Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sight Seeing in Atlanta

Today was very eventful and I am beginning to understand why my Dad doesn't like crowds.   It's much more difficult with a baby.  Every sneeze and ever cough makes me cringe.  We kept Ryker nice and covered unless we were taking a photo :)  I used the Moby Wrap to carry him around most of the day and it was incredible! 
Our good friends Laurie and Josh know a couple in Atlanta and they were kind enough to get us tickets to the CNN center, for a tour, and to Coca-Cola World.  The Aquarium was right next door, so we decided to make it a day and hit all three.  Ryker slept most of the time and he got lots of people gocking over his adorable little face.  He was such a trooper!  We had a lot of fun seeing some of the highlights of Atlanta, but I think we are going to stay in for New Year's Eve tomorrow and rest.

Here's some photo's of the day....
My little sweet!

All ready for the day :-)

With my boy at the Coca-Cola World...I'm still a Pepsi girl though

Here we are at the Aquarium in front of "Depo" their version of "Nemo"

I love my boys!  Tyler and Ryker in front of a water fall at the handsome!

We are still waiting to hear that the paperwork has gone through, so we can head home.  We are enjoying every moment with our new baby and loving spending time with the family that has taken us in here.  There are so many blessing to be thankful for through this process and I'm just overwhelmed by God's goodness!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meeting Ryker

He was in Jon's arms, the caring home father, watching football and sound asleep.  He has the most precious little face and his lips were pursed together because he had just finished eating.  His eyes were closed and he was wrapped up tightly in a blanket.  Jon placed him in my arms and it took everything in me not to break down at that moment.  This was our baby, God had orchestrated all of this and now he was lying in my arms.  Tyler took photo's and then we sat on the couch and marveled at this beautiful baby boy, who we decided to name Ryker Lawerance Gray.  He was perfect in every way and it felt surreal to finally be with him. 

We spent a couple hours alone with our new little one and some wonderful bonding time.  Mary and Jon had left over Christmas dinner and we sat around the table with their two girls talking for hours.  We talked later that evening how overwhelming it was to realize how blessed we are.  The Raterman's are some of the nicest people and have completely welcomed us into their home.  They're so helpful to us new parents, who are clueless about a lot of things :)  That evening I fell in love and finally realized what my mom meant when she said so many times, "you have no idea how much I love you."
Monday, the 27th, was a special day.  We spent the morning walking around a local mall as a family.  Ryker got his first lego, which was a police officer and his K-9 (we couldn't resist).  That afternoon we signed the papers, stating Ryker was legally ours as long as the mother does not choose to reclaim her rights by January 3rd.  The birthmom's social worker was there with us and really helped us to feel confident that this is our baby and that the birthmom still feels she made the right decision.  What a beautiful moment!

The Raterman's, Valeeria and us with our baby Ryker!

Mary, Ryker and Valeeria signing papers :-)

Today was filled with lots of sight seeing and fun photo's so here we go....
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and Museum was incredibly humbling

Alright Bronco's I think we might be the first in line for the Georgia game :-) GO BSU!

Laura and Mary with Ryker :)

Mary and Carol....we love them!

We're a varsity family

Ryker bleeds orange and blue, thanks to the beautiful blanket Carol made for him and his BSU onsie Grandpa Bower got cute!

Ok everyone,  I will do my best to keep you updated with photo's.  We are so enjoying our time with Ryker and we have lots to see here in Atlanta.  Please keep us in your prayers.  We have to remember that the birthmom still has until January 3rd to change her mind.  God has really given us a peace that this is His plan for us and that Ryker is our baby, but we still appreciate the prayers.  We are so in love and so thankful to those of you who have been faithfully praying and supporting us through this process.

