Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How The Journey To Jacob Began..Because I want to remember

We left our home on Friday October 31st around 10am after a whirlwind of a week.  We found out Tuesday morning first thing that the US Embassy had agreed on our appointment time and we needed to leave the upcoming Friday..so we had roughly four days to get all packed (for three people) and get our tickets, logistics and all the necessary arranemgnements done that you need to do when you leave the country.

I remember moments of that week feeling completely overwhelmed, wondering how we would ever get everything done.  Justin had a big youth event the Thursday night before we left that took up a lot of this time, so I needed to step it up and get all the things together. 

Let me tell you, packing for your son whom you've never met and still aren't sure of his size was not an easy task.  Also, packing when you're almost 30 weeks pregnant and nothing quite fits right isn't easy either. 

We used the nursery for our catch all spot, and so many friends stepped up and ran to the store for me for random last minute things I forgot to grab.  The piles grew and grew and I wondered how we would ever fit everyting in the 4 bags we were hoping to bring.  

We didn't fit everything. haha.  We decided to suck it up and just pay for another bag.  The funny thing was, on the way home we knew we'd each be allowed to check two bags with no fees, but on the way there, we were only allowed one bag each, but we returning as a family of 3, so you see the dilemma. 

In the midst of the craziness, some sweet friends dropped everything they were doing to take some time out of their busy schedules and pray over us and our trip.  It was so needed. We just took a break from the craziness that had filled our lives over the last few days and spent time together.  I remember leaving feeling at peace, and also anxious realizing that the next time we would see many of these people would be when we stepped foot back on American soil as a forever family.

We rode back home with a sparkler celebrating the end of the season of this wait in our lives...

We got everything packed and prayed the night before for a good nights sleep because we knew we had a few long travel days ahead, so off we drifted..the last night in our house without our little boy under the same roof.  Anxiety and excitement set in...the day was finally here...

So. Much. Paperwork. It was neatly packed, with multiple copies made and back-ups on flash drives. 

The Sacramento airport, I remember posting this picture with the title "See you in 10 days Sacramento!" 

Little did we know we would spend over three weeks in country when we were told to plan for a maximum of ten days.  We've been reflecting as a family a lot the last few weeks on that time in West Africa.  A time where our faith was tested beyond what we ever could imagine. 

That time in country was a sweet time, a time that we will always remember.  A time where we took many walks around the compound, met and said goodbye to missionaries that were forced to leave due to Ebola.  A time where we got a taste of missionary life and have a whole new respect for those who live it daily.  

It was a time where we lived on opposite time zones and treats of FaceTime before bed were one of the best times of our day.  We learned to cheer when the city power turned on, enjoy cold showers, get creative with washing laundry and fire our bread ;) 

And then we booked tickets back, against the advice of the embassy because no one really knew if the visa would get here when everyone thought it would (because West Africa.. ;) ) But we booked them and prayed, and watched that DHL tracking like no ones business. And then the day that we were supposed to leave at 6pm, we saw that the Visa had been delivered to the embassy..at noon! 

We picked it up on the way to the airport.  I remember watching out the window as we drove to the airport, trying to take mental pictures so one day we can tell Jacob about his birth country.  I remember trying to take in it all, the smells the sounds, the people, the way the warm humid breeze blew on my face as the window was rolled down.  

It was bittersweet as we said goodbye to what had been our home for over three weeks and Jacobs home for over 4 years. 

We bored the plane after our Ebola checks! ;) because one can't forget about all that.  And started the journey home, with Jacob. 

After over 30 hours of travel. We were home, and we took that coveted picture that all families dream of when they start their adoption process, the picture coming home as a family.

Jacob is home. 

And we were greeted by our village on that cold November night. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Year, for her.

Today is National Birth mothers Day.  I did not know it even existed until a few years ago when we started our adoption journey and I knew one day, we would celebrate a birth mother.  I did not realize how often I would think of her.  

When I found out last year I was pregnant with Charlotte, I thought about her even more. How did she learn she was pregnant? I knew she most likely did not have an ultrasound with a due date, and she probably did not get pictures of her tiny bean to hang on her fridge.  When I found out I was pregnant, I was nervous, excited, scared-was she too? Did she have morning sickened (or as I liked to call it ALL day sickness?) What about cravings, did she have them? Probably not like mine (taco bell burritos thankyouverymuch). 

Those first flutter kicks, did they bring excitement or fear of what was to come? As her belly grew, did she need to hide it? No one threw her a baby shower. 

When the time came for him to be born, was she scared? Was anyone with her to hold her hand through the pain? She most likely did not deliver in a hospital, but where did she? How many days did she labor? Did he come early? Late? Right on time? 

I wonder if she knows where he is now, does she know he's safe? Does she know how loved he is? 

I will probably never meet her, but there I things I just know to be true.  I'm sure she loves to dance, how could she not?! Look how much Jacob loves to dance! I know she is strong, I can just tell. I am sure she is beautiful, inside and out. I know she is brave.  

This year, on birth mothers day, I am thankful for her.  For her strength.  I hope she knows in her heart how much we love the little boy she carried in her tummy. I pray she knows how much joy he brings us, and how silly he is.  I hope she knows, he is going to do bigs things.

So today for her, we'll play a little longer, we'll be silly and eat doughnuts for breakfast and have a picnic in the living room for lunch and we'll race "motos" outside.  And I'll think of her and smile and laugh for both of us. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Using My Voice

Last August, I sat in a living room full of women, some I knew and some I had never met.  Some that had heard the Noonday story before and some who were there to hear it for the first time.  It was the night of Noonday Collection's first ever National Trunk Show. Women from around the United States (over 3500) were joining hands together one this one special night to hear about the #Styleforjustice trip that had taken place earlier in the summer.  If you aren't familiar with #Styleforjustice, last summer Noonday Collection partnered with International Justice Mission and traveled to Rwanda with a group of storytellers to hear stories of women who's lives had been changed because they had overcome injustice.  If you are not familiar with International Justice Mission (IJM) I encourage you to check them out and read more about the work that they do.

This night was even more special to me because two years ago I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda and meet these precious artisans, and I remember standing before them and telling them how honored I was to share their stories back home in the states.  Seeing how far they'd come since I'd been there brought tears to my eyes. I saw sweet Charlotte who we traveled to the market with to look at fabric (she may or may not have had influence in the choice of our daughters name ;) )

Since coming home with Jacob, I've struggled to find my voice again, navigating though this new world of parenting (to an almost 5 year old at that!) can be tricky, and now welcoming our Charlotte any day now, it can be so easy for me to feel sorry for myself, that my life looks different and that I can't do the "big" things that I once did, but the thing is I can and I will.  Just because I'm entering a new season doesn't mean that I can't use my voice for big things and doesn't mean that I can't make a global impact right here in Fairfield.  Because I can. God gave me a voice and a passion, and while it might look different now than it did over the past few years, I believe it's my job to teach my children about the realities of our world and the opportunities we have to use our voices for those who can't speak up for themselves.  

Noonday Collection is one way that I am using my voice and will continue to use my voice.  To speak up for the men and women around the world who haven't seen justice served.  For the widows, for the orphans for women who is HIV positive and doesn't have access to medical care, for the family that doesn't have clean water.  This is why I will continue to use my voice. 

Today, Noonday officially launched their Style For Justice collection and I am pumped! Back in August we voted to see which pieces we wanted to be created and now they are ready to be purchased! This is the perfect way to use your voice right where you're at and share the powerful stories of these women. The number of pieces that were made are limited, so be sure to shop quick! Which one will you choose, and how will you use your voice?