Category Archives: Adoption

a march i would attend.

I have been silent about politics for the most part throughout this last year, but in the last few weeks as the biggest issue in my heart as been highlighted- I thought- I would humbly throw caution to the wind and share a few words.

Last week I watched as so many women gathered together to march for some amazing things…but it was all tainted by the sad news that pro-lifers were not welcome.  For me, that ruined the entire gathering in my heart…as I’ve heard so many declaring inclusion and love and equal rights- yet simultaneously alienating a group who is literally fighting for LIFE.

I have been praying for the ending of abortion since my teenage years but seven years ago, when we were matched with our oldest son’s birth mom and I read her adoption application I was hit with the truest reality…she had considered abortion.  When I look at my beautiful sweet son Josiah, tears immediately form every time I realize how easily he could have never been given a chance to live his full life.  Even as I write this, my gut feels sick as I think about all the children we’ve lost in this country.

Before we adopted, I remember flippantly talking about the alternative of abortion…as if ‘just put your baby up for adoption’ was as easy as giving away unwanted clothing.  But I was so so so wrong.  I still have no idea the depths of how gut wrenching it was/is for our children’s birth moms, but I got to watch the heart breaking process up close and it is truly awful and beautiful at the same time.  My belief is that it takes the strongest of women to choose life for their baby and give them up- birth moms are my heroes.  They are the women who found themselves in an impossible situation but chose to put their unborn child first- the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate choice.

In no way do I desire my words to shame women who have chosen abortion, because I am not your judge and I have no idea what you’ve been through.  But, as I sit here in my kitchen and listen to the sounds of my three crazy wonderful children playing together, I can’t help but wonder how different my family would be had their mothers made a different choice.  I have never been more grateful to anyone than my children’s first mothers.

So that’s why I’d march today- at the March for Life, every day, if I could.  We have a long way to go before our country’s potential is realized…but this is a place where change can happen so tangibly.  Supporting life could be such a simple ideal- you’re alive right now because a woman brought you into this world…each life is a gift.  Find a single mom who chose to raise her kids and help her!!  Give to a family who is preparing for adoption!!  Help a family who is fostering children in their home!!  Support agencies who support pregnant mothers!!

I could go on and on because there’s never enough words to convey my heart on this issue, but instead I will leave you with three pictures.

this is what pro-life looks like to me.

Josiah.  Regan.  Maya.

josregsmaya

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not done yet.

There are some nights where i’m literally stopped in my tracks…headed to bed usually, when I get the urge to write.  Sometimes I say no, but some special moments I choose to forgo sleep and sit down in front of my computer.  I rarely waste a moment before opening the site I blog on…and never have to spend a second wondering what to write about.

It just comes.

I have an overwhelming feeling of excitement for our next kiddo.  This is a bit odd considering we just moved across the country and just this morning I got our second son’s school squared away.  I am on the eve of sending both boys back to school and it’s been almost a month and a half since I last dropped them both off to a classroom.  To say I’m relieved is an understatement…for all of us I believe.  The boys love school and I love that they get to go.  But it hit me tonight- what everyone always told me- the little years are special and they are few.

I get to be a mom.  I want to be the best one I can be.  I want to do this job better than I will ever do any job in the whole world…always growing, learning, adapting, stretching.  This move has created space in my mind to realize that I don’t have to do the same routines that I’ve always done.  I can make up new ways to get the same ol’ stuff done…and maybe I will even come to love homework time?!  I’m looking at miracles people.

But what really hit me tonight is that we’re not done.  We’ve known that all along, but as each passing year goes by sometimes I wonder about the when.  Yet I feel so confident that God will share that detail as I just keep following His beauty, His ways, His delight.  And I feel a joy rising in me for the next Farrell…however, whenever.  It’s gonna be good.

And no, in case you’re wondering- we have nothing brewing, no secret adoption match- we haven’t even done a california home study, so seriously- this is simply about my heart.  My goal this year was (is) simply to say yes and I’ve loved how it’s opened my mind up to endless possibilities already.

Yes incubates hope.

We need hope…in every single area of our lives. It breathes life into this journey we have the privilege to live.  I am so grateful that this year, 2017, I get to see everything in a whole new light simply because we said yes to a seemingly crazy idea that landed us on the opposite coast of our country…and right into everything Jesus has planned next.

