past 6 years that Joey and I have been have been married and have been having sex, we have made...

Over 40 babies!!!

I'm serious.

We timed sex correctly every month for 3 years and off and on for 3 years after that.

We've done NOTHING wrong in our efforts to conceive.

We've temped and charted and rhythm-ed and elevated and lubed and ...

well, you get it.


Our babies have been made. They won't come from our physical makeup.... our DNA. They won't inherit our traits or our ailments.

But they have been made by us... over and over and over again.

They have been created over and over and over again with love and intention and determination and prayer.

So while our babies won't come from our flesh, they were still made by us.

I got off the phone with my mom that night and I ran to Target, Joey's mom ran to WalMart, and my mom ran to both. I came home and cleaned like a mad-woman. Joey carefully and diligently installed the infant seat in the car. I washed clothes. He set up the pack n' play. We both got in bed.

We prayed. We cried. We dreamed.

And we went to bed....

because our daughter, our baby-girl had been created by us over and over and over again.

So here we are in our second 'wait' and while the thoughts are the same every time we make love (and probably always will be), the end result remains the same, too...

Baby Smith #2 already exists in our hearts and mind and bodies.


Now we're just waiting for him/her to fill our arms.