I thought I would share a few more photos with you from St. Louis. Man, we love that city... so many free things to do with the family. There are lots of wonderful people there too:) We miss them.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
I thought I would share a few more photos with you from St. Louis. Man, we love that city... so many free things to do with the family. There are lots of wonderful people there too:) We miss them.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
A very sweet girl from my church sent me this video that she made for our family. What a precious gift to me. Thank you Jamie, that meant so much to me. I thought I would share it with you all. Don't forget to pause the music on the side of my blog so you can hear the music on the video.
So tomorrow will be 8 months since our precious Samuel left this earth for his heavenly home. 8 months sounds so long. He has been gone almost as long as I carried him inside of me. That makes me so sad. Somedays it feels like 8 years, somedays it feels like we had him here just yesterday. Oh how we miss him. I know I say the same things over and over again. I am just shocked with this journey of grief and how others expect you to cope. It is such an individual journey. Every person is different. Each persons circumstances are different. I am so thankful that the Lord walks this journey with me... but at the same time that doesn't make this journey a fun one or one I would ever hope to travel again. So I know in these 8 months most people have moved on and maybe think that I have too. Nothing could be further from the truth. My heart breaks the same way it did 8 months ago when I knew he had already died. It has gotten better in some ways. And in someways and on some days the pain is just as intense as it was that night when I laid in the hospital bed waiting to deliver my still son.
Just the other night both Jojo and Louis went to bed crying because they missed him. Jojo wanted to kiss the picture he has in his room of him and Samuel. He wanted to kiss his little brother good night. Louie kissed it too. My heart breaks for them still.
I had a brutal day today. I sat in the Walmart parking lot sobbing (yep it was an ugly cry), praying, screaming because I just wish things could be different. Some days it is easier to accept, and on other days not so much... not at all. Obviously, this is God's will for us, but that doesn't mean that I always have to like it, it hurts! So I really didn't have anywhere else to go, so I drove to walmart, walked the aisles because I left my purse at home, came out to my car and did part of my bible study and filled in some of a journal we were given in the hospital. I just needed to be alone. I know I am pathetic, I went to the Walmart parking lot... to be alone. It kind of makes me laugh just thinking about it. I cranked the air... because it is stinkin crazy hot here in OK. So after 1 1/2 hours I headed home. I can't really say I felt much better. Today is just one of those days.
I think I reach a point when things just add up and then watch out.... I am on the edge, and I just slip over. I can't describe the ache I have in my heart for my son. I feel like a part of me has been amputated, gone forever or at least till I join him in eternity. I am so homesick for heaven. Each day I live with out my son, it makes the ugliness and sin of this world more and more apparent. This isn't my home and my longing for my REAL home grows with each day.
To my son,
My precious Samuel, I miss you more than I can describe. I long for the day that I can join you in praising our Savior. Samuel you will always be such an important part of our family. We will never forget you. We talk about you every single day. I am so thankful for the 9 months and one day we had with you. We treasured that time with you. Even though the pain of not having you here with us is so real and fresh still, I would do it all again, just to have had that chance to be your mommy for those 9 months. It was worth it. You were worth it. You were God's perfect, beautiful creation for our family. We miss you sweet boy. Until I can hold you in Heaven...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
OUR KIDS WITH THE HAYTER KIDS, OUR UPSTAIRS NEIGHBORS AT THE SEM... WE MISS THEM ALL!
OUR PRECIOUS GODSON ASHER:)... I KNOW, NOT THE BEST PHOTO
OF THE ADULTS, BUT ISN'T HE JUST ADORABLE?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
We had our Waiting Families workshop this past week for the ministry we will be adopting through. It was really great, but emotionally exhausting. We covered everything from the birth mother's heart, the hospital stay, trans racial adoptions, interrupted adoptions, the legal part of adoptions, drop off babies, etc. There were times throughout the weekend that I thought... How did we get to this spot, how did we arrive here at this point in our lives? It just seemed shocking, then there were moments of pure excitement, fear, and moments of feeling that this is really God's will for our family.
Let me explain part of the reason why we feel this is God's will for us...
We have always had adoption on our hearts (I will share more about that in a later post:) but after losing Samuel we thought maybe it was God's will for us now... In January we sent in our application and completed our homestudy and lifebook in February.
