Thursday, October 10, 2013

This side of the wait

This side of the wait has a whole new set of emotional challenges. I'm often asked if the wait is harder now that we've seen Isaac's face. The truth of it is... it's just a different kind of hard! I haven't forgotten the heart-wrenching struggle of waiting three years for THE call, it's still really fresh in my mind! In respect of the families that are still waiting for their call, it would simply be foolish of me to downplay that side of the wait! Before we received our referral, I honestly thought that if I could just know WHO in the heck I was praying for every day, that my heart would be at peace.  I mean, I knew I was praying for our son, but if I'm being real, I felt like I was praying for an imaginary child! So the moment we saw Isaac's precious face my soul took a deep sigh of relief... he is REAL, he has a FACE... that longing, unknown, part of the wait was instantly over! Praise the LORD! But now... now, I have this absolutely beautiful, lushes lips, adorable, squishy faced child, that I KNOW is our son, and the wait continues! We just shifted from one heart wrenching side of the wait to another. I will say however, that the one thing that is for sure more challenging now that we've seen his face is the urgency I feel in my heart to get to him! The fact that every day he is growing and changing, and that I'm missing it, is heavy on my chest and makes me want to jump on a plane TODAY and go scoop him up!

This anxious feeling that stirs inside of me to hold my son, brings me to a place that I know the Lord desires for me to be... on my knees. When I feel like things are out of my control (like super frustrating government paper work on this side of the wait) I am continually reminded of the importance of prayer! In my bible study last week (Priscilla Shirer's Gideon study-totally recommend it by the way!) it was talking about how God exists and is not only able but WILLING to intervene in our lives in a personal, miraculous way if we would simply let our requests be known to God. She asks the question: "Are there any areas of you life that you no longer talk to God about because you feel like "that's just the way things are"? If so, what areas are they?" For me, it's easy to look at the government paperwork we are waiting on, as being "just the way things are". For some reason my tendency is to feel like if I can't personally change the situation or come up with the solution- than it's out of my control. BUT God suggests differently!

So while the paperwork is out of my hands and into the hands of embassy workers half way across the world, I refuse to assume that "it's just the way things are"... and so I am boldly praying for God's divine intervention! I am praying that Isaac's case gets shuffled to the top of the stack of cases and lands in the hands of an efficient and productive embassy worker! I pray for additional embassy employees to be assigned so that the Adoption Unit could have help in working through the backlog of cases. I pray that as the embassy does it's investigation over Isaac's case that everything would unfold smoothly. I pray that this PAIR letter, that we are waiting on in order to receive our preliminary court date, is issued in record time!

And so I take a deep breath today, as we wait on things that appear to be "just the way they are", and instead, I invite God to move mountains, and stacks of papers, and make a miraculous way for our case to be issued this important PAIR letter.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Name (change) Announcment!

NAME (change) ANNOUNCEMENT! After much thought and conversation, and after seeing our boy's face for the very first time- the hubs and I have decided that we are going to name our son Isaac instead of Isa. Yes, we know this is totally confusing considering we've gone with Isa for the past 2+ years, and for that, we apologize- BUT, if it counts for anything and makes us seem a little less indecisive, both names do have the same meaning; laughter! We just feel like the name Isaac fits him better and so we're sticking with it! That being said, we would like to officially announce that our son's name is Isaac Blane Helms! Blane is after my dad (o:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

THE call!!! Monday, August 19th, 2013... the day we became a family of FOUR!!!

Wow, where to begin?!?!? My last post was announcing that on April 19th we found out that we had  FINALLY moved into the #1 spot on our wait list!!! Little did I know that it would be another 4 LONG months (to the day actually) that we would sit at number one and wonder every day, "Is today THE day?!". I'm not going to sugar coat it and tell you that it didn't suck, because it did, let's face it... the wait sucks, period! BUT I am here to tell you that God's strength, His grace, His love, His faithfulness- it's REAL and it's what has carried us day by day over the last four months of sitting at #1.

