Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sneak peak newborn pics

Hey everyone!  Again, to say we are thankful and overwhelmed and blessed beyond what words can describe, well, I am at a loss for words.  To come home from Georgia after a week, and be lavished on in ways I can't describe, is beyond amazing.  God is AMAZING.  Abby is amazing.  She is the most beautiful little person I have ever laid eyes on.  Her first pediatrician/2 week appointment (at 3 weeks actually because we were not home yet from Georgia at 2 weeks) was on Thursday and she did great!  Weighs in at a wopping 8 lbs and 2.5 oz.  Baby girl loves to eat and is growing and super healthy!

My darling cousin Teressa offered to come take pictures first thing when we got back, and was available this past Monday.  Little peanut was exhausted but she did great!  Here are a few pictures taken by my cousin Teressa King.  She is an incredible and creative photographer.  I think you will capture Abby's personality even at 3 weeks old:)  

Love to you all!!

 This is my parents piano.  Loved the idea of photographing her on it! 
 yep she smiles in her sleep a lot!  And look at those dimples!?!  I crocheted the edges on this blanket.  My Grammie taught me how to do that.  Very special:)
 Must have a picture in a tutu:)
 My most favorite pic
 This pic makes her look rolly, but she's very lean actually.
 Again the toes:)  This blanket in the last two pictures was my Grammie's, who passed away March 25, 2010, shortly after our sweet Esther.  Loved the blanket, the vintage look, and what it means with our new baby girl on it!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

She is amazing!

I am overwhelmed, and get choked up trying to process all this and the fact that we are PARENTS to this beautiful baby girl. Her name is Abigail Kaylee Joy Zylstra!! Abby is so precious to us and we are in awe. Still doesn't seem real. My thoughts are all jumbled, and i am running on zero sleep, and am super emotional right now. And not because she was up all night but because I was listening to her all night, make those sweet baby noises, and just could not sleep! So I am going to sign off for now. Thanks so much for your support, love and prayers! Man we feel them, and need them. So enjoy our first family photo with the three of us!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's a GIRL!!!

Wow, we have had an incredible miracle happen in this past whirlwind of a week!  I am overwhelmed and exhausted at the rollercoaster of emotions we experienced in such a short amount of time!  I am so grateful it all happened so fast.  God is so faithful, and a VERY present help in our time of need!  We knew He was in every detail that happened this past week.  To say to God that we are thankful, and grateful and blessed doesn't feel like enough!!
I will fill in more of the story later, but for now I wanted to let you know that God has given us an incredible gift of a baby girl, born March 1, 2014.  6 pounds 11 oz. and 20 inches long.  We are leaving at 11:15 pm tonight to fly to Georgia and pick her up!!!  We are elated!  Best.Gift.Ever.

Interesting story though:  Got a call last Wednesday that we had been picked by a birthmom, due with a baby boy at end of March!  We were so excited, I went out on Saturday and bought a few boy clothes.  The case worker had told us that birthmom wanted a conference call with us, and we were trying to plan that for the following week.  She had not responded to my email about a good time to talk, but Monday I received a call from birthmom's case worker, that he had actually been born on Saturday! March 8!  But only hours after that exciting phone call, I received another phone call from the director of the agency, who told me that birthmom changed her mind, she wanted to keep the baby!  BUT an interesting thing had happened, ANOTHER birthmom had also picked us as well, who gave birth to a baby girl on March 1!! And as far as she knew, we were taking her baby girl.  She did not pick a 2nd or 3rd choice, she wanted us.  They had been trying to get a hold of her to tell her that we had already been chosen, and that she needed her second choice (which she did not have).  Our agency had not gotten a hold of her to tell her that we had already been picked (by baby boys birthmom), so as far as she knew, we were adopting her baby!!   Loooooooooong confusing story, but this baby girl was free as of last night at midnight Eastern time for us to come and pick up.  I got a text from baby girls case worker at 9 pm our time, that time was up, and we could book our tickets to Georgia!!!  
We do not know how long we have to stay in Georgia, so we bought one way tickets.  We have had friends and family rally and help us get just what we need to take to Georgia to pick her up!  I can't wait for you all to see her, she is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.  I will post a family picture sometime next week!

Love you all and thanks for your prayers and support!!!!!  You have prayed us through this and God has done an incredible miracle in our lives and in the lives of so many others through our story!

HE IS GOOD! Blessings!

Off to Georgia~ Mo & BZ

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Now, we wait!

