Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Where have the last three months gone? Isaac's infancy seems to be flying by even faster than Bella's did and I feel an urgency to stop time altogether for a moment and just


Holding him close to my chest, I nestle his head beneath my chin, feeling the softness of his downy hair and the warmth of his body. There's nothing in the world like a baby-snuggle and I marvel at the miracle of his creation.

He's growing and changing so quickly that I find I've barely reconciled myself to one stage and he's on to the next. Isaac's sweet smiles have given way to laughter (first laugh 11-10-09) and his calm disposition to joyful recognition (now seeing me from across the room and melting my heart with cooing and smiles). He's reaching out for things that catch his eye and is able to grab them and pull them to his mouth. He rolled over for the first time last night (tummy to back). He loves the Christmas tree, but not quite as much as Dora or Elmo. Much to my chagrin, he's not the sling-baby that Bella was. He tolerates it sometimes, but it isn't the instant solution it was for Bella. It's fun to see their differences already. Unlike Bella, he loves his bouncy seat and will happily kick in it while I'm getting dinner ready.

I love nursing him because it's a wonderful excuse to cuddle. The early awkwardness of breastfeeding has long-since passed. He makes the softest, sweetest noises when he nurses and I fall in love with him all over again every time.

I often think of Jesus' mother Mary and how she must have felt holding Him as a babe. The Bible tells us that after the shepherds visited, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. " (Luke 2:19) And that's what I find myself doing as well.... treasuring this sweet baby boy and each tender moment with him. I've always loved the Christmas story, but am so thankful to be finding new insight in it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009


It was not love at first sight for Isaac and I. Oh, I was excited to meet him, enjoyed holding him and caring for him, and got a kick out of showing him off to others. But having experienced that all-encompassing love that you would expect a parent to have for their child with Bella, I knew that I wasn't there yet. The very first moment I held Bella in my arms, I was captivated. I fell head-over-heels for her and we bonded right away. But with Isaac things were different. I loved him, but I just wasn't anywhere near as attached to him as I was Bella. Until a couple weeks ago. That sweet boy started smiling at me and something inside of me flip-flopped and I was sold. This little guy is just the light of my days. I love having a baby in my arms, love to see his dark blue eyes looking up at me, and LOVE LOVE LOVE his sweet smile. He's grown and changed so much already. Where does the time go? I know the next few months will just fly by and so I'm praying that I'll treasure each and every day. Time is precious!

We gave our son the name Isaac William James Freeman. The name James comes from Greg's grandfather and William from mine. Last week I had the incredible pleasure of introducing my grandfather to his namesake. It was such a sweet moment for all of us and it made me so glad that we gave Isaac his name.

I look at Isaac now, sleeping peacefully beside me, and my heart just swells with love for him and thanksgiving to the God who blessed me with him!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

If I only had one month to live...

Our church, Lake Christian Church, is doing a church-wide study based on the book "One Month to Live" by Kerry and Chris Shook. The idea is to examine yourself and your life and determine what changes you would make if you discovered you only had one month left to live. Would you spend more time with your family? Call those friends you've been meaning to but just never found the time? Evangelize more? Study the Bible more? Become more faithful in your prayer life? Go skydiving? Run a marathon? Forgive the person who hurt you years ago or ask for forgiveness yourself? It's about learning to live your life passionately, loving more completely, learning humbly, and preparing to leave boldly.

As I sit here this morning, looking at my sweet newborn baby boy, I can't help but think that if I only had thirty days left to live, I would hold him every moment of it. I am so thankful for him! He's such a gift to us, such an answered prayer. After so many years of infertility, to be blessed with Isaac just brings a fullness to my heart in a way that is so hard to put into words. It isn't because I finally conceived, but that the Lord blessed us. It's less about the biology of Isaac's arrival and more about the sweet way that the Lord lead us through this entire journey. Does that make sense? As a step-parent and an adoptive parent, I learned that the heart does not require biological ties in order to love unconditionally. I was blessed abundantly with Irene and Isabella in ways I didn't fully expect. Parenting them both has been more challenging and infinitely more rewarding than I had ever anticipated. Had I conceived when I had hoped to, it is likely that I'd never have had either of them. The gift of Isaac is the story of the Lord's sovereignty. It is the acknowledgement that He knows what is best for us and believing in the promises found in the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 29:11-14 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mother of Three

Wow, this post is delayed! Sorry friends! Our sweet Isaac finally arrived on September 4th at 23:23 after 39 hours of labor, weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs 15 oz! Pics soon, I promise!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


She's home. Unhappy, overwhelmed, angry, sad, and defiant, but home. More soon.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Nervous and Sad

A couple weeks ago, Greg and I filed a petition called a CHINS (child in need of supervision) petition. The purpose of this petition is two-fold. Since Irene is a minor we are still financially responsible for anything that she may do. This petition will help protect us. Also, the petition provides services for children in need of them, ie. counseling, drug testing, etc. Essentially what will happen is that we will go before a judge and explain why we filed the petition and what concerns we as parents have about our child. Then Irene will have an opportunity to express her opinion. Finally, the judge will rule on what he thinks is best for Irene. She will be placed on juvenile probation and required to abide by all court instructions, including whatever services they deem necessary for her. She will most likely be ordered to come back home and to abide by our rules and expectations in a respectful manner. If she runs away again, is caught lying to us, skips school, misses her counseling sessions, or in any other way violates her probation, she will go back to court where the judge will determine a juvenile detention sentence of up to ten days. Repeated or severe offenses may result in her being placed in a residential treatment center or group home. The judge may decide to send her to a treatment center right away if he thinks it will best benefit her. We are expecting her to be angry and defiant, but have been assured by the probation officer that the kids in this program eventually resign to cooperate.

