Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pictures!



My smiley little boy on Christmas Eve


Grandpa Hal trying to get Steven interested in his new toy :)




Getting a bottle from Nannie




Meeting Aunt Beth



It's hard work being a little baby! (and apparently a new grandfather too!!)

It's Been a LONG Week

I wrote the on Friday, but for some reason it didn't post!

It's hard to believe that two weeks ago tonight we were meeting with Steven's birthmother and praying that she would choose us to raise her son. Now we're nearing the end of our second week with him, and it's hard to remember what it was like without him!

Some highlights from this week:

1. We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with my parents. We always go to the Christmas Eve service, which closes with a candle light time. Each year my dad lights his candle first, then my mom, sisters, Mark, and I light ours of his, and then we go around the auditorium and light everyone else's. This year I carried Steven with me, and it was so neat to have him be a part of that tradition.

After the service, we always go to my parents' house and watch a Christmas movie (Elf this year) and have pizza and shrimp (and a few other things). After that we open our stockings, which haven't actually been in stockings for a really long time. Each of us buys a stocking stuffer for everyone else, so it is fun to see what everyone comes up with. After that, we open the rest of our gifts so we can sleep in on Christmas day! (And so we look nice in the pictures instead of looking like we just woke up, according to my mom.)

The best gift this year was an ornament my dad gave to Steven. He went to five stores before finding one with a little black baby on it, and when he went to get Steven's name put on it, the girl asked him it he would rather a boy one instead of the girl one he had :) He was just so excited to find a little black one that nothing else mattered I guess!

2. Mark's parents and sister Beth came out to meet Steven on Wednesday, and they seemed to enjoy their time together. They left this morning, so it was a quick trip, but they were happy to meet their new grandson.

3. We bought Steven's stroller and car seat yesterday. I'm excited to have that done, even though I still have to finish putting together the stroller. I stopped when it called for a hammer. I will be even more excited when it is no longer in the middle of our living room!

4. We had our first heart stopping experience as parents last night. Around 5:00 this morning, Steven let out the worst scream/shriek I've ever heard. I grabbed him out of his bassinet because it was obvious something was wrong. He was bright red (which says a lot when he's a black baby) and would really calm down. We were afraid that he had choked or had his mouth/nose covered or something, so I didn't want to put him back down. Eventually, we figured out that it was gas, so we did what we could, which wasn't much, and then tried to settle him down. He finally wore himself out about TWO HOURS later. Poor little guy. Today a friend gave us some gas drops to try. I don't want to have another night like last night!

5. To top the week off, Mark came home sick from work today. I could probably count on one hand the number of times Mark has missed work because he was sick, so this is not good at all. I had him take the night time formula several hours ago even though he said that he should take the daytime one to be able to help out with Steven tonight. That was sweet, but I know that he needs to rest. That doesn't mean that I'm looking forward to doing all of the feedings tonight though!

I'll try to post pictures tomorrow. Posting now would involve my getting up and tracking down the camera, flash drive, adapter, etc. I'm way too tired for that!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Who Knew?

I would have never guessed that finding 184 diapers on your front step would be so exciting! Thanks, Kristen!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The New Swing!

On Wednesday, we got a nice surprise when we opened the front door! My Aunt Becky bought us our swing, and it has been amazing. Steven just loves it, and he takes most of his naps in it. He even tracks the bird and butterflies on the mobile, and eventually he'll notice the mirror above him.

We have just been so blessed by everything that people have done for us. My friend Rachel came over on Thursday to help me out while Mark was at work, and I definitely needed her there that day! She was great to just help me out and keep me company (and keep me sane!). She also called on Tuesday to find out what we needed and showed up a little bit later with burp cloths and receiving blankets.

Our Sunday School class has been bringing over meals, and our friends Kris and Katrina have been invaluable. They are letting us use their car seat and their son's clothes and have given us a lot of encouragement and advice (part of which was to only follow other people's advice if we wanted to, including theirs!). Katrina also helped me out with my Target registry and is coordinating our shower (Jan. 7th--the same night as OSU's national championship game!).

Other friends have prayed, offered use of various items, and given us very cute gifts. It is just so awesome to be a part of a family of Christians!


A Very Content Baby

We've found that Steven is generally a very content baby. As long as we feed him, hold him, and let him sleep, he's good to go. He fusses a little bit when he's hungry or tired, but it doesn't go to a full blown cry very often.

