The Conclusion…for now

Ok, I’m back with the last bit of the story of how Ezra came to us…keep in mind it isn’t wrapped up all nice and neatly at the end…there are still things that are uncertain; legal documents that need signed, and a last name that needs changed, before he is fully ours in the eyes of the law…but, spoiler alert, he is already fully ours in our hearts…this is just the conclusion of our journey to one another…

“He’s here!” A strange voice spoke on the other end of the phone, she told me what hospital and that baby and birth mom were both doing great, and she would like us to come to the hospital. I got off the phone and looked at my dad and older son…we were packing up a pack-n-play at my aunts house which would serve as baby’s bed until we could get a basinet or crib…I don’t remember much after that point, I guess I drove home, waited for Ian to get there, called my mom I think…it’s all kind of a blur…I just kept thinking, “did she say he?”

When Ian got home we rushed to the hospital and made it there before she was even in her room. We went to a waiting area and I can not even describe the emotions and fear and anxiety flowing through me…and then I saw them…I won’t ever forget that moment. We were sitting in a waiting area…trying to decide just how long to wait before checking the room again to see if they were there…and then I saw a stretcher start to come down the other end of the hall followed by a baby in one of those weird plastic cribs they put babies in at the hospitals. As they got closer I saw it was birth mom. I stood up, exchanged a few words with her to see how she was and tell her we’d be to the room soon…and then I saw him.

 

He was perfection!

The first moment I saw him the desire to run over to him and touch him, to sweep him into my arms and kiss his face was so incredibly intense…but it was tempered by uncertainty and a desire to respect this young woman…so instead I watched him pass by with out touching him, sat back down, and waited until it was appropriate to join them in the room. The entire time I felt like my whole being…not just my heart…was just going to explode out of me.

When we finally got to the room there were other people there…a friend of hers and some teachers that had supported her through her pregnancy…I felt so awkward. But, they immediately greeted us at the parents and were so excited both for her and us and over this little baby boy. I spent that evening in awe of this young woman as she gushed over her little boy, telling him how beautiful and perfect he was, how much she loved him…and then asking us what we wanted to name him, telling us she’d already signed all the paperwork so we could stay at the hospital with him, asking us what we wanted on some medical decisions that needed to be made…I found myself in awe of how selflessly she was loving this little boy.

When we told her the name we liked, everyone in the room agreed…it was a good strong name, and it was perfect…baby boy became Ezra Dante.

I don’t know how to put the hospital experience into words really. I think I experienced a full range of human emotion during that time. The moment I held him I felt peace and wholeness…he fit and my arms didn’t ever want to let him go, it was like my arms missed him the minute he left them…the moments I had to leave him to spend time with birth mom my heart wanted to spin out of control into fear and anxiety…the first time a nurse left him with Ian and I and walked out of the room I found myself wondering if I really could do this…then I’d walk by the nurses station to ask a question and they’d refer to me as Ezra’s mom, or us as the adoptive parents and the joy would bubble up in my heart…but when the nurse came in and told me we would be going home in 2 hours I have to admit I got hit with a wave of overwhelming everything…fear birth mom would change her mind, anxiety that I didn’t know what to do, excitement and joy because soon I would be walking out of that hospital with my baby boy and taking him home!

It’s been a month and a half since we stood out front of that hospital and said goodbye to Ezra’s birth mom…crazy how something can feel like it just happened, but also feel so long ago…there were hugs and words of gratitude and so many tears. Then we put him in the car and brought him home for the first time ever.

There are still so many emotions…it’ll be 6 months before the adoption is finalized and he has our last name…which means that I find myself hit by waves of fear, anxiety, and doubt daily. But our hearts decided not to wait 6 months…we have completely fallen in love with this little guy…the newest Dizon!

There is so much more to the story…because so much of it hasn’t even been lived out yet…but this is where we end for now…Ezra in our home and in our hearts.

The Continuation

“Would you be interested in adopting her baby?”

I don’t remember much of the conversation that followed…I remember asking some basic questions about her. She was young, very far along in her pregnancy…we were told 8 months at the time…and she was in need of a family for the baby she had decided to give up for adoption months before. There is more to be told of course, more layers to the story, more to why us and why then…but to go into those things is to wade into the waters of someone else’s story…and not for me to tell.

As I heard the words “would you be interested in adopting her baby,” something happened in my heart, it was like a jolt of energy pulsed right through it…and I knew…I knew the answer was yes.

