Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Here I Am....

So, I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this or not. I know it's been a ridiculously long time since I have posted. And I know that if any of you have been following this blog for a time, I sort of just left you hanging at the climax of this whole adoption journey. But the truth is that it has taken me quit some time to process through everything.

Kaplan Thomas Autry was born on December 23rd, 2008. He weighed in at 7 lbs and 7 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.

We got the call Monday afternoon (after our we discovered our fridge had gone out and we had to go buy a new one) that Kaplan's birth mom (whom I will refer to as A. from now on) was going to be induced the following morning at 6 a.m. Amazingly enough, I wasn't running around the house screaming in excitement. Not that I thought I would, but sometimes I do have a flare for dramatics. Actually, I just took down some last minute notes and did some last minute preparations. Most of which included getting all of our food back into our new fridge.

Sleep also came pretty easily that night. I feel this was a gift, because now....well....sleep doesn't come so easily. We woke up the next morning at 5:30. We didn't want to get to the hospital right when A. was getting there. We wanted her to have some time and not feel as though we were over excited or feel that we were just interested in her baby. It also happened that it was icing that morning and I got my monthly visitor. I mean, really we didn't expect anything less. We are the Autry's.

We arrived at the hospital and we just didn't know what to expect. There was a big part of me that was just expecting this whole experience to be gut wrenching and horrible. While a life was being brought into the world, a mother was also giving up her child. How can that be a pleasant experience? How could we not feel like we were baby snatchers? I must say now though, that I really am glad I had bad expectations. That may sound harsh or like I'm a negative person, but the hospital experience was so smooth and peaceful and it so far outweighed my expectations.

We went in to see A as soon as we arrived. She was doing good and we sat with her for a few hours and just got to know her even more. That time to me is priceless. It's a legacy that we will be able to pass down to Kaplan. She is not just a face or a fictional person we will tell him about. We got to know her heart, her likes and dislikes and her sense of humor (which is very similar to ours and we think pretty fantastic).

Most of that day was spent in the waiting room. I was a bundle of nerves all day. I had a lulling ache in my stomach that just wouldn't go away. Jamie and I tried to play cards or watch the waiting room television, but we just couldn't focus on much of anything.

We went back in to see A. later in the afternoon and she was in much more pain. She was grimacing and we could tell she didn't need a lot of visitors. We told her she could reach us in the waiting room. We really wanted her to be as comfortable as she possibly could. As we were leaving her room the guy who gives the big nice shot (because I can't spell the word that he actually is) was coming in to hopefully relieve some of her pain. We went back in the waiting room and about 10 minutes later A's mom came out and said she was fully dialated. About five minutes after that the waiting room phone rang and Jamie answered it. A said "he's here! do you guys want to come back and meet him". Jamie couldn't believe it was her because she sounded so calm. He asked "who is this?". Seriously. That is my husband.

We immediately went back. I can't quit describe to you what was going on with me during all of this. It was so different than how I played it out in my mind. I thought I would be all weepy and thinking of this sweet little baby who would be placed in my arms. But that is not how it was at all. We were first thinking of A and how she was doing. We wanted things to be as easy as possible for her. While we were elated to see and hold Kaplan, we wanted her to know that we loved her and we wanted her to be ok.

There really wasn't that "moment" where we held him for the first time and knew this was our child. Well, not in the hospital. I don't know if it's maternal instinct or what, but all I knew is that this baby was now my responsibility and I didn't quite know what to do, but I wanted to be the one to figure it out.

Thankfully the hospital was generous enough to give us our own room and they put A. in the room next to us. They came in and gave me a bracelet so I could get our little man out of the nursery. I called the nursery and they told me I had to wait an hour. How awful! I know they need to do all their business, but that was very hard! By that time A was in her room and we had been communicating with her. She asked if when we got him from the nursery if we could bring him in to her. Of course we could. We wanted her to be the one calling the shots. We felt this would ease her transition. And like I said, we just wanted everything to be as smooth as possible for her. But I have to admit, this was a little hard for me. I had held Kaplan in the delivery room and that was all. I couldn't wait to get my hands on him and look him all over. I wanted to know if he had any birthmarks or a crooked toe. I needed to hold him and stare at him away from everything and everyone else. But, that couldn't happen at that time.