However, he has been having the hiccups A LOT the last two days, and he really doesn't like that. His poor little body just shakes with each one. I know that part of the problem is that he eats too fast some of the time. He uses stage 2 nipples, and he really should be using stage 1. His foster parents were feeding him with the faster nipple, so when I gave him his first bottle with the newborn nipples, he didn't like having to work so hard.

Any advice?


Just a cute little peanut!


Hanging Out with Grandpa

Dad finally got to hold Steven last night after he helped Mark put together the crib. Dad's had a cold since we brought Steven home, so it was nice for them to finally get to hang out, even if only for a few minutes!



The Close-to-Being-Finished Nursery!

Last night my parents came over, and Mark and Dad set up the crib. We are really pleased with how good it looks! Here are a few pictures of the nursery.



The finished crib.



This is the bedding my parents drove 45 minutes on a bad weather day to get so that we could start painting the room. They're awesome!

Can you believe that we have several (okay, quite a few) more shelves of books for Steven? He will be one well-read baby!



My mom is going to make a cover for the chair. . .when we find the time :)



The little man's clothes. We sure appreciate Eli's letting us borrow his newborn and 0-3 month clothes!



Trying out the new place--I think it'll work!

Such a LITTLE man!


We still have to finish the dresser. My mom is stenciling it, and I also need to get the letters for his name that we're putting above his dresser. We're also painting the fan to match the room and need to get curtains, but considering we haven't even had the little guy for a full week, I think we're doing pretty well!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thank you, Marie!!

Yesterday my friend Marie loaned us a basinette. It's the traditional kind that it about bed height, and I had been wanting one but definitely didn't want to spend the money on it. Last night I put a rolled up blanket under the top part of the mattress to raise it and then placed Steven on his side in it (propped up by another rolled up blanket), and. . .he slept!!!

He woke up at 2:00 and 4:00, and I fed him both times (2:00 was only a half bottle). He seems to be pretty congested, so he was having a bit of a hard time breathing, but he fell back asleep both times fairly easily. We just went without the pacifier so he could breathe easier. It was so nice to have him right by my side of the bed, and I had already set out bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, and purell. My bedside table has a bit of everything on it! That allowed Mark to sleep most of the night while I took care of Steven.

This morning Mark got up with Steven around 7:30, and I slept in a bit longer. I was glad that it worked out for Mark to sleep better through the night because he goes back to work tomorrow :( and he needs to get his sleep if he's going to be able to focus at work!

So, thank you Marie for letting us sleep last night!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Day of Firsts

Today's been a big day for both Steven and us. We're getting to know each other and learn how life is going to work. In the process, we've had some small adventures.

1. Mommy got to experience green buggers. It was not a good sign when she started dry heaving :(

2. Steven got to hang out in a swing that someone is loaning us, and he LOVED it. He slept in it for hours, which allowed us to actually get a few small things done. He does a really good job of focusing and tracking things, and he enjoyed watching the fish rotating on the mobile.







3. Steven also got his first bath at our house. He did really well and didn't really fuss at all! It was a bit of a challenge for us, but we all came out cleaner in the end :)



Yum! The burb cloth from Aunt Rachel must be very tasty!


Look at those curls!

4. Steven is sleeping in a borrowed bassinette tonight. I placed a rolled blanket under part of the mattress so he'd be on an incline. I also put him on his side. We're hoping that he'll sleep tonight! (And since we now know that he sleeps in the swing, we have a back up plan!)

Well, mom and dad are off to bed. Tomorrow we'll post pictures of his newly painted nursery. Grandma (and Grandpa if he starts feeling better) is coming over to set up the crib, and then we can start getting our house back in order. (Probably a lost cause, but I'm being optimistic!)

Have a good night!

Steven's Story

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we brought home our son, Steven James! He was born on Thanksgiving Day and weighed in at 6 lbs. 2 ozs. and was 21 inches long. He was a few weeks early, so he spent some time in the NICU.

His birthmom had already contacted Bethany Christian, so after he was discharged, he went to live with his interim care parents (similar to foster care parents), Mary and Allen. A week ago Friday (Dec. 7), we were contacted by Dawn at Bethany and asked if we were interested in him. We scrambled and put together our portfolio (picture scrapbook), and waited and prayed.

She looked at two portfolios on Thursday (Dec. 14), and even though the other couple already had a biracial daughter, she felt a connection to us and liked that we had been together for so long (12 years on Jan. 4!!). We met her on Friday night and really hit it off. We went to visit Steven on Saturday at Mary and Allen's and got to know him a bit. Steven's birthmother went to court yesterday and relinquished her rights, and we brought him home yesterday afternoon.