I saw the months of heartbreak, the desire for a child I had wrestled with, the grief of loosing a child, and the preparation of my heart for an infant…something I had never been fully confident in wanting before…in an instant, something deep inside of me knew…and all I could think was, “this is what we have been waiting for.

Ian and I left the conversation and I did the only thing I could think to do…I ran to find my best friend. I found her husband instead, “What do you need her for?” he asked “EMOTIONAL SUPPORT!” I said as I ran off to call her.

I don’t remember much of our conversation over the phone…except there were both tears and laughter…and sooooo much excitement…as she reminded me she had predicted this was how Dizon #2 would come to us one day…and encouragement that I could do this, that Ian and I could do this, and that we wouldn’t be doing it alone.

The next several days are a blur. We got in touch with the adoption agency we used with Andrew. They reassured us that 8 months pregnant meant we would have to work fast, but that it was possible to get us certified in time and they would work with us to make it happen…then when we found out she was actually due in just a few days, we all scrambled to get background checks done and paperwork in to make it the impossible happen. Ian and I started to pick out car seats, bottles, diapers, and to communicate to the people in our lives that NEEDED to know that a big change could be coming…all while not yet having met Ezra’s birth mom or even really knowing if this was for real.

I was riding an emotional roller coaster of uncertainty and excitement. Maternal instincts were kicking in and I wanted to prepare for my child…but was this my child…it was happening so fast I needed to prepare for this child…but if it wasn’t my child wouldn’t it just hurt too bad if I began preparing and dreaming and hoping…if I didn’t prepare and it was my child how would we get home from the hospital, or change diapers, or feed…basically my mind and emotions were everywhere.

Saturday…one week after the conversation that changed my life…we met birth mom.

We left the meeting reassured that this truly was what she wanted for her child, and completely impressed by how selflessly she loved the baby growing inside of her. It seemed that a baby was coming our way soon…so we ordered a car seat, bought some diapers, grabbed some basic things from my cousin, cleaned the house, and did all the laundry…we did everything we could think of and manage to do as quickly as we could do it to prepare for what may happen…at this point it’s worth noting that we had all decided that baby was a girl and dreams of pink and sweet dresses were part of the preparation.

Then Sunday we got a phone call…he was here!

…to be continued…again…I know, it’s just cruel…but the next part is already written this time…I’ll post next Tuesday.

Featured image by Michaella Photography the last image by me 🙂

 

…HOPE…

I’ve been seeing lots of posts in the last week about people choosing 1 word to define their 2017…I guess it’s the new resolution…and while at first I thought it was a little bit silly and a bit lazy…how much easier is it to pick a word than set an actual goal…but then I realized that I have a word…HOPE.

It’s not a magical word that suddenly became meaningful or important as the clock struck midnight on 12/31/2016…in fact my most recent tattoo and a recent blog post Faith>Fear are both focused on HOPE…but it is the word I want to hold on to as I walk boldly into 2017.

Four years ago Ian and I were waiting for a child. We didn’t know how God would choose to bring this child to us…but we knew there would be a child. We didn’t know when He would bring our child to us…but we knew there would be a child.

 And then sometimes I didn’t know…sometimes I doubted. Sometimes I felt it would never happen…the obstacles seemed too great. Sometimes fear took over and it drove out hope and I found myself afraid to even speak my desires for fear of the pain that would come with failure.

One night Ian and I had the privilege of speaking with a couple that had adopted. They shared their story with us, it was powerful and incredible, but then at the end of the conversation the husband said something that spoke straight to my heart…and continues to run through my mind over and over…

“Don’t be afraid to hope.”

That moment changed my heart. I decided to share with people the things God had put on my heart, I began to speak openly about our path to pursue adoption. When God began to place specifics on our hearts about a 12 year old boy, HOPE is what gave me the boldness to pray for my child, to begin to write him letters, and to share with others to pray for him…because I knew there was a child.

Our boy would have come to us even if I doubted…but would I have been ready for him, would I have been so quick to answer the call…how many people got to see this AMAZING thing God did, because I choose not to be afraid…because I choose to HOPE.

A few months ago “don’t be afraid to HOPE” began playing in my head again…over and over and over…I don’t know if this is the year we grow. I don’t know when or where the next Dizon is coming from, I don’t know how old…or even how many…their will be this time…but I know there will be more children.

I will not be afraid to HOPE!
I will cling to HOPE with all my might!