Our baby journey

Well, we have been on an exciting journey the last month and I need to start off by saying if I've seemed pre-occupied and have been bad about following through with things, I appologize.  My mind has been on one and only thing the last few weeks and at the moment he is snuggled tightly in my husbands arms.  I'll fill you in a little and share with you this incredible baby God has brought into our lives.
November 10th, 2010 we found out that we had been chosen by a girl in Atlanta, Georgia to be the parents of the baby she was carrying.  We were so excited and had no idea how wonderfully God would orchestrate it all.  She is 13 years old and from what we can gather is a very shy and quiet young girl.  She had no idea she was pregnant until she was 6 months along, but thankfully she had been eating well and not putting things in her body that would harm the baby.  When the baby was tested shortly after she realized she was pregnant everything was fine!  Praise God!   Her mother was right along side her helping her through this process and doing her best to help her daughter focus on future goals and getting past this difficult time.  They both went into separate rooms to look at profile books, when they came out they both had our profile at the top of their stack.  We were ecstatic when we received the phone call.   We were told she was due on December 17th and would likely be early due to her age. 

We decided to keep this exciting news in our family because we still had a while and plenty of time for her to change her mind.  We spent much time in prayer that God's will would be played out whether that meant we were to be the parents, or not.  When we first told our family there were tears, joyful smiles and lots of hugs!  Everyone could not wait for this baby to become a part of our family.  The birthmom had decided not to find our the sex of the baby, so we were going to have to wait until they were born.  We actually really liked not knowing and it gave us one more thing to look forward to. 

The weeks leading up to December 17th were filled with anxiousness.  Although I prayed to "be anxious for nothing"  it was difficult to keep myself calm.  We were filled with such peace and trust though.   God was faithful to keep our minds and hearts on his will even as we awaited, not-so patiently, the arrival of this baby. 
December 17th came and went, no sign of this little joy.  The doctor made an appointment to induce the birthmother on December 20th at 6am-Idaho time.  Tyler had to work that day, so he was able to stay busy and keep his mind on work.  I did not, however, so my family made sure to help me fill my day.  I spent lunch with all the girls on my mom's side of the family.  We had a wonderful time and it was so nice to have some girl talk to keep my mind from going crazy.  I still kept my phone in my hand the entire time.   After lunch mom and Grandma took me to look at a rocking chair, which ended up being PERFECT for the baby that was my early baby shower gift :)  When I was headed home my mother in law called, knowing I might be home along, and asked me if she could keep me busy, I said, "YES!"  We went shopping and then met the boys (Ty and his dad) for dinner.  Then, we went shopping again.  By this time it was 8pm and I still had not heard any news.  I was doing alright while Rhonda was with me, but we parted ways for a while and my mind started racing.  As soon as we met back up she gave me a huge hug, I think she could tell I was on the verge of losing my mind.    It is such a surreal feeling to be so many miles away when one of the most life changing moments could be happening any moment. 

I had already been falling in love with our baby, whether this was ours, or not I felt like a mother.  A mother who desperately wanted to hear her child's first cry and comfort them in her a arms.  I've been overwhelmed by this experience to see how God can give you the same connection and love as a mother who carries her child for 9 months.  He has no limits to what he can do to a persons heart.

Still no word when I finally got home at 10pm.  Chase came over and helped lighten the mood by making us laugh and again God knew just what I needed.  It was very comforting having Chase there.  He told us how he thought it was a just had to be a boy.....he really wanted it to be a boy :)  I know he is going to make such an incredible uncle.  He'd have that baby following his ever footstep whether it was a boy or a girl!  Chase headed home because it was getting close to midnight and boy I had no idea the emotions that were next. 

December 20, 2010 at 11:33pm a baby boy was born in Atlanta who would steal our hearts and could not be more perfect.  He was born happy and healthy weighing 6lbs 9oz. and 18.5 inches long.  The week of Christmas seemed to go by like molasses.  Georgia law states that the birthmother has 10 days after surrendering her rights (which she did 24 hours after his birth) to reclaim her rights.  We were encouraged to wait the ten days, but after finding out that the birthmom was very sure about her decision we decided to take the risk and come to Atlanta after only 5 days.  We flew in on December 26th.  Flights were cancelled all around the U.S., but when we landed in Denver it was sunny and when we landed in Atlanta there were a few bumps, but we made it safely!  Our baby was placed in a "caring home"  in Lawrenceville (about an hour north of the airport)  The caring home family had offered their basement apartment to us, to stay while we waiting for the Interstate Compact to finalize....ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS!  The Interstate Compact basically means once the baby is placed with us the State of Georgia has to release the baby to the state of Idaho and it can take up to 14 days.   It is such a blessing to not be cooped up in a hotel, or to be paying for one each night. 
We pulled up to the house at 5:00pm and tried to walk calmly toward the door...we were skipping :-)  Mary, the caring home mother opened the door with a bright smile and said, "Come in, go meet you baby." 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day filled with Blessings!

