Where Do I Go From Here??

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 No comments
That has been the question I have been asking myself over the last few weeks. I was doing some pondering a few nights ago and the Lord reminded me how eventful my life has been over the last few years. In 2005 the Lord blessed me with my beautiful Noah, shortly after his birth I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and spent 10 months on a medication regimen that involved taking 25 pills a day to get my thyroid at a safe level to allow doctors to go in and surgically remove it. January 2006 I had my thyroid removed and Praise God everything went great!! In 2007 I got married (epic fail, but major life lesson none the less) in 2008 husband left, divorce process started, January 2009 divorce finalized AND started nursing school, July 2010 graduated nursing school, immediately started back to school that same month for the RN program and then God started really working on my heart and was slowly revealing to me it wasn't time to go back to school but it was time to start the adoption process! October 2010 signed on with Arise Adoption Agency for their Ethiopian program!! I spent New Year's Eve in the air, flying over the Atlantic to go meet my son for the first time!!! April of this year I went back to Ethiopia to bring him home forever!!! To think these are just the highlights!!
As I looked back over the last 7 years I could see where God was constantly going ahead of me and preparing the way for the next chapter he was writing in my life story. Isn't our God just amazing!! My mentor and I were just talking today about how we sometimes want the Lord to reveal His plans for our lives all at once, when really if he did that, could we handle what we saw? Probably not!! I know I couldn't. I mean seriously, had I known before Noah was born that we would both almost die at childbirth, that his father would hurt me in ways that no person should ever be hurt, that I would go through a failed marriage, lose both of my grandparents who I love dearly, watch my mom go through a horrible car accident that took her peripheral vision, fight through a year of being extremely sick with my Graves Disease, carry my dad through an addiction and his struggle to over come it and lose numerous friends because of my decision to adopt, had I known ALL that was going to happen I probably would have just crawled in a corner and cried BUT that is how AMAZING our Heavenly Father is ya'll!! He doesn't need to show us His plans, we don't need to know what is next! We just need to know that He has plans for us that are full of hope for our future, He takes everything and turns it into good for His glory, He loves us so much and He has already gone ahead of us and paved the way for the next chapter of our lives! All we have to do is trust in Him and be willing to say YES when he reveals the next step. That my friends is sometimes the hardest part of it all, being willing to say YES!
I knew from a young age I wanted to adopt. Of course I always pictured myself married when I would adopt. So when God began to reveal to me that it was time for me to start the process, I can't lie I said No. Ha! Me, little ole me, I said NO to God!! Seriously, what was I thinking. I was questioning the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty God who knows the number of hairs on our heads, if He knew what He was asking of me? I mean really, didn't He know I was a single mom? I had just graduated nursing school and I didn't even have a nursing job yet and He wanted me to start the process to adopt a child, a journey that would involve me FLYING to AFRICA not once but twice and let me just tell you if you are a new reader, I had NEVER flown before traveling to Africa in January and I am TERRIFIED of flying!! So yes, for a couple of weeks I questioned God and what he was expecting me to do, but in His awesome way as always he used my sweet little Noah to remind me numerous times that when we are called to do something, we put aside our feelings or fears and follow the Lord wherever he leads.
That is where I find myself now. Only this time I don't know where the Lord is leading me, yet? What I do know, is He is up to something :-) I feel it! I am excited about the next chapter the Lord is writing for me and anxious to see what it will look like. I have shared my feelings with my mom, sister, mentor and OOSBFF (out of state BFF, Ha!!). All of whom have committed to join me in praying that the Lord would make clear the next step he is asking of me. When I came home from Ethiopia in January I was blown away with the feelings I had for a country that I had only spent 7 days in and when I came home in April I was again blown away with even more feelings, not only for the beautiful country but for my desire to never go back to where I was before my first trip. I have friends who have been home for a few years with their children who have told me they wished they hadn't gotten so wrapped up in "America life" once they got home and that is something I constantly think about. I never want to go back to where I used to be. I always want to remember the JOY I felt in Ethiopia, the JOY I saw on the many faces of those precious children and the PEACE I felt while I was there. I don't want my journey to end just because I brought Isaiah home. Changing the world for one is not enough. Where would we be if the precious blood of our Savior only changed the world for one and not ALL?
“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
Mother Teresa
Okay so let me just say if this post came off as vague, I promise that is not my intention. While I openly share my life on the Internet through my blog, there are some things that I feel the need to keep private until the Lord reveals to me the answer to continued prayer. I just ask that if you think about it, please join me in praying for the next step for my sweet little family. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Some who I know and see often and those who I don't see at all, some I have never even met in person but who I have become sweet friends with through  my blog and now Facebook :-)

