Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Decade of The Little Prince.....

Where did the time go? Ten years ago tonight I was snuggling my 5 pound, 1 ounce adopted miracle.....and I blinked and he turned 10 years old this morning at 7:43 am....a decade of boy stuff, a decade of finally hearing "Momma" and knowing that he was calling me....ten years of loving the most amazing little boy. We love you, Grayson.....more than words can say.....

A few years ago, in honor of National Adoption Month, I wrote our story and it was published in our local KidsLife Magazine. The whole story is much longer than the 500word limit allowed in the magazine, but I thought I'd post the article here on the honor of our boy, and the amazing birthmother who loved him enough to place him in my arms....and to walk away.....

How God Blessed Our Broken Road
My husband Brad and I had been married for 4 years when we made the decision that almost every
young married couple makes at some point in their marriage– we were ready to have a baby!
We never thought that we would have to “try” to have a baby. We planned the perfect month to conceive,
booked a week-long cruise just to relax and get away, and started picking out baby names. We were that sure it would happen, just as we wanted it to.Little did we know that God had other plans.

We did go on the cruise….for about 36 hours. Brad’s mother unexpectedly passed away, throwing our lives into turmoil. We made it through the days after the funeral in a blur. All thoughts of conceiving our childwere put on hold. Little did we know that there were other unexpected moments in store.

Amazingly, we were already expecting! We had conceived the very first month we had tried! We walked
around with our happy secret long enough to visit the doctor, confirm that everything was healthy and on track, and got our prospective due date. I will never forget saying over and over to myself, “March 18th,March 18th.” We were going to be parents! It never occurred to us that March 18th would never come.

And that God had other plans.

Sadly, the baby due on March 18th was not meant to be. On the hottest day of the year, I miscarried. We
were devastated. No explanation, no help from the doctors, and no help for my broken heart or my empty
womb. And so began the first step on our broken road……

God had other plans for our future. Plans that did not include this first child.

We moved back to Tuscaloosa from Memphis and began new careers. I found a new doctor that I loved!
Dr. Mike Poist was truly an angel in a white coat. He listened to every concern, he ordered tons of tests, performed exploratory surgeries, prescribed medicines, and did everything he could to help me conceive the child that Brad and I so desperately wanted.

Eventually, I realized that although I loved “Dr.Mike”, I needed something more. Those nagging
doubts that something “might” be wrong were quickly becoming a reality.

Our journey turned to the ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) in Birmingham. This very talented team of doctors became the bright, guiding lights at the end of my dark tunnel. Assessing, prescribing fertility medications, and educating us on every infinitesimal aspect of conceiving our child.

What had begun as an act of love, tuned into a science experiment! Brad learned to mix medicines and to give shots and I learned to say the word “infertility”.

It was evident fairly quickly that artificial insemination was not going to work in our case. If we were to have a child, we needed to move forward with Invitro-Fertilization. We dove right in to this high tech process. The more intricate the course of action, the more I relished it. We had now been on the quest to have a child for almost four years.

Little did we know that God had other plans.

After the first attempt at Invitro failed (the next crack in our broken road), we immediately began
planning the next round. I now can see that it had become more about the “means” than the “end”. When I first began going to ART, I had made them my saviors. They were going to save me from this infertility-hell that I was living in. I want to clarify that this was not their view at all – it was mine.

Looking to the wrong savior was the biggest crack ever in our broken road. I should have been turning to
God, but doctor’s appointments and that datebook were blocking my vision!

After our first failed attempt at Invitro, my friend Elizabeth asked if we had ever considered adoption.
I told her that we had, but did not know where to turn. She gave me the name and number of her friend Robin. Robin’s adoption story was amazing! God’s perfect timing and plan was evidenced in each word that she shared! I hung up the phone with a sense of peace. I had a sense of purpose, and the phone number of her adoption attorney in Birmingham.

My focus began to shift from obsessing with carrying a baby to yearning to care for a baby. My Mother
helped make it crystal clear! She pointed out that for the past seven years, I had spent my days with other
people’s children….loving them and caring for them as their teacher. This had merely been preparation for my purpose in life. Loving another woman’s biological child as if he was my very own. I began praying in earnest, for our yet unknown Birthmother, and the child that God wanted us to have.

The meeting with Attorney Bob Echols went well. He told us to increase our chances we should tell everyone that we wanted to adopt a child. So we wrote a letter and sent it to everyone! Brad and I wanted a newborn. I knew that our baby was out there!

My old-type A self was having a hard time letting go and letting God do His work. I would “give
it up” during my prayers. But then, I would snatch it back to “work on it” some more. This just resulted in
more cracks in my broken road.God was patient, even when I was not. Finally, truly empty and broken, I did give the whole situation up to Him.

Soon thereafter, I was looking in vain for a pin that I wanted to wear. As I frantically searched our house, I heard God’s voice very calmly inside my head, “If you let me – I will do it.”