This afternoon all the girl's on the Sarton (my mom's) side of the family had lunch at this adorable little cafe' in Boise.  The lunch was delicious and most of all it was so wonderful to be with everyone.  My cousins are all growing up before my eyes and I cherish every moment all us girl's are able to make time for just each other!  The cafe' had a fun little (actually HUGE) gift shop, which we had to wonder through after lunch.  They had the most adorable little aprons...I almost bought one in every color.  Mom and Grandma picked me up a little gift, a flamingo ornament :)  They actually both looked at it and thought "stork" in light of our current wait for a little one.  But it definitely was a flamingo.  It's the thought that counts though and it makes for a great laugh!  I think I will just take a sharpie to it and label it "STORK".

After lunch Mom and Grandma also surprised me with a rocking chair!  We have been looking everywhere for a good deal on one and just haven't found it.  They found the perfect one though and it is such a fun future baby present!  I can not wait to sit in that chair, holding out sweet baby.  I am just overwhelmed at how kind and generous our family and friends have been as we prepare.  Every day I am reminded of how God has truly surrounded me with incredible people in my life. 

As soon as I headed home Rhonda called me to see if I needed to get out and about (so sweet).  She knew Tyler was working and I would just be at home, so we headed toward shopping to keep ourselves busy!  I found a great coat and jacket for sale at Macy's and then I finished up my stocking stuffer's for Ty at Target.  My Christmas shopping is COMPLETE!  It feels so nice to be done early this year.  I am usually out there on Christmas Eve still picking things up.  OK, back to my day...after shopping we met the boys (Ty and Glenn) at Jalapeno's for a delicious dinner that hit the spot.   The boys made a quick exit to go on a pursuit, but they were back in no time to finish their meals :)  Oh the life of catching bad guy.  Why do they run?  They always get caught!

Once I got home I did a little cleaning and then spent some time on the couch with my hubby.  Before I knew it, it was 12:06pm (I'll never forget that time).

BEAUTIFUL day filled with BLESSINGS!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Time....My Favorite Time!

I love so much about Christmas!  Mnay of you know family means the world to me and so I love this time of the year becuase we have an excuse to put everything on hold and spend time together.  It seems like the rest of the year we get caught up in busy work and forget to make time for game nights and evenings around the dinner table together. 

I can't help but be reminded of all I'm thankful for and on the top of that list is my wonderful husband.  He makes the Holidays so much fun.  He's so sweet to endure my non-stop Christmas music, decorations and obsession with the Christmas Tree.  He told me the other day, "even if we were gone and came home the night of Christmas we would drive somewhere and find a tree to put up".  What a guy! He is an incredible man and finds a way to show me daily his love for me.  I am so blessed to call him my husband!  

As I said earlier, I love my family and am so thankful for the close relationships we have with each other.  My parents have always made the Holiday Season special and I love the traditions we've had throughout the year, seemingly picking up a new one each year.  And now I have Tyler's family who enjoys Christmas time just as much as I do!  It's so much fun to join in their traditions and our families together have even come up with some of their own.   My parents and Ty's parents have an ongoing gag gift exchange (although that's not limited to Christmas)  It's always an adventure to see what they've found for each other :)

I am ready to soak up every day in December and I'm so thankful that God reminds me daily of His faithfulness.   I do not deserve the many blessings He's given me this year, but I will praise Him for them and I'm so thankful He's blessed me the way He has.  This next year is sure to bring adventures of its own and I can't wait to see what they are!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Worth the Devil's Time

It is so evident when you are walking close with the Lord how the devil works harder to break you down, so that you are not available for God to use you in every way possible!  Personally, I like it when I can tell the devil is attacking me because that means I'm actually doing something worth while for him to attack.  If the decvil's against it, then I am for it!   There's times I just kick my heels up and get comfortable rather than actively seeking to be used for God's glory.  I don't want to be comfortable in this life becuase it's just a temporary home.  I want to be challenged and I want the Lord to bring circumstances into my life that bring me closer to Him, no matter how hard those situations may be.

