January 31, 2013

one month.


The last month has been a wonderful, busy, overwhelmingly blessed and chaotic 30 days.



So, let’s start with who Vida looks like.  Seriously.  Not me, not Brian.  SYLVIA.  If it weren’t for her hair you wouldn’t be able to tell their pictures apart.



First smile caught on camera.  All gas.  All cute.



First (sponge) bath!






Vi is never at a loss for snuggles.  That is for sure.



Grandma snuggles.



Grandpa snuggles.



Baby ktan snuggles.



First bath!









Sister snuggles.



More sister snuggles.














With one of my best friends from home with our babies.  How did this happen?



Mama snuggles.

January 28, 2013

My Vida.


You have been here for three and a half weeks.  I’m not sure how that’s possible, and at the same time, haven’t you always been a part of this crazy family?  Sometimes it seems that way.  We’ve been anticipating you for so long – especially your sisters, that I think when you got here, it seemed you were just returning from some long trip somewhere and that we all already knew you.




You were born in my bed.

It was a very difficult, strenuous labor.  Even having been through two prior labors, yours was the hardest.  And still, so very, very worth it.  Worth every moment, every cry, every thought that I couldn’t do it a second longer.

And now, when I take you off to bed in the evening, and all your sisters are sleeping and the house is quiet, my room feels like this special place for you and I.  Last weekend I changed the sheets for the first time since after you were born, and put the sheets back on the bed that were on it when you came. 

Every night I lay down with you in the very spot where you first cried.  Where I first met you and kissed your cheeks.  Where I laid, thanking Jesus that you were here, that the labor was over and that I was laying there, in that very bed, holding my daughter that He had knit together right inside of me.

You are a miracle. 

I look down at you frequently and think, “I can’t believe that I’ve been blessed with another daughter.  That I’ve been given another little soul to love.”  Of course, I’m not the only Mama around here.  Nope, you’ve got five Mamas.  Your other four are always very eager to help, kiss, smother, sing. 

Bella loves to hold you, and it’s the first thing she asks to do when she gets home from school each day.  She is always eager to help – changing diapers, picking out clothes, giving baths – you are her favorite new little doll.

Naomi is head over heels for you.  And I was a little worried about how she’d react to you joining the family.  She gives you about 500 kisses a day.  Anytime you cry she makes sure that I don’t miss it.  She runs to me pointing at you saying, “She crying! She crying!”  She sings to you in the car.  The look on her face when she gets to hold you is full of pride, joy, and excitement.

Tootaw randomly comes up to you several times a day and says, “I just love you baby Vida.”

But Sylvia.  Sylvia seems to have some special bond with you.  She is constantly holding you, touching you, singing to you, kissing you.  Last night you were crying while I got ready for bed.  I climbed into bed with you to nurse you, and Sylvia was not five seconds behind me.  She climbed in on the other side of you and snuggled up just as close as she could possibly get to you and whispered, “Oh Vi-Vi (her name for you), it’s ok now, I’m here and you’re safe.”  After you stopped crying she added, “Oh, is that what you wanted, you just wanted your Mommy and your Sylvie?”  She regularly tells you that you are “the best gurl in the wuld.”  She loves you so, so much.



There is so much love for you here.

As my belly begins to return to normal, and I can see how you’ve begun to grow, I snuggle you close not wanting to let go of this sacred thing that has just happened.  Not wanting to forget your kicks, not wanting the relief of you being placed on my chest to fade, treasuring your newness – a soul so recently and intimately crafted by our Father.  But I am also so anxious to see, as you grow, just who it is that He has created.  Who you are and what you love and to find how you will live out your purpose here.


You are treasured.  In the rare moments of quiet that we get together each day I whisper to you, “You are treasured.  You are so loved.”  And I whisper to Jesus, “Let her know you, let her find her purpose in Your glory.”

I love you Vida Elizabeth.  I ask you now for grace when I stumble.  I cannot wait to watch you grow, and to grow with you.


Love you, love you, love you,


January 5, 2013

Glimpses of Redemption.

  I've only been surfing twice and loved it both times.  It's exhilarating.  Of course, having only been twice, I didn't spend a lot of time actually up on the surf board.  I've probably only actually ridden two or three waves.  Much of the rest of the time was spent being rolled on the sandy bottom of the ocean hoping that I surfaced before I inhaled.  But those few times when I actually managed to catch a wave, maintain my balance, and experience a moment on top before falling off?  Those were incredible.

  This is what popped into my head when I thought about the last year and a half.  I feel like a lot of it I have spent being rolled on the sandy floor.  Between Bella's cancer, adding four kids to our family in a year and a half, emergency room visits, finding out about Tootaw's challenges and all it will take to address them, the ups and downs, downs, downs of Bella and Tootaw's case, all of the food issues and trauma behaviors, and, well, just being a mama to four (now five!) kids five and under - I've done a lot of rolling and holding my breath.

  I've spent a lot of it in snippets of prayer.
Jesus, please just give me grace for this.  Just for this moment.
Give me trust.  Just for this moment.
Give me perseverance, just for this trial.
Carry me?  Please?
I cannot do this.  Give me strength outside of my own.

