Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two Weeks Already!

It is hard to believe that our little girl was two weeks old on Monday. Anna Dixon is eating, sleeping, and you know what else like a champ. We went to the doctor on Wednesday, and she has surpassed her birth weight and grown over 2 inches. I think we have a basketball player or super model on our hands, which is something Tommy and I would never have been able to genetically produce...ha...ha!

Life is definitely different around here. We have been busy the last couple of days taking turns running Christmas errands, although the only things we really wanted arrived on December 6th. Anna Dixon is truly our Christmas blessing. I just never thought we would have a baby by Christmas. My eyes fill up with tears, and my heart fills with joy whenever I think about this...Praise the Lord! Before the Christmas rush, most of our days are spent at home taking care of our little one. This is very different for me and Tommy, since we have always been on the go, but we are just blessed by every moment we have with our sweet girl. I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!! Here are some more pictures of our precious baby girl...

time to burp

nap time

awake time
play time on the changing table

hanging out with Dad

Monday, December 13, 2010

She is Ours!!!

Midnight last night came and went, and as Tommy said, "she did not turn into a pumpkin!" She is resting soundly in her daddy's arms. We are praising God for His goodness this morning!

"I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me." Psalm 13:6

And, now let me introduce you to our sweet Anna Dixon!

the first moment we saw her

the first moment we held her

Friday, December 10, 2010

We Are Home

We got home from the hospital on Wednesday, and life has been pretty busy as we try to get settled. Anna Dixon is just wonderful! She is the most precious thing!!! We are so in love!!! Please continue to pray that all goes smoothly. The 5 day waiting period ends at midnight on Sunday. We are feeling really good about things, but that horrible thought still looms in the back of our heads...please keep praying!

So, here is the story of our sweet Anna Dixon's arrival. First, let me tell you about her name. Tommy and I both really liked the name Anna, but of course she had to have a double name. She is named Dixon after my great great grandfather, Arthur Dixon Hutton, and Anna was my sweet cousin's middle name, Catherine Anna Hutton. On Monday, we arrived at the hospital about 10:45. We had a little trouble figuring out where to go, but finally made it to the right nurse's station. Our birth mother was just getting settled in, so we waited in the waiting room for about 45 minutes. We finally got to go back and visit with her for a minute...then back to the waiting room for more waiting. About 1:15 a nurse came to get us and told us our daughter was here! She took us to our room where Anna Dixon was waiting for us! We were able to room-in with her at the hospital. As we walked down the hall, we could hear her little cry. She was under a heat lamp when we first saw her, but we immediately began to talk to her and touch her sweet hands and rub her little back. FINALLY, about 15 minutes later I got to hold my precious girl in my arms for the first time...and we have been with her ever since!!! We are both completely head over heals in love with our baby girl! I can't wait to post pictures! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

She is here!!!!!!!!

Anna Dixon is here! She weighs 7 lbs. 12 oz. and  is 20 in. long. She was born at 12:51 p.m. Everyone is doing great. Pictures will be posted soon. Thank you so much for your continued prayers! God is so good...all is well!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tomorrow is the Big Day!!!

Well, tomorrow is the big day!!! I can't believe it...really I don't think it has hit me yet! Our birth mother checks in mid morning and probably won't deliver until around noon. So, it will be well into the afternoon before I can make a post. There is a 5 day waiting period in which she can change her mind, so I will not post pictures until that time period is over. I will post about our sweet baby's arrival, though. Please pray for peace for our birth mother and us, a safe deliver, and that the process goes smoothly!