We learned yesterday that a member of our church works at the same place as the mother where Irene is staying right now. Apparently this church member has openly shared her opinion that she feels we are too strict with Irene and completely disagrees with the way we parent her. This makes me so sad... I am so weary of people passing judgement on how we parent our children. Have they walked in our shoes? Do they know the whole story? Do they know even a quarter of it? If I chastise my daughter or speak harshly to her, does that automatically make me a bad parent? Am I not human? Could there be more to the story than what is being seen by others? Do children generally come with an instruction booklet that tells parents how to handle perfectly each and every thing that comes up? If so, I appear to have lost ours. We are in general so thankful for our church family, but there have been a couple instances of judgement like this and it is beginning to make me want to keep to myself. Feeling so discouraged.

And all this is happening the week before my due date.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


What a day. Just when we thought it couldn't really get worse, we were proven completely wrong. The lies continue and are spreading out into public domain- lies about why she left and lies about what we've told her since then. All broadcast on Facebook and Myspace. Lovely. And we can top that off by the absolutely disturbing things we discovered in her room today- much too graphic to discuss on the internet.

I'm completely overwhelmed. I'm angry, disgusted, discouraged, disappointed, and so hurt.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The next step

Irene came by yesterday and collected her things. She told Greg that she is permanently moving out. He reiterated that we love her very much and she will always have a place to come home to. So that's where we're at. A half-empty room at the top of the stairs and hearts full of worry and sadness.

Isaac isn't handling the stress very well so Greg and I have decided that I should get away for a couple days. I'm heading to Charlotte to visit Cheryl and try to de-stress. Thank you so much for your support and continued prayers. They mean so much to us during this dark time.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tough Stuff

Some posts are easier to write than others. This is a tough one. In short, Irene has run away (again) and we are absolutely heartbroken. We haven't had any contact with her in over twenty-four hours and aren't even sure where she is. The only thing we are fairly certain about is that she has no intention of returning. She has become incredibly resentful of our authority and the boundaries that we have set. She has been talking about moving out for several months so that she can "do whatever she wants". We've watched with heavy hearts as she has turned against us and the Lord repeatedly, making absolutely devastating decisions. Greg and I have had to admit that at this point, there is very little more that we can do. We cannot even force her to stay under our roof, much less be respectful and obedient under it. We have no control over who she chooses to hang out with or what she chooses to do with them outside of our home.

My heart was absolutely breaking during church this morning and I could not stop the tears. Isaac was kicking quite a bit and it occurred to me that Irene won't be here when he arrives. Where will she be? Will she be safe? When will we see her again? How did we get to this point? What did we do or not do as parents that failed Irene? I replay the last week over and over again in my head, looking for missed opportunites, ashamed of the times I can see that I may have said the wrong thing. I look back over the five years that I've known her and wonder what else could I have done? Can I forgive myself for every failed conversation or every harsh word said? Can I forgive myself for the things I didn't do enough of? Did I live out the gospel in a way she could see it? Did I lift her up or tear her down? Did I show her the love of Christ? I know that no one is perfect, but I have to be honest with myself. The Lord and I have a lot of talking to do.

As you can imagine, Bella is very confused. She doesn't understand where Sissy is and has asked for her repeatedly. She witnessed an argument between Greg and Irene yesterday and only knows that Sissy was angry and then left. Bella broke my heart last night in the car when she told me that she would "be a good listener" and that she "wasn't angry like Sissy". She adores her Sissy, so as a mother I worry about what effect this will have on her. I hope and pray God gives me the wisdom that I need to help Bella through this.

We humbly ask for prayers of protection for Irene, for wisdom and guidance for Greg and I, and for peace for our whole family. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Preparing for Baby

I'm nesting :) There's baby stuff in our house again!

Isaac's coming home outfit and his first ball cap

The co-sleeper, which will attach to my side of the bed when Isaac comes home.

Tiny baby boy clothes, washed and put away.

A recliner in the corner for nursing and the changing table next to our bed...