I walked downstairs and opened a closet in Brad’s office. I stuck my hand inside a box on the top shelf and pulled out the very pin I was looking for! Again I heard the voice inside my head, “If you let me – I will do it.” I gave in and gave it up to God. I began to pray every night for our baby. Healthy and happy. No other demands.
No other bargains.

Just healthy and happy. And in God’s time.

Then one day in March, I got a call from Dr. Mike’s office. A woman who was expecting was not able to
care for the child and wanted to know if they knew anyone who wanted to adopt a baby!
This incredibly brave woman came out of nowhere and did for me what medical science could not. She
made me a Mommy. One bright shining morning in September, she created a family where none had existed before. Brad and I were in the delivery room with our son’s Birthmother. She held him after he was born and then told the nurse, “Take him to his Mommy and Daddy.”

What a gift! His birth announcement summed up our journey in one sentence,

“Through God’s grace and a Mother’s love…we’ve adopted a son”.

As always, God was right. I let Him and He did it.

God has truly blessed my broken road. Our son has always known that he was adopted. Someday he will understand that he was doubly blessed. Blessed by a Birthmother who chose life for him, and by parents
who prayed his very being into existence. As I look back on the adoption of our son, it could
not have been more perfect.
All in God’s perfect time.

He truly gives you the child He wants you to have.

On our last day in the hospital, his Birthmother held our son and kissed him for the last time. I told her to
pick a spot and kiss him there. I promised that all future kisses on the spot would be from her, too.

So she did…..and I do…..each night when I kiss him and say, “We love you!” I really mean it…..from all of us…..his Daddy, his Birthmother, and me.

Where did the time go Princess....where did it go?

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of Brandon's death. I had convinced my parents that instead of standing over Brandon's grave all day (As we did lat year) that we should go to the gulf as a family and spend time at our condo. Together. Remembering...I thought....might just be easier in a place that did not actually hold so many memories of our boy...and that's just what home holds for us.

So, my parents, amazingly, headed to our place at the gulf on Thursday morning. We followed Friday right after school dismissed. We arrived just in time to see my parents for a bit and then put the Little Prince and Princess in their own beds. I went to bed shortly afterwards, remembering this time 2 years ago when we all were attempting to sleep in the extremely uncomfortable recliners of the Critical Care Waiting Area. Jada and I had decided that these chairs were designed by the devil himself....and in fact, I spent every other day that I was not at the hospital at the chiropractor, trying to undo the damage that those heinous chairs did to my back. I remembered the last conversation I had with Brandon at the late visiting hours. Jada and I promised him that we would sneak a Mountain Dew into his room first thing in the morning at the 6 am visit. That visit never came. By 6 am, Brandon had been gone from this Earth for several hours. What gives me comfort is that there was nothing in that visit that told me that it would be the last time I ever spoke to my precious brother in this life. Later, Jada would tell me that he told her that he was tired. We didn't think anything of it though, because merely being in the CCU is tiring in and of itself. I went to sleep remembering every moment of that last night together and praying that the morning did not bring any more pain to my parents. Last year, my mother was barely able to function. I hoped that the change of scenery and the new addition of our sweet Princess (whom we did not even know about last year at this time)would be enough to ease her mind.

The morning dawned bright and pure as it must always do over the sugar white sands of our gulf, and I went out with the Princess to sit on the balcony and lose myself in the sounds of the waves. Almost immediately, I was distracted by furious flashes, far too quick for me to focus on.....after many jumps and starts, I realized that I was seeing dragonflies! Thank you Brandon. I see you there. I know that you have found us here......

When my parents got up I told them about the dragonflies. But I was afraid that we'd not see them again. To my amazement, a few hours later, as my mother was loving on our girl, she called my name and pointed to the balcony. I was astonished as I saw a HUGE dragonfly laying on the balcony. I opened the door to check on it because my mother said sadly, "I think it is dead." When I opened the door and walked toward the biggest dragonfly I'd ever seen, it suddenly zipped up, flew around the balcony and was gone! Thank you Brandon! Mother sees you here!

A few hours later, the little Prince and I leave to go to the grocery. Two dragonlfies followed us to the store where we were met by many others in all different colors!

Finally, last night, we all enjoyed a good meal together. The first time we'd all gone out to eat together at a restaurant as a family since our Princess joined us in January. We had a good time, talking football and feeding our girl some of her first table food....

When we left the restaurant, I looked up at the sky and was astounded to see what looked like hundreds of DRAGONFLIES.......flying above the restaurant where we were mother and I just looked at one another and grinned......(I looked at the neighboring establishments and there was not one dragonfly to be seen).....

It looks like Brandon found us.....and I think he brought a few friends as well.....

Thankful for visible signs and knowing that it is TRUE.....that we are often entertaining angels unaware......and wondering just what we really could see....if we only opened our eyes to look........