There are some incredible things happening in my life right now that are testing my faith and drawing me closer and closer to Him.  I'm so thankful to those around me who remind me of His faithfullness! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend Fun!

This weekend was filled with so many fun things!  First off, Ty and I are all finished painting the baby's room and have things somewhat organized.  Here's some photo's:

We bought the cute dresser from Miss Mandy McCain and the adorable crib and lamp, from Barb Keen :)  Thanks Ladies!

Friday night we played at the downtown Flatbread and had so much fun!  Paula and her friend, Desirae and her husband, Jerry and Naomi all came down and they were a great audience!  Desirae sat in on a few songs, I just LOVE her voice!  The first song was a little shakey for us girls because we started it too low (I think we tapped into our masculine side:) 

A bunch of girls came over on Saturday for the perfect girls day!  There were amazing goodies, hot coffee, crafts and lots of fun gifts!  Michelle showed us all how to make super cute shirts, gloves and hats....

Here's some of the creations that were designed by some lovely ladies!

Lys made this adorable shirt!

The weekend was topped off with a great day at church.  We lead worship this morning and Tim's sermon was about Noah.  I've really been feeling God tugging on my heart and challenging me to really stand firm on my faith.  This morning was all about having that faith, long before the "rain" comes.  It's easier to believe God once you see the water rushing in, but He wants you to have faith in His plan long before the flood comes, so that you are in the boat...not stuck out in the rain. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Family Photo's

We had such a fun time taking family photo's last week!  It was a beautiful day outside and the wind helped us girls get that "wind blown" hair without a fan :)

Here's the kids :)

And of course our dog-lickin', lovely family! Oh how I love my boys....

What a Beautiful evening....I am so thankful for family!

Monday, November 8, 2010

cRAfT DaY!

Sunday was filled with great worship, a dear friend getting baptized (making me cry) and CRAFTS!! I went over to Miss Michelle's home and we had such a blast.  She taught me how to make these adorable rosettes that go on just about anything!  I learned how to use a needle and thread, how to use a sewing machine, AND how to successfully hot glue something without getting burned.....I know I know.....I'm becoming so domestic.  What is Ty going to think?

Here's a photo of the cute shirts I made and an adorable hat!  The Shirts only cost me around $5 and the hat Michelle had bought for $1 and we added the cute flower for probably less than ten cents

Today I found these gloves at JoAnne's for $1 and just added a cute little rosette to each one :)

My mom gave me this hat that used to belong to me when I was a baby.  It had a white ribbon that entertwined throughout it, which also dated it a bit.  So, I just added a little flower to the side and hopefully we'll have a baby girl down the road someday who will wear it :)

Thank you so much Michelle for teaching me all these fun creative ideas!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blessings of Adoption

There is something that happens when a mother first feels her baby kick.  There's an excitement and the love grows deeper and more profound with every movement the baby makes.  What about those who are adopting?  Is it possible to love even before first site?  Is it possible to feel a connection? 

There's a hush hushness (I think I just made up that word) about talking with people who are adopting about their experience and therefore I don't think many people know what the journey is really like.   I get the questions, "Have you heard anything", or "How are you doing".   But what about how are you feeling, WHAT are you feeling, what is God doing in all of this.  I know my experience is much different than anyone else.  Just as mothers who carry their babies have different experiences.  But here's how I'm feeling and how God is working.

