Thursday, February 7, 2013

We've Got A Lot To Talk About

Goodness, y'all. I feel like I need to take a really deep breath before we get going here. I have lots to share with you. I feel like I've been absent for a while. I've posted, but kept my heart on a tight rein. Part of me feels like I've been keeping secrets from a close friend. But the truth is, all that's happened over the last three to four months has taken my heart on a roller coaster ride. I've needed some time to process and breath and to be reminded that God is sovereign and good and in control. 'Cause y'all, I am NOT.

January 12 marked the one year anniversary of losing our precious little one. That takes me waaaay back...back to when we first shared our struggle to have another's been a looong road. And y'all have been so sweet each step of the way. I'm so thankful for you.

On the day we said, "I do," we knew we wanted four children. And then as time passed and we enjoyed the blessing of children I started to want five. And I thought I must be crazy. And then one day, we were at the red light close to our mechanic's shop and the Engineer looked at me and said, "I know you're going to think I'm crazy, but I really want five children." And I just about jumped out of my seat and screamed, "I've been wanting the same thing!" And that was in the midst of pleading with God for a fourth child.

As time passed and the Lord deepened the desire for more children in our hearts, we began seriously praying about adoption. We researched agencies and countries and read blogs and prayed about adopting. Was that something He was calling us to? We were open to it. And yet He never gave peace in that regard. Even after a year and a half of pleading with Him for a little one, we felt He was telling us not to adopt.

So what to do with this ache and desire in our hearts? At that point we were broken and we finally let go. The cadence we lived by was a prayer, "though we can't comprehend how three is better than four, not our will but Yours be done." Over time, He brought us to that place of truly wanting whatever it was He had for us. And we stopped pushing our plan.

So yeah, at that point, He gave us a baby. And we were dumbstruck. Could. Not. Believe. It. No wonder He'd not given peace as we considered adoption. He had other plans.

We hit twelve weeks and my OB predicted a boring, "normal" pregnancy. Everything looked great. And I went be-bopping in at 17.5 weeks for a routine and out...and we received the heartbreaking news that our little one had died. It felt like the earth stopped spinning. Everything happened in slow motion.

He flat out shattered us. And it was horrible and it was beautiful because He did things in our hearts that only He could do. I've shared so much of that journey here...point being...we've continued to plead...and His answer has continued to be, "I love you. No." But He never would take away the desire.

Adoption has stayed on our minds and hearts. It's something we've continued to research and pray about. After our loss last January, The Engineer was ready to begin the process, but assured me if I wanted to keep trying, he was good with that as well. I wanted to keep trying.

We made radical changes in our diet. I began running and lost the extra weight I'd been carrying. I started taking a handful of vitamins and supplements...I went in for blood work. Everything seemed to be working perfectly. At that point the desire to adopt was growing stronger in my heart. And in his. Almost to the point of being relieved each month to learn I wasn't pregnant. And that totally confused me.

November came...still no baby. All of this has convinced us that He opens and closes the womb. He is the giver of life. And it seemed apparent that He had closed my womb. And for the first time ever, we were okay with that. I was okay with that.

My baby sister called to tell me she and her husband were expecting. And in my heart - I rejoiced. I didn't have to fake it and get off the phone and cry. It was honest...rejoicing.

We'd already done gobs of research and knew which agency we wanted to go with. And so in November, we began the process to adopt...TWO BABIES!!! A boy and a girl.

And our children were BESIDE themselves!!! Little Man would finally get a brother and the girls would get a sister...they were THRILLED!!!! The Engineer and I had such peace in our hearts. We were excited. Super excited. Nervous, too. Actually, I was the only one nervous. Not about actually adopting, but about calling to tell the fam we'd decided/felt called to adopt. It was terrifying...telling them we wanted to adopt one would be nerve wracking enough, but two!!! made me sweat. A. Lot.

