Edith’s Birth Story + What Happens Now

Our Edith is a week old. And she’s been home for three days. Let me say that again…she’s been home for three days! This is not the reality that we thought we would be living. I mean, it was and then it wasn’t, so we are trying to soak in every second of this.

Last Friday, we went to our routine perinatologist appointment. As she was looking at Edith via ultrasound, she went through her usual speech: “baby looks good, her heart rate is the same as before, she has no fluid around her organs”…and then she briefly paused and said, “but the amniotic fluid around her is very low. You guys ready to have a baby?” Wait, what!?!?

All this time we have a baby with a severe heart defect and now you’re telling me we’re going to deliver early due to low fluid? And not just early, but on my daughter’s birthday?Yup. We went home, finished packing our bags, and waited on Chris’ sister to arrive to watch our two year old. Our 45 minute ride to the hospital was full of mixed emotions – silence, deep thoughts, laughter, and anxiety. Chris was so giddy he could’ve exploded. I was so anxious I could’ve cried.

We spent that evening filling out mountains of paperwork, having my vitals checked by all the nurses, and waiting on the doctors to decide what time we were going to deliver. Thankfully, they unhooked me from all of the vital sign machines and decided to let me sleep (or pretend to sleep) that night and deliver Edith the next morning – they would be better staffed with our team of doctors in the morning.

Saturday morning came quick. Right after 10 AM the nurse came in and said our delivery would be at 11 AM. Reality hit. It was like all of a sudden we finally realized we were going to have a baby, no more waiting. I think I saw the color in Chris’ face evaporate – I had not seen him be anxious much through all of this, but in that moment you could feel all of the emotions in the room.

Chris soon put on his finest hospital garb and joined me in the operating room while my mom and dad waited out in the surgical waiting room. All of my bottled up emotions escaped me as I was laying on the operating table and looked over my right shoulder to see a team of about six nurses standing next to a NICU incubator box thingy. I cried out all of the fear, anxiety, and disappointment. I also cried out all of the thankfulness and excitement. Chris so graciously sat beside me and wiped away every tear that fell, praying for us and Edith as the nurse would hand him another tissue. It was a sweet moment…until I said something like, “don’t let my makeup run down my face.”

I’ll leave out all of the exciting details that make up a c section – use your imagination. She was born at 11:28 AM, 5 pounds 5 ounces, 17 3/4 inches long. She came out screaming (glad to know her lungs were working!) with a head full of dark hair!

After getting to hold Edith for maybe a minute (a gift we didn’t anticipate having), she was swept away to the NICU to be closely monitored – those first few hours were critical in determining what our next steps would be, and no one had any idea what to expect.

Edith spent four days in the NICU, hooked up to monitors, with around-the-clock nurses closely watching her heart. In utero, her heart rate was between 55-65. A concern was that the trauma of delivery and entering the world may cause her heart rate to drop. But much to the surprise of everyone, it stayed right around 60. When she was asleep it would drop down to around 55, and when she was upset (like the time she pooped all over herself…literally) it would spike into the 70s. The nurses and doctors were more than pleased with how she was doing. All of her other vitals looked just like any other healthy newborn. One doctor even commented that if you didn’t listen to her heart, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong! We knew our girl was a fighter, but she continued (and continues) to prove that to every doctor and nurse she saw. Though her heart beats slow, it beats strong.

A friend said it best when she said “we prayed for a big miracle” and a big miracle is what we got, although it may not have looked like what we imagined. Our miracle came on Tuesday when her NICU nurse, Rachael (who we LOVED), looked at us and said she had good news – they were moving Edith out of the NICU, unhooking her from all of the monitors, and she was coming to the nursery on our floor. AND…she was going to be able to stay with us IN OUR ROOM until we were discharged. We. We, as in, both of us. Our girl was going to come home! Through her diagnosis, one of the things I grieved was not being able to take our baby home. I didn’t get to do that with our first born and was heartbroken when I learned of her heart defect and the reality that either she would need surgery immediately or she would stay in the NICU to be monitored for a while. God heard the cry of my heart, and gave us the gift of taking our baby girl home with us. It’s a gift that I SO treasure. It was a miracle in light of her diagnosis.