We got him from the nursery and took him into see A. What a sweet moment. He looks just like her. You could feel the love she had for him oozing out into the room. She knew exactly what to do as she fed him and changed him and cuddled him up. We sat and talked with her for a few hours it seemed like. We wanted her to have some time alone with Kaplan, so a little before 11:00 that night we went back to our room. I have to tell you that was the hardest thing to do. I broke down once we got in the room. Jamie just stood and looked at me, feeling so helpless. I told him I just couldn't handle any more people. I knew everyone was so excited to see this precious angel we had been praying for for the past several years, but I needed to be with my son alone. I so desired for us to be a family and sit all cuddled up in our little room. But the truth of it was, he wasn't our son yet. He was A's. And as difficult as it was to share him in the hospital, we knew she needed to spend as much time as she could with him.

A little later A. called us and said we could come and get him. We got to bring him back into the room with us and finally there we were. All three of us. A family. We just held him and stared at him. I unswaddled him and looked him all over. I fixed his bottle and fed him. It was amazing.

This is basically how our time at the hospital was spent. Passing little Kaplan back and forth. How lucky for him to have so many people who love him and care for him and who are looking out for his best interests.

The day we were to go home, Christmas Day, A. had him in her room for a little while in the morning. I had been dreading actually leaving, just knowing how difficult it would be for her. I can't quit put into words how it all felt. There was a huge part of me who wanted to bundle Kaplan up, turn around and run as far away as I could, but then there was a part of me that wanted to hand him to her and ask her how we could help her. While we were elated to be chosen to be the parents of this amazing child, we also could see the hurt and sadness in A.'s eyes.

She came into our room and handed him to us. She said "We had a talk this morning". I'll never know the sweet things she whispered to him, but I am so thankful she took the time to do that. I think it will help her in the coming months and years. It was time for her to leave. We stood and cried and hugged, but it wasn't devastating. It was sad, but peaceful. She knew why she had to give him up and she felt at peace with her decision.

It was Christmas Day, and we got to bring our son home. It was such a special day. Visitors didn't start coming until the next day, so on Christmas it was just us. It was so sweet to sit on the couch as a family of three and do something as simple as watch television.

Looking back on those days now, everything seems like such a blur. We were sleep deprived and running on adrenaline. The days since, at home, have been so wonderful. Hard at times, but wonderful.

I guess it was the third day we were home and I got up to feed Kaplan in the middle of the night. I was holding him and feeding him and I knew at that moment that we were meant to be together. He was looking up at me and grasping my finger and all I could do was weep. This is the child God had picked for our family. When we were laboring in prayer for a biological child, God said no. He had other plans for us. He knew that different DNA was needed to make up our first child, and that it wasn't ours. He has had us in the palm of his hand since the beginning. He was listening the first time Jamie and I said "let's start a family". And I can't help but think he was smiling as we sat in that hospital room looking at this sweet little boy.

Most days when I stare at Kaplan, I can't help but cry. These times are precious for me. I'm not usually a crying type person, but the other day, I was washing bottles and crying. I just can't believe we are here. It's still surreal that we have a child. It's a heavy responsibility that we do not take lightly. We can't wait to watch him grow and see what wonderful things the Lord has planned for his sweet little life. Well.....I can wait....he's already growing too fast!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Blame It On My Husband

It's totally Jamie's fault for my lack in blogging lately. Because he is seemingly perfect, I feel I must find something to place blame on him for. And I choose blogging absence.