I cried my way through choir this morning as we sang Michael W. Smith's "All is Well." It is such a sweet song of the angels singing "all as well" to the world because our redeemer has been born. It is so neat that here we are 2000 years later still resting in the redemption that our sovereign, infinite, unchangeable God has given to us. Tonight I sit in awe at the goodness of our God, who has given us the desire of our hearts. It wasn't long ago that Tommy and I realized we started the adoption process just about 9 months ago. Funny, this hasn't turned out to be an "Elephant Pregnancy" at all. It has been a very very blessed journey to the little girl that the Lord chose for our family before the beginning of time. Our bags are packed...the nursery is (somewhat) ready...tonight we go to bed as a family of two...tomorrow we become a family of three...all is well.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December 6th!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful holiday here in Birmingham with my family. I'll try to post some pictures soon. I spoke with our agency over the holiday, and our birth mother has been scheduled to deliver on Monday, December 6th! So, we have one week exactly to go. She is going back to the doctor tomorrow, so assuming everything is the same, the 6th is D-day!!! In the meantime, Tommy and I will be busy washing baby things and making other final preparations. We are sooo excited...and a little nervous too! Please keep lifting us up during this process. We covet your prayers and are so thankful for all your love and support!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One More Week

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update. Our birth mother went to the doctor yesterday and everything looks great, but it turns out that she will not get a scheduled delivery date until her appointment next week. So, looks like we have an extra week to prepare. Of course the most important thing is that she and the baby are healthy, but I was ready for a delivery next week! Oh well, I am just still so thankful that things are going well! All in God's perfect timing! Please continue to pray for us during this process. I'll keep you posted. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Babyland has Exploded at Our House!

First, I'd like to thank all of you for your prayers, phone calls, and messages on Friday! Our meeting went great! Our birth mother is extremely quiet and reserved but very nice. We met with her, her mother, and our agency director. The first thing we talked about was how nervous everybody was, which really broke the ice. For the next two hours we went on to talk about everything from our favorite movies to the baby, the hospital, and all that fun stuff. I felt like everyone left dinner feeling good about the adoption plan! Please continue to pray that everything goes smoothly and please pray specifically for peace for our birth mother. I have such mixed emotions as I am sooo excited about our precious baby girl but my heart goes out to our sweet birth mother!

Saturday morning we hit the baby stores hard!!! We were out from morning till night (literally)! We bought a crib, a pack'n play, a travel system, and every other essential our sweet little girl will need when she gets home. Actually, our first stop was Buy Buy Baby, and after two hours we were completely overwhelmed. Since Tommy and I both felt like we were starting to have a panic attack, we called my sister, Mary Gwin, and she shopped with us the rest of the day. MG, we couldn't have done it without you! Sunday after church, Tommy put the crib and travel system together. He is a gadget kind of guy. Then we spent the rest of the day reorganizing all or our closets to make room for baby. My sister loaned me baby clothes and other fun things (thanks again, MG!), and we'll spend the next few days getting everything organized in the nursery. "Nursery!" I can't believe we have a nursery in our house!

Our birth mother will find out tomorrow the exact delivery date, and I will keep you posted as things develop. I cannot begin to tell you how overwhelmed we are by the outpouring of love, support, and excitement we have received! Please keep praying! Thank you!!!

Here are some fun pics I took throughout the weekend.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't even believe that I am making this post, but Tommy and I got "THE CALL" yesterday from our agency!!! We are having a baby girl in two weeks!!! Can you even believe it?!? Praise the Lord! He is so good! Thank you all so much for all your wonderful thoughts and prayers. Please, please, please continue to pray that this process goes smoothly and that our birth mother will have a peace about her decision. We are meeting her on Friday, so please be in specific prayer for that meeting...I am nervous! I will definitely keep you posted as things develop. Right now we think she will deliver the week after Thanksgiving. Thank you again for your continued prayers.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veterans

It's been a while since I posted, because October and November (so far) have been pretty crazy to say the least. The past few weeks have been filled with mostly fun stuff and some challenging things too. I'll update you on what's been going on this fall soon, but today I want to give a shout out to our veterans.

I'm sure most of you have been touched in some way by the sacrifice that a loved one has made or is currently making for the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy every day. To those of you who serve in our armed forces, to those of you who have served, and to those of you who mourn the loss of someone who has served or wait patiently for their return home...THANK YOU!!! Thank you for all you do for our great nation!

Here in Birmingham we celebrate Veterans Day with a downtown parade. My office happens to be downtown, and the parade passes by just a block from where I work. My coworkers and I caught the tail end of the parade today and here are some pictures that we took.