Here's the crazy amazing part of the wait.... it doesn't last forever (hang tight waiting mamas, YOUR day WILL come)!!! This past Monday, August 19th, at 12:18pm, our wait was OVER!!!! It gives me chills just to write that! After 4 months of sitting at #1... after 34 months of sitting on our agency wait list... after 40 months since starting the entire process... and after endless prayers, tears, and joy along the journey... we got THE call for our boy!!! For so long my heart has ached to just know who our son is, and it FINALLY happened!!! We saw our precious son's face for the very first time, we read through his story, and we cried tears of heartache and tears of joy. We are simply in awe of God's faithfulness to answer every single prayer we've cried out on our son's behalf for the past three years! God's timing and our timing we're clearly not on the same page... BUT it's with confidence that I say GOD'S TIMING IS PERFECT!!! We have the most precious, itty bitty Ethiopian boy, who has completely captured our hearts! God's hands have been all over this journey from the very beginning! This is God's beautiful story, that we are just privileged to play a small role in (and pray that we don't mess it up somehow, ha!). 

Here is our itty bitty Isa, born July 17th, 2013, all 6.5 pounds of him! We can't show his face online before he is legally ours, but trust me when I say that under this little heart is complete cuteness!!!   
 Here's just a glimpse into the goodness of Monday...
Right before we got THE call on Monday, I was taking a few first grade "back to school" pics of Jude before meeting daddy on his lunch break at Chick-fil-a. The game plan was to take a few more photos after lunch since I was only able to squeeze in a few that morning. We had a great lunch with daddy and were pulling out of the Chick-fil-a parking lot, all the while Jude was informing me of his dislike of my plan to take more pictures (what?! 6 year old boys don't like to pose and stand still for photos?!) He simply wanted to go home and play, fair enough! He made the snarky comment, "We haven't even taken a family picture in forever, so why do I just have to do it?!" to which I replied, "Because we're waiting until Isa is home before we take another family pic" (this has just been my weird emotional hang up since last Christmas- I'm tired of taking pics with one child missing in the photo). Anyway, this response triggers Jude to say, "I bet you're going to scream when we get THE call for Isa! You're probably going to cry too, right mom?!" to which I sighed, "You're probably right... you know, I don't know how the heck I'm react when we finally get the call?!" At that EXACT MOMENT as I said the word "call"... my phone rang!!! No joke!!! BUT it didn't ring the programmed ring I have for our case worker, she must have called from a different phone in the agency office (dang my brilliant plan to have an awesome ring tone go off!). But I KNEW it was her because it said Portland Oregon, and NOBODY else calls me from there! I immediately screamed, "Jude! I think THIS IS IT?!?!?!?" and him clearly not catching on that I was actually talking about the phone ringing right that moment, proceeds to say, "Yeah, I really do bet you'll scream and cry when we get the call" While driving, I turn back and look him dead in the eyes, and in my crazy frantic voice yell, "NO! I MEAN... I THINK IT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?!?!? OH MY GOSH JUDE!!! AHHHH! I'M SCARED TO ANSWER!" That's right folks,  I completely froze for a second in fear that somehow I was going to mess up this call or that it wouldn't actually be our referral! Thankfully I quickly snapped out of it and ever so slowly slid the answer button over on my phone and cautiously said, "Hello?" in the most curious tone ever. To which I was relieved to hear our case worker's voice on the other end. She asked me how I was doing and instead of answering her I just said, "How are YOU doing?!"... she chuckled and said, "Well... I'm doing REALLY well, and I'm REALLY excited to talk with you about an itty bitty boy!!!!".... to which I mumbled out, "Wait?! You're EXCITED?! If you're excited that means I can be excited!!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!" At this point, Jude's prediction of screaming and crying completely came true!!! He actually said, "See! I knew you would cry mama!" The flood gates opened, I started screaming and telling Jude he was a big brother! I can only imagine our case worker sitting in her office holding the phone at an arms length away from her face in order to not blow out her eardrums! Finally I calmed myself down enough for her to tell me that Joshua and I both needed to be in front of a computer, together if possible and she asked me if we would be able to do that. Since I had literally left Joshua from lunch not 2 minutes earlier, he was headed back to his teacher training thing, and I wanted to catch him before he got in his next meeting. I told her I would call him right away and we'd make it happen! I hung up with her and in record speed called Joshua (this is all while I'm driving mind you... I have no idea how I got home that day! I'm pretty sure angels had the steering wheel!). Joshua answers the phone, "Yeah?" with the hurried tone of "Why are you calling me already, I JUST saw you?!" (classic) I just start screaming, "WE HAVE A BOY, WE HAVE A BOY, WE HAVE A BOY!!!". He said, "Are you kidding?!", confused that within just a couple minutes we had gotten THE call. I reassured him it was NO JOKE and that he need to get home so we could see our son's face!!! He hurried to school, and one perk to having been in this adoption process for three stinking years is, EVERYBODY knows! The lady he had to get approval from gladly sent him home with her blessings! Jude and I made it home and as I waiting on Joshua to get home, I hurried and called my family and some close friends just to let them know IT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, we were about to find out who are son was!!! Jude stood there in the living room and watched me cry tears of joy. He's my tender-hearted little guy, so he kept saying, "These are all happy tears, right mom?" and I reassured him that all the tears he would see over the next week would be HAPPY TEARS. The garage door opened and in walked my best friend, the man I've been blessed to walk this journey with. There were no words spoken. Just tears. Lots of tears as we embraced each other. Joshua's poor shirt got my snot and tears all over the shoulder. (o: And in the middle of sniffles, we hear Jude say, "Mom's been crying a lot- but don't worry dad, they're happy tears! It's time for a family hug!". Best moment ever!