He has been gone for about four weeks and he carries with him my outlet to the world wide web. Otherwise known as a computer. So my access to the internet has been slim. Almost non existent at times. And while I did experience some slight eye twitching the first few weeks, I actually welcomed the not so self imposed computer fast the last few weeks. The extra time allowed me to get caught up on sewing, house cleaning, and studying of fine literature. Or caught up on all my DVR shows. I'll let you choose which one is truthful. I know, I know you think I'm an expert seamstress....

So, needless to say, it's still Jamie's fault.

There has been so much that has happened in the last month that I hardley know where to start. So I'll just blurt it all out. It's sure to be poetic. Or a list:

1. We met the mother who chose us (can anyone say Awesome?!)
2. We saw pictures of the baby ( double Awesome)
3. It's a BOY! (triple Awesome......ok, you get it)
4. He's coming earlier than we thought
5. I'm freaking out just a little
6. But only because I'm so stinkin excited
7. I can't quit buying baby clothes
8. It's a problem
9. No, really I'm addicted to the baby section
10. And my nursery still isn't finished

So there ya go. Not much at all.

First let me tell you that, this adoption thing.....well it just continues to surprise me. The minute I want to yell to the world that "Our baby is coming!" (much like Paul Revier) I also want to tuck it all away and not share so many details. I know it's weird. But the more I think about it, the more I want it to be his story to share. Surprise #1. I really never saw that coming.

Surprise #2. We had such a connection with the mother. Not that it was a huge surprise, but was pretty awesome. (Last time I'll use that word....promise). She is amazing. She is now the last person I think about when I go to bed at night and the first person on my mind each morning. As cliche as that sounds, it is totally true. And meeting her made me realize how hard it will be to walk out of the hospital with the baby she carried and birthed and know how heart wrenching it will be for her. But this too is something we know God is in control of.

We are so very excited to be preparing for a baby. And I'm not even telling a lie when I tell you he will be here in five weeks. HELLLOOOO!!!! I said five weeks! So the lists at my house? Well you know they are a plentiful. Not to mention a few little itty bitty holidays coming up. Oh, you know Thanksgiving and Christmas. You ever heard of them?

But I'm not too worried. Baby trumps all preparations in my book. So if you are reading this and you normally get a Christmas gift from the Autry's, I hate to break it to you that your all time favorite gift of the holiday season will have to pass this year. But I would like to give a shout out that we are still open and available to be on the receiving end of those presents. I'm just saying.....

We would like a new television. It's for the baby.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Guess what we're getting this year for Christmas?

So, it looks like we are going to have a Christmas baby! We got the call last Thursday night that we have been chosen by a mother who is due December 22nd.

In 81 days we will be parents. We're just a little bit excited to say the least.

I was sitting at home by myself last Thursday reading the latest Christianity Today magazine. (I'm throwing that in so you think I'm all holy). Jamie was still at work in Memphis, so I had some time to myself to read. Which is always nice. Can I get an Amen?

Anyway, it was about 8:30 and the phone rang and it was our social worker. My first thought was that she was calling about a question I had emailed her the day before. But that is not why she was calling. She said she had some news and I held my breath. She said "You've been chosen" and all I could say was "Are you serious?". Like she would call someone and say that and then say....oh, just joking. But it's all I could say. And I said it over and over again. Finally, she started telling me all the information and she paused mid-sentence and said "You may want to write all this down." I said "Oh, good thinking". I was actually surprisingly calm though on the phone. It wasn't until I hung up that I was screaming and crying. Actually it was more like wailing.

I couldn't believe it. I'm still, a week later, in shock about the whole thing.

I called Jamie after I could finally make words come out of my mouth. Of course, he did not answer his phone. So I did what any good wife does. I called him right back. He answered the second time. I could barely speak through all the sobbing and he thought something terrible had happened. All I could say was "WE'VE BEEN CHOSEN!" and all he could say was "Are you serious?". Not sure why we both think people would play evil jokes on us.

We are both so overjoyed. The mother wants to meet us and I am so excited about that. Now we have an actual mother that we are praying for. I haven't even met her yet and I can't even explain the feelings I have toward her. It's unlike anything I've experienced before. It made this whole thing a lot more real now that there are actual people involved. The reality of her situation makes my heart ache for her. I choose not to go into details on this blog because everything I know is her story. It is her life. It is not mine to share. But we are praying for her during this sure to be difficult time.

