Update on Griffin

When Griffin was born, we knew he had what is known as hydronephrosis (swelling of the kidney due to back up of urine). At 2 months old, he had extensive testing done to find the cause, which ended up being that his ureter is narrow where it enters the bladder so his right kidney drains too slow, hence the back up of urine.

From the time we got the test results, the plan of action was to monitor him every three months through ultrasound at a pediatric urologist and put him on a daily antibiotic to prevent any UTIs or kidney infections. Until yesterday, there had not been much change to the condition of the hydronephrosis, so we were to just continue monitoring unless things got worse or he started having breakthrough infections. Well, yesterday’s ultrasound showed that the dilation had indeed gotten worse, and his doctor did not think it wise to wait another three months for another ultrasound. The risk of damage to his kidney is too great compared to the alternative, which at this time is surgery.

We knew from the beginning that surgery was an option should the condition not improve, but I honestly don’t think I saw us going in that direction. A lot of children grow out of the hydronephrosis as their little bodies get bigger and we were hopeful that would happen for Griffin. That scenario is just not the case, so with complete confidence in Dr. Nguyen, we are moving forward with surgery for our sweet boy this month.

The surgery itself will take about an hour and according to Dr. Nguyen, is pretty routine as far as this part of the body is concerned. He will have a small incision at his bladder, the doctor will detach the ureter and cut out the part causing the blockage, then reattach the ureter back to the bladder. We will be at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and it will require only one overnight, pending everything goes smoothly. Doc says he expects Griffin to be up and back in action the next day, and knowing our Griff, he will be! The rest of recovery is fairly simple and will not require any sort of change in eating, drinking, or playing for G. He’ll have a follow up about 4 weeks after and as long as he has no bleeding or infection, he’ll be good as new and the hydronephrosis will be gone forever!

Please join us in praying for these specific things:

– For Griffin’s body to be strong and ready to be put under (this is what freaks me out the most)

– For Ryan and I to have peace and confidence that this is how God has chosen to heal Griffin

– For Dr. Nguyen, the day of surgery, that he would take care of my baby

– For Griffin’s recovery to be complete and perfect

Thank you for all your support and prayers. We’ll keep family and friends posted on surgery date and any needs we come across.

Baby!

I always thought I’d have all girls. I never pictured myself the mom of boys…that was going to be my sister’s thing. Then came Griffin. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being the mama to this little boy. Today, I got really excited at the thought that this babe growing in my belly could be a boy too! I think it would be awesome for Griffin to have a brother and to be the mom of boys. It’s a good thing that my maternal instincts are saying boy…that would just be super! (a girl would be ridiculously fun too…don’t worry baby, just in case you read this down the road, I will be thrilled if you are a little lady!)

That is all.

P.S. Griffin turns 1 in a week!!! Even though he’ll be a big brother soon, he’ll always be my baby.

What I Need You to Know

This isn’t easy for me. Adoption is hard. Really hard. Extremely beautiful and wonderful, but hard. I need to tell you at least two things on my mind lately about this: Adoption does not cure infertility.

1) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard well intentioned people say, “You know what they say…once you adopt, then you’ll end up pregnant!”. Yes, I know they SAY that. But can I tell you that statistically about 5% of adoptive couples go on to conceive. I do not struggle with infertility because I am too occupied with getting pregnant. Stress doesn’t cause infertility, infertility causes stress. Our adoption of Griffin does not mean I will end up pregnant. I could get pregnant…but it won’t be because we adopted. Unless you’ve been through infertility hell, you wouldn’t understand so I have grace that people just don’t really know what to say so they say something that sounds encouraging and hopeful.

2) Even though I have Griffin in my arms, I am still grieving. He was not a “fix” for my pain and grief. He is an amazing gift and my heart has never known a love like this, but that isn’t what heals my grief. It helps though 🙂 Please understand that adoptive couples still have things they need to mourn whether it be their infertility, the loss of a pregnancy, or the reality that their motherhood/fatherhood is still different than most of their friends in many ways.

Can I be honest with you for a second and let you in on some of the heart-happenings of this adoptive mama?

I still feel very sad at times. Sad that I don’t have pregnancy stories, I didn’t feel my boy kicking, I wasn’t able to nurse him, and that I didn’t give birth to my own son.

I have moments of anger. Anger over losing a child, that we somehow couldn’t conceive again, that it seems so easy for everyone else, that I wasn’t there for my child’s birth, and that I have to share him unlike most mothers I know.

I’m jealous.