At the end of April, almost 2 months ago when we received an email from the director of CPO(Crisis Pregnancy Outreach), that they were in need of a host home (outside of the city) for a 15 year old pregnant girl. We felt the Lord tugging on our hearts. It was unexplainable. I have had so many emotions since losing Samuel which have made being in certain situations incredibly difficult, one of those difficult situations is being around pregnant women. (When there is a deep desire in your heart for that and it NEVER comes easily and sometimes comes with much help, you know that it probably won't just happen for you, like it does for most. Now I know this is all in God's timing... I get that, but that being the case doesn't just take away certain difficulties for me) I wondered how could I do it, have a pregnant girl living in my home, yet we felt led to let her stay with us. I even told the director that I wanted to be up front and honest... I didn't know how I would feel as she got bigger. I didn't know if I would be able to handle it. So we agreed to just do it for a time and see how I felt down the road a month or so. There have been a few rough patches but really it is by the grace of God that it has for the most part been a great situation having this young girl here.
So we opened up our home to this sweet, precious young girl about 2 months ago. She is a delight, and the day she came I told her and her mother that there was in no way any part of our minds or hearts that had her come here in the hopes of getting her baby. ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! Greg and I agreed fully that we had to just take her in and hope to love her and help her through a difficult time. We spent the first 2 weeks just getting to know each other. She is a sweet heart. We were able to have lots of great conversations and she was very open and honest with us. It was kind of fun to hear from a birth mother, her desires and heart.
Well, one evening a couple of weeks after she arrived here, Greg and I were sitting on the couch late one night. We were laughing because of all that this girl experiences with us. She sees us all disheveled when we wake up, she sees us discipline our children, she sees the kids getting at each other occasionally, the craziness of the kids, and she sees all of the love we have for our kids. She sees it all! We both agreed that there was probably NO WAY that she would ever consider us, and we were both totally fine with it.
Well the next morning at breakfast she just kind of blurted out... "Miss Sara, you know how you said you didn't mind having an African American child, well I would like you to have my baby." I was shocked quite honestly. In all of our conversations over the previous couple of weeks she had said that she was looking for a family with either 1 or no children. So I asked if she wanted to interview the other families that she thought she would interview, and she said no. I called Greg right away... he was just as shocked.
So we just kind of let it simmer for a week or so. She kept bringing it up and I spoke with her mother about it. After about a week she told me to let the director know that she had chosen us. We just mentioned it to the kids last weekend. Obviously we are all thrilled about it. But yet we are very guarded. Our hearts have been broken and we are still reeling from the loss of our Samuel, but could this be the answer to our prayers? The tough thing is... we just don't know.
I have been able to really share my heart with this young girl, letting her know we would be absolutely thrilled to raise her baby. The other side to that fact is that we just recently had a tremendous loss and hurt to our hearts... all of our hearts. Greg and I are so fearful for our own hearts but even more so for our children's. They have already lost a brother this year... could their hearts be broken again? Obviously there is always that possibility. But I have told this sweet young lady that if she is at all having feelings along the way that she might be changing her mind to please just be honest and let us know right away. I explained that although we would be thrilled... at the same time with all we have experienced with Samuel we are not ready to pull our all of the baby clothes again, baby blankets, the bassinet, the whole nine yards, we don't want to get it all out until we have a baby in our home. That is our hearts desire... another child in our home. But I am not sure that our hearts could survive packing it all up again. She has seen the daily struggle with our sadness over losing Samuel and our everyday joy of life as a family so I think for the most part she understands our situation.
We fully trust that God knows our future child or children, where they will come from, my womb or another woman's. We want the child that He has for us. So with that being said we know that if this is the baby God has planned for us we will receive it with extreme joy in our hearts and if it doesn't go that way... we will know that this wasn't our baby. I say that easily, but know that if that is the case it won't be an easy thing. So we guard our hearts, we are cautiously optimistic. For now, we want to continue to share God's love and our love with her. That is part of our ministry right now and if we end up with a baby at the end of it... that would be a HUGE bonus.
We know that in NO WAY would this baby replace our Samuel. We hope and pray that people will understand that this baby may fill our arms, but that we will still miss him tremendously and are still grieving the loss of our son Samuel and his place in our family.
So with all that being said we ask again for your prayers. Please pray for God's will to be done and that we can enjoy our summer and time with this precious birth mom. Please pray that the Lord will bless our relationship with her. It will be an open adoption should it all work out as planned:) Please pray for the Lord's protection over this sweet girl and the baby in her womb. Please pray for peace for our whole family as we wait and for wisdom for Greg and I as we go through this new experience with our kids. Thank you so much for praying!
So we wait... Will Anna be a big sister?
and will Louis, Caleb, Jojo and Samuel be big brothers...
to a sweet precious BABY GIRL this coming September?
Only God knows... and we trust in HIM!
Friday, June 19, 2009
I HAD TO POST THIS PICTURE FOR RYANE...
