Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Memories . . .

I'll go ahead and prepare you now, if you don't have a few minutes to sit down and read, you probably want to stop now and come back later. : ) I decided a few days ago that I would sit down and write down the story of the days surrounding Sawyer's coming home day, mostly for myself, but also for any of you who don't know our story. So, here we go. I'll start with a little background, in case you don't know how we got to the place of wanting to adopt. Ian and I decided that we wanted to start a family in December of 2005. We started trying and after a few months I knew something just wasn't right. We started going to doctors in January of 2006, running tests and taking medication. We were never given a reason for not being able to concieve, but after testing and months of medicine, we were both unsure of how to proceed. There were still other options that we could pursue, but neither of us had a peace about that, so we made a choice in August of 2006 to visit Bethany Christian Services. We filled out the miles of paperwork and had our home visits and everything was completed and given the stamp of approval right after Thanksgiving 06. That's when the waiting game began. Several women from church had thrown us a shower in October, so we had everything we needed and were working on the nursery so we would be prepared. We had heard stories of people getting a baby the day they finished their process and then people who had waited for months. We were prepared to wait, but I for one, was hoping that it would happen before Christmas. A baby in the house on Christmas day was the best Christmas present I could think of, but that was not the Lord's plan for us, and Christmas came and went without a baby. At that point, I thought we were going to be in for a pretty long wait, so I prepared myself, kept the nursery door closed, and prayed for strength and a continued sense of peace. At this time in my life I grew in ways that I never could have imagined. The Lord taught me so much about who he was and who I was in Him. I mourned the thought that I might never give birth to children, but I could very honestly say that the Lord had given me a love for children and that any child he gave me would be mine in every sense of the word. I remember sitting in church one Sunday listening to one of our preachers speak and he started by speaking about Eric Liddell. Eric Liddell, in case you don't know, was the man that "Chariots of Fire" is about. He is well known for that movie, but less well known for his missions work in China. In a book that our pastor had read, when asked what the Lord had put him on this earth for, Liddell answered that it was to take Christ to China. The person asking had expected him to talk about running, but that was not what he saw as his purpose in life. Our pastor asked if we could answer that question and say what the Lord had put us on earth to do. Without any hesitation I heard a voice in my head say you were put on this earth to love children! It was from that day on that I knew whether they were my "belly" babies or my "heart" babies, I would love them all the same. Well, our wait turned out to be much shorter than I had anticipated and on January 15th, while I was at work, I got a phone call. I can still remember being in the 1st and 2nd grade classroom at LEAP (our afterschool program) when our church secretary walked in and said that there was a lady on the phone for me named Tricia and wanted to know if she should take a message or if I wanted to take it. The moment I heard that name, I tried not to overreact. Tricia was the name of our social worker and she had very clearly stated that she would try not to call us unless it was to tell us about a baby. I literally ran down the hall to my office and picked up the phone, only to be dissapointed over the fact that no one was there. I went back to the room and told Chris that she must have hung up, but if she called back, to please let me know. Well, within a few minutes Chris was back and said that she was still on the line, so I ran back down the hall. I went to my office again, and the same thing happened, so I looked at the phone and realized my phone was having issues, which was nothing new. I ran over to one of our pastor's offices, which was empty, thankfully enough and answered the phone. I heard Tricia's voice and she asked if I had a few minutes. Of course, I said yes and she proceeded to give me the details about a little baby boy who had been born on December 29th and was staying with a foster family in Myrtle Beach, SC. I don't think my heart has ever pounded so hard in my life as it did during that conversation! I tried to think straight and ask intelligent questions, but I definitely missed a few details. : ) Both birth parents were in favor of the adoption and were willing to sign relinquishment papers the next day. Because of the birth father's schedule and their desire to keep everything a secret, if we were going to adopt this baby we had to do it the next day! The birth mom had not had any prenatal care, so Tricia ask me to take all of those details to Ian, discuss it with him, and then get back to her with our decision, and a name if we were going to move forward. I remember thinking, "What do you mean IF?" In my mind it was a done deal! I called Ian, who was actually working on a campaign at the time, and told him to sit down because I had some important stuff to tell him! He was shocked, as you can imagine, but felt the same way that I did. We both new this baby was ours! We decided we would call our parents seperately since we wouldn't see each other until much later that night. I called Tricia and gave her the news and then she gave me the details for where we would meet and what we should bring. I called my parents, and a few friends and then went and jumped up and down in the hall with some of my friends who were there at LEAP. I could barely make a completely sentence but I had to get some stuff finished before I left. I went to Babies R Us to get some boy clothes and then home to clean, since I couldn't figure out what else to do. We barely slept that night, and then spent the next day, cleaning and putting stuff together for our sweet baby. We loaded up the carseat and ourselves at 2:00 in the afternoon and headed for Sumter where we were going to meet. I was so nervous I couldn't see straight, so we just tried to talk about what might happen and pray for the things we weren't sure about. We arrived at the church and walked through the door of the office and the first thing we saw was the back of our baby boy's head. I almost started crying at the sight of that head full of hair! We only got to see him for a minute before the social workers took him back to see his birth parents for a few minutes. We spent that time talking to his foster parents about what he liked, disliked, his schedule, and all the things we needed to know about our sweet boy. They couldn't stop talking about what a great baby he was and how much they were going to miss him. They had made a scrapbook of the two weeks that they had him and so they gave that to us, as well as the outfits they had bought for him. They were so precious and had obviously treated him like their own grandchild while they had him. After that we went to talk with the social workers about the adoption ceremony that would take place. They asked both of us to just speak off the cuff to help put the birth parents at ease and then they ask Ian to read some scripture and pray. Ian was definitely nervous about this part, as was I, but it happened so fast we didn't have long to think about it. They had warned us that the birth mom was very emotional, but open, and that the birth father had been very closed off, trying to keep his emotions at bay. We walked into the room and once again saw our baby in the arms of his birth father and standing beside him was his birth mother. They were obviously crying and had been crying for a while. I started by speaking, and I couldn't tell you a word that I said. I launched into tears and cried the entire time I spoke, which if you know me you realize that's not too uncommon when I have to speak in front of people. After that Ian spoke, and again I couldn't tell you a word he said. What I will never forget, however, is what happened after Ian spoke. He finished talking and Sawyer's birth father, who still had Sawyer in his arms, walked across the room and literally crushed Ian in a bear hug. He stood there for several minutes hugging Ian, with Sawyer between them, crying and saying thank you. I have never felt so emotional as I did at that very moment. Once they broke apart Ian continued by reading some scripture and praying. Sawyer's birth mom then handed Sawyer to me, with more tears than I thought possible, which was the first time I had held our son. If you've never been a part of process like this, you can't imagine the different emotions that rush through you. I was so thrilled to hold my baby boy for the first time and so torn over how upset this motion was making this poor girl. You almost feel like you're causing her grief, but I knew that I was giving her a gift, something that she couldn't do herself and that she wanted it, despite the tears. We took a few pictures, but we quitely slipped out after that to give them time to collect themselves. We had to finish signing paperwork, but after that we were able to thank everyone, pack up our baby, and head back home. It was so surreal to get in the car with our baby! I then spent the next hour calling everyone under the sun to let them know that we were going home and that we had our baby! That night our parents and many of our friends were at our house to greet us and meet our sweet baby. We had a whirlwind of visitors over the next few days, and began to adjust to having a new baby in the house, but I will never forget that first day, as long as I live. I love you my sweet boy!

