Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ONE YEAR ago we got THE call and Isaac's been HOME 8 months!!!

Exactly ONE YEAR ago today our world changed forever, we finally got THE call! We saw our precious son's face for the very first time! We were blessed beyond words to see photos of him being held by his birth mother. My breath is still taken away by her beauty. August 19th, 2013 will always be a day of joy AND heartache. You see, we not only instantly fell in love with Isaac but our lives forever became intertwined with a beautiful mother, on the other side of the world, who was faced with challenges and hardships that no one should have to encounter! It's a crazy thing to have such extreme emotions swirling through your head and heart all at the same time! To be so utterly in love and captured with the pure joy of FINALLY knowing who this child is that you've been praying for for the last three years, staring at every little perfect detail of his face... and then a moment later, to read through court documents that tell a story of extreme poverty, sickness, hopelessness and a life that simply isn't fair! One year ago today, the incredible privilege of raising another women's child, as my own, instantly weighed heavy on my soul. Right then and there I made a commitment to always honor Isaac's birth mom and tell him of her sacrificial love in choosing life for him! I love this women more than words can say. One year ago today, two worlds collided, God scooped Isaac up in His hands, and began a redeeming work of changing a sad story into a happy one. What an overwhelming joy it is to play a small role in God's story of making beauty from ashes!!!

We spent 19 days in Ethiopia, praying boldly that God would move mountains so that Isaac could come home in one trip and be with our family for Christmas.  EXACTLY FOUR MONTHS after we received THE call, December 19th, 2013, after 49 brutal hours of travel, exhausted and a bit delusional, we walked through the airport doors, Isaac in our arms, and were greeted by our wonderful family!

So today not only marks the one year anniversary of getting THE call, but it also marks Isaac being HOME FOR 8 MONTHS!!!! Eight joy-filled, fabulous months of holding this boy in my arms, standing in awe of God's faithfulness to set the lonely in families!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

This boy....

This boy... I'll tell you what, he has captured our hearts! He is full of life and laughter and we are so incredibly blessed to be his family! He's been home over 5 months now and the time has flown by yet it strangely feels like he's always been here! I continue to shake my head in amazement at God's goodness! Jude is simply an INCREDIBLE big brother and was made for this role! Both the boys adore one another which makes my cup runneth over! There is no such thing as "time to blog" anymore- I spend Isaac's nap times frantically getting things done around the house and working on designing and painting signs https://www.facebook.com/philosophydesign . Life is busy and loud and full of smiles and blessings! Every day I thank God for allowing me to be Jude and Isaac's mom- what a privilege and honor it is!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Isaac Blane 5 months old!

The time to update the blog completely escapes me... but I couldn't resist sharing a few pics of our precious Isaac with y'all!!! We're doing great, adjusting well, and soaking in every day having Isaac home! Jude is an awesome big brother who is super helpful, kind, and compassionate! I am a lucky mama to have two incredible son's!!! Here's the cuteness of our Isaac Blane at 5 months old!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Isaac Blane's Gotcha Day Video!

We've been home two weeks now and continue to stand in awe of God's faithfulness throughout our entire journey! God writes amazing stories if you simply say YES to His whisper! 

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!!!