We are so excited!  It has happened quickly, but thanks to our Adoption Social Worker and her speediness, as well as fingerprint results coming back quickly, we are in the adoption pool!!  As we speak, our life books are being sent out and are being shown to birthmoms.  It is a surreal feeling.  We wait.  There is nothing else left for us to do.  The past 3 months were spent with us "doing".  Filling out paperwork, getting checked out, making sure we are physically capable of taking care of and raising a child.  Making sure we don't have a record or any sort, etc.  And now that is all done, and so we wait.  The cool, and scary part is that we could wait 2 days, or 200 days!  And scary on both accounts!  God knows, and we trust in the sovereignty of His plan and His timing.  I think all the time to myself and let HIM know, "God I want what YOU want. I want what YOU want."  I declare that to Him often.  When I waver, and my faith feels weak, I tell Him that again, and we will wait.  I was thinking the other day that I want to be very purposeful in our waiting.  I thought of crossing off the days that go by.  Not so that they will drag on, but to really offer them up to the Lord to use us in these days.  That we would do everything he has for us!  We know that life is going to change when children come into the picture. In a good way!!  But I want to be purposeful in my time!!  I love this song.  I think I posted it a few years back in our waiting season, of desiring to be pregnant, and it not happening.  I want to serve and worship the Lord in the waiting period.  If you have a few minutes listen to it!

We also wanted to provide an opportunity for anyone who would want to join us and be a part of what God is doing in growing our family!  The reality is that I am human, and I don't want to ask for help!  My pride wants to do this on our own.  But I have felt God nudging me, to let people know of our need.  Because the reality also is that it is expensive to adopt a child.  So I in no way want to take away the blessing from someone, if God is moving you, to join with us in this miracle!!  So there you have it.  We would be so honored and blessed if you would want to give to our little growing family!

Here is a Paypal link for those of you who would like to help!! It is a fast, safe and secure way to give. Thank you so much for your generosity and prayers! We covet every prayer lifted up on our behalf!

Thank you for walking this journey with us!  We love you all.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Adoption Update, and more!

Hey there!  So from the last time I posted, a lot has gone on!  I wanted to write as we went through this process, but it truly has gone fast!  I was meeting with a friend a few weeks ago, and she said, "you are writing all this down aren't you?" And i thought, yes, but then realized "no!" I hadn't because time goes by, and we are busy, and I have not taken the time, so tonight I am!

Really cool, "fingerprints of God" as we call them have happened throughout this process.  Currently, we are done with our home study, and are about to send it off to the agency!  We had to put together a life book as well, which is a photo book of pictures telling the potential birth mom  a bit of who we are.    I had only started putting this together, when I got a call from my cousin who lives in Seattle.  My parents had been at my uncles birthday party the weekend before, and told them that we were adopting.  Three days later my cousin got in touch with us, because a friend of hers had a daughter who was pregnant and going to give her baby up for adoption.  She told this birthmom about us and she wanted to see our profile.  What profile I thought?!  So I made a call to our attorney, our social worker, and started working feverishly on my lifebook!  (This was totally unrelated to the agency we are going through in Georgia.)  I got it done in a few days, sent it to a few people for their opinions, and after receiving positive feedback, I emailed the book off to the birthmom!  We weren't really sure about the whole thing, she had just recently decided to give her baby up for adoption, and didn't have any counseling to my knowledge. There were a lot of red flags, and many unknowns, but we felt we needed to push on this, perhaps open door.   Because I had hurried to get our life book done, I sent it off to our agency and asked if I needed to change anything.  The gal at the agency said it looked great and didn't need any changes!  I was so stoked, and sent it off to print and ordered my 25 copies to send to the agency.  So even though we found out last week, that this particular birth mom chose her brother and sister-in-law to adopt her baby, we had total peace in that!  God used that to expedite our home study and for me to finish up my life book!  So here we are and are just about finished with everything!!  And then we will wait.............

Here is the front cover of our life book!