"Stay"cation 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012 2 comments
I have never experienced a "stay"cation :-) but these past 10 days I have and boy oh boy has it been fun!! Honestly, after traveling to Africa twice this year, starting a new job and spending every free minute with doctor appointments, post adoption stuff, finding our new routine and trying to get involved in our new church, these last 10 days were exactly what I needed!! 10 beautiful days spent soaking up my boys and just spending time with them!! Noah is always asking me if I have to work the next day. He dreams of mommy being able to stay home with him all the time and trust me I dream/pray the same thing everyday! So on the first day of my vacation he came in the kitchen while I was cooking breakfast and ten times he asked me "Mommy do you have to work tomorrow? What about the next day, the next day, the next day, the next day" and well you get the point :-) He had such a big smile on his face and was so excited to have Mommy home!! Enjoy the pictures from my phone of our time together!!

Isaiah ran out of hands while playing, so he decided his mouth would work perfectly for holding his toy, Ha! I loved being home playing with my boys!
 We took a trip to our favorite place, Chick-Fil-A where Isaiah got to eat a kids meal for the first time! He loved it and thought he was big stuff getting to feed himself :-) We did discover he does NOT like the cow that comes out to say hi to all the kiddos!! He screamed his head off when the cow got within 10 feet of him, lol What can I say he didn't see things like that in Ethiopia :-)
 I just love that boy so much! He is my little mini me and I thank God everyday for my boys. Noah keeps me laughing with his sweet and funny personality. The Lord has big things in store for him and I am excited to watch how God uses him in the future
 Here is Isaiah testing out his new play area for the main floor of the house. The steps that lead to the basement do not have a door in front of them, so to set my mind at ease I chose to go with one of these for safety purposes. It is a blessing for when I am cooking. He loves the fact he can walk around in there :-) Am I the only one that thinks of that older cartoon The Rugrats when I see this picture, lol
 We painted and redecorated Noah's room last week. Any guesses on the theme, lol I will post pictures as soon as I receive two things I ordered from etsy :-) 
 We spent one day riding go carts and playing miniature golf. Noah had a BLAST getting to be behind the wheel of his very own miniature go cart! He and I also rode the big go cart together. I drove of course, lol it was a lot of fun, but boy were my arms sore the next day!
 My sweet boy loves to play miniature golf!! He almost got a couple of holes in one. Maybe next time :-)
 The big day was spent at Holiday World!! It was so much fun!! I left Isaiah for the first time with a friend of mine. I knew Noah could use a day of just he and I, and I also knew it wouldn't really be fair to Isaiah to just sit in a stroller all day. He did really well for being left 12 hours and Noah LOVED having me all to himself. He adores his little brother but I knew he would enjoy some time just he and I.
 Here we are waiting in line for the bumper cars. Let's just say I need a visit to a chiropractor after that ride, lol We were both wet from a water ride we had ridden over and over again, lol
 A certain little boy decided to get two more teeth!! He now has two on the bottom and two on top!! We are officially done with baby food!! I still puree some stuff, but for the most part he is on all table food!!
 My two little pudding faces at lunch after church :-) So blessed to be their mommy!!
 Though I thought I had dodged it, we have entered into the Webkinz world, lol Noah is the proud owner of a Webkinz puppy named Zack :-) At least I don't have to potty train him!
 We did lots of sleeping in!! Oh how I loved it, lol Isaiah loves his little taggy :-) Loved seeing his sweet little chubby hand holding onto it when I went to check on him one night
 Noah was excited to see that a picture I took of he and my dad a couple of years ago while my dad was in the hospital is now hanging on the wall of the hospital!! My little celebrity!
 Did I mention we did lots of playing, lol and Isaiah spent some time getting stuck, lol once in his toy box and then once in his little ball pit, Ha!! That sweet boy cracks me up!!
 My Lego boy!! He loves to build towers, trucks and whatever else his imagination leads him to build. He can't wait to go to Disney next year and see the big Lego store there!!
 What is a staycation without making a stop at the local ice cream shop for 30 cent scoop day!! Isaiah was eager to tell me he was 1 and then wanted ice cream as a reward, lol
I have one more day of vacation before our normal routine starts back of me going back to work and Noah starts back to school. I am so thankful the Lord allowed me these last 10 days to relax and just enjoy time with my boys and my family. It has been the best "stay"cation ever!!

