Friday, March 14, 2014

So Much More Than a Getaway

Just over two weeks ago Jarrod and I were gifted flights and a getaway for a week to sunny Cancun, Mexico by an incredibly generous individual. We hopped flights last week and headed south to some crazy warm weather.

Our hearts were incredibly humbled and blessed by this huge, selfless gift. And honestly, we needed it. After months of spending what seems like every moment focusing on our adoption, I was ready to get away and not think about it anymore. I needed to tune out and forget about the waiting and the stress involved in the adoption process.

When we arrived, we were welcomed by a very hospitable staff at the Moon Palace Resort and quickly ushered to the VIP Elite Lounge for check-in. I couldn’t stop smiling – the resort was stunning and probably would be the nicest place we travel to for a very long time…if ever again. Our room was upgraded to an Ambassador Suite that came with many elite privileges, a Jacuzzi, balconies, a walk-in closet, resort credit to spend on pretty much anything, two excursions/tours, a private dinner, and 25 minutes massages, manis and pedis for both Jarrod and I.

It was beautiful there…to say the least. It was hot, but the humidity and warmth were happily welcomed by us instead of snow.

There were moments throughout the week when I would quickly think of our adoption process and what was to come when we arrived back in the States: more paperwork, more presenting to birth mothers…more waiting… But I quickly ushered those thoughts away and, for the majority of the days of our vacation adoption barely crossed my mind: HALLELUJAH!

On Friday we each got a massage, mani & pedi (and it was so funny to watch Jarrod get a mani & pedi - He was SO ticklish). I spent most the time laughing at him. I received two other massages during the trip using our resort credit that were phenomenal!

On Tuesday, we headed out on an excursion to the beautiful Mayan ruins at Tulum. Wow…. Words fail me to describe the beauty of the location. (See below)

On the way back to the hotel, we planned to spend Wednesday, our last day at the resort, soaking up the sun and enjoying every last minute of the getaway that we could.  

Jarrod and I agreed with our work places that we would still keep up with emails while we were gone, so after we got back to our room from the excursion and before we headed down to lunch I jumped on my email quick to see if there was anything urgent that I needed to deal with.


I saw the most beautiful email that I may ever receive. It was from our adoption consultant, Susan, and the subject line simply said “CALL ME!!!!!”…

Thanks to the free calls to the US from our room, I quickly dialed Susan’s number and screamed to Jarrod to come close. She happily answered her phone and said said, “I have good news! YOU’VE BEEN CHOSEN!”

The tears instantly started. I couldn’t breath. I got chills. We were stunned. WE WERE CHOSEN.

Before Jarrod and I left, we chose to present to a birth mother whose situation stood out to us very uniquely. We were both 100% in agreement and felt so right about it. So we said yes and shipped out our profile before we left. We didn’t know the exact date that the agency would be presenting to this sweet mom, but we knew it would be while we were gone. We received an email over the weekend that Wednesday was the day. Thankful that I had something to distract me from thinking too much about the presentation of our profile, we prayed over the situation and continued to focus solely on our getaway and time together.

And then the agency presented to this sweet mom on Tuesday and, from what we know, she immediately saw our profile and fell in love. So much so that she didn’t even want to see any other profiles… Oh my goodness. Even now, I can barely keep the tears from coming. Someone chose us.

She chose us.

Jarrod and I were shocked and overjoyed. I can’t even put into words the emotions that immediately flooded our hearts.

We had hoped for this.

We had prayed for this.

We had prayed for this exact situation: that this would be our birth mama. That this would be our baby.

Praise the Lord. She chose us.

And then Susan said the words that are forever melted in my heart. In a way that made me feel ownership as the parents of this baby. Susan said, “And….. you’re having a girl.”

We’re having a baby girl.

We have a daughter.

Oh my gosh, I could shout it from the rooftops: WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN! WE ARE HAVING A BABY GIRL!

Our sweet daughter is due August 15th --- almost one year to the day that we found out that we would not be able to conceive biologically. Ha… that almost makes me laugh. God has always been faithful – almost in humorous ways.

Suddenly our getaway had turned into so much more. It was a true ‘babymoon’ celebrating that we were going to be parents. We had been chosen. We have a due date. We have a birth mama. We have a baby girl.

I can barely contain myself. I could type that a million times and it still wouldn’t feel real to me. I’ve spent so much time staring at the ultrasound picture repeating out loud, “that is our daughter.”

Praise the Lord. He is good. He is SO good.

Although I had planned before we left to post a blog post with pictures and brief updates from our trip once we returned, I am thrilled to be able to share this even more exciting news. God knew that no matter how much I worried and paced about the other situations that we presented to that none of them would be our child. And then, the one situation that we both felt so secure in, and the one time that I didn’t hover over my phone or pace or worry, God would bless us by allowing us to be chosen by a birth mom that we are so excited to get to know and build a relationship with.

Thanks to a sweet friend for sharing it with me, on the night that we found out that we were infertile, I cried myself to sleep in bed listening to the song on the video below. Yesterday, as I sit in the Cancun airport drafting this blog post, waiting to board an airplane to fly home, I couldn't help but listen to this song on repeat again:

God has faithfully brought us this point.