We have had so many people praying for us.  I am thankful for God and his perfect timing.  I can almost see it!  I have felt like it is going to happen really soon, I'm not sure why?  Others have told me the same as they have prayed for us.  The home study process has been incredible as well.  I am so thankful and it was really neat reading through our home study, and that we really are ready to adopt.  We have been through so much, and reading our story, through the eyes of our adoption social worker, has been incredible to me.  So affirming, and we know without a doubt that this is where God has us, and is preparing a child to come into OUR family.  People have said that the adoption journey is so incredible, but until now, I have not known what they meant.  We have seen God move in us, and prepare our hearts.  We have taken online adoption classes that have shed so much light on bringing a child into our home and family!  So much I never knew.  We have seen God prepare us for this time, with my work with Young Life, and hanging out with kids for over 10 years.  Seeing the pain, and wanting to not only love them, but be a consistent presence in their lives.  Letting them know that they are important and valued, and that God has a purpose for their lives!  It really is the exact hope I have for whoever God brings into our family. That whoever God gives us the privilege to raise, would know this truth!  I know we have so much to learn, and it is going to be hard, but we are ready to give our lives away to a child(ren).  It is a little intimidating and scary, but we are open to adopting twins.  Being a twin myself, I never thought I wanted twins.  But throughout this process, our desire has been to be able to give a child(ren) a chance and taking in kids who need a good home!  This could be an opportunity to keep twins together in the same home, and THAT is something I am passionate about.  It breaks my heart to think that twins would ever be separated, because there is not a home for them!  So with that, we pray and wait and see what God has in store!  ( My mom and many others are praying for twins apparently:))

Life has been really good.  Busy...... Brian is building our new shop house, and I am working, as well as we are preparing to adopt!  We are seeing God as he walks with us and unfolds his plan, whatever that is and whatever the timing is.  It is so good.  My faith is being stretched.  I am praying more, digging into the Bible more, really desiring all God has for me.  I think sometimes I am fearful of what He may call me too, so I back off, and don't even ask him what he wants!!  I am committing to being in the Word, and falling more in love with Him!
At the end of December we lost Brian's awesome dad Henry.  He had suffered for 18 years with a blood disease that caused him pain and fatigue.  He just never felt good. He was ready to go, he was so tired.  We just never knew how or when it would happen.  The day after Christmas, he and Brian's mom Julia were headed to an appointment when Henry doubled over in pain.  They headed to the ER to figure out what was going on, and ultimately we knew this was the end. He had an enlarged spleen which was wreaking havoc on his body.  He just couldn't handle it anymore.  We were so grateful that the Lord took him quickly.  On December 28, 2013 he went home to be with Jesus.  We got to be there with him, and had some special moments together.  It still doesn't seem real, that he is gone.  I think it is because of the grace of Jesus that we make it through.  There are days Brian looks at the program from his dads service and says, "I can't believe my dad is gone."  We are grateful that he is not suffering anymore.  We were able to have a great time with the family when they all came back up. Celebrated Henry's life and how cherished and loved he was.  My sis in law Marianne had brought out the old slides from back in the day when Brian and his siblings were kids living on the farm.  We watched slide show after slide show!  It was so fun to watch those together Christmas night and remember and reminisce.  Henry was genuinely smiling and loving every minute of it.  Only the Lord could have known that three days later he would be gone.

At the end of January, we were able to go on a family vacation.  It was an awesome time away.  We went on a cruise to the Caribbean.  It was restful and we came back refreshed! 

God affirmed us about our adoption again on the cruise.  That he is WITH us and is so present in all of this.  We were laying by the pool the last day. Brian noticed a little African American boy by the pool with his Caucasion parents.  He commented and motioned for me to look and said, "hey that is going to be us someday."  I smiled and headed to get the rest of my stuff from the upper deck and when I got back, Brian was talking to the mom.  Turns out that they adopted their 3 year old son as a newborn, FROM THE SAME AGENCY IN GEORGIA THAT WE ARE GOING THROUGH!   We began sharing stories, I told her about losing Esther and how we got to where we are now.  I asked her how long it was from the start of their process to when their son was born.  She said that they started in February, and he was born on December 20th.  When she started saying December, I just knew that it was going to be the 20th.  As we calculated the date and his age, it turns out that he was born on the exact day that Esther went to Heaven, in 2010.  I was so floored!  3 years old, born on December 20, 2010.  What are the chances??  Well I know it is not a coincidence.  I know that God was affirming us and letting us know he was there with us and we were on the right track!  He is so good!

So we are excited.  Life has a way of bringing joy and pain.  Simultaneously.  Losing Brian's dad was hard, so painful, so many tears.  And yet another opportunity that God used to bring us closer to each other, and closer to Him.  An outpouring of love and support came from so many people as we walked through this hard time.  And we are being drawn to Him in the excitement of preparing to adopt a child(ren)!!!   We trust Him, we seek Him, and we wait on Him!!!