My sister asked me why I was so nervous...I explained that I am well aware we look like insane fools to most of the world. Not everyone will share our perspective on adopting. She reminded me Noah probably looked a fool building that big boat in his front yard. But - he was doing what God was calling him to do.

After lots of prayer and quite frankly, just seeing what we could handle (open or closed adoption, domestic or international, time traveling, etc.), we decided to pursue adopting from China. And so we began our journey!

We are in the "home study" phase. Early December marked a great first interview over the phone with our social worker and someone from the adoption agency. Oh my. They asked a lot of questions about a lot of stuff and assured us that was only the beginning. (smile!) On that particular night we had to discuss what led us to this place of being ready to adopt...we had to share our struggle to become pregnant, our losses, and about God's never ending, never changing, always and forever the same faithfulness. It was hard. And it was good. And at the end of the interview, we "passed." And we were pumped.

The very next morning I took a pregnancy test. And. It. Was. POSITIVE.

And I laughed. And I cried. And I was so stinkin' angry. I mean...what the heck? Why would God do this? I called The Engineer. I was crying. He was SO. EXCITED. I was so scared. So afraid. I didn't want to go through a loss again. And I mean, seriously, how in the world did this happen? We were being careful because not to be careful made me feel like we were playing Russian Roulette. My heart was attached to a little Chinese boy and girl I had yet to meet. And so we were being careful. And you know what? We don't have ANY CONTROL. Because you know what??? God really does open and close the womb. Not us.

I called an acquaintance who I knew had lost a baby much further along than we had. We'd spoken a few times, but were certainly not close. And so my phone call went something like this, "I know we don't know one another well, and I know you went through a loss much later than we did. I have no idea if you're comfortable talking about that. I know you love Jesus. I'm pregnant. I'm scared of losing another baby. Help." And she spent a chunk of time on the phone with me and shared her heart and what God had taught her. She reminded me that He is mindful of our frames...that we are weak. She prayed with me. I cried. It was good to hear truth.

I felt guilty for not jumping up and down with the news we'd spent YEARS longing to hear. And in the days that followed that conversation I spent a lot of time talking with the Lord and was finally able to put words to feelings...

From the last eleven years of life I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is sovereign over every little thing. There is nothing that happens apart from His will. Even the hard, bad things that happen - like our baby dying - He rules over all. He decrees all. That was part of His will. And He promises that He is using all things - even the really stinky, hard stuff - for good in the lives of His children who are called according to His purpose. He cares a heck of a lot more about my holiness than He does my happiness. I am thankful for that. Even though sometimes it stinks in the short term and certainly isn't how I would do things.

And so I want His will. Even if His will is hard. Because His will is good. Even when it doesn't seem good to me. God isn't a man. His ways aren't like our ways. He sees the beginning from the end. He sees the entire tapestry He is weaving. And I trust Him. I know Him to be good and kind and just and gracious.

And so I know that should He call us to another loss, He will see us through. But my fear - the "my heart is in my throat" moment for me - is the thought of what another loss would do to our children. Sister struggled so with anger and bitterness. I think my heart would break - that I would physically ache for her, should she endure another loss like the one before.

But then I know too, that my children cannot borrow our faith. They must own it. They must trust God. The Engineer helped me sort through this...and I am in a place of pleading with God to protect our hearts, to keep them tender, especially our children's hearts - particularly if His will is for us to lose this little one. And I am in a place of knowing that He sees the bigger picture. He is good and wise. I trust Him. I trust Him with my children.

And so on to the business of rejoicing...for my womb, a place of death and decay, has been given LIFE by God!!! I've seen this little one moving. I've seen baby's heart beating. I've heard the lub-dub. And that is something to rejoice over!

We called our adoption agency to tell them the news. And here's the crazy thing...their standard policy is to place an adoption on hold until the bio baby is six months, but they are making an exception. An exception we did not ask for. They are allowing us to carry on with the process. Which seriously thrills my heart. I am enjoying pouring myself into the paperwork and the autobiography and the reading, etc.