So, what’s next? Even though our girl is doing so well, even better than anticipated, she’s not out of the woods. She still has a severe heart defect. There will come a time when her heart gets tired. One’s heart can only beat at half time for so long. No one can determine how long that will be, except our girl. It could be next week or next year. Or maybe even longer. This “tiring” will be gradual. It won’t happen over night. We’ve had multiple people ask us why she doesn’t have a heart monitor. Her heart won’t just stop suddenly. We will be going to weekly cardiology appointments. Essentially, the cardiologist will be her heart monitor. As her parents, we watch for indicators that maybe she’s getting tired – not feeding well, not growing, excessively fussy, or heavy sweating. When the time comes, she will have surgery to insert a pacemaker.

Our main concern right now is doing what we can to make sure that she doesn’t get sick. The common cold for most children is no big deal. For Edith, it could mean a hospital stay. Because her heart beats so slow, it doesn’t have the ability to speed up to boost immunity to fight illness/infection. Her threshold for sickness is much lower than that of a healthy infant. Any sniffles or sneezes warrant a call to the pediatrician. That said, if you see me being crazy mom, asking you to wash your hands twelve times before holding my girl, or asking you not to kiss her face or touch her hands, or staying far away from you if you’ve been sick, it’s because I AM being crazy mom – my job is to protect my Edith.

For now, we are going to enjoy every moment we have with our girl. We don’t know what tomorrow will hold. We don’t know when the call for surgery will come. But what we do know is that we have her for this moment. We know God listens to our hearts. And we know that whatever comes our way, tomorrow, or in ten years, He will give us the grace to walk through whatever. It’s been a beautiful journey thus far, chock full of love, hope, and goodness, and we anticipate nothing less as we walk forward.

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Edith’s Birth Story + What Happens Now

Smiling Through Uncertainty

May 23. This was the due date of our Eloise, just two years ago. We all know due dates don’t mean a whole lot – she entered the world four LONG days later.

And sitting here, two years later, thinking back on those days, her delivery, and immediately after, I can’t help but smile. Now, don’t get me wrong – my pregnancy with her was horrible. Can you say heartburn!? (I vouch that it’s worse than morning sickness.) My labor was horrible. It wasn’t a thing like I thought I wanted or had planned for. I went in for an induction on a Sunday and she wasn’t born until Tuesday late morning. It was long. And the epidural wore off more than once. My delivery was horrible. She was an emergency cesarean after a failed induction nearly forty hours later. I was drugged up and pumped so full of fluids that I swelled up like an elephant. (Nope, I’m not posting pictures.) And to top all that glorious-ness off,  our new baby ended up aspirating meconium and had to be transported an hour away to another hospital that had a NICU. She had a 75% lung infection that required a 4 day NICU stay while I was held up at another hospital. I didn’t get to hold my girl for two days. Needless to say, nothing went as planned. It was all horrible. And after that I vowed I would never have kids again. And then once I resolved to maybe having kids again (it took some time), I vowed that I wouldn’t let what happened last time happen next time.

Here I am, two years later. Nine months pregnant. My pregnancy has been less than easy – severe morning sickness for months. And that blasted heartburn curse. I’ve been on steroids for 12 weeks now which make me hungry (and pack on the pounds), and sleepless, and not so nice at times. (Just ask my sweet husband – he deserves a medal, or piece of chocolate cake, for putting up with me.) I’ve spent numerous hours driving to and sitting at doctor’s offices. I’ve been hospitalized once.

I had planned for a natural birth, nothing like last time. I had planned to have more control over my birth choices and my body. I dreamed of waking my husband in the middle of the night and watching him frantically drive us to the hospital. I had planned to take our new girl home from the hospital with us in an outfit that we had spent time picking out, wrapped in some handmade blanket that matched said outfit.

Those plans were dashed 12 weeks ago.

But I smile.

I smile for a few reasons.

I smile because despite the chaos of two years ago, I have a beautiful and healthy two year old who lights up our world!

I smile because I realize that those were MY plans. This whole season has been a HUGE season of refinement. If you know me personally you know that control and order make me happy. I like plans. And lists. And checking off my lists. And making more plans. I often joke that this is the “thorn in my flesh” – that thing that pushes me closer to the Lord because as much as I try to “pray it away”, it doesn’t leave. I feel like it’s stuck. I’m old enough and have known Jesus long enough to know that my plans are silly. But, leave it to me, to think I had control over something.

