Friday, March 18, 2011

Heartache ~ Healing ~ Hope

I have been meaning to sit down and write out my thoughts for the past several weeks but it seems like life always gets ahead of me and I can’t find the time. But now I sit with a second to myself (which rarely happens!). I have been thinking a lot of God’s faithfulness and grace with our family over the past year. I eagerly anticipated 2011 and was thankful to say goodbye to 2010. Last year there were the highest highs and the lowest lows for our family. The year started with the most intense heartache as we said good-bye to one son and then ended with the most incredible blessing of another son that God handpicked specifically for our family. There are not many couples that grieve over the loss a son and rejoice over the addition of another son all in the same year.

The days leading up to the loss of Eli we knew that the adoption very likely would fall through. That Friday night I was awoken by an audible voice that clearly said “Be still and know that I am God”. I lay there awake and from that moment I knew in the depths of my heart that it would not be long before I would have to say good-bye to this precious boy that I had called my own since the moment I took him in my arms. God was calling me to surrender everything ~ “will you surrender?” I didn’t want to surrender! Because with surrender there comes the threat that I might not like the outcome and there was a possibility that Eli would leave the safety of my embrace.

That weekend we soaked in every moment we could with him and then that dreadful call came only minutes after we got home from church. “Dena, this is Tim, Eli’s birthparents just called and they have changed their minds and would like him back”. At that moment my world came crashing to the ground. All we could do was sink to the kitchen floor and sob. No this isn’t happening! My life story was not supposed to have the loss of a child. I pleaded with God to not have that be a part of my story.

A couple weeks after losing Eli I went on a women’s retreat with our church and Lysa Terkurst was talking about her sick baby going into surgery and she said “How do you say goodbye to your 6 week old baby?” I sat there sobbing saying “you just do”. She goes on to talk about going to the parking lot and her husband asking her “who do our children belong to? Who do our children belong to?” I wanted to scream that Eli belongs to me. I can love him better. I will be a better mother. I will give him a stable environment. And to that God whispered back “No my beloved, Eli belongs to me! I, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, will take care of him. I am Eli’s father.”

Grief is a word up until that time in my life that I never fully grasped. But when you come to know grief so personally and all you want to do is run. The heartache that accompanies grief is so intense that it becomes a physical pain that threatens to swallow you up every second of every day. Grief makes you feel vulnerable in every aspect of life. The what if’s come at you full force.

In the months that followed the loss of Eli, we were surrounded by friends and family…God’s very gift to us for that moment in time. We received countless emails, texts, and phone calls that lifted our spirits and reminded us that we serve a powerful and mighty God. That doesn’t mean we will always have the answers to all the “why’s”. And I think we will not know some of those answers this side of heaven, but I had to trust in His wisdom and faithfulness and be reminded of these truths. Because there were times you question what you have always believed to be true and anger threatens to overtake every fiber of your being. As the song by Phil Wichham says "to the one who's dreams are falling all apart and all you're left with is a tired and broken heart." In one phone call all our dreams came crashing to the ground! In 5 short weeks we had already envisioned having a little boy running around our house, baseball games, trucks, and grass-stained jeans. Was this going to be our only chance to have a son and for such a short period of time?

Safe – Phil Wickham
To the one who's dreams are falling all apart
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart
I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own
but you're not all alone

Have you heard of the One who can calm the raging seas

Give sight to the blind, pull the lame up to their feet
With a love so strong he'll never let you go
oh you're not alone


You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
'Cause the hands that hold the world are holding your heart
This is the promise He made
He will be with You always
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms

We had to believe that the pain and heartache was for a reason because if we didn’t then grief would engulf us. Even when life hurts and we don’t have all the answers we still have to stand and worship our God. Just because life hurts doesn’t make Him any less powerful, it doesn’t make him any less God.

I have to believe ~ Rita Springer

I have to believe, he sees my darkness
I have to believe, he knows my pain
I have to lift up, my hands to Worship
Worship his name

I have to declare, that he is my refuge
I have to deny, that i am alone
I have to lift up, my eyes to the mountains, thats where my help, it comes from

oh yeahhh
He said that he's forever faithful
He said that he's forever true
He said that he can move mountains
If he can move mountains
He can move my mountain, he can move your mountain too

As the slow process of healing started, we hung on to the very truths of the God we worship. We had to stop and pause and believe that God saw the big picture and through this grief He would be glorified and some good would come of it. Slowly people would approach us and tells us their story of loss and grief – stories that they had never shared with anyone else. Stories you sit and wonder how anyone survived it alone – how painful and lonely! We started to be reminded that the God we serve never lets us go - that He holds us in the very palm of his hand and one day healing would come and there was hope on the other side of all the grief.

The song by Josh Wilson “Before the Morning” was one I would listen to time and time again. I would listen to the song in desperate anticipation as I heard the words

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

Could there really be joy around the corner for me and my family? Could anything fill the grief and empty heart and intense heartache?

For four months we prayed fervently for God to bless us with another baby, our "forever baby". On August 27th as I got Eva up for the day and let Sean sleep as he had been up late working, I received a call. “There was a baby boy born last night and his parents want to place him for adoption, are you interested.” I stood there in shock as the world went on around me with tears in my eyes – “YES, YES!” Little Samuel James (meaning "God has heard") was only 20 hours old when I swept up the little 6 lb bundle with thick black hair and held him so tight. We once again found ourselves having the mandatory 10 day waiting period, which seems like an eternity. When the call came at 5 pm on the 11th day, I sat there and wept when I heard the words “Congratulations, he is yours!”