As it stands tonight, on paper, we are seeking to adopt two children from China. We will likely send our "Letter of Intent" to China around week 20 of my pregnancy. If baby is still doing well, that letter of intent will request one child. Baby is due August 25th...putting me right at 11.5 weeks.

Are you half as shocked as we are? More than ever before I am throwing my hands up and letting go on this insane roller coaster ride we call life. I so naively thought we were calling many of the shots. Getting to this place of abandonment...knowing that His will is good - even when it can cut and hurt so bad - it's just freeing. I hope and pray He will bless us with the birth of a healthy little one and a precious "China baby." And I rest knowing if that is not His will, He is faithful and will sustain us.

Woop woop. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Before I sign off...there are so many of you reading who have been walking alongside us in your own difficult season of wanting and longing. I so wish I could share our news with you face to face. I would put my arms around you and I promise I'd be crying when I shared. Because I know the sting. I know how the news can take your breath away. I remember my heart plummeting, even skipping a beat when I'd hear news of another friend expecting. You're happy for them, but it just hurts so bad. For many of you who have suffered loss, the due date comes and it goes and still, no baby. And the pain can go so deep. We have been there. My heart aches for you. I am sensitive to the longing that heavily cloaks your frame and I am praying for you.

Happy Thursday, y'all.


  1. Thrilled with you, precious friend...truly THRILLED!!! Yes, indeed...God's ways are wonderful, and mysterious, and BEST!! Always.

    Love you!
    Camille XO

    P.S. I always enjoy the photos of your beautiful family. God is Good!

  2. I am so happy for you. But I am also feeling that empty spot because my baby is eight and my womb is closed. Many prayers in this area. There is a reason. Just not one that I can understand yet.

    I am so happy for you. It is wonderful to see someone get a miracle.

    God bless and have a wonderful day.

  3. SO HAPPY for you you guys! Awesome testimony of learning to grow in good and bad times and a wonderful example of enduring faith and acceptance! My heart rejoices with yours! Miss you!

  4. What an incredible story God is writing through your lives! You are a beautiful reflection of Him and such an encouragement to me. Your words are so powerful and I am grateful to be able to read them.
    God is so much bigger than us, only He can weave and create such beauty out of sorrows. I am so excited for you, and I get the roller coaster you are one. Praying for you and for your precious little one. May God protect you and all the hearts of your home.

    P.S. I want to see you kitchen! ;)

  5. So happy to read this!! Congrats on everything!!

  6. I'm a new reader, having spent a good chunk of time catching up when I discovered your blog via Miss Cote. So happy to hear your news! We can never understand God's timing but must keep the faith. Blessings from NC!

  7. I've been praying for y'all along the way as we've gotten updates through your inlaws. Rejoicing with you and continuing to pray for all 5 of you (including the unmet two). As my daddy said: God is good, all the time!

  8. I mean, all SEVEN of you. Math is obviously not my thing.

  9. What a sweet and compassionate post! I love you so much. Your heart for God is so clear. You want His will more than you want to forgo the pain of it. There is a cost to following Christ, but the joy of knowing Him and letting go of who you think He is and what He is going to do can just about take your breath away. You have encouraged me in my own situation. You have been there for me. You have loved me when I was confused and hurting. You met my needs and I cannot thank you enough for obeying the Lord and being attentive to His voice.

    I pray for you and your baby often for protection. I have lost two due to miscarriages. I believe that we love all of our children for whatever time we have with them. They are all a gift from the Lord even when the gift sometimes causes pain and heartache.

  10. Jen,
    I am speechless!! I am really speechless! And in awe! He can truly do things (impossible to us things!) that we cannot ask or imagine. I thought this post would just be about your adoption plans! HA! An exception?? I think pretty unheard-of.
    I am so happy for you and I will be earnestly praying for you all!! Love you friend!