Do I still think MY plans would have worked out better? I mean, it would have made my life easier. But I’ve relinquished those plans. Why? Because He is PERFECT in ALL of His ways to me. And I’ll cling to that going into the next few days and weeks (and months and years).

I smile because I can see just how God has prepared us for a time as this. Without our situation with Eloise, I would be terrified walking into (or rolling into) a c-section. Although I’m not looking forward to it, I know what to expect. I know just how FABULOUS the facilities are at the hospital we will deliver and how capable they are of handling our situation. I know even more so how fabulous the NICU is and the nurses that work there – I have zero doubts about the level of care our Edith will receive.

There’s still a lot we don’t know. The details are uncertain. The timeline is unsure. The assurance of my unborn daughter’s health is absent.

But here’s what I do know. My God is bigger than my plans. He is in control of the details. His timetable isn’t mine. And not ones health is guaranteed tomorrow.

I have been entrusted to be Edith’s mom for now. This moment.

And I’m hopeful that in another two years I can look back at today and smile. For these reasons. And more.

God is faithful, y’all.

 

Smiling Through Uncertainty

I Know That Face. I Know That Feeling.

“It’s just really really scary,” she said.

Picture this:

Chris and I decide to go out to dinner with my mom and dad. I choose O’Charley’s (we hardly ever go there) because I just want a piece of fish and some veggies. (Which was DELICIOUS, by the way.)

Mom rides with Eloise and I because dad and Chris have to run an errand first. On the way there, I’m sharing with mom how I feel like during these last few weeks, the Lord has really protected my spirit from being overwhelmed with fear.

I thought it would be a good idea the other day to do some at home research on Edith’s heart condition. While researching, I came across some really scary statistics. I mean, when your unborn child’s condition is a 1 in 22,000 kind of statistic, that can be scary. But I was explaining to my mom how I felt like I’ve been so divinely protected from being fearful of the statistics and quite honestly, the reality of the severity of our situation. Even after doing my at home research, and becoming more educated on Edith’s congenital heart defect, I can still walk through this uncertainty fearless; I don’t stay in a place of fear. I’m thankful for that.  (There are scary moments, sure. I would be lying if I said there weren’t times when I wasn’t overwhelmed by our situation, but I don’t stay there.) 

We got to the restaurant before the guys, and while we sat waiting, continued to chat about walking through this season faithfully. It was good conversation.

We enjoyed our dinner, talking about Eloise dipping Doritos in milk and other silliness. In passing, our server had mentioned that she was exhausted from being pregnant. In my mind I was totally like “I feel ya girl!”

As we wrapped up our meal and slipped the young girl the checks, she noticed my growing baby bump. She asked if I was pregnant, to which conversation about due dates and genders ensued. She’s due in July with a little girl. I told her how much fun girls are, as Eloise was ironically screaming in her daddy’s lap. She excitedly pulled out her phone to show us a picture of her latest ultrasound, showing her tiny baby sucking her thumb. She then began to tell us how she’s going in next week to have another ultrasound, one that’s more detailed. Her face quickly became solemn and serious.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“They found a problem with her heart, so we’re going to have it looked at in more detail,” she replied.

Our whole table looked at each other.

You could feel how scared she was. Young. First time mom. Faced with uncertainty.”It’s just really really scary,” she said.

The excitement of motherhood suddenly swept away amidst the fear of reality. I know that face. I know that feeling. 

I almost started crying. I shared with her how we have a heart baby on the way. I tried to encourage her that them finding the heart defect early on is a good thing; how there are fabulous teams of doctors around us now monitoring her and helping us come up with a plan.

She listened.

Mom asked if we could pray with her. So there, in the very back of O’Charley’s, on a Saturday night, we prayed with and for a scared young mom, pregnant with a little girl with a possible heart defect – a missing valve to be exact. 

WHATTTTT.

As I think of her and her unborn baby, my prayer is that the Lord would also protect her heart and mind from being afraid. Our encounter wasn’t chance. It was a reminder to me that God continues to work in the details of our situation; a reminder that we aren’t just a scary statistic of 1 in 22,000. I hope, in some way, it was an encouragement to her as well.

Her baby girl’s name is Madison. If you think of praying for our Edith, consider also praying for baby Madison. Pray for our server and her boyfriend/husband that they would feel comforted walking through this uncertainty.

