Friday, August 15, 2008


well, we did it. we sent our big girl off into the wild, blue yonder this morning. she was soooooo excited leading up to today, getting ready this morning, in the car over to her school and walking in to the school. by the time we got to her classroom in the back of the school, she got REALLY quiet. I asked her if she was nervous (didn't want to use the word "scared") and she said "yeah, a lot."

daddy helped her meet the little girl, Alyssa, who sits across from her. both girls gave each other big smiles. seemed to help a little. but she asked me to stay until the other parents left. of course I did. after announcements and the pledge of allegiance, it was time for mommy & daddy to leave. big hugs & kisses and we pulled ourselves away.

I'd venture to say that walking away from that classroom was one of the hardest things we've done as parents to date.

Tuck said, "it's strange to leave our baby in the hands of someone we don't really know." yeah.

we're comforted by the fact that two families we know at the school have told us that she has the "best kindergarten teacher ever." the other, bigger comfort is that God has her in His hands, even when we don't.

now? her little sister is sleeping, I have a hugely messy house, loads of laundry, paperwork, etc... but I'm not sure what to do with myself.

I'm missing my girl.

below you'll find 2 pix of her sneak-a-peak night when she met her teacher, danced her tail off to radio disney, won a huge raffle drawing and loved every thing about it. the photos of her with her sissy, with her backpack and saying the pledge are this morning, on her first day of "real school" as she called it.

doesn't she look waaaayyy too big?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Should have known....

When I added that cute birthday ticker on my sidebar, I should have known that my big girl would be slightly obsessed.
MC (at 8am Mon): Mom, how old am I today?
Mom: 5 years, 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days old.
MC: Cool.
MC (at 4pm Mon): How old does it say I am now?
Mom: It's still the same day as this morning, Sweetie.
MC: so how old am I?
Mom: 5 years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 2 days old.
MC: Cool.
MC (9am Tues): Mom, log onto your blog so I can see how old I am today. I made birthday invitations for my friends.
Oh my.
At least she doesn't mind when I'm on the computer now. Between the ticker and the photos I've been posting, she thinks it's pretty "cool."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

God's story continues....

This is the verse from our calendar on the day I finished typing my baby girl's adoption story. Pretty incredible promise, huh?

I really can't say how therapeutic it was to type those details. For weeks/months after May 27, I've been in a big ol' pit. I even looked online to see if adoptive mothers can go through "post partum" depression. When I mentioned that to Tuck, he thought maybe instead it was "post traumatic stress" depression.

All I know is that I was depressed. And it has been relieved a LOT by putting the words to paper, so to speak. Don't get me wrong, I still have days. But I think a lot of that now has to do with a lack of sleep. ;o)

Another thing that has my emotions in a mix is the fact that for the first time in 10+ years, Tuck and I are not trying to get pregnant or adopt a baby. Our family is complete. I have NO regrets about that, but it's a little strange. We'll celebrate 12 years of marriage in November, and the majority of our marriage has been about having kids. That was all we knew. That was our normal.

I just need my head to figure out what our new normal is.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Photo Contest

I'm still so green at this blog-thing. Really, I have no clue what I'm doing.

But being the photographer I am (okay, not so much a photographer as a taker of MANY photos), I had to enter this contest on one of my favorite bloggy sites -- 5 Minutes for Mom.

Here's my big girl at the end of her first official swim lessons showing us the card advancing her to the next level. She's so pleased... and so is Mom!!

God's story, part 4

And now, back to the story...

We sent emails to family & friends asking for prayers and that if anyone was available on May 12, we would like to show this birthfather, JT, a united front. For those who could, we'd love them to come to court in case he was there.

Our verse on the morning of May 12 was Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” On the way to court my song came on KLove – Voice of Truth, by Casting Crowns. It was comforting to know that God had our back. He knew what was going to happen that day, He knew the giants we were facing and He was promising that He would be there to catch us no matter the outcome.

At any rate, we had no idea how many friends and family would take us up on our request to be at court – we had over 50 adults & kids come! Which, as it turns out, was more helpful than we could have imagined. You can read about that here. Long story short: JT didn’t actually show up, he called the courthouse. He gave the judge a sob story and our trial was extended to May 27.

While every part of this extension was hard, one of the hardest things was how it affected Madison. Naturally we had tried to protect her and shield her from the knowledge of what was going on, but she’s a bright one, that girl. In fact, just that morning she’d asked if “that guy is going to come steal my sister” from us. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep it together that morning. When Tuck and I came out of the private courtroom to face Madison and everyone else, I couldn’t speak through the tears. That scared my girl.