Here I am with my coworkers and one of my coworker's daughter.

Happy Veterans Day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

He's got this!

Lately, Tommy and I have been feeling really discouraged about the adoption process. As some of you may know, in domestic adoption the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents by looking at scrapbooks we create about ourselves. ALOT of emphasis is put on these books. They are supposed to be big, colorful, and full of pictures of our house, our families, our vacations, and activities. We are supposed to make ourselves look as "fun and interesting" as possible. Adoption is wonderful and mandated by the gospel. Where would we be without our spiritual adoption in Christ? But, this process seems very superficial sometimes. What do our vacations, house, or activities really have to do with what type of parents we will be? Why does it have to be this way?

Well, the other day Tommy got an email from a friend that he hasn't spoken to in months. She and her husband adopted a child as well, and here is what the email said.

"I have been thinking about you and your wife for the last couple of days…I keep hearing GOD tell me to contact you…so how are you?

Do you ever watch the George Lopez show…I watch it sometimes on Nick at Night and he is always telling his wife, "I got this!" which usually means he is going to mess it up! But it is so funny that I love that phrase…Well, this summer when my church, at my insistence, did our first VBS in years, GOD kept telling me, "I got this!!!" He made it a HUGE success!!!!

Now, he keeps whispering to me to let you know that "He's got this!!!" I don't know what this is…but rest assured He has it…"

Our God is an awesome God, and He's got this! This process may not be perfect, but He is sovereign over all of it...Amen!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We're having fun!

So we are in the wait, but we're trying to have some fun, too! Lately, Tommy and I have started a "Discovering Alabama Tour." We both grew up in Mississippi and know and love our home state very well. But, we have lived in Alabama for several years now and realized that we don't know much about our new home state. So far we've visited Rickwood Caverns, Noccalula Falls, Desoto Caverns, Auburn, Cullman, Cathedral Caverns, Cheaha State Park, Mentone, Gorham's Bluff, and most recently this past weekend Morgan Creek Vineyard.

Little did we know that Alabama has 13 wineries! Why go to California when you can just visit the great state of Alabama for some fine muscadine wine?!? This past weekend was Morgan Creek Vineyard's fall festival and annual grape stomp. We didn't decide to go until Saturday morning, and as we drove to Harpersville, I was a little afraid we might be the only ones there...that would be awkward...boy was I wrong! There were tons and tons of people there, and we had a blast! They had a band, barrels set up where you could stomp the grapes, wine tastings, winery tours, and Full Moon Barbecue served lunch. However, the best part of the day was definitely the Lucy Look Alike Contest! Here are some pictures and fun facts about Morgan Creek Vineyard.

The entire production process is done in this one room. They make muscadine, apple, peach, and blueberry wine. Muscadine wine does not have to age after the fermenting process, but they age the apple, peach, and blueberry wines about 6 months.

They produce 15,000 cases of wine a year, and ship to 400 stores across Alabama AND Mississippi.

Here is the vineyard. It was really pretty even in the sweltering heat!

One of the Lucy's competing in the Lucy Look Alike Contest


Our favorite of the 30 something Lucy's that competed on Saturday! Hope ya'll had as much fun as we did this weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Adoption Anxiety

So far, all my post have been reflecting the fun and exciting side of adoption. Adoption CAN be really fun and exciting. The sense of urgency that you need to be ready at a moments notice is very exciting. It is fun to anticipate when we are going to get the call, how we will tell our family and friends, will we get to meet our birth mother, will we be at the hospital when the baby is born...even in the delivery room? But...

The adoption road is long. There is a HUGE risk in adoption. There IS such a thing as a failed adoption. Our journey to adoption was long and hard. I have some days when I am flying high anticipating what the Lord has in store for us...and I have some days when my anxiety level is so high I feel like the Lord pulls me back just before I go over the edge. I have been so angry at times. The wait is hard. It is hard to see family and friends have babies. Sometimes it is even hard to celebrate with others. It just does not seem fair. But...