Isaiah's 1st Haircut

So it is no secret to those who know me I brought Isaiah home not really sure how to take care of his hair. I didn't know what products to use, how many times a week to wash his hair or even when to get him his first hair cut? Luckily we have a barber shop down the road from our house that is geared more toward African American hair and I had actually taken Noah there a few times prior to bringing Isaiah home, so I could get a feel for the guys there and to see if I liked it. I absolutely LOVE Isaiah's curls and wanted to make sure whoever ended up cutting his hair would do it right, Ha! Yes I am that crazy momma when it comes to my kiddo's hair.

When Isaiah came home I spent like what felt like an hour in the hair product aisle at Target one day searching for the right shampoo, conditioner, leave in conditioner and comb :-) After a few failed purchases, I actually got really lucky and found a great product line called Shea Moisture and I LOVE it!! It works great with his curls, smells really good and it's organic, which is just an added bonus. The line has a moisturizer, body wash, shampoo and lotion!! I even use the shampoo,body wash and lotion on Noah. You can find it all at Target in the baby section if you're interested.

When I had asked the barber when I should get Isaiah's hair cut the guy was really firm and told me not before he was 2!! This was news to me seeing as Noah had to get his first hair cut when he was 8 months old to get rid of his little Billy Ray Cyrus mullet :-) I was fine at first to wait, but then as the weeks went by Isaiah's hair on the top started to look like a bad replica of something you would see on the top of Donald Trump's head, lol His curls on the top were just so long that no amount of product was keeping them under control and I could seriously put his hair in a ponytail on the top, but the sides and back were not even close to being as long, so I knew he needed a cut to trim the top and even everything out. So off to the barber shop we went one Saturday afternoon. I took my oldest nephew with me, hoping Isaiah wouldn't freak as bad, seeing as he still currently has a very strong dislike for most men!! He loves Donovan, my nephew so I figured I would be good having both he and Noah with me to entertain him. Let's just say I was wrong and our first trip to the barber was an epic fail! I felt so bad for the guys in that building, lol my sweet boy has a set of lungs on him that can travel for miles and from the moment they put the little make shift cape on him (a towel with a hole ripped in it for his head, lol) he screamed and cried. Of course I was the mom who took pictures while he screamed :-)

I loved how it turned out and now that it is all even it looks great and I can even get away with letting his hair go all natural sometimes without putting any product in it, lol He was just happy to be home and away from the barber shop! Hopefully we won't have to go back for a while and when we do he will do a little better :-)

Welcome To America

Saturday, August 18, 2012 2 comments
I don't know about others, but here where we live we call the surgery for little boys who are adopted and need to be circumcised their "Welcome To America" surgery. I had gone back and forth as to when to schedule Isaiah for his, but after talking to my friend who brought her son home when he was 16 months old and waited until he was almost 2 to have his done, and hearing how it caused him some discomfort when he tried to walk, I decided to go ahead and schedule it as soon as I could, before he starting walking. I'm thankful that my insurance covered it 100% which for anyone who has adopted, you know getting things covered by insurance is sometimes close to impossible, so you can imagine the joy in my face when I found out they covered it completely!!

There is only one doctor in our area that does this type of surgery on pediatrics, so I was thankful that we were able to get in as quickly as we did. Having talked to friends who had gone through the surgery with their kiddos I wasn't too anxious about the surgery itself, I was more anxious about how Isaiah was going to act with the fact that he couldn't have anything besides clear liquids leading up to his surgery, and as I have mentioned before he came home with a little issue regarding food. His surgery wasn't scheduled until 2:00pm, yes I know crazy!!! Thankfully he woke up in a very good mood and was satisfied with his bottle of clear liquids, lol Of course having big brother entertaining him all morning helped a great deal :-) As you can see below he is a huge fan of his big brother!!