I will remind myself that my HOPE lies outside of life’s circumstances, that my HOPE is constant and steady, that with all 2017 throws at me…good, bad, disappointing, joyous, and painful…that HOPE will remain.

This may seem crazy to some of you…most of you…but I know I have more children, I know some of them are already in this world and my heart is sick from waiting for them…but I will HOPE and I will trust God’s perfect timing.

Please join my family as we pray for direction, timing, and provision on bringing more of our children home. Step 1 is finishing the basement so we have room for more.

This Christmas

It’s December! The cold has arrived…kind of…snow has fallen…a little…Christmas lights are going up all over the neighborhood, the shopping has begun, the Christmas worship rehearsals have begun…goodbye lazy Sunday afternoons as a family…and the plans for Christmas Day have begun.

So far, this holiday season has been the hardest on my boy. I don’t know if it’s because it will be just the three of us this Christmas…no big trips to London or grandparents visiting…or if it’s because he’s getting older and emotionally processing the losses he’s experienced differently…or if it’s simply because with time he’s finally allowing himself to remember and to miss those he’s lost.

All I know is that my boy misses mom #2.

She LOVED Christmas! She loved decorating, went all out with décor and throw pillows and lights all over the house.

I am just not that person.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, I’m just not a major decorator. I have some simple decorations I put around the house…and then forget about and leave out the whole year…sometimes we put some lights around outside…but I don’t have throw pillows and garlands don’t hang gracefully from my ceiling.

Andrew misses that. He misses the decorations and the garlands and Christmas throw blankets…because they remind him of his mom and his Grandma…and they are who he really misses. He wishes he could have just one more Christmas with them. One more Christmas full of tradition and routine…because his Christmases now are anything but routine and we have weird traditions…

As mom #3 I find myself in this awkward place of being fully mom…but also not…sometimes I find myself wondering what mom #2 would have done…if she would have been better at handling a situation…and this Christmas I have found myself wondering if I should be better at decorating to fill that spot in his hurting heart.

I want to help his hurts, to fix his pains…but these are hurts that can not be fixed, they can heal but they will forever leave scars, they will forever be tender spots in his heart…even if our house turns into Santa’s workshop it will still hurt…it may even make it hurt worse, because it would be me pretending to be her

So instead I bought him a tree for his bedroom…I set it up for him so that when he came home from school it was there and ready to be decorated…because I wanted him to know I love him and I wanted his heart to find comfort, and I thought that instead of me pretending if it was him finding joy in decorating his space it might be healing…he loved it!

But then…

I get all ugly on him because he wants lights to hang all over his room, and he wants to use lights I had planned for decorating the porch…yeah right like that will happen…and he asks if he can get some of those $3 wired lights from the dollar spot at Target and I suddenly transform from loving mom to selfish beast…I grinched outwhy would I buy more lights when we have a box downstairs that work perfectly fine you just don’t like the color and you’ll just have to use what’s there…he leaves to go back upstairs and “make do” with what we have.

He doesn’t give me attitude or get yucky back at me, he just says ok and walks away…but I can see the disappointment on his face.

And that’s when the quite, peaceful, and loving voice inside me starts to talk to me…why did you do that? Isn’t it the most important thing that he knows you care, that you see his pain and that you are a place of comfort? Are your things and plans really more important to you than bringing his heart joy? Just spend the $9 to make his heart glad!

So, we went and got him lights and now it looks like Christmas exploded inside of his room!

As mom #3 I recognize how easy it would have been for this child to take the stance that he already has a mom…two in fact…and to lock me out of his heart.

I am so grateful for my boy who has a heart open to all three of his moms. He calls us all mom…he says things like my mom before this, or my birth mom, or this mom so casually it both blesses and breaks my heart…he loves us all for different reasons and in different ways, but he loves us all as his moms…and the weight of this is not lost on me…even when I have grinchy moments!

“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & depth of that privilege are not lost on me.”
-Joy Landers

the Story of Us

Today I want to tell you the story of how Ian and I went from two to three. For those of you who have been around for awhile, who know us personally, or who have followed my previous blog you’ve heard the story before…but hopefully reading it again won’t be boring…because it’s really quite an amazing story…I thought about just copying and pasting from my old blog…but I wrote that when Andrew had been with us for 6 months…now it’s been almost 3 years…so it’s time for a rewrite!