Tommy and I feel called to adoption. We feel called to this struggle, and that is what adoption is sometimes. It is a really hard struggle within yourself to stay committed, to stay strong, and to stay focused on the Lord, and remember that the Lord chose this precious child for OUR family from the beginning of time. Life is full of struggles, and there is no better place to find relief than in God's word. Here are some scripture verses that I look to to remind me of God's steadfast love and faithfulness and that He is my refuge and strength.

"...I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
Jeremiah 31:3

"but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

God is our refuge and strength a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." Psalm 46: 1-3

"'Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!' The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:10

I hope these verses lift your spirits, if you are struggling today. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Bunnykins' First Easter Basket

This past Easter my mom, a.k.a. Bibi, was sweet enough to think of our little one when she was getting Easter happies for her other grandchildren. Bibi's love language is definitely giving. She always remembers special occasions or anticipates special occasions to come with thoughtful cards or happies. Bibi, it does not go unnoticed, and it is definitely appreciated. Thank you!

So last Easter, Bibi gave our baby to be a precious Peter Rabbit feeding set by Beatrix Potter. It will definitely be put to good use. I can just image a high chair set up in our dining room covered in baby food! On that Easter morning, Bibi also named our little one the "Bunnykins." When my sister was pregnant with her first, we called him "Peanut"...and we called her second child "Sweet Pea." So, nicknames for babies on the way are becoming quite a tradition in our family. I think that "Bunnykins" is very appropriate considering his/her first Easter gift. I've included a picture of the sweet feeding set for you to see, appropriately taken in the dining room.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moments of Frustration...Our Poor Bushes!

Let me start this post by saying we LOVE our social worker. She has been amazing! She is sooo nice and down to earth. We could NOT ask for more...

Now, adoption requires ALOT of patience which is apparently something I need to acquire. When we started this process, our agency told us that it would take about two months to receive our FBI clearances, and it took almost eight weeks to the day to receive them in the mail. I didn't enjoy waiting, but I was expecting the FBI to take that long, and they did. Tommy's and my clearances arrived together on a Friday afternoon. Apparently that was a real blessing because couple's clearances don't always arrive at the same time. We finished turning in our homestudy paperwork about a week later and were told that our social worker would be calling us SOON to schedule our home visit. One day went by...two days went by...three days...a week... For some reason I thought that she would call us immediately. After three weeks of waiting, I was a little agitated to say the least. At last our sweet social worker did call. We were apparently third in line for a home visit, and as they say, the rest is history (see "Progress Update"). Why was I able to wait EIGHT weeks for our clearances but couldn't wait a mere THREE weeks for our home study visit? Well, I guess the Lord only knows.

One afternoon during our three week wait, we decided to take our frustrations out on the bushes in the back yard. Our azalea bushes were more like azalea trees, and Tommy and I had been talking about replacing them for quite some time. We wanted to save money by doing it ourselves. So that afternoon when we got home from work, Tommy went to town with the chain saw. It only took a day for Tommy to cut them down and for me to hall the GINORMOUS branches to the front curb, and it only took us a couple of weeks to figure out that we could not dig up the stumps ourselves and call a tree service to do it for us! (In the meantime, our social worker came and did our home visit.) Once the stumps were gone and the dirt was tilled up, we began to plant. We finished planting our new (much smaller) bushes the other weekend, and I have included some picture of our handiwork below. We love the new bed, but it was much more work than we anticipated. So, my advice to you is to think twice before you take your frustrations out on your bushes!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Philadelphia Cream

Tommy will tell you that I am big on making "snap decisions." Not about major stuff, but little things. Actually, I'm not a quick decision maker at all. I will think, think, think something to death, make a decision, and then change my mind at the last minute. Again, this is for small everyday stuff not major life choices. For instance, at a restaurant while everyone is visiting with each other I intently study the menu. When the waiter comes to take our orders, I ask him to take mine last, and I inevitable change my mind at the last minute and order something different...a.k.a. a "snap decision."