I Know That Face. I Know That Feeling.

A Week Gone By

It’s been just over a week since the first time we heard that our girl has a congenital heart defect. And let me be honest, it has been the longest week of my life. (I could probably say the same for Chris.) Every day now tends to tick by pretty slowly. It’s probably a combination of the fact that the medicine that they have me on keeps me from sleeping well, and the weight of every day counting at this point.

Today is our first follow up appointment since last week. We have a team of three new doctor’s groups now, so the weeks leading up to her birth are going to be busy. Today we meet with the neonatal cardiologist, to do a check up on her heart and make sure she hasn’t built up any fluid around her organs due to lack of adequate blood pumping. We will also be touring Eggleston Children’s Hospital today – seeing the facility and meeting the surgeons that will be with our girl as soon as she’s born. (I feel like I have 243579238 questions to ask them, but I can’t think of a single one.)

I’m not sure how I will handle today. My hope is that it is an extra ounce of encouragement and reassurance for me, knowing she’s in the best care possible. There’s another part of me that’s afraid this will be my reality check and/or meltdown moment – the realization that the dreams that I have for our Edith may not be reality.

The timing in all of this has been laid out for us before we knew what was coming. Where I work, we have been going through a study of the book of James. Yesterday we talked through the end of James 4, and how making our plans without trusting the Lord to lay them before us is arrogant. It made me think about how I’ve had my birth plan laid out since before we found out I was pregnant with Edith; how I’ve had dreams of taking her home and what those first few weeks with a two year old and a newborn would look like; how Chris and I have talked about what she may look like or if her personality will be anything like her big sisters.

Eloise was an emergency c-section and NICU baby. I dreamed that we wouldn’t have to endure any of that with Edith. That I would go into labor “like normal”, we would rush to the hospital, she would come on her own, healthy. I dreamed about introducing Eloise to her baby sister at the hospital. I dreamed about leaving the hospital with our new baby girl, headed home to experience life as a family of four, with a two year old and a new baby (and all the craziness that entails).

That won’t happen. As soon as she’s developed enough, we will set a date and time, I’ll be wheeled into the operating room and she’ll enter the world much like her sister did. I won’t likely get to hold her after she’s born, as she’ll be immediately swept away to be hooked up to monitors and tubes. She’ll then be moved to another hospital where she’ll have surgery, and I’ll be recovering separately from my own surgery. There’s no telling how long her hospital stay will be. We will, again, leave the hospital without our new girl.

We have dreams for our children. We want good for them. I want my girls to grow up to love the Lord, love each other, and have beautiful families of their own one day. And it’s not that those are bad things…they’re great things. But those are MY dreams. I’m realizing through this process that my dreams don’t and won’t necessarily look like the dreams that my girls will have for themselves. Or more importantly, what the Lord has planned for their lives – things greater than I can even understand, especially right now.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t have moments of fear, worry, or even anger creep in. I am learning how to rest in the truths that I know. It’s tough in the midst of life’s uncertainties. My mom always said to me growing up “don’t forget in the darkness what has been revealed to you in the light”. (She’s such a wise woman. Everyone needs a mom like mine.) That replays in my mind now. Here’s what I know to be true:

  • I am GREATLY loved and cared for, by both my Abba Father and friends and family.
  • Our Lord loves our Edith WAY more than I do.
  • He CAN heal her heart completely.
  • If her heart isn’t healed completely, it’s not because He doesn’t love me or her.
  • Nothing is wasted. He works ALL things for my good.
  • God is good. He was good before we found out about any of this. He is good today. He will be good tomorrow.

The body of Christ has been more real to us in this last week, than maybe I have ever noticed before. The kind words, the affirmation of prayers, and simple acts of kindness haven’t gone unnoticed. They’ve refreshed our spirits in JUST the right moments. We thank you.

How you can continue to pray for us:

  • That Edith’s heart would be COMPLETELY healed.
  • That we would be confident in the plan that the Lord has for our family.
  • That any fear in our hearts and minds would be wiped away.
  • That the medicine that I’m on would stop making me feel like crud.

 

A Week Gone By

Chance Encounter…Hardly.

I’m trying to write down everything; I don’t want to forget all of the moments of encouragement along these next few days/weeks/months. 