God love him, this was his face when we pulled into the parking lot at the hospital!! He was close to losing it, lol and the sad thing is I was in the front seat sneaking a subway sandwich, trying not to make too much noise with the wrapper, Ha!

How cute is this?? When we got to the surgery floor there was a flat screen TV on the wall welcoming the patients who were there for surgery that day.

This was the sweetest thing ever! I looked over in the waiting room where Noah and my nephew were, to see the two of them sitting there, holding hands while Noah prayed for Isaiah's surgery. I love my sweet boy's heart and I especially love how through the Lord's guidance and Grace I have taught Noah that in all times, we should go to the Lord in prayer, especially times of worry or fear. Thank you Lord for helping me in raising my boys with hearts for you!! May they both always seek You in everything they do!!

I forgot to mention when we got to the surgery floor at 1:30pm we were told his surgery had been pushed back 2.5 hours!! Yeah, you should have seen my face!! They offered to let me reschedule it but I didn't see the point seeing as my little guy had already gone most of the day without food, what was 2.5 more hours? With his surgery being pushed out, it gave me 30 minutes to let him drink some watered down apple juice. He couldn't have anything at all 2 hours prior to his surgery, so we had to be quick in giving him some juice in hopes it would hold him over and keep him happy. I have never seen him drink a bottle so fast!!
Thankfully big brother was more then happy to drive Isaiah around the waiting room in one of the little cars the hospital has on hand for the kiddos.

Here we are sitting in the room, waiting for them to come get him. He had already had his "happy juice" and was pretty happy, lol The nurse had told me that with children his age they usually don't give them happy juice, they just take them from the parent and go. I nicely told her that was not acceptable seeing as my son had only been home a little over 2 months at the time of his surgery and I wasn't going to allow them to just take him from me and walk away. I'm glad I stood my ground, because my sweet boy was so out of it by the time they were ready to take him, that he probably would have gone with anybody, Ha!!

Immediately after surgery, they gave him one of the little 2 ounce bottles of sugar water and believe it or not he downed 5 of them in about 7 minutes!! The poor nurse had to literally push another bottle nipple in his mouth before trying to get the empty one out! He was so thirsty/hungry!! He wasn't completely awake, but awake enough to know when the bottle was gone!!

Only adults were supposed to be allowed back in recovery, but Noah was so worried about his little brother and insisting that he needed to be back there with him, that the sweet nurse allowed him back. My mom brought him back there and he was so pitiful. He got up as close as he could and and just stared at him.

He was talking to him and then leaned down to kiss him, so he would know he was there. I am so thankful everyday for the bond these two share.

I realize that is probably way more then ya'll wanted to know about my little guy's Welcome To America surgery, lol but please understand I use this blog to journal everything :-) All in all the entire process went great. I was scared there was going to be stitches, and to my surprise there wasn't. Just some surgical glue, that fell off just like an umbilical cord. His post op visit with the doctor went great and he was very impressed with how well everything went/looked. I am so happy I went ahead and just did and got it done with. Now we move onto the next big thing on my list, legally changing his name!

The Truth

Friday, August 17, 2012 3 comments
The truth is, that the truth sometimes sucks. Simply as that. Over the last 4 months the truth about some things have been smacked in my face and that friends has been hard. My friend said it best the other day when we were talking, while our kiddos played outside and we enjoyed the rare and precious 10 minutes of uninterrupted adult conversation :-) she told me bringing your adopted child home is just like giving birth, you sometimes deal with post adoption depression and believe it or not she was right!!

During the adoption process I sadly lost a few friends who for one reason or another did not agree with my adopting a child and so those friends chose to let go of our friendship and while that hurt, I knew God had placed them in my life for a season, and that season was now over. From my adoption journey I have met some wonderful people and have built some beautiful friendships with beautiful ladies, one whom I consider my very best friend and love dearly. She went with me to Ethiopia for my first trip and I will always be so thankful she took that journey with me, because I don't know what I would have done without her helping me and guiding me through the airports, baggage claim, security and let's not even talk about everything she helped me with once we got to Ethiopia. She is such a blessing to me and my children!! My boys just love her and her sweet kiddos. I have hopes that Isaiah will grow up to marry her daughter, Ha! That would just be perfect!

