Thursday, January 26, 2012

and so it begins.

I remember the days, the moments, the hours after learning our son was built with an extra chromosome. I remember the fear, the uncertainty, the anger, the sorrow. The tears. The sobbing. The unknown.
I remember searching, scouring the internet, googling every time the pain would become too unbearable - what were our lives going to look like? What was he going to look like? 

In one of my internet searches, I came across a blurb, I believe? on a site that I barely glanced at, as I don't think my eyes were not able to see it fully at that time. It mentioned something about organizations that specialize exclusively in adopting out children with Down syndrome; that there were families seeking children with Down syndrome specifically.

Truth be told, my exact thoughts were who would choose this? well, those people are just trying to be all goody-two-shoes and all fancy christians and pretending they're all la-de-da and look at us we're so fancy because we love babies nobody wants and we're building treasure in heaven because we are choosing children with special needs; and so on and so forth.

And I remember instead thinking our lives are ruined
We are not ready to be the parents of a special needs child
Let's just give him up for adoption and tell everyone he died.

I remember saying to my sweet cousin - no little girl ever sits around dreaming and praying and hoping for a special needs child when she grows up.

She said, very matter-of-factly I did. 

What?


She replied - I went to school with two people with Down syndrome, and I loved them both, and they accepted everyone. Everyone. I have always dreamed of having a child with Down syndrome.


Whoosh. 

For weeks following his birth, his time in the hospital and recovery from surgery - for weeks and weeks I ached with a terrible ache - because I loved him relentlessly, I loved him with abandon - but I ached so deep in my guts, a deep, ugly, unrelenting, painfully inflamed ache - wishing I could take the extra chromosome away.

My eyes burned, my heart ached, my soul was weary. I felt torn, cracked, broken.

I remember night after night, rocking him, his fuzzy little head settled in the crook of my left arm, and my eyes brimming over with tears, then tears spilling out and over, down my cheeks, soaking my face, his immeasurably perfect, precious face. So many nights, so. many. tears. 

I would think of my cousin's words so many times, now all those months stretching into years ago - and I began to understand. I loved him. I loved him with that nearly undefinable mother bear love regardless of what a doctor said he did or didn't have -- because he was my baby. I began to see with such clarity what a gift Down syndrome was. I remember telling our fantastic family doctor here I could have a hundred children like Amos.


I knew what my cousin meant. I completely understood what the families seeking children specifically with Down syndrome meant. I got it. I got it! I GOT IT!



Whoosh. Again.

And so I began to feel a whispering in my heart.

I was reminded of the sad nights while rocking him to sleep again and again now as nights, and weeks, and months pass by. It is pure contentment and a feeling of being blessed to look down onto my precious baby boy's face - knowing my other three children are nestled in their beds, and I can just relax with him, rock and soak, rock and soak, rock and soak in the delightful joy of being this boy's mama. 

And one night, I felt a deja vu - a strong sense of ooh, I remember this...

I looked down onto his face, his beautiful eyes with Brushfield's spots - a characteristic he wouldn't have were it not for the extra chromosome...

And I felt my eyes fill up again, spill over onto my cheeks, and sobs come out of nowhere. From deep inside of my guts, these beautiful, soul-cleansing and joy-filled sobs poured out of me as I rocked my babe. And I started to smile as I cried.

Even now as I type this I feel a grin creeping across my lips - because the sobs, the tears, the choking, the gasping for breaths - I realized how now? they are completely, fully, unabashedly FULL. OF. JOY. It turns into laughter, crying, sniffling, smiling through wet cheeks and salty tears spilling into my mouth - and doing my best to not disturb my littlest cherub as he drifts beautifully, peacefully and gently into dreamland. 

Ah, it's a happy, happy cry. 



I know I have written of this many times, yet it somehow never feels like enough, because it runs so damn deep. Because I fell so hard, so completely, utterly, helplessly and deliciously in love with him. All of him - and not just accepting the fact that he had an extra chromosome. I sit, rock my perfect son, my baby love, my Bubby, my boogaloo, my wee little man whom I love with all my heart - and I rejoice and thank Jesus for him especially because he has an extra chromosome. And I realize how truthfully, how completely and wholly I would never, ever want to change it. 


I adore this child - I am so in love with him, so overtaken with my delight in him, my joy in his face, such joy in seeing my older children, and I, and his daddy, and all who cross his path being touched and blessed and changed for the better because of his presence... he is a gift from God. Pure and simple.

Yet there are hundreds of children, beautiful, precious, just like him - whose parents or societies or countries are not able to see past the pain, past the fear, past the unknown. 