WHEN I CAME OUT WITH THESE SUNGLASSES ON,
THE WHOLE FAMILY SAID, "THOSE ARE JAZZY GLASSES:)"
JOJO WAS THRILLED THAT HE COULD FLOAT ON HIS BACK.
CAN YOU SEE HIM SMILING?...
WHEN WILL THIS SWEET GIRL GET SOME FRONT TEETH?... PRECIOUS
For the first time Greg and I watched the video he took of Samuel at the hospital. We maybe have 1 minute of video. I had to watch it over and over and over again. I so regret not taking more video, why didn't we? In the video it was just maybe 10 minutes after he was born. I look totally calm and normal, wierd, can you say shock?
To see him being stroked on the head, face, chest and hand by my midwife and Greg and to see no response from Samuel.... oh it makes my heart hurt. Greg commented that he just couldn't get over how quiet it was. Greg says he just has that same vivid picture in His mind of Samuel. I don't, I really can't remember in my mind what he really looked like, kind of, but not completely. Oh that makes me sad, as much as I was trying to sear that memory into my mind... I think my mind was just out the window that day. Our Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep photographer did an excellent job editing the pictures to make his skin not as noticably dark. But I love my color pictures too, because to me they look more like him. Does that make sense? The color pictures really look like him.
So here are my random thought for the week:
Sunday I almost choked on my communion wine because I was crying so hard. Yep, I am an ugly crier:)
I got so much less done than I was hoping to while the kids were at VBS this morning. I did get a run in though:)
Most of the baby bunnies are gone except for one the neighbor mom is going to get for her daughter. Caleb called and left a message for the mom yesterday, "Miss Tommy, Savannah's package is ready for you to come pick up anytime." Her package??? He is so funny:)
The other day JOJO wanted some powder on his rear, (I know this is probably too much information but this is how he asked, "Mom, I want some fertilizer on my crack." Really, I am serious, fertilizer??? and crack??? This kid cracks us all up.
One step at a time, one day at a time, laughter, tears, and all.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
I don't like that, and it doesn't feel good.
Sometimes just that fact alone can freak me out a bit. I have gotten used to the fact my son has died... did it really take me almost 8 months to get used to that idea?
I should be changing dirty diapers,
comforting him as he nurses,
seeing him scoot and crawl around,
watching him giggle at his precious brothers and sister,
admiring him as he sits in his daddy's lap during dinner,
(that is one thing my sweet hubby has always done, hold the babies during dinner... so I get a chance to eat, how I miss seeing our precious baby in his arms:),
There are so many things I should be doing with my son. (I know I sound like a broken record... but I guess I keep feeling and thinking a lot of the same things I have been for the last 7+ months.)
What I mean by the fact that I am finally getting used to it is that I am finally used to the fact that my life has completely changed. He really isn't here like we thought he would be. I am not spending my time caring for my baby like I thought I would be. And my mind is always kind of thinking about him... sometimes so fresh and raw on the front burner in my mind, sometimes just below the surface, and sometimes thoughts of Samuel are just subconsciously there. So much has changed, life is SOOO different than I ever anticipated my life to be.
I am finally getting used to him just not being here, a daily physical presence with us.
I am finally waking up and not feeling like I should have a baby to care for, I wish I did, but the fact that I don't is starting to feel a bit more normal. Those first few months when you have all of the physical reminders of your recovery that make it PAINFULLY obvious that your baby is gone and things are not as they should be. I thank God that now there are less of those physically painful reminders. I would say that some days, my heart still aches like I never thought it could. And my arms do still physically ache to hold my son. But mostly now it is more just the mental reminders.
For months after Samuel's death, because we had loved, planned and anticipated him for 9 months, I just felt like I was forgetting something, someone. When we would head to the grocery store I would count heads, where was the baby? I felt like I had forgotten him at home. I had planned, thought out trips to the grocery store, trips to soccer games, sitting in church with 5 little ones alone. It all seemed so not what I was anticipating and had planned for.
Now going to church with just the 4 kids is starting to feel normal.
Now, heading off to go shopping with just the 4 is starting to feel normal.
Now just counting heads for 4 is starting to feel normal...
It doesn't feel good, but it is starting to feel normal.
I still ALWAYS feel like someone is missing, I think I always will.
But even that feeling of someone missing is starting to feel normal. How can my life be one, where knowing my son is with his creator before I made it there, is normal...
So we settle into the "NEW NORMAL"
We are trudging ahead one step closer each day to eternity.
We enjoy the simple pleasures of life... family walks at night, constant checks of the garden to see is anything new is popping up... reading books together....
Our "NEW NORMAL" is a life missing our precious Samuel EVERY single day,
it probably doesn't seem normal to most others...