He has faithfully answered our prayers.

He has faithfully brought us a daughter in his timing.

He will continue to see us through no matter what.

“I can’t remember a trial or a pain, He did not recycle to bring me gain. I can’t remember one single regret, in serving God only and trusting His hand. All I have need of His hand will provide. He’s always been faithful to me.” (Sara Groves, He’s Always Been Faithful to Me)

Five months and we will meet our beautiful daughter… Mmm…

Thank you Jesus.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Three Years Ago

Last week Jarrod and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. It's hard for me to believe that it's been three years since that day. I remember every detail from that day so very vividly....

It was a beautiful day and it's amazing to think of all that we've been through as a couple since that very day. In fact, sometimes its almost too easy to forget where we've been as a couple that led us to this point in time:

Jarrod was my dream come true... We realized a long time ago that God had something special planned for our relationship... But it was high school, so who knew what was to come of that relationship at that point (although, Jarrod tries to convince me that he knew even then that, someday, I would be his wife). 

Jarrod at my high school graduation party (2007).

We had on and off periods in high school. We even didn't speak for a year of college after we broke up. We dated other people. We lived our lives a part from each other... We grew up. And then, God decided he had other plans. In a miraculous way (a story that's much too long for this blog), God brought us back together and we knew from that moment on that we weren't in this relationship just to date. We were moving toward marriage.

Jarrod visiting me at college (2010).

When Jarrod finally proposed I rejoiced in the fact that this amazing man of God was going to be all mine for the rest of my life. God had truly blessed me.

February 20, 2010.

And God blessed us greatly along the way to our marriage. We struggled to save the money needed to pay for our wedding as we were both in college. But faith, we entered a contest to win $10,000 to spend on your wedding.... and we won! 

When our winning check came in the mail (June 2010).

And then the day finally came...I woke up incredibly early, much too anxious to sleep, and met my incredible bridesmaids at church to get ready. 

A morning of pampering seemed to pass very slowly in my excitement to see my groom. And finally I got to look at his handsome face...

We took a lot of pictures (Thanks to the phenomenal Primavera Studios). We had a ball in the freezing cold (it may have ruined my hair and makeup, but oh well)!

While we were taking pictures, 400 people flooded into the church to watch as we shared our vows. Our ceremony was very personal: we wrote our own vows, I sang to Jarrod, and shared some private moments with our families. It was beautiful...

And then we were pronounced man and wife! HALLELUJAH -- FINALLY!!!! I was on cloud nine!

We celebrated with a coffee and pie reception at the church and then shared in a dinner and dancing reception with our close friends and family. 

The day was a blessing ... one that we each look fondly back on each year and celebrate God's goodness in our relationship!

Lately we've spent a lot of time reflecting on God's goodness in our lives leading us up to our marriage and through our marriage in the last three years.  There's been so many times that we've had to rely very heavily on God's guidance and provision and he never fails to come through. It might be in the 'eleven:fifty-nineth hour' (as I lovingly call it) but, regardless, he never fails. This has been such a prominent theme in our marriage... God has never let us down in the way that he has led us and blessed us as a couple desiring to seek after Him every step of the way. He is our Rock and He knows the path that best exemplifies Him in our lives. 

We celebrated our anniversary by a quiet night out for dinner and then spent some time together at home watching moments of our wedding video. Months ago we booked a hotel for a weekend away in Chicago, but with the possibility of being matched soon and many adoption expenses rapidly approaching, we decided that, financially, it would be in our best interest to stay home and not spent any extra money. So, we gave away our weekend to an individual that has blessed us greatly in this process. 

And then on our anniversary we were blessed to have lunch with an incredibly generous individual who has blessed Jarrod and I by paying 110% for us to fly to Cancun, Mexico in just a few days and spend a week there on a 'babymoon' at an all-inclusive resort. Leaving us literally not paying a cent. We were shocked .... to say the very least! We leave in two days and are so blessed by the Lord leading this individual to selflessly offer us such a large gift. We are excited to spend our anniversary together, just the two of us, one last time in hopes that, next year, we will be celebrating as a family of three.

As I said earlier, sometimes, it's almost too easy to forget about our past. 

But our past defines who we are today. It's shaped us, molded us and tells our story. And although it's so fun to look back and remember the butterflies that I felt during that time in my life, three years ago, it's more fun to look back and see God's fingerprint on so many moments. 

God is good. There is no doubt that He has led us to where we are today and confirms our journey of adoption, but also our journey to seek His will in our lives, on a daily basis.  

I can't wait to look back three more years from right now and see God's fingerprints in even more ways than I do right now. 

So for now, at least for the next week while I bask in the sunshine with my husband and celebrate our family of two before we become a family of three, this blog will be rather quiet. But I challenge you for the time being to search for God's fingerprints in your past and how he's leading you and blessing you right now.

God is good. He is love. He is faithful. Love him. Obey him. He will send blessings.