April 28, 2011
Your sister is at a friend's house playing this morning, so it's just you and me in this very quiet house. We have to soak this up, because your sister's presence does not lend itself to quietness.
You are laying on my chest, making very sweet newborn noises, and I just can't believe you are my daughter. As we sit here, and I pick at your newborn skin that is peeling away (I am a natural born picker, so just get used to it.) I am praying for you.
Lord, please let her grow to know you.
Lord, help me to be the Mommy she needs me to be.
Lord, when she's sixteen and some sketch guy tells her he thinks she's hot, please let the first thing through her mind be - "I am so much better than hot, okay?"
Let her meet someone like her Daddy to fall in love with.
Let her be strong hearted (hard headed?) but gentle.
Let her find her beauty in her heart and not in the mirror.
Let her be courageous and fearless..........but careful (is that a cop out?).
Lord, help me to guard her heart.
When she's in high school, and she hates me because I won't let her wear that dress, and we aren't totally in love with that sketch guy who told her she's hot - give me the strength and love enough to be her Mommy, and know that much of what she hates me for now, she will thank me for later.
Lord, help me to soak. it. up.
....And thank you. I could not have asked for a bigger blessing.
I look at you and pray. We'll work through this life together - this Mommy/daughter thing.
I feel like we're starting to get to know each other. You're becoming mine, and I'm becoming yours. I guess I just want you to know that I love you more than life. It's not something you will understand until you have a littlest baby of your own. My love is fierce, and I will always do my best for you.
You will have lots of brothers and sisters as you grow up. Such is the life as a foster family. I hope that you love it as much as your sister does. Let me know if you don't.
I'm going to go now - soak up this snuggle time that I have with you until your sister comes home. I love you. More than you will ever know. I am so excited to be your Mommy forever, and I can't wait to watch you grow (but don't get in any hurry.).
love you, love you, love you,
P.S. Your hair cracks me up.
April 27, 2011
I completely forgot to link to the foster parent panel over at the Lark's Nest! This is a foster parent panel that I was asked to participate in. Every two weeks there is a new post, and eleven(ish) foster Mama's answer questions about their experience with foster care and foster parenting. It's been great so far - and it goes until the end of the year!
Anyway, I'm lame and missed out on week one.
And here is the link to week two.
Hopefully this will be a good way to answer questions that may be floating around for anyone considering fostering, and also a good way to advocate for fostering (you'd be great at it.). Check it out! Week three will be posted soon discussing first placements and all involved.
April 25, 2011
Regardless of her past, Rahab recognized God for who he was. She had faith in the midst of a city and a family that told her she was crazy. She came to God as she was, and he took her in, made her His, redeemed her, and used her life to glorify Himself.
Naomi will mess up. She will make mistakes and she will make choices she regrets. I pray that she has the faith of Rahab. I pray she will have faith in God in the midst of a world that often turns away. I pray she will come to God regardless of where life takes her so that he can take her under his wing, make her His, adopt her into His family, redeem her, and use her life to glorify Himself.
April 24, 2011
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
‘Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life’s first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
‘til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
April 20, 2011
Our little Naomi Rahab Popp joined our family on Monday, April 18th at 12:22 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces and was 18 inches long. I can’t get over her, I can’t stop staring. She was in my belly just two days ago. She formed inside of me. She is perfect. Thank you Lord for your incredible, unfathomable blessings.
My midwife kept telling me that this was going to be a birth of redemption. My experience delivering Sylvia did not go smoothly, but here we were, giving it another try. Redemptive, she said. It will be different, your body can do this, we are going to listen to your body, and you are going to have a beautiful birth and have a beautiful child. Amen.
I had random contractions all night Sunday night. Around 2:30 a.m. they became very consistent and very strong. I breathed through them and tried not to wake Brian until around 4:00, when I let him know that this was it. At that point there’s really no going back to sleep – I mean – we’re having a baby! We labored quietly, Brian coaching me through each contraction, until around 8:00 when Sylvia woke up. At that point I became pretty distracted between Sylvia and calls to the grandparents, and my contractions began to slow down. I was feeling frustrated because now, 5 1/2 hours in, I just wanted to get this show on the road. We decided to go ahead and go to the birth center so that we would be somewhere quiet and peaceful to really focus on the labor.
We left the house at around 10:00, my parents got there just as we were leaving, and they followed us to the birth center. We made a stop at Panera to get some bagels for the midwife and nurses, and while in the car my contractions really started to pick up. We got to the birth center at 10:30 and went to our birthing room, at which point I was relatively sure I was entering transition. My midwife checked me and I was dilated to a 6+, so I figured we had quite a bit more laboring to do.
They filled the birthing tub and I got in – immediately better able to relax between contractions. My midwife left to let us labor alone, but told us to get her should anything happen. She let us know that I would have to get out of the tub for a little while in around an hour and a half, but that she thought we’d have a baby by then. My thought was – there’s no way she’ll be here that soon! However, it was only several contractions later that my water broke and we got my midwife. Almost immediately I was having very, very, very strong transition contractions – which of course is when I start thinking, “I can’t do this!” But I had my wonderful, strong husband there telling me I could, and coaching me through each breath, my mom reassuring me, and my midwife praying over me, reminding me that God would provide my strength. It was beautiful.
It wasn’t long before I was pushing. I was so nervous to push. With Sylvia, I pushed and nothing happened and I was afraid it would happen again. My midwife helped me with encouragement and by allowing me to push when my body said to. Half way through pushing my midwife said, “Look how long that hair is!” which was all the motivation I needed to get my baby girl in my arms.
Not 20 minutes later, she was born. Caught under the water by her Daddy and put directly on my chest, the first words out of my mouth were to my midwife, “It worked!” I held her and talked to her until her cord stopped pulsing. There was no rushing and no one taking away my baby. I held her and loved on her until my heart’s content.
