Since there a lot of adoption advocates here, I wanted to tell you about a lovely drive going on over at one of my favorite blogs, Under The Sycamore called the Incubator Project. Ashley’s youngest daughter is waiting here at this orphanage in China (gut-wrenching photo, I know!) and they’re in need of a new incubator to keep newborn babies warm. For a minimum $20 donation, you end up with a beautiful gift as a well as helping to pay for their new equipment. Check it out.
I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 2 of 6.
In another part of town, Jason had had enough. He was 16 and already jaded from hurtful relationships. He wore his heart on his sleeve and subsequently had it crushed by a girl more than once. Many nights were spent scribbling poetry into spiral bound notebooks, allowing the tears to flow in the privacy of his bedroom. Thoughtful, creative Jason spent hours practicing scales, learning new songs and writing music. Sometimes he would even fall asleep on the floor with the guitar still strapped across his chest. “I don’t want to have another girlfriend until I meet my wife!” he told God.
He also played around town in a few hardcore/metal/punk bands…
(Photo courtesy of Facebook. That’s him on the right.)
We met at our church at a Wednesday night youth group gathering. I don’t remember who introduced us for the first time but I knew who he was months before we officially met. He noticed right away that my eyes are two different colors. I can tell a lot about someone based on this. One eye is blue and the other is hazel, but the difference is subtle. There are people who I’ve known most of my life who have never noticed. Jason was looking into my eyes; he was really seeing me.
As our relationship started to grow and form in the weeks to follow, Jason insisted we take things slow and not rush into dating, remembering what he had told God and thinking he couldn’t possibly meet his future wife so young. He assumed the answer to his prayer would come in several years and he was OK with waiting.
Somebody got a big haircut…
I had every intention of getting a photo of the three of us all dressed up for church on Easter…but it just didn’t happen. After church, we had lunch at Cheesecake factory with both sets of parents plus Jason’s brother Dan, our sister-in-law Ginger and Precious’ cousin Eliza.
These two couldn’t be more different but I hope they grow up to be great friends. This photo just cracks me up:
After we all had afternoon naps, it was time for a quick photo shoot of our beautiful baby girl. (Jason and I had already changed into our comfy clothes.)
These two have a special relationship. Jason can make her giggle and laugh more than anyone else. She says “Dada” 30x a day—that’s 30x more than any other word. He adores her. And she adores him. It’s almost like she knows she came THISCLOSE to growing up without a daddy, but he fought hard for her—we both did—and Father God did a big miracle for our family in allowing us to stay together.
This whole home building process is taking a loooooong time. We’re still waiting on bids from the general contractors (hopefully we’ll get numbers this week) and the banker just told us the approval process (checking references of the GC we chose, approving our construction loan, appraising the house based on plans, etc.) could take another month. Ugh! We just wanted to get started with the building already.
I’m trying to make good use of this waiting time by researching interior fixings for the house and making some decisions about things like paint colors, materials, appliances, etc. So I’ve been looking at lights lately. Here are some that I’m dreaming about…
I wasn’t sure if it would be of interest to anyone other than me, but this line I threw out got a couple of nibbles so, here we go…
I thought it would be fun to record Jason’s and my love story—at least the beginning of it—starting with when we met and fell in love back in 1999. This is part 1 of 6.
It was the spring of 1999 and I was lonely. I was finally through the three straining, painfully awkward middle school years and making my way into high school as a 9th grader. In the process, I had grown apart from my childhood best friend Michele—the one I did everything with and had sleepovers with every weekend, the one with which we were often mistaken for twins—or boys. From third grade until sixth grade we were inseparable. But then, at different middle schools, with different groups of friends, we got disconnected.
(Picture from Grand Canyon 1997 of my mom, me, Michele and my dad.)
I was growing a lot spiritually and spending a lot of time with friends from youth group, many of whom were older. As I thought about some of the seniors who would be graduating soon and going off to college, I was sad. But I got even more sad as I realized they weren’t really my friends. They were significantly older kids that I admired and who had mentored me, but they were in a different world than I was at 14 years old. I felt so alone.
I crawled into bed one night after youth group where we had prayed for the graduating class and said an informal goodbye (it was May and they wouldn’t actually be leaving until fall). I pulled open my journal and a package of colorful markers and I poured out my feelings on paper in the form of a prayer.”God, I want a new best friend.” Michele had been just what I needed from 8-12 and I craved a new friend to walk with me through my teen years, someone with the same beliefs and convictions as me, someone I could share my heart, my dreams and fears with, someone I could laugh with and cry with and grow with.
Then, I met Jason.
We’re grateful that our daughter has three cousins within 6 months of her age. We’re also really blessed to have close friends Jeremy, Leila and Jaron right around the corner from us (from our old house and our new one). Not only is their son just 4 months younger than Precious, he was also adopted. They’ll have each other for support and encouragement through the ups and downs of these journeys, just like we have our friends.
We live close enough for spontaneous trips to the park together.
Enough evenings are spent at their house that Precious practically has her own bed set up there. She falls right to sleep in the pack ‘n play, which allows us to hang out and visit as late as we please. Right after these pictures, we put the babies to bed and ate a late dinner together.
They’re starting to hug, kiss, and grab each others’ hands. Cutest thing ever!
He’s such a handsome little fella.
Aren’t baby feet some of the best things in the world?
Thank God for good buddies!
Precious and I don’t end up with a lot of hang time with just the two of us. When I’m working at home, I’m not paying much attention to her. She just hangs out on a blanket with her toys unless it’s time to eat or she needs changed.
When I’m at the office and Jason spends the day with Precious, they do fun things, (he doesn’t like to be stuck at home) like go to the coffee shop or the bank or the hardware store. He loves taking her around on errands. And of course, the three of us spend time together in the evenings and weekends. But last weekend, Jason was out of town so it was just me and the babe. I decided we should go shopping when I got home from work.
She was getting sleepy and I may have pushed her bedtime back just a little bit that night, but we still enjoyed some nice quality time together.
Nothing a little thumb action can’t soothe.
I don’t mind being alone—actually it’s refreshing sometimes to relax in front of the TV (watching whatever I want) or fall asleep early (and no one questions it) when Jason is on the road—but it’s also nice to have a sidekick. Spending a Friday night shopping date with my daughter was fun. I couldn’t help but remember all the shopping dates I’ve had with my mom, not just in my first 18 years, but even now as an adult. I’m looking forward to lots of mother-daughter time with my girl in the years to come.
This was the day before. The quality is worse, but Precious loves seeing herself when my iPhone is on self-portrait mode.
I’m extremely thankful that I get to be this little girl’s mama. I think about her birth mom just about everyday and my heart breaks for her. I know she thinks about her babies everyday, too. I’m not sure what is down the road for all of us but I hope we can have some kind of continued relationship with her.
Yesterday Jason, Precious, Lucy and I took a morning walk around the block and stopped by our property to say check on it. Jason wanted to inspect our fruit trees—the cherries and pear we transplanted from our last yard—while I just wanted to admire our giant white dogwood tree.
We met with a team of contractors at Starbucks later in the day. They seem like really nice guys and we had a lot in common personally, too. They’re a family business and all three of them are married and have kids. One of the guys has six, two of which they’re adopting through foster care. We also know some people in common. One of the three original general contractors who were putting together bids has dropped out. We haven’t gotten numbers back yet from the other two yet and it’s been 2.5 weeks. We’re getting antsy. We want to get started!