It's so important for people to understand why we are adopting. While it is in fact true that we desire a child, we chose adoption because we believe in finding Christian homes for children who might not otherwise have a family. Adoption was not created to give babies to infertile couples. It is a way to provide loving homes for children of all ages, races, and backgrounds whose biological parents realize they can't provide for them. It comes at great cost to those parents. And we do not take that responsibility lightly.

We are greatly blessed that she deems us worthy of the task and we can't wait to welcome baby Autry home.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is My 100th Post!

I can't believe I've stuck with this blog that long. I'm a little bit of a "throw yourself all into something and then quit a few weeks later" kind of person. As much as I like to think I'm not like that, it is totally true.

For example, when Jamie and I started dating, he played golf a lot. In my mind I thought "Golf can't be that hard, it's just a stick and a ball". "I'm sure I could do that". So, I started going to some driving ranges and thinking that I am going to learn how to play.

(As a side note, I should also mention that I have a sort of warped perception of my athletic abilities in that I think I have them. I played on a church softball team several years ago and was terrible, but I'm so competitive that it didn't seem to cross my mind that I needed to be good before I was talking trash.)

So the golfing begins. And then it ends about 2 weeks later when I realize the amount of work it would take to actually ever make it onto the course.

Last year, I decided I wanted to learn how to sew. Lucky for me, my friend Hannah sews and I thought she could teach me. I went for a few lessons and made an apron. It did turn out very cute but it did in fact take me about a month to make. But for that month.....I was totally into sewing. I purchased different materials, looked up patterns on the internet, bought one of those tomato pin cushions and everything. But then after the apron project, I moved on to the next activity. But still to this day in my mind I am 100% convinced that if I had a sewing machine, I would be a great seamstress.

Two months ago I decided that I needed to get in shape. So I committed to training for a 5K. I researched to find a race several months away, looked up training programs, and even bought new tennis shoes. That lasted about a month as well. All the running messed up my evening routine of watching television. And let's just be honest, Jon and Kate Gosselin have to have people watching their show...I mean they have eight kids, how else can they get money? I like to think of myself as being a contributor to the greater good of the entertainment society. The employees at Direct TV do have to feed their families after all and they don't need my exercising taking food off their kids plates.

I also have a plastic container full of paints and brushes, a closet with canvases, and two unfinished paintings.

And the funny thing about all of this is that if you were to ask me, I wouldn't have a problem telling you that I was good at all of these things. "Marcie, do you paint?" "Why, yes I do. I also sew, play golf, run, bake, have an abounding knowledge of useless medical information, and decorate".

I've never really struggled with self-esteem obviously.

So, to make it to my 100th post is a feat. This blogging thing has actually stuck around for awhile. There are few things that do. Lucky for you readers, this is one of them (see there is that not struggling with self-esteem thing again).

At least our child will be exposed to many different things right?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Tie that Binds

Today we had an adoption training class all day in Memphis. If I'm honest, I wasn't really looking forward to sitting in a class all day on a Saturday. But it turned out to be a wonderful day.

We learned a lot about talking to our children about adoption and different issues that can come up. It was very informative and very educational. But, that is not what I took away from today.

Every person that talked to us today had their own adoption story to tell. Whether they were teaching us about newborn care or fetal alcohol syndrome, it all related to them because they were adoptive parents who had been there. They got it.

Every person sitting in the classroom was traveling down the same road we are, except different circumstances had led them there.

Each of us was connected by this thing called adoption. And it made me think that this is exactly how the body of Christ is. Although we are all traveling down different roads, we all struggle with different things, we are all blessed in different ways, we may all live scattered across this globe, we are connected by the blood of Jesus. So really all Christians are also connected by adoption because we are all heirs to His throne.