Breast pump supplies on our kitchen counter!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Keeping my blog updated has been really difficult lately, so I apologize! Things have been crazy around here lately. We had a wonderful visit from Brian and Cheryl and their boys... so much fun! The kids really enjoyed being together, so we're excited that we'll be seeing them again in a week and a half! Bella is going to benefit so much from having a young sibling- she needs to have another child to play with! I just wish she and Isaac were closer in age. Well, maybe not... lol. Let me say that I hope the age difference doesn't prevent them from being playmates. :)

We also took a family vacation to Williamsburg last week and had a wonderful time! We didn't do anything educational whatsoever... theme parks every day! (And let me tell you, my feet were not so thrilled with that!) The weather was great most of the time and the parks weren't crowded yet, so it was the perfect week to go! Water Country USA was a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed when I got there and saw that every single ride says that if you are pregnant you should not ride... especially since my OB had cleared me for the trip and told me there was nothing there that was going to hurt me! But, then I discovered the wave pool and everything was right in the world again! We also went to Busch Gardens several times and had a wonderful time there too! It's a beautiful park with pretty architecture and wonderful shade trees! LOL! You can tell what was important to me this vacation! We had breakfast with the Sesame Street characters and we all enjoyed that. The new Sesame Street Forest of Fun at Busch Gardens was great because they had good rides for little kids, but nowhere near enough seating or shade for hot, tired, and pregnant moms!

Also, Irene spoiled me rotten for Mother's Day with awesome tickets to a New Kids On The Block concert in Virginia Beach. It was the same week we were on vacation in Williamsburg, so it was convenient. We had a BLAST! The concert was awesome and, I think, the best show of the three we've seen this year!

We're doing Bradley Method birthing classes every week and we're really enjoying them. We're learning a lot about the birth process and I'm trying NOT to freak out! This baby is going to come out... oh dear! We're dedicated (read intensely dedicated) to having a natural, un-medicated childbirth so we're trying to do everything we can now to encourage that. We're in the process of interviewing doulas and have our final interview tomorrow. A doula is a labor assistant that has a great deal of knowledge of the birth process and can help keep mom and dad calm, help to keep labor moving by encouraging position changes, and help navigate the medical recommendations of the doctors and nurses. Studies have shown that having a doula present during the labor and delivery process dramatically reduces the likelihood of having a cesarean section and other medical interventions. So I'm really excited to make our decision and get started planning for our birth, which, by the way, is coming quickly!

Two of my friends, Cheryl and Liana, are throwing a baby shower for us and I'm so excited! My mom is coming all the way from Washington for the shower and it will be great to have her here for ten days! Not to mention how fun it will be to celebrate our little miracle baby with our friends here! I am still really enjoying pregnancy and am absolutely relishing this time in my life. Isaac is so active these days and feeling his movements never gets old! We can't wait to meet this little monkey of ours!

77 days and counting!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wow! Less than 100 days left in this pregnancy! Where does the time go?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Birthday week and other happenings

Our birthday girl on the phone with her Maka (my mom) before school.

Celebrating with her class at school

I got a phone call from Bella's teacher that she wasn't feeling well and I should come pick her up early. When I picked her up, she was burning up with fever. We went home, put on some soft and snuggly pajamas, and settled down on the sofa. Little did I know at the time, this would continue for the next five days. The poor thing has been sick with an aweful cold and a high fever (104.5 at the highest!) all weekend. Her spirits perked up for presents after dinner- here's a couple pics of the birthday loot:

Here's the cake we had planned to serve at her party on Saturday. We decided Friday night to cancel the party since her fever was still terribly high and showing no signs of breaking.

These are from today. It was a pajama's day again. Bella's fever was finally down, but her cold symptoms were worse than ever. It didn't stop us from enjoying Mommy's new Mother's Day gift out in the front yard!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Less than a week away from Bella's third birthday... where does the time go?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sweet Memories

I woke up this morning and realized I was stiff from sleeping on my left side all night long. I must have been exhausted last night because I hadn't moved an inch! So, I stretched a little and then rolled to the other side. This must have woken Isaac up and perhaps irritated him a little because I immediately felt him kicking me on both sides! It was like he was also stretching :) Oh, I can't wait to see this sweet boy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Imaginary Princesses

Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty have both made appearances at our house in the last week, while we were in the shower. I admit to being a little caught off guard when Bella started talking to Cinderella one morning while I was shaving my legs! It's all about princesses these days. Princess movies, dolls, and costumes abound! So much fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Introducing Isaac

Words cannot express how I feel tonight. I met my son today. My son. My son. How I love him already! How I cried when I could finally call him by name! How I praised the Lord for him, for this answered prayer, this miracle baby, our Isaac.

Over the moon!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Night Before

Tomorrow we're having another ultrasound and will hopefully be finding out the baby's gender. I have always wanted to find out... it never even crossed my mind to wait until the end and be surprised. I want to know so I can call this baby by name. I want to be able to plan for the baby, buy things for the baby, write letters to the baby, and have all these things be personalized. I can't wait to stop saying "it" or "the baby" and start saying him or her! Oh, sweet baby, what a moment it will be when I learn who you are!!!

I keep thinking that our moment tomorrow will be similar to those who were open to gender with their adoption and were told at referral what they were having...

Easter and baby belly pics