We got out of the hospital yesterday. Having been cooped up for three days, attached to tubes and monitors, I needed to get out. I had Chris take me to Target (holla!) for a few things this afternoon. As we were leaving, I asked him to stop by TJ Maxx and let me peak and see if they had any newborn size sleepers, since it’s very likely our girl will come early, and be on the smaller side. (I haven’t bought anything newborn size up to this point, because, well, we didn’t use that size for our Eloise.) He, quite frankly, hates stores like TJ Maxx, so he stayed in the car with E as I popped in for a quick peak at their baby section…or so I thought.

I walked right to where I needed to look, but there was an older couple in the aisle, so I couldn’t get to the size I needed. Instead, I meandered around the aisles of larger children’s clothing, toys, and accessories, waiting on them to finish their shopping before I started looking. The older lady was digging through racks of dresses while her husband watched. I rounded the corner and the older gentleman walked right up to me, without hesitation. This is the conversation that followed:

Man: “Is that a girl that you’re having?” (pointing to my protruding baby bump)

Me: “It sure is!”

Man: “Is this your first?”

Me: “No, I have another little girl who’s almost two. This will be our second girl.”

Man: “Let me just tell you, little girls are special. We had sons, and then had three grandsons. Finally we got a granddaughter.”

Me: “They’re a lot of fun. And even more fun to shop for!”

Man: “Our granddaughter is extra special. She’s a fighter. When she was born, she immediately had to have heart surgery.”

I felt like my jaw dropped, as I could feel my eyes start watering up.

Me: “Our little girl is going to be extra special too. When she’s born, she’s going to have to immediately have surgery to fix her heart.”

He asked some questions about her condition, to which I answered to the best of my ability. The gentleman then called his wife over and explained what had just went down. She looked at me and proceeded to ask if I was a Christian and if I would be okay if she prayed over me and our unborn girl. As she laid hands on my belly, she began thanking Jesus for “our perfectly formed baby”. She prayed that any fear would be wiped away from my spirit. She prayed that whatever was causing her heart to malfunction would be healed.

I’m not really sure what I said after that. I stood in the middle of TJ Maxx, crying.

Chance encounter? Hardly. 

I left without purchasing a thing. I never even looked at the newborn section.

But I guess I wasn’t supposed to be shopping for newborn clothes today. 

Chance Encounter…Hardly.

The Words No Mama Wants To Hear

“Your baby’s heart rate is dropping.”

“If I had a scalpel here, I would cut you open and deliver her now.”

“There may not be enough time.”

At 9:00 am on Tuesday morning, those words rocked our worlds. Tears poured out of Chris’ eyes as I paced the doctor’s office room trying to maintain some sort of composure, while simultaneously searching my brain for an ounce of Truth to cling to. I had a few scriptures I’ve stored away in my heart come to mind, but the song Good Good Father came rushing in. I sat in the doctor’s office singing that song. I rode in the ambulance singing that song. I laid on the hospital bed, scared, surrounded by 4 doctors, 3 nurses, and 2 anesthesiologists singing that song. (And as I sit here still, tears just stream down my face as all of those emotions come right back…ugh, can I blame it on the hormones?)

A routine OB appointment, at only 25 weeks, the day before, turned in to a referral to a specialist. The visit to the specialist the following day turned into two different ambulance rides, two different hospitals, and three days in a hospital room (so far).

So, what’s going on? At just 25 weeks gestation, our Edith has been diagnosed with a level 3 congenital heart block. Basically, her top chambers beat normally, but don’t communicate to the bottom chambers, which are beating at less than half the speed of the top. A normal heart in utero beats between 120-160 bpm. Our girl’s is beating at about 60. This will most likely require surgery immediately following her birth, which we hope to make to 36 weeks gestation.

Being in a hospital room, by yourself, gives you some time to process – not sure if that’s a good thing or bad thing. For me, probably good, because I can tend to internalize until I explode.

I’ve been trying to process what the remainder of this pregnancy will look like.

(It will likely be filled with numerous doctor’s visits, closely monitoring every movement and every heart beat. It will likely be much shorter than we had anticipated. And my plans for a VBAC are long gone – seems silly, but for real though.)

I’ve been trying to process what our Edith’s life will look like as soon as she makes her entrance. 