For anyone who wants to say that we doubt God when we allow our emotions to get to us, I say that’s hogwash. God teaches us to trust His plan for us and He promises that He won’t give us anything more than we can handle. But He made us human, which means we are fallible. We have emotions and the things of this earth will affect us. Just read the Old Testament. Even the biggest, strongest followers of God experienced major emotions.

Adoption is full of these emotions. My friend, Michelle, who recently adopted their daughter came to me in tears in the midst of their tumultuous adoption ride. She was full of apologies for never really showing me love and patience when we were adopting Madison! She said she had NO idea what a roller-coaster of emotions the adoption journey is. Of course, I just hugged her and said she had no reason to apologize.

To be clear: during our whole trial, I knew in my heart that God was going to come through for Cora – I just didn’t know how. I knew that He could make everything work in our favor, but I didn’t know if He would. I had no idea if that was His plan. This not-knowing had already been causing my very weak intestines to have quite the heyday for 2+ months up to this point. The delay in our court date was just another test for my uproarious stomach.

During the 2 weeks between our trial dates, we had the opportunity to speak to JT, at his request. To say that our hearts were in our throats is an understatement. He basically complained to us that it was unfair that he never had a say in what happened to "his" daughter. He directly contradicted about 99% of what Tiffany had told us; he denied r@ping her. He said he understood that we'd "probably gotten attached" to Cora (!!) but that he wanted to be her father and was going to do whatever he could, including hiring a KS lawyer and coming to court on May 27.

Clearly, however, May 27 went as everyone ELSE had prayed and we got to keep our girl!! We’d flown Tiffany into town so that she could give her testimony in person since JT’s story directly contradicted hers. We had her family (who lives in town) and our family over for a huge Memorial Day BBQ the day before court. It was such a neat, bonding time for all of us. We were able to forget the stress of the next day and truly enjoy each other. And Tiffany hardly let Cora out of her sight for longer than a few minutes at a time!

The morning of May 27, our verse was Psalm 16:5 “LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.”

Oh how we wanted to believe that promise would come true for us that very day! Tuck and I sat in our bathroom and prayed like we’d never prayed before. Not even a minute later, Mr. Kenney called to let us know he’d called JT that morning “just to see where he was.” He was in Texas. He claimed he’d had car trouble at 9pm the night before (thanks for that prayer, Grandma Sandy!) and couldn’t get to town. Mind you, he also admitted to Mr. Kenney that he hadn’t been able to hire a lawyer.

When we heard this we started to celebrate – but Mr. Kenney told us to temper that emotion until we could find out what the judge would decide. There was still the possibility JT would call the courthouse at our hearing time of 3pm. We had no idea if the judge would extend the hearing again.

May 27 was a very. long. day.

We finally got to the courthouse with Tiffany at 2:30. I honestly can’t tell you how many of our friends and family were crammed into the little hallway outside of our courtroom. And more kept arriving! In fact, Tiffany said her heart stopped each time the elevator opened because she kept expecting JT to walk in, even though she knew he couldn’t possibly get to town that quickly.

At exactly 3:00, Mr. Kenney lead Tucker, Tiffany and me into the courtroom. The judge was surprised (and impressed, if you ask me) to see that Tiffany was there… and that JT wasn’t. He told Mr. Kenney that he’d allowed JT all the opportunity in the world to show up and that we could continue with Tiffany’s testimony without him. About 12 minutes later, the judge severed JT’s parental rights based upon neglect and non-support. He then invited us to ask our family & friends to join us for the “best part” of his day, as he said it.

I’m not kidding you when I say it took a full 5 minutes for everyone to squeeze into the courtroom. Each time the door started to close, someone else would run in. The judge was flabbergasted; he said he’d never had such a full gallery. I was a blubbering idiot, by the way – and am even choking up as I type this! (the apple doesn’t fall far, does it Mom?!)

Mr. Kenney questioned first Tuck then me with such questions as “You are fully aware that once we finish today, Cora is as much your daughter as if you’d given birth to her. You understand that you can’t turn around this decision – even when she’s 13 and causing you angst as a teen…” After just a few minutes of this type of questioning, the judge deemed us the rightful parents of our beautiful angel girl.

We couldn't have asked for a more perfect ending.

The only things holding us together during this time were God’s word (Isaiah 64:4, Mark 11:24, Revelation 7:17, etc), the prayers of our friends, the hundreds of emails and cards, the phone calls and support at both trial dates. If you were one of those people supporting us, I have no way of thanking you besides saying Thank You.

The verse on our calendar 3 days after our family was complete? All I can say is: amen.

Isaiah 25:1 “O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”