Wednesday, October 29, 2014

3 Years of Chosen

Our boy turns one very soon.
 I'm in some kind of weird state of denial that he has already been in our lives for a year. It has been such an amazing year full of transition, joy, exhaustion, learning, and love. As I look back I am amazed at how much our lives have changed. We didn't have a lot of notice before Isaac came into our lives, and everything shifted so quickly and so dramatically. The one thing I feel above everything is thankfulness…and I'm in awe at how just right it feels.

We ran The Chosen Marathon for the third year in a row. Each year has brought about different emotions for me. Since this blog serves as a time capsule of sorts, and at the ripe old age of 28 things are already starting to blur, I've decided to do a recap.

Year 1--We had just started the adoption process and had no baby in our arms or minds, only in our hearts. My step-dad, Chuck, had unexpectedly passed away the week before. We were determined to keep running. We ran. I remember clutching a laminated photo of Chuck and praying for our future child as I crossed the finish line. It was a moment I'll never forget. I hugged my real dad and said goodbye for the last time at that race as well. Little did I know, he would fall victim to addiction and the mental illness that had plagued him for years, and take his life less than 2 months later. Running that race was hard, but if there is one thing  marathoners and families who adopt have in common: it's endurance.



Year 2-- We weren't going to run. It was too painful to move, let alone run in some of the months leading up to the race. We were still healing from the loss/failed placement of our first son in Jamaica, Alex. There were moments that I couldn't fathom enduring 13 miles of memories along the same path that I ran the year before praying for our child with every step. However, we felt an nudging in our spirits to continue with a domestic adoption, and within six weeks of our new paperwork being complete we were selected by a birth mom to parent her unborn child. We created a team and rallied our forces, although our team was smaller than the precious year, it was mighty! We met with Isaac's birth parents the night before the race. We drove down to New Braunfels after the meeting just talking and praying. Our whole lives were about to change. Running that race for the second year was exhilarating. I ran and remembered my time with Alex in Jamaica with a painful gratitude I  can't quite describe. I ran and remembered my Dads and who they were to me, and how they impacted my life and brought me to where I am today. I ran for a little boy who would be in my arms very soon. I felt afraid and vulnerable, but I ran anyway. I let go of my fear that things would fall through on that race course. I let go of the very real possibility that my heart would shatter into a million pieces when it was barely put back together in the first place. I  called my son by name for the first time on that race course when a stranger cheering on the runners asked me who I was running for. "My son, Isaac!" I said barely able to catch my breath.


The only thing that ever made sense to me amongst all the confusion and heartache was to move forward. Step by step. Running became a tangible metaphor for my life. The radiant symbolism has been hard to ignore.

I crossed the finish line that second year with tears streaming down my face when I had the realization that next year, God willing, I'd cross the finish line with my baby.

Year 3-
And cross we did. A beautiful, momentous, & victorious cross!


I'm still reeling from the excitement that was year 3. The weather was perfect and the anticipation and anxiousness was palpable. We packed our river house full of runners and supporters that got up early that morning to head to the race. Some very dear friends surprised us from Dallas, which made me even more emotional! I am always so blown away by the love and support that we have in our lives. The run itself was beautiful as always. I had two partners along the course encouraging me and pushing me forward. The thought of meeting my little one towards the finish line propelled me every step. That moment was exactly what I'd been hoping for and dreaming of for three years! The moment was sacred and victorious. I could hardly breath because I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

After showering and resting up after the race, it was time to get ready for Isaac's first birthday party. The theme of the party was befitting, Baby Steps. Half of the members in attendance were limping around due to the day's earlier muscle exertion, but it only added to the fun! It was such a joy to celebrate our boy overlooking the very river we had prayed for him for three years. Burgers, games, laughter, and community with our tribe.

Pretty proud to be (almost) one!
Cake by Aunt Lauren @ Mrs. Weber Bakes





To top off the celebrations, we met our goal this year to raise money and provide shoes for the children at Robin's Nest in Jamaica. It brings me so much joy to bless the wonderful directors, staff, and children at "The Nest."

As you can see, this race means more to me than just an early morning run in the Hill Country. This race is so symbolic of what makes my very heartbeat.