When we began the process I thought that we would finish our paper work, be on the waiting list, hear about a excited, get things ready for our new little one.....happy/a little scared, go to the hospital, hold our baby, then fall in love.  Was I wrong!  The paperwork part was the hardest for me.  I struggled with feeling like I had this huge responsibility to answer all the questions just right, so that it would all match up with the perfect baby God had chosen for us.  I struggled with that because God wasn't exactly reading out loud what he wanted me to express on paper.  My problem was I felt that I was somehow in control. That if I said the wrong thing it would mess up God's whole plan.   Finally, He got through to me that if I'm truly seeking His will for my life and His will for our baby's life, even my silly words on a piece of paper couldn't mess that up.  I was so relieved when the paperwork was finished though because then I felt I could completely sit back and let God work.   No more boxes to be checked wrong, or questions to be answered wrong. 

He wasn't finished working in me though.  I have been falling deeper and deeper in love with our baby.  And Tyler and I have talked about how strange it is that we have no idea if we're having a boy or a girl, or if they will be born in Washington or Illinois.  All we know is that there's is a baby that God has made perfectly for our family and we have been shaped into the parents that God had planned for him or her.  This love is kind of putting a wrench in my patience though.  With every day I feel I am loving our baby more, but I also am feeling more protective.  Wishing I could be there to protect them, wishing I could feel them kick, or make sure their warm.  I also just simply can not wait to meet our little one!  But we're working on that.   I ultimately want nothing more, nor less that what God has planned, so I know that patience is the area of my life He is zeroing in on. 

Adoption for us is our first choice.  We feel blessed God gave us this desire and we are amazed at what He is doing through this journey.  For anyone who has ever thought of adoption as second choice or second best, it is not.   Perhaps you were adopted and deep down feel your parents went with plan B by having you.  I'm here to say Adoption is God's plan, it's the most amazing choice-no seconds involved.  Family is created out of love, security, God's will and faith; not just blood.  Adoption isn't to "save" a child.  They're probably more likely to save you :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

National Adoption Month

A few years ago I probably couldn't have told you that November was National Adoption Month, but today it is a month that is incredibly dear to my heart.  My husband and I are in the process of having our first baby through adoption.  We have finished all the paper work and are now just waiting for that phone call that our baby is coming :)

What struck me today is that we are all adopted.  Christ talks in the bible about how we are adopted into His Kingdom as His children.  What a beautiful example of adoption.  He chose us, he wants our love and He wants us to be a part of His family.  In the same way, we choose to receive Him, we choose to love Him and choose to love Him as our Father. 

One of my favorite Bible stories is of Esther. I love her faithfulness to Christ, but I also love the amazing love her father had for her and the sacrifices she was willing to make for him and him for her. 
Mordecai adopted an orphan he named Esther, as his own child. He loved her, raised her carefully, and she was a good and obedient daughter even into adulthood. (Esther 2:7)
I'm so thankful for the picture God paints for us of adoption.  It was not made to be different or is one more way God created to bring families together.  It's how we have a Father in Christ and we become children of God and it's a way He gives adults the gift of children and children the gift of parents. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ready for the Holidays

Halloween has just passed and I am so excited for the Holidays to begin.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I love Holiday Bazaar's, Black Friday, Gathering around the table with good food and wonderful family, Christmas music, our nativity, and humbly remembering the amazing love God has for me.

This last weekend we had a great Halloween weekend.  I got off work early on Friday and we headed straight up to McCall for a gig we were playing up there.  It was a fundraiser for the Shepherd's Home and the theme, of course, was Halloween.  There were some amazing costumes and the whole band dressed up :)  VP and Kyle were two black eyed peas in and ipod, Englehorn was Good along with me (Charlie) and Ty (Maverick) from Top Gun, and Troy was a skunk. We had so much fun and ended up closing down the party with music playing and enjoying some Ste. Chappelle wine.  It was such a fun night with good friends and my sweet Hubby.  Saturday I played my first gig with Desirae Bronson and we had a blast!  There was a line, outside of the Downtown Flatbread, filled with crazy costumes.  We found ourselves debating weather or not we should tell some of the Halloween goer's that it was not OK to be wearing what they were, but we decided against it.  Sunday was filled with Grandma's yummy beef stew, family, cute kids trick or treating and spending an hour trying to get Oakley down the stairs.  He was a little afraid.  Apparently I have failed him by not teaching him how to conquer the small mountain all on his own. 

Overall a fun weekend and it's just getting me even more excited for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!