In the midst of this, we had our last homestudy visit (no, we weren't approved yet!), and rushed togther our psychological evaluation reports, financial statement, and other details. Our poor sick social worker got the report finished this weekend, and we were approved yesterday morning!

Steven was named after his birthfather, and after calling him that for the week we were praying and waiting, we just couldn't change his name. After visiting him on Saturday, we went through our list of 15+ names (we never had a boy's name picked out, so that was a scramble too!), we said that he didn't seem like a Jacob or Michael or Silas or any of the others. So his name stayed the same. His middle name is James, after my dad.

Yesterday at the courthouse, Dawn told his birthmother that we kept his name, and she was really touched by it. It is a nice gift for him to have the name his birthmother picked out for him, and we liked that he was named after his birthfather.

Steven is a pretty easy going little guy. He likes to eat and sleep and just be held. The only real problem we've had is that he's not used to sleeping on a flat surface (he slept in a bouncy seat at Mary and Allen's), so he and Mark were up most of the night. Mark was so sweet and took his pillow and Steven to the living room and let me sleep the entire night. When I got up this morning, Mark went back to sleep and Steven and I hung out.

Thank you to all who have prayed for us. The past eleven days have been an absolute whirlwind, but God's hand has been so evident in this process. I only got one class for next quarter, so I'm only teaching on Friday nights. I'm also on break and don't go back to work until Jan. 11, and we had been praying for a long time for a baby by the end of the year. What an amazing God we have!!

We can't wait for each of you to meet Steven!

Love,

Rebekah, Mark, and Steven (and Sadie and Jo too!)

An Answered Prayer!

I think this sums up our day.



For more pictures from today, see my dad's facebook page!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Big Day!

Well, tomorrow's the big day. Steven's birthmom, has a court hearing at 10:00 a.m. to official relinquish her rights. Please pray for her; I can't imagine what she's going through right now. We have no doubt that she'll go through with it, but I'm sure it'll be hard.

After that, the social worker will meet us at Bethany's office, but it's about an hour or so from the courthouse. We'll sign our paperwork (probably around noon) and then go pick up our son! He's about 30-45 minutes south of the office, so it will be sometime in the afternoon by the time we get him.

Tonight we had a friend call to see if we wanted help painting, and four of them came over and helped us get Steven's room painted! It looks really good, so we might be able to get by with just one coat. We'll have to see what it looks like tomorrow when it's dry and the sun is out. It nice to have such good friends--they truly are a blessing!

We've also been washing clothes, sterilizing bottles, and realizing the things that we still need (such as a diaper pail or at least a garbage can with a lid!). We already have been blessed with so much though. My parents bought us our crib and mattress; Katie and Lauren bought us our bedding as an early shower present; and Katie also bought us an extra pack of diapers! A friend just brought over clothes, a boppy to use until we get our own, and a car seat to use for now. Even more so, she brought advice and encouragement. We are overwhelmed on so many levels, but it is amazing how God is providing.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, encouraged us, and given to us. We truly appreciate all that you have done. I can't imagine trying to do this without a community of Christian friends to walk through it with us!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Introducing Steven James!!

Today we met our little guy, and we absolutely LOVE him!! We stayed for about an hour and got to feed him and everything. We took over the cutest little outfit, but it was way too big for him--the pants would have come up to his little nose! We would have gotten him one in newborn size, but they didn't have any :( But, we did get to put on his little Christmas onsie!


Notice that in almost all the pictures he is looking at us!










We're Parents!!

I'm way too tired to tell the story now, but here are some pictures of our little guy (we meet him Saturday and bring him home Monday!!!) and his birthmom. He was born on Thanksgiving day and is just over 3 weeks old. This has completely taken us for a loop, so we don't even have a name for him yet!






Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Facebook Update

so, there's no news today. thanks so much for praying--i had a peace that could only come from God today, and it was such a blessing! keep praying, and i'll let you know when i hear something!

Adoption Request

In the morning (Wednesday) we have our third, and hopefully final, homestudy visit. Please pray that everything goes smoothly as we wrap up this stage of the process. It's been a stressful week so far because of all the adoption stuff we have going on. We truly appreciate your prayers for us!

Poor Pup!

Sadie LOVES looking outside, but she is running out of places to do it. First we moved our couch in front of the living room window, then we put the toy box/bench under the dining room window, and finally, we put curtains on it. This means that there is only a tiny tiny space for her to rest her paws on to look out. (And we rarely have the door open, esp. now!)