And the rest of the story is for another day! Oh such a crazy wonderful day that I will remember for the rest of my life! I LOVE that Jude and I experienced THE call together at the exact moment we were talking about actually getting the call! It's just crazy to me! We will forever share that moment together and it fills my heart to overflowing! Jude is truly going to be the best big brother Isa could ask for! He has prayed for his brother now for three years, every single night! Isa buddy, Jude has been looking out for you for a long time and he promises to continue to look out for you for the rest of your life! Little did Jude know when I snapped this pic, less than an hour later he would be a big brother!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ONE... what a fabulous number!!!! EEEK!

This past Friday afternoon I was taking big ole' Izzy, the Great Pyrenees dog that lives across the street from us, for a walk. We dog-sit for her when our neighbors are out of town- she's seriously like a pony! Anyway, I was on the other side of our subdivision when I decided to pull my phone out of my pocket and give Joshua a quick call. Him and Jude were about to head to Walmart and I was hoping to catch him and ask if he'd pick up some flavored drink packets while they were there (because, let's just be honest, we all know flavored water tastes so much better than the plain stuff). But before I could call I noticed I had apparently missed a call, which I thought was strange because I had never heard it ring.  I took one look at who my missed call was from and stopped dead in my tracks! It was from a fellow adopting friend of mine, Emma. You see, Emma isn't just "another adopting friend of mine" she's THE gal who is directly in front of us on the wait list! Over the past several months, we've developed a unique friendship entirely based on texts and FB messages. We pray for our babies and encourage one another as we wait and desperately try to be patient trusting in God's perfect timing. Between Emma and my sweet friend Allison,  we check in with each other almost every other day! (I'll share Allison and I's special friendship for another post but just so you know, she's #2 on the girl's list, neck and neck with us!) To most, it might seem like communicating only through texts and FB messages would be impersonal, but I'm telling you, words can't express what a blessings these gals are in my life! No doubt the fact that we're all in the same boat and "get it" automatically connects us on a deeper level! Several months ago Emma and I had established an agreement that when she got THE CALL for her son, she would call me, no matter what time it was, and let me know. That way I would know that we had moved into the ever coveted #1 spot on the list, and I could celebrate with her that she finally got to see her son's face for the very first time!!! So you can imagine my excitement when I saw I had a missed CALL from her, NOT a text, but a CALL!!!!  I knew exactly what it meant! I quickly listened to her voice mail, hanging up half way through it, because I just wanted to hurry up and call her back and talk to her in person. As the phone rang and I waited for her to answer, it was as if time stood still and a wave of pure joy flooded my heart. Genuine excitement, for a gal who I had never actually talked to, consumed every fiber of my being! Prayers had been answered and on this day, there was one less orphan in the world and my sweet friend Emma had become a mama! Before she even picked up on the other end of the line happy tears were rolling down my face... as I stood on the street corner in my neighborhood, pony in hand, I'm sure looking ridiculous! Y'all when she answered, all I could hear was the joy of a mama who had waiting almost 3 years to meet her son! Pure greatness!!!! GOD IS GOOD.