I now listen to that song and I cry tears of joy. Joy that our hearts have slowly healed. Joy that we have been blessed with the perfect “forever baby” for our family. Joy that God carried us through the most painful experience in our lives. Joy that Eva’s heart has been healed. Joy that our families have found happiness in the blessing of Sam. Joy that God knew we could handle the grief for a season because He desperately needed us for Sam instead…God knew he was only hours from being turned into the state foster care system and that a family friend would bring up adoption to his birthparents and they chose adoption versus foster care. God needed us in Eli’s life for only a short time as his family figured out their issues and extended family stepped up to raise him. God needed our family especially for Samuel for a lifetime.

People told us before that time heals. There is truth in that statement. We still have days we think of Eli and wonder if he is safe and healthy. In those moments we pray for him and his family and then we move on. There are days the anger wants to creep back into our minds and we have to give it over because anger isn’t worth holding on to. We have learned a lot through this journey. If you asked us if we knew the outcome if we would do it again? The answer is yes. Yes because we have been blessed with two sons so far in our lives. Yes because family and friends have been inspired. Yes because we have grown so much spiritually and emotionally. Yes because through the heartache we have found healing and hope. And yes because we have our sweet baby Samuel in our lives now.

Days like today Eli is on our minds because today he would be 1 years old.

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Early 2011

Mommy and Big Sis

Little Man's first meal - Yummy rice cereal

Smiles :0)

Family Hug

Papi and Little Man

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Big Sis's School Christmas Program

Eva's big debut at her Christmas Program :)

December Pictures

Getting Ready for Christmas

Little Man Getting A Hank Lick

Little Man is All Smiles

Sassy Girl

Love these two silly kids

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Newborn Pictures

We were so blessed to have a friend take some newborn pictures of our family. Thanks Christina from Rubio Red Studios.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bringing Little Man home...

As an waiting adoptive family there are many ups and downs. People that have adopted tell you that before you start "adoption is a roller coaster, just be ready!" and you think to yourself "yeah right how bad can it be, I'm strong and can handle it". But once your walking the journey you realize it is a daily struggle of being content with where you are in life and yet being so desperate for a little one to join your family that it feels as if you are about to be consumed. Every time the phone rings you desperately hope that it is the attorney calling to tell you there is a baby that will be yours. For our family there was also the ups and downs of a disrupted adoption that threatened to consume us at our very core. Times when the pain was so overwhelming that there was physical heartache. And yet over the four months of losing Eli and getting the call for Little Man, God had worked in amazing ways in each one of us and we were finally finding some healing and were hopeful for the next adoption. We knew God had big plans for our family and we waited expectantly for Him to work.

And then the call came on what seemed like a regular Friday morning just returning from a weeks vacation in Washington, a messy house, and suitcases still packed..."your profile has been picked and if you are interested you can pick up your baby boy at 4 pm!!" I sat there in awe, with tears streaming down my face. It felt like a dream and I waited to wake up to reality. But reality is that God had hand picked the perfect baby for our family. A little precious newborn that desperately needed us as he was only hours from being turned over to social services and the foster care system when instead his birthparents picked adoption for his life journey(thank you, thank you, thank you!). I made a quick trip to Costco for formula and off we went to the hospital to pick him up. Laying there was this little 6 lb bundle with a full head of black hair and big brown eyes! Our son, oh our precious son.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gotta Love Southern California

Well, it is January 11th and we went swimming today. You have to love the weather in Southern California :) Where else in the US can you let your 2 year old change into her bathing suit in the middle of winter and jump in the pool with the outside temperature being 88 degrees!

Future Nurse?

Eva cut her toe pretty bad the other day and has had daily band-aid changes ever since. This morning she was "way too quiet", which as a mother you know is never a good sign. I find her in her room and she tells me "look, mommy, baby needed a band-aid". She had placed a band-aid on her dolls foot, exactly where hers is placed :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Therapy Averted

So we thought we might need to invest in therapy for our 2 year old! Christmas Eve she was told by family members that Santa was coming to visit that night. Lets just say that didn't go over too well. She was terrified for 3 nights and constantly repeating "Santa NO come to my house, Santa NO come to my house". How do you reason with a 2 year old that he isn't real!

Well, today we packed Santa in a box (thanks for the box Amazon!), taped him all up, with a reindeer in the box just in case he needs it! Then we marched off to the Post Office and mailed him back to the North Pole (aka Grandy's House). As Eva says "Mail him far far away!"

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Eva and Abo (aka ~ Abuelo)

Eva painting a piggy bank ~ which she likes to remind us "Papi goes to work to fill my piggy bank"

Eva and Ba take a little nap after a party

Mommy and Eva cooking at cousin Mercy's house

Friday, December 26, 2008


If there was ever any doubt if Eva was 1/2 Cuban ~ just give her some pan (bread) and see what happens :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cookie Time

Eva and Grandmama (Great Grandma) Make Cookies!

Saturday, December 13, 2008