  11. To God only be all glory. May you rest in His peace as the months unfold in front of you. May God keep you and your baby healthy.


  12. all i can say is - WOW!
    and congratulations, what a wild story y'all are living!

    praying for a you.

  13. At the title of this post, I was hoping it was baby news ;) I'm SO happy for you guys! Made my day!

  14. I am so thrilled for you. I was so hoping this was going to be THE post when I read the title. I know we don't know each other in "person" but it is evident how the Lord is working in your lives and I appreciate your truthfulness and authenticity. I'm not shocked by anything the Lord chooses to do anymore :) Thank you for sharing your God story!

  15. This is amazing! All of it! God writes the best stories. I am so happy and excited for you. Having just come through an adoption "season", I want to hug your neck and tell you what an incredible adventure you're about to go on. And the extra, over-the-top blessing of a pregnancy? So much wonderfulness! I will be praying for you, praying for your baby in your belly and your baby in China. I can't wait to watch the story unfold!

  16. So happy for y'all! Praising God for these good gifts and praying for both your babies as you wait for them!

  17. So excited to read your update :) Thank you for sharing your life! The wonderful times and the hard times! :)LOVE reading your blog and getting to know your family through it! :)

  18. You don't know me and I don't know you. And yet, I have cried with/for you several times. I am beyond thrilled that you are expecting not 1, but 3 babies!!! I cannot wait to hear all about the next few months!!!!
    Congratulations and THANK YOU GOD!!!

  19. Girl, I don't even know what to say! I am so happy and so proud of you for all you have been through, for how you have shared your heart, and your transparency. This has all been amazing. Thank you for letting us all be apart of it.

  20. What wonderful news, Jennifer! I will be praying for the adoption as well as your pregnancy. May God continue to bless your sweet family!

  21. Yay! Was so anxious for it all to become blog-public, so I could get more regular updates. :) Hope you will continue to share how things are progressing! I've been thinking about y'all and praying for you and for the baby. Again, so very, very happy for all the blessings you are enjoying right now!

  22. Psalm 37:4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

    I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago, and what a blessing and encouragement it has been. I'm so happy to hear your news.

    My husband and I had been discussing the above verse, when he told me his desire was for another baby. Now our fourth is due August 24th!

  23. God bless you and your beautiful family! And BIG congratulations! I've been praying that you'd be blessed with a little one so I was very happy to read this post!!
    Much love, a hug and CONGRATULATIONS!

  24. Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! So exciting! Our daughter, Sydney, was born on August 25, 1995. She was our second daughter but, after getting pregnant immediately with our first daughter, it took me seven long months to get pregnant with Sydney. I know that pales in comparison to what so many have dealt with but it was heartbreaking to me. I remember standing in the shower and sobbing every time I got my period. But, again, God knew. The next two times I got pregnant the very first month, and I'm still not sure what God's purpose in making us wait for Sydney was.

    Praying the your pregnancy is uneventful and that all the adoption issues go swiftly and smoothly.

    "Al of my life, in EVERY season, You are still God, I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship."

    Many blessings to you and your sweet family.

  25. Totally not shocked at all! God does crazy awesome things and His plans are so much more perfect than our own. I, too, even with three little ones...three little ones who keep me on my toes and exhaust me and I still think I want more. And I never thought I would adopt, but God is stirring my heart. Stirring my heart so much I would go tomorrow and bring home two more babies as well.
    It's just amazing Jen. Incredible. I'm praying that God will just continue to rock your world in a great and wonderful way.
    He is always faithful.
    I can't wait to hear more about it.
    What an exiting road your family is on. Who knows what else God has in store!!