I’m scared. Scared that I’ll fail, that open adoption will be too hard and I’ll never feel 100% secure, that maybe my love for Griffin is lacking because I didn’t carry his first 9 months of existence, that he’ll love her more than me, that I will end up pregnant and Griffin will feel “less than”, or that I’ll miss out on everything extraordinary about the mysteries of adoption and what it can teach me about being God’s child.

I stand on the affirmation that my emotions are very real and normal for where I’m at right now. I realize that my fears are typical of mamas who adopt and probably won’t ever be true. And I trust that God grafted our family together perfectly, that Griffin being my son is no accident, and that His plan has turned out better than anything I could have schemed up.

I love Griffin with every fiber of my being. Some days are still so surreal that I can only praise the One who made me his mommy! I absolutely adore him and that makes enduring even the messy parts of this journey worth it.

All for the glory of my God.

Mother’s Day

Today was weird, awkward, uncomfortable and weird again. I can usually pinpoint what emotion I’m feeling and why but today I kind of felt numb, even though tears came. I was sort of expecting to be able to celebrate the hope we have for our child that could be coming to us very soon, but I found myself just sort of in a haze all day, not really sure how I felt. It was pretty obvious that no one really knew what to say to me today. I got a lot of awkward smiles, a few “well intentioned” comments, and mostly silence. I got a “Hey, good morning”, while my girlfriend standing next to me got a hug and “Happy Mother’s Day!”. I don’t blame anyone for not knowing what to say. What DO you say to a childless mother on the day set aside to celebrate moms? I’m not currently mothering a child, I never held my baby, I don’t have a growing belly. In the traditional sense, I’m not a mother. But there is a soul in heaven that for 10 short weeks was made up of Ryan and I’s DNA. It had our genes, to perhaps have my eyes and his height. I am a mother.

Today, we sit with paperwork in hand, ready to go before a board, a judge, and a pregnant woman. We have been asked questions that most would consider intrusive, have been forced to pull together parts of our lives that we’ve never even considered, and will be at the mercy of the courts to deem us worthy of being parents. All to become what we already are. What a crazy life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely confident that we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be and I am certainly excited to see how this is all going to unfold. But I need permission to be honest that some days just still plain suck. I am forever a part of a minority of women who will always have a piece of their heart missing on Mother’s Day.

Today I carried with me the burden of all mamas who have lost. It’s a pain so unexplainable, that is only bearable because of the hope I have in Christ that He has overcome death and my tears will be wiped away. I don’t know how women do it apart from God.

My story is not the most tragic, it doesn’t even come close to what some in my life have endured, but it is my story. I just have to remember that it’s not the end…

Justice.

Services at Mission were pretty remarkable today. We are taking a few weekends this month to highlight the things that Mission is about: Doing Justice. Loving Mercy. Walking Humbly. Today was Justice Sunday and we had the honor to hear from a rescued girl from our Fiji Homes of Hope and also Chief Theresa from the village in Malawi we partner with. They each shared their personal experiences and how the sacrifice of the people in our congregation have blessed them and their communities. What’s amazing is how much of a blessing they are to us. Hearing their stories and how the people in their villages live in their daily lives, I’m challenged to really take a look at my life and the responsibility I have to react. Chief Theresa explained to us that her people “live on less than a dollar a day. Americans should count themselves blessed to have been born in the United States and we shouldn’t take that for granted. The children in Malawi would rejoice over getting an empty plastic bottle…something I throw out every day”. She told us that we are “blessed to be a blessing”.

I can’t even comprehend what it must be like to grow up in Africa, with literally nothing or to be a young girl in Fiji, exploited and devalued. My perspective was shaken today as I process through my own pain and suffering. My suffering is very different from my brothers and sisters overseas. Not that my pain doesn’t matter, but my response to my circumstances should be that of Chief Theresa and the Malawi children. Praise! I have been learning this over the past few months but today it really affirmed the work God is doing in my heart. God is faithful and provides exactly what I need with Himself. He is ALL I need and He cares for me.

It’s easy to give God praise and thanks and count myself blessed when things are going well or working out how I want them to. It’s much more of a spiritually refining time when I can be in the midst of turmoil and still count myself just as blessed. It isn’t what God gives me or does for me that makes me blessed, it’s who He is and how He loves me. I pray that I never forget this valuable lesson. I pray I don’t set my heart on things to make me full, but that I set my eyes on Jesus. I don’t want the “easy life”. I’m not interested in ordinary and predictable. I want to be in God’s will and nowhere else.

Sunday.