It’s a beautiful life and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

 

five years ago…

Adoption has been on my mind a lot lately…and no, we aren’t gearing up quite yet for number four.  I just keep seeing families with babies or dreams of babies and it makes my heart leap.  Birth in any circumstance in such a beautiful phenomenon and I’m in awe each time I see a new face brought into this world.

My oldest son is turning five in a month and it is knocking the wind out of me.  I remember like it was yesterday getting the call that we had been chosen by his birth mom… feeling a combination of freak out, total peace, and pure joy.  They told me he was due in a month, but not even one week after the first phone call she went into labor and our sweet Josiah was born.

We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl until 6 hours after he arrived.  We drove all night from Kansas City to Jacksonville, Fl on pure adrenaline…I literally drove 15 hours straight.  We were going to be parents.  A precious woman was deciding her son’s path as we drove those 22 hours full of hope and anxiety.  I still cannot believe she chose us.

Etched in my memory is the phone call we received around 7am, while still on the road.  “It’s a boy!  He’s here!”  She asked if we had a name, and we gave the one that God had spoken into Bart’s ear three years before…Josiah would be our first born son.  We tore open a Bible and started reading all the parts about Josiah as we barreled down the highway, trying desperately not to speed.  Tears of joy fell down my face, over and over, as I let myself imagine for the first time, what it would be like to have a son.

Little did I know what an incredible little boy we were given.  I could not have asked for a more precious and beautiful soul to care for as I began my journey of motherhood.  Even though I’d worked with kids forever, it was rough out of the starting gate.  I stumbled and fell and cried selfish woes…but my son smiled through it all.

I love to love my son.  He is one of a kind.*

*saving the rest of my gushing for his birthday post next month.

speechless

As I sit in the dark by the light of one lone candle flame, I am overwhelmed.  God’s vehicle into my heart tonight was a book that I bought many months ago, written by a dear woman I got to know briefly in Kansas City.  I knew bits and pieces of her journey and thus had deemed the book one-i-will-read-when-i-am-ready…and tonight for some reason, I heard a whisper.  He said read it now.

Two hours passed and a steady stream of beautiful tears came along…it was as if God himself was sitting with me, urging me to keep going, to remember and believe who He truly is and how much He loves abundantly.  I’m not sure why I’m writing at the moment, because He has left me speechless.

I feel so loved.  

It’s powerful to read another’s testimony of how they’ve walked through valleys and mountains with Jesus…it led me straight to His feet…in awe of who He is and how He loves.

I want to live my life with this feeling.  The feeling of being loved no matter what, by the God of the universe…my heavenly Father, my faithful friend, my constant cheerleader.  This is the gift He promised- His everlasting Love.  I know feelings can be fleeting at times, but some feelings are meant to root into our soul and plant.  I could not follow Jesus with my whole heart without feeling Him, and I don’t think He wants me to blindly follow either.  He cares about my frame, about my will, my emotions, my dreams, my quirks, my fears…He knows it all and STILL HE LOVES ME LIKE THIS.

He knows my name.

He is writing my story and cares about each day that I wake up to.  What a gift to behold… His love.  Thank you Sara for sharing His beauty so tangibly, and thank you Jesus, for everything.

 

*Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty*

maya’s birth story

To be fair, I need to document Maya’s birth story here on my blog.  Plus then all I have to do is copy and paste when it comes time to make her baby book…which I haven’t even started.  Eek.

My little girl’s entrance into this world is burned into my memory so deeply that I know it does not matter that I’m writing this down a year later.  I actually saw her be born.  With our boys, we met them the day they were born- one 7 hours later and one 4 hours after but our baby girl…I was there when she cried that first tiny cry.

To be honest, I wasn’t all that sure I wanted to witness the birth of my daughter.  It might sound horribly wrong to anyone who hasn’t been through a failed adoption, but in my mind she isn’t ours until her birth mom signs the papers and makes it official.  Nothing is certain in those hours and it’s very very difficult to not get too attached and hopeful.  So, when Maya’s birth mom requested my presence I kind of sloughed it off, as the boy’s birth mom had also asked that I be there and it didn’t work out; I thought the same would happen.  Except for the fact that she was induced…and there was a specific time…and we were driving down…and would be able to arrive before she was born.