And as corny as this may sound, it really is a beautiful thing.

I've just been thinking about the whole bigger picture of adoption and I really can't shake the feeling that I'm a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. A few people have told us that they admire us or are proud of us for adopting. Which I think is sort of silly really. Mostly we are adopting because we desire a baby. It's not some heroic feat. We are being obedient to a call God placed on our lives. And mostly I have gone about it kicking and screaming that it wasn't easier. But to sit there today and see so many adoption stories come full circle was a little overwhelming.

They were all, every single one, amazing stories of God's abounding faithfullness. And at that moment I felt so unbelievably unworthy to be chosen to be a part of something like this.

The truth of it is, the waiting is hard. But you know what? I know that what God has in store for us is going to be so worth it all.

"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed." Habakkuk 2:3

Monday, September 1, 2008

Week 1 of Waiting

I thought that after we got our approval, there would be a big burden lifted off of us. No more paperwork, no more water testing, we would be approved and waiting to be picked. I thought that would be easy after all the ordeals we had been through the past several months.

But of course, I was wrong!

Now, all we can do is wait and pray. There is no goal that we are actually "working" towards. We are just simply to wait to be chosen. And I think about it all day.

I have walked through the baby section in every store I've been in this week. I have trouble going to sleep now. I have painted the babies room and put together the crib. I have been searching online for a cute, green glider/rocker. I have sat in the floor of the nursery about 15 times. And I have prayed quit unceasingly for our future baby.

So, the waiting......well not so easy. It's quit consuming.

In adoption, there are so many things that are unknown. This makes the planning quit difficult, but at the exact same time it is exciting. While I don't get to experience a positive pregnancy test (which, let's face it, is just a stick with pee on it) or nine months of being pregnant, I do get to experience this waiting (without gaining weight....hopefully) and I will get to experience a phone call to say we have been chosen. And I will get to witness first hand one of the great mysteries of heaven; the unconditional loving of a child that was not born of us, but placed in our hearts. And while this may seem different to some, it seems very natural to us.

To say we are excited would be the understatement of the year. We are also anxious, nervous and scared. But I have to think that this is how all expecting parents feel. And we are in fact expecting parents.

So, week one down. Who knows how many more to go!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Excuse me for my bloggy absence

I know I haven't been around. And I know that most of you are probably tired of reading how hot I am. Actually the weather hasn't been that bad the past few weeks, but I was really hot before. Obviously. Either that, or I was trying to post anything just to keep my blog account open. Not that they shut them down or anything, but it has been quit awhile.

So the biggest news is that WE ARE APPROVED!!!!!!!! Yay!! We got a call Thursday night from our social worker and she let us know that everything looks good and that we are all official. Whoo Hoo!! We haven't signed our contract yet, but that should be coming this week. They are showing our profile though and that is very exciting!!

In other Autry news, two of my dogs escaped and I had to pick them up in the rain on the main highway. I actually had to run down the median in my high heels. Then I had to lift both of them up and put them in the back of my car. They both weigh about 175 pounds. Ok. So that might be a lie. But it felt like it.

Also, I have been working. A Lot. Which is the reason for the lax in my bloggity life. But I figure unless you people start paying me to write, I guess it's more important for me to be out in corporate America. My cell phone provider actually prefers to get paid after all.

And finally, the Olympics. We were a little bit addicted. And in the middle of the Olympics we got a DVR. And I have to argue that this is the best invention of my lifetime. And I realize that I am only 27, but I'm pretty sure nothing will ever compare. Unless we figure out how to actually grow money on trees. Or an automatic eye brow plucker. That would be nice.

I said finally, but really the last thing is that we have started decorating our nursery. And I cried a little. Finally, after four years, we get to start a nursery. And I totally know it could take us a long time to get chosen, which I figure could play into my decorating scheme seeing as I only have a crib. I have built the perfect nursery in my mind, but the problem is that most of the things I see in there are not even in existence. I am actually sitting in the nursery at this very moment. And I love it. And I am so excited!