Yesterday I was working at the dining room table, and I heard the dog making some noise. I'm still not sure if she were doing it because something was outside or if it were because the cat was sitting on that tiny tiny space she can use.

The cat definitely interpreted it as being at her, and she gave the dog quite the death stare. It was quite creepy. I finally intervened and sent both of them away. Poor pup, all she wants to do is look outside!


Please don't leave me!!


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Keeping Busy!

I am trying to keep busy right now, so I decided to strip the wallpaper in the baby's room today. My friend Katie came over to help (and my mom stopped by and helped for a while too!), and we almost got it finished. There is only 1 1/2 small panels left. After that, I need to wash off the glue residue and prime the walls.

We aren't painting it until we have a baby, and if it's a boy, we'll have to wait until our bedding comes in. (The girl's bedding is sold in store and not just online.) I mentioned making it gender neutral, but Mark really wanted it to be pink if it's a girl and blue if it's a boy :) So did I, but I thought that I'd at least give him the option of getting it down now.

I can't wait to see what it looks like when it's finished!

**If you want to see two really cute nursery's, check out Maddie and Jack's blog!**

FYI

I HATE grading papers, and I've been doing it ALL day. Yuck!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Interesting Question

Tonight Mark and I went to a Red Wings hockey game. WM has a suite, and the group that was going to use it tonight went to the Lions game instead (I'm sure they're regretting that now!), so we were invited.

While we were sitting there, the person next to Mark said that he knows very little about adoption and asked it it were hard. We said that it was a lot of work and steps, and then he asked how it worked. No lie, this is what he said--"So, do you just go into a room of babies and pick the one you want?" Not quite. Obviously we explained that it was the opposite--that we make a book about ourselves and birth parents come in, look at the books, and choose a family.

I didn't realize how little some people know about adoption. He was very interested in it and not demeaning or derogatory like some many other people are. If only everyone asked questions like he did there might be more adoptions and fewer children languishing in foster care and orphanages.

Finally Finished!

As some of you may know, I've been dragging my feet on making our adoption scrapbook/portfolio. At first I was really excited to get it going and went out and bought the supplies, went to the agency to look at other people's books, and everything. But when it came time to actually do it, I froze. The knowledge that someone would look at the book and decide whether or not to give us their child is overwhelming.

But, this weekend I was motivated to work on it, and I did! I deleted a few pages that I planned on putting in it (holidays and friends), but I figure I can always put them in later if I want to. I just needed to finish it.

At the end of the book, I included this poem that I wrote several years ago. It just seemed to fit.

How Will God Send You?

Will you be our own flesh and blood,
A blending of Mark and me,
A tangible result of our love?

Will you be a sacrifice of love,
Tearfully given by the one who
Conceived you, carried you, and delivered you,
Only to give you to us,
The ones chosen to raise her child?

Will you be matched to us
By an oh-so-far-away agency,
Trying to create families,
Making the careful matches,
Holding others’ happiness in their hands?

Does it even matter how you come?
You will be ours regardless
Of how you arrive.
You will be the answer to so many prayers,
The product of years of waiting and believing,
God’s gift to us.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

To my Grace Livingston Hill Fan

I have a gift for you, but I don't have your address. I tried looking you up online, but I'm pretty sure the address listed is an old one. E-mail me your new one and then watch your mail box!!

Weekly Wrap

1. Fall Quarter is almost officially over! I had my last class on Wednesday, and grades are due by Monday. I still have a decent bit of grading to do, but it shouldn't take too too long.

2. Tomorrow night we're going to our first Red Wings hockey game! Even better, our tickets were free, and they're in a suite!

3. I met my sales goal for my Lia Sophia jewelry party. I couldn't believe it when my boss bought a necklace from me! I also have FIVE commitments for parties and at least one more pending. I need at least six by the end of January, so that's really cool!

4. Mark got our new computer reconfigured and hooked up to the internet. It's nice to have a working desktop again! (Esp. since it's the computer that has a printer!)

5. I sold six books on ebay and am going to the post office soon to mail them out. Once I figure out how much I made, I'm posting a few more things. I have boxes of books that are leftovers from garage sale donations (and we donated several boxes to Salvation Army too!). Some of the books I have are from the early 1900s, so that's pretty cool.

6. I only have one Christmas gift left to buy. I finished all my other shopping a week or two ago. It's nice to not have to worry about that! I just need to get a few things for myself (my parents give us money, we buy our own gifts, they wrap them, and if we can guess what it is before we open it, we get a dollar!). So far, I've bought a few Lia Sophia earrings, necklaces, and a bracelet with my hostess bonus perks. I can't wait for them to come in!