Literally it came down to that that Monday morning, November 11th because we were on the road driving the rest of the way to Jacksonville.  We had stopped to spend the night about 6 hours away, and we knew *Mel (that’ll be our name for Maya’s precious birth mom for the rest of the story) was being induced at 8am but had figured we had plenty of time and I really had no idea what the heck I would do sitting in a birthing room all day waiting for a baby that may or may not be mine to be born.  It’s hard enough after the baby is out to wait the required 48 hours until a birth mom signs her rights away…so I wasn’t breaking any speed limits.

But as God would have it, we arrived in Jacksonville around 2pm and headed straight for the hospital with the whole family.  I jumped out at the entrance and Bart took the boys to grab food.  I remember feeling eerily excited and nervous and a little nauseas.  As a nurse ushered me into the hospital room, I immediately headed over to Mel and gave her a hug, asked how she was doing…totally unsure of what else I should do or say.  I’d met her once before, when we had dinner and met each other a few months earlier, but that’s it.  And now I’m standing next to her and she labors pretty intensely.  Literally about ten minutes after I showed up, nurses started wheeling in all sorts of equipment and an empty bassinet and things just came alive.  Two social workers and I stood nearby trying not to get in the way while still giving Mel support until the dr showed up and Mel began to push.   Originally I was standing by her head, praising her to keep going…or whatever the heck I said, I have no idea… but then it was only about 6 pushes and the dr ensured the baby was almost here- so one of the social workers grabbed my arm, exclaiming that I just had to watch my daughter be born!  Mortified, a little curious, and seriously excited I watched as her head emerged and she just shot out.  Insane!  The dr held her up to show her off and yelled “where’s your camera?” so of course, we all scrambled to grab our devices for a quick picture.  Then he held scissors and looking at us, asked who was cutting the cord.  I did not think for one moment it would be me…I mean, what if I messed up?  But they pushed me towards him and I found myself grabbing the scissors and thankfully cutting in a very clearly marked area of the cord.  Then the baby was whisked away to the flurry of nurses waiting nearby and I was so torn.  I wanted to comfort Mel and congratulate her, which I did…but my heart was also so drawn to the precious slimy (I mean, come on- gotta be truthful) little girl who was just born.

My heart felt like it was in my throat as I stared at her through all the hands moving around her.  I watched as they weighed and recorded all the little details.  She was moved into this little warming bed and checked out completely and I just watched in amazement that I got to be right next to her the entire time.  The best part was when a nurse asked who the “second” bracelet was for…normally it’s for the dad and I’ve actually never gotten the bracelet privilege- which means one can see the baby without her mom present.  With both our boy’s births, we got to see them in the hospital, but never with this much freedom.  I almost cried when one of the nurses asked if I wanted to go with her when she brought Maya into the nursery to give her a bath.  Incredulously, I followed, feeling like it was a dream.  At this point, I tried so desperately to trust God that He would hold my heart if this wasn’t going to be our daughter, because I was bonded.  From that first moment she grabbed my finger, minutes after she was born…I never wanted to let her go.  I prayed and hoped that this was my Maya Joy…the one we had prayed for so much.

It was so fun to be a part of all the little stuff.  About an hour after the birth, Bart brought the boys up to our floor and a nurse kindly found us a small “storage” room for privacy so they could meet her.  Bart held her and the boys looked at her in awe.  It was all very surreal.  That lasted about ten minutes and then we crossed over to Mel’s room and she got to meet Bart and our boys.  It was special to be all together, with our lawyer (who we LOVE) and I remember feeling such peace as Mel fed Maya her first bottle and then handed her off to me so she could  rest.  What could have felt so odd and awkward felt strangely normal.

After awhile it was time to say goodbye.  We headed to our hotel room without a tiny baby but filled with much hope and anticipation.  Much to our surprise and delight, Mel was ready to be discharged the next day, which meant that we didn’t have to wait the customary 48 hours for the rights hearing.  Thankfully we had a family friend who was able to babysit the boys while we sat anxiously in the hospital waiting room while Mel signed all the papers and surrendered her parental rights…and even though it felt slightly more definite this time around, it was still hard to fully believe we would leave the hospital with a daughter.

But Praise God- she became ours on November 12th, 2013!!!  Of course, finalization didn’t happen until many months later, but in our hearts it was a done deal.  Maya was required to stay one more night in the hospital, so we spent a good amount of time cuddling her and taking lots of pictures and then headed out to grocery shop and get ready for the next two weeks of hotel living.  The next day we met our social worker back at the hospital and changed Maya into her going home outfit…and then waited a lot longer than we should have because of a shift change- but it didn’t matter- she was ours!!!!!