See ya next year Chosen, I'll run this race until my legs fall off . Thanks for blessing us in so many ways!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Baby Steps For A Baby's Steps





We bought a house and are loving getting to know our new neighborhood and area! I'm so excited to get our many boxes of junk valuable treasures completely unpacked and organized. I'm compulsive when it comes to decorating and getting settled in, so I have already done quite a bit.

Isaac is growing and developing in leaps and bounds. I can hardly keep up with everything he's learning and doing. He pulls up on just about anything he can get his
hands on, whether it's a stable object (ie. coffee table) or not, (ie. cat), He is standing alone, and continuously telling me all sorts of things in a very enthusiastic tone.


I digress....
About the RACE!


I've been in touch with the directors at Robin's Nest about their greatest needs. Although she mentioned several, there was one that really tugged at my heart.


Shoes...


These babies need shoes. Two pair to be exact.


I have about a GAH-JILLION pairs of shoes...seriously, I counted. And these littles are asking for two. I think we can accomplish this people! Oh readers of my blog, whether few or many, I am APPEALING TO YOU! Robin's Nest is home to about 30 sweet children. If we provide two pairs of shoes for every child at around $25-$30 dollars a pair we're talking $750-$900 dollars.
Totally do-able! If we raise more than that, all the better! (They have many other needs at the home that can be addressed.)

Team Baby Steps is up to about a dozen confirmed runners (or walkers) at this point and I am legitimately ECSTATIC about that! But, I've had several people who (and I quote)..."Only run if something is chasing me..." ask if they can still help the team...


short answer YES!


WHAT IF YOU ARE NOT A RUNNER BUT STILL WANT TO BE A PART OF OUR TEAM?


You can sleep in, not run, (you don't even have to show up if you don't want to) and still help.


You can register as a "Sleepwalker".

*100% of your registration fees will go straight to our team*


Also, did you know there is a kid's fun run?! I hope to instill our love of running in Isaac, although something tells me he will love to run. It's a great way to support the team and enjoy some family time in a great atmosphere.


Can you tell I'm super passionate about this? I believe we are called to the cause of orphans, and Jamaica is permanently etched in my heart. I feel honored and blessed to support the beautiful country where our first son, Alex, calls home.


Here's registration info:
http://www.athleteguild.com/running/new-braunfels-tx/2014-chosen-marathon
Want to know more about Robin's Nest?
http://www.robinsnestchildrenshome.org/


Please contact Adam or me if you have any questions. Much Love!


K, A & I

















Saturday, June 28, 2014

Coming Home

A lot has been going on lately. That may just be the understatement of the century. I actually had to go back and read my last blog to know where to start.

We finalized Isaac's adoption in court on May 16. One of the best days of my life to date. We had over a dozen of our friends and family standing in the courtroom behind us as we raised our hands and pledged before a judge to love and care for our son unconditionally, forever. I looked over my shoulder at one point during the hearing to see our tribe with their hands raised too. It was so moving to feel the love and support around us. We went back home and hosted a brunch for everyone to come and celebrate.




I can't quite express what it feels like to have everything finalized. I guess I never quite realized how vulnerable our hearts were until that judge declared "forever". I realized that on May 16 I took my first breath in six months.







Another BIG announcement we have to make is that we've moved back to Houston. Our house sold in Grapevine in 3 days! Adam got a new position with his company, and I couldn't be more proud of my hard workin' man!

It's been an interesting experience coming "home". Bittersweet for sure. We created a wonderful life in Grapevine and made many phenomenal friends who feel like family. We became a family of three in Grapevine, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

We're in a temporary apartment for the time being while aggressivley house hunting. We're waiting and praying for just the right one! I'm loving the time spent with family and friends that I have missed so much. Isaac is getting more snuggles than ever.

We had an amazing "Owl Love You Forever" party in Houston to celebrate Isaac's finalization. We had over 80 people in attendance to show their love and support. I was blown away! Our little guy is so very loved and prayed for. My heart is still swelling with gratitude!

