Monday, May 21, 2012

#4 on the way!

If you haven't heard already, we are pregnant with our 4th child!  I am still trying to process my feelings - I can't think or even feel (me!) much right now with all the all day morning sickness.  We are very thankful.  The best part was telling our kids.  It was precious.  Josh started by saying how sick I was and they didn’t catch on so he changed to mother’s day but they still weren’t getting it.   I handed the girls the ultra sound picture and then their faces lit up.  Lydia said is this the baby I have been praying for?  I believe this is the one.  Then she started to cry and said I have never cried because I was so happy before.  Grace was excited too but she was more taking it in.  What a treasured moment – so glad we got it on video!  

Looks like we are now 8 weeks along and due right around New Years - Dec. 30.  I have put the whole story below for those of you who care about all the emotional details.  We just wanted to share our good news with you.  Thanks for rejoicing with us!

Over a year and a half ago now Josh and I began to pray about our forth child.  Were we to have another pregnancy or was it our time to adopt?  I never knew the decision was going to be so hard.  God did not seem to say anything or lead us in any direction.  I was so anxious about it all.  Then a year ago when I was praying and listening I felt God say wait.   From then on we waited and there was peace.

As we waited we decided to keep all doors open and visited a couple orphanages in Uganda and talked with an adoption agency while we were in Michigan.  We never really felt anything or any leading.  We continued to wait till January of this year when we felt we needed to take a day to pray for God’s direction.  Josh and I wrote down the pros and cons, prayed over them, and listened for God to lead us in His will.  We both walked away still unsure. 

I was so torn with the decision.  Deep down I think I did want to be pregnant again.  I didn’t want that time in my life to be done with yet.  I love being pregnant, having a newborn, and being mom.  But then I would get scared, mostly selfishly, about my leg pain I get in pregnancy and sickness, gaining weight, and all the other lovely side effects.  Then I would think about adoption and all the children who need a loving, Christian home.  I was not excited about adopting in Uganda though.  All the unknowns, three years of waiting, and government here stressed me out.  I know God calls all of His people to care for the orphan but I have to admit I wasn’t very excited about it yet.

Then I read a magazine and it was kinda funny but it was all about these huge Christian families that see children as a true blessing from the Lord.  I began to think that it wasn’t selfish to want to have another child but a blessing from God.  I was also glad that some of these families had adopted on top of their big families.  Josh is a true husband and father and worries about how many kids we can afford.  He has always thought four would be enough so I felt it was get pregnant or adopt.  But now we were talking and more open to both.  So unsure of what God wanted us to do, we felt He would bless both choices.  We decided to try to get pregnant for a few months. 

I never thought this would be a painful experience.  With all of our children we got pregnant right away so I thought if we tried it meant we would get pregnant.  But I also knew that God would give us a baby if He wanted and lead us to adopt if that is what He wanted.  It was a roller coaster.  I was sure I was going to be pregnant each month and each month I was cramp and bleed early like something was wrong.  I have no idea what happened but we did not get pregnant and it was heartbreaking for awhile. 

Through it I felt God teaching me.  During a difficult time would I praise Him?  Would I be person I say I am?  Would I trust when I didn’t understand?  Would I believe God has a sovereign plan?  I also looked at all my blessings.  Even though not getting pregnant is hard, it could be so much worse.  I thought about people all around the world who were truly suffering.  I would thank God because He is good to me.  

Timing is the biggest pressure when you live on the mission field.  You can’t just get pregnant anytime or adopt anytime because you need to schedule and plan for time in the States.  This is really hard for Josh because he doesn’t want to be away from ministry for very long.  So after two months of not getting pregnant our time was running short and we needed to get the adoption process started if that was what God was telling us.  So in April we contacted Adoption Associates once again and started the process of adopting through the African American/Bi-racial program.

Once we got started on our profile and talking with our case worker we began to get excited.  Adoption Associates were so helpful and made us feel cared for.  They would do everything to help us in this unique situation (most people who adopt live in the States.)  We decided to adopt through them and not in Uganda for many reasons.  We love the structure and help a agency provides, we still wanted a baby and with this program you get a newborn baby, we love that we get to share the baby with our families right away (since we will be in MI), and felt a peace with it all.  The orphanage we liked in Uganda said it would take 1-2 years and they always keep a child for the first 6 months to do all the legal and medical stuff.  We did not feel comfortable adopting a child here who still had any parents or family.  And the law here is very unclear and legally it takes three year to adopt.  We are also living here on visitor visas right now and so could be denied.  There were just too many unknowns for us to handle and we felt stress instead of peace.

As we moved along in the adoption process God changed the plans.  By the end of April we found out we were pregnant.  The roller coaster continued.  We were excited yet torn.  Like Josh said he had been praying for the adopted baby God had for us so it was a funny time of grief and joy.  As soon as we found out we were pregnant I bled so again we were worried and cautious.  We saw the doctor while we were in the capital and were assured by ultra sound that I was pregnant – 5weeks along due December 30.  To our surprise the doctor was very concerned.  She did not like that only the sac was shown and no fetus.  So again we were filled with emotions and too unsure of anything to get excited.  All we could do was wait.