Andrew is our first child…and currently only, but hopefully not for long…and he came to us when he was 12 years old. It’s an incredible story! It’s incredibly sad and incredibly painful and at the same time so incredibly full of hope. He came to us through great loss, and at 15 my boy has been marked by grief unlike most adults I know. But God orchestrated our story in a way that demonstrated to all three of us His goodness, His ability to reach through pain and grief and death…through all the horrors of this sinful and fallen world actually…and provide comfort and bring new life and just absolutely transform something awful into something great.

This story begins with grief, with life in an orphanage, and then with great joy as an incredible single woman chose him, loved him, and gave him her name. For 12 years she raised him, even retiring early to spend all her time with him…she truly adored the child she had chosen. And then she got sick and in the moments after being hit with the news of the severity of her illness she picked up and made a phone call to find this child she loved a family.

My story…at least this part of the story…also beings in an orphanage and with a moment holding a little girl that changed my life. I was a teenager and I suddenly realized that having two parents…and ones that loved me and cared for me and sacrificed for me…was an incredible gift that not every child on earth has. Something happened in my heart in that moment and suddenly I wanted to be a mom…specifically a mom to children who need a mom. Because having loving parents shouldn’t be a privilege…it’s just what’s right!

Years…decades…later I met a man who felt the same way, and so when we became us adoption wasn’t a question of if but when.

Two years in we felt the Lord stirring our hearts that the time had come. We began praying with a group of friends, taking parenting classes, and preparing our home and finances for a child. Our heart was to adopt an older child. We started praying at 6, and then the number kept getting higher and then for some reason we both started praying about adopting a 12 year old…I thought I was crazy, who adopts a 12 year old as their first child…but we just prayed and trusted God. Then one by one everyone in our prayer group began praying for our boy…I’m still not sure how it happened, but slowly the vague child in all our hearts and prayers became a 12 year old boy.

Nine months later, that’s exactly what we got…seriously though, not even kidding, nine months later a 12 year old moved into our home.

Those nine months were some of the most discouraging I have ever faced, but they grew in me a trust in the Lord like I had never had before. Proverbs 13:12 would just repeat through my mind…Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life…my heart was sick and it literally hurt to wait for him. When I turned to Ian with my discouragement he would tell me “It’ll happen when it’s time, we don’t need to try to make this happen.”

AHHHHHHH….does he not understand how adoption works?!?!?! It doesn’t just happen, children don’t just fall into your lap, you have to make it happen. 

Yet, it seems that sometimes that’s exactly how it works.

One Wednesday morning I received the heartbreaking news that the mother of one of my students was dying, and that she had called the school principal to ask for help in finding him a new family, a family that would raise him to know Jesus, a family with a godly father…oh yeah, and he was 12.

As I listened it to the story it seemed that time stopped and a million things ran through my mind at once. It was like all these different pieces of my life, the challenges we had been experiencing in finishing our paperwork, the things we had been praying about, holding that little girl when I was 16…they all made sense in an instant.

And I knew.

I walked away overwhelmed, a 12 year old boy in need of a family had just come into our lives…actually he didn’t just come into our lives, he was already in our lives. When Ian walked into the room…he had heard the news separately…I’m honestly not even sure if we talked. If we did, we didn’t say much. We both knew that this was what God had been preparing us for. We were supposed to open our home to Andrew. It would either be for a season while his mother was healed and restored, or it would be forever, but either way it was what we were supposed to do.

That day, the way we responded, it was such a bizarre experience. I don’t know if I can even really explain it. It was more of an instinct or reaction than a decision. The Lord had been preparing us and leading us, so when it happened we just moved.

The next several days were surreal.

When we met with Andrew’s mom, her trust in the Lord’s plan for her son, and her trust in us were so incredibly humbling. She was the first person to call us mom and dad…she chose us. I am so overwhelmed by the selflessness and faith of this woman, she wanted him to start staying with us immediately.

She passed into heaven just a few short months later. A few months after that, he became a Dizon as the adoption was finalized.
Now he’s 15. And this summer has been a big season of change, and loss, and grief again. I started thinking about his story, and how incredible it is that God made His hand so obvious in it. We remind Andrew of this from time to time…because we believe that there will come times/seasons/moments in his life that he will need to know very clearly that God brought us together as a family, that God provided home for him not once but twice.

But in writing this something else has struck me…I need to know.

Because, I don’t feel capable of this…of mothering a teenager, of loving him, of encouraging and disciplining him. It’s been a hard summer, and I feel like a failure! But God brought us together, He chose us to be a family, He chose me to be Andrew’s mom.

That’s a reminder I needed today.

 

***Quick Frippery House update***

I have a launch date! Hashing some last details out