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Monday, July 2, 2007
My name is Amanda, and I'm just another mom blogger.
I became a Christian in 1993 by miraculous circumstances before my senior year in high school. After graduation, I attended a private Christian university briefly, but left there to go to school at Rhema Bible Training Center. I graduated from Rhema in 1997 with an emphasis in missions. I spent part of my life on the mission field on short-term excursions to South Africa, Mozambique, England, and France, and I thought I would spend a good bit of my adult life living in the African Bush. Instead, I worked a "regular" job and I got married, and I've served God with my husband in various capacities at our home church in the United States. Presently, I'm serving as a co-leader for a ministry called Hopeful Hearts, a monthly support group for women dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss, and early infant demise. I also co-lead the Foster/Adoption ministry at our local church. I graduated cum laude in 2011 from Texas Woman's University with a degree in Sociology and English Literature.
James and I met in January 1999, and we married in August 2000. We have five children at home. Bub came to live with us as a foster child in September 2001, and we finalized his adoption in June 2003, six months after he became legally free. Gracie was born in May 2002 after a complicated pregnancy, problems with an incompetent cervix, and 15 weeks of strict bed rest. I've been a stay-at-home mom since January 2002. In 2004, we decided to try for "one more," but for many years, we struggled to grow our family. We dealt with years of unexplained infertility and have had five first-trimester pregnancy losses, as well as the premature birth and death of our son Zachary at 22 weeks gestation. My incompetent cervix was to blame for Zachary's premature birth and death, so after that loss I had a cervicoisthmic transabdominal cerclage placed, essentially cinching my uterus closed above my incompetent cervix to keep a growing baby inside. Unless it needed to be removed in an emergency situation, the TAC will stay in place forever. In the midst of the struggle to grow our family, I experienced a very rare type of twin pregnancy known as a heterotopic twin pregnancy where one twin was intrauterine and one was ectopic. We lost the ectopic twin at around 9 weeks gestation, but fortunately that unusual pregnancy resulted in our daughter Brystol -- a blessing from Heaven, and as my first TAC baby, a true miracle.
While we felt so grateful for the many blessings we'd been given, our hearts remained burdened to bring more children home, and we actively sought God for his direction on how that should be done. In November 2010, after reading Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman, we decided it was time to adopt again. Soon after, we were approached with a private opportunity to adopt a set of newborn twins due in January 2011. We began pulling our homestudy together and connected with an attorney to launch the adoption process. On December 30, 2010, the birthmom had an emergency c-section and the twins -- a girl and a boy -- were born early, but healthy. Sadly for us, she decided to parent within the first 24 hours. We still planned to pursue adoption, and were prayerful about the best direction in which to move. We researched our options and began moving forward with a small agency in Texas. We submitted our initial application on January 23, and scheduled the social worker to complete our homestudy on February 14. Three days before the homestudy, we discovered that I'd become pregnant, but because the adoption process with this tiny agency can take two or three years, and because I'm prone to pregnancy loss, we decided to continue moving down the adoption path. We felt peace about the process in this way, though it seemed crazy to our rational minds. Little did we know just a few weeks after completing our home study -- exactly seven weeks from the submission of our initial application -- we'd get the call that we had a baby girl -- a sweet little treasure we named Elleigh. The agency had no issue with our pregnancy or with our suddenly large family, and we felt as blessed as we could possibly be! Having a newborn, a young baby, a toddler, and two tweens can be challenging, but I wouldn't have it any other way. God is in the details of both the adoption and the surprise pregnancy, and He continues to provide all the grace and strength we need to both survive and thrive. We're thrilled to be the parents of five, and we will happily welcome any more God has for us down the line.
We love our children and long to raise them in a way that honors God and points their hearts towards Jesus. Part of that process for us is homeschooling, though our big kids were at the public school for a period of time. We deeply value the homeschooling process, and we feel blessed to have our kids at home once again for a parent-led education.
My Purpose In Blogging
This blog serves as a journal for me. Within it, my thoughts will be truly random, of the moment, and mine. From one post to the next, I will smoothly switch between mundane reports on child-rearing and general life-living to full-on existential crises coupled with issues related to infertility, pregnancy loss, and the pursuit of adoption. Just to mix it up, I might also throw in a craft project from time-to-time. Primarily, this blog serves as a record of the many ways God has blessed us and works to sanctify us. Most importantly, I hope to tell our story in such a way that people will read it and perhaps come to know the Lord in a more intimate way.
My Hope for This Blog
what I have thought, what I was.
I have told the good and bad with equal frankness.
I have neither omitted anything bad,
nor interpoled anything good...
I have shown myself as I was:
mean and contemptible, good,
high-minded and sublime,
according as it was one with the other.
I have unveiled my inmost being even as Thou hast seen it,
O Eternal Being."
Confessions, Book I
[The Years 1712-1719]
Posted by Amanda at 3:32 PM
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Today we cheated. We ran away from home. We went to a new church, though we lead in our old one. I don't know why we did it. We had a reason, but it was a dumb one.
Our baby died. That's why we went to a new church.
That's no reason to go to a new church, but since our baby died, neither of us have had the courage to go home again. We know people will look at us weird. We know they will talk to us weird, and even if they really don't, we'll wonder if they *want* to talk to us weird and not talking to us weird because they're really making an effort to make us feel normal.
We've been on the fence and off the fence since April. We didn't go at all for a couple of weeks because he had just died. When we were ready to go back, it was Mother's day, and I needed no reminder that my body defied motherhood and my baby was relegated to an urn in the corner of an unused room. Then we had company or illness or fear compouned, so we haven't gone back at all. One of us would feel ready and set the alarm to go back, and the other would turn it off in tears. Weekly, it changed.
Last night, we wondered aloud what we should do, but were afraid of the weirdness. So, we decided to visit a church nearer to our home. All the way there, I cried. Everything would be so much easier if our baby was still alive in me. But he's dead, and we're branded.
I didn't want to go to our home church because I didn't want people to talk to me or look at me in a weird way. At the new church, no one talked to or looked at us at all. I thought invisibility would be nicer, but it wasn't at all. It was more horrible than weirdness.
Visiting the new church was a good and necessary experience. It reminded us of what we have at home and take for granted. It reminded us that we truly do have people in our lives who care, regardless of weirdness. Today's visit was confirmation for us that there's no where else in the world for us at this stage in our lives. VCC is home. For the first time in weeks, I am anxious for Sunday to come -- no matter how weird it will be.
Posted by Amanda at 4:36 PM