My pregnancy symptoms continued and I became sicker and sicker.  This was a good sign but I it didn’t feel good. 

I got a confirmation from my doctor in the States that yes I should repeat the ultra sound so at almost 7 weeks along I decided to try one in Soroti and see what we could see.  It wasn’t the best of ultra sounds but they did see a fetal note.  (It also said I was further along and due Christmas Eve.  I don’t think that is right and there is no way I am having a Christmas baby!)  They told me to come back after the 10th week to see the heartbeat.

I also told our team nurse how sick I was feeling and she came up with some safe anti nausea medicine that have helped.  I can function.  I am so thankful!  No women should sit and suffer for months when you can have relief. 

By now all our friends in Uganda know because we wanted prayer and because I have been too sick to hide it.  We went to one friend’s and as soon as I walked in the door she said I looked so tired and asked if I was pregnant.  At 8 weeks along we told our families.  We tried to Skype with them but it didn’t work with my parents but we did all get to hear over speaker phone.  They were surprised and excited but maybe a bit overwhelmed at the thought of the 17th grandchild (maybe 4 news one in 2012 alone).  Josh’s family we got to Skype with but Mom was sick in bed so that was a bummer.  It was exciting to share our news with everyone.  It makes it a little more real.  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Home School Conference

May 5, 2012

I am happy to say this week Lydia said school is fun!  I had been really struggling with teaching.  I was so down about it.  I just felt yuck going into the classroom each day.  I love being with my girls but there are so many other thinks I want to be doing and need to be doing and can’t because of school.  I am so not a teacher but feel forced to do it.  I don’t read well so school feels like a lot of work.  I knew I was distracted and not being a good teacher to our kids. 

Thankfully the home school conference came at just in time.  I went in wanting to give up and came away very encouraged.  The group that came is based in England and desires to help missionaries homeschooling their children.  Two of the teachers had homeschooled their children on the mission field so they really understood what it is like.  There were 12 women/missionaries/home school teaching mommies and about 25 kids.  While the ladies were being taught the children were also taught.  Lydia loved the time with other kids that is her kind of learning.  Grace wasn’t feeling the best that week but she also enjoyed it just in a quieter way. 

I was so glad to learn I was doing the right things and focusing on what really mattered.  I realized I had slipped into bad habits and needed to stop bringing my to-dos into the classroom and just focus on school.  I was reminded to get back into manipulative with math and keep being hands on.  One of the teachers at the end said she has been observing my girls this week and that even though I feel incapable I am doing a great job.  She said I have built that foundation for years and now the girls really know their stuff.  What a blessing to hear that.  I can do this…at least until God provides help.

So I have so far put into practice what I learned and have already seen the benefits.  The girls love their new goals.  Lydia has to read 8 book and do reports on 4 of them then she gets to go out with mom for a pop.  Grace has to read 6 then she gets to go out with mom.  We also started words for the week (vocab words) and every time they use one of the words they get a sticker.  If they get 10 all together they get a prize.  I have been working more one on one with them again which they seem to enjoy.  I pray we keep up this new routine.  We should complete 1st and 3rd grade the end of June!

We were at the home school retreat with our teammates the Tiesingas.  They are in the process of adopting their baby girl so the whole family came.  We had a lot of fun being together.  Josh and Luka did well in Soroti too.  Josh is the man.  He spent lots of time playing trucks with Luka and even babysat a teammate’s two year old son overnight.  We were happy to see them again at the end of the week.   

From the home school conference in Jinja we went into Kampala for the weekend.  And we got our new (used) van!  We were very excited.  To our surprise it is almost a light purple color in the right light.  The AC works great, we have radio and CD player for the first time, and the kids love the curtains that move by a button.  How thankful we are. 

Lydia is really becoming a good little baker.  She loves it and so do I.  I can give her the recipe for chocolate chip cookies (which we make into bars and call I love you family bars) or the recipe for pie or pizza crust and she can do it.  She must be growing up.

Did I tell you I think I had a jigger in my foot.  It is some sort of sand flee that lays eggs in your feet.  I know nasty.  I felt a small hard bump on the bottom of my foot and thought maybe it was a planters wart but it didn’t hurt.  I of course squeezed it and all kinds of cool pus came out.  Weird.  I just had to dig more.  All of the sudden a shell or something came out and left a small hole in my foot.  I talked to our nurse later and she said it was a jigger.  Glad it was me and not my kids.

Hope all is well with all of you.  Grace had been having stomach aches for months so we took her in while we were in Kampala.  They said she had lots of yeast in her gut.  I am not sure about it but I do know after the medicine she hasn’t complained and eats normally again.  We will be in touch soon.  Thanks for all your prayers and love for us!