We're also prepping for the Chosen Marathon 2014 which will be on October 25! Team Baby Steps is back! As long as my legs are able, I will run this race. We have been so blessed by this organization, and I am honored to be a part of blessing others this year. Although we will not be raising money to help support our own adoption (at least not this year ;)), we are raising funds for an incredible children's home in Jamaica. It is no secret that the beautiful island of Jamaica still holds some very dear pieces of our hearts. We will be racing to support Robin's Nest Children's Home. I am so excited for this opportunity to bless the children.  A few years ago, Adam and I  had the opportunity to visit Robin's Nest, tour the facilities, and meet the directors. My favorite part, however, was loving on the the precious babies. I'll post more details on the specific ways in which we will be able to help them out in some coming posts.

If you're interested in running with us check out the info on Chosen Marathon  HERE & for more information on the Children's Home our team will be working to support, please click HERE.









Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Second Verse

Have you ever listened to a song you've heard a million times only to hear a verse of the song you've never heard before? Well, that happened to me this Easter Sunday. I knew this year's Easter festivities would bring a mix of emotions to my heart.

It was Isaac's first Easter and that brought me so much joy, excitement, and anticipation. However, it also brought back memories of  last year celebrating the holiday in Jamaica with Alex.  This year's Easter also happened to fall one day after Alex's birth father came to take him. You can read more about that day here.

I've had a plethora of "last year at this time I was…" thoughts over the past twelve months. Somehow I found solace in the fact that I hadn't been gone a year…It was as if the months equated to miles, and it made me less far away.

Needless to say, thoughts of Alex were swelling on my mind and heart all morning on Easter Sunday. It is still sharply painful to return to the day I left Jamaica in my mind. That's not to say that I haven't known joy or happiness since that day, because I most certainly have. One thing (amongst many) I've learned since we adopted Isaac is that the love and joy children bring into our lives is multiplied, not divided. Having Isaac doesn't make me miss or love Alex any less, and the time we spent with Alex doesn't make my intense and unconditional love for Isaac waver at all.
On our way to church this year
My two sons. I love them both so much. Two brothers that may never meet. 
Isaac with some of his Easter eggs
On our way to church last year 

Alex with his Easter basket

I've always been a worrier. Seriously guys, you can ask my mom. I remember distinctly in kindergarten that one of my primary concerns was not whether my snack pack was chocolate or vanilla, but instead my primary concern was the latest updates on the conflicts in Bosnia. I recall many nights insisting that I sit up past my bedtime with my parents and watch the weather forecast if there was even the faintest scent of rain in the air. 

Since I've become a parent my tendencies to worry have skyrocketed. I have never been more aware of the brokenness in this world since I was blessed with the title of momma. 

I worry about about both Isaac and Alex. Although the worries and fears that I have on their behalves look distinctly different,  I worry all the same. 

God is continually showing me in many different ways that fear and faith cannot occupy the same space, and that He has a plan. 

At church this Sunday was no exception. As I held my sleeping babe and sang the same familiar song I'd sung a million times, I sang and prayed for both of my sons. I prayed over their lives and asked God's blessing and favor for them. 

The song did not end when I thought it would, instead the pianist kept playing the melody, and the congregation launched into the second verse. 

Second verse?? 

I never knew this quintessential Easter song had a second verse? As the unfamiliar words were so beautifully sung, the lyrics permeated my heart. 

The song is Because He Lives, and the second verse goes like this:

How sweet to hold
A newborn baby
And feel the pride
And joy he gives
But greater still
The calm assurance
This child can face
Uncertain days
Just Because He lives


Okay, Lord. I hear you. Loud and clear. You're saying, "I've got this. I've got them. They were mine first. Be still, don't worry."

You see, as a mom, I'd love for my sons to live lives that are free of pain and suffering. If I had it my way I'd prefer for them to be immune to what it's like to be gut-wrenched with grief.

However, What God so clearly showed me on Sunday is that a pain-free life is not realistic. Our world is wrought with pain and suffering.  However, we can walk ahead through hard and seemingly unbearable seasons with confidence knowing that God is in control. We have a joy that abounds in us that is so great, because our Redeemer lives! (I only know the first verse of that song, too!)

There is so much freedom in submitting worry and fear to God. It is so liberating to trust and find rest in His sovereign plan.

We finalize Isaac's adoption next month. My heart is bursting with excitement and joy! We've got exciting events in store to celebrate. I'll post more details soon.