  26. Hi! I should introduce myself first. :) My name is Heather and I stumbled across your blog from my friend Emily Dudley's page. Secondly, congratulations on your pregnancy and adoption!! My husband and I have had two miscarriages since our little boy (who is now 4) was born- one of the hardest times we ever went through together. Through that though we saw the goodness of God in His faithfulness. We learned to be joyful in HIM! We are now in the adoption process for a little boy or girl from China as well! We feel so blessed to be on this adoption journey! What agency are you using? We are with Lifeline Children's Services and have our first homestudy this Fri!! I'm so excited to follow along with your journey! Please feel free to read our blog as well if you'd like to follow our adoption journey! :) Congrats again on both exciting announcements!!!

  27. Tears came to my eyes as I read. My college just finished a series on adoption! And God tugged on my heartstrings like He always has when the subject of adoption comes up... I was overwhelmed with the idea of my excitement and eagerness to adopt being an illustration of what God feels when He wants to adopt us. I can't tell you what that does to my perspective.

    Jenn, when you wonder about God and His plans for you, just think of the way you desire and plan the best for your children--born, unborn, adopted, etc. and put yourself in the child's spot and then make God the Father. Isn't it a beautiful picture?!?

    Love you friend... My heart blesses this step of God's plan for you: you getting pregnant. I pray for His will for the next step and His provision of sufficient grace for whatever comes after it.

  28. Today, I opened my blog, planning to pour out my heart on my own blog, that no one reads. Sort of as a therapy. Planning to tell the world about the pregnancy that I miscarried in October, and the pain I suffered. And, about the pregnancy I found out about a week at 5 weeks and 2 days. My anxiety, my hope, my trust in the God that sees beyond my today. And, instead, I clicked on the link to yours..and read...and cried. I needed this today. We are due in October..and my bloodwork looks good. But, this is pregnancy #6 for me, with 2 precious, perfect boys. Anxious is an understatement. But, you reminded me that God is always in control, and His plan is SO MUCH BIGGER than mine. Thanks for that! And, I'm praying for you!

  29. -Wowwee! Congratulations -all the best.

  30. Stopping in to say hello :) My husband (how weird is that??) told me about your blog. Our Engineers work together. My heart skipped a beat reading this, as we have much in common. We lost our precious Matthew less than an hour after he was born at 32 weeks. Even though he was our fifth baby, his birth made me question so many was life changing. We were in the process of adopting when we lost him and that's a different story for a different day. Glad to have found your blog!

  31. Seems you are well loved here on this blog sweet Jennifer...just read this, this morning: The work of God is this: to believe. John 6:29...and once you believe, you may know all is well. Patience eliminates all want. Perhaps your desire to receive what you want is stronger than your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled.

    Isn't it a glorious place to be where you begin to desire Gids good and perfect will over what you think you need? Such a beautiful story HE is writing in your lives...and you pen it so, so magnificently. Love to you guys!

  32. I am in a puddle. Seriously. I have SO much I want to say to you, ask you, laugh about with you. First our house. I don't know anyone else that is attempting to redo an entire house with children and sometimes I feel like I have to give a long speech before anyone comes in "Okay look I know it looks crazy, but we have VISION!" But on the flip side, even though I love the creative process and would love to end up with a gorgeous home, it's not a pride thing. I don't ever, ever want anyone intimidated or uncomfortable in my home; quite the opposite. I want everyone who enters to leave feeling refreshed and ministered to.

    Also, my husband was also going crazy over the ground breaking here, reading about it, wanting so badly to be a part of it. How he got the job here is a really crazy story. When we meet I'll have to share with you because it's just amazing. He was also called and asked to apply, but through a lot of weird circumstances that began with me talking to an older woman about thrift shopping. Her husband worked with yours actually (he recently passed away) and after the lady and I talked about the minds of engineers, we discovered our husbands were in the same field. Her husband and Jamie talked and the ball started rolling. He saw the job posted but didn't apply because he didn't think he qualified and then they called him and asked him to apply for it! :) Everything just fell into place so easily that there is no HUMAN way it could have happened. God is good!! :)

    My email is I REALLY want to "talk" to you. I'm not a stalker, I promise :)