I never thought when I brought Isaiah home things would change so much, but it would be a lie if I said they didn't. Friends who I thought would be there supporting me were not. It was almost as if once we got home, everyone just moved on, making it known their "concern and support" leading up to Isaiah coming home were fake, and that hurt. My sister has always told me I care too much about what other people think of me, and I guess she is right, because knowing that those "friends" who acted like they cared during the adoption process were now making it known by their actions that they could care less, truly hurt me on a level that I am really getting tired of visiting! Don't get me wrong I have an amazing support system in my mom and sister and the few true friends I have that continue to support me and love on me and my boys through their prayers, text messages, play dates and phone calls, but it is just a different kind of hurt when it comes from people who acted like they cared for so many months and then as quick as turning off a light switch they are gone. Leaving even my 7 year old son asking me just the other day why we don't see Mrs.________ anymore or Mrs_________

Don't get me wrong, I know that people get busy with life. Trust me I know that all too well with working full time, caring for my two boys, being involved in church and trying to make time for myself and make myself a priority, which is something I continue to work on because I have always put myself last, and for once in my life I am trying to change that. I get "busy" but there really are no excuses when you see certain things, and it just makes you wonder?? Or when you get a decline for the 3rd and 4th time from the same person, and finally just tell yourself to give up and take the hint.

I have honestly questioned posting this blog post, but what lead me to do it was a few things. 1) this is my blog, my personal journal that I am using to document everything, not just the pretty stuff and 2) to tell those of you who are currently engaged in a support type group for someone who is going through an adoption, be true to them. Don't just hang around until their child gets home and then drop off. That person is going to need you. They are going to need to know that you are still praying for them, like you did during the process, they are going to need to talk and vent, because coming home with a child is not all beautiful, no matter what the age of the child, there is going to be rough times that they will need to vent or cry on your shoulder. Be there for them. 3)The whole "take a meal when a baby is born" that can apply to adoption. If you choose not to apply it to a family who has just brought a child home through the blessing of adoption, that is totally fine, but do the new parent a favor and don't send out e-mails within weeks of them coming home announcing the news of a birth and request that person sign up to take a meal to that family. Understand that most likely it will be taken as a smack in the face.

To those of you who are going to read this and think bad of me for having these feelings, that is totally fine. To each their own. It has been a long 4 months of dealing with some raw emotions and honestly it has taken me this long to accept certain things, to come to the understanding that in the end, as much as I love my friends and enjoy having a "social circle" this season of life I am currently in doesn't seem to involve a lot of "friends" Looking back on it, I can say I am thankful for this time the Lord has used to work on me and work on my heart. Changing my desires to His desires for me. It hasn't been easy, but He continues to show me Grace and allow me time with my sweet friend who I mentioned above who has ministered to my heart a lot over the last few weeks. God has had me at a place where I have had to learn to totally rely on Him for everything, which I think can sometimes be forgotten when you have friends there helping. I know that is part of the good that has come from this hurt.

So yes, my sweet friend was right. Bringing home an adopted child is a lot like bringing home a baby from the hospital. The "baby blues" are possible with an adoption as well. When you are thrown into dealing with every emotion under the sun with your child, going without sleep, not getting those beautiful 6 weeks off but only having 7 days to adjust, get settled and try to find a routine before going back to work all while trying to make sure your oldest son never feels neglected, it can all lead up to a little emotional break down. I am just so thankful that the Lord was right there with me, wiping away my tears with his Words through scripture and using my sweet friends to remind me that while people will hurt you, you can't let their actions define you, but you can allow those actions to teach you another one of life's lessons and move on.

I don't know where I'm going next? In fact that has been something I have been praying a lot about lately. Of course that deserves a post all by itself, lol What I do know, is the Lord has provided me with just the right people to walk this journey called life with and I choose to continue to rely on Him and Him alone. He is the same yesterday, today and the days to come. He will never leave me, and will never leave you.