(It will likely mean immediate surgery once she’s born to insert a pacemaker into her tiny abdomen. It will likely mean time in the NICU – been there done that and honestly dreading going back to that place. It will likely mean lots and lots of doctor’s visits. Maybe even some complications.)

What I haven’t been trying to process is “why”.

Why not? Because, really, it doesn’t matter. The better question I’ve posed is “why not me?” “Why not us?” We have been given EVERYTHING we need to walk through this uncertainty with grace and truth. We’ve got this and I don’t question the why. Instead, I am petitioning our Heavenly Father boldly asking that He heal her heart, completely. I trust the team of doctors that are surrounding us. I am SO grateful for modern medicine – without it, our story could look very different. But I also know that the God that holds the universe in the palm of His hand, holds me, my family, and our unborn girl. Psalm 147:3 tells me that “God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” This has become my verse for our girl. We often think of a broken heart as something emotional. I am clinging to the physical promise. My God CAN heal her heart. I am solely focused on doing what needs to be done to ensure that our girl has the best chance for thriving.

If you know me, even a little, you know that I don’t enjoy living in a world of unknowns. We are surrounded by many unknowns right now. We don’t know how long her heart will hold out, and when she will make her arrival. We don’t know what the hours/days/weeks/years will look like after she’s born. We don’t know how any of this will fit in “our budget”. We don’t know what’s going on with my body to create these antibodies that are attacking her heart systems. Unknowns are scary. And these unknowns are particularly scary. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have moments of fear flood my soul.

But I have NOT been given a spirit of fear. I have been given a spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind!

I believe that the Lord has been preparing us for this season. I have shared with many of my coworkers that I am in a huge season of not knowing what’s going on. I feel like these, now seemingly minor, unknowns, have prepared me for this. Chris, at the beginning of this week, before any of this came to fruition, shared with me how he believes God is merely asking him to trust Him, no strings attached. Chris’ answer was, “I trust you”. And then all this has happened…talk about a testing of one’s trust. (PS- I am SO grateful that I have such a strong man to walk through this with. He’s a gift to me, and I cannot imagine having to do this without his strength, kindness, and grace beside me.)

It’s an hour by hour process at this point. Each day counts. We sincerely thank everyone for the outpouring of love, prayers, phone calls, text messages, food, flowers, encouragement, help with our animals at home, and visits. I may not have responded to every message, but we’ve seen them all and the love is overwhelming. We feel the prayers. Already, God is answering prayers that we didn’t know would be possible just days ago.

We’re beginning to try to wrap our heads around what preparing for a special needs baby is going to look like. Again, I don’t have those answers. But I know that I don’t have to. And I know who does!

How you can continue to pray for our girl:

  • That her body will continue to develop in utero, as close to that 36 week mark as possible. 
  • That her heart would be MIRACULOUSLY healed. Formed perfect, leaving even the most experienced doctors stumped.
  • That Chris and I would trust. Simply trust.
  • That any necessary preparations would be taken care of without stress or fear. 
  • For wisdom for each of the doctors that we are seeing, to know what’s best for our girl.
The Words No Mama Wants To Hear

What’s Next…

Let me start by saying I’m not a writer. This is just a jumbled compilation of my thoughts. But I digress…

So, what’s next for our crew?

We have a beautiful 16 month old. We just recently bought a new house that we absolutely LOVE. Chris is working full time as the manager of a Starbucks. And I’m working part time as the manager for a non-profit thrift store. We love our little life. Everyone is happy and healthy. But just as we began to feel like we are settling in to life (whatever that means), we both began to feel like there was something more.

(Funny how God is always calling us to something more, right?)

So, what’s that mean?

New jobs? Nope.

A puppy? Oh heck no! (Agreed. Heck no. -C)

…Babies? (Raise your hand if you’ve been waiting for that B word…) Well, maybe. (My hand has been raised for over a year, just saying. -C)

Let’s back up to when I was just a little girl. For as long as I can honestly remember, I have felt a desire to care for children that weren’t my own. Odd, though, because until Eloise was born, I never really considered myself to have that natural maternal thing. Like, I never really enjoyed watching other people’s kids. But ever since becoming a mom, I’m that crazy lady that wants to hold strangers babies. I cry at commercials of kids getting really excited over puppies. I think that maternal thing I was lacking early on is making up for lost time.