And so they give them away

Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. 
-Luke 23:34

Once these little children turn 4 or 5, they are sent to adult mental institutions where they live for the rest of their lives, which may be a year or two, or five, or ten. Maybe more. Maybe.

How can I sit and rock my precious baby, my perfect son with an extra chromosome, warm and safe in my arms in our rocking chair, and turn my back on another one? Or more? Simply because they have the same extra chromosome? 

And goodness gracious, that whisper in my heart just about turns into a scream. 

Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. 


I felt the calling to adopt another child with Down syndrome long ago, but felt words not of myself pour from my lips in saying I cannot do it alone - if God wills it then He'll put the calling on my husband's heart, as well. And I left it at that, and prayer. Lots of prayer.


And wouldn't you know, days, weeks, months later - my beautiful Man came to me, quiet in the dark of our room, and whispered, tearfully - I thought about it. I prayed about it. And I feel it, babe. And I love you so much more because you love these children without knowing them - so I am on board.


Whoosh. My heart melted, and jumped out of my chest with excitement. I swear I felt the angels dancing, and my eyes were filled with tears, joyful tears - again.



And so our story begins. Please pray for us. Please pray for the heartachingly beautiful children waiting for their mama's soft skin and their daddy's arms and warmth and rocking chairs and full bellies and love. Waiting for their own forever family. 

We know it is incredibly costly to adopt. We are not wealthy people. We also know the high costs will not be the only mountain in our path.
But I have this unshakeable faith that God will provide. 

For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.
- Matthew 17:20

And whoosh - there goes my heart, again and again. Baby? We're comin'.
Father God, keep these children safe in Your arms.

We're comin'. We hear You. We hear you. And we're comin'. 

Mountain? Move.





Thursday, January 19, 2012

strive.

I sat down a couple days nights weeks ago to write this post. Sometimes got a half decent train of thought going, but it was short-lived thanks to not a whole heckuva lot of opportunity with all I have crammed on my overflowing to-do list. Over and over I would attempt to tap and peck out a few words, delete delete delete, tap tap tap, delete delete. I would try to feel more focused by scrolling through old posts, new pictures, old pictures, plug the headphones into my ears and punch up some tunes to get the creative juices flowin'. And... nothin'.

I have this overarching list of things to be doing, getting done, or organizing and following through with right now, and I feel as though I am once again stretching myself a tad too thin. Still, my list is full of good things, but a good many things, nonetheless. Through it all I just need to surrender, lay it down, and be filled.

When I am exhausted. Depleted. Empty. Then there is more room for Him. More space in me filled with Him who is incapable of being depleted. Incapable of exhaustion.
Then there is only Him.
-- so eloquently written by Loxlia Robb over at lovelycrumbs.

So really, I can't complain. God is good.


Winter Wonderland.
It is winter time. At last, for us prairie folk. We only had one half-day of snow on the ground last winter, so it being day #3 of winter wonderland outside? Well, since we don't really have to go anywhere, we're lovin' it. Feels like home. It's darn cold, but it feels like home.


And once their fingers are stiff and their cheeks are rosy and cold and they have had enough? They come in to warm up in the bath, snuggle up by the fire with mama, snuggle up on the sofa with a game, jump on the bed. I have been finding myself soaking in these moments, knowing they won't last forever.

these photos of a jumping Jacob were taken by the lovely big sister Egan.


Cabin Fever.
A few days cooped up indoors, though, and we all start to go a little batty. Thankfully, I have a Man who loves to play games, and who loves to teach children games.

He pulls out sjoelbak, a Dutch shuffle board game, at least a century old, and a true family winter game. Joel found this board at our Bibles for Missions thrift store - and he sets us all up to play. As we play, we all are blessed with numerous small glimpses of perfect family unity that spontaneously happen during the time when we unwind together.



Playing games and enjoying the evenings as a family - it feels so incredibly special, like we were with family. You know? When you get together with everyone and you catch up and feel loved and loving and connected and vital and ever so grateful? 

We nailed it. With just us.

Hot coffee, children's laughter, the daddy teaching the little ones a game from his childhood. Choruses of I love you were sang and repeated - all simply because we took the time to RELAXTogether.


Look at the way he looks up to his da da. 

*********************

The Giveaway.
The winner of the fantastic, hand knitted infinity scarf, courtesy of www.random.org - commenter #7.



None other than my dear friend, Leanna who writes over at Poot & Boogie - who said:


I love it when you have a new blog post :) always makes me smile. I love seeing how Amos is 
doing, Ola is practicing her standing now too...before we know it they will be off and running!

I am re-learning how to knit too, but I don't have anything to show for it yet!

and I am with K... anything we can do, you just let me know!