My dad came in to see his new grandbaby – all of us in awe over that head of hair! She was beautiful and perfect. After getting out of the tub and getting to the bed, Brian and I were left alone with our baby girl to treasure the first hours of her life with no one worrying about her weight or length or whether she was perfectly clean.
After a while Sylvia arrived and came in to meet her baby sister. She was excited and kept saying, “Mimi, mimi!” That is what she calls Naomi. Brian’s mom visited with her grand daughter. Not five hours after she was born, we were getting into the car to go home, to rest and bond where we are most comfortable.
It was beautiful. It was redemptive. I can’t believe she is here.
We are so in love.
The birth center makes each family a birthday cake during their labor to celebrate!
All ready to go home – just 5 hours after birth!
April 14, 2011
I think it’s the suspense at the end of a pregnancy that kills me. Maybe today? Maybe tomorrow? How many contractions has that been? Consistent, or just in my head? And then I remind myself, ‘Maggie, do you remember what labor was like with Sylvia? You WILL KNOW when you are in labor, for real.’
My midwife reminded me yesterday that God has a thing for waiting. It’s strung throughout the entire Bible – wait. patience. He could have made pregnancies a specific number of days long, take away all this anticipation. But he didn’t. So I guess I’ll just … wait.
Apparently I’m not the only one who is ready.
Sylvia’s all, “Mom, do your pregnancy exercises, go into labor already.”
I’m also excited to be able to start fostering again. At this point in the pregnancy (actually for a few weeks now) we decided it would be best to hold off till post baby. Cause really, can you imagine?
Here’s your new foster home. I know your foster mom looks like she’s about to explode. Actually, she is.
And then two days later I go into labor, and then bring home a new baby.
Traumatic? I think yes.
So, lots of things that we are really, really, very much so, holding our breath kind of looking forward to. Can’t wait! (But I guess we will.)
April 6, 2011
The next time I am faced with the number 18 in regards to your age, I imagine it will be much scarier.
On second thought, at 18 months I still have the monumental task of raising you ahead of me, and at 18 years I’ll have done the majority of that already – so maybe 18 months really is scarier.
With that said, 18 months is wonderful. We have so much fun together. You love to be with me and your daddy – which I am soaking up, because I’m under no preconceived notion that that will last more than a few short years.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if I were to describe your personality in one word:
You are happy about everything. And everything is very, very exciting. And when the joy is just too much to contain, you start spinning in circles and giggling – because apparently spinning in circles only makes good things better.
You are very, very good at letting us know what you want. When your words fail you, the tantrums strike. But you’re getting much better at using your words. You’re daddy didn’t start talking until he was three. Me? They were teaching me to try to use my inside voice at your age. Now your daddy is ridiculously loud (he wouldn’t deny this) and I’ve quieted down a bit. Somehow in there, I think you got just the right mixture of both of us that you are loud and verbal now, and I don’t really see you slowing down any time soon. You are saying new words every day. Yesterday we saw a peacock, and you think that is a very fun word – every once in a while you just yell it. You’ve started putting two word phrases together too (Mommy, eat? More water? Diaper poop?). You like to try to sing your ABC’s – which comes out sounding mostly like “A, B, C, eee, eee, eee, eee” – but you get the tune pretty well! Verbal, you are.
Your new favorite thing in the entire universe is Elmo. I’m not sure how this happened. We don’t have a t.v. We don’t have any Elmo books. We have one toy with a small Elmo face on it. But you are in love with Elmo. (Lovingly referred to as ‘Melmo’, a name that is only yelled excitedly, never spoken in a normal voice.) When I finally figured out who you were talking about, I made the mistake of showing you an Elmo video on my phone to see if I was right. Now any time you see my phone you start asking to watch Elmo. If we see him at the store you yell his name at the top of your lungs until we go see him. Obsessed doesn’t quite describe this love you have for the little red guy.
You’re also still very into your baby dolls, and you are a very good mama. You wrap them up in their blankets and walk around the house bouncing and shushing them, and before bed each night you put your baby doll ‘nigh nigh’. Your other favorite thing is swinging (singing), hence all the pictures of you swinging lately.
Oh yeah, and now that you’re 18 months old – we’re gonna rock you’re world. Cause any day now, you’re going to be a big sister. I cannot wait for the moment that you meet her. I also cannot wait until you fit on my lap again. You are going to be a great big sister.
I love you baby girl. You have brought more joy to me than you will ever know, and when you are 18 years old, I am sure I will say the same thing. I thank God every day for the blessing that you are. I will always love you.
Love you, love you, love you,
April 1, 2011
If you are a foster or adoptive parent, you should check this out. Really.
I posted on this last year, but I wanted to get the info up again for anyone interested!
Horn Creek is a Christian family camp in the mountains of Colorado. We went last year with Brian’s family (although not to the foster/adoption family week) and we took Jay and Zee, the two boys placed with us at the time.
Jay and Zee loved it, and it’s a great time to get away, enjoy some hikes and such, and soak up some family time. They have tons of stuff to do as a family - from bowling and rock climbing to horse back riding and hiking. You will not get bored. Neither will your kids.
Also, someone else cooks for you all. week. long.
Now I have your attention.
One week per summer they have started doing a week of camp specifically for foster parents and adoptive parents and families. The curriculum is specifically tailored to fit the needs of families in these very unique situations.
That means a week completely surrounded by other people who know what it is like to be where you are. They know the frustrations. They know the emotional drain. They know the behaviors.
Also very important to note? Any child adopted into your family or placed with your family as a child in foster care within the last year? Free.
Yup. I know. Super cool.
Brian and I are hoping to be able to make it this year. See you there?