I still can’t forget the drive back to our hotel- with our THREE?!!? children in the backseats.  It felt like so recently we had brought Josiah home from the hospital, and Regan too…and now, our first daughter- what an incredible feeling, an amazing reality.

I do however forget a lot of our hotel living…which I think is part of God’s divine plan in getting me back down to Florida each time for another adoption.  It’s a miracle how living in a hotel room with 2 toddlers and a newborn can seem like no big deal a year later.  In the midst of it, there were loooooooong days and looooooong nights.  But the gift of Maya Joy was worth ten times that torture.

So, I finally finished this on the eve of your first birthday Mymy.  I love you to pieces my daughter.

thankful to be home.

It may be 5am and I cannot get back to sleep after a feeding but I am thankful.  We are home.  It is a thanksgiving miracle.  There was a definitely a huge possibility we would have spent the holiday in a hotel…but Tuesday evening we got cleared!  Thankfully on Monday we found out Florida had cleared us, so we dumped all our stuff in our van and drove away.  I am not sure if either of us thought we’d make it all the way to Philadelphia since we left at 2 in the afternoon but we did it!  Pulled into yet another hotel at 3:30am in Philly…which is about an hour from home.  We wanted to get as close to Nj as we could, but because of adoption laws it wasn’t legal for us to go home yet.

It was like the best present EVER on Tuesday evening to get the call that we could go home!  What a blessing to have a whole day extra too- so that now, on Thanksgiving day our laundry is almost done, the pumpkin cheesecake is made, visitors of have visited and today we can relax and eat a beautiful meal with our dear friend Jilly in the comfort of our own home, our own pjs…maybe that’s why I couldn’t get back to sleep.

I’m excited.  I am so thankful…to be home, to have this sweet baby girl…Thank you Jesus.

hotel living

So I stole my husband’s laptop since he’s surfing…and I thought I’d post a little update since the past few posts were written a long time ago.  To keep it real, I can hear one son’s favorite movie blaring from the portable dvd player…the other son is watching cartoons and the Food Network Thanksgiving special is on in front of me.  Just finished feeding baby Maya…the hotel room is a mess- literally I’ve been trying to keep up with the straightening but today, I gave up.

We thought we’d be going home yesterday…of course, it wasn’t for sure since there is no guarentee and we will literally get a call and hear that we’re cleared which means we can go home!!!  It’s been two long weeks.  It’s funny how much I thought about this adoption and how this endless hotel stay was erased from my memory of the other times.  Of course, it’s a bit different with two toddlers added to the mix.  Maya is such an easy baby…we both believe that without the boys this would be a seriously relaxing vacation.  Newborns are so easy. Ha!  Never thought I’d say that…but after a few, you actually start to believe it. 

And it’s still the euphoric omygosh she’s ours adrenaline that makes the middle of the night feedings not as bad as they might possibly be in a few months.  We keep reminding ourselves that this is SO worth it.  We have a baby girl!!!!!  But we are all very ready to go home.  Even Josiah has started asking about home- especially when he’s sad he’ll mention home…breaks my heart.  I cried with him the other night over home because I felt the same way. 

For the past three days we’ve spent time at the beach which I’m thankful for.  The boys get to run around and I get to stare at the ocean while holding my baby.  It’s beautiful.  And I’ve shopped…and shopped.  Maya is so tiny that I needed to get some newborn clothes- something I’ve never really needed long enough to justify with the boys.  Plus I can’t deny that looking at the girl sections of stores is much more exciting and takes my mind off the hotel room I have to return to. 

I cannot wait for my king sized bed.  This hotel has full sized beds…thankful for the two seperate bedrooms though.  I miss my keurig but Starbucks trips have been sweet.  I really really hope to be home for Thanksgiving and then it’s Christmas decorating…like asap!!!  Twinkly lights and the fresh pine smell…cozy and beautiful and we have a tiny baby girl to cuddle up with.

The only thing I’ll miss from Florida is Kilwins.  It’s the most amazing chocolate shop in the world…and has incredible caramel apples too.  This weekend will definitely need one more trip there to pick up some deliciousness. 

Ok… this was a weird stream of thoughts…and i’m not going to reread it either.  Pray we get the call on Monday!!!  We are ready to go home!!!!