This is exactly what I did when choosing a paint color for our hopefully soon to be nursery. Even before we signed our adoption paperwork and really started our homestudy, I was thinking about a paint color. I looked through my paint deck numerous times and ordered many samples. (I'm a Benjamin Moore girl all the way!) After settling on a very neutral yellow/beige color, I ordered a large paint sample and looked at it in the room in all different lights. This went on for weeks...maybe even months. Well, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. The day we needed to order the paint. I literally had the phone in my hand to call Rainbow Paint, and I thought, "This is not the right color for our Bunnykins!" I went to the design library at work and began looking for another color. That is when I found Philadelphia Cream! I ran it by a coworker, and she loved it too. So, I came home that night with a completely different shade of the most wonderful yellow/cream (although my husband couldn't tell the difference)...and I LOVE it!

We painted the nursery a couple of weekends ago. It used to be red. When we bought our house, we knew that this room would one day be a nursery. So, why we ever painted it red I cannot tell you. Well, two coats of primer and two coats of paint later, we both love the new color! I've included some pictures for your enjoyment. By the way, I did help. Tommy did not do all the work...although he did do most of it. What a great husband!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Progress Update

Some of you may be wondering where we are in the adoption process, and I am pleased to report that we are homestudy approved! Tomorrow we have our "exit interview" with our agency director. We have not met with the her since February, so I think she wants to meet just to talk about how the process will run from here on out. At the meeting, we will also turn in our adoption scrapbook.

The homestudy has been quite extensive. We officially signed on with our agency at the end of March, and the first step for the homestudy was getting background checks. We had to be approved by the FBI, ABI (Alabama Bureau of Investigation), DHR in Mississippi, and DHR in Alabama. So it's official, we are NOT criminals! It took 8 weeks for all of the background checks to come back to us. In the meantime, we gathered the rest of our paperwork together. We got copies of our birth certificates, marriage license, social security cards, tax returns, etc. We had to have references from pastors, bosses, lifelong friends, and family (which could not include parents "because they have to love us"). We wrote our autobiographies and had to get physicals. We even had to turn in vet records for Sadler, our golden retriever.

We turned all that paperwork in, and once the background checks came back, we had our home visit with our social worker. The visit went really well! Our social worker is so nice and laid back. It took about three weeks to schedule the home visit. So during that time, we worked on our adoption scrapbook. The scrapbook is what the agency shows the birth mothers and is basically how they pick us. Yes, in domestic adoption the birth mother chooses the adoptive parents. The book consists of a letter to the birth mother and lots of pictures of us, family, friends, Sadler, our house, vacations, holidays, etc.

So, that brings us to the present. After our meeting tomorrow, we will officially be a "waiting family." The wait will definitely be the hardest part of this whole process. Although the homestudy has been pretty crazy, it has been nice to have something to do. It made me feel like I was somewhat in control, which brings me back to God's sovereignty. What a comfort that God knows exactly when our little Bunnykins will be in our arms. I can't wait to look back and see how each step of this journey happened in His perfect timing. I know life always does.

"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

Tommy and I have thought of this verse throughout our journey, and I hope that if our precious child ever wonders why he/she was adopted instead of born into our family, that it will be a comfort to him/her as well.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What is an Elephant Pregnancy?

So, first I'd like to start by explaining the title of my blog. When we finally decided to move forward with our adoption, Tommy and I researched and visited several agencies. The director of one of the agencies described me as an elephant, meaning that I could be pregnant for a very long time (a.k.a. "the wait"). Apparently, elephants have a gestation period of 22 months. This is the longest of any land animal, and their babies are around 260 lbs. at birth. So, I'm really hoping and praying that this is not a completely accurate description of our situation! Anyway, at first I laughed, but then after thinking about it I was a little annoyed. I later told my mom about the comment, and she thought is was hilarious. So, now I affectionately think of myself elephant....hopefully I don't look like one. The truth of the matter is only God knows how long "the wait" will be, and thankfully He is completely soveriegn over this situation having mapped out every little detail of our adoption journey.

So this is the end of my first post. A progress update will follow soon.