One year ago today was my first day home with newborn twins by myself. Oh, how far we have come! E and M turned one on May 5th, and have been the biggest blessing (and biggest challenge!) I have ever experienced. Those people who say that stay-at-home moms have the easiest job, have obviously never been at home with their kids. This is BY FAR the hardest job I have ever done in my life.
The Twins are getting big! E is super curious and always on the move (and on a mission to get outside to play in the yard.) He loves to play in his pool, and get dirty in the front yard. He wants to chase the dogs and chickens, but isn’t quiet fast enough yet!
M isn’t quite as fast, but don’t mistake her as passive, she is a firecracker! She will be the first one to tell you that she needs help or wants something from you. She always wants to play with her tool set, and LOVES her Daddy the best.
This past spring I met a beautiful woman named Gretchen, who works very hard to provide a natural, nurturing environment for her children, and writes a great blog, http://www.thatmamagretchen.com/. She is going on maternity leave from her blog to have Baby #2 this fall, and asked me to write a guest blog post for her readers about our experience with pregnancy loss and foster care/adoption. This morning, I finished our story, and I thought I would share it with you all as well:
“When my husband and I got pregnant in April 2010, we assumed, like most women do, that pregnancy would be easy and we would end up with a beautiful baby to take home from the hospital in 9 short months. That July, at 15 weeks pregnant, we found that our little miracle had stopped growing and there was no heartbeat. We were devastated. No one is prepared for the loss of a child. But, we pulled ourselves together bit by bit and thanked God that he had given us the blessing of being pregnant, however short it was. We knew that God would bless us with a family when the timing was right. We named our little blessing Matthew, which means “gift from God.”
In January 2011, after much convincing, my husband and I started the process of being licensed to be foster parents, which is something I have wanted to do since high school, but we had originally decided we would do “after we had gotten started on our own family.” In early March 2011 we found out that we were pregnant again. We were very excited about having our own child, but decided that we would move forward with the licensing anyways. We knew that we might be getting in over our heads, but we knew that God was calling us to care for children that, for whatever reason, weren’t able to be cared for by their parents.
In May 2011, at 10 weeks pregnant, our little Elizabeth went to Heaven to be with her brother. Our foster parent license came in the mail the same day. We were
heartbroken, but reassured that maybe God’s plan for our family was not the same as the plans we had.
On May 18th we received our first long-term placement call. The Coordinator on the phone told me about the children, and then said, “Oh, I am so sorry, are you pregnant?” (She must have been looking at our file.) “Because this will be a long-term placement, and they would need to be the only children under 2 in your household.” At that moment, I knew something special was happening, and told the woman, no, we were no longer pregnant. I signed the placement paperwork that afternoon to take custody of premature boy-girl twins, born May 5th three months early. M and E were born at 2.5 and 3.5 lbs, and no one was quite sure what medical issues they were going to have moving forward. They spent 6 weeks in the NICU, learning to breath on their own, regulate their own heartbeats, and drink from a bottle, and then came home to live with us. Everyday with newborn, medically-fragile twins at home was a challenge, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the whole world. I was finally a Mommy!
It has been just over a year since M and E came home from the hospital and became a part of our family, and they are growing more fun and challenging by the day as they head into toddler-hood. I still look back at that day I received that call, and know that God was at work. We have been blessed beyond words to have them in our lives, and we are hoping to complete their adoption this coming fall and make them officially part of our family (although they have been my children, in my heart, since the first day I held them in the NICU.)
This April, early in our third pregnancy, we lost another angel, Owen. This loss felt different from the first two, because this time I came home from that appointment to hugs and smiles and kisses from my sweet babies. I knew then more than ever that these children were God’s Gift to us, and that despite going through terrible, depressing times, wondering if we would ever have a family, I now had the beautiful family I always dreamed. Someday we might have children that our biologically ours, or maybe not, but I am continually blessed by God’s grace and mercy in our lives. I remember every day what a miracle my children are, and how it is only by God’s grace that they came to be ours.
I hope my story can give other women who have gone through devastating losses, but are coming out the other side of their grief, a reassurance that God loves you and although it seems hard now, He says “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.” (Jeremiah 29:11)”