Finding Rest

We have reached the 37 week mark of our pregnancy! How fantastic is that?!? I’ve never looked or felt so good, I mean…my feet aren’t swollen and my back isn’t aching – amazing!

At a quick glance, and if I wanted to save a whole lot of time and self-reflection, I could just make a joke and say how excited we are and amazing this process has been and call it a day. But, how much can you learn and how much can you grow when you live for quick glances and surfaced confessions? Honestly friends, it’s been really hard. You would think the fact that I’m not actually pregnant, waddling around carrying the child, that things would be VERY different and we would be not only well-rested from being able to handle a solid night’s sleep with zero pee breaks, but also be of sound mind and not be emotionally frantic in handling all of the hormones that come along with late-term pregnancy. Unfortunately for me, upon further investigation, I’m sorry to report that THIS expecting momma is still a bit of a basketcase.

It’s so very hard to explain outside of sounding like a sound bite for the Hallmark Channel, but it’s like a part of my heart is somewhere else and it won’t be whole and we won’t find rest until that baby is in our arms. And I’ve been distracted…SO  distracted. Like I got lost on my way to pick up my kids after work today. And I’ve been emotional. Just ya know, weepy at the sound of a good song, or seeing a drawing Eden made of her swinging with her new (and very brown) baby brother. imageOn my own strength, putting God and His eternal power and sovereignty aside, I have tried tirelessly to rest by making lists of things to do outside of the normal groceries, cleaning, and play dates, and then crossing them off as if that satisfaction will warrant me what “I deserve” = REST. Ya know, when the nursery is painted, when Hayes’ busy season is over, when I have spent enough one-on-one time with each child attempting to enjoy them while I have the time (when does THAT end?), when my journaling is up to date, when our birth mom’s medical report is reviewed,  when our flights are scheduled, when our paperwork is notarized, etc. etc. etc. THEN and only THEN can I rest.

We have gained a great deal of perspective this week as we have experienced a huge loss – dear friends who has been an amazing support to us have been going through a tough time, and because our friends are mourning, we are mourning along with them and are trying to find meaning in it all. Through our grief it has been hard not to think about our adoption and the loss that we could encounter at the end of our journey with this baby. His birth mom could decide to keep him. We could be doing all of this planning, and To-Do list-checking…for what?  We have been praying for God to help our friends to rest in His perfect and sovereign plan as their family goes through this hard time, and I can’t help but reflect back, why aren’t I resting in His perfect and sovereign plan for MY family? My To-Do list isn’t resting in Him who called us on this journey. And our baby could be home, the busy season long-forgotten, and yet an unsatisfying To-Do list would still remain until I give it all to the Maker of the Universe – I’m pretty sure He could handle it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

My new To-Do List has one item on it: REST in Him. He has afterall, proven to be faithful and has provided for our every need.  Have I mentioned that God gave us a beautiful house to stay in for two weeks while we are in Florida waiting for our legal paperwork to go through? For FREE. Oh, and we’ve been having fun finding a name for our new little boy – it’s so weird for us to actually know that it is a BOY. My dad agreed to let us use his first name as our son’s middle name. We are ecstatic because my dad is awesome and is responsible for so much good in our lives by being a faithful servant to God and to his family. He has blessed us immeasurably, and I know they will be buds. We love that even though our adopted son won’t technically be born of our family, his last AND middle names will bear legacies born from generations of them! As Hayes’ aunt would say: “Genetics don’t make a family. Love does.” Amen! We are still unsure of our son’s first name, we have a few options in mind but are open to suggestions, so please feel free to send them our way if you have any!

And last but certainly not least, God has been faithful to bless my relationship with our son’s birth mother. She called me this week because she “had a rough day and just needed to hear my voice.” We had a conversation I will never forget: about her pregnancy, the demands of life as a college student nearing finals, and how different things will be after the baby is born. I have been so reserved with her up to this point – polite and cordial. This is a very delicate relationship and I need to treat it with a tremendous amount of care.  That night we took a giant step forward – laughing and crying together. I can’t wait to meet her. I always tell her that we pray for her daily and she says, “REALLY?!?” like no one has ever prayed for her before. I pray (you pray too – PLEASE PRAY!) that she sees the love of Jesus through us. God could not have matched us better, and I hope she feels that way too. And even if this adoption fails and his mother decides to keep him, we still have so much to be thankful for. So much to trust God for. So many reasons to rest.

“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

It’s a Framer!

imageLast month, Eden and I paid a visit to the craft store to pick out a frame for our gorgeous puzzle. Two weeks later, we got the call: it’s HERE! And it’s amazing. We made sure the glass is double-sided so the next time you pay our house a visit, you can flip it over to see both sides.

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We weren’t sure what to do with that rebellious Lightening McQueen piece as it doesn’t look “right” on the back-side of the puzzle (for more on HOW ON EARTH Lightening McQueen’s puzzle piece could be so rebellious, click here). Hayes had the idea to paint it, just that one piece, so that it will stand out to signify how he (our baby) is the missing piece to our family. Genius.

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We started adding YOUR names to each of the pieces and it is already such a moving physical example of what a beautiful support system our family has – and it’s so far reaching! We have precious co-workers and college friends, play-date buddies and cousins, family and strangers – we are blessed beyond measure and are thrilled to have such an emotionally moving piece of artwork that symbolizes so much love in our home.