7. This Wednesday is our last homestudy visit. After that, our social worker writes up her 8+ page report recommending us. We also need to put together our portfolio scrapbook (doing today!) and read some adoption/parenting articles our social worker gave us. She won't approve us until she gets her binder of articles back, so that's definitely on the agenda for this week! We're also getting ready to start stripping the wallpaper in the nursery. We're going to just prime the walls and then paint it sometime after we have our baby.

Please pray for us as we continue in this process. It gets really stressful at time because there are so many uncertainties. For a planner like me, it's especially hard to not know when we'll have our baby. It's so comforting to know that God has a child picked out for us and that He is in control of our adoption. It will be hard if we are not chosen at first, but as a good friend reminded me, God has the perfect family picked out for each child, and it may not be us, and at the same time, He has the perfect child picked out for us, so would we really want a different one? It doesn't mean that it's going to be easy if that happens, but it does mean that we can rest in God's plan.

Thanks for all your prayers and support as we adopt our baby!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Job Updates

Well, I accepted the Friday night Comp. I class. I am still praying that something else opens up, but at least I have something right now. The only catch is that there are only 8 students registered for it right now. There has to be 5 to have the class, but sometimes they try to combine two sections of the class to save money. We're praying that that doesn't happen with this class. My dean didn't seem to think that it was too likely since most Friday night students are taking a weekend class because nothing else will work for them.

I also talked to my dean regarding my Writing Center hours. I had e-mailed her my request for hours right after she sent the schedule out, but she didn't get it/forgot to put me in the schedule. There is still an 11-4 time block on Thursdays, so I've requested it. I'm praying that I'll get the entire time block; that will really help us out.

This weekend I also put some books on e-bay. It's my first time selling anything there, and so far, I have bids on two of the six books. I have several more boxes of books to sell, so I am hoping that this turns out to be a good source of money!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Weekly Wrap

1. There's nothing quite like hanging out with friends to cheer you up! On Friday, Rachel and I went shopping, and as you can see, we had a good time. It was well worth the four quarters we spent!





2. On Friday night, I had my starter show as a Lia Sophia advisor, and several people were able to come. It was a small group, but we still had fun. I came up a bit short of my sales, so I am keeping my show open for an extra week to get a few more orders. (So, if you want to get some really cool jewelry, let me know!) I already have several shows scheduled for next month--I'm well on my way to getting six by the end of January. Yay!!


3. My friend Amy came up for the weekend. We had a good time just hanging out. We stayed up late, slept in, watched chick flicks, and went to Ikea. What could be better than that??


4. I only have three days of classes left. Two of those days are presentations, and the last one is a final. I stil have plenty of papers to grade, but I'm in a pretty good spot to get it done early.


5. I still haven't decided if I'm accepting the Friday night class yet. I miss teaching terribly when I take time off, but I'd still be tutoring in the Writing Center, and I love doing that. I'm really hesitant to give up my Friday nights since I'm working on getting my Lia Sophia business up and running. Friday nights are a prime time for parties. I have to let my dean know tomorrow, so I'm sure Mark and I'll be discussing it tonight.


6. I went to the doctor on Friday because I'd been coughing so badly. I've always had a chronic cough, so I don't even realize how much I cough, but it got a lot worse over Thanksgiving. I talked to my friend and she said that I probably have bad sinuses. It was an epiphany--not everyone always feels like they are choking. So I made an appointment with my doctor and asked for a referral to and ear, nose, and throat specialist.


Instead, she gave me breathing tests, and apparently, I have asthma. I can't believe it. Asthma. So now I'm on a routine of inhalers and a nasal spray. I'm having a really hard time with it, but I know that eventually it will start making a difference in how I feel. It's just hard to believe that that's been my problem. I always thought of asthma as being wheezing, not constantly coughing, but from what I've been learning, it makes sense. I still have a lot left to learn about it though. I'm going to see a specialist sometime--I'm thinking of waiting until January when our new insurance kicks in. I'm sure I'll get a lot of my questions answered then.

Conversation at Front Door

Guy at door: Is your mom home?

Me: No.

Guy: Is your dad at home?

Me: No.

Guy: Would you like to buy some candy?

Me: No.

Guy: Okay then. Have a good day.

In the background--Mark laughing.

(This used to bother me a lot more, but now I use it to my advantage! At school, though, it's a different story. Yes, I'm your professor, and you do have to listen to me!)