Monday, January 12, 2009

First Birthday Party

Well, this is a little overdue, but I wasn't ready to accept that my baby is one now! I just can't believe that we've had him for a year this Friday. For those of you who don't know that story, or just need a good cry, check back at the end of this week and I will blog our story and my memories of when we got Sawyer. : )
Well, for those of you who are interested in what this big boy is doing, and for my records here is what he is up to lately.
Walking - Sawyer took his first steps on December 3rd, but didn't start walking really well until a few days before Christmas. Now he walks/runs all over the house with the occassional spill, but he picks himself back up and keeps on going. He still hasn't mastered the art of standing up by himself, but I have no doubt that it's coming soon.
Talking - Sawyer babbles a lot, but the only words he will actually say are Mama and Dada. Dada is by far his favorite word. If Ian leaves for work before Sawyer gets up in the morning he babbles about Dada all morning long! It is so cute and I love that he loves his Daddy so much! Sawyer will sign "all done" regularly. "Please" and "more" are pretty sporadic, so we're working on those along with "Thank you".
Favorites - Sawyer's favorite things right now include, in no particular order: Whit (our black lab), Daddy and Mommy, anything with wheels, and tupperware/bowls that he can turn into drums. Sawyer also loves to dance to music and clap. I'll try to get a video up of that soon!
Food - Sawyer LOVES food! I don't know that we've found anything that this child doesn't like. He eats whatever we eat for dinner, including meats. I definitely can't complain about the way my child eats!
Sleep - Sawyer sleeps 12-14 hours a night and still takes 2 naps a day that are 2 hours each. What can I say? This boy loves to sleep!