...

Congratulations, Poot & Boogie! I love when you have a new blog post, too.
Email (or text, or tweet) me at lauraluyt@gmail.com with your preference of color - red & white, cream, charcoal grey, or teal. or just pop over for a visit, or I'll come visit you and I'll hook you up with your beautiful scarf. :) 

...

Strive.
So why did I call this post strive, you may ask? Well, it fit for me. It suited the realization that in my exhaustion, I don't need to strive to be stronger, or more organized, or any number of things that are about me. What I do need to strive for is to leave that room for Him - and to make the time to RELAXTogether.

Strive. Stretch. And be fulfilled.

What are you striving for?



Sunday, January 8, 2012

today I love a new year.

First month of the year. There is always such a blank slate feel to the new year that gives me such hope, such excitement, such desire for all an entire new year can possibly contain. 

The Papa lit off some fireworks for us all on the last eve of the old year.




A quick video clip of more fireworks. 

video

Olliebollen. Deep fried balls of deliciousness, dusted with sugar. A Dutch New Year's tradition.



And my lovely man has been busy, late into the night each night, recording the songs of his heart and uploading to YouTube to share with the world. I love the songs he sings. Check him out here.



Today I loved the idea of posting a list of things I loved today that I saw here. I have no shame in borrowing such a lovely idea, even if all the things I love and loved technically didn't happen today.

One day when I get more caught up to snuff I will post the things I actually loved that actual day.

For now? I will say today I loved...

Morning sunshine in my bedroom, this sweet boy scampering up into bed and snuggling his little self in between us, patiently waiting for us to wake up, and then launching a pillow fight once we were awake. Sunshine shining onto my bedding and sweet faces and downstairs? Spilling onto the kitchen floor.






Today I loved the littlest fingers in the house peeking beneath the bathroom door. 






Today I loved being witness to the strength in this boy's persistence. Smiling all the while he learns to master standing at that bottom stair.





Today I loved this face, this boy, this cherub. He blesses me so. 





Today I loved a drive with my loves, and enjoying the scenery inside the car even more than the scenery outside the car.



Today I loved the view from the back seat.



Today I loved watching this little man play peek-a-boo



Today I loved wearing the hand-painted-by-yours-truly-red-Toms-shoes on this beautiful drive.


Today I loved snapping pictures of a picturesque city from the passenger's seat.
























Today I loved seeing both ends of the rainbow that followed the rain - and realizing a few moments later that one end of the rainbow was attached to our car. We were the pot of gold. I like them apples.


This day I loved my children, even more than I did the day before.



Jacob is really into licking everyone and everything right now. Any advice on how to curb this? My Egan did the same thing when she was but a wee thing but I forget if I played any part in her growing out of this... sigh. This too shall pass. The little guy doesn't look like he minds too much.

Today I loved seeing the pictures my sweet girl took of Amos practising standing using my leg as support. 






Today I loved and yet ached browsing photos of sweet, beautiful, precious orphans blessed with an extra chromosome that their birth parents weren't able to see past. And today I loved basking in the joy that fills my heart knowing that my sweet Man and I are beginning the process of bringing one of these little ones home. Forever. (please pray for us). More on this later.


Today I loved learning a family has committed to adopting sweet Katelyn, the little girl with the brown eyes who jumped out of the computer and into my heart nearly a year ago. She had already been transferred to an adult mental institution that without being adopted she would have spent the rest of her achingly short life. So many of these precious children die far too young, barely living in conditions that are heartbreaking, to say the least. God has placed a calling on my heart, and it is louder than anything I have ever heard before.  

I want to shout 
Mama's coming, little one! Mama & Daddy are coming to get you, whoever and wherever you are.

All in God's time. 








These are just a sample of the sweet faces you see when you browse Reece's Rainbow. There are so, so very many beautiful little children waiting for families.

Until then? What strength the Scriptures give me.

"I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." Isaiah 45:2-3

Today I love announcing (finally!) another giveaway! Because today, I love knitting. I only recently re-learned how to do the basic knit stitch and I have a growing collection of knitted things. I have been knitting nearly every evening after the little ones are all tucked in... 

Sporting my bicolour hand knitted infinity scarf on our little jaunt. Not my most flattering picture, by any means.


One commenter will receive one of my handmade infinity scarves. In a color of their choice (from my available colours). 

Now, go check out Reece's Rainbow. Donate if you can. Pray for these children, this ministry. 
And be sure to leave a comment and follow my blog so you can stay updated on our continuing story... and you can win a lovely scarf.

Stay cosy, until next time.
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