I love Sundays like the one today. Ryan has been asked to speak about once a month in main service at our church, Mission. I, of course, have heard Ryan speak countless times but I never get tired of hearing what God has put on his heart each week. Recently, I have been sitting in all 5 services when he speaks main stage and I just absolutely love it! I love being by his side, I love that people see me by his side as his companion, and I love that the worship draws me closer to God with each service. You’d think it would sadly get a little monotonous. I mean, 5 services of the same songs and same message?!?! There is just something about being in the midst of community where I feel safe, loved, and valued and worshiping together that can fill my spirit. I must admit, we were both wiped when we got home but we’ve had a fun night of packing for our trip to Ohio tomorrow! I can’t wait to see my family and start this Christmas week. I need the rest, I need my family, I must must must have some cuddles from my nephew, and I can’t forget all the home-cooked meals! To be honest, I’m so ready for 2009 to be over but I’m hoping these last few weeks are filled with reflection on what God has done in our lives, where He has brought us, and where He will take us in the coming year!

What are you looking forward to most this Christmas week? What will you reflect on from this past year and what are your hopes for 2010?

Where we'll be spending Christmas


11.21.08

One year ago…

I had taken pregnancy tests before as a new bride who was nervous that I would be one of those women who got pregnant their first month of marriage on the pill. I was expecting that morning to be just like any of those other times where one pink line stares back at me, confirming the continuation of a two person household. I didn’t have any physical reason to believe that I was pregnant other than not having had a period for a month but I was told by my doctor about a week before that it was probably just my body adjusting to not being on birth control and to give it another week then take a test and call them. Actually, the biggest reason why I tested is because I had a dream that night that I took two tests and they were both positive. I remember the feeling in my dream of seeing those two lines so I didn’t even think twice when I woke up. Step one: Pee on stick. Step two: Agonize for 3 minutes over whether or not you should be looking away or watching the darn thing. I watched. One pink line….two pink lines. Even as I write, the memory of seeing that gives me a little rush of adrenaline. With shaky hands and a spinning head I grabbed my phone, run past Ryan sitting at the counter and head out the front door dialing my sister’s number. The conversation pretty much went:

“I think I’m pregnant”

“What??”

“I took a test and there are two pink lines. Could it be wrong?”

“Ooooh my gosh. Take another one”

So I did. There they were, my confirmation that our family of two was about to expand. I decided that since Ryan’s 30th birthday was two days away I would wait and tell him then in some fun way. I had already been working on a scrapbook of letters people wrote to Ryan to tell him how much they love him. I wrote him a letter from the baby and made a page for it in the back of the book. That two day wait was torture. I wanted to badly to burst out with the news, especially during times like when were taking a walk and I suddenly felt super sick and my heart was racing. I actually had no clue how far along I was since my body was out of whack but I figured it had to be somewhere between 4-8 weeks, putting me right at the “oh, that smell makes me want to vomit” stage. I remember smelling Chick-fil-a on that walk and wanting to never see another piece of breaded chicken in my life. That was fun to hide.

I’ll never forget the look on Ryan’s face the following Sunday as we sat on our couch and he got to the last page of his book. He read the first words, “Dear Daddy”, looked at me, looked back at the book, looked at who signed this mysterious letter, then back at me. We hugged, cried, took deep breaths, stared at the tests I kept as proof, and nervously laughed at all our emotions pulsing through our hearts.

Here’s a fun little clip from the video we have of Ryan finding out…girls, you’ll appreciate this 🙂

This time last year started the hardest journey I’ve had to walk in my life so far. That day I became a mother. Today I have no child. Last holiday season was more magical and special than any years past. We spent that time caught up not in the hustle and bustle but in the mysterious awe of what was taking place in my body. We listened to the story of the birth of a baby as we eagerly started to plan for the birth of our own baby. This time of year is bringing up bittersweet memories of the days our lives changed forever, however not in the way we thought they’d be changed.

As I sit here with tears, wrapped up in the same fuzzy robe that wiped away my tears at the hospital in January I remember that we are entering into the season of Hope, of Redemption’s birth. So we wait. We wait on the redemption of our pain. We trust in the hope that is promised to us. Of course, we wait on a baby, however it comes to us. We covet your prayers as we face these next few months remembering that last year I was pregnant during them. We’ll hit some milestones, the day of our first ultrasound, the day we told our families, the day there was a heart beat (Christmas Eve of all days), and the day our baby passed from Earth to eternity.

What I know about God that I would not know had I never had a miscarriage, I cherish. I cling to the truth that we’re being refined and purified and that this is not purposeless pain. It never is with God.