But it is "OUR NEW NORMAL"
Some days I am OK with the NEW NORMAL.
Other days I just hate it... I know my mom wouldn't like that I said that word...hate... I really do reserve it for things that I truly hate, I don't take using that word lightly.... But really, some days I don't just dislike the fact that Samuel isn't here... I hate it.
So I guess I end this post thinking... I sound more confused than ever... We thank you for your prayers. They are so appreciated... and as you can tell, still so very needed. I miss him so badly today!
Friday, June 12, 2009
WHAT A GOOF BALL
Monday, June 8, 2009
I received the following in an email from a friend at church who worked in Hospice. It was an eye opener for me. I know how I am feeling but I can't always describe it... This described it for me. I grieve for my son everyday. My sister laughed the other week when we talked. I had told her that I still haven't made it through a day without shedding tears over our loss of Samuel. She asked what makes me cry. I went on to tell her, it might be a song, looking at his pictures, something someone says to me, or something nice that someone has done for me, or just my empty arms aching. We both agreed it might be MANY more months until the tears stop falling on a daily basis. So I grieve deeply for my son, but I am also mourning... I never really understood the difference until I read the following:
“Let’s remind ourselves of the importance between the terms grief and mourning. Grief is the internal thoughts and the feelings of loss and pain, whereas mourning is the outward, shared expression of that grief – or grief gone public. All bereaved families grieve when someone they love dies. But if they are to heal, they must have a safe, accepting atmosphere in which they can mourn.”
“To companion the bereaved means to be an active participant in their healing. When you as a caregiver companion the bereaved, you allow yourself to learn from their unique experiences. You let the bereaved teach you instead of the other way around. You make the commitment to walk with them as they journey through grief.”
The above quotes recognize that we need each other when journeying through life’s losses and this includes our need for God as well. This past Memorial Day marks a day of remembrance for those living and for those who have died. It is through the life experience of bereavement that we realize how important remembering is to the healing of those who are grieving. It is in the remembering that we attend to our grief. The phrase “time heals all wounds [our grief]” is a myth. Like any wound, it takes time to heal, but the healing usually does not happen without careful attention. The careful attention of a physical wound might include cleaning, debriding, stitches, and the application of medicines. In the same manner, the careful attention of someone with an emotional/spiritual wound like grief would include:
*Remembering the one who has died in his/her fullness (things he/she did well and not so well)
* Honoring and accepting the pain (tears) of the loss of the individual
* Remembering that the healing process leads us through the grief, not away or around it
* Learning to adapt to the major changes in life (there is no getting back to normal — whatever normal was)
* Walking through the grief with others at times and sometimes walking alone (yet always knowing that God and other trusted loved ones continue to be a resource)
* Realizing that the grief work does not get easier — we adjust, though, and get stronger in dealing with life.
Thanks for letting me share that with you. I am praying it helps you in your interactions with those around you who are grieving and mourning.
Peace and Love in Jesus<><
Saturday, June 6, 2009
So we hosted the neighborhood block party tonight. One of our routines is to take a family walk each night. So when we first moved in if anyone was outside we would introduce ourselves and visit with them a bit. I was amazed that it seemed like many didn't know each other even though they lived next to each other. Greg and I have been saying that we needed to do this since shortly after we moved in. Then when everything happened with Samuel dying, entertaining was not high on the priority list... Heck, I could barely get dinner on my own table. I didn't actually for a good month... others did.
It was beautiful night, besides the crazy Oklahoma wind. We only have 16 homes in the neighborhood so it isn't real big. And we had a great turnout. The kids had a blast playing together and all of the adults REALLY visited with one another. Everyone was mingling and getting to know each other. It was great. Everyone even wanted to do it again... so that was good... mission accomplished. I learned a lot more about many of them so that was really nice. With having little ones, getting to know my neighbors has always been a priority for me. We love our neighborhood, it is perfect for us. It is far enough out of the city to feel like country. There are enough kids for the kids to have others to play with. Our yard is big enough to keep this homeschooling family busy and have lots of space to run around. It is also pretty quiet and we are thankful to have really nice neighbors.
Well, I better go run, I need to prepare to teach the big boys Sunday School class. I told the boys I wouldn't have treats every week like Miss Shelley did, I think they are already disappointed that they have a new teacher:) Actually, they seem excited that I will be doing it. It should be fun.
Not much else is new... I kind of feel like I don't have too much to say... lots of the same, missing my sweet Samuel like crazy and forging ahead day by day... step by step appreciating the blessing of each new day. Thanks for joining us on this journey.
Praying you have a blessed Sunday.