(Chris history, or Christory if I may, is as follows… As far back as I can recall, my mom was the neighborhood/county babysitter. At one point I want to say we had 13 non-Benson kids in my house on the daily. It was our little daycare system. I knew how to change diapers and wipe snotty noses before I could legibly write my name. The desires that Alex had growing up were things that were already very familiar to me. -C)

But really, looking back now I believe that the Lord was stirring something in my heart from a young age. When Chris and I met we talked about a family and having kids of our own. And adoption was usually a topic of conversation when family was mentioned. We were totally on the same page.

Fast forward to a few months ago. It was back in early summer, right around when Eloise turned 1. It’s funny, you see, because when your kid turns one, suddenly people feel the urge to insist you start reproducing again. And Chris and I were suddenly like, “shouldn’t we be having more babies now?” But as the conversations began happening about growing our family, we kept coming back around to the idea of adoption. Like I mentioned, since we had known each other we had known it was something that we wanted to do eventually. But it was becoming more and more evident, through prayer and talking with each other, that the “eventually” was sooner rather than later.

There’s a lady that goes to church with us who conducts home studies for adoption agencies. We asked her if we could pick her brain. We were clueless and didn’t know where to start. We met with her for an hour or so just to chat and gather information. She was super helpful and we left that meeting excited to begin our adoption journey. We had the paperwork in hand, but we could never get the pen to the paper. You know that uneasy feeling where you just can’t go further? We took that as a sign from the Lord that it wasn’t the right time. We felt like God was saying “not yet”.

And then…I thought I was pregnant. If anything will add confirmation to putting an adoption plan on hold, it’s thinking you’re pregnant. (She speaks truth. -C) We’re still not sure what happened. May have been a miscarriage. Or maybe my body was just acting all out of sorts. Could have just been the confirmation from the Lord. Yeah, we’ll go with that.

So now, we’re like in August. Pause on the adoption idea. Thought I was pregnant, but I wasn’t. And through the midst of the past four-ish months, I kept having encounters with people, friends and strangers alike, where foster care would come up in conversation. It’s almost laughable now, looking back just over the past few months and the obvious closing and opening of doors and the conversations that are so evidently Heaven breathed.

Fast forward to today. We, through prayer, conversation, and meetings, have decided to partner with Faithbridge Foster Care and plan to complete our foster training by the end of November of this year. What does this look like? I have no idea. We are answering the Lord’s clear call on our lives to be foster parents. (Whoop! -C) We are open to the possibility of adopting. Other than that, we’re trusting Jesus for the answers and walking in faith. We don’t know what’s next. So, what does that mean for you? That means you can pray for us. Pray for us each individually. Pray for us as a family. There are up front financial obligations to become certified foster parents through the state. We are trusting the Lord to take care of it all. We will be on the look out for furniture to furnish a secondary bedroom, as that is required before any child can be placed. There are a lot of unknowns. Stepping into the realm of the unknown can be intimidating. Many days I feel like I don’t know how to be the best parent to my own kid, let alone someone else’s. That’s kind of scary. But I am choosing to believe that God’s grace is sufficient for me! We are SO excited and expectant!

We cannot wait to see how the Lord is going to write our family’s story!

If you’re interested more in what Faithbridge does, check out their website – http://www.faithbridgefostercare.org

If you want to know more specifics on how you can pray for or support us, email Alex at alexandranbenson@outlook.com

-A

(Just a quick shout out to my bride. She doesn’t know I’m doing this. Well now she does, and now she’s mad I wont let her read what I’m writing. God give her the grace to forgive me for stealing her blog.

Alex has a heart that is normal sized, but goes all Grinch and grows to 3 times its original size when it comes to Kingdom things. She doesn’t stop at “good enough,” but rather “there is literally no more room/funds/needs but maybe just one more thing!” So when we first started seriously talking about adoption, she pursued every avenue, keeping me updated every step of the way. Then after the mysterious maybe-pregnancy, she did the same with Faithbridge. Alex has such an amazing heart, and she wants to so be used by God to love all the children in the world. It is evident in everything she does. She would take in a hundred little orphan children if she could, and never complain about it. I give full props to my amazing bride, because she has been the one to really get this train rolling for us Bensons. We are excited for what God is in store for us as a family. Please be praying for us as we follow God’s call. -C)

What’s Next…