  And He has.  He gives me grace enough to get up and get my balance long enough to see Him working in all of this.  To catch my breath before I inhale the water.  I get up on my board long enough to be able to see the wave from the top, to see how He is using it to move us to where we need to be.  And not only that, but also to see that He is very clearly using my time rolling on the sandy bottom to refine me, to move me, and to make me better at staying on my board.
He gives me glimpses of His work, His redemption, and shovel fulls of His grace, without which I would have long since drowned.

  All that to say, that yesterday (for the second time this week!) He gave me a view from the top of the wave.

Yesterday was the girls' hearing.  It's hard for me to really decipher if I had just given up hope of something productive happening, or if I had actually just decided to trust regardless of what happened (although one sounds so much more Christlike, no?), but I fully expected to hear that Mom had done just the very bare minimum, enough to extend the case for another unknown number of months.


I got a call from our worker yesterday telling us that Mom hadn't even shown up for the hearing (or for the girls visit later that day) and that since she wasn't present, they had no choice but to

set the case for termination.

They set a trial for March 14th.  I can't tell you how unexpected that was.  Not because it isn't what needs to happen - it is - but because things so rarely go as they should in foster care.

Praise God.  A glimpse of things from the top of the wave.  Seeing Him working all things together for the good of those who love Him.  Progress.

It's difficult knowing the depth of the brokenness that exists in order for this all to occur, and the brokenness that is still to come as we continue to move forward.  This is not what God intended for families.  The brokenness of attachment is not what He meant for His children.
But in the brokenness that is our world, that is foster care, that is the root of adoption, we also see glimpses of His healing, glimpses of His deep, deep love,

Glimpses of Redemption.

January 3, 2013

Baby Vida.


  The newest and littlest addition to our family arrived on December 30, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.  She is my baby Vida (sounds like Hi-duh).  Vida Elizabeth Popp.  She weighed in at 8 pounds 4 ounces and 21 1/2 inches long, easily making her our biggest baby yet!  But she is so very tiny.

  I can’t get over that she was knitted together inside of me.  That we have a bond already so intense that I cannot imagine life without her.  That she already knows me, and I know her, and we already love each other so deeply.




  I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to my water breaking, which is a first in my labor experiences.  I immediately woke up Brian to let him know that we had a baby on the way.  We got up and showered, slowly taking in that this would be the day that we would meet our little baby, and that our daughters would meet their littlest sister.

  My contractions picked up very quickly, and we called my midwife by 5:30 because things seemed to be moving right along.  Brian started getting the birthing tub ready and we called our friends to come and get our girls so that I could labor without fear of scaring them.  My midwife’s apprentice, Cheryl got there first, and upon seeing my contractions said it wouldn’t be long before we had a baby.  (!)  I wasn’t so sure I was ready for her to be there just yet!  But it didn’t matter anyway, because we ran into a couple of snags.

  My midwife, Debbie, got there and I almost immediately got into the birthing tub.  My contractions were very, very strong and I was sure I was in transition.  And I was.  But as I continued to have strong transition contractions without any sign of needing to push, I started to wonder what exactly my body thought it was doing.

  Like I said, little Vida ran into a couple of snags.  One of which was her position – she was sunny side up – and the other we will suffice to say that she just kind of got stuck.  (I don’t want to overshare – although I think that labor and delivery are beautiful and normal, and I am very open about it.)  I spent a good amount of time changing positions, to no avail. 

  In the meantime, I spent my almost my entire labor having transition-like contractions that were trying to push her down, with no progress, and I got little to no relief in between contractions.  There are several times during my labor (probably the better part of the second half of it) that I was ready to give up.  Even having had two previous natural births, this felt like too much.

  My midwife continually reminded me that she was watching, very keenly, for any sign that things were not safe or that she thought we could not get through this.  Over and over again she gently reminded me to fall into the strength of Jesus, to pray for his help – and she prayed for me through the entire labor.  Without that, without being constantly reminded of where my strength really comes from and knowing the encouragement of my midwife and my husband, I would have given up.  What a blessing.  What. a. blessing.

  It ended up that my midwife actually had to maneuver Vida during several contractions to allow her to descend.  Honestly, it was incredibly painful.  Incredibly.  Debbie at one point promised me that she knew this would all be worth it, and I actually remember thinking that I didn’t believe her!

  But, eventually, I did feel the need to push.  And when Debbie told me that my little baby had a head full of hair, I was so motivated and encouraged. 

  When she was born she was immediately put on my chest and all I could say was ‘Thank you, Jesus.’  Thank you for my baby girl.  Thank you for being with me every contraction.  Thank you for my wonderful husband.  Thank you for my wonderful midwife.

  She was here.  And it was all so worth it.

  She stayed on my chest while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing.  Brian cut the cord.  And I just laid there in my bed in awe and wonder at this beautiful baby on my chest.  We stayed there and soaked each other up for a couple of hours before they weighed and measured her.  After which we bundled back up in bed and snuggled for the next 24 hours.  It was so peaceful being at home, no one poking and prodding, no one waking us up, just our family reveling in the blessing we had just been given.


“The Lord has filled my heart with joy,

I feel very strong in the Lord.

I can laugh at my enemies,

I’m glad because you helped me.”

1 samuel 2



































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