I hung up with her and immediately the realization that her referral meant that WE WERE #1 ON THE LIST!!!! I think up until this point, I honestly thought my worst nightmare was coming true and we would have come all this way only to be FOREVER  stuck at #2! I almost needed to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming and that it was true, the #1 spot was finally ours!  Then it hit me, "Oh my gosh! I have to tell Joshua!!!!" Hoping that I could catch them before they left for Walmart, I start running back to our house... in flip flops... tears streaming down my face... with a pony dragging behind me (I looked ridiculous, but could care less, I was on a mission to tell my boys the good news!). Sure enough, my awesome flip flop running skills payed off and as I rounded the corner into our cul-de-sac, here came our old Ford Focus with my boys in it! I waved them down, met them in the road, and was able to share the best news yet about our adoption... we were  FINALLY #1!!!!!!!!!! Both Joshua and Jude were absolutely thrilled! Jude started chanting from the back seat, "Isa! Isa! Isa!" as if he were at a sporting event. Oh how this boy can't wait to be a big brother!!! Such a good day... and day filled with hope that we really are in the homestretch of this journey!

This means THE call could come any day now and I'm just sayin', if I'm this excited and emotional about being #1, I can only imagine the hot mess I will be when the actual call
Went on the waitlist at #71 in Oct 2010 and now we sit at #1!

comes and we see Isa's face for the very first time! I get teary just thinking about it, sheesh! I'm carrying my phone on me at all times, checking and re-checking it, just to make sure I didn't miss a call, because I mean after all, I missed Emma's call?! It could happen, so it's important to check it every 10 minutes or so, right?! I stare at it and try and will it to ring, which hasn't worked yet, but it won't stop me from continuing to try! The call could come tomorrow or it may be several more weeks, but for the sake of my sanity, I sure hope it's sooner than later! (o: Isa buddy, we sure can't wait to meet you! Longest pregnancy EVER but not doubt it will be worth every minute!!!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A note to Isa


Buddy... I just need you to know how incredibly anxious/excited we are to know that it won't be too much longer before we see your precious face! We're officially #2 on the wait list right now and I can't help but feel in my soul that the time is near that we'll get "the call" that will forever change our lives!!! I find myself day dreaming about what you'll look like. Your tiny hands and chubby feet. Every sweet little brown baby I see, when I'm out and about, I catch myself gazing at (which I'm sure it awkward to the parent of the child), longing for the day that I'm the one out and about with MY sweet little brown baby... YOU! I try and imagine what your little personality will be like. Will you be soft spoken and shy like your brother Jude or full of spunk and outgoing?! The one thing I'm certain of is we love you already, without even knowing a single detail about you!!! We love the way that our journey to you has opened our eyes and hearts to God's love in fresh new ways! This journey has strengthened our faith in the Lord, rooted our dependency in Christ alone, and changed our family for the better! God is using your story in mighty ways for the kingdom already Isa!

I pray for you every day, trusting that God is holding you in the palm of His hand, protecting you, meeting your every need, and surrounding you with unconditional love. I pray that in the depths of your being, that there is an unexplainable peace rooted in your heart that you have a forever family waiting on you... wanting you... and loving you... and most importantly, I pray that you feel God's love.

Your mama loves you so much! Just wanted you to know! Happy Easter Isa!