Here are a few pictures from Sawyer's birthday party. We had so much fun and can't thank our friends and family enough for helping us celebrate!

Eating his cake! With as wild and active as our child is, we thought he would be a great cake smoosher, but he didn't! He would just stick his hand in, get a taste, and do it again!

Aunt D and Grandaddy let Sawyer play with the bunch of balloons that were on the table. He thought it was the best and you could hear him laughing over and over! Thanks for holding him up so long, Aunt D!

Kaitlyn Dean and Karis came to the party and showed Sawyer how to play with his new Mega blocks!

Uncle Josh got Sawyer his first Atlanta Braves hat! In case you don't know, we are HUGE baseball fans, and despite their performance over the last few years, we are also big Braves fans! He looks so cute and will actually wear his hat!

Kaley was our big helper for the day! She helped Aunt Danielle organize all the presents after Sawyer opened them. Thanks, Kaley!

This picture is one of many where Sawyer is eating the wrapping paper or tissue paper. I spent most of our present time pulling it out of his mouth. : )

Fun time with wrapping paper! He loved to tearing it all up!

More and more presents! Sawyer got lots of wonderful new stuff between his birthday party and Christmas!

Because Sawyer loves our dog, and dogs in general, so much, we decided to do a puppy themed party! Mom and I made the cakes and the cupcakes and decorated them ourselves. I was very happy with how they turned out!

A shot of the spread with our puppy plates and paw print napkins!
Thanks to Aunt Danielle who let us use her house and to Aunt Carla for taking pictures with her wonderful camera! Y'all are great and we appreciate you!

First Christmas

Christmas this year was so much fun with a one year old! We spent Christmas in Georgia with my Dad's side of the family a few weeks before Christmas, then we celebrated with my mom's side of the family on Christmas Eve. We rounded it out with Christmas morning at our own house, brunch at the Keesey's and dinner at the Headley's. All in all it was a great holiday season!

Sawyer got a big Mega Blocks truck from Mommy and Daddy and he played with it until we had to leave!
He also played with one of his other favorite toys . . . Daddy. At this point, Sawyer drooled in Daddy's mouth, which he found to be hysterical, but Daddy was less than happy. : )

Uncle Josh got a cute, wiggly Christmas present named Cooper. Sawyer likes him when he's sleepy, but not when he's playful. He's not a big fan of having his ears bitten by a puppy.

Our family on Christmas Day at Granna and Grandaddy's house.

Grandpa Headley had the train set up again under the Christmas tree so Sawyer spent quite a while playing with the trains.

Sawyer got a John Deere from Granna and Grandaddy and he LOVES it! The weather was so nice at Christmas time that we got to spend some time playing in the yard playing with all of his new toys!

While in Georgia we celebrated Grandaddy and Sawyer's birthdays. Sawyer got his first taste of cake and icing, which he thought was great!

Grandpa and Miss Areatha took us all to the Georgia Aquarium and our little man thought it was the best thing ever! He loved all the big tanks and the many different kinds of fish. He stared in awe most of the day!

He loved walking in front of all the big tanks. He would go back and forth trying to follow the fish.

The jellyfish might have been his favorite. He thought they were sooo cool. Hopefully we don't run into any at the beach this summer!

After the aquarium we went to the Varsity for lunch. Sawyer was a little tired, which turned into being a very giggly boy!

Nana and Papa, much to my surprise, got Sawyer a Carolina jersey and matching pants. I was shocked, but since it is Daddy's alma mater we let him wear it. : )

Nana and Papa also gave him a great rocking horse. Emilye, Lawson, and Landon were great at helping him learn to sit and rock on his new horse.
Finally, here is one of my favorite pictures from the holiday season. It captures his sweet smile and his fun loving personality. Hope you enjoy!