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There are many conversations that we anticipate having with our adopted boy. We are already researching the right answers and praying over our words as he grows up curious about where he comes from, and why he looks different from his brother and sister, and (gulp) why his parents gave him up for adoption. We plan to talk about it a lot, throughout his life as each stage progresses and he grows in maturity. But what we love about this puzzle, and are counting on, is to use it as a tool to combat those questions in his heart about his biological identity and explain what GOD had in store for him and HIS eternal purpose and the beautiful people that trusted in HIS plan and supported us along the way. “You have questions about your family? Let’s take a look at this puzzle and read all of the names of the people that helped you become a part of our family.” What a gift! Those conversations don’t seem as scary anymore and I have no doubt that God will be faithful to help us with our words when the time comes. Our gratefulness for your generosity will be appreciated and admired for our son’s entire lifetime. So, with a big sigh, and a tear in my eye, again we we say: “THANK YOU”

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Above his crib!

A few cool stats:

1. Almost 100 of YOU have donated.

2. We demolished our goal of $15,000 this week. REALLY YOU GUYS?

3. It’s not too late to donate…but it almost is. We have a few blank pieces left that we are saving for late donors, so if you still want to give, but keep forgetting to, that’s totally fine! But your window for opportunity is closing – remember we leave in five weeks – maybe even less! EEEEEK!

4. God is good. Allllll the time. And thanks to you and your generosity we are within a comfortable and budgeted for out-of-pocket range. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think we would be able to raise so much in such a short amount of time, but we know that with God (and a few friends!) ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27, Romans 8:28, Phil 4:13).

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An Exciting Delivery

A pretty exciting little box was delivered to our house this afternoon.

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Could it be?!? Already?!?

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Never EVER have I EVER been so ecstatic over a diaper!!!

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But c’mon…how stinkin’ cute are these?!?

Can’t wait to meet you Baby Murray #3!!!

Love,

Your Momma

Our Awkward Phase

It’s been two weeks since our match and honestly we are feeling a bit off. This process is unlike anything we have ever experienced and we have had several moments lately, awkward moments, and different kinds of thoughts, weird thoughts. Excited still – elated even – along with all of those of-course-you-are-feeling-that-way feelings that come with an approaching due date, but it’s still such a weird process and we are right smack in the middle of it.

For example: it’s weird that our baby boy is kicking inside the belly of a woman who is not me. It’s weird that I am feeling very protective of him – I find myself checking the weather in Tallahassee every morning to make sure there isn’t any treacherous weather in his forecast. What else am I going to do? It’s weird that we are RSVP-ing to events and parties and making plans for our family after the adoption is over and we are a family of FIVE. It’s weird to feel the pressure to quickly form a bond with this birth family, thousands of miles away, and assure them that we are committed and over-joyed while at the same time communicating our utmost respect for their feelings and privacy. And what is most weird is that at some point in the next six weeks, we are going to get a call that our new best friend is in labor, pack our bags, drop off our precious children, hop on a plane, drive to a foreign hospital, tell the lady at the front desk…what exactly? Hm…how would you word it? “I’m here to get my baby.” or how about: “I’m here to see my new best friend even though I’ve never actually met her…oh, and I’m going to take her baby.” and if all goes well, leave that hospital approximately three days later with a son, after not experiencing ONE labor pain. It’s ALL JUST SO WEIRD.

Everyone says that adoption is beautiful, and it IS and we have experienced amazing moments, and can see us having even more breath-taking moments like when we hold him for the first time and introduce him to Eden and Wes, but with every journey there is an awkward phase. A pre-teen season of over-thinking, insecurity, and bad hair. We have arrived, my friends. The hair is indeed, very frizzy.

My relationship with my new best friend (let’s just call her NBFF for now) hasn’t been progressing along as quickly as I had hoped – we text every-so often, and she is incredibly sweet and kind, and we even get emails from her mother, who is equally as kind and also HYSTERICAL, but I only have a short amount of time before the birth and want to establish a relationship with her BEFORE the baby gets here. This process for us is just as much about the healing for her as it is about us adding another member to our family.

To solve my problem, I did the thing that I do best: I bought her a present. Gift-giving is my favorite thing to do. I inherited this trait from my mother, the Queen of Gift-Givers (her gifts are legend…wait for it…dary. Hello Ugg rain boots). In my first conversation with my NBFF she told me that our baby has a sweet tooth and craves Samoa Girl Scout cookies (easy!) I chased down one of my friends (whose daughter just so HAPPENS to be the cutest little girl scout) and collected two boxes for her care package (thanks Christina!) I also raided TJMaxx and found a beautiful scarf, a lightly scented candle, and some fun nail polish. She’s going to like it, right? I mean who doesn’t like scarves? Candles? Cookies? My hope is that she will get this box full of goodies and feel comfortable enough with us to respond openly. I also wanted her to know that she is appreciated, and that God loves her and that we are praying for her.  That’s easy enough to convey, so I grabbed my box of blank cards and sat down to write: crap. I know what I want to say, but how am I going to say it? If I say too much, she’s going to think I’m crazy and over-eager, and if I say too little, she’s going to think I’m not committed and don’t care. After a quick prayer, 20 minutes of thought, and three drafts, I sent something that I think is a well-balanced care-a-lot-about-ya-but-not-in-a-creepy-way note to my NBFF.

Weird right? And SO awkward! Never in my life have any of my other BFF’s been so high maintenance…although, some of us DID go through some pretttttty awkward pre-teen phases (ahem Hayes) but look at the beautiful flower he turned out to be?!? We trust that God will follow through, and make this experience every bit as “worth it” as He has promised and these moments of insecurity and awkwardness will be nothing but a distant memory,  much like my hair before Frizz-Ease. Try not to be jealous.